Savage Love: Wishful Kinking

Dear Dan,

I went to Dark Odyssey Winter Fire, the big kink hotel takeover event in Washington, D.C., in February. There was one thing I saw there that is messing with my head, and I hope you can set me straight. There was this lovely little six-person orgy going on with two cute-as-could-be hippie girls and four older dudes. Then these four people came along. They sat and watched — a guy and three women in hijabs and dresses that went wrist to ankle, fully covered. After a while, one of the hippie girls turned to them and said, "I'd be happy to flog you later if you'd like." The three women in hijab giggled. The whole scene was really sweet, but I just couldn't get over these three women. Intellectually, I know there is no reason to think that conservative Islam is incompatible with kink. But my cultural biases make me feel that it is. Or is it possible that covering is their kink? What would you make of that?

­— Washington Kinkster Wondering

"With all the hateful anti-Muslim rhetoric out there these days, it is tempting to romanticize Islam," said Eiynah, a Pakistani-Canadian children's book author who also hosts a podcast that focuses on sex, Islam, and apostasy. "The impulse is understandable, but Islam is another one of the blatantly sex-negative Abrahamic faiths."

The other blatantly sex-negative Abrahamic faiths, for those of you keeping score out there, are Judaism and Christianity.

"So as much as I'd love to agree that conservative Islam isn't incompatible with kink," said Eiynah, "there's every reason to say that it is. Modesty codes are pretty rigid in Islam, and in non-Muslim-majority countries, modesty garments tend to stick out rather than blend in. Which achieves the exact opposite purpose — attracting more attention, not less."

And when sex-negativity, modesty, and religion mix it up, WKW, the part of our brain that grinds out kinks kicks into high gear. That's why there are hot-priest calendars for sale on sidewalks just outside Vatican City.

"Islamic modesty has become fetishized for some — quite literally," said Eiynah. "There's hijabi porn and hijabi Lolitas. So the people WKW saw could be into some form of hijab kink."

I've seen a few people dressed up as Catholic nuns at fetish parties, WKW, and I didn't think, "Hey, what are nuns doing here?!?" I thought, "That person has a nun kink." (Related point: The nuns you see at queer pride parades? Not really nuns. #TheMoreYouKnow.)

"Finally, it's possible they could be a more 'open-minded' polygynous Muslim family that ventured into the hotel in a moment of adventurousness," said Eiynah. "We are all human, after all, no matter what ancient morality code we try to follow."

Eiynah tweets @NiceMangos, her terrific podcast — Polite Conversations — is available on all the usual podcast platforms, and her children's book, My Chacha Is Gay, can be ordered at

Dear Dan,

I'm a 30-year-old woman in a long-term polyamorous relationship with a stellar guy. Our relationship began as extremely Dom/sub, with me being the sub. Now, six years later, I find having kinky sex with him challenging. We have a very deep, loving relationship, so my feelings get hurt when we engage in bondage and kink play. This is especially problematic because I still enjoy BDSM with folks I'm not dating. Basically, if I'm not in love with someone, it doesn't hurt my feelings when they beat me and humiliate me. My boyfriend feels slighted, but I just don't know what to do. Every time we play rough — the same way we had played for years — my feelings get hurt. Any thoughts?

­— She's Hurting His Heart

It's not uncommon to meet people in BDSM spaces/circles who have passionate, intimate, solid, and regular vanilla sex with their long-term partner(s) and intense BDSM play and/or sex with more casual partners. For some submissives, intimacy and a long-term connection can interfere with their ability to enter into and enjoy their roles, and the same is true for some Doms. If this is just how you're wired, SHHH, you may need to write a new erotic script for your primary relationship — or make a conscious decision to have new and different and satisfying sexual adventures with your boyfriend.

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