It’s been six years since I started this blog, opened myself to my sexuality, and started exploring the kink/BDSM community. I’ve evolved, my perceptions have changed, or deepened, or become more nuanced, more revealed, all in cycles. Some of the changes seem so radical I wanted to do a post comparing then and now, but it got long really quickly, so I’m breaking it up into a few posts. I’m going to start with some of the lighter, simpler changes, and then get into the heavier, more complex topics.
Then I Had Never Had an Orgasm, and Now…
Technically I had three or four in sex dreams before having had my first intentional orgasm. But I’m not counting them because I didn’t know what they were.
It took me a year of trying to have an orgasm and would definitely still classify it as one of the biggest let downs of my life. The great golden carrot of the life-long monogamous, hetersexual marriage I was raised to look forward to turned out to be bullshit. It took a couple years, but I did start enjoying orgasms, as opposed to just needing them
Then I Was A Virgin, and Now– Well, Define Sex.
The first time I had had any kind of sex was receiving oral sex from my mentor, and that was definitely giving away a virginity for me. I’ve only had a couple partners, but I’ve been sexual in various ways with other people. I’ve had some fabulous sex that most people wouldn’t even remotely classify as sex, had a ton of vaginal intercourse that wasn’t really sex to me, and done some things with partners and non-partners that might leave some people wondering, “Was it sex, or wasn’t it?” I have also had more so-called “vanilla” sex than I ever want to have again.
Then I Thought I Was Straight, Now I Realize I’m Queer/Pansexual
This was mostly a relic of growing up Christian and thinking the gay was not something Mr. I-Want-All-The-Worshippers-To-Myself intended, because hey, Leviticus. That and a homophobic parent. I got over that when I dropped the Christianity (or maybe a little before, I can’t remember), but because my desire is fairly biased toward maleness/masculinity, I think I just assumed I was straight. But there were other indicators that I missed along the way. Like adolescent daydreams about marrying trans-people. Also a guilty teenage fascination with yaoi. Also early fantasies about the naked lady-slaves.
My attraction to various genders fluctuates, and isn’t distributed equally. I’m still pretty heavily into various combinations of maleness and/or masculinity (but the submisive variety). But I’m also attracted to all manner of other genders, providing sexual and personality compatibility. The category I’m probably least attracted to is women. Though I did spend almost an entire year feeling almost entirely androgynous and almost entirely asexual and then I was absolutely and utterly into women. Go figure.
Then I Had Fantasies, Now I Have Experience
Early on, I was understandably very fixated on articulating and otherwise enthusiastically expressing my fantasies. It was a way to get them out of me, to have the release and relief of sharing them, mostly uncensored, with actual, live people. Without the fear of doing so face to face, to people I knew. It was so freeing, and so validating to not only read other people’s similar desires, but have them comment on my posts saying, “Hey, me too!”
Now I don’t have a huge level of experience (which is to say, not as much as I’d like), but I’d say my experience level is moderate (when compared to what I want it to be). Reality does not always provide the high or the specificity that fantasy does, but it is real. The people are real, the skin is real beneath my hands, the flesh between my teeth, someone’s orgasm within my body, the shuddering expressions and purring of approval and hisses of displeasure. The scratches and welts and rope marks, and always, always, bound hands straining to touch me as I fuck my partner.
Playing with people feeds me in a very real way. When I started in The Scene again last year and started playing again after a long hiatus, I told some of my confidants, “It’s incredibly nourishing. Like air. Or food.”
I knew this already, but expressing it out loud really highlighted how long I’d gone without. There were sound reasons for that. I had a lot of other personal growth type things to do. But it was a long, long fast. Even when my partner did some things to please me, it was totally and absolutely not the same.
I still have the fantasies I had when I started. But they no longer dominate the landscape of my desire in the same way they did. Some have become refined to realistic proportions as I learn more about what I want. Some I still want to experience but only in roleplay. Some no longer do it for me in the same way, due to reasons I’ll get into later.
