Mar 122013

Temptation logoBy Artemisia de Vine

The BDSM and kink scenes already have a thriving culture of consent and self-awareness. I’m proud to be part of a culture that has such excellent peer education where elders guide newbies into healthy and hot practices. If this is already happening, then why take on the title “Conscious Kink”? I mean people are already pretty consciously engaging with their kinks right?

Experiencing more fully…

One can bop around the kitchen listening to music and really enjoy it. It is healthy and fun. You can learn different dance moves to make it more fun… Or one can also choose to consciously enter into each note and become the music… To develop a relationship with the music and let it possess and move you on all levels…  Utalising techniques from tantra, mindfulness and other subtle arts to enter more deeply into each exquisite moment… breath, presence, heart awareness, energy, intent make the world of difference to this experience.

One form of engaging with music is not inherently better or more moral than than the other.  They are just different experiences.  However it does have to be acknowledged that by consciously engaging with music we do have a deeper  more fully engaging experience.  So too with kink and BDSM.   Conscious Kink is a specialist focus that has the intention to explore those deeper places.

Engaging Holistically…

Conscious kink in this context means acknowledging the potential kink has to be a gateway to incredible intimacy, self-development, discovery of the Mysteries of existence, ecstatic (and other) states of consciousness and profound love. It is about intentionally fostering the skills, relationships and scenes to take kink to the next level.  To get to some kinds of states of consciousness it takes developing certain skills within us.   It’s about including all of us in our exploration and play… body, mind, heart and soul.

Doesn’t this make kink too “nice” and kill the sexy?

Being conscious about kink certainly doesn’t mean “light  and fluffy” or “politically correct” BDSM only.  Delving into the feeling of danger and mystery can often be what ignites our erotic play… taking risks… peeking into the dark crevices of our souls…  exploring power or intensity can be what gives a session its bite and heat… carving a delicious memory into our flesh that lasts a life time.

Conscious kink is not about sanitising that… oh no!  It is about engaging with it in a consensual and aware way that aims to have a positive effect on all involved and allows us to travel deeper into each moment.  It is about learning and harnessing skills to ride the wave rather than be rolled by it… and to enter states of being and well, consciousness, one cannot get to otherwise…

Consciously approaching BDSM takes bravery to be self-aware, take self-responsibility and be the hero on your own erotic quest of self discovery.  Far from detracting from the experience, being conscious in BDSM play only makes it more potent and can in fact allow the space to be even dirtier… darker… more intense…  By the same token, playing harder and more extreme is not always the point.  Playing consciously with kink can make something very simple become profound.

Erotic Shadow…

The path of Conscious Kink, at least the way I play it,  includes the notion that to be whole, we need to own our erotic shadow.

“Shadow” is a concept made popular by Carl Jung and refers to aspects of ourselves that drive us emotionally and psychologically  but live in our unconscious minds and bodies where we are unaware of it in our day to day living.

In order to learn how to be socialised into any given culture, we need to emphasise certain human qualities and suppress others.  This socialisation process means some things about us get relegated to the unconscious part of us.  We are not aware of them yet they shape our actions. desires and responses.   Shadow is not inherently bad or wrong but as it is unconscious  and can come out in destructive ways that negatively impact on ourselves and our relationships.    A very simplistic summary is that the erotic aspect of our shadow is the sexual aspect of us that is unowned, suppressed and unexplored.  We do this by actively engaging this aspect of us through erotic play or ritual.

“Our English word ‘fantasy’ derives from the Greek word ‘Phantasia’. The original meaning if this word is instructive: It meant “a making-visible”. It derived from a verb that means “to make visible, to reveal”. The correlation is clear: The psychological function of our capacity for fantasy is to make visible the otherwise invisible dynamics of the unconscious psyche.” – Robert A Johnson

Engaging Erotic Shadow through Rituals…

These aspects of us often come out in forbidden fantasies that we feel shame about but also fuel our hottest desires.  Our fantasies speak the langauge of dreams and our dreams are the langauge of our unconscious minds leaking through to the conscious.  They are clues to what is happening in our unconscious… cookie crumbs leading to hidden treasure… There is much of value to be learned by intentionally engaging these images and desires and by creating spaces where we can embody them and live them out. This  can not only be extremely hot, but can also be quite an astonishing journey of self discovery and empowerment.

What better way to do this than to take the time to create erotic rituals or play sessions?  Ritual is the act of very intentionally and mindfully engaging with an act or aspect of ourselves.  Rituals are consensually negotiated and have a clear intention, beginning, middle and end that allow us to take on aspects of ourselves we normally do not engage in everyday life.

A ritual can be simple or elaborate.  It can be spiritual or not.   It all depends on your mindful intention… Your conscious choice…

Ritual creates space for us to dive right into an experience and come out the other side, not only safe, but having experienced something of value.  Perhaps even changing ourselves for the better.  The container of a ritual or ritualised play session holds the space for us to feel safe enough to let go… free fall… it allows us to drop more deeply into the moment to explore the risk… the dark… the mystery…  the pleasure…  the joy and confrontation of play…

While kink is not inherently all “shadow” any more than so-called “non kinky” eroticism is all shadow, there certainly are rich opportunities to explore and own our erotic shadow through kink play. Part of the path of Conscious kink is to foster the tools, self-awareness, self-care and care for each other to explore this possibility in a holistic way.

In Summary…

Conscious Kink is the art of exploring our BDSM and sexual proclivities with conscious intention of good will to ourselves and each other.  It is allowing ourselves to enter into both the socially acceptable and politically incorrect feelings, desires and sexual imaginings in a way that is conscious, consensual and aims to have a positive overall effect for all involved. It is about being conscious of how Kink play affects mind, body, soul, heart.  It is about having an awareness and intention in how we engage that.

It also recognises the inherent risk that all sexual exploration carries and attempts to harness the pleasure of that while minimising any potential harm.  It is about finding balance between safety and risk.  Conscious Kink is also the art of learning about embodied states of consciousness and the skills to drop deeper into each experience with presence and mindfulness, amplifying and enriching our experience.  Sexual internal martial arts if you like…  It a journey of pleasure, play, mystery, transformation and discovery.  Why?  Because it both enhances the immediate experience of play and ripples out to deeper connections with ourselves, our loved ones and existence itself.  And, you know what?  It’s fun.

– Artemisia de Vine

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