While I’m definitely one to push the boundaries of my own limitations in life, I’m still in the process of taking notes when it comes to my sexual preferences. Friends choose sex parties over a night out dancing and open relationships over monogamy. Then there are my girlfriends and I who laugh about the occasional spank or the silk scarf set-up around the eyes and wrists while tied to a bedpost. Different strokes for different folks might be easier to accept when it comes to other people’s turn-ons, but lately I’ve been wondering if that’s true. How accepting are we as a society of sexual behavior outside what’s considered “normal”?
I decided to track down an expert, someone in this sensual playground who might teach me a thing or two and answer that nagging question.
Peter Acworth, CEO of Kink.com, is a self-made master and a man with a mission and that mission is far beyond his own desire to tie a woman up. Peter wants to take sexual exploration and fantasy fulfillment—an industry made popular by men—and bring it to women. And he’s doing this by offering up his BDSM playground to the community, both literally and virtually, in hopes of transforming the way women look at sex.
“I believe we provide a safe forum for people to explore their sexuality. You can read a book about a fetish, but through seeing real people engage in an activity, you can get a real sense of whether it turns you on. I also believe that many people who grow up with an alternative sexuality grow up with a feeling of guilt or shame.”
Which is exactly where Peter started as a fifteen year old in boarding school in England. He hid the magazines he bought in seedy sex shops in the alleys of London’s SoHo district. With no one to talk to and an innate desire for BDSM play, it took an unequivocal passion and the desire to connect with others in order to abolish that shame. After taking his business model to the internet, he decided to leave his then in-progress PhD finance program at Columbia. He took one of San Francisco’s oldest historic buildings, a dead monument surrounded by drug dealers and prostitutes, and revitalized a city block. The result is an exciting, profitable workplace that houses ninety employees within a handful of its 160 rooms.
Peter’s charm makes him the perfect tour guide, whether it’s through the Armory, or giving women permission to explore what they may not have yet discovered for themselves. After our chat in his office, and few opened doors into some sets staged with models and directors waiting to yell, “Action,” I asked Peter why some develop such fantasies and why others might have fear.
“My experience has been that generally men seem to be born with the fetish, or develop it in early childhood. Certainly this was my case—I fantasized about bondage from a very early age. Again very generally, women seem to develop a fetish later in life when they explore their sexuality. Many times, I have done a photo shoot with a model, and the experience of being properly tied up has been a life-changing experience for her.”
I still wanted to know how you take a site viewed by 80 percent men and 10 percent couples, and introduce it to the curious woman. Peter says communication is key, just as it is in any relationship
“The more they can talk about it the better, I guess. I would hope that the person who is into it would be able to take our material and show it to the other one, and get them interested in it. I think it’s always healthiest to talk about it and I think our material helps foster that kind of communication.”
Peter and Kink’s employees have their own conversations about their material through brainstorming sessions and a white board, one of which is covered in black marker with ideas .
“Often it’s coming from their [employees’] hearts and they’re saying, ‘This is something I am very much into.’”
The outcome of those sessions has helped establish newer sites showing innovative concepts such as wrestling, dating, and one-on-one cams. For dating, members will be able to search each other’s profiles and the one-on-one cams will allow members to talk to each other. Other new sites include MFTB—My First Time Bound—which led me to ask if models actually know (whether it’s their first time or not) what their boundaries are until they are in a shoot.
“Many of the models are there to push their limits and boundaries, and Kink supports that, but our directors are very respectful of the models and very respectful of their limits and they get constant feedback.”
For those women who might not be interested in what Kink offers, Peter says there will be plenty to go around in the future.
“If you don’t find our sites to your taste today, please come back in six months as we may well have some softer material to whet your appetite.”
And for a girl who’s constantly checking out her options, that’s a very interesting offer.