I think lockdown has made us all do some self-exploring, especially those who are living alone and haven't had the opportunity to hook-up. As kinksters, many of us have found ourselves exploring uncharted waters when engaging our right hand in some light sexual relief.
Lockdown has amplified a debate which has been simmering quietly in my head for a few years now - and seems to have also begun to appear on social media. This debate being, what is the role of gender within a sub/Dom scenario, and more importantly, how does this fit with sexual orientation?
I'm pretty comfortable in my skin as a gay man. I have been for about ten years. And I'd probably place myself at the extreme end of the Kinsey scale. My sexual interest in women is fairly non-existent. Yet, for the past year or so, I've developed a real tangible interest in experiencing submission to a female Dom.
Now, at this point, all the twitter trolls would holler "You can't be gay, you've lost your gold-star gayness" etc.
But just hold on a second.
Here's where my discovery really lies. We all assume that "kink", for an umbrella term, is entirely sexual. We all discover our kinks, fetishes and interests in a sexualised or sexual environment, right? Therefore, the two are inextricably linked.
Well. Hmmmm. Maybe not?
I have sex quite regularly with my partner without any kink or fetish play involved. We'll have a sweaty midnight fuck in bed, by the light of the charging mobiles, without a whip, chain or boot in sight. So therefore, I can do sex without kink. But can I do kink without sex?
Well, yes, I can.
Kink, fetish play and, more specifically, S&M is entirely about headspace for me. Submitting to someone and serving is about finding an almost meditative headspace, where you shut out the world around you and focus on satisfying or pleasing someone else. Granted, most of the time you're serving them for their sexual pleasure, but also, you're entering that world of power exchange and focus, where you ignore everything else in the world for the length of the session and find that "subspace".
So, the question really is, is kink and sex as inextricably linked as we think it is?
For me, honestly, no.
Finding my submissive headspace and licking a pair of boots is incredibly satisfying. But do I really care if they're on a man or a woman? I'm not sure I do. Does my leather or rubber fetish conform to a specific gender? Well, no. It's a love of the taste, smell and look of that gear. Does it matter whether it's on a man, woman, trans or non-binary person? Hmmm. No.
If submission is about finding the pleasure within yourself, in your own head, then, for me, it's genderless. A whip doesn't feel any different on your ass, a boot doesn't feel any different to lick, and bondage doesn't feel any tighter or looser depending on gender. Let's face it, if we were all blindfolded and tied down, I doubt anybody could tell the difference. Yet it has become such a taboo for the gay fetish community. I've seen more hate towards gay men who've tried similar experimentation to me than I care to recall. And the real irony is, we're rejecting each other based on sexual orientation and sexual fetishism. The things we've been trying to find acceptance for in the first place.
For me, kink and sexuality are separate entities. They live in separate houses. Maybe semi-detached. Part of the same building, but two distinct properties. They have a lot of common ground. And they were built on the same foundation, but it's possible to have either without the other. My partner AndyRed sees kink and fetish play as inextricably linked to sex. And that's pretty much the norm for many people I've spoken to.
I'm still happy and proud to call myself gay. I don't feel anything has changed. But where sex isn't involved, submission or domination is genderless for me. And that's been very fun to discover and explore. As well as being a complete headfuck!
If you'd like to share your views on fetish, kink or the scene in a member article, send your ideas or a first draft to email@example.com