At Stockroom, October 1 means more than starting the countdown to that night with the pumpkins, candy, and costumes. Every year since 2012, we’ve celebrated October as National Kink Month. For us, it’s a time not only to celebrate the two and a half decades that we’ve been in business, but the kink community itself.
It’s appropriate that this year, National Kink Month starts right in the middle of Banned Books Week, because kink communities have suffered not only from moral censure, but are persistently teetering on the edge of illegality. Even here in the United States, where the law ostensibly protects our freedom of speech and of the press, kinky people have to be very careful about how and where they express their desires. The educational materials and resources that make it possible for people to explore BDSM in a safe, sane, and consensual manner can be suppressed using the slimmest of excuses. Our greatest protection against that is not the law, but the activists and educators in our own communities who have put so much time and passion into building spaces where people can explore taboo sexualities without shame.
This is undoubtedly an interesting time to be into kink. In 2012, when we declared the first National Kink Month, E.L. James’s erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey had been in print for only seven months. In February of this year, a major motion picture adaptation was released.
A lot of experienced kinksters have feelings that could be politely called “mixed” when it comes to discussing James’s novels, but there’s one thing that can’t be denied: The success of the trilogy has made a lot of people more openly curious about BDSM and other forms of kink. James may get a lot of things wrong about consent and safety, but having Fifty Shades on the best-seller list and in the movie theaters means that people are more likely to look at our community with curiosity and as a source of education, rather than disgust.
The video below, starring Stockroom’s own Head Mistress, Hudsy Hawn, is a great example. Buzzfeed’s “Try Guys” came to Hudsy to see what “‘Fifty Shades’ Style BDSM” is like and put their experience on camera. (We’re not exactly sure what the difference is between Fifty Shades Style and regular BDSM, except that perhaps the former may require that one of the partners be a super-handsome mega-billionaire.)
The video is a good demonstration of the kind of experience that lots of people are having right now: They’ve heard about kink through rumors, cop shows, and the occasional porno, and so only have a collection of half-truths and fantasies about what it really is. If they’re lucky enough to hook up with someone as experienced and ethical as Hudsy for their first time, they’re going to learn very quickly about how essential consent and negotiation is in any BDSM scene.
The awkwardness of the Try Guys in the Buzzfeed video is not only kind of charming, but should also be familiar to anyone who’s been a newbie in a dungeon or a private scene. That’s why it’s such a great way to start off National Kink Month: We’ve all been there. Lots more will be there, especially now that E.L. James opened the Pandora’s Box for so many people who never noticed it sitting on the counter in plain sight. The reason that we celebrate National Kink Month is not only to pay tribute to the people who are already part of the community, but to make it a more welcoming place for those who would like to be part of it. There are a lot of pleasures to be had in kink, but a lot of responsibilities.
At Stockroom, this month will be a great time to get new gear and toys. Our Screaming Syren Sale will feature 20% discounts on clothing from Syren and Stormy Leather for the first nine days of the month. Throughout the month, you’ll be able to buy some of Stockroom’s finest gear and toys for 35-50% off.
But this month is about more than selling stuff for us; it’s also a time for education, because that’s what keeps us alive as a community. In addition to the usual workshops happening at Stockroom Hall in Los Angeles, we’re going to post more information about specific fetishes and practices that are hard to find right here on the blog and in our social media channels.
It’s going to be a great month for us all. Let us know what kind of kinks you’re playing with, and what you’re interested in exploring.