Some thoughts on kink in the modern world

Jeff Mach
4 min readNov 28, 2020

Core Beliefs:

If we’re pursuing something that truly hits us on a bone-deep level, then some of our shit will offend, alarm, and frighten people. Some of what we do will have unintended consequences. That doesn’t mean it’s out of our control; it means that the scope of what we create, when doing consensual kink, is very large. It’s cathartic. It’s transformative, and that’s something I’ll talk about a lot, the idea that we use kink to shape and forge ourselves, to become newer, better, stronger versions of ourselves

So working with the physical, mental, and emotional tools of kink includes dealing with pain, aversion, damage, catharsis, and joy. We don’t just diminish kink if we try to take only the easy parts or the “positive” parts; we cut it up into something too small, too constrained, too boxed-in, to make a difference. Shoving your kink in a tiny little container and wrapping it in a cute bow so that it looks nonthreatening on the outside might help your image, in some place and with some people. But when you open up the package, what’s inside may not be worth having at all.

And if, in doing kink, you always go in as one thing, and always, always emerge exactly the same, with no growth or change or new knowledge or even meaningful catharsis — then why do kink? There are a thousand other activities which don’t involve the hazards of what we do. I

And if your response is that kink is something you want, perhaps something you need, then ask yourself: Do you really want a kink that passes through you as if you were a ghost?

Here’s a rule of thumb: getting hurt is sometimes the price of admission for doing what we do.

“Scars” says that we create growth through kink when we have that are meaningful enough to hit us hard. And the nature of self-change is we can’t always control, much less always like, the way we change. What we can do is think about what we want to become, what we want to have, what defines us — and then think about what we’ll have to go through to get there. And again, that’s because going through hard things isn’t an accident — it’s that the process itself is part of what makes change happen. Lifting weights tears your muscle, and when done properly, the muscle grows back able to lift more than before. Learning to play guitar means building calloused fingers and slowly developing an ear for the sounds you want to make. Maybe you love the process, maybe you hate the process and only like the result. But you can’t skip out the hard things without leaving a big, gaping hole in your experience.

And since kink is based on consent, we have to recognize our ability to consent to things we might not like, and the fact that, if we choose something tough and it goes wrong, that doesn’t always mean there was bad intent. Nothing excuses nonconsent; but we need to confront the difficult truth that harm isn’t the same as predation. You can harm someone when all parties have the best intentions; and you can make someone feel great with bad intentions. Consent isn’t as simple as “if someone’s unhappy, consent was violated”. It’s easy to build consent systems around discomfort; but it’s inaccurate as fuck.

Some building blocks:

· We accept — no, we embrace — danger and risk.

  • The does not mean we give safeheaven to predators. But we fight predation through understanding — not fearing — kink which involves risk. We recognize pushing, change, and uncertainty as being tools of transformation. We seek transformation for mutual benefit. That is the opposite of what predators do; they actively seek to cause harm for their own enjoyment, and serve only their own interests.
  • We want kink that’s transformative tool, which challenges dares, pushes, changes us.
  • Maybe what we do isn’t normal. Maybe it IS fucked up. And if it is, then we’ll embrace it: if being fucked up means growth, then fuck me up.
  • We reject the panic of witch-hunts; they are an understandable, but a broken, response to community problems.
  • No system’s free of abuse. But the idea of a “kink community” is to give mutual aid to extremely diverse kinksters. If the community isn’t doing that, then we reject it.
  • As I write this, “mainstream” kink culture IS dying, and kink culture is moving back underground. This is not an isolated incident. It’s part of why we can’t give the Community too much authority in our lives. Therefore:
  • We reject politics as much as possible. We value discussion. There’s always going to be politics, there are always going to be important debates in any community. But we believe in individual choice over group control.
  • Thus, start with the idea that we need to protect the rights of individuals first, and the community second — not because individuals are more important than the community, but because kink itself is individual, and the community exists to create mutual support for individuals, not to rule over them
  • When someone fucks up, we do not forget. But we forgive. We redeem.

· All systems can fail. All situations can be exploited politically. All systems can be slandered as cults, as dangerous, as bad, as wrong. The more we recognize that the “community” is a system of alliances and suggestions, not a governing body, the more power we return to individuals.



Jeff Mach

Jeff Mach’s an author, event creator, and Villain. His new show’s, and his Dark Lord book is at