So I’ve been participating in The Scene again for almost a year now. I went in as a young, unpartnered, female, queerish/genderfluid-but-non-presenting, dominant/sadistic/toppish person with a stake in femdom and sadist identities. I went in with a firm knowledge that The Scene was not going to live up to my standards, and that I was going to take the good parts for what they were worth anyway. I was ready. I was tired of settling [for mostly "vanilla" acts of intimacy]. After having done a lot of growing, and gone through some profound life crisis, I was ready to be seriously proactive in getting my needs met.
The disappointing parts of The Scene are still disappointing. The assumptions, stereotypes, and discriminations are still there. I haven’t been around long enough to pick out the skeletons shoved in the closets, but I know they’re there. But going in with the attitude that I was going to navigate that as authentically and in the best integrity that I could, has allowed me to enjoy the good parts more. Namely, that there are well-populated spaces where I can be my sexual orientation and talk about it and it be taken for granted, instead of met with surprise, confusion, fear, and disgust. That there are respectful, intelligent, thoughtful, fun people who want to play with me.
I’ve been in two different cities, which has given me a nice little triangular pool to draw comparisons and contrasts with the first regional scene I experienced.
One city was a large metropolitan area in an extremely conservative American state. Because of that, I didn’t expect it to be a Megalopolis of BDSM, but it was. Which had some awesome benefits. They had two dungeons and usually two or three events to go to a week, minimum. HUGE rope scene. Two groups dedicated to femdom (two!). One was high protocol fetishista style. I never ended up going, but I had started the process to at least experience it despite my instinctive bleagh sentiments. The other was just… well-intentioned and highly awkward. Which was really unfortunate for everyone involved, and I think especially for the people I met there who were just starting to explore their mansub/femdom desires. But it was there that I found a really awesome couple to play with.
They were a couple of rungs above me in the generation scheme and coming from a different life-context, but we just played together really well. They were more along the s/m part of the spectrum than the d/s, with perhaps some d/s flavor thrown in. He was a super fun reactive masochist, and she was a super-playful sadist, and beating on him together was fantastic.
There was another couple I played with a few times as well, both of them slightly younger with me. They were more d/s, and I ended up connecting in play more with the sub in the couple and being more friends with the dom, but still a really great experience.
In retrospect I feel really fortunate tha I had those relationships, even if they only lasted a few months, because they were really positive experiences to have just coming back into the public scene. I also found out that it can be super fun to play with couples because they know each other and you get part of an insider’s perspective right away when playing. And they got a sexy extra to mix things up. :)
The second local scene, that I’m currently participating in, is much, much smaller and held in a small, progressive city in a more generally conservative region. There are no dungeons here because there are no consent laws. Basically boxers can legally beat the crap out of each other, but you can’t legally consent to being beaten for love and leisure. That means that instead there are private “public” parties which offer more legal protections. This means less access to a large playspace and equipment, but you can have sex there, and there are some safeguards in place in terms of who can attend.
While this sounds like a good idea, the vetting process is pretty spotty, so who knows what it actually does to safeguard anyone. Also, it’s a huge pain in the ass if you’ve been a part of The Scene before and you know you’re a safe and respectful player and you know how dungeon etiquette works, but don’t happen to be a national presenter or something, so you have to go about proving it all over again before you can get vetted for each event.
I’ve now got a couple of regular play partners who I really enjoy, and do some pickup play here and there. I also really enjoy the discussion groups, and the local jiu-jitsu-for-kink group, which is basically the only event besides one of the munches that runs weekly.
The general BDSM aesthetic of being all dark and shit prevails in both the scenes. They’re both mandom/femsub heavy, but in the six years since I started in The Scene and now, identifying as a switch seems to have gone from still being pretty heavily marginalized to being at least fifty percent of the people I meet, and in some ways almost more of a standard than the mandom/femsub dynamic. I have even, I swear, encountered a subtle attitude that if you don’t switch you basically just haven’t found your inner switchness. Which is puzzling and hilarious.
The local scene I’m in now is in general more chill. There is absolutely no expectation of public high-protocol. When I see people with relationship protocols acted in public, it is also chill. Dominants do not just go grab anybody they want, and I’m-submissive-not-a-doormat and I’m-a-bottom-not-a-sub-respect-it seem to be standard. I haven’t had a single skeevy mandom come-on (thus far). I’ve certainly had a couple mandoms feel me out who maybe didn’t quite get that I wasn’t a switch just because they see me tie myself up in public so often, but they weren’t pushy.
