Illustration by Jim Cooke/GMG.

I got familiar with fellatio a while before I actually lost my virginity. (Lauren keeps reminding that terminology is pretty problematic. And it is.)

I liked giving fellatio. A lot. At first, my sixteen-year-old boyfriend could not believe his luck. And then it became a problem. Why did I like it so much? I didn’t know. Who else had I done it with? No one ever. So why was I so good at it? Um, sorry? Before I could even get to adult kinky stuff, I was shamed for liking what was the vanilla sex stuff!

Advertisement

Over time, certain things that were considered kinky, I knew better to even discuss. (In my circle, cunnilingus was laughable). The first time cunnilingus happened I thought the earth was going to break up and swallow me whole for being so kinky. It didn’t happen again for a decade and I dared not ask a guy to do it.

By the time I got old enough to come across partners who were really into what we considered kinky, I learned that guys got to try things out and it was just up to us to ask them nicely to get their fingers out of there. I had some ideas of what I’d like (and sometimes it was the same stuff they’d try with no consent!), but I couldn’t talk about it. I felt like they’d respond like my 16-year-old boyfriend. You want me to put what there?!

I’m coming up on 50 and set in my ways. I may not ever get to try the things I’ve been fantasizing about for 30 years. My 20-year-old stepdaughter Lauren however… This week, we talk about how kink shaming progresses, what’s considered kinky and how many guys actually have it just as bad as women do.

Advertisement

So, to start, I think we need to define what kinky is…

I’m thinking anything outside the standard. Like, you got your oral stuff. And then the three positions everyone knows. I’m talking about cis-hetero penetrative sex.

That seems pretty…limiting.

Well, for me, my definition of kink is based on what other people think. What would make me think, well that’s kinky? It’s prolly much farther outside the boundaries of what it’s supposed to be.

Advertisement

You know, I love that we do this column. But the farther we go…

I know. Listen, the other day Dad and I were talking about an episode of Rick and Morty and my friend was like, ‘wow. Your dad watches Rick and Morty? And you guys can talk about it. That’s cool.’ And I was literally about to call you so we could talk about orgasms.

Ha! Well this topic is more intense than discussing orgasms. What’s kinky to you? With the understanding that you’ve never done any of these things.

Advertisement

Hmmm. Maybe super BDSM, nipple clamps and hot wax maybe? If I hear that I might raise an eyebrow.

What about a threesome? Is that kinky among your friends?

For my peer group? Absolutely. Also any fetish is considered kinky.

The older I get, the less kinky things are. I can pretty much hear anything and say, eh. Not so kinky. Now, I do have friends that do the partner-swapping thing. That has me raise an eyebrow.

Advertisement

Really? Why?

I think kink for me is now emotional stuff, not physical stuff. I know two sets of spouses who are actively in each other’s lives.

Oh, so it’s like polygamy.

No. They’re not a family. Wife #1 is taking Wife #2’s son to school because it turns on the husbands sexually that she’s involved in their life that way.

Advertisement

Oh. So more like cuckolding.

Is that how you pronounce that?

Yeah. Wow. Okay, I get it.

That kind of stuff is the third rail for me. Nothing that happens in bed would really consider kinky. Plenty of stuff I’m not interested in. But labeling as something as kinky? Eh.

Advertisement

Agreed. But us young women? There’s stuff out there we want. And we are not asking for fear of being kink-shamed.

What are millennials asking for? What are they not getting?

I don’t know. With my friends it seems like choking is one they want. Or maybe certain positions. Maybe anal. And maybe calling a guy Daddy. Those are well-known kinks. I know a lot of women who want those things and don’t know how to ask. I’m hearing a lot about verrrry gently guiding a dude’s hand to your neck and giving him a choke-me-out look.

Advertisement

Does that work?

Mixed results. You know, guys are having this same issue. See, these days they are somewhat better at understanding consent. My guy friends are not just choking a woman as a way of seeing if she’s into it. So even if he thinks that’s what she wants… He may not do it.

So what’s supposed to happen?

Gotta talk about it. Preferably beforehand. If you can’t bring yourself to talk about it plainly with your partner, probably shouldn’t be doing it. Or you have the wrong partner.

Advertisement

So, what about sex toys? Are bringing those into the bedroom considered kinky? Would a woman in your crew be kink-shamed for wanting that?

Yeah. It’s kinky. Again, you have to be willing to have these conversations beforehand. Not sure you can just jump in bed with someone who is not a regular partner with butt plugs. I mean you can. But again, in my super limited sample, it would be considered out of the norm. Now again. This is for cis-hetero. Not for girl on girls. I’ve found that when I’m with a girl, it’s different. It’s assumed that you will have conversations about how things will work.

