What Can Deviant Desires Teach Us About Consent?

Three barefoot people standing on an anonymous person

“Katharine Gates has spent decades documenting niche fetishes. She told us what fetishists can teach the #MeToo movement.”

Nearly nineteen years ago, after years of study on the subject, Katherine Gates published Deviant Desires: Incredibly Strange Sex. Vice describes the first edition: “Its cover depicts a leering clown, a man imposing himself on a balloon, and a figure on all fours in high heels and a horse’s saddle. Inside there’s even more: robots, giantesses, body inflation, and beyond.” In addition to the titillating topics, however, the book discusses consent.

It’s difficult to talk about one’s sexual desires, and even more so when they fall a little outside the norm (whatever that is). Still, most people aren’t mind readers, and a discussion is necessary if one is to help make fantasies into realities. Or, as Vice puts it, “…within kink communities, consent has always been the focus. Behind the arcane sexual tastes of most kinksters lies a culture of consideration and mindfulness where communication is established long before any clothes come off. (Or before clothes are doused in baked beans, or traded for farm animal equipment.)”

The pre-order page for the new edition, Deviant Desires: A Tour of the Erotic Edge, gives us the following biography of the author:

Katharine Gates is a free-range anthropologist, curator, and freelance writer based in New York’s Hudson Valley. A graduate of Yale University, she was the founder of Gates of Heck, an artists’ book publisher collaborating with Annie Sprinkle and Art Spiegelman, among others. She was the curator of the year-long exhibition “KINK: Geography of the Sexual Imagination”, at The Museum of Sex. Her articles have been published in The Village Voice and Raw Vision magazine, among others. Her kink map has been published in college psychology textbooks.

What can we learn from the kink community about sexual consent? Read the Vice interview with Katherine Gates: What I Learned Studying Cannibal Play, Balloon Sex, and More.

Pre-order Deviant Desires: a Tour of the Erotic Edge.


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