Kinks I Don’t Have

Stock photo of a fluffy black-and-white feather against a blue background, a reference to the tickling kink I do not have and also a nice complement to my blue-and-purple blog colour scheme.

Sometimes, my vanilla friends like to tease me about how kinky I am. I don’t mind it; I love feeling seen by them, and there’s never an edge of malice or shaming to it. But sometimes, I’ll express that something is a kink of mine, and they’ll respond, “What isn’t?”

Today, I am going to answer that question.

Specifically, I want to think about the reasons for me not finding a kink appealing. I can usually identify what’s hot about kinks I do have – pet play is primal and unrestrained; CG/l fulfills my need for approval and nurturing, whilst also feeling super taboo – but I think it’ll be just as telling to investigate what turns me off about kinks I personally don’t have. (Naturally, I’m going to try and be as neutral as possible and to avoid shaming people who do have these kinks, because most, if not all, kinks are harmless when played with ethically.)

1. Coprophilia, AKA scat, AKA poop

This one is firmly on my list of hard limits, rather than just a kink I’m not actively interested in. Partly, this is because of the health risks it poses, which sit firmly outside of my risk profile – but also, it just squicks me on an instinctive level that I can’t override. Once, when a friend confided in me that they had an interest in scat play and felt conflicted about it, I searched Tumblr for scat-related porn (back in the days when you could find porn on Tumblr). I grew to understand it in theory – the intense sensory experiences of smell and texture, the potential for erotic humiliation, the taboo of it – but I just couldn’t get past my own knee-jerk response, which was, I’ll admit, disgust. That doesn’t mean that I think the kink is disgusting, of course; most people poop, and I eroticise piss, which seems to be only one step away from scat. It’s just that my Caveman Brain is producing a disgust response, presumably because it has identified scat play as unsafe in some way, and I’m incapable of shutting that off.

2. Food play

Some of y’all might know that I’m recovering from an eating disorder. You might also know that recovering from mental illnesses does not stop me from enjoying related kinks, as is evident in the relationship between my blood kink and my occasional self-harm, so it’s probably not my eating disorder that prevents me from finding play with food sexy. Instead, I think it’s the sensory component. I’m autistic, and some sensory experiences are fucking awesome for me – like touching fluffy things, or sniffing a lemon-scented body wash – and some are hellish. Anything that could be described as “sticky” falls into the latter category, as do many forms of “wet”. I hate showering because I hate the sensation of being wet. I hate going out in the rain for the same reason, but I also hate to use an umbrella, because the fact that my legs are wet but my top half is not is even more distressing. The idea of being covered in food makes my autistic skin crawl a little bit, and even covering somebody else in foodstuffs would make me cringe.

3. Leather and latex

I’ve lumped these things into one because my lack of interest in them both comes from the same place. Firstly, there’s the autism component: squeaky, creaky noises go straight through me, and I know there’s a lot of potential for those noises to arise in latex and leather. Secondly, leather and latex garments require a lot of care to maintain. I can barely keep myself and my dildos clean, and I just don’t think I have it in me to polish latex or leather as frequently as is needed. I also imagine that trying to keep such expensive garments clean and intact would make me so anxious that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy wearing them, particularly since latex has a reputation for tearing. I can admire other people’s latex and leather outfits from afar, of course, because people always look hot as hell in them, but I don’t think I could ever become a latex or leather wearer.

4. Tickling

So I have this really odd thing where if you get close enough to me and wiggle your fingers as if you’re going to tickle me, I start laughing before you even make contact. But it’s not an excited laugh – it’s just some anticipatory reflex thing, because frankly, tickling annoys me. I’ll tickle other people if they’re really enthusiastic about it, but the sensation of tickling just isn’t an enjoyable one for me. Light tickling, like the kind you can achieve with feathers, gives me Bad Autism and makes my skin itch relentlessly. Harder tickling with fingers is a little painful and a little irksome. This doesn’t mean, though, that I don’t want to be made to laugh in kinkier contexts; my Daddy can often make me shriek with enjoyable giggles by grabbing my shoulders, shouting, “Earthquake!” and shaking me roughly. I like laughing during scenes, especially when a top is using my laughter as another way to control my body, but tickling is just never going to be a way to get me there. It’s not fun laughter so much as involuntary laughter, and I like to save my involuntary responses in scenes for things like gagging and squirming.


What I’m gathering from this is that a lot of the things that stand between myself and some common kinks are rooted in autistic sensory aversions – and that’s okay! Nobody ever has to justify, to themselves or other people, why they don’t have any particular kinks, but I felt like it would be as interesting an introspective exercise as considering why I do have particular kinks. Are there any common kinks that you just don’t gel with, and do you ever think about why? I always love to hear y’all’s thoughts in the comments!

 

 

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Self-Harm and Bodily Autonomy

Stock photo of a brown teddy bear with a bandage around its head and another on its leg, and two band-aids crossed over one another on its chest. I mostly chose this image because I didn't want any graphic self-harm pictures and because it is adorable, like me.

Note: This post is, naturally, going to talk about acts of self-harm in detail, and also refers briefly to suicidal ideation and surviving abuse. You can feel free to give this one a miss, and at the weekend I’ll be posting something sexier and less commonly triggering, so watch this space!


The first time I can remember hurting myself on purpose, I was five years old.

I didn’t jump straight to sharp objects. There was a misunderstanding, and I was upset, and whilst I was alone in my room I bit into my own wrist with such sustained ferocity that I left two perfect little crescents, indents of my baby teeth in my flesh. Of course, my mum noticed and was horrified, and I learned quickly that people did not like it when I hurt myself.

This did not stop me.

