This is a follow-on article to my article on the Psychological Roots of Intimate Sex. In this article, I explore the origins of “kinky” or “perverted” sex. The exact form or desire for “kinky” sex is different in each person. However, for each person, it will be a type of sex which they consider “naughty”, “wrong”, or “bad”.
What “perverted” means, is unique to each person. For some it means sadomasochistic role-play, while for others, it may be as simple as using pornography. Many of my clients come to me concerned about this aspect of their sexuality. In this article I show how the desire for “kinky” sex is part of us all. It is formed from early life experience, and we desire it because we believe it is wrong.
We all experience through our life, both positive and negative aspects of love, tenderness and touch. These aspects of our emotional and physical experience of the ones who we love get expressed in our most intimate of acts – sex. How we express our sexuality is complicated and ever-evolving. Often it is only in middle-age that we’re comfortable enough with “normal sex” to allow ourselves to explore our sexuality more.
Kinky sex is a part of every human being’s sex life. The extent and form that it takes is mainly shaped by our early childhood experiences with our parents. All of us have deeply complex relationships with our parents. None of us had parents who were loving and warm all the time. In this context, we experienced two basic types of love and sensuality. One was “good-sensuality”, which we found warm and self-affirming. The other was “bad-sensuality,” which we experienced as aggressive and humiliating. This good and bad sensuality later on develops into “good sex” and “bad sex” as adults.
Joe. An Example of Sadomasochism
Joe, was a successful, but highly stressed, businessman. He had been married for 10-years to his beautiful wife, Linda. Joe was hardly having sex with his wife. When he did, it was “out of guilt”. Joe was struggling to get an erection and felt desperately ashamed. He turned to internet porn as an outlet. Joe found it difficult to admit to me, that over time, his preferred pornography became progressively more sadomasochistic. Joe found he could only regularly reach orgasm watching images of a dominatrix humiliating a man. Joe was aroused by the sight of the dominatrix, enjoying a man’s pain.
I worked with Joe over the course of a year to help him understand his sexuality. He desperately wanted to not be turned on by this type of pornography. He wanted a “normal” sex life with his wife. We will return to Joe’s story later in this article.
Good Sex and Bad Sex. Part of Us All.
We all have a picture of “good sex”. This is the warm, loving sex that is most often portrayed in movies and through television. Society often considers this the only type of sex that is moral. It makes us feel intimate, connected and close. On the other hand, “bad sex”, is the rougher kind. This often involves games with power, pain and humiliation. On the lighter end of the “bad-sex” spectrum are “playful” activities such as light spanking, playful teasing and gentle withholding. On the heavier end, “bad-sex” can involve sadomasochism, pain, humiliation and aggression.
Often people will have “good sex” with their partners, but secretly fantasies about bad sex. They may choose another relationship as an outlet for “bad-sex”, or shamefully find themselves attracted to sadomasochistic porn on the internet. For some people, having an affair will be how they have “bad-sex”.
It is important to understand that we all have “bad” sex as part of our sexuality. It is simply a matter of degree and how it is expressed in our life that determines if it is healthy or not. “Bad-sex”, in my eyes, is only a problem if it is negatively affecting people’s relationships, work, or sense of well-being.
When this more severe form of “bad-sex” is present, it can become very difficult to have a good balance of good and bad sex in your close relationships. Ideally, we should be able to have both “good sex” and “bad sex” in the context of our close intimate relationships. When our desire for “bad sex” is on the lighter end of the spectrum, we can integrate playful activities such as spanking, gentle teasing and role-play easily in our sexual repertoire. However, when the type of “bad sex” we desire is on the heavier end, it can be very hard to enjoy the full-range of our sexuality with our partners. This can lead to boredom, repetitiveness and ultimately sexless marriages.
The Crucible of Sexual Development
During our time together, Joe started talking about his childhood. Joe was the oldest of three children. For the first few years of his life, Joe’s mom was a full-time mother and homemaker. Joe loved spending time with his mom. However, his life changes drastically when at age five his father had an affair. Joe’s parent’s ended the marriage in a messy divorce.
Joe’s mother was forced to work two full-time jobs to support the family. Joe’s time with his mother disappeared. Joe dreamed at night of being reunited with his mother. Joe’s mother harbored a lot of anger towards her ex-husband. Without consciously realizing it, Joe’s mother started taking her anger out on Joe. His mother was irritable all the time, and she sometimes would spank Joe for the smallest transgressions.
Joe’s young mind could not understand why his mother had changed so much. He could not understand the complexities of his mother’s relationship with his dad. He blamed himself for making his mother angry. He thought he had disappointed his mother. He started to fantasize about becoming a successful businessman, so he could unburden his mother from having to work. Joe felt that if he could replace his missing father, everything would be all-right again. In spite of how hard he worked though, Joe’s mother was still angry and distant. Joe blamed himself endlessly for failing to make his mother happy. He endlessly thought to himself, “If I just worked harder, mom would be happy”. He started to hate himself for falling short of what he thought she wanted.
By the time Joe walked into my office, he had not thought about the events of his childhood for years. As we explored his childhood, it became apparent, that his sexual fantasies mirrored his childhood tragedies. In Joe’s young mind, he believed that if he just could make his angry mother happy again, everything would be all-right again. As an adult, he had transformed the story of his childhood into a visual form. His mother’s anger had become torture in his sexual fantasy. In his fantasy, he would reach orgasm when the dominatrix found pleasure at his pain. This moment symbolized his fantasy of finally making his angry mother happy and reuniting with her.
Through the difficult work of therapy, Joe finally understood his sexual fantasies. I helped Joe understand that his mother’s anger and distance had nothing to do with him; but was rather his mother’s understandable anger at his father. Joe could finally reinterpret his childhood tragedy. It was never his fault that his mother was angry. Joe found that his sadomasochistic fantasies started to subside. He found himself more attracted to sex with his wife. Some of the lighter aspects of “bad-sex” started to find their way into his relationship with his wife Linda. He once playfully told in her bed, “spank me – I’ve been a naughty boy”. Linda happily played along – Joe’s newfound spontaneity and playfulness was infectious.
With time, Joe was able to understand how his desire for humiliation, was a desire to feel connection in a way that he remembered from childhood. We all seek connectedness in a way that feels familiar to us. As children we all have some aspects of connection that came in the context of power, humiliation and anger. Understanding how we our experience of childhood emotional intimacy, shapes our adult sexuality can help unlock a new richness and life in our close relationships.
Original article here http://www.orangecountycounseling.com/the-psychological-roots-of-kinky-sex/