When I started exploring kink and BDSM, it was literally all I could think about. As clichéd as it sounds, it was on my mind from the moment I woke up to the moment I (eventually) fell asleep.
Almost a decade later, I still experience this obsessiveness on occasion; usually when I discover something new, or explore something for the first few times. I also see this happening around me a lot. I notice the feelings I had in other people — that feeling of I want it ALL, and I want it NOW! — and I often wonder if it’s something they are aware of.
I was aware of it, but I didn’t really know what to do with it. I also didn’t know what it was, or why it was happening. Now, I have a name for it: frenzy. Knowing that it’s an actual thing really helped me, and made me wish I’d known about it at the time. Not because it would have changed it necessarily, but self-awareness and understanding your own risk profile are necessary tools when navigating kink.
What is frenzy?
In nature there are two kinds of frenzies that we most often hear about: feeding frenzy and mating frenzy. Kink frenzy is likely a human form of the latter: an intensely primal and animalistic response to temptation. While it’s most commonly associated with new submissives, it isn’t something that discriminates: if you’re human and you discover a new kink (hello, rope!) you are prone to jumping in head first.
Frenzy is the feeling I’ve described above: of wanting to do all the things immediately. However, along with that comes a significant lowering of an individual’s risk profile.
This is why it’s important to spot it. If your risk profile is reduced, you are more likely to put yourself in positions that you might, at best, regret but that, at worst, may put you in danger.
How might I recognise frenzy?
While the feelings associated with frenzy might just feel like good old fashioned enthusiasm, the key part of frenzy is the lowering of inhibitions that leads to potentially unsafe situations.
In a nutshell, you’re likely in some form of kink frenzy if:
- You’re feeling desperate for whatever-it-is, and struggling to go without
- You’re doing things you would normally deem unsafe, and justifying them to yourself
- You’re saying ‘Yes’ to relative strangers — even walking red flags — just to scratch an itch
- You’re not being totally honest with close friends about what you are doing and with whom
- A disproportionate amount of your time is spent thinking about and/ or doing the thing, and you are struggling to focus on other things that you would normally spend time and energy on
- You find yourself in positions that don’t feel fully emotionally or physically safe
- You feel shame or distress about some of your behaviours
What do I do if I notice signs of frenzy?
Kinks should be enjoyed — it’s basically the reason we have them — and recognising frenzy is a key part of this. Noticing it can help you make safer decisions while also getting your needs met.
If you notice signs of frenzy:
- Seek out a community that “gets it”. By being open about your feelings and behaviours with trusted friends you’re a lot less likely to put yourself in danger. Share your plans and locations and sense-check your decisions.
- Make an effort to make time for things that aren’t kinky, just to try and rebalance your time a little.
- Spend some time putting all your energy into researching your kinks. This is a great way to engage with them without putting yourself in danger. And, often, this will dilute the frenzy a little.
- A little self-awareness goes a long way! Figure out your boundaries and limits (and notice if, how, when and why they shift, because they will). Explore your kinks yourself: work out what you enjoy about them to help you know what to actually look for. Understand that “kinky” doesn’t mean “anything goes”.
- If you have access to a community, reaching out to trusted “service” tops and bottoms is a great way to fulfil your needs. And, if you don’t, and you have the funds, paying a professional is the absolute safest way to do so.
Finally, knowing what safe, healthy behaviour looks like (for you) is fundamental. The kink community has a number of acronyms to guide us. They are all similar but have subtle conceptual differences, so pick the one that you like best and try to keep it in mind!
- SSC: Safe, Sane and Consensual
- RACK: Risk Aware, Consensual Kink
- PRICK: Personal Risk, Informed, Consensual Kink
- CRASH: Consensual, Risk Aware, Shit Happens (The idea that no matter how hard we try to avoid it, shit does indeed happen when we are kinking. Therefore, we must always be ready and willing to deal with it when it does.)
The Six Principles of Sexual Health — that sexual encounters should: be consensual; be non-exploitative; be honest; share values; include protection from HIV/ STI’s and unwanted pregnancies; and be pleasurable — is another great resources for helping to define what safe sex is.
While kink is about exploration, being sex- and kink-positive doesn’t mean ‘anything goes’. In order to practise kink safely, and to enjoy it fully, we have to respect ourselves and our boundaries. Part of this is understanding kink frenzy and being able to recognise it in ourselves (and people close to us).
I wish someone had told me this when I was starting out.