I have a collection of fuzzy memories from that age onward of hurting myself in various creative ways. I would give myself friction burns by running a belt back and forth over the back of my neck, where my long hair would cover the raw, reddened skin. I would scratch and scratch and scratch the same spot on my arm until it was too sore to even touch. I would pick at everything – spots, scabs, dry skin – and sometimes, when I was really upset, I would still bite myself until my jaw hurt.

When I was thirteen, I progressed to a pair of sewing scissors. These hurt instantly, drew blood instantly and had me breathing a sigh of relief instantly, but they also robbed me of plausible deniability. The wounds couldn’t have been anything other than self-harm. It was only a matter of time until somebody found out.

And they did, of course, and it was a whole Thing that I won’t go into here, and I started having counselling and also having sharp objects confiscated and hidden from me. Counselling was hard for me to engage with in a lot of ways (at 13, I knew they could break confidentiality if they were worried for my safety, so I had to self-censor a lot, and I didn’t hugely trust adults in any setting), but I hit a major roadblock that I still haven’t quite overcome: I couldn’t see why I needed to stop self-harming.

I was a smart kid whose mum had thoroughly instilled in them a sense of autonomy. I knew all the risks of cutting myself: I could misjudge it and catch a vein; the wounds could become infected; I would have scars forever. But, even at 13, I weighed it up and felt very strongly that cutting myself was safer than not doing so. I know that the first time I recorded a suicidal thought, I was 10, but it’s very probable I felt that way a lot earlier and just didn’t write it down in my Groovy Chick diary. At 13, self-harm was a pressure release valve that kept me alive from day to day.

As I’ve grown up, I’ve only become more perplexed about why, exactly, I shouldn’t harm myself. I’ve come to understand that it isn’t a constructive coping mechanism and doesn’t address the problems at hand, but most of the problems at hand have been so vast and complicated that I simply couldn’t address them. Being told to treat the root cause of my distress was not helpful when I was a teenage victim of domestic abuse, and it continues to be unhelpful now that I’m a traumatised adult with super fucky brain chemistry. And I was watching other people, in media and in real life, engage in equally non-constructive coping behaviours like drinking, self-isolation or bullying the autistic kid in their class for not knowing what a Pandora bracelet was (ahem. Not that I was the autistic kid in this example, or anything). And nowadays, I’m doing therapy, I’m practising self-care, but that doesn’t negate the need for self-harm all of the time.

I want to be very clear here: I am not advocating for anybody to take up self-harm, nor to continue doing it when they very much want to stop. Lots of people hate the fact that they self-harm, and I fully support any choices they make to quit and find alternative coping strategies. (I will lowkey judge people who recommend the rubber band method, though – the one where you wear a rubber band on your wrist and snap it against your skin whenever you have the urge to self-harm. You’re still reinforcing the connection between emotional distress and physical pain, you’re not addressing the root problems, and it’s not even a terribly effective method of harm reduction because most self-harmers find it so lacking that they end up relapsing anyway.) However, few people understand my frustration about the ways self-harm is addressed, so I want to articulate it. And I want other people in similar positions to feel less alone and weird.

The thing about self-harm is that it’s kind of… viscerally upsetting to other people. Like I mentioned in my post about blood and kink, we’re instinctively shocked by wounds and bleeding, and I think people are even more perturbed when you’ve caused those things on purpose. It also externalises your emotional pain, so your wounds are confronting the people who care about you with the reality that you’re suffering, and that’s hard for people. My mum sometimes tells me, “I’m not upset that you’ve self-harmed, but I’m upset that you were that distressed.” My mum is better at separating these two factors than most other people on the planet.

Joining the BDSM community only added to my confusion. People were supported in doing all sorts of viscerally upsetting things, like needle play and being beaten, as long as they were making informed, risk-aware decisions. I felt even more indignant about the way people responded to self-harm – I was making informed, risk-aware decisions! About my body, which everybody told me was mine to control!

I have no idea what makes BDSM “okay” and self-harm “not okay”. Maybe it’s the lack of another party’s involvement. Maybe it’s that one is motivated by pleasure and another is motivated by emotional pain (although, if I’m being real, people do use BDSM to address emotional pain, and I, for one, derive some degree of pleasure from self-harm). Maybe it’s just that we talk so much about autonomy and consent when it comes to sex and kink, but relatively little about those things in other contexts. Whatever it is, it still escapes me.

I self-harm a lot less than I did as a teen. (I used to bring my trusty sewing scissors to school every day. This was very reckless of me, since I did not also bring disinfectant. Also, I would not recommend pulling your tights back up as soon as you’re done mopping blood off your thighs – they stick.) That’s not because I’ve come to see that self-harm is Bad and other coping mechanisms are Good; it’s simply because I’m not quite as acutely distressed quite as often as I was then, thanks to being in a much safer environment and getting medicated. Sometimes I do try to use lower-risk coping strategies before I self-harm, like distraction or crying or going for a walk, but that’s not because I’ve learned that self-harm is, for some reason, bad – frankly, it’s largely because it’s inconvenient. I have bondage to do and I don’t want to bleed on nice, expensive rope.

Telling people that they shouldn’t self-harm is undermining their bodily autonomy. It’s obviously always important to respect someone’s autonomy, but when they’re self-harming because they’re dealing with or recovering from abuse, or anything else that makes their life feel outside of their control, it’s especially crucial that you don’t urge them to refrain or “quit”. You can remind them of the risks if that’s appropriate (like if you’re a medical professional, or their mum) and you can ask if there’s any other coping strategies they’d like to try first, but ultimately, every person has autonomy even when they’re using it in ways that others disapprove of. If you’re someone who self-harms and you’ve felt alone in the fact that you don’t see why you should stop: I see you. Know the risks, be as safe as you can, but know that I am not judging you. I’m as confused as you are. We’re going to be alright.


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