Kinks United – a Kink Conference in Prague

Academically and professionally interested kinksters united in a luxurious Czech hotel on the 9th and 10th of March 2019. The first annual Progressive ConnexxionsKink” conference took place in Prague. As far as I know, this was the first ever conference dedicated to this topic.

Kink History

Local Kink-academic Lucie made the relevance of this location clear early on, when she invited interested conference participants to a private BDSM club the night before the conference. The evening featured a showing of a “spank film” set in the communist era of Czech; as well as a tour of the thematic rooms (medical, industrial, classic and prison cell); and stimulating conversations between conference participants. The significance became even clearer during Lucie’s talk on Sunday. Here, she gave an overview of the history of Kink in the Czech Republic. BDSM started gaining visibility during the Czech communist era, which brings up interesting questions about the relation between political tensions and power play. It reminded me of the African American slavery theme in US race play, and Nazi play in mainly Western Europe.

The main issue brought out in Lucie’s paper, however, was that between the “old” and “new” generations. According to her, the difference is found in a difference between SM and D/s. Whereas the older generations placed more value on the D/s dynamic between dominant and submissive; the younger generation seemed to focus on the performative and stimulation of the physical senses. This could be seen in light of a more often described contemporary move to individuality, were it not that the strength of the Prague Kink community seems to be growing and evolving. Simply calling the younger generation individualistic would not account for the clustering of likeminded people.

The power of rope

Meanwhile, the likeminded people at the conference were quite literally united  through the power of rope during Noelle’s workshop. Her more physical and experiential contribution to this conference consisted of the workshop she gives high school students. Her aim is to foster better pre; during; and after sex communication amongst youths. Inspired by the model of negotiation that is common in BDSM settings, she explains and visualizes consent and the communication of preferences during this workshop.

By anonymously polling the participants she questioned people’s preconceived notions. It was easy to see how valuable a form of sex education this could be. Furthermore, it showed the potential value of BDSM practices for the vanilla world, which is a great project in and of itself. Noelle rounded up the workshop with a bondage session. She paired everyone up and gave them rope and a how-to video, to play and experiment with in the room. Apparently, a kink conference and play sessions are not mutually exclusive.

Fetishes at the first ever Kink conference

A different though equally unique angle was introduced by Kylo-Patrick R. Hart, in his discussion of the often overlooked fat fetish. His analyses of the films Feed (2005) and City Island (2009) led the way to relevant discussions of mainstream representation; pathologization; and care. Contrasting fat fetishism as horror (Feed) and as cute (Paradise) threw new lights on and showed the relevance of this fetish. What his paper brought up was the difference between masochistic and submissive gainers. It’s the difference between enjoying the pain and immobilization of being too fat, and the Dominant-submissive relationship, where the Dominant controls not only your eating habits but the literal shape and form of your body. This is an extreme form of the D/s relationship, which does merit more research.

The same is true for Jeremy Vaughan’s discussion of Shiny Bodies. His methodology was decidedly different, choosing to focus on the prevalence and experience of the attraction to “shiny bodies” instead of a theoretical analysis of cultural objects. The much needed critical element he provided was a reflection on the Freudian and feminist views of fetish itself. Since Freud, we have accepted fetish as objectification. The most interesting point Jeremy brought up was his questioning of the (feminist) idea that objectifying people is necessarily a bad thing, a point that should also be discussed in relation to Kylo’s topic of fat fetish.

Jeremy stated that people desire being objectified, negating the the notion of disrespect attached to this practice. He brought up these fascinating points in front of a slideshow full of shiny bodies: super heroes; leather- and latex clad kinksters; and Singing in the Rain, all kept flashing past, showing the width and breadth of the Shiny Body. But are these shiny objects? Or just surfaces in which we can see our own reflection?

Turning Pro at a kink conference

Next to the theory and experience, there was plenty discussion about BDSM and professionality. It was there in Gemma’s reconceptualization of the Dominatrix as entrepreneur; the discussion directed by Colby and Sziga about the ethics of encountering your clients in BDSM spaces as a sex therapist; and the practical elements of organizing events whilst associating with a University. However, nowhere were the levels of professionality more clear than in Teresa’s contribution to this kink conference.

This independent scholar (1) is working on a novel (2) about a detective (3) who’s undercover as a Dominatrix (4). That’s a plenty of levels of professionality to start with. Apart from her discussion of her personal experiences in the BDSM scenes, she discussed her role as an author in writing this character.

The question she raised related to the boundaries between fantasy and reality. “Is this just truth disguised as fiction?” The same relates to other forms of cultural products: are artists just performing themselves, and can they ever escape the genre of autobiography? And.. skipping forward to the next post: when a Polish male author writes about a lesbian couple from the United States, what does that tell you about the author himself? And “is it still Kink when it is only on a page?” These are some of the questions this blog will attempt to answer as well.

Because the questions raised by Teresa about the author might just as well be asked about the audience. And what about the audience-turned-blogger?

Well, we will see about that, won’t we?

1 thought on “Kinks United – a Kink Conference in Prague”

  1. This was a nice post! Very fun seeing my name and work here at the end – exciting in lots of ways. The explorations to be done in the future on these questions, and more, are vast and far-reaching. Can’t wait to get to it!

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