In exploring the relationship between geek culture and sexuality—which so far I’ve done here for nonmonogamy, asexuality, and gay geek women—it’s clear there is quite a bit of overlap when it comes to certain groups. As an example, an article at Vocativ last fall looked at the presence of the kink community within the renaissance festival, or RenFest, community. Corsets are everywhere at RenFest, so the large presence of kinksters in among festival-goers may not come as a huge surprise.
Elaborating on this idea of kink communities within a fandom community, this month we look at the intersection of geek culture and kink culture.
Most of the interviewees I talked with for this piece stated that they were geeky before they were kinky, and in many cases, geekdom is what introduced them in one way or another to kink. One respondent, Lawrence, said, “I played D&D before I got into kink. Just a simple matter of not being into women when I was into gaming. I definitely grew into being more kinky than geeky though.”
Another respondent stated that she came to kink culture through the convention scene. She shared with us: “My geekiness certainly came first. It was actually through my geekiness that I discovered kink. My first time was actually at Anime Boston, with a man who was very much into kink.” She went on to state other ways kink culture is present in the convention scene, saying she’s heard “a lot of stories about ‘play parties’ at conventions, but only got around to going to one last October in D.C., after a lengthy vetting process. There’s also a lot of collaring, especially within the fur fandom—which, debatably, is the kinkiest fandom out there.”
Another interviewee said his love of school and reading brought him to kink. Drew stated:
My loves of math and science paved the way to computers, and computers were what eventually put me in touch with other kinksters. But my kinky notions, which started around fifth or sixth grade, grew out of my passion for books. I would read anything I could get my hands on, and my older brother’s “hidden” collection of pulp erotica helped shape my ideas of what was possible and acceptable, if only I could find the right people.
The theme of geekdom introducing folks to kinkdom was clear in all of the interview responses. This theme makes it clear that there is an overlap between geekdom and kink culture.
As our Anime Boston interviewee pointed out, this overlap is often seen in convention circles. Other respondents also stated that they frequently see fellow kinky folks at conventions and geeky meet-ups. According to Lawrence, “Feeling there’s an overlap isn’t an opinion; there definitely is one. At CONvergence, I see about half the people I know in the kink community. The main similarity between the two that I see is that they are both on the fringes of mainstream society.” Indeed, both the geek community and the kink community are fairly outside of the mainstream, and they are both marginalized to differing degrees by their representation in media and by general social treatment.
Respondents stated that representation in mainstream media tends to focus on dom/sub relationships and BDSM, ignoring all the kinks in between and outside of that type. Lawrence commented that these portrayals tend to “separate all kinky people into strict dominants and submissives. Nothing in between—[and] it’s almost always female dominants.” However, he also said that these misconceptions weren’t really something by which he felt affected.
Other misconceptions brought up by interviewee Lia were that kink is all about a power trip—an idea perpetuated by mainstream productions like Fifty Shades of Grey—and that kink is inherently dangerous, which she’d like to assure people is not the case.
Despite the stigma, the reality is that kink play has been found to be very safe because of an emphasis within the community on communication, boundaries, and respect, as is discussed by an article in Truthout. Even with kinks such as consensual non-consent, boundaries are clearly established ahead of time and communication is wielded with care, using aids such as safe words—if someone needs a break, or changes their mind about something, the agreed-upon word acts as a red light to pause or stop kinky play
For more information on kink culture, most respondents suggested FetLife. Lia suggested that it’s “more or less the definitive kink meet-up site. Not trashy at all, and the groups you’ll find are very trustworthy and nurturing.” As for meet-up places around the Twin Cities, she shared that Smitten Kitten and Twin Cities Leather & Latte are great meet-up spots. Smitten Kitten also frequently hosts classes on safer sex, bondage, and other sex- and kink-related topics.
So go check out a class, a site, or a book, and you just might find something that strikes your fancy, ya sexy geek you!
For more on sexuality and romance within the geek community, don’t miss the rest of the Grown Geeks series.