"Kink!" workshop demonstrates safety within BDSM community
About 100 students broadened their knowledge on a different kind of pleasure in the Rosa Parks Conference room in the Cesar Chavez Student Center.
In a delicate, yet open manner, Jen Day, Pepper Mint and Ari, who declined to give his last name—all whom are in polyamorous relationships with each other—educated a group of students about the practice of BDSM, which stands for bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism, masochism.
“Often people don’t like any of these things, and that’s OK, that’s great,” Mint said.
In a presentation, three “Kink!” participants covered topics of consent, fetishes, myths, media, role playing, toys and a brief history all surrounding the topic of BDSM with safety being an overriding theme.
“BDSM is not abuse, and abuse is not BDSM,” Day said.
The presenters discussed that having consent, using safe words and not engaging in drug use are important rules to follow when it comes to kink play. “Safe, sane and sober” is a general motto in kink communities.
Using places designated for kink play was among one recommendation for enhanced safety.
“Often play is semi-public in these places. This is relatively safe compared to bringing someone home that you don’t know very well,” Pepper said.
Various toys were passed around for students to feel and look at up close, including paddles, whips and leather straps — even one with heart-shaped cut-outs that leaves heart imprints on skin.
Students attended the presentation to receive credit for one of Ivy Chen’s classes, while others attended for their own interests.
Karla Ramirez, a 20-year-old business major, came to the workshop yesterday as apart of class requirement but said that it was interesting.
Another student, Allison Mezen, 21, said she had found out about the event from a flier.
“I’ve known of people who are involved in the kink scene and I’ve been curious about it,” Mezen said. “I love when people are open with their sexuality. It’s a beautiful thing.”
Lyler Springfield, 31, said it was helpful in some ways because he had never been to an event on kink in conference format.
Mint said that SF State in particular does a good job about educating students on sexual diversity, naming Ivy Chen and the Associated Students, Inc. EROS team in particular.
“SF State does a lot better than most other schools,” he said. “This is learning about relationship and sexual diversity.”
Day said that part of the reason why she comes to speak at schools is to give them support and to show others who are into kink know that it is OK.
“I wish that somebody had shown up in high school and said this is OK,” Day said. “It is OK to be kinky.”
Day expanded saying that she comes in to help eliminate discrimination against people who enjoy kink activities when students enter the real world as judges, police officers and politicians.
“If we come in and educate (at) college, we are less likely to be prosecuted, less to have our children taken away, less likely to have our homes taken away,” Day said.
The group has spoken at Sonoma State, in addition to Ivy Chen’s class regarding the “poli” lifestyle. Overall, Day said they get a good response from students who are genuinely curious about the kink community.
Kayla Douglas, the director of ASI EROS said that she was glad that there was such a big turnout for this particular event.
“I was happy with the turnout. To have an estimated 100 students show up was remarkable,” Douglas said. “That being said, I’m glad it was on a subject like this.”