Toby Kalinka on Sexuality, Self-Acceptance, and the Power of Communication

by Guillermo Seis

Toby Kalinka (@tobykalinka) is not afraid to speak his truth. The 24-year-old social worker and masseuse from Vienna shares his story with us in our latest issue. He reveals how he navigated the challenging and often stigmatized aspects of sexuality and desire, and how he learned to accept and celebrate his queer identity.

What does sexuality mean to you, and how has your understanding of it evolved over time?

Sexuality is an exciting topic to me because it has no boundaries. It is not a fixed or static identity, but a fluid and dynamic one. One may feel certain about their sexual orientation at one point, and then question it at another. This is what makes it exciting - the constant discovery of new possibilities and dimensions. There is no final destination, only a journey of exploration.

However, not everyone is exposed to the diversity and complexity of sexuality. Many people grow up in a heteronormative society that prescribes how they should feel and behave. They are taught that there is only one right way to be sexual and that anything else is abnormal or wrong. This harmful and oppressive way of thinking denies people the freedom and joy of expressing their true selves. Sexuality should not be confined by rigid labels or boxes but celebrated as a personal and unique experience. As long as there is no harm or coercion involved, and all parties are consenting adults, people should be able to experiment with whatever they want and whoever they want, without fear of judgment or discrimination.

How do you express your sexual desires and preferences, and what factors influence them (e.g., gender, attraction, kink, trauma, etc.)?

I have reached a point where I communicate very openly during sex. If I don’t like something, I state it and if I ever feel uncomfortable, I stop. I used to go through with it when I was younger, and I have experienced some very traumatic things because of it. I feel like we are not taught enough that it is always okay to say no, even if we consented in the first place. Just because we agreed to have sex with someone, does not mean we have to finish the act. I also learned that communication is a key factor in receiving pleasure. Everyone likes something different, so in order to fulfill our needs, we have to let people know how to do that.

What challenges have you faced in expressing your sexual desires and needs, and how have you overcome them?

One of the challenges is the fear of rejection or the fear of being judged for liking something. You can overcome this by accepting yourself and your preferences. You are not dirty or wrong for being kinky or into something out of the norm. When you can see that, no one else can make you feel bad about it! And if someone doesn’t respect your needs and boundaries, you can feel confident about not letting them close to you, rather than being upset about it.

How do you ensure that your sexual relationships are healthy, consensual, and respectful, and what are your boundaries and communication strategies?

These are some good questions… they really made me think haha

I guess I have to mention communication again! It is important to talk about every feeling that comes up! Especially in a relationship, I find it very important… Feelings like jealousy are normal, they only turn into something ugly when you don’t communicate them. If you do, they will bottle up and make a person act in toxic ways and only push the other person away. If you are so close with a person that you can communicate your desires outside of your relationship and can manage to set healthy boundaries, that would be the strongest connection for me. Nothing is off limits- you literally can talk about anything, with no judgment and only support and love.

How do you envision a more inclusive and fulfilling sexual culture that embraces diverse sexual identities and expressions, and how can we work towards it?

There should be no taboo topics in sex education, only an inclusive and comprehensive approach that teaches about all kinds of sexualities, kinks, and preferences. It is also essential that the new generation learns about consent as well as the importance of their own desires.