Kink & Non-violence

Trigger warning: discussions of violence & sexual assault.

I’m kinky. I identify as a switch, which means I alternate between dominant and submissive roles, but I lean domme.

There is something delicious about transfers of power, resistance, restraint, pleasure by force, trust, authenticity, and above all, fucking.

Pretty sure I could never run for office, because my internet footprint is super NSFW. I’ve known I was kinky since before I knew what sex was. I know it with the same clarity you know your sexual orientation.

I don’t know why I’m kinky. It’s caused me a lot of psychic conflict, vastly more so than my bisexuality. For a long time I thought it was un-feminist of me, even sick. Why am I this way? Can I change it? Am I a freak? Am I alone?

What helped me accept my kink is a philosophy known as risk-aware consensual kink (RACK). If there is no consent, violence is abuse, not kink.

When you engage in kink, there are three equally important phases: negotiation, play, and aftercare.

  1. Negotiation: All players are well-informed and consent to the risks involved in the proposed activities, via negotiation of desires, limits, safe-words, etc.
  2. Play: Scenes of kink, often including violence or fetish. Intercourse, penetration, sex, and/or orgasms can be involved, but are not necessarily.
  3. Aftercare: Players will wind-down, debrief, hydrate, nourish, and comfort each other. Neglecting aftercare is irresponsible and the mark of an amateur.

These principles make kink intentionally, deeply consensual in ways vanilla sex often fails to be.

Kink shows us that there are two kinds of violence: consensual and non-consensual.

Sexual assault. Police brutality. Hate crimes & speech. Voter suppression. Mass incarceration. Torture. War. And many other forms.

Non-consensuality is the assault of our very humanity.

Non-violent resistance decries non-consensuality.

“Non-violent” describes methods of strategic action or civil disobedience. It is not the same as the philosophy of pacifism.

Slut walks. Die-ins. Protests. Boycotts. Blockades. Strikes. Petitions. Conscientious objection. Pride parades. Vigils. Graffiti. Sit-ins. Performance art.

In all 198 methods of nonviolent action, people take risks of various degrees. Though they know violence is possible and put their bodies and minds at risk of it, they do not consent to it.

This is the (St. Andrews’) crux of this dangerous idea. In entering or creating political moments in which violence is possible, but neither consenting nor enacting it, non-violent activists highlight non-consensuality and demand that it stop.

Violence itself is not inherently wrong. In fact, violence is at the core of my sexual and spiritual life. Equally important are consent and context.

It is each person’s right and choice to use violence in scenes of kink or in self-defense if they are attacked or sexually assaulted.

But under certain circumstances, choosing non-violence as a tactic of rebellion can be powerful.

I can choose to use violence in kink or to revoke my consent with a safe-word.

If someone tries to assault me, I can choose to use violence in self-defense.

And I can choose to engage in methods of non-violent civic resistance against non-consensuality.

I can do all of these things in the same week. My philosophy and my body can handle the tension.

Violence is every person’s power. Consent is every person’s responsibility.