The Numbers of Kink

You may have heard: recently I joined the staff of the Kink Academy (affiliate link) as their “Editor Extraordinaire”. I get to get my hands dirty with video again, creating short segments of the best sex educators around sharing their stuff. Yesterday I edited a piece on eye contact for intimacy, a piece on warming up your partner’s ass for anal play, and a piece on stretching for bottoms preparing to be bound.

Good stuff. And all yours for the introductory price of $9.95/month, or $75 a year.

The funny thing is, there are people who not only think that’s too much, there are people who apparently harass Kali for daring to charge at all. There seems to be some anathema to the idea of making a profit while educating.

So let me get this straight:

People are willing to pay, oh, let’s say $125 for an event (we’ll assume it’s early bird pricing). This is an event that lasts one weekend, during which time, if they’re lucky, they’ll get to sit through, oh, ten classes (that’s assuming they can crawl out of bed after a play party). The event may have a huge number of great presenters, but you can only sit in their classes one at a time. And while you can still take notes in classes (that hasn’t been banned – yet) you can’t record what happens in any form. Not audio, not pics, certainly not video.

You pay $200-$450 for hotel and food.

You walk into the vendor area and drop $175 for a flogger, $300 for a corset, and $45 for those fantastic four-inch Ingrid stilettoes from the Shoe Guy. (Quick question: did you see anyone yelling at any of the vendors for “profiting from other people’s sexuality”?).

Total cost for a great weekend? Around $1000. With some material goods you can keep, but mostly the joy of an experience. I got to talk to Mollena Williams. I got to watch Scott Smith. I learned photography from David Lawrence. I was part of Shibaricon 2011!

Great presenters, all. The event was full of ’em. And, with a few exceptions, most weren’t paid a dime for their experience or teaching time. If they were lucky they had books or DVDs they could hawk at their classes, but if not, well, then your thanks was all the reward they asked for.

And that’s fine, as far as it goes. What I don’t get is why someone who is passionate enough about their kink to drop a grand on a weekend that will fade into memory balks at paying $75 (that’s what, half a flogger?) for a full year of over 50 educators – the same ones you see at the events – teaching on a huge variety of subjects whenever you want. You can check out their free videos, too, which give a pretty good taste of what’s inside, and are also a free resource in and of themselves.

Madison Young Teaches "Zen Submissive"

It’s streaming video. You can watch Madison Young’s oral sex tips over and over and over (and believe me, you will want to). It’s there when you need it, a refresher before a play date, an exploration into a new kink, or even to check out a presenter who’s going to be at the next event you’re at. Four new videos a week, all year long, never archived: you can join today and have literally hours of explicit kinky instruction at your disposal.

Oh, and every single person involved in that video was paid for their time. The presenters and the models. Paid quite well, in fact, because Kink Academy believes their time and knowledge are valuable and they deserve to be rewarded for it. When you join Kink Academy, you are saying thanks to the presenters in a directly financial way.

Me and Raven Lightholme (of FreedomofFetish.com) talking about Making Out

I’m not saying you should join, mind you. That would be disingenuous, as I’ve got an obviously personal stake in the matter. No, I just want people to stop pretending that money isn’t support, and that somehow going to an event that doesn’t pay presenters is more valid than joining an educational site that does.

6 thoughts on “The Numbers of Kink

  • Hey, first of all THANK YOU for posting on the topic of kink education and money. My friend & I have started a kink education group in Vermont (VASE: Vermont Alternative Sexuality Education) and we are tackling the issue of a local community that does not grasp why paying a little money to learn something from someone who is an experienced teacher is VALUABLE. My goal is to create sustainable ongoing events which can treat its teachers fairly (pay for transport, housing, provide most meals) and hopefully, even some money for their time.

    Think of the years and costs it has taken to have such skill and be able to teach others how to build that skill. I don’t think kink educators should be expected to give back to the community as free rides all the time. I see a lack of willingness to support directly, as you say, the people who we say we respect & admire so much. And I would really like to ask people who balk at paying 10-50$ to learn from an experienced teacher, “Would you want to be *expected* to teach for free something you spent years and countless dollars working on?”

    In the scope of what we all drop money on, 10 or 20$ to learn something we will use and derive great pleasure from is so minimal. No, a class is not something we can hold in our hands, but the material is something that should lodge in our brains. We expect to pay college professors after all, and many of mine were not nearly as skilled in their fields as the kink instructors I pay to travel & learn from.

