Since the first book from E.L. James’ steamy Fifty Shades of Grey erotic trilogy hit bookstores across the globe, over 125 million copies have been sold worldwide, not to mention how many people went on to see the film adaptations. It’s perhaps no surprise that Kink and BDSM saw a serious surge of interest and hype in the media around the usually controversial topic.

With the mixed reviews came both criticism and praise but one thing was certain, Kink was suddenly thrown into the spotlight and started becoming semi-fashionable.

Over the next few years as the novels popularity grew A&E departments started to report that they were noticing a spike in sex-related injuries and that many patients were too ashamed to admit how they had hurt themselves, meaning doctors could not treat them properly. Despite the increased popularity and awareness of kink it is still apparent that its a concealable stigmatized identity.

The Void

The void between hype and help comes from the kink community or those thinking of entering into the world of BDSM still being too ashamed to talk about their kinky side and sexual preferences because regardless of all the media hype, people still fear being ridiculed or rejected by society.

The fear of not being able to unsay the words that you speak when you finally “come out” what will my partner say, my parents? What if they know at work?

Many people within the Kink community have compared coming out in today’s society, to how awful it must have been to come out as a homosexual in the 1980s when being gay was a time filled with terror and prejudice.

When I look at teenagers today, there isn’t even a coming out – it’s just at some point you date other girls or other boys or both. And then people know. There are no announcements, it’s not even a big topic amongst peers. Here in the Netherlands, that is. That’s not forgetting what the LGBT community did to help those lucky youngsters of today live in a society where its acceptable and help and guidance is readily available.

boldpleasures in on the same mission to fill the void between kink hype and the help you need to get started and grow your kinky skills. In the hope that in a few decades, being kinky is also just another personal preference that nobody talks about. Not out of shame or taboo – just because it’s the new normal.

I often wonder if we could have started this project in any other country but the Netherlands? The Dutch have a unique way of taking away shame and guilt by making things open. From legalizing marijuana to formalizing gay rights. As an expat, that’s very fascinating to me. As a co-founder of boldpleaures, it’s my mission that one of the next big societal shifts eradicates the stigma of BDSM.

Sonja is a co-founder of boldpleasures. She's on a mission to free people to revel in their true sensuality by removing the stigma surrounding kink. Sonja writes about first steps, ditching the shame and how to combine kink and 'normal' family life. She's a mother of two and happily married.

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