Kink as a form of leisure: Kinky events and the people who love them
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In recent years, there has been a popularization of non-mainstream sexual/cultural practices. The sensation of Fifty Shades of Grey has led to the general public becoming increasingly aware of the kink/BDSM lifestyle. The BDSM/kink/sado-masochist lifestyle has largely thrived under the radar of many in the general public and the subculture/lifestyle has organized and held events for decades. In this article, we discuss the various events of the kink/BDSM subculture/lifestyle and illustrate the importance of the non-play events for those in the lifestyle. The authors have fielded two ground-breaking global surveys that delve into the prevailing social institution of the kink/BDSM lifestyle, The Munch, an event in which no BDSM activities take place. The intention of this research is to show the methods that participants and organizers use in order to protect the identity of those attending non-play BDSM events that take place in the general public. The findings show that those participating in munches, a popular form of non-play events, tend to use their real names, although there is a large minority that do not. The analysis intends to give insight into those who operate below the radar of society and still have a vibrant social scene. The major contribution of this work is to show that kink/BDSM events can and do take place in public venues, but that participants and organizers work in ways to limit the exposure of participants, as there is a significant social stigma attached to being a member of the lifestyle. In addition, this research is linked with the development of kink/BDSM from the deviant to the mainstream (Tamazos et al., 2017) and shows how those things that had been traditionally out of the mainstream can now be exploited for commercial purposes. The research will show that there is a segment of the population that is currently holding events regularly and that these events and this market may be commercially exploited.