Once I opened myself up to sex and pleasure, I began going deeper. I began to admit, to myself and others, what I liked and wanted.
I remember tying my Barbies up and having Ken spank them…I've been kinky for a very long time! Prior to having partners I would spank, wrap rope around, and drip hot wax on myself during masturbation. Not always but often. My main masturbation fodder as a teen was Anne Rice’s Beauty series. Which might say more about my poor literary taste than my sexual interests!
(Before I continue, let me say, there is no definitive definition of what a domination/submission (d/s) relationship means or looks like. This is just how I differentiate things.)
I don’t think I’ll ever be a “true” emotional submissive. I don’t sub space and never have. I call myself a “bottom” because I’m a filthy little pain slut who truly, truly, truly enjoys being hurt. My play is fun. It’s giggly and talkative and silly with wonderful friends. My desire to submit emotionally isn’t something I’ve ever really experienced. I had a short d/s text thing that made me realize how hot a certain level of submission could be for me. How it made me wet when she told me what to do. Even the most mundane orders turned me on, leaving me horny for days at a time. And I’ve definitely let d/s enter my sex life in terms of being ordered around, role play, and being called filthy names. But once the sex or scene is over, the desire to submit is - for the most part - gone. For the most part. Sometimes I do hunger for a more psychological d/s experience. But I think it would need to be with someone I felt really strongly about and connected to.
My hard core kink partners have never been someone I was dating or had a truly relationshippy intimacy with. I do wonder if I were to meet someone and date someone and fall in love with someone who had dominant leanings, would I become more psychologically submissive? Perhaps. Or perhaps not. A dom friend once laughed and said, “Heidi, you will never let anyone own you.” And I suspect she’s right!
For now I just like pain. I like hands around my throat and being slapped in the face. I like whips and floggers and paddles. I like talking back because I know the next hit will be harder. I like rope digging into my skin. I like being called names. I like play involving fire, wax, and electricity. I like knife play and rape play. I like being made to bleed. I like finding bruises and bite marks the next day.
Now the question is, as someone with chronic and agonizing pain, why do I choose to create more? Which is a completely valid question. The kink pain and chronic pain are, to me, like apples and oranges and I don’t connect the two at all. If I’m having a day when my chronic pain is causing me to feel even shittier than usual, I don’t play. The kink pain is different but I’m not sure I can explain how or why. But I’ll try, so stick with me!
I’ve been told that I can take an extreme amount of pain. A very experienced play partner told me I’m a 9 on a scale of 1 to 10. And he’s only ever met one 10. When one of my regular play partners asks if I’ve had enough, usually I laugh and say, “Awww…did I wear you out?” (See, back talk! Such a greedy little pain slut!) Maybe the chronic pain I live with is why I can take so much? Who knows. I did a hook pull last week and having hooks in my chest and pulling until I bled didn’t hurt. Not that it hurt but I did it anyway, it just didn’t hurt me. While a few others could handle the pain for only a minimal amount of time, I was happily pulling hard, only stopping because I was afraid I’d rip them out on accident. The next day I got an email from a woman who watched me, telling me she’d never seen me look as happy, calm, and at peace as I did during the pull.
My mantra, when I don’t think I can handle what I’m being given (a rarity) is: Pain can’t kill you. But when it hurts beyond my tolerance, I vocalize that and I’m immediately returned to the good hurting. But kink pain (unlike the bad pain I live with) doesn’t last. It hurts for that moment and then it’s gone. I don’t even feel pain when I sit down after a hard core beating. The only time it did ache when I sat down was after being spanked/flogged/whipped/etc for the fifth time in six days. And the aching was awesome because it reminded me of what happened and put a smile on my face every time I shifted positions. I think the marks left on my body from kink play (both sexual and not) are gorgeous. In some ways I see them as I do my tattoos and piercings; a few minutes of pain resulting in something that makes me feel beautiful.
The marks are a result of me taking control of my body. Of taking it back from people who tried to steal and destroy it. Of giving it the things I ache for and find pleasure in. I’m reconnecting with my body and OWNING every inch of it.
It’s safe for me because I only play with people who are experienced. People who are kind and sweet and respectful. The nicest sadists you’ll ever meet! People who I know would stop the second I said my safe word. They check in with me during the scene to make sure I’m okay and I’ve played with them long enough that they’re able to read my body language. I trust them completely, with no hesitation. The majority of people I’ve played with are sexually monogamous and our relationship is purely kink.
