Society Showcase: DUKS (Dundee Kink Society)

Hello Everyone and welcome to our last showcase of the month. After our #lovehoneystudents campaign with Lovehoney ended this month, we wanted to sit down with a society that is a place for uni students to learn about sex in a safe manner. Dundee’s kink society (DUKS) were kind enough to sit down with us this week, to talk all things kink, and why they’re a safe space for students exploring their sexuality, and not a group of weirdo’s.

The participants of this interview have asked to remain anonymous. Therefore, no names will be included.

Hype Collective: What is Kink Soc? What do you classify as kink?

So, there’s actually a differentiation between kink and fetish. A fetish is an attraction to an inanimate object, or a body part. You can have a fetish for literally anything. A kink is an action, and it’s more to do with the dynamic. It’s usually between two or more people, with some exceptions. Generally speaking you’ll have a do-er and a receiver, who’ll partake in an act, that fulfils both parties.

Due to lockdown, we’re doing an array of online socials. These involve a lot of educational tutorials. Every semester, we do a ‘Kink 101’ class, spreading information, advice, and opening up a panel of discussion on the topic. In the past, we ran a conference, that managed to get 100 attendees just by word of mouth. The talks involved seminars such as ‘An exploration of gender’ where we had members of the trans community speak. We then had a speaker called Dr. Meg John Barker, and they discussed what ‘vanilla monogamist’ couples could learn from the kink community. Next year, we hope to do a second conference, titled ‘Sex in the media’.

Our society’s main goal is to open up discussions. We want to let our members know that it’s ok to have sexual desires, as long as you’re acting them out safely.

Yeah, the safety aspect is one of our most important points to raise at our socials. if you do it wrong, it can be quite dangerous. A lot of people coming into uni are very interested in getting into kink. They’re 18, and they can be quite frivolous with it, so we try to give them the resources that they’ll need. At the same time, there is a small amount of people in the community who like people with a lack of experience, and can take advantage of the vulnerability of people who don’t know what’s ok, so we try and cut those connections off, being a safety net for the fresh members. Luckily, most people in the community are incredibly friendly and welcoming.

Hype Collective: Based on our research, a lot of people have that concern of kink culture being safe. Do you have any other activities that try and educate people?

We were involved in the body positivity movement , which was a university wide campaign. We thought it was important because in kink you get a huge variation of body types. There’s also a lot of people in the community, who have physical disabilities. So it’s really important to address, that the able-ness of a person can impact how they do kink.

We also run ‘Rope 101’ tutorials, which specificies how to tie safely. A lot of people don’t know that if you tie someone up wrong, it can cut off circulation. We get people from outside the society to run these tutorials, so we can widen our community.

Our socials are also educate on safety. It gives people a space to talk about their kink’s and is a place to get to know other people’s reputation within the community. It’s also a good place to learn how to behave without crossing any boundaries. No one wants a bad rep, because it’s hard to scrub it out when it comes to kink.

There’s also a website called ‘FetLife’. If members are receiving unwanted attention or uncomfortable messages, we’ll run that person through the social network to see if there are any red flags about them. At the end of the day, the committee acts as a safety net. We want to give as much support and advice as possible. We’ve supported people for things that are non-kink related, just because they know they’re safe with us.

We’ve got a lot of people who stereotype us and just think we have orgies, there’s always people at the beginning of the year who ask. Sadly, we’re not that kind of club.

Hype Collective: What kind of people are in Kinksoc?

We’ve had a huge array of people. There are a few people who are virgins, but they’re coming on the basis that they think they’ll enjoy a kinky lifestyle. We’re also one of the few universities where it’s not just students that can come and join, and we’ve got people from all ages, too. I think it’s more important to create a positive community than to set up strict rules.

There’s also a couple of people who have kink-related businesses, who come along just to network for their brand.

Hype Collective: Do you know what Kinksoc was like when it was first set up, and how do you deal with the stigma around your society?

When it was first set up, there wasn’t a lot of boundaries/rules set up in terms of how the society would run. When they had one of their first ‘munches’ (social), people didn’t understand that you were supposed to turn up in normal clothes, not straight up kink/bdsm gear, so they were kicked out of pubs a couple times. Additionally, I believe when DUKS was first set up, we were one of the few societies to have ever had a ‘no’ to run, and I believe that was from the catholic society.

So, it definitely took a couple years for the society to truly get going off the ground.

We have made a lot of effort to have a positive relationship with the student’s union, more specifically the societies officer, but there are still people within the institution who are prejudice against us. Luckily, a lot of just don’t care what other people think about us. We’re people who love to be open, and that’s a big part of our personalities.

We also get the occasional issue with the divide between DUKS and the wider Dundee fetish community. These are older people who think that the younger generation don’t know enough, when really we’re perfectly able to educate, and we’re constantly informing our members on various topics to do with kink. Our president is trying to change this clash, by making the society a lot more inclusive, posting the socials on other websites, to let people know we want as many people involved as possible.

Hype Collective: What have you gained from the society?

I’ve gained a lot of friendships within the society. DUKS has given me the ability to identify and establish boundaries within my sexual relationships. The community has also made me aware that having boundaries is normal, appropriate and encouraged.

For me, the society taught me to not be ashamed of my kinky self. We’re all so normal, and it’s great to have an environment where kink is all about having fun and laughing at your mistakes.

Hype Collective: What do you want to tell people who want to join the kink community, but they don’t even know where to start?

RESEARCH! Get to know your area, see if there are local groups you can join. Also, get on FetLife. It’s not made for hookups, it’s a space made for talking to people about the subject. There’s so much knowledge on there, even the most taboo stuff, you just have to dig for it. Also, message those societies! They’re all open and they want you to be safe and have the information that you need.

Most importantly, when you first get into kink, GO SLOW. Once you get started, you’ll see everything and you will go nuts. It’s called a ‘kink frenzy’. Just learn what you like, and take it at a gradual pace.

Hype Collective: Finally, do you have any other people or organisations, to signpost people who want to get involved?

There’s an excellent YouTube channel run by two men in a polyamorous relationship. They used to work for kink.com and their channel is ‘Watts the safe word?’ . They talk about everything, but it’s mostly for people who are starting off. For younger people, I’d say kink talk is a good one. Unfortunately, the creators from the website have to restart channels a lot, because they’re often violating the strict guidelines of tiktok, even if they’re just giving advice on how to be safe.

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