The Wild (Mis)adventures of a Queer Kinkster #1

The Wild (Mis)adventures of a Queer Kinkster #1

Zine, Sage Pantony, 56 pgs, sagepantony.com, $7

 

Sex stories are like dreams, in that their recounting is usually much more exciting for the teller
than for the audience. Sage Pantony valiantly tries to buck this fate in this zine, a collection of short chronicles of mishaps and lessons learned over their handful of years engaging with the fetish community. These episodes are punctuated with the occasional poem, plenty of commentary,
and no images in sight—a perzine with substantial literary flair. Pantony’s queerness and gender identity are at the front here, shaping their interactions with straight men in the scene, flagging proudly in fleeting verse, and informing their long and righteous template response to yet another generic message from some bro on Fetlife.
By far the heftiest piece of the zine is a long, multi section essay about what Pantony calls
“disposability culture.” They propose various paths forward with regards to the issues of sexual abuse, assault, and consent in a community that prides itself on sex positivity, but which, Pantony explains, is rife with abuse of power and tricky boundaries. Their bold refusal of online call-out culture is note worthy here, and they draw on the work of queer zine hero Clementine Morrigan and the few other leftists who openly critique self righteous online mobs and groupthink.
Pantony suggests doubling down on the kink scene’s long held practice of “vetting”new play partners as an especially promising alternative measure to combat abuse. I’ll admit, I have long bristled at the tenor used by many of the most vocal kinky people I encounter. Yes, I respect a good many such individuals and duly acknowledge the critical role of kinksters in the broader movement for queer liberation and sexual autonomy. By most measures, I am adventurous enough to count myself a reluctant member of this community. But, as I have with polyamorists, I frequently find that the most enthusiastic of my would bepeers are just, well… annoying.
Fetish scene vernacularis so elaborate, acronymical, everchanging, it’s elusive to the uninitiated.
I am cautious when I meet a self-declared fetishist if a certain class because experience has proven they are often lecturers disguised as lovers, or performers of transgression in public who become rigid practitioners of typologies between the sheets. But for all my bitterness, reading Pantony’s personal musings and memories pierced through all that, their clear and conversational tone well delivered and rarely patronizing. It’s a welcome reminder that each person’s experience with fetish is a world itself. These are complicated, charged erotics that merit the kind of self-reflection and political readiness Pantony demonstrates here. Just a good, gutsy patchwork of one queer fetish writer’s memories, insights and inquiries now.