The most frequent question that all kinksters ask themselves at some point or another is “Is there something wrong with me?” It’s very common. Society sets us up to expect that our love lives will be directed along the lines of a Disney princess story, and nothing else will do. Every kinkster grows up with these self-judgmental thoughts. “What kind of sick person would want this?” Fortunately, we’re finally getting out of the closet, and our collective culture can begin to ease up on the subject of kink.
But what about when the fantasies are particularly deviant? Especially when they revolve around an activity which is illegal or immoral? Even after you accepted your kink, you and your partners might question things all over again when your fetish is particularly hard to gratify without getting into legally risky territory.
Here’s a humorous story told by comedian Louis C. K. that illustrates part of the point…
…beyond that, there’s fetishes that flirt with legal and ethical issues all the time. Role play as furries raises the question of bestiality. Baby-Adult roleplay raises child molestation and incest taboos. And if you want to get really shocking, there’s “race play,” in which – this is perfectly consensual, mind you! – the bottom gets off on being humiliated for their race and breeding.
Oops, We’re All Going to Hell!
If your sole concern about your kink is breaking the law, you can forget it, because we’re all already guilty. Different states in the United States have laws against dildos and vibrators, other sex toys, bondage gear, homosexual activities (yes, still!), and even adultery! No, really, adultery, check here.
As recently as 2014, state legislatures were mulling over whether they should repeal laws against adultery that carry fines and jail time. We’re talking between fifteen and twenty states, including Massachusetts, where the penalty can run up to three years in jail. Try explaining that one to your P.O.
And let’s not leave out the hundreds of unnecessary laws and restrictions against certain genders, orientations, or identities. In a country where we’re just getting gay marriage settled in, and there’s a law against peeing in the wrong toilet in North Carolina, quibbling over one’s private fantasy life in one’s own bedroom isn’t even on the table. When we as a society get a civilized attitude about sex, then we can debate the finer issues. Outside the United States, it varies from the free liberal paradises of Scandinavia to the restrictive theocracies of the Middle East.
So Laws Are Too Crazy to Bother with. When Do We Cross the Moral Line in Kink?
That’s a thornier question, but at least there’re answers. Let’s start with a well-worn Lifestyle guideline: “Safe, sane, and consensual.” Is the activity safe, in that nobody is going to be rushed to the hospital? Is it sane, in that both parties are free of mind-altering effects that would impair their judgment and are taking bounds of reason and common sense into account? Is it consensual, in that every party involved in the activity is cheerfully going along with it? If the answers to all of those questions are yes, then it’s considered a moral activity.
What we, in the Lifestyle do, is act out fantasies to enhance the sexual experience. One partner beating another is domestic violence without the consent, but kinky play with it. Yet all it takes is one neighbor to call a very misunderstanding police officer to get you in trouble. So it’s natural to feel edgy. The bottom line is, as long as what you’re actually doing is not wrong by actually having a victim, it’s widely agreed that there’s no harm and no foul.
This Psychology Today article dives into sexual fantasies often seen as deviant: Sick Secret Sexual Fantasies.
The bottom line: Yes, you’re sane, you’re normal, and as long as what you’re doing with a partner is SS&C, you are perfectly justified in mapping whatever shocking mental movie you want onto the proceedings. The article itself even mentions (trigger warnin’, darlin’s!) a Jewish woman with fantasies of abusive Nazi sexual domination. There, your foot fetish doesn’t feel so weird now, does it?
We’ll also turn to Dan Savage, patron saint of websites like ours, regarding one morally gray area: Adult Baby / Diaper Lovers.
And to quote:
But infantilism does not, out adult babies will cry, eroticize infants. And they’re correct: Infantilism eroticizes the way infants are treated — the intimacy, the diapers, the powder, the plastic pants. And, of course, the powerlessness of infants.” …”People who find infants erotic rape babies, they don’t dress up like them.
Which is a wonderfully concise way of clearing that up. Similarly, rape fantasies aren’t about actual rape; they’re about having your lover treat you like a rape victim. Being tortured on the rack isn’t a political statement in favor of bringing back the Spanish Inquisition; it’s a desire to experience what a torture victim feels.
Which brings us all the way back to the concept of fun in general!
After all, why do we love roller coasters? They’re thrilling and scary in at least a small way, simulating the experience of falling to your death any second now while still bringing you back safely. Why do we love horror movies? Because they’re ways for us to experience briefly the terror of death in its many forms, but in a fun way because we get to leave the theater unharmed. You see, we can go on with this.
There’s also the thrill of doing something naughty. We play video games, after all, that simulate shooting up a town, stealing cars, looting a vault, or all kinds of criminal activities. And role-playing as a prostitute and customer is just another kind of fantasy fulfillment, this time of breaking a legal taboo. Role-playing an erotic fantasy is a way of living for awhile in somebody else’s skin.
The Lifestyle, BDSM, bondage and eroticism in general are likewise ways to live out dangerous fantasies and experience in a safe way. We can pretend to hurt somebody without seriously hurting them. We can live through the thrill of being out of control, tied up and helpless, while a sadistic villain tortures us and cackles at our writhing. We can feel the power surge of what it’s like to be an ancient emperor with a freshly-bathed slave delivered to our harem, with the promise that we’re free to do anything we want to the hapless wench, and she just has to take it.
Just make sure you’re not actually hurting anybody and (where applicable) try not to break any major laws, and you should feel justified in wallowing in it. And can everybody out there please stop feeling guilty and weird?