Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

Josh Christian | Photo Editor

Josh Christian | Photo Editor

Kinky, Sexy, Queer: students explore sex positivity through sexual expression

March 15, 2017

Everyone has a different definition of what is sexy. Some say it’s their partner’s humor; others say it is all in the way someone smiles. For Marie, kink is sexy.

For many, the word “kink” is attached to images of chains, whips and the lyrics to Rihanna’s S&M. Kink, however, is defined as anything which varies from sexual activity viewed as conventional or “vanilla,” as the kink community refers to it. Kink encompasses a wide array of sexual preferences and can include anything from BDSM to pole dancing.

The uniting factor among these kinks is that they are forms of sexual expression that lie outside of expected social norms.

“Even if you aren’t talking about the act of sex itself, it is important to be able to express your sexuality in a way that makes you feel comfortable …” Marie said. “… Once you feel comfortable with what your sexuality is, it becomes easier to express yourself during the physical act of sex.”

Though some believe there is a stigma around kink, sexual experimentation and a broadening of sexual expression are growing in popular culture and as an industry.  The sex toy industry, consisting of anything from vibrators to whips, was valued at $15 billion.

Kink workshops are becoming increasingly popular as well, with lap dancing being one of the most popular to attend.

Tulane students participated in this growing trend on Friday when the Tulane chapter of Gamma Rho Lambda National Sorority put on a “Queer BDSM, Kink and the Art of Tease workshop. With her buckle-up red stilettos, tight black pants and a sexy Spotify playlist, graduate student Vanessa Castañeda led the class in various lap dance techniques. 

“Choose whatever song is going to make you feel sexy when you get ready to do this lap dance, strip tease or whatever …” Castañeda said to attendees. “Put on whatever lingerie you want, or take a shot … when [that] song comes on. That is when you come out and strut your stuff.”

Despite kink becoming more visible, students like GRL Social Media Director Sophia Wunch, who has engaged in BDSM through power-play relationships with dominant and subordinate themes, said they feel like a stigma still exists. 

“In general society, anything out of the norm or not ‘vanilla’ is shamed,” Wunch said. “I think BDSM … is becoming a lot more mainstream and somewhat accepted.”

For some members of the kink sex community, another barrier to sex positivity is sexuality. Marie said she believes being in the queer community has made it more difficult for her to find others that share her interests and are open to different forms of sexual expression.

“If you see a guy, you assume he’s straight. If you see a girl, you assume she’s straight — just in our culture and statistically,” Marie said. “It’s much easier to go up to a guy and ask than it is to go up to a girl and ask. Because there are two different layers to what you’re asking there, you are asking, one, are you open to this and, two, do you want to do it with me?”

Several students who engage in kink said having one friend with whom you feel comfortable discussing thoughts will make anyone feel more confident and valid moving forward.

“It is good to have discussions about different expressions of healthy sexuality,” junior Alexis Ramirez said. “Especially for queer people in the community who feel as though their sexuality is not normal or the things they are into are not normal.”

Loving yourself and loving your body can be difficult for many, without the added stress of discovering what types of sexual expression they prefer. Marie said she believes that finding yourself is a process that happens over time.

“[Finding your kink is] similar to finding your sexuality, in that it’s going to happen eventually,” Marie said. “It’s going to happen naturally. It just depends when and how. For me, it was more of something that developed, more than something I had read about, … saw, or thought about and decided to try. It was something in the moment that naturally happened, and that is how I discovered that interest.”

*Marie, a freshman who identifies as bisexual studying political science at Tulane, is a pseudonym for the student described who will remain anonymous.

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.