Hey there, Kinky Folks! So, what exactly is neurodiversity? How do you apply the concept of neurodiversity to kink? While I may not consider myself an expert in this particular subject matter, I have the pleasure of knowing someone who certainly is.
Allow me to introduce you to the exceptional – Obey Orla.
Introducing Obey Orla
I’m a BBW Dominatrix with special interests in psychology, philosophy and the occult. I live in Bristol with my two cats, two dogs and a beautiful, fully equipped playroom complete with an impressive Bad Dragon dildo collection. Starting out on my local kink scene, I fell in love with everything BDSM and I am now a lifestyle kinkster and a professional Domme.
I also run Labyrinth Parties: kinky sex parties in Bristol with magical themes and friendly, queer vibes. When I’m not in Bristol, I can often be found in London checking out the dungeons and parties or working at Torture Garden keeping people safe in the Couple’s Room.
1. For the uninitiated, what is Neurodivergence? Moreover, how does one find out if they are neurodivergent?
Neurodivergence is an umbrella term which broadly covers those whose neurological development differs to what is considered ‘typical’ within society. This means that neurodiverse individuals experience and process the world differently to ‘neurotypical people’. It’s important to remember that every person with a type of neurodiversity is different and will have a different perspective.
Some may consider themselves disabled or disordered but many consider themselves different and often face some challenges and barriers in a society that is designed for neurotypical people. Overall, the term neurodivergence is meant to be one that celebrates differences rather than pathologizing people or implying that these differences are in any way wrong or undesirable.
If you suspect you are neurodivergent, then I would recommend looking online as there are many free resources that may help you understand yourself better and give examples of coping strategies if you feel parts of your life are particularly challenging. Chatting to other people who are openly neurodivergent may also be beneficial. If you do wish to seek a diagnosis, then the first step is a visit to your GP.
2. How do you apply the concept of neurodiversity to kink?
There are theories surrounding this. Some speculate that the culture of BDSM negotiation, rules and consent appeal to those who like to approach sex and social situations with structure and order. Another theory is the tendency for neurodiverse people to have special interests that then become kinks.
In the case of myself, I found myself hyperfocusing on BDSM as a special interest which led me to going to a local munch and participating in my community. It eventually led to me centring my life, friends and work around BDSM so I could learn and experience as much of it as possible!
It will be interesting to see more psychological research being conducted about this topic as there isn’t much currently. I would especially advocate for more research about neurodiverse people by neurodiverse people.
3. How did neurodiversity come about? How did you become a specialist in this topic? Has it helped you become a better Domme?
I studied psychology up until Master’s level and before I became a professional Domme I spent a number of years working with young people with additional needs, often those with a diagnosis related to neurodivergence. I also discovered that I am neurodivergent myself when undertaking further study and greatly benefitted from using strategies designed to help cope with studying, working and everyday life.
I think it has helped me become a better Domme as I am sensitive to individual differences and able to adjust my surroundings, play and aftercare to suit each unique submissive.
4. Are there different types of Neurodivergence? Can you tell us what they are? How has this knowledge helped you in the BDSM world?
The most recognised types of neurodivergence are autism and ADHD. It also encompasses other individual differences and mental health conditions such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, Tourette syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder (BPD).
It should be noted that many of these conditions may overlap, many people have multiple conditions and some have symptoms but consider themselves generally neurodiverse rather than being diagnosed with specific conditions.
I feel a good thing to do is to find out where you might be different and whether something needs to be done about it. Some personal examples are that I am very expressive and animated when speaking but I feel this is fine and just part of me – nothing needs to change. However, I do have very sensitive hearing so I carry around earplugs with me every where I go. That is a small change that has made me feel a lot more comfortable in my surroundings.
My knowledge has helped me in the BDSM world so far as I am very accepting of different people and can understand why some people may be more sensitive to certain things. For example, when running my own kink parties, I found it best to have the volume of music fairly low and a quieter space for people to have aftercare.
This suited many people I know who are neurodivergent who attend my parties and meant that it was less likely that they would become overstimulated, agitated or anxious. I also listen empathetically and can easily make reasonable adjustments to play situations when I am sessioning with submissives.
5. What’s the link between Neurodivergence and kink?
There is no proven link between neurodivergence and kink and it’s important to remember that anyone can be kinky and neurodivergent people are all different and may not be drawn to kink at all. The link at the moment appears to be observed by people within their kink community realising that there appears to be a much higher proportion of neurodiverse people than within the general population.
All people can have different sexual expressions and interests, however neurodivergent people may have less traditional perspectives on sex and a greater desire for different sensory experiences that can be found when practising kinky activities.
6. Do you ever find out whether your subs have any forms of neurodivergence– prior session?
I am up front about being neurodivergent myself and since then I have had some subs tell me upfront. This can be helpful as if I know in advance, for example, that a sub is sensitive to light and noise I can be mindful and make adjustments prior to the session if necessary.
7. Are you qualified to recognise the different types of neurodivergence in your clients? If so, do you switch up your play and aftercare.
The only person qualified to diagnose types of neurodivergence is a psychiatrist, so I am careful not to overstep. I can often get to the heart of what a client needs to fully relax and submit with mindful questioning before the session. In session I am also very open and attentive to the responses of my subs.
They know that they can use their safeword or safesignal for any reason and there is no shame in that. I think the best thing to do is treat everyone as an individual with individual needs and kinks and go from there.
8. And finally, tell Podopheleus readers how they go about booking a session with you and supporting you
I am @ObeyOrla on social media platforms and you can find all my links, including how to book a session with me at www.obeyorla.com.
There we have it, Kinky Folks!
I sincerely hope that you found this interview blog enjoyable to read. I would like to extend a heartfelt acknowledgement to Obey Orla for generously sharing their valuable expertise on this subject matter with the readers of Podopheleus. Thank you
Kindly ensure to follow Obey Orla’s social media account on Twitter @ObeyOrla.
Thanks to our BDSM educator, Obey Orla, you are now well-informed about neurodiversity. Let’s encourage one another by sharing this interview with others who share our views. Moreover, feel free to hit me up on Twitter @podofeleus and Instagram @Podopheleus.
Much Kink Love,