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banish shame Ireland's only 'Kink Educator' says she is on a mission to remove the taboo on fetishes

Aoife Murray is now running online workshops and offering one-on-one consultations.

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Aoife wants to open people’s eyes to the possibilities of being kinky.

Aoife wants to open people’s eyes to the possibilities of being kinky.

Aoife wants to open people’s eyes to the possibilities of being kinky.

Do chains and whips excite you? Meet the kink educator who wants you to know there's no shame in getting 'freaky' in the bedroom.

Aoife Murray, 26, has an encyclopaedic knowledge in the A-Z of sexual fetishes, fantasies and BDSM.

As Ireland's only kink educator, the Kildare native is on a one-woman mission to remove the gag on kink and dismantle the reductive stereotypes that besiege kink culture.

Now running online workshops and offering one-on-one consultations for those interested in exploring their preferred fetishes, fantasies and beyond, the Maynooth student is giving the Sunday World a crash course on all things Kink.

"Kink is any intimate activity that brings fulfilment that may not do so for the masses.

"Most people assume it is always sexual and they associate kink with pain - and by the way, some people can enjoy pain, and if they do, good for them but it is not a requirement."

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Aoife

Aoife

Aoife

BDSM an acronym for bondage, discipline, domination, submission, sadism, and masochism and fetish, where a particular object such as feet gives a person's sexual pleasure fall under the umbrella of Kink.

"It is all about how individual people express themselves. I teach people about risk-aware kink practises. Consent and respect are at the heart of everything I do."

Speaking of some of the most common fetishes for kinksters, Aoife, who runs her hugely informative and insightful Instagram page @aoife.murray.life, said: "The most common kinks are bondage, which means restraining a partner in some way. The most common way would be with cuffs or rope, spanking is one as well. Impact play covers anything where there is an impact where you strike your partner. You could use a small paddle or a flogger.

"Light sensation play, like trailing a pinwheel over a partner's skin or using silk or fur or things that create different textures, can be a very sensual experience.

"Less well-known kinks are kinks that aren't sex focused. Service submission is lesser known and difficult for people to get their heads around. Basically, it is performing acts of service for your dominant.

"It could be domestic service, so tasks may include preparing food for their dom - cleaning, ironing or someone could prepare an afternoon tea or chauffeur them. That kind of kink is difficult to comprehend; we have different things we like in bed but when it is non-sexual it can be confusing for people.

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Aoife says that the motivation behind the BDSM in Fifty Shades of Grey is misleading.

Aoife says that the motivation behind the BDSM in Fifty Shades of Grey is misleading.

Aoife says that the motivation behind the BDSM in Fifty Shades of Grey is misleading.

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"People who are in dom/sub or master/slave relationships, the submissive offers up power to their partner on an ongoing basis. People imagine that BDSM power exchange relationships are always sex focused but they are not."

While there are many iterations of kink played out in the movie industry and media - think whipping, wax play, spanking and more - one of the most inaccurate depictions of BDSM came from box office hit 50 Shades of Grey.

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Aoife wants to open people’s eyes to the possibilities of being kinky.

Aoife wants to open people’s eyes to the possibilities of being kinky.

Aoife wants to open people’s eyes to the possibilities of being kinky.

"We scoff about that a lot in the BDSM community. One of the main issues is that the woman who wrote it is not a member of the BDSM community. She actually wrote it originally as Twilight fan fiction.

She wanted the allure of a vampire, a dangerous creature, and she wanted to make him human and she asked how can I do that? So she made him a dominant, you can see the bias that is there straight away.

"The movie leans on the fact that Christian is interested in sadism and is a dom because he had a difficult childhood.

"But as he goes through the series now that he has found Anastasia and has a normal relationship he becomes less kinky and less interested in BDSM, like she is healing him. Which I have a huge problem with."

Aoife is now hoping to eradicate the 'otherness' that is often associated with kink culture through her educational platform.

"I am a big believer in that the majority of people will have a kink, human sexuality and intimacy is so diverse the majority of people will have just something that they like. It is a lot more common than people realise.

"Whether you like spanking or tickling or balloon play, it could be any number of things, we could be here all day.

"Not everyone wants to be in a BDSM relationship, of course, but they will have something that is unique and individual to them."

Highlighting the far-reaching and often devastating dangers of kink shame the sex educator explained: "When we kink shame we feed into the stigma that kinks are abnormal and that people that have them are weird or even possibly dangerous, because sometimes they are wrongly portrayed that way.

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Aoife Murray is offering classes in understanding kink culture.

Aoife Murray is offering classes in understanding kink culture.

Aoife Murray is offering classes in understanding kink culture.

"It is a huge problem because it means people are less likely to speak up to their partner about their kinks and they are less likely to seek information about how to practice their kinks more safely," she says.

Making inroads to ensure people have a safe space to explore their deepest desires, Aoife is fast becoming the poster girl for the Kink community.

"If people see me and the work I do to prioritise well-being and safety and realise that kink is nothing to be ashamed of then I am okay with being the face of it.

"There are so many people interested in what I am doing and I get all types of messages from people.

"Reducing stigma is so important. I am not promoting that everyone should be involved in BDSM, or that everyone should be involved in a certain type of play, I simply teach safety and encourage people to approach BDSM in an ethical way, in a way that is risk aware.

"Would I have some family that would be shocked, yes, but my parents are so supportive. After the workshops people are surprised by just how normal it is, it sounds so taboo on the surface but it isn't scandalous or salacious."

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