Great kinky sex is just three magic words away: Conversation, consideration, consent

"Kink can be filled with consent and this I learnt from black queer women" (Hannibal Hanschke, Reuters)

"Kink can be filled with consent and this I learnt from black queer women" (Hannibal Hanschke, Reuters)

BODY LANGUAGE

When people think of bondage, domination, sadism and masochism (BDSM), they either have visions of 50 Shades of Grey or scenes from Criminal Minds. This is caused by the mass misunderstanding of what kink as a sexual practice is, with few being privy to the intricate nature that goes into the practice of BDSM.

Now, being a small-town girl, I had always been warned about the wildness of the big city. Moving to the City of Gold really did unleash some strange things in me. One of the many magical things I discovered was the beautiful and sensual world of kink that existed online and offline and consisted of mainly queer brown womxn.

I had also thought BDSM was “some mess for freaky white folk” and could not understand why a queer black woman would enter a realm of that nature. How did one get into role-play scenarios that involved words such as “submissive” and “dominant” and “bondage” without flashbacks to scenes straight out of 12 Years a Slave? After colonisation, apartheid, the rise and rise of misogynoir, homophobic rape and the God-Blessed-Patriarchy, was it not way too soon to be subbing while “black, queer and a woman?”

I was soon to learn that it was my own misconceptions (and belief in my ridiculously low pain threshold) that held me back from a wealth of sexual wisdom. I also learnt about candle play, knife play and stuff involving all those down with the delicious framework of queer women driving each other to orgasm. I also quickly learnt that at the core of kink are four main principles: consent, openness, trust and safe words.

The kink world is one filled with safe words, sexual contracts and conscious conversations about wants, limits and desires. I once saw a contract that could rival an application for a loan at a bank, but you knew by the time anyone finished filling out that sucker there would be no ifs, ands or buts about what anyone wanted in bed that night.

If you believe consent is always present, think how often a moment of reluctance has become an exasperated “yes”. Or when a sexual escapade has taken a wrong turn somewhere between “that feels good” and “what in the name of all that is good and holy was that?!”

People do not understand that consent is an ongoing negotiation. Often people love to use consent that was given at the start of the act or, in some cases, that is ages old and cold. Some even attempt to get it later, as if one can get consent on lay-by.

Kink can be filled with consent and this I learnt from black queer women.

These women were negotiating and navigating sex in a way that thumbed their nose at conventional ideas about how one should get their rocks off. It was the queering of kink, for me, that really opened up the possibilities of this form of sexual expression and exploration as a new way not only of getting off but also a different way of conceptualising consent and body ownership.

Taking part in numerous conversations with various queer women around the city, and eventually the continent, I learnt that it was often the notions behind the working of BDSM that were most enticing and not the need to relive poorly written fanfiction. Not only did these women navigate ideas of pleasure through this medium draped in pain, but they also learnt how to identify and articulate the sex that they want while also creating the space for their partners to do so too. The gift that kink had given these women was the ability to keep growing in their ability to have bodily and sexual agency, because kink is based on a series of express decisions on what shall occur to make the sex things happen.

There are no “sneaking a finger into your butt type” surprises in these interactions. Unless this was expressly requested beforehand. Then it’s totally okay. Encouraged even.

Conversations about kink taught me that often very little conversation is had about sexual engagement. These are much-needed conversations. Depictions of sex have taught society that things simply flow. All one needs to do is give a look, say a few words or order a pizza from a late-night pizzeria and magical sex will simply appear, like a genie out of a genital shaped bottle. But this is not the case. Great sex takes conversation, consideration and, above all, consent — which is often missing in an alarmingly high number of “go with the flow” scenarios.

Now this is not to say that everyone should take part in this sexual practice. Consent is key and everything is not for everyone, but a brief foray into the nature of this sexual practice can expose some holes in one’s own sexual thinking.

Kink is a means by which women can negotiate sexual agency and manoeuvre in the minefield of sexual power in a healthy and holistic way. It is not simply about painting a room red and black and whipping out, well, a whip. There is a great deal more that goes into this sexual act that could inform what you do in your bedroom, whether it is covered in red and black leather or not.

Kagure Mugo is the cofounder and full-time curator of HOLAAfrica!

Kagure Mugo

Kagure Mugo

Kagure Mugo is the intoxicatingly scary gatekeeper of HOLAAfrica, an online pan-African queer womanist community dealing with sexuality and all things woman. She is also a writer and freelance journalist who tackles sex, politics and other less interesting topics. During weekends she is a wine bar philosopher and polymath for no pay. Read more from Kagure Mugo

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