As I read the last couple of lines I’m reminded of a pansexual discussion group I went do where in the course of a discussion I brought up that in this city I’d only been catcalled once. I was presenting it as a somewhat extraordinary and positive thing, and there was this guy who laughed in horror and said, “I’m sorry, I’m just cringing inside that it’s the state of the culture that it’s a positive experience that you were only catcalled once.”
He saw it, and I didn’t, because being publically treated as a sexual object by strangers had become a part of my background reality. White noise.
Remembering that, I kind of laugh at myself for judging it a positive aspect of my experience in the local scene that I have not had any skeevy mandom comeons. Basically evaluating something as positive based not on all the great things that happen, but on the bad things that don’t. Within the relativism of my previous experience, it’s an improvement.
I’ve got a lot more to write about what I’ve experienced in the past year, but I’m going to try to break it up by theme.
I haven’t known what to do with this blog for a long time.
I got really caught up in my relationship with my partner and its attendant growth spurts, joys, and crisis, and well, living. Which was exactly what I needed. I matured, and grew, and then life blew up.
I’m still growing, and I still have things to say, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to say them here. Part of me just wanted to take this down, strike it from the Internet Archive like Sara Eileen did.
I’ve thought about starting over with a new blog. Something fresh, neat, orderly, censored of my flaws and confusions. Another part argued about the integrity of continuity, of accepting the record of my personal evolution, even though the early posts of this blog no longer reflect my present.
Then I started reading through my old posts to see what was salvageable, because I knew at least some of what I had written and the discussion it had spurred was valuable. When I thought of this blog I remembered 80% angst, and while there is a certain trend toward angsting, what I found was very different from what I remembered.
I began this blog from before my very first intentional orgasm all the way through my sexual initiation and into my first serious relationship.
I am appalled and devastated, to the point of tears, at the vulnerability I displayed here. At the brutal, innocent, almost uncensored honesty (almost, but not quite) around my process, my fears, beliefs, self-judgments, fantasies, ideas. I needed that. I needed to spew it all out to get it out of me instead of staying locked inside. To get feedback, perspective, ideas, encouragement, because the kink-sex blogosphere of the time was the only community I had in which to begin a rocky metamorphosis.
A lot of my beliefs about the nature and source of my sexuality have changed since I began writing, to the degree where they seem irreconcilable (they aren’t). My attitude around the issues and lacks of the kink/BDSM community has changed. I think I’m going to continue writing here, because the visibility of that process might help someone else. There were a couple of blogs that were crucial in my own internal saga of self-acceptance that are no longer around, so I want this to be around for someone else.
Digging through my stuff, finding some longhand writing from a couple years ago that might as well live somewhere outside of a dusty box.
I am three years old. On the bridge between two bastions of the playground fort I push down the front of my pants to show my vulva to my classmates.
A jumbled memory, maybe a teacher, maybe a tattletale, then bouncing in the back of a car, my father cursing in the front seat as he drives me away. I say something I don’t remember and I don’t remember what he slices back, except that it shuts me up.
I am naked in the living room, my fingers between my legs, twiddling against my labia.
My mother, gently– “It’s okay to do that, but do it in your room.” I am four years old.
I am two years old. My mother, with the anatomically correct dolls she has sewn for me. “This is a vagina, and this is the vulva. This is a penis, and these are testicles. These are breasts. If anyone ever touches you vulva, or your breasts, always remember you can tell me anything. Even if they tell you not to, you can tell me.”
I am in a classroom, on a carpet with two boys. I am four years old. A boy with blonde curls tells me that if I show them mine, they will show me theirs. We grip the elastic of our waistbands and count to three. I yank down my pants. Their hands still in place, the boys gape and giggle that I have actually done it. I demand that they reciprocate, bewildered that they have not, and yank my pants down again proudly, and joyfully.
The teacher –I think I try to pull my pants up before she can see– takes me away by the hand to the principal’s office. I am afraid. But the principal does not ask about showing my vulva, but asks how my day was, and gives me a puzzle to work on.
