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Students learn kink from erotic educator

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Kink Vocab

Kink
A multitude of different forms of sexual pleasure
BDSM
Bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism
Sadism/Masochism
Getting extreme pleasure by giving or receiving (respectively) extreme sensations, the SM of BDSM
Leather
Gay male culture originating after WWII, part of the BDSM movement
Polyamory (POLY)
Engaging in multiple simultaneous relationships with all members’ awareness and consent
Swingers
People in sexually open but otherwise committed relationships
Fetish
Sexual excitement brought about by a physical object

Kink 101: Intro to Creative Exploration and Play kicked off Washington University’s Sexual Responsibility Week on Monday evening.

About 50 students gathered in January 110 to listen to Lee Harrington discuss kink.

Students were disappointed with the relatively poor turnout.

“The room was relatively small, and it probably wasn’t even half full,” freshman Emily Couch said. “For a lot of people, it probably piqued their curiosity, but they may not have gone for fear of being looked at as different, which is a shame.”

Harrington, who has worked in the past as a poet and an adult film star, is a transgender erotic educator. He has taught courses on three continents, covering topics that range from gender paradigms to safer sex.

According to his website, he serves as a spiritual educator in addition to being an erotic one.

Topics of the night ranged from BDSM to polyamory and swingers.

Harrington stressed that kinky sex differs from abuse in that it is necessarily consensual.

“It is not Poly[amory] if you have seven boyfriends and haven’t told any of them about the other ones. It’s the notion in kinky sex that what we’re doing is agreed upon by all parties involved.”

He added that while many kink-related terms, from “fetish” to “masochism”—the M in BDSM, are clinically diagnosed forms of insanity, the kinky sex community has simply appropriated them as slang.

“It’s those lines between the psychology department and the reality of our sex lives,” Harrington said.

Harrington distributed kink items ranging from eye masks and hoods to restraining mitts and rope. He noted that kink could range in cost from a free paint stir stick from Home Depot to elaborate drag costumes or a full-scale prison built in one’s basement.

He also noted the potential dangers of kink.

Harrington told a story of a couple that went to a sexy bed and breakfast to try out their sexual fantasies, only to realize their bodies couldn’t handle them.

He noted that such tools as handcuffs are much more dangerous than the media suggests.

“Handcuffs have broken people’s wrists, have left lacerations; there’s a really common torture system called strappado, which literally means handcuffs behind the back,” Harrington said. “Literally, people fall to the ground, dislocating and tearing their arms out of socket. We can see how for many people, this may not be sexy.”

Many were caught off guard by the seriousness of the discussion.

“It was a lot more serious that I anticipated; I was assuming it was going to be more demonstrations,” Couch said. “People who didn’t go to his lecture can break their wrists now.”

Harrington also mentioned the danger in modeling sex life after pictures of pornography stars or fantasies.

“What isn’t revealed, except within the world of porn, is this thing called the sixtieth-of-a-second rule. To take that picture, that person only had to be in that position for a sixtieth of a second,” Harrington said. “If we’re replicating images that we see on the internet, something to keep in mind is that we don’t know the whole story.”

He noted that while the kinky community has become more accepted by society as a whole, people are still discriminated against for their lifestyle choices.

“We’re being ourselves, being authentic in our personal sexual and emotional desires, and yet other people make it their business that it’s wrong,” Harrington said. “As long as we’re living in a country where this still happens, people will keep having scene names or nicknames instead of their legal names.”

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