Most critiques of ‘One True Wayism‘ point out that as long as no one gets seriously injured or traumatized, there’s no wrong way to do kink. There are certainly far more right ways to do kink than there are wrong ones, but to quote Mistress Matisse:
There actually is such a thing as a bad personal choice.
She was talking about One-Penis policies in polyamorous relationships, but I think the idea applies to kink just as well as it does to poly. Along with Mistress Matisse’s original article and further comments, this post was also inspired LegallyBinding’s post about “Insta-subs”: The Issue Everyone Loves to Ignore, which recently went Kinky & Popular on Fetlife.
While I mildly disagree that everyone is ignoring the issue of people making poor decisions while in sub-frenzy, I think it’s worth talking about the fact that some personal choices are simply not good ideas. I’m not saying that people don’t have understandable reasons for making poor choices, or that they don’t have the right to do what they like with their lives, I’m just saying that you’re kidding yourself if you think that all choices and all ways of doing kink are equally likely to turn out well for you.
So just what do I think are bad ways to do kink?
1. Not figuring out why you like what you like. Not in the sense of some unachieveable deep understanding of exactly why being spanked turns you on, but in the sense of understanding whether you like the physical sensation or how it makes you feel, and why you like one or both of those things. For example, if you like the physical sensation of being spanked, and you play with someone who likes giving spankings as a form of humiliation play, odds are good that the the two of you will leave that scene unsatisfied and annoyed with each other.
It’s absolutely fine to not have everything completely figured out before you ever even meet another kinky person, but if the answer to “What is it you like about spankings?” is “I don’t know”, be honest about that! It’s very common for kinky people to enjoy giving each other new experiences, so don’t be afraid that someone will turn you down because you aren’t an Olde Guarde Master with 25 years of experience.
2. Making assumptions about why you like what you like. This is one of my big pet peeves. I’ve seen far too many people assume that enjoying bondage and pain play means that they’re submissive. No, it really really doesn’t. You can enjoy the physical sensations of bondage and pain play without having even the slightest interest in submission. In fact, you could be dominant and like those things. There is such a thing as a dominant bottom!
Giving the people you play with inaccurate information about yourself will lead to mismatched expectations and bad scenes. You should not be surprised when a dom declines to play with you again once they find out that you lied about being submissive.
3. Assuming kinky compatibility is the only thing you need to make a relationship work. Hot scenes are great and all, but there are only so many hours a day you can spend tying someone up and hitting them with things. Even if you’re only going to spend a weekend with someone, it’s a good idea to think about what you’re going to do when you’re not playing. And for the love of god don’t move in with anyone before making sure you get along with them outside of the dungeon.
4. Getting all of your information about kink from one source. Sure, it sounds romantic to have your shiny new master be the one to teach you everything about d/s, but that’s just fucking dumb. Nobody knows everything about kink. Your new master could be the most honourable and trustworthy person alive and still be wrong about some things. Her last three subs could’ve had much higher tolerances for risk than you do, you could have physical limitations or phobias or triggers she’s never dealt with before, there are a huge variety of things she could be wrong about without having any bad intentions.
5. Giving up control or giving out rules before your partner has earned it. It’s great to have a new sub who says he’ll do whatever you say and is excited about being given new rules, but what’s going to happen when he has to actually live with all those rules? Or when you have to remember all of them and catch it if he messes up? I don’t actually have a huge amount of experience with d/s, but I’m pretty sure that’s more likely to be overwhelming and a huge pain in the ass than fun and satisfying.
I’m sure there are many more bad personal choices people can make, but this post is long enough already. If there are any huge pet peeves of yours that I’ve missed, let me know in the comments.
If you do any or all of those things, you’re not stupid or a bad person. Everyone was new once, and like everything else, kink takes time to get good at. However, if you do these things over and over and act like no one could’ve seen the trainwreck coming, don’t be surprised if no one comes to your next pity party.