Read 50 Shades of Kink Online

Authors: Tristan Taormino

50 Shades of Kink

Table of Contents
Introduction: Fifty More Shades
It may have started as
fan fiction, but the
Fifty Shades of Grey
trilogy by E L James grew quickly into an international phenomenon. The first book in the series is the UK's bestselling book (beating out Harry Potter), has been translated into thirty languages, and has sold over forty million copies worldwide so far.
As a sex educator and erotica editor, what excites me most about
Fifty Shades of Grey
is the widespread impact it has made: never before has an erotic novel been responsible for causing such a stir. In addition to driving up the sales of Ben Wa balls, it has captured the imagination of so many different kinds of people and sparked important conversations about desire and power. And there is more widespread interest in kink than ever before.
I use
as a catch-all term that includes BDSM, sadomasochism, kinky sex, dominance and submission, role play, sex games, fantasy, and fetish. But that definition just leads to more terms that need defining! I will both define and expand on these words throughout this book, but for now, if you're reading this, I'll assume you have a basic idea of what I'm talking about.
Beyond definitions, what is kink really? And why do people do it? Kink is an intimate experience, an exchange of power between people that can be physical, erotic, sexual, psychological, spiritual, or, most often, some combination. People who practice kink explore the territory between pleasure
and pain, eroticize the exchange of power, experience intense physical sensations and psychological scenarios, and test and push their limits. Kink can be a unique laboratory—a sacred space where we feel safe enough to try new things, push our boundaries, flirt with edges, and conquer fears. Members of BDSM or kink communities emphasize consent above all else—everyone is on board with what's going on and nothing happens against anyone's will. They value trust, communication, and safety, and often make use of a safeword—a word that either partner can use to bring everything to a stop. Kink is one area of the spectrum of sexual practices, so people do kink for as many reasons as people have sex: to give, to take, to connect, to discover, to trust, to experiment, to imagine, to learn, and to grow.
One of the components of the
Fifty Shades of Grey
books that has been widely criticized is its inaccurate representation of kink practices. Many of the details simply don't ring true for those of us who've practiced kink for many years, and additionally, the book portrays some unrealistic and unsafe activities. I realize that it's a romance novel,
, and was never intended to be an instructional manual of any kind; however, based on media reports and a huge spike in kinky toy sales at sex retailers, lots of readers have been inspired to try out some of the fantasy material in real life. As an educator, I know how important it is for people to have accurate, honest, and straightforward information about sexuality. It was pure luck and coincidence that my own book about kink,
The Ultimate Guide to Kink: BDSM, Role Play and the Erotic Edge
, came out just a few months after
Fifty Shades of Grey
caught fire, and
Ultimate Guide
has certainly benefitted from the newfound popularity of kink. But I realized quickly that some people were searching for a more basic kinky education, so I wrote this book as a kind of how-to companion to the novels.
This is a primer for people who are interested in kink and want to know more about it, learn how to negotiate with a partner, get some ideas, and explore different activities; it's meant to be an introduction to the world of kink. In it, you'll learn the truth behind common myths about kink, how to talk about your fantasies, common kinky terms and tenets, dominant/submissive role play, and sexual power games. In addition, you'll find ideas, tips, and techniques for different kinky activities, including sensory deprivation, sensation play, bondage, spanking, flogging, and more. If you want to go deeper and find out more, check out my book
The Ultimate Guide to Kink: BDSM, Role Play and the Erotic Edge
, as well as the titles listed in the reading list at the end of this book.
Chapter 1
Embrace Your Inner Kinkster: Myths, Truths, and Communication
Let's say you read
Fifty Shades of Grey
or another erotic, kinky novel like
Carrie's Story
by Molly Weatherfield or
The Marketplace
by Laura Antoniou. You enjoyed these fictional accounts of dominance and submission, power and lust, pleasure and pain, hot sex and incredible orgasms. You enjoyed them
a lot
. But, perhaps you or your partner have some reservations about these newfound fantasies. Portrayals of kink, aka BDSM, in the mainstream media—from novels and magazines to television and movies—are generally inaccurate, misleading, one-dimensional, or just plain wrong. As a result, there are a lot of myths about kinky people and practices out there. If you're struggling with some things you read or heard about kink or these concerns are holding you back from exploring your desires, this summary of some of the most popular misconceptions, along with the real facts, should provide you with reassurance, clarity, and support about your fantasies and desires.
Myths About BDSM and Kinky People
Myth: BDSM is the same thing as violence and abuse.
Violence and abuse are horrific and should not be tolerated under any circumstances. Some BDSM activities (bondage, slapping, verbal degradation), if they are taken out of their erotic context, may
violent acts, but they are not at all; they are consensual activities between adults who derive pleasure from them and who have the power to stop the activities at any time.
Myth: If you had a satisfying sex life, your partner wouldn't want to try anything kinky.
If you or your partner has just discovered an interest in kink, it is not an indictment of your current sex life; people's sexual tastes are varied and change over time. If a new desire has emerged, consider it a gift, not a warning sign. People do BDSM for the same wide variety of reasons people have sex, including pleasure and connection. Just as some people love oral sex and others love sex in the woods, some love BDSM. Plenty of folks have told me they believe it's just how they're wired. I've heard countless stories of the first time a lover held her down, the first time a man put a collar on her, the first time she got spanked. Many experienced a visceral reaction to these experiences before they had language to describe what they were doing or knew there were other people out there doing similar things. For some, BDSM does not have to focus on or even involve genital stimulation to be pleasurable and even orgasmic. For others, a good flogging and a good fucking is the perfect combination—BDSM enhances the sexual experience.
Myth: Bottoms, submissives, and masochists have low self-esteem or intimacy issues.
Bottoms like to have things done to them. Masochists enjoy intense sensations, including what other people may interpret as pain or discomfort. Submissives want to submit to a partner on their terms. What these roles have in common is that the people who embody them write the script, dictate what they want done to them, and can put a stop to it immediately; they actually have a great deal of power in the situation. Submissives in particular are stereotyped as timid and passive, which misses some of the key elements of the dominant/submissive power dynamic. Submissives generally like the freedom that comes with having someone else be in charge; they don't have to think about what comes next or make decisions, they just have to follow a partner's lead. Submission can give some people permission to explore certain sexual desires without guilt or shame (“I have to do everything my master says…”). Some submissives get a thrill from being sexually available to their partner; they don't have to wait for someone to initiate sex or think about the next move. Some enjoy being the center of attention. Others like the opportunity to focus exclusively on their partner's sexual needs over their own, which is a huge turn-on for lots of people. It's all about the context of the situation—someone can be very “take charge” in everyday life, but like to be ordered around in bed.
Myth: Tops, dominants, and sadists are sociopaths who have intimacy issues.
Tops are doers. Dominants like to be the boss. Sadists like to inflict pain and discomfort. Nothing is wrong with any of these desires. These three roles share a common desire to take charge and guide the erotic encounter. Some people prefer to lead in life, and that preference extends to their sexual lives (others may like to express their leadership in bed more than elsewhere). They derive pleasure from being skilled in a particular activity and the ability to bring their partners pleasure. They like to watch as someone becomes putty in their hands, giving in to the experience. What kind of a person wants to hurt their partner? Again, you must return to the context of the scene: sadists inflict pain on folks who
the experiences.
Myth: If you enjoy pain, something is wrong with you.

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