I am four or five years old. During playtime I and another girl concoct the earliest sadistic fantasy I can remember, with the empty chair in front of us. We discuss and debate elements that suit our children’s imaginations. There is a man, we agree, and rope, an egg, a vacuum cleaner.
The teacher hears us and quickly pulls me aside, and asks what we are doing. I think I tell her, quite plainly, and she hastily sets me to another activity.
There is social gathering in the living room. I am imagining weaving the form of my mother’s best friend’s fiance into my dominant fantasy. He is naked, helpless, vulnerable. I am five or six years old. There is a giant peanut butter sandwich involved. I share this with my mother’s best friend, and she kneels down beside me and says gently, “______, we don’t talk about things like that.”
In the basement of the church we are eating pizza and doing crafts. We are all seven or eight years old. At the table, I declare to my perennial friend-enemy who has just dismissed me, “I’m going to kiss your little ass off!”
There is dead silence. None of the other children look at me. They know I have done wrong. My face is heating. Our chaperone leans down over me as I fasten my eyes on the table and whispers, “We don’t say things like that.”
I am eight years old and the adults ask me what I am doing in my notebook. I am writing on my book, I tell them. They tell each other how creative I am and ignore me. I do not tell them about the naked women and men, the physical discipline, the slavery. I know they will not understand.
The internet has just reached the general public. I am still eight years old. I find a webpage with a full screen picture of a woman on her hands and knees on a snowy-soft surface, naked except for shackles on her wrists and ankles, and heels on her feet. The points of her nipples are just hidden by her arms as she stares at the viewer in defiant invitation. I stare at her for a long time, then quickly close the page. I come back to stare at her for days, adn I find more pictures, tiny thumbnails of naked men in chains, and I nearly cry when they never open to full sized photographs.
Finally, I open the page and call in my parents to tell them I have found a bad website.
I am ten years old and I have read my first book with a woman binding, controlling, and hurting a man, and he is completely hers. She is evil, he is good. She is broken and twisted by those who did the same to her; he is whole and strong and has the power to forgive her because she only mirrored her own torment.
I am twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen years old, lying in bed fantasizing about a man, bound, sobbing, screaming in pain. When I have exhausted myself, my shame sickens me. I reach down beneath my underwear, flick a finger up my labia to see if I am wet. Of course I am.
Cursing myself I jump up and run to the bathroom, pull down my underwear, sit on the toilet and wipe myself, staring at the stretchy, pearly, slick mass on the toilet paper. I think how disgusting I am, broken, my wires are crossed. I wet a washcloth and scrub my genitals until they are red, until every trace of stickiness is gone and I am panting. I will cure myself. I will never do it again.
I am in another country, seventeen, having one of a series of discussions with my friend who is open and confident about her identity as a submissive, a masochist, and a slut. I am trying to convince her that enjoying pain and allowing a man to control her sexually is not normal or healthy. I do not even remember my fantasies, do not even make the connection except once, almost, when she says, bemused by my arguments, “I’ve had these desires my entire life. I’ve had fantasies like this since I was three.”
Staring at the ceiling I trace the way the boards interlock over and over. I am twenty years old and I have just convinced myself that the emotional savagery of my father has made me a monster. And that one day, when I find a lover, I will have to confess myself, and let them decide if they still want me.
It is three months before and my boyfriend is confused and hurting that I will not let him kiss me. “You said my first kiss could be my way. That I could choose when and how. I told you, you promised.” My way, mine, when I’m ready, not stolen in his own romantic moment. He hurts, and does not understand.
I wanted him underneath me on the couch, his leg pulled up to his chest, open to me, my fist in his hair.
“So you want to initiate every time?” he asks, bewildered.
“Of course not.”
It is shortly after I have decided I am a monster, and I am masturbating for the first time since I was a toddler. I may be broken and twisted, but I will live with it. I have to have some kind of release, or I will die.
It is a year later and I have still not had an orgasm. I resort to a machine and overload my senses. The orgasm is painful, in the way that does not feel good. It wracks my body like a seizure. My vagina contracts, and contracts, and when my head is no longer snapping back on my spine, I lay there and contemplate how everything I was ever taught about sexuality is truly a myth.
