As Millennials Move Away From Religion, They Also Move Away From Moral Sexual Relationships

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by Tara Isabella Burton

Those who consider themselves on a spiritual path can all get on board when Tristan Taormino invites us to enter “a sacred space where we feel safe enough to try new things, push our boundaries, flirt with edges and conquer fears …”

Even the most traditional of us might follow the popular speaker, columnist and author when she says she’s seeking a place that “has the potential to heal old wounds and generate spiritual renewal … a crucible for creativity, vulnerability, perseverance, control, catharsis and connection.”

Taormino could be discussing meditation, or prayer, chanting, even therapy. Instead, Taormino is writing about kink.

A loose umbrella term for a variety of sexual practices, from bondage to domination to sadomasochism to voyeurism, that fall outside the normative or “plain vanilla” model of heterosexual, monogamous sex, kink is, for many Americans, a deeply personal, deeply private part of intimacy.

Bondage equipment. Photo by Lucia Lasprilla/Creative
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A study conducted by one sex toy company, Eden, concluded that about 40 percent of Americans considered themselves kinky in some way, though nowhere apparently outdoes Portland, where a full 4% of inhabitants are members of the kink social networking site Fetlife.

Not the same but related is the trend toward “ethical nonmonogamy,” or what many call open relationships or polyamory. As many as 20 percent of Americans have tried ethical nonmonogamy at some point in their lives. Poly has been feted by magazines such as Wired and GQ as the millennial generation’s “sexual revolution.”

These alternative relationship models — including kink and ethical nonmonogamy — offer more than sexual fulfillment. Adherents gain a wider sense of identity, beyond the cultural expectations of “marriage, house, kids,” which they work out through personalized rituals. As it becomes easier and more acceptable to discuss their habits on the internet, kink increasingly offers members a community that at times borders on the utopian.

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Source: Religion News Service