    Also, Vermont is beautiful & our host is a great cook, so all you talented kink instructors should consider wanting to have your expenses paid to come teach here 🙂 Nope, no shameless self promotion here! Hey, good food and lots of respect… not a terrible thing… but the bills still need to be paid and we as kink consumers we should respect that for many of those people we regard as community experts, this is how they pay their bills…

  • I am always surprised with this subject. We live in a world of paying for education that benefits us whether it is a class, a book, a video or a web site. Self-help books, diet magazines, etc. aren’t free or if they are close to free they are full of advertisements. Someone has to pay for it.

    If someone isn’t paying for it directly or indirectly, I would be worried. If you get what you pay for, you are probably getting something that you don’t want or that can hurt you if it is free.

    The other perspective is that people always complain about price. Yep, we want that Apple IPad, that sexy new spring outfit, that work related training class, the travel to that job interview and so on to all be free but we pay and often we pay well. We will still complain but we pay.

    I look at my monthly cell phone bill or my internet connection bill and look at the price of kink academy and think, “wow this is cheap”. If you enjoy the videos, pictures and tutorials and you pay for porn, I bet you still are getting a huge deal.

    Yep, 75$ for a whole year is amazingly inexpensive.

  • Just a short question. went to the site and it seems to say 125$ for a yearly subscription. Just wanted to check where the 75$/ year subscription was at? regardless, i think paying for all this is great, i just want to make sure i am going to the right thing and obviously, 75$ is more exciting from my perspective than 125$ 🙂

    • Unfortunately, this is a little out of date…the $75 deal ended a bit ago. As you say, the $125 is still a really fantastic deal, especially with 4 new videos coming up every week. Look forward to seeing you on the site!

  • I’m an educator who presents at conferences, for groups, one-on-one, and is a faculty member of Kink Academy. I will present for a fee, and, whenever feasible, I will present for free as well. I’ve done a TON of one-on-one & informal small group teaching for free (any time [and I mean ANY time, regardless of setting] people find out I’m a sex educator, they start asking me questions, and I answer them… sometimes I even end up teaching stuff straight from my classes), a bit of teaching for groups for free, as well as I have tons of information from my classes available for free on my website (including the notes I used when I recorded my KA videos). I originally came from the Hacker community, where one of their greatest values is the belief in Freedom of Information, and I carry this value with me into my teaching and education. I strongly believe information on sexuality should be available to all people regardless of limiting factor, including socio-economic factors.

    When I was first approached by KA, I wondered if I’d be selling out by agreeing to record for a paid site when I feel so strongly about the idea that sex information should be freely available to all people. But one of the reasons I agreed to be on Kink Academy is because of the freedom I’m still afforded with my classes and my information. When I record on a topic, I still have complete rights over the information I give out within… the only thing Kink Academy lays claim upon is the videos themselves. This allows me to continue to make my information accessible to as many people as possible, whether it’s by presenting the information to other groups and conferences or by putting it up on my website. If KA would have put more limiting terms on the information, I may not have chosen to record with them. (And, frankly, not all groups or conferences allow this freedom. Some groups & conferences require a non-compete clause… you have to promise that you won’t present the same or similar topics in the same area within a specified time period. [To be fair, I’ve never been approached in such a manner… I’ve only heard other educators talking about such situations.])

    Also, as stated by Graydancer, we’re paid a fair wage. You may not know this, but many kink conferences and kink education groups (and yes, this includes some of the big name ones) don’t pay their educators (some offer an exchange like free admission to a con, a place to stay, transportation or a meal; some do not), and may even expect them to present at a personal loss. Sometimes this personal loss can be hundreds of dollars in travel expenses. For someone who has a well paying day job, this may not be an issue, but not everyone has such a position, and some of us are even trying to make our livings as sex educators. To be paid, and not just paid, but compensated fairly for our work, is a wonderful thing which allows us to put that money towards things like bills and, yes, even towards teaching in other venues that aren’t compensating us. I know that the money I was paid by KA for presenting went towards travel to present for them and other groups, as well as towards my own personal life expenses.

    My writing this isn’t to put down groups or conferences… I’m terribly glad that BDSM educational groups exist and I adore going to conferences and I plan to continue to teach for both in the future… but to let you see the reality of sex & kink education as it currently stands and to show the values that KA has and the reasoning towards them charging (not to mention the fact that website programming & bandwidth isn’t free), as well as to show 1 faculty member’s standpoint on why they chose to present for KA.

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