Kinky Lesson Plans

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Anyone interested in sex ed can easily find dozens of lesson plans on STIs (especially HIV/AIDS), pregnancy, sexual violence, rape, and, on the positive side, consent, choice, LBGT acceptance, and intimacy.
How many lesson plans might an educator find on BDSM? Exactly zero.

In fact, Google “kink curriculum” and only two sites come up: a blog entitled “Kink Curriculum” started (and then abandoned) in 2009 and a pay site called Kink Academy that has a wide array of short videos on all kinds of topics. Unsurprisingly, neither has what might be considered a lesson plan, even loosely—the goal is direct instruction of people interested in D/s or rope, not a structured guideline for educators to use in workshops, classrooms or lectures.
Does this matter? After all, obviously no educator is going to be teaching a lesson on BDSM in even a high school class. And adults can find their own information right?

Wrong.

With the advent of Fifty Shades of Grey, BDSM is becoming a popular topic with everyone from college students to seniors. And there is a lot of misinformation out there—A LOT. Starting with the Fifty Shades books themselves (never use metal handcuffs for bondage), or this claim, by a published author “BDSM activities all involve some form of pain, discomfort or restraint. If there is none then it’s not BDSM.” This is absolutely not true and is the kink equivalent of saying that if there is no penetration there is no sex. Just because this something is common doesn’t mean it is integral.

There is an immediate need for lesson plans to help those have training in teaching about sexuality talk about BDSM. These lesson plans need to be professional, informative, with clear cut objectives and instructional procedures, as well as assessment methods that can be used in a classroom setting and not require physical contact or the production of orgasms to test student knowledge.

These lesson plans need to distinguish between BDSM and abuse (for in-depth and complicated investigations of this check out freaksexual or Clarisse Thorn. For the basics, check out this clear breakdown) teach about consent and negotiation (for a really fabulous discussion about negotiation, read this talk “How to Have Sex on Purpose“), and demystify the kink world for those who are interested (or aren’t interested but need to know to help others). In fact, the lesson plans need to be exactly like the lesson plans that teach about safer sex or the myths of masturbation. It is no longer enough for educators to ignore the world of kinky sexuality!

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7 responses to “Kinky Lesson Plans

  1. Interesting. On one hand, I wish we could normalize “variance” to the point that no means of expressing sexuality is a ‘variant’ expression of sexuality but just one of multiple options (but then what if the appeal of a ‘kink’ is its status as an outsider activity? Questions, complications! etc.); on the other hand, providing particular, kink-tailored lesson plans and options for the imperfect world we live in now is probably a good idea. I wonder if a BDSM-centric lesson plan wouldn’t be helpful. But then, does that exist? Probably not. Interesting! (also, Clarisse Thorn is the best.)

  2. Great resources and awesome overview. This speaks to a great need in our educational curricula. I think the distinction between BDSM and abuse is a great point that many people who do not understand BDSM will benefit from learning. When educating others about this, a good deal of the time I am met with “wait, they are not the same thing?” or the more pointed “they are the same thing!” The safe space for learning will be helpful to others as BDSM is thrust further into society.

  3. Great discussion here! I am currently in the process of developing a lesson plan for a basic Kink 101 workshop and have come across the very same topics that you have discussed. Communication, informed consent (or as informed as one agrees upon), diversity, kink-positivity, safety, etc. are all so key to healthy BDSM or kink behaviors and are such neglected topics in mainstream sexuality education. In a post-50 Shades society, sexuality educators must make these discussions and celebrations of sexual diversity a priority. One tool that I have found particularly helpful in teaching on this subject is the the Yes, No, Maybe List (http://thatotherpaper.com/files/Yes_No_Maybe.pdf). Communication is the most important factor when embarking on your kink journey so it is imperative that we give new kinksters effective tools to self-evaluate their desires and then communicate these desires with current and potential partners. Thanks for bringing awareness to this important subject matter!

  4. Annalisa, I really love that you’re addressing this topic in your blog posts. It’s so important to have accurate information out there regarding BDSM and the kink community.Often, I find classes at establishments which are great for personal growth/enjoyment/education, but if I wanted to teach something in this vein, I would not necessarily even know where to begin or to find a lesson plan either. I would be interested to see a lesson plan you create or find regarding some introductory topics as well!

    In addition, Stephanie, the Yes/No/Maybe list is great. I actually have a copy of something along those lines but it goes a little more in depth and includes ratings and questions at the end as well.

  5. I wonder if this disparity is reflective of the dearth of free/accessible sexuality education curricula for adults in general? Likewise, adult education spaces are much more limited than those for youth (school vs. toy shops, group meetings, etc) so I wonder if educators are choosing to take the route that will make them money but will also reach a wider audience – such as books and web resources – like Kink Academy, Playing Well With Others (http://www.amazon.com/Playing-Well-Others-Discovering-Communities/dp/0937609587), and SM 101 (http://www.amazon.com/SM-101-A-Realistic-Introduction/dp/0963976389).
    That being said, I know of several educators who do teach workshops in this area, but I wonder if they are reluctant to share their plans for free because they don’t want folks plagiarizing their intellectual property and/or they want to be able to make a profit from their work.

  6. As an occasional consulting sexuality educator, I’ve taught a few workshops centering around kink. However, I never really went about it in such a structured way, until my graduate education introduced me to a whole host of lesson planning skills. Also, in my experience, most kink workshops and classes are conducted by members of the community and are directed towards adults who are curious or who are already engaged in activities in the community or in the bedroom. It’s a lot of teaching within a space where (usually) most people in attendance are already somewhat inclined or interested in the subject matter. I agree that something that is missing is a curriculum designed just the general public – a lesson that familiarizes people with the concepts and helps to further normalize creative sexual behaviors as healthy and acceptable (and awesome).

  7. Analisa – thanks for posting this! I love that you mentioned ’50 shades of Grey’ as a reason for why BDSM curricula is not just some weird, niche market – the sales and publicity of those books don’t lie! I hope that you and our sexuality colleagues (Steph Chando – looking at you!) can use this opportunity to get some quality BDSM educational material out into the world!

    I think that one population of potential students that no one has mentioned above might be human service professionals – therapists, counselors, etc., who have clients in the BDSM lifestyle but are not personally familiar with it. I think that the mental health field is very conditioned to look for signs of abusive realtionships (whether they are physical – like bruises or brushburns, or are part of a couple’s power dynamics), and while I think it is appropriate to look for “red flags”, I think it also probably prevents a lot of couples from getting the care they need, because the mental health professionals they are referred to do not understand or approve of BDSM in relationships. A BDSM curricula for mental health workers would be a really great tool for educating non-kink professionals who need a basic understanding of the lifestyle.

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