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“Kinky, Sober and Free: BDSM in Recovery” Best Sex Writing of the Year @SexInWords @raquelita









This exciting 2015 volume of Best Sex Writing features a number of significant bloggers and some of the most important stories of the past two years. Alexandria Goddard is the blogger who made the important connections in the historic Steubenville Rape Case; Epiphora is the most renowned and saucy sex toy reviewer who has legions of dedicated followers; Lux Alptraum has recently sold the wildly successful Fleshbot and taken an editorial position at Nerve. These contributors (and many others) know the words that sell online, and their presence in this collection will carry tremendous weight with readers.

At the same time, this anthology features topics that have not received as much attention in previous editions. Internationally acclaimed musician Ember Swift recounts her sexual appetites while she was pregnant. David Henry Sterry remembers his experience as a sex worker providing service to an 82-year-old woman. People — including those beyond the sex community — are learning to consider sex from many different angles, and this collection covers a great number of them.






Best Sex Writing of the Year, Volume 1, edited by Jon Pressick

Excerpt from “Kinky, Sober and Free: BDSM in Recovery” by Rachel Kramer Bussel


What’s the link between BDSM—the catchall term for bondage, discipline, domination/submission, sadism and masochism—and sobriety?

Can you be clean and sober and still engage kinkily? For those who identify as clean and kink-friendly, the answer is a resounding, “Yes, please (may I have another?).” The connection is being borne out as supportive communities of like-minded people are springing up around the country.

The issue goes beyond physical safety; as one woman told me, “Who wants to be flogged by a drunk guy?” While a number of interviewees reported they have attended play parties—often in private homes—where alcohol and drugs abound, most organized play parties frown on, or explicitly forbid, such substances and often turn away players who show up intoxicated. (This is also a common complaint of professional dominatrices, who often have to turn away drunks.)

Mollena Williams—a BDSM educator and the coauthor of the guidebook Playing Well with Others—founded San Francisco’s Safeword, which offers a “12-Step modeled approach to recovery for kink-identified people.” She began the group in 2007 in response to her lukewarm reception at traditional AA meetings. She recalled that her tastes were considered to be incompatible with her sobriety: “People are often ready to attribute your desires to do kink or BDSM as part of your addiction.” She added that many 12-steppers “equated that high you experience within a scene as a result of a dry drunk. I was accused of substituting one drink for another. They didn’t see that for me Kink and Leather were the last bastions of my sobriety!”

The majority of interviewees emphasized the positive effect BDSM has had on their sobriety, going far beyond the realm of the dungeon or kinky world. Theener, a thirty-five-year-old New Yorker who’s been kinky since she got a birthday spanking in 2004, feels like she had to “learn how to be kinky all over again” after getting sober in 2008.

“You have to learn how to have fun without alcohol and drugs being the center of your fun,” she said. “When I wasn’t sober, I wasn’t interested in spaces like [S&M club] Paddles and [support and information group] Lesbian Sex Mafia meetings because there wasn’t booze. I had to appreciate later that those places were alcohol free.”

Theener makes an explicit link between how BDSM and sobriety work together in her life. “I describe myself as having a dopamine problem; one of the things that’s been integral with me in sobriety is figuring out healthy ways to experience adrenaline-creating activities,” she said. “BDSM is a way that I can get all the chemicals in my brain revving and it keeps me busy and learning. It’s somewhat risky but because it’s surrounded on all sides by boundaries and negotiations, it’s a safe way of engaging in some risky behavior that’s helpful in my sobriety.”

Jonathan, thirty-five, of Brooklyn, got into kink after sobering up. He found that exploring BDSM “dovetailed nicely” with a 12-step program. “The thing that surprised me and made me really happy when I started to explore this world is how healthy and sane the people are,” he said. “From the outside you’d think BDSM freaks would be damaged misfit toys—and there are those people—but there’s also a community of people who are very aware of who they are, very aware of the boundaries and of the consequences of their actions.”
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