A month before, I am whipping someone for the first time while they are tied beneath me, giving themselves to me so I can learn to be what I am. And it is beautiful.
I am nearly twenty-one years old, and I am coming to the turning point of a long and inevitable journey into the nature of the world around me. I have finally come to remember what I knew as a child. That trees speak, raccoons know mysteries I never will, and rocks are just as alive and intelligent as I am. And the culture of my birth is killing the planet. And it seems so perfectly clear, such an easy explanation for why I am the way I am.
Civilization broke me.
But I have to live this way. So I will live in a way that will make me happy. But let this twistedness die with me.
Six months later and I am drowning in shame and self-loathing, and a seed scattered by someone I have never met germinates and sets down roots.
What if I am not broken.
What if I am just a part of the myriad flavors of humanity.
What if my desires are not in fact mirrors of the travesties of this culture of destruction, but instead the culture took the things that were mine, that are ours, and maimed them to be used in conquer, assimilation, genocide.
What if I am wounded, but I am not wrong.
Bema is not into pain. They’re into enduring, but not in the sex way. Could definitely be hot in certain circumstances. So my sadism is not getting its rocks off. My masochism, on the other hand, is getting a fair bit of action. Bema is perfectly happy to give me pain that I enjoy and listen/watch my gaspy faces. Pretty cool.
Bema and I were skin on skin today, and the way we were interacting, it wasn’t exactly d/s, but it was something similar, enough to get me partially there. Bema was lying in my arms, and I just wanted to hurt them. I wanted it, and I was able to acknowledge it without squashing it, and acknowledge that it wasn’t going to happen without feeling desperate and hurt.
Bema sensed it, and we were talking later. Bema has been doing some independent research on BDSM, examining this thing that they had no real experience or draw to until until they became involved with me. Some stuff (I don’t specifically know which) they don’t really see how it could be anything but dysfunctional. Some part of me, the part that’s hurt, wanted to react to that, but mostly I just felt cool. They have their experiences and perceptions, and I have my experiences and perceptions. If those differ (and they might not even be that different; I think a lot of shit in the BDSM subculture is fucked up and dysfunctional), my experience doesn’t become unreal.
I felt suddenly ready to share this idea that has been growing in me for a while, an unfinished idea that seeps into my consciousness occasionally, then floats away again.
It started maybe a year ago, during one of my phases of hurting so much about wanting to hurt people. This continuing question tumbling inside me, “Am I a monster?”
Then, thinking, what if I am? But what if a monster just isn’t what I thought it was?
I thought about the roles monsters play in children’s stories, not the ones meant to brainwash us into easy, malleable lines, but the ones that teach us about ourselves, the ones where the monsters are only our own reflections. Monsters show us the edges of ourselves.
Other ideas seeped in, joined, mutated, ideas about tricksters, and contraries. Those who do things backwards, do the opposite of what is expected. In hunter-gatherer and other primitive peoples, tricksters are the sacred boundary crossers. In many of those same cultures, gender-mixers and -crossers played the same role. And I wonder what role my sexuality plays in my human worldview, because I know it has one, and yet even accounting for the silent majority there seem to be so much fewer people who share my desires than those who share other common desires. It reminds me of a comment Delilah left around the time when I finally tipped over the edge into accepting and cherishing my sexuality and not thinking it was completely rooted in a legacy of cultural fucked-up-ness.
I actually *do* think of myself as engaging in some dark shit when I do some of the kink that I do. The difference is that I don’t think of darkness as a bad thing [...]. Darkness to me just means the wild, the free, the things that have been suppressed by the civilization you’re talking about when you talk about darkness.
The trouble with the wild and the free is that they often are dangerous. When my lover tests my tolerance by caning the fronts of my thighs and letting me bite into his arm to manage the pain while tears stream down his face, that’s pretty dark. When I restrict someone’s blood flow and whisper to them about how easily I could kill them and that makes them come – that’s fucking dark. It’s liberated, it’s admitting how close sex and death really are, it’s delving into parts of our psyche that are very old, and animal, and fierce. It’s not just wanting to fuck someone into a stupor, but to drink their blood while you do it.
