Culture is defined as the attitudes, rituals, etiquette, and customs of a group, which separates it from other groups. Kink culture refers to the groups and subgroups where their primary form of connection involves a form of sexual, relationship, or gender expression outside of the binary heteronormative coupling which is labeled as “normal” in popular western culture. Remember, for the purposes of this manual, we are using the 5-element model of Kink identification in order to classify the main areas of the micro communities. However, it is important to note that despite the ability to generalize these pocket populations into these categories, they all overlap and intersect. Dr. Carol Clark (2011) states that the number one motivator for all human behavior is the sense of belonging to a group. Belonging to group is instinctual and many will hide who they really are in order to achieve this goal, only to be secretly unhappy. Many of my clients report that the Internet has been their saving grace for reducing their shame and anxiety about their lifestyle choices, primarily because when they find that there are literally thousands of others with their same desires from all over the world, they feel “normal”.
We know that an alternative form of sexual, gender, and/or relationship expression can be very isolating as our culture uses the method of shunning both actively and passively of anyone deviating from cultural norms. We disown family, excommunicate from our churches, and cage humans in long term isolating facilities called prisons when someone has violated a cultural or religious rule. The Community is one of the most important normalizing and shame-reducing mechanisms for Kinky patients. Ortmann and Sprott (2015) note that one of the most valuable tools you will have as a provider is a list of resources and community groups for your patients. If your client is feeling lost and alone, these resources may be the perfect antidote. If you choose to work heavily in this community, it is important that you are familiar with both online and local community resources.
Not all clients are well suited to be able to connect to a community, kink or otherwise. I have a number of clients who are celebrities, have security clearances, or have contractual morality clauses in their work that prevent them from connecting or participating in any public venue. There is no privacy on the Internet and people do not keep secrets. It will be important to evaluate which clients are best suited for community referrals and who still must remain hidden at this time.
Clark, C. (2011). Addict America: The lost connection. (n.p): CreateSpace.
Ortman, D. & Sprott, R. (2015). Sexual outsiders: Understanding BDSM sexualities and communities. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.