It's hard to believe that eight weeks spent Thinking Kink has flown by already, and that this will be my last post in the series. It has been a fantastic two months, and I've learned so much—from my research, from my interviewees, and from the great readership of Bitch. I've learned a heck of a lot about the kink community and even more about myself. I've also met some wonderful, open-minded, intelligent, and funny people both inside and outside the BDSM scene, and learned above all that mutual acceptance is the only way for contrasting lifestyles to coexist peacefully.
I've experienced the full gamut of comments on my posts: combative, offended, dismissive, excited, grateful, hilarious, and helpful. I'm pleased to say the vast majority of feedback I've received has been positive, and some has been deeply touching too. People have thanked me for addressing topics that they wanted to see explored, and some folks have bravely come forward to share painful personal experiences, hopefully finding catharsis. I cannot thank these people enough for validating my writing with their kind and courageous words.
Whether it's hearing commenters like Larabee tell of their positive experiences, "Now, my partner and I have hard limits that mean I will never have to do anything I don't want to. It is awesome to feel safe. Safe is sexy!", or Anon making me PMSL by remarking, "Yanno, some of the hottest sex I've ever had was followed immediately by the thought that Gloria Steinem was gonna personally come and yank my NOW membership card," I can safely say Bitch readers and commenters have made this series what it was: fun and fascinating to write.
For those thirsting for more information on kink, the following books have been invaluable in writing this series.
The New Bottoming Book - Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy
How To Be Kinky: A Beginner's Guide to BDSM - Morpheous
Deviations: A Gayle Rubin Reader - Gayle Rubin
The Ultimate Guide to Kink: BDSM, Role Play and the Erotic Edge - Ed. Tristan Taormino
The S&M Feminist: Best of Clarisse Thorn - Clarisse Thorn
Techniques of Pleasure: BDSM And The Circuits of Sexuality - Margot Weiss
S/M 101: A Realistic Introduction - Jay Wiseman
Although not all BDSM-themed, the Yes Means Yes! blog and book have also been a fantastic resource on positive consent.
I also must thank my interviewees for sharing their thoughts and experiences, and giving me some fantastic ideas for blog posts.
- Stacey May Fowles - I cannot recommend her essays "The Fantasy of Acceptable Non-Consent" and "Friction Burn" from Nobody Passes highly enough.
- Cliff Pervocracy - Cliff's blog The Pervocracy deals with feminism and BDSM, and is always educational and thought-provoking as well as frequently laugh-out-loud hilarious.
- Clarisse Thorn - Sex-positive activist Clarisse has a fantastic blog and her book The S&M Feminist has been a great resource for this series.
- Mollena Williams - BDSM educator and performer Mollena 's kick-ass writing has appeared in various places: her latest work is Playing Well With Others.
- Prof. Breanne Fahs - author of Performing Sex: The Making and Unmaking of Women's Sexual Lives, Breanne has provided fascinating viewpoints and personal encouragement throughout the blog series.
So, when I look back at all the questions I wanted to address during this blog series, do I feel I've answered them? Not definitively, but that was never the goal anyway—otherwise we could all go home and no one would ever need to write on kink and pop culture again! But have I explored issues I've long been fascinated with, looked at new and sometimes alien perspectives, and had plenty of food for thought presented to me by smart and wonderful folks? Hell YES.
Whether it was learning trivia about who directed Rihanna's S&M video, or receiving so many recommendations for lesbian BDSM erotica that my computer nearly overheated, I've been educated as much as anyone else reading this series. And for that, fine Bitch readers, I thank you all. If the rest of the population are anything near as intelligent, open-minded and generous as the folks who've responded to my posts, then I will worry a lot less about the influence of pop culture, as I will be able to trust that those immersed in it have the smarts to see what's real and what's just latex-clad silliness.
And so, dear readers, I encourage you to go forth with your copy of 50 Shades/Garfield's Greatest Hits/The Story of O/Mill on The Floss, sit comfortably in your leather/denim/butt-nekkid skin/flannel/PVC, and feast on whatever makes you happy, be that red velvet cupcakes, handcuffs, model airplanes, or a guilty peek at an episode of The LA Complex. Whether you consider yourself kinky, "vanilla," or just happily undefined, remember to keep it safe, consensual, and most of all, fun.
And always, always remember to bring the love.
Previously: The Right to Play With Race, Playing With Race in BDSM