I’m quite excited to share my most recent journalistic outing at MEL Magazine, “Kink Is Dead! Long Live Kink!” When news reached me earlier this year that two of the kinky world’s biggest businesses, FetLife and Kink.com, had both made sweeping changes just before the second Fifty Shades movie was released, I stopped in my tracks.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been less than six whole years since Fifty Shades of Grey came out and put kink on the mainstream pop culture map in a big way. Perhaps because I tend to move in particularly sex- and kink-positive circles, it’s been easy for me to forget how far forward this (really freaking terribly written) book trilogy pushed the mainstream culture toward acceptance of non-vanilla sex and lifestyle practices. But the truth is, Fifty Shades was huge in legitimizing kink and kinky businesses, and I think I got pretty used to general cultural acceptance of that stuff.
But then Trump moved into the White House, and suddenly kinky stuff was looking like it might be in peril. I got to wondering: was the post–Fifty Shades kink bubble popping? Had pop culture’s obsession with fetish and BDSM and Ben Wa balls reached its high-water mark? Was mainstream kink in America over? I started hyperventilating and dreaming up picket-sign designs along the lines of “We’ll Never Go Back!” But then I righted myself and spoke to kinky folks from lifestyle consumers to the tippy top tops at FetLife and Kink.com about what the heck is going on. And I came away with a much more nuanced understanding of the situation. (Hint: The bubble may not have burst, exactly, but it has changed.)
Mike Stabile, a longtime spokesperson for Kink.com, said, “A lot of people came in [to the kink community] and experimented and then moved on. But the core community grew during that period — even if in the interim, the swelling went down.”
Read the rest, and take a calming breath when you get to the end, at MEL Magazine!