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“nasty vs. kinky”: a few ways people try to downplay the sex they like

I wrote this piece years ago, as a way of laughing at how very and predictably single-minded many of my clients were about their phone sex preferences. In pursuing those preferences, their language was oddly specific, but also it was really consistent across demographics: the callers tended to distinguish between “nasty” and “kinky” in their requests for girls. I don’t know how they arrived at that consensus, because it’s not something I would have instinctively guessed.

In that world, “nasty” is weighted more negatively than “kinky”, as a adjective, and so it made sense to use “nasty” about a woman in a heterosexual pairing wanting to receive butt sex versus “kinky” when we’re talking about the man would want to be receiving. “Kinky” is too positive a word to use about a slut.

I don’t know how this difference came to be absorbed by my clients, nor do I know if it extends into the general population (I’ll let you know when I get the research grant to study that), but I’m curious, and Smut Slam gives me plenty of time and space to wonder, about that dichotomy and other phrasings.

At a Smut Slam, I’m the one who sets boundaries of what is discussed and how. I usually think of that in terms of content, but actually there is a lot that comes down to what kinds of words are used.

For example, I use the word “kinky” to tag topics that might traditionally fall into the category of BDSM or fetish, but also give them a little peppy boost, keep it playful and inviting at the same time. I would never use the word nasty about anything at Smut Slam, because yeah, I do think that word does have strong shades of judgment, and judgment is not what Smut Slam is about. I don’t see anything with the same judgy weight as “nasty” at these events, but that’s mostly because I wouldn’t allow it.

With Smut Slam, though, I can hear some of the same games that I was noting in phone sex: the words people are saying need to be run through a translator, because what they say isn’t entirely, or even mostly, what the words objectively mean.

What’s more, the translation is pretty much the same in every city. It’s not 100% across the board, but often enough to make me wonder if there are memos going out about language use that I don’t know about.

“How nasty are the stories?” – “I can’t wait to hear slutty women talk about butt sex and other ‘nasty’ things.”

“That sounds hardcore,” – “I am insecure about my sex life, but I want to try to impress you anyway. I’m going to go and be too nervous to get up and tell a story from the mic, but I want to be hardcore and will probably come back next month and tell something.”

“My friend would totally love this!” – “I would totally love this, but I don’t know you enough to say that, so I’m going to put the bad reputation on my slutty friend.”

“I don’t have anything.” – “I am feeling insecure about my sex life, especially given the name of this event, but don’t worry: there’s a good chance I will change my mind at intermission, because while I’m watching everyone tell their stories in the first half I will suddenly realize that I do too have stuff to tell and also everyone else is just as awkward as I am.”

“It’s not polished.” – “I want the story about the sex to be polished, because the sex itself definitely wasn’t.”

And to circle right back around to the beginning…

“I’ve got too many kinky stories to choose from!” – “I’ve got a couple of stories about threesomes that I can remember with any degree of accuracy; the rest is all a drunken blur. But I want to be one of the cool kids, and I’m betting that ‘kinky’ is what the cool kids are here in Smut Slam, so you’re going to get the threesome story.”

One of the great things about Smut Slam is that it’s all cool kids. So people don’t need to front like we are not all, at some point, scared shitless to say what we really mean..

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I scare people shitless for the greater good of our sexual souls. If you’d like to make sure that work continues, hop on over to my Patreon page and become a patron!

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