Updated: Aug 22
If you have been listening to Fat Chicks on Top, you know I’ve been talking to a variety of kinky folks who entered the scene over 20 years ago. With each generation, including the one I came into in the early 1990s, practice of kink changes a bit. As each new generation emerges, the older folks (often referred to as ‘Old Guard’) bitch about some of the changes. This is a story as long as the community has existed.
While everyone has a bit of a different take on “The New Generation” (TNG), there is an emerging theme those of us in the Old Guard are mentioning: the spirituality of kink. Let me state up front, I know there are members of TNG who have some spiritual practices of kink and make this central to their BDSM. However, en masse, newer practitioners have an approach which tends to eschew the spiritual, or “woo,” side of the kinky world.
What Does It Mean to Incorporate Spirituality Into Kink?
There are different ways to incorporate spirituality into your BDSM practices. Like everything in kink, there is no ‘one true way.’ In general, people who experience this talk about focusing primarily on the connection between partners, a deep intimacy, and feeling of connection beyond the physical with both partners and something wider.
On Monday August 22, 2022, my interview with Azyad will drop for Fat Chicks. In our conversation, he talks about experiencing transcendence for the first time while being fisted when he was young and relatively new to kink. During the experience, he reached a space where he, “felt like he was one with everything.” For him, it was more than just being physically pushed to limits during a scene or being with a great partner. It was almost how Buddhist describe a moment of enlightenment.
For others, the descriptions are similar. During a scene, they enter a space where they feel a combination of “out-of-body” or like they “are watching themselves from an exterior place” and a deep feeling of connection with the universe.
Isn’t This Just Top or Sub Space?
In short, no. The same people who talk about the spiritual aspects of kink tend to see their experience in top or sub space as separate. Where top/sub space does have the out-of-body aspect for some, it is a different form of consciousness. Most people who describe top or sub space mention a change in the perception of time and pain. Many who are a bit familiar with psychology will describe it as a quieting of the frontal and prefrontal cortex during the scene.
Spiritual aspects of kink often do not include the quieting of the mind in the same way. Instead, practicitions will describe it as feeling expansive, connected, and as-one with something greater.
Why Should I Care About Any of This?
This may or may not eventually be important to your own practice of kink. For people who find the spiritual aspect of BDSM, most report an enhanced feeling of peace, a greater connection with others, and a deeper intimacy. The union of BDSM play and spirituality often comes after years of practice and with the desire to become more fully integrated as a person.
When older practitioners talk about TNG, what they tend to notice is a couple of trends. People entering the scene in the past decade tend to focus on “doing all the things.” They will mention the presence of “bucket lists” or people bragging online and in-person about how many different kink things they have experienced. They also talk about the desire to be seen with all the pretty and expensive toys.
I have noticed this as well. Some BDSM is really great to watch! A beautiful impact scene with elegant toys can be a joy simply to watch. Many folks pursue rope not for the connection with partners or the feeling rope can bring but for the creation of beautiful, bound people. It’s done more for Kinky & Popular on Fetlife and Instagram than it is for the connection between partners.
There is nothing inherently wrong with these approaches to kink. Wanting to try a lot of things, find wonderful toys, and create beauty has value in and of itself. As someone who does kink as performance at times, I completely understand the joy this can bring.
However, if the focus remains solely in the area of BDSM play to check off boxes on a list or make pretty pictures, there is something which is lost. Power exchange and BDSM play offers many of us a window into something much bigger than ourselves. It can provide a way to connect deeply with one another and with the universe.
How Do I Start Finding the Spiritual Side of Kink?
Again, there is no one right way to explore spirituality and kink. However, here are some tips and tools if you want to start seeking out that side of your play.
Many spiritual traditions, from Catholicism to Hinduism have rituals at the core of their practice. Lighting the alter candles, reciting the Lord’s Prayer, lighting incense before praying to the ancestors, and many other things help people connect with their spirituality.
Start adding rituals to your kink practices. This can be in the form of protocols or mantras. Having a submissive kneel for a period of time before play begins, putting on a play collar, or adding a call-and-response mantra to the start or end of play can add ritual to your kink and help set the headspace to explore and connect on a deeper level.
Mindfulness practices are designed to help bring you into the moment and keep you focused on the now. Meditation is a key aspect of many spiritual practices. Again, this can be added to your kink practice. Meditate before or after a scene. Use guided meditations designed for kink to help you develop a practice. Add breathing exercises to connect with partners before and during scenes. These practices will help you connect with the energy of your partner(s) and the world around you and open up the possibility for spiritual transcendence with your kink.
There are a few kink writers which cover how to add spirituality in different forms to your practice. Lee Harrington’s Sacred Kink: The Eightfold Paths and BDSM and Beyond is a good start. Personally, I found Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now had a number of ideas which I incorporated into my own practice which helped deepen my BDSM experience.
Your path for BDSM and spirituality will be unique. Journaling about what you desire from kink, how you understand your own connection to a bigger universe or god, and how the two connect takes time to sort through. Taking the time to write down thoughts will help deepen your own insights into kink.
You can either free write or find a journal prompt book to help guide you. I offer free journal prompts every month through my newsletter (sign up here). I also have a bunch in 30 Days of Kinky Self-Discovery. Since you have stayed this far into the post, I’ll give you the eBook for 70% off with code PrepForFolsom through my AuntieVice site (this wouldn’t be a modern blog if I wasn’t trying to make a bit of money). I also offer a list of other good workbooks on my Resource post.
There is no NEED for you to connect your spirituality to kink. However, exploring this may help you develop deeper and more intimate connections with people and the universe. Enjoy the journey!