What is ‘kink aware’?

What does it mean to be ‘kink-aware’?


There are many kink-aware professionals, from lawyers to doctors and, of course, therapists. The term ‘kink’ refers to diverse sexual preferences, alongside lifestyles sometimes described as polyamorous and/or BDSM (bondage and discipline, domination and submission, and sadism and masochism). If you identify with any of these choices, you may prefer to access services from a professional that is ‘kink-friendly’ - in other words, someone who is empathic and understanding towards your lifestyle.

Kink-aware professionals will have specialised knowledge and training around the diverse ways in which people choose to explore their sexuality and/or gender, and it is anticipated this will enable the person to feel accepted and understood, without judgement, and free from unnecessary questioning to clarify their understanding.

As discrimination is sadly still common surrounding sexual diversity, people may find it difficult to come to terms with their choices and preferences, which can lead to deep feelings of shame. These feelings can lead to difficulties in relationships, and internal conflict within self. Seeking support from a kink-aware therapist can help explore these feelings without any fear of the therapist being perhaps shocked or not understanding for example terms and/or slang that the client may use.

Kink and BDSM may have nothing to do with why an individual is seeking therapy, and it is important to mention that a kink-aware therapist will not be working with the intention of discouraging any kink practices. The kink-aware therapist is very aware that it is a normal part of the sexual spectrum, and is particularly aware of being able to distinguish between healthy BDSM practices and non-consensual abuse.

With the specific knowledge, a kink-aware therapist has about diverse lifestyles, consulting someone who is aware of arrangements such as poly relationships, can make seeking support far less complicated, and of course free from judgement. You may find that they are able to also signpost you to some services and information you were previously unaware of, and can also offer support around any conflicting feelings you are experiencing, which may be related to your lifestyle or desired lifestyle.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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