To my embarrassment, I only realised it was International Fetish Day when my Twitter feed offered up this very good article by Amy (@coffeeandkink) on the Hot Octopuss site. Maybe that was why the Guardian ran a piece this week subtitled How 50 Shades of Grey Changed the World
I’m no fan of the books, and nor are very many of the people I know, but the premise of the Guardian article is similar to something that came up briefly at last Sunday’s first meeting of the Institute SM Studies: the world of kink has changed a lot.
Thirty years ago, a group of men were sent to prison for engaging in sadomasochistic activities that were not only 100% consensual but which, despite the screaming moral panic and ridiculous news reporting at the time, didn’t leave any of them needing medical help except perhaps a dab of disinfectant and a plaster or two. Nowadays, if you let it slip you spent last Friday night spanking or being spanked, people are generally more likely to be intrigued rather than horrified. That’s if they don’t grin knowingly and ask you if you’ve ever been to their favourite fetish club.
Quite a few of the veteran perves are currently taking more of an interest in the history of the scene at the moment, partly because it’s changed so much, and partly because the newer recruits, whether that’s the 20-somethings or those who just discovered their own tastes in later life (perhaps because of those books) ought to know more of their history than they do. It’s something I plan to do some work on this year, too. While we were able to console each other just a little bit, on that awful morning after the election, that Fucko the Clown and his pals are not going to make sexual deviants their first targets, unconventional lifestyles can make you a good target whenever a government decides that scapegoats are needed in order to persuade the general public that further restrictions on their freedom are necessary…
If you were in a position to be out and proud today about your kinkiness, or to celebrate with a spot of bondage, beating, wax play or anything else entertaining, I hope you had a good time. If you’re at the stage where you’re intrigued and tempted but don’t know where to start, there are plenty of resources, books to read and places to go and explore your interests.
You could do worse than pop along to the BBB this Sunday and check out the books on sale, of course.