Hmmm. Nah, I think women can be just as likely to kink-shame each other or not be open to discussing how things will go. I think it’s the women you’ve been with.

Advertisement

Maybe. It’s just easier for me with girls. I’m less afraid to ask for things I want.

I can see that. I just remembered something. Can kinky be applied to things that a woman wears?

Like, a butt plug?

I meant like lingerie and stuff!

How could lingerie be kinky?

Okay, so when I was in college, Victoria’s Secret bustier and stuff were like, Oooh! Racy!

Advertisement

Huh? Why?

A few reasons. First of all, that kind of stuff was pretty pricey and out of reach for my circle back then.

You couldn’t find a $5 pair of cute thongs at Marshall’s back then?

Not really. And however much it cost, my circle didn’t have it. My mom sent me $5 every Friday and I had to manage that $20 monthly budget really tight.

Advertisement

Yikes. Okay. But shaming?

So, you have to also remember. I’m the TLC/Grunge/Aaliyah baggy clothes era. In my circle we were wearing Doc Martens and Timbs and denim clothes three times too big. For a guy to get all those clothes off and see a thong? Dude’s gonna faint. And then he will tell everyone within a 10 mile radius that the chick is secretly a slutty ‘ho cause she had on a lacy bra.

Well jeez. I guess butt plugs were really not a thing.

I didn’t know what it was until like five years ago.

What?

Yeah! I mean, where do you personally draw the link when it comes to kinky—Wait. NEVER MIND. I can’t believe I was about to ask you that.

Advertisement

Yeah, I was kind of like. Wow, we’re going there?

Tell me what kind of kink is happening at school.

Well, a lot of people are on Tinder looking for a Unicorn.

What’s that?

Couples looking for a third who likes both genders. That may be considered kinky to the public. Yeah. But at this campus it’s kind of kinky but not that much so.

Advertisement

What kind of stuff isn’t kinky that is still shamed?

I hate that a woman can never say she doesn’t give blowjobs without being looked at sideways. But it’s totally acceptable for a guy to say he doesn’t give head. It’s like, word? Seriously?

That’s still a thing? Ugh. I was hoping that would have gotten better by now.

Not. At. All. I was conditioned to be even embarrassed for wanting it. I would absolutely never ask a guy to do it. I was kink shamed for something totally not kinky before I could even experience the non-kinky thing!

Advertisement

In my day, guys wanted you to do it of course, but they didn’t want other guys to know you did it. I mean they had to tell a few guys. But you couldn’t be That Girl Who Liked Giving Blow Jobs.

Right. Because now you’re That Girl. And no one wants to date That Girl.

I was that girl who wanted to do it even if the guy didn’t ask. I was definitely That Girl Who Liked Giving Blow Jobs.

Advertisement

Yeah, me too!

LAUREN! NO!

Wait! You started. You just said that you were—

I’m done here. You know what we do at the end of every column.

Are you serious? You’re gonna ask me how I would talk about kink to my 10-year-old sister?

Advertisement

Okay, for this one, let’s imagine she’s 16.

Let me think. I would tell her that “kink” is relative. And that her vanilla is not someone else’s vanilla. As long as you’re not hurting—Wait. That may be her thing.

Ugh.

No kink shaming! I’d say as long as it’s consensual, it’s about what you like. And if your partner is not here for whatever gets you off? It’s totally okay to walk away.

Advertisement

Wait. It is? I didn’t get the memo in the ’90s.

It sounds harsh but yeah, that’s what I believe. You should be able to have this conversation with your partner. If for any reason you can’t and if for any reason they can’t get on board, it’s okay to walk away. You might not be ready or they may not be the right person.

But what if everything else is great?

Eh. Sex is super important. If you don’t feel safe, supported and satisfied there, it’s not a good look.

Advertisement

Anything else for your future sister to know about kink?

You have to be safe. There are kinks that are just straight up not safe. If it’s potentially not safe, do some research and see if it’s possible to make it safe. If not, pass. Look, even the smallest kink can you leave with a serious UTI.

Look, can I credit myself with just one bit of the beautiful, intentional sex-positive woman you’re becoming?

Advertisement

Absolutely yes!

Devin Anderson has written professionally since 1998 and currently works as a full-time freelance writer for various outlets. She’s also written five books, three non-fiction and two novels. The name Devin Anderson is a pseudonym. The writer is changing her name to protect the innocent, the guilty—and her mom.