Can you really develop a “tolerance” for a fetish?

In which Stabbity mines the Novices & Newbies group for post ideas 🙂

It seems to be pretty common for kinky people, especially those of us who are new to kink, to be worried that our interest in kink will take over our lives like some kind of addiction and we’ll need to do more and more extreme things all the time to get off and I don’t know, end up getting murdered or murdering somebody or some shit like that because we didn’t know when to stop.

It’s probably pretty clear what I think of that 🙂 That’s not very helpful to someone who is worried that they’ll end up getting hurt or doing something terrible, though, so let’s talk about it.

First of all, you do not develop a tolerance for a fetish or kink as if it’s a drug. That’s just silly, and there’s a much simpler explanation: people get bored when they do the same thing all the time. Take food for example: I love pho and I’ve been eating a lot of it since it started getting cold where I live. Right now, I would probably eat pho every day. But as much as I love pho, if I actually did eat it every day I would still get bored of it after a while and need to eat something else. Same with kink and with sex in general (not that kink always have to involve sex), if you do the same thing over and over eventually you want to try something else just for a little variety.

It’s also not unusual to eventually start wanting to try things that freaked you out or actively turned you off when you first got into the scene. Again, this is totally normal in other contexts, people just get weird about kink and/or sex. Let’s take my career as an example totally unrelated to kink, I always swore I’d never work for a game studio (fuck crunch time) or a startup (fuck brogrammer culture), and what happened? I used to work for a game studio and currently work for a startup. Turns out not all game studios expect you to work 80 hours a week to release a game on time and not all startups are run by brogrammer douchebags who are frightened and confused by the idea that anyone would want to have a life outside of their work. As you gain more knowledge and get to know more people who enjoy things you aren’t into, your perspective on those things can change. Again, totally normal.

Sadly, it’s not uncommon for people to do terrible things and say “I never meant to hurt anyone, I just got carried away!” That’s some bullshit, to be clear. Things can and do go wrong in scenes without anyone being malicious, but if you fuck up so bad you actually got arrested and it went to court and you ended up in the news, that’s not “getting carried away”, that’s “I thought I could get away with it.” If you really are worried you’ll get carried away and hurt somebody, the solution is simple: get a fucking spotter. Find somebody you trust to recognize when you’re about to go too far and who you know can stop you, and get them to supervise your scenes.

On the other hand if you bottom and are worried you’ll get carried away and not safeword when you should, that’s, uh, not unusual? Lots of people go nonverbal or get deep into subspace or otherwise can’t safeword. When you really into the scene and your endorphins are flowing, you may not even realize you’re getting injured. Some injuries, like nerve damage from bondage, may not hurt at all while they’re happening. You’ve got to get to know your top really well and be sure they know how far they can take you if you know there’s a risk you won’t be able to safeword.

Also, if it’s just your fantasies that freak you out, that’s totally normal too. Just because you fantasize about something doesn’t mean you actually want to do it – I’ve ranted enough about how fantasizing about an intense weekend scene in no way means that your butt could actually hold up to a whole weekend of spanking, flogging, whipping, and paddling. The fantasy is great, but in real life you would be sore and bored in half a day, tops. And if you eventually build up to being able to handle a weekend scene, you’ll probably also be fantasizing about week-long scenes. Fantasies are pretty reliably more intense than what you would actually want in real life to make up for the fact they aren’t actually happening.

If your fantasies really scare you it’s probably worth talking that out with somebody (maybe anonymously with strangers on the internet if you can’t afford a therapist or find one who understands kink?), but if you’re just worried that fantasizing about a thing means you’re inevitably going to do it that’s just not true. I’ve spent plenty of time fantasizing about telling former managers to go fuck themselves and walking out of my office, middle fingers held high, but I don’t actually do it because I’m a grownup and because I really like getting paid. If you understand that some things aren’t okay to actually do, you can fantasize about whatever you want and still be a good person.

In short, don’t worry. If you’re a decent human being and have any semblance of common sense, you’re going to be okay. Kink will not take over your life and make you into a monster.

One thought on “Can you really develop a “tolerance” for a fetish?

  1. People new to kink want to eventually try more things or prolonged the activities they like until they’ve had their fill. For them, I recommend having a DM around to make a call on what might be going too far for the participants’ experience.

    A spotter is essential for highly risky play. one club (think it was Rascal’s) has a rule: “Use a spotter for standing in mummification, tight bondage, or where a collar is attached to a rigid item such that strangulation may occur if the person falls”.

    The difference is that DM’s have to check on many activities when the dungeon has a lot of play going on and they may not be around when an emergency happens. Experienced spotters are essential when things can go wrong quickly.

    Most clubs have DM’s, but few have spotters. I advise people go to clubs with buddies they can trust (not necessarily their dominant) to spot them if they are doing risky things.

    Kink is not addictive, but it can become a lifestyle that consumes many hours of one’s recreational time.

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