The book cover for 'Superfreaks' by Arielle Greenberg.

‘Superfreaks’ Wants To Normalize Kink

"Kink, pleasure, and the pursuit of happiness."

Human sexuality is a vast, complex, and controversial subject. America, a country founded by Puritans, has a long history of trying to suppress anything remotely sexual. We are now living through a strange era where Republicans are trying to keep girls and women from even talking about their periods and banning drag shows. These things aren’t inherently sexual, but the GOP is trying to make it that way.

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On the other end of the spectrum, we have pop culture reminding us we aren’t evil for having sexual urges. Not that I condone the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise, but its popularity brought BDSM and kink into the mainstream conversation. You can now buy sexy blindfold sets at your local Target. Last year, Netflix released the entertaining home improvement reality series How To Build a Sex Room which showed people how to embrace their kinks at home. There are small shifts in media showing us that, as long as it involves consenting adults, getting in touch with your kink is a good thing. Thankfully, author Arielle Greenberg penned a great introductory text to show us how to embrace ourselves and our desires. Superfreaks guides us to find happiness through kink.

She’s super freaky

If you are new to kink or maybe nervous about exploring BDSM, Superfreaks is right for you. Greenberg’s book on kink explains origins and theories through fun song lyrics as chapter subheadings. There are exercises to get in touch with your own needs and a compatibility quiz for your partners. Greenberg also shares a list of media that incorporates kink/BDSM, such as the less-than-perfect but still loved film Secretary.

First, Greenberg discusses exactly what kink is. She says, “Kink is basically any interest that’s not normatively sexual but still causes sexual arousal.” As she told us via an email interview, kinky feelings can come from anything. “In the book, I tell a story about seeing the original animated version of the kids’ movie Charlotte’s Web and feeling aroused by a scene of hedonistic pleasure (overeating, drunkenness) that’s depicted in it.” If you are new to kink, begin with what makes you feel good. “I’d say start by exploring your interests in your own fantasies before you share with anyone else. It’s good to get to really know what you want because it’s often not as simple as ‘I want to be spanked’ or such.”

Greenberg reiterates how kink doesn’t have to be scary. “Unfortunately, public discourse around kink tends to focus on pathologizing it: making it seem unnatural, unhealthy, or criminal. Starting in the past few decades, there has started to be some more positive representation, but it is often still with quite a sinister or at least very serious tone. I’m hopeful there is now space for more realistically playful, informal depictions of kink because kink is playful and it’s important to keep a sense of humor about it!” Just have fun, people.

Superfreaks is all about the human experience. When we asked what Greenberg wants people to take away from the book she said, “I hope that if people have kinky desires, they will feel less alone and less isolated and more connected to a vast, fascinating community and history. And I hope that when people read the book who don’t identify as kinky, that they will feel more informed and empathetic about those who are, and inspired by the diversity of the human sexual imagination.”

Instead of shaming ourselves or others, we can just accept the wide range of sexualities out there. Some folks like basic “vanilla” sex without any kink, others need the kink to feel their full pleasure. And some people like monsters. It’s all good.

Superfreaks is available for purchase wherever books are sold.

(featured image: Beacon Press)

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D.R. Medlen
D.R. Medlen (she/her) is a pop culture staff writer at The Mary Sue. After finishing her BA in History, she finally pursued her lifelong dream of being a full-time writer in 2019. She expertly fangirls over Marvel, Star Wars, and historical fantasy novels (the spicier the better). When she's not writing or reading, she lives that hobbit-core life in California with her spouse, offspring, and animal familiars.