Emma Watson on the Lessons We Can All Learn From Kink Culture

There’s so many things we can learn from the kink community. Unapologetic exploration of pleasure? Check. Shame-free spaces for sex and play? Also, check. Safe, sane and consensual boundaries? They’ve got it all — and even so-called “vanilla” people can benefit from these kinkster lessons. And even Emma Watson agrees!

In conversation with author Valerie Hudson for Teen Vogue, Watson took some time to talk about marriage, relationships and power dynamics (feeling all too appropriate post-Little Women). In that part of the interview, Watson talked about her personal interest in how sex, power and consent play out. And, basically, she says that being more explicit and obvious about your wants, needs and expectations should be a more common practice for all kinds of couples.

“I feel that relationships that don’t necessarily follow traditional models do require more communication and consent,” Watson said. “It requires an actual conversation and agreement about the delegation of tasks and labor and responsibilities that maybe you don’t feel you need to have or should have if you follow those traditional stereotypes.… The idea that relationships are supposed to be easy and it’s all supposed to be implicitly understood, and you’re just meant to get each other, it’s bullsh*t! It’s impossible!”

When it comes to relationships that play around with power dynamics in more pronounced ways — particularly if you’re dabbling with bondage, impact play or any activities that might require a safe word — you need to lay so many more things out on the table to keep everyone safe and satisfied. Consent as a concept is part of every activity and decision. And even if you consider yourselves pretty tame in the bedroom, the same energy of being more conscious of one other and open to negotiation about how your relationship will work wouldn’t hurt.

“I’ve also kind of become slightly fascinated by kink culture because they are the best communicators ever. They know all about consent,” she said. “They smash that stuff because they really have to get it — but we could all use those models; they’re actually really helpful models.”

And we gotta agree! Smashing through expectations or misunderstandings that don’t necessarily jive with what you and your partner actually want for yourselves can be such a freeing thing.

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