It’s official: Brits are having less sex. Is technology and stress really to blame, or is our lack of self-acceptance at the core of our problems?
It’s not something we really talk about, but let’s be honest: sex is great, isn’t it? It’s good for your heart, acts as a stress buster, and keeps tension at bay – what’s not to love? Yet according to findings published in the British Medical Journal, nearly a third of us haven’t had sex in the past month. That’s… not so great.
We’re at a point in history where it feels like, for the most part, we’ve got more freedom to be open about what (and who) we love than ever before. Yet for some of us, getting over that first hurdle – accepting ourselves, and what we enjoy – feels like the hardest.
Despite kink-based novels and films making mainstream headlines for nearly a decade, many of us can still struggle with our desires. Love it or hate it, Fifty Shades of Grey sparked debate, and brought rarely-discussed sexual desires into the eye of mainstream commentary. Yet beneath the best-sellers and star-studded cast, and past mainstream publications focusing on ‘weird extreme’ fetishes, sits actual individuals facing a whole host of issues and worries.
Recognising you have sexual urges outside of what society considers ‘normal’ is just the first step. Sure, there may be a community, ready and waiting with open arms – but self-acceptance isn’t always that easy. Do you ‘come out’ as kinky, or keep things firmly behind closed doors? How do you balance sharing with oversharing? Do you risk shutting loved ones out of an entire part of your life by keeping your desires secret?
Sounds complicated. We asked members of the fetish community to share their thoughts on how they came to accept their inner desires.
Coming out as kinky
Will, a programmer approaching his mid-30s, shares his experiences with us as an ‘out and proud’ member of the fetish community. First realising his fetishes as a teen, Will spent years going through binge and purge cycles with his desires, before he felt ready to open up and speak out.
“I struggled with my attractions. Many in the community describe binge and purge cycles before they found acceptance. Because an inclination to kink is often considered perverse, I feel it can naturally make people hide this part of themselves.
“I remember throwing everything away, furiously deleting my internet history and bookmarks, only to start buying kinky items and browsing the same forums a few months later. It was only after many years of this that I decided to take the plunge and meet people.
“Speaking with people face-to-face, actually talking about and understanding their nonchalant attitudes to their kinks, allowed me to accept mine, and accept this part of myself. I struggled most with hiding parts of my life from close friends and family. I developed a real fear of what would happen if they found out.
“While I’ve not told them specific details, I’ve explained that I’m openly part of the community, that I’m happy and safe. Although many don’t truly understand what that means, I