When Being Accepting isn’t AcceptingAug 20th, 2012 | By Awen_Therapist | Category: Awen Therapist, Columns, Contributors
I follow a variety of blogs. Some are about therapy. Some are about kink. And sometimes the two meet. One blog I follow, Fornicatology, is by a young woman training to be a sex-therapist. I read one of her recent posts with interest because it was, at least partially, about Fifty Shades of Grey which I discussed in my previous two posts. She agreed with my assessment that the book is poorly written. But that is about where our shared thoughts ended. As you will see if you read the post, she uses the book to springboard into discussing a client situation and giving her perspective on kink.
Her thoughts are exactly what concerns me about regarding so many therapists claiming to be open about kink. She clearly states that she is not trying to be judgmental, that whatever works for people is fine. But the problem is her discussion belies these claims. She suggests that women should avoid men that might want to tie them up on the first date. She compares rough sex to heroin use, saying that it is addictive and leads to the need for rougher and more dangerous sex to get the same satisfaction. Then, in her response to one of my comments, she says that her views are shaped by her work with sex addiction and abuse. This just perpetuates two unfortunate misconceptions…one, that abuse and the desire for rough sex are inextricably linked, and two, that sex is a negative thing to which people become addicted. If you are unaware there is no actual diagnosis of sex addiction despite how much you hear the term thrown around.
This issue with therapists is not limited to alternative-sexuality. It can happen on an subject. It also isn’t limited to just therapists. We all have areas where we think we are open but have unrecognized biases. The trouble is that it is incredibly important as it relates to therapists. Therapy is a place that is supposed to provide a safe, supportive, non-judgmental environment. That isn’t to say that therapists can’t have biases, because we all do. But we need to do our best to recognize them, admit them and address them. Unfortunately I think that the area of kink and BDSM is so new to most therapists that they don’t even know how to spot their own biases. I believe that author of the post discussed above truly believes she is open and accepting. What she isn’t very open to is considering that maybe she has more biases than she realizes.
Unfortunately this creates a challenge for kinky people to find a good therapist. The answer is this: You need to be assertive about asking your therapists their views on kink…or any important issue for that matter. You have a right to do that. My view is that if a therapist is not willing to spend the time to answer those types of questions then they aren’t the right therapist. And if you don’t get answers you like, try another therapist. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that you find a therapist that will only tell you what you want to hear. I’m saying find one that has an overall perspective that is consistent with what is important to you.