Kink, BDSM, Fetish & Vanilla

At LifeWorks, we welcome clients regardless of their sexual preferences, practices, or identities. We work with clients who identify as “kinky” or practice BDSM (bondage & discipline, domination & submission and sadism & masochism), or have particular sexual fetishes. We are kink friendly and knowledgeable. We recognize that the spectrum of sexualities is wide and there are a variety of ways to find pleasure and satisfaction in consensual sexual relationships and practices.

We know people often have a variety of concerns related to identifying as or talking to a therapist about kink, fetish and/or BDSM. Sometimes, people are fearful that they will be judged or pathologized by a therapist for sharing their sexual curiosities, activities or preferences. Some are concerned that they will have to educate their therapist, if the therapist is not kink-knowledgeable. Others are worried that the therapist will focus on the BDSM or kinky activity rather than the issue that brings them to therapy.

Kink-aware therapists can help with a variety of issues including the following:

  • Relationship Issues: Kink-aware therapists understand the ways relationships may be structured within the context of BDSM and understand how power and role dynamics may be involved.
  • Everyday Problems: Kink-aware therapists will not automatically assume that your concerns or difficulties — such as depression, anxiety, relationship conflicts, or family of origin problems — are related to your sexual preferences and practices.
  • Coming Out: Kink-aware therapists can help you explore your own sexuality and interests, find acceptance of your particular fetish or kink within yourself, disclose fetishes or kink preferences to a partner,  and come out to others in your life (i.e. about your participation at BDSM conferences or events).
  • Cultural Role Conflicts: Kink-aware therapists can assist if you struggle with your identity inside the BDSM world and how that relates to expectations the larger culture or society may have for you in the various roles that you hold in life.
  • Vanilla & Kink Conflicts: Your partner identifies as kinky but you identify as “vanilla” — that is, you don’t identify as having kinky inclinations or interests. This may evoke difficult feelings and it is important to have a therapist who can be accepting of your partner’s preferences while validating yours and helping you process your emotions and reactions.
  • Internalized Oppression: Some people feel shame about their sexual preferences. Kink-knowledgeable therapists can help you understand the sources of shame, learn how to work with them, develop compassion for yourself and increase self-esteem.
  • Abuse & Trauma: A kink-aware therapist understands and recognizes the difference between consensual BDSM practices and abuse or other forms of interpersonal trauma and can help you to heal from non-consensual experiences and the impact they may have on your well-being and relationships.

Resources & Further Reading

Download the Kink Information Brochure (PDF) here.

Access additional resources and related topics here.

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We’re Here to Help

If you’ve been thinking of starting therapy but have been reluctant because you did not want to disclose your kink or fetish interests, we can help. We can work with you on the issues you identify without judging your sexual preferences, lifestyle or identity.

Contact Lifeworks

You can also call us at 847-568-1100 or send a text message to 224-592-0076.