Marking an emerging wave of kinksters that are reclaiming their sexual identities without shame or guilt through the power of community, last month, BDSM enthusiasts from different states came together to learn, share and participate in kinks and power play in Goa at India's first-ever Kink Con. With Panels, Interactive Discussions, Mock Drills, a Kink Fashion Show and conversations around Kink through the lens of feminism, polyamory, queer perspectives and more, Kink Con was a three-day festival organized by the Kinky Collective, a group dedicated to promoting and celebrating kink and BDSM culture in India.
Jack, a founding member of Kink Collective (KC) shares, "Among other things were demonstrations of various kinky activities where Kinksters shared their passions, not as performers, but as people who love to share what they most enjoy doing. There is definitely a pedagogical aspect to such interactions. Demonstrators give tips about skills, safety, consent, negotiation, etc. Some explanations always precede the action. Such demos are the natural prolongation of the playshops that the Kinky Collective has been organizing on a regular basis for several years now. Playshops are gatherings that can last between 3 to 6 hours, during which attendants can not only learn but also practice a variety of skills relating to kinky activities. Through such work, the Kinky Collective raises knowledge levels within the community and reaches out to allies on the outside."
According to Sig, a member of KC, the Kink Con took 5 months of planning. It came about with an idea that grew organically. Kinky Collective funded the festival with the help of their community and allies executing a transformative event where people from diverse cultures, upbringings, sexual orientations, the neurodivergent, the queer, and the polyamorous gathered at one place to celebrate kink.
On the mainstream portrayal of BDSM in media, Joy, a founding member of KC admits that that they're at a very nascent stage of the formation of the community where they're still holding each other's hands, knowing each other and building that network of trust. But he believes that time is on their side because today, accountability is taken seriously and for the youth that is extremely aware of the delicate nature of kink, platforms that talk about it have to be sincere in their portrayal if they don't want to become a laughing stock themselves much like 50 Shades of Grey which was called "woefully inaccurate" by long-time players and "dangerously wrong" by The Atlantic.
Tiara, the newest member of KC, who has been part of the Delhi KC munch (a social gathering outside of play sessions) scene for ten years tells us that she used to be one of the three women attending it with only 10-12 people whereas now KC has 40+ people at every munch.
Kinky Collective has been a trailblazing unit in making space for kink in India. Only open communication can counter repression. With communities like KC that allow oneself to cultivate a deeper understanding of their own desires and boundaries, the spectrum of sexuality finally has a proper chance to expand among people and become human, rather than be buried under shame.