One of the most popular clubs at New College, Kink Positive demonstrates the importance of keeping an open mind and exploring personal interests. When asked who can join Kink Positive, the club’s administrative team exclaimed “Everyone!” in unison. “Over 18,” third-year Mel Klenk chimed in.
The club meets twice a week, on Wednesdays 9:00 p.m. “Our Wednesday night meetings are more discussion, informative based. We will lecture on certain topics and then after that, it’s club-guided; whatever people want to talk about,” Co-Administrator Heather Kendall, third-year, said.
Kink Positive’s administration team is made up of three students: third-year Heather Kendall, third-year Mel Klenk, and second-year Carlyle Styer.
“We have a lot of coverage in our skill sets,” Styer said.
Kendall agreed: “It’s not like everyone knows the same thing and knows nothing about this other thing; we all have different areas of knowledge. We fill different gaps in other people’s knowledge.”
The dynamic of the administrative team is one of positivity and comfort; “It’s just something that we care about,” Klenk said.
This passion creates an atmosphere of respect and comfort; a true safe spot for those who would like to try new things.
The administrative team outlines these club values in their mission statement: “We provide a safe, educational space for interested students to learn about kink, fetish, and BDSM while welcoming constructive conversations about various kink interests in a way that helps to ensure the safety and consent of all involved parties. We, as a group, heavily emphasize consent and the physical and emotional safety of all involved parties.”
Throughout the meeting, the administration team talked and showed off multiple DIY creations. The value behind creating one’s own kink equipment comes from an unfortunate reality: “Kink be expensive, yo,” Styer said. Luckily, the administrative team is educated and prepared to help alleviate the monetary pain of kink. “I’ve pretty much figured out a way to make everything that we use, except rope. I can even make a cell phone into a violet wand!” Kendall exclaimed.
In addition to educating members about consent, DIY tools, sexual health and kink culture, Kink Positive places a strong emphasis on practicing kink in a safe way. “We’re starting a training program this year,” Kendall said. “There will be certain training certifications that will need to be met. Once those standards have been met, they will be considered certified in that area and can go on to train other people.” The training, though student-run, is very thorough.
“You have to put in hours and hours and hours of training to learn all of the nuances and to be prepare for any situation that could happen,” Kendall continued.
This focus on safety shows the responsible nature of the club, as well as the efforts that the administrative team goes to in order to provide a safe space that lessens the social stigma surrounding kink culture.
Though New College’s social environment is very open-minded, social stigmas regarding kink culture exist. These stigmas are even more prevalent outside of New College. Kink Positive has been around for over 22 years ago, yet some students disregard its credibility and view it in a negative light.
“One thing that we see on campus is a dire misconception that kink leads to abuse,” Styer said.
“Or is inherently abuse,” Klenk added.
“Or is inherently non-feminist, because everyone assumes that a male is a dom, a woman is a sub and that there’s an abuse component to it,” Kendall concluded.
The administrative team emphasized the importance of creating open dialogue about kink. They also concluded that there is a difference between having educated, open discussion and overtly kink-shaming.
“I would say that everyone is welcome to their opinions and not everything is for everyone; if they don’t want to try it, that’s their own prerogative. To people who actually actively kink shame other people, I would say.. don’t,” Styer said.
“Also, as most people who shame other people for any kind of thing, it all comes from a lack of education and understanding. If you’ve taken the time to appreciate or at least understand what we’re doing, then I would absolutely love to have a conversation about how you disagree with what we’re doing,” Kendall added.
In addition to fighting stigma, educating members and promoting a safe environment for open discussion, Kink Positive is known for hosting a memorable annual event: Fetish Ball. Contrasting past practices, there will be two Fetish Balls this year, one each semester. “This is some exclusive gossip here. Our first Fetish Ball is going to be Winter Wonderland themed,” Kendall disclosed. “Fetish ball is a chance for people both inside the club and outside the club to come and try new things. There’s a flogger station, a wax station, a rope station, and a violet wand station.”
“And an ice station!” Styer exclaimed.
Kink Positive fosters a comfortable environment in which students are able to explore their interests. This personal exploration is accompanied with discussions about sexual education, kink culture and consent. To join Kink Positive, contact any one of the administrative team members. The club is always open to individuals over the age of 18 that are interested in broadening their horizons and trying new things.