Kinky sex club rises at USC
Students at the University of Southern California (USC) could soon be tied up, but not in their studies.
USC students have started a club to raise awareness about a methods of alternative sex, particularly BDSM (bondage, dominance, sadism, and masochism). Support for the Trojans Munch Club, or the Kinky Trojans as they are called on Facebook, picked up soon after the BDSM-inspired film Fifty Shades of Grey broke the international record for the highest-gross R-rated release.
"If someone finds out that you [like BDSM] and thinks, ‘You don’t look like the kind of person that would do that’ — that’s the point."
“Our club offers a safe space for students at USC to come together in a welcoming environment to discuss and learn about BDSM topics. We hold munches (discussions about kink held over food) twice a month and also hold various types of programming related to BDSM. For example[,] we've had a BDSM 101 panel and a rope tying class in the past,” the Kinky Trojans told Campus Reform
The Daily Trojan reports that the Kinky Trojans first developed in association with the Queer and Ally Student Assembly at USC, otherwise known as QuASA, because of a shared interest in “alternative sexuality.” QuASA is a branch of USC’s Undergraduate Student Government consisting of several “queer” student groups of students exploring their sexuality. As an organization under QuASA, the group hosted a BDSM 101 panel attended by about 80 students. Events discussing polyamory, dungeons, and bondage equipment were hosted as well.
The group disassociated from QuASA this academic year in order to focus on its individual mission and become official as a separate group within the school’s student government.
While many universities already have BDSM-related student groups at their campuses, USC is among the growing number of schools—such as Harvard University and Mount Holyoke College—to recognize the alternative sex groups as official under their student governments.
There are other kink groups within California, as well. Kinky Bruins, University of California Los Angeles’s kink group, claims to be the first kink group recognized by a public university.
“We are very impressed by other university kink groups, and we had a wonderful relationship with the kink group at Columbia University. However, the fact remains that UCLA is the first *public* university to recognize and offer resources to an open kink/bdsm/leather student organization,” the group said when contacted by Campus Reform.
Approximately ten students currently attend the Kinky Trojans’s “munch” discussions regularly.
Hannah, an executive board member of the Kinky Trojans, told the Daily Trojan that one of the goals of the BDSM club at USC is to overcome stereotypes associated with the lifestyle. Cherys Fair, one of the club’s founders, told the Daily Trojan that, “[i]f someone finds out that you [like BDSM] and thinks, ‘You don’t look like the kind of person that would do that’ — that’s the point. It’s something that normal people do and like.”
Hannah declined to share her last name because she has not yet exposed to her family her involvement with BDSM for fear that they would not be accepting. She is not the only USC student who felt that her cravings for alternative sex were unaccepted. The Kinky Trojans told Campus Reform that “the club was created by the two founders who bonded over their interests in BDSM. They knew that USC lacked a space for kinky students and decided to create their own.”
When asked about the level of support received from the school, clubs, or students in general at USC, they Kinky Trojans told Campus Reform that they think “support for the club picked up when we had our biggest rope tying event last semester, before it was just smaller munches that were less publicized.
“We also had a big PR push with the creation of this page and anonymous account to post on public USC Facebook pages. It was a matter of getting the word out in a way that didn't have the members give away their identity. We take privacy of our members importantly considering the stigma that exists. The only push back we have experienced has been indirectly. When we posted flyers around campus for an event, later that week they were taken down. When replaced, they were taken down again. Besides that[,] we have not heard from the school or other orgs,” the group told Campus Reform.
Fair told the Daily Trojan that embracing the lifestyle has been challenging and awkward at times. Fair and Hannah said that the criticism of BDSM is usually born out of a misconception about the practice. They argue that the film Fifty Shades of Grey has caused the practice to look frightening and violent, when in reality it is something that can be safe if done right.
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