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The importance of kinky sex

About the author: Allison Leigh is a pornographer, producer, polyamorist, and professional kinkster. When sexuality is business, business is fun! 

Voyeurism. Bondage. Cuckolding. Feet. Almost everyone has some kind of kink in their sexual wiring. But where do these predilections come from? And how important are they in the grand schematic of our relationships and sex lives? What happens when you ignore your kinks?

While we can’t place a finger on exactly what creates a fetish or kink, evidence points to these feelings stemming from moments in our formative youth that “crystallize” as part of our identities. This means that we’re likely forming our ideas about sex long before sex itself ever comes into play in our lives.

According to a 2016 survey of over 2000 people in the UK, roughly 75 percent of people have a kinky interest. The importance we place on our kinks varies, of course, depending on how much of a role sex plays in our lives. Some kinks may be a soft interest, easy to brush off. Others, however, can become inextricably linked with our sex drive – sometimes so intensely that they become fetishes that our sex life feels incomplete without. Of course, one can have too much of a good thing; but medical science doesn’t consider paraphilia a problem to be dealt with unless these predilections harm others, or are so strong that they are detrimental to a person’s day-to-day life.

Although sometimes these “unusual” drives can become fixations, for most people sexual fulfilment is important to our relationships and our mental wellbeing. Sexual satisfaction has been repeatedly found to greatly impact people’s quality of life. Though it is unclear if the relationship is causative or corollary (or a combination of the two), people who report high sexual satisfaction also report higher satisfaction in their romantic relationships. What better reason is there to get busy?

Our sex drive is a physiological function that co-evolved to meet our psychological needs for security, self-esteem, and connection, and our kinks are a part of that drive. While sex isn’t a need in and of itself (no one dies from lack of sex, no matter what your high school boyfriend tried to tell you) it leads us to feel connected and secure with our partners, increases oxytocin and serotonin levels and decreases testosterone and prefrontal cortex activity. Moreover, people in consensual BDSM relationships were found to have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and also reported greater feelings of relationship closeness and intimacy after their sexual play. In short, having a sex life that we’re happy with makes us happy – and happy people live longer, healthier lives.

The fulfilment of your sex drive is intimately linked to your psychological wellbeing, which is fundamentally linked to your physical wellbeing. This means that, if you look at it the right way, fulfilling your kinks is just as important to your mental health as say, hugging your family or petting your dog. Take time to share your interests with your partner, watch an erotic video, or read a sexy story. Of course no one is obligated to share your kinks with you, but exploring them – on your own or with a partner – is a task essential to your quality of life.

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Aaron, M. (2018, May 30). Growing Up Kinky: Research Shows How Kink Identity Is Formed.

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Emery, L. R. (2018, April 25). This Is The Most Popular Fetish In The UK.

Flynn, K. E., Lin, L., Bruner, D. W., Cyranowski, J. M., Hahn, E. A., Jeffery, D. D., Reese, J.B., Reeve, B.B., Shelby, R.A., Weinfurt, K. P. (2016, November). Sexual Satisfaction and the Importance of Sexual Health to Quality of Life Throughout the Life Course of US Adults.

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