Why are There So Many Bi People in Kink Spaces?

9/3/2018

istock/aldra

Bi people, especially bi women, are often hypersexualized. And while a crude joke about bi women being slutty or hypersexual may not seem like a “big deal” – it is – because it contributes to why bi women experience higher rates of sexual assault and violence – more so than their straight and gay counterparts.

When you hypersexualize an individual, it’s easier to objectify them. If you can view your partner as an object, and not as a person, it’s easier to sexually, verbally, and physically abuse them. Thus, hypersexualization leads to violence. It really is as simple as that.

It is because of the additional violence that bi women (and men) face for their sexual identity that I haven’t written about the higher prevalence of bi people in kink spaces. I don’t want to perpetuate the notion that all bi people are hypersexual, slutty, or trying to bone everything that moves.

But I’ve wanted to discuss this for a while because I think it’s important. So here we go.

First things first, just because one is “hypersexual,” (I hate this term, and I explain why a little later) that doesn’t mean that we consent to everything. It doesn’t mean we are objects. It doesn’t mean that because I had a “crazy” threesome with you before, it means I’ll ever want to talk to you again, let alone sleep with you.

Consent doesn’t disappear because I like having a bunch of sex. I’ve had men get aggressive when I reject them after I’ve been talking about how I’m a slut. Yes, I am a proud slut, but I still have standards. Now I’m a 6’4’’ 180-pound man, and I’ve been afraid when these men start to get aggressive. I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like for women who are a foot shorter, and 80 pounds lighter than me.

Second, there are plenty of bi men and women in monogamous relationships who have missionary sex once a week with their partner and couldn’t be happier. They’re just not talking about it, because there really isn’t much to talk about. So you end up hearing more of the bi people who have more “adventurous” sex lives. (Could you imagine a piece in Cosmo titled, “Bi Man has Sex with Wife Once a Week in Happy Marriage”? Of course not!)

With that said, let’s continue: I’ve noticed that there are significantly more bi/pan people in kink spaces than straight people – especially when it comes to women. I’d say in all of the official kink spaces I’ve been a part of, the majority of women identify as bi, and a number of the men too. The majority of the men, however, are usually cis/straight. Most of the time it’s guys thinking they can hook up with hot women, and when they get rejected or feel “uncomfortable,” they leave. But where there is a sex club/kink space, there will be a constant stream of straight/cis men who don’t understand these spaces coming through and mucking things up.

So why have I noticed that there are so many more bi women and men in kink spaces? Is there something innate to the bi and fluid identites that somehow contributes to kinkier behavior?

I think the answer is 100% yes, but not for the reasons that straight people (i.e., men) think.

I don’t think that because you are attracted to multiple genders, you’re automatically more sexually open and adventurous. I think those two “traits” if you want to call them that, are independent from one another.

do know that we live in a society that’s proudly chauvinistic, sex-negative, toxically masculine, and obsessed with binaries. It takes a lot for men and women to be able to embrace the bi identity, but when you do, you’re free from the norms that plague the rest of the world.

When you’ve embraced a bi identity, you often become more critical of other societal norms and binaries. You realize that the double standard between men and women when it comes to sex is absolutely ludicrous. As a woman, you deserve an orgasm as much as any man, and if you go down on him, he damn well better go down on you too. (Even if you don’t go down on him, he should be honored to go down on you.) You deserve everything men have and more. When you realize it’s your God-given right to have sexually satisfying encounters, then you go out and get them.

This is why I believe that there are more bi women in kink spaces. Similarly, this is why we see more bi men in kink spaces (although to be honest, I’d like to see more bi men in these spaces). We don’t buy into the bullshit sex-negative norms of society, and after having spent so much time grappling with our shame to finally embrace the bi label, we have no more time to waste. We want to experience more. We want to be surrounded by others who also want more. If that makes us greedy, then call us greedy.

But as a bi person living in a society that actively discriminates against me daily, I don’t think there’s anything wrong or selfish about wanting to live my life to the fullest – to take pleasures however they come – to not feel limited simply because society seems to have arbitrarily decided what’s considered “appropriate” when it comes to sexuality.

Isn’t desire for sex, just like everything else, a spectrum? So wouldn’t pathologizing people who want “too much” sex as hypersexual or too little as “hyposexual” be completely nuts?

I’ve also noticed that these sex spaces have fostered a strong sense of bi community for me. It’s where I’ve met my best bi friends since moving to NY. I’m a member of NSFW – New Society For Wellness – which describes itself as a Brooklyn-based private club and digital agency connecting like-minded millennials with vice-category brands through experiential and influencer campaigns. While I joined the group simply hoping to get my rocks off, what I gained from the group was so much more. I was able to find a community of like-minded, relationship anarchists, who want to give a middle finger to society. Who want more out of life. Who aren’t afraid to embrace and explore their sexuality.

All of these factors contribute to why bi people flock to kink spaces. And while there needs to be more bi+ spaces for those who aren’t interested in exploring their sexuality more, I am grateful that these spaces do exist for bi people who need more than what typical society has to offer.

Zachary Zane
Zachary Zane a Brooklyn-based freelance writer, speaker, YouTuber, and activist whose work focuses on (bi)sexuality, gender, identity politics, relationships, and culture. He's a contributing editor at The Advocate Magazine, a columnist at Bi.org, and currently writes for The Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Out Magazine, and PRIDE.