And that’s hot, which is why I do it – not because it’s hip to play with the darkness.
At the time I was railing against the image of BDSM as taboo and dark, the way it’s commercialized and caricatured as such, but I saw her point, and looking at it through that lens, I resonated with what she said.
At my core, my sexuality doesn’t feel dark to me, or strange, or crossing any kind of boundaries. It feels like normality. And in a way, despite my self-alienation, I perceive everyone else as strange. But when I study myself in relation to the people around me, who I grow with, play with, get bitchy with, when I leave myself behind and step into them, then I can see it. I can understand how they can perceive it that way, because when I was so divorced from myself around my sexuality, I saw through the same lens, but with infinitely more judgment.
None of this is an argument about how BDSM is special and awesome and so much deeper than what anybody else does. It’s just random, utterly nonlinear driftings as I contemplate where I am in my life and where I’m going.
But on to things more mundane.
Someone wanted to call a girl’s spa night. Waxing. Facials. Hair masks. After my initial repulsion:
“I’m not putting that gunk on my face, but I will rip the hair from your body.”
Unfortunately, they’re not a screamer. Pretty unfazed by that kind of pain. Just knowing that it hurt anyway did at least a little something for me, but really, I’m just a reaction top. But it’s still a satisfying sensation, feeling all the hair rip out. Someone else, who is a screamer said they’d let me know if they decided to do it.
“I’d be honored to give you pleasure,” they laughed.
I’ll take it where I can get it.
The big ones that haven’t been trimmed down, when they get all dehydrated and wrinkly but still have some heft. Hold the skinny end and hit with the top. Very satisfying impact. I bruise really easy, and I usually sport half a dozen bruises I couldn’t tell you where they came from. One day I couldn’t figure out why I had all these regular bruises up my thighs, and suddenly I burst out laughing. After explaining, my housemates teased me for the rest of the day.
Pretty good makeshift flogger. Unbalanced, and you have to be careful about the whippy ends and wrapping, but nice impact/sting.
The big six-inch ones with reall fine threads. Feels really good scraped down an arm, or across palms and fingers. Not sharp enough to draw blood, but sharp enough to leave white lines like a plowed field.
French kissing. Making out.
Not body kissing. Not throat kissing and teasing the fine hairs on someone’s skin with lips. Not just pressing lips together.
It’s so common it just gets called “kissing,” as if everyone will know what you mean when you say it. It took me two decades to do it, and then I did, and I find myself the odd man out.
I’m not so into it.
People kept telling me that it was an acquired taste, and that I would like it eventually. Everyone likes it. Everyone.
During one conversation my boyfriend was laying out all this evidence for the human desire for tongue-in-mouth kissing, and I finally said, “Basically it’s like I’ve told you I’m lesbian, and you’re trying to convince me I’d realize I’m straight if I’d just try it long enough to get used to it.”
The one I really like to whip out when people are telling me why I should like kissing is the theory that kissing evolved from an affection shared between mothers and babies from the practice of premasticating food. Then watch their cultural indigestion from paranoia of associating children with anything they consider sexual. Vengeful I can be.
Now I kind of think of french kissing the way many people think of kinky sex. “Okay, now that we really know each other and really trust each other, let’s do something completely crazy like tie each other up with scarves and blindfold each other.”
Only it’s: “Okay, now that we really know each other and really trust each other, let’s do something really fucking insane like stick our tongues in each others’ mouths.”
A faster way to spread communicable diseases, I know not.
Seriously. What a weird fucking practice. With all their gnarly diseases crossing species barriers left and right, I’m surprised agriculturalist and pastoralist population centers of civilization survived it.
I did learn to enjoy that kind of kissing with partner, and I was almost always in a state where I was incredibly present with my dominance, usually in the throes of sex. It was an expression for my aggression and sadism and dominance. Biting soft parts, claiming someone –possessing someone– in such a physically intimate way. There’s just something about claiming someone’s mouth that’s incredibly powerful for me, because in a way it’s a more intimate orifice than my cunt. To be physically locked face to face with someone, cutting off one of your options to breathe. It almost seems suicidal.
Okay, so I guess there are other ways to do it. It all feels pretty weird though.