That was difficult for me to wrap my mind around when I first joined the community, as all of my experiences with rough play were sexual. I connected kink to sex so that not being the case confused me a bit. Well…a lot. But now I’m acclimated to that and happily enjoy kink without sex and sex without kink. But them being combined is still the best.
I know it’s weird to say my kink play is “non-sexual.” I didn’t even realize how oxymoronic it sounded until my roommate called me out on it, trying to convince me it is sex. The best way I can put it is: it’s sexual but it’s not sex. When I say non-sexual, I mean no penetration, no oral of any kind, and no hands touching my pussy. Though I’m naked and my ass and tits bear the brunt of the pain. Maybe it’s a contextual thing? I’m not sure. I know there are people who would consider hands on their tits and a paddle on their ass to be a sex act. But, hey, we all define sex in different ways so…
I guess, thinking it through, I view play as non-sexual partially based on my partners’ definition. If s/he’s sexually monogamous but her/his partner is fine with bare handed spanking and tit torture, it isn’t a sex act. Even if s/he, for instance, whips my pussy and clit but that’s within their definition of monogamy, it’s not sex. Regardless of how turned on it makes me or them. But, again, that’s only my definition. One of my regular play partners has to smoke a cigarette after the couple of hours he spends with me because it is so much like sex to him. I don’t know…I think this is the hardest thing for me to explain.
So, why do I want to be hurt? Why do I enjoy it? 1) It honestly feels good to me. To a degree. Some of it just plain hurts but 2) the fact that I’m turning my top on is a massive turn on for me. And 3) I like seeing how far I can go and how much I can take.
For a lot of years I viewed these things as bad and shameful. As parts of a darkness inside of me I was constantly trying to suppress. As proof of damage. As sharp, dangerous shards resulting from how broken I truly was.
But why? Why is what I like so “wrong”? I think of things on a continuum so why is liking a swat on the ass okay but being slapped in the face isn't? Why, when one level of pain can be seen as erotic or pleasurable, another can't be?
God, you can’t imagine how hard I struggled with wanting these things and being a feminist. The same way I struggled with watching and liking mainstream porn. I worried constantly that my desires and preferences were solely a result of my decade-long history of abuse. That these desires were, obviously, aberrant and evil and must be unhealthy for me to engage in or even think about. I was just recreating my abuse and screwing myself up further. The more I thought about it, more questions arose.
Does it even matter? Does it matter why I want what I want? Maybe it does but does the reason behind it determine whether or not I should allow myself to receive pleasure from it? Does the fact that I'm an abuse survivor mean I shouldn't engage in what turns me on the most? Do I allow my father's acts of molestation and violence dictate my choices in the bedroom 20 years later? Do I allow them to define what's “right” and what's “wrong” for me?
My childhood was destoryed...do I let my history destroy my adult life as well?
Just because my world, sweet sister, is so fucking goddamn full of rape / Does that mean my body must always be a source of pain?
I realized that fighting against what I liked sexually was yet another way to hate, judge, and demean myself. And god knows I do enough of that already. So I worked on asking for what I wanted and needed. I didn't do the greatest job but it was a start.
Since moving to Alabama, I've been involved in the BDSM community. It's brought up even more questions as I explore and figure out what I like and don’t, what I need and don't. Do I want a d/s relationship or do I just want to be slapped around during sex on occasion? I'm thinking more about polyamory, monogamy, jealousy, relationships... And, as confusing as it feels at times, it's helped me in so many ways. I've met some really great people. These amazing, kind, emotionally healthy people with no history of abuse who like kinky sex. Good people with huge hearts who are kinder to me than I ever expected.
But more than that, it's forced me to work on my communication skills. I learned to set boundaries. I learned about negotiation and mutual satisfaction. I learned how to say, I want X, Y, and Z and not feel that I'm being selfish or demanding. I learned how to accept pleasure. I learned that everything was under my control. Whether it was being whipped or engaging in rape play, it all happened because I wanted it to. I could shape it into anything I wanted it to be. Suddenly I felt powerful in my new role. I was “weak” only because I wanted to be; only because it was a role I wanted to play. For so much of my life I felt powerless and out of control. So to suddenly be the one in charge was mind blowing.
There are people of every age, shape, size, and gender representation in the kink community. Kinky porn represents real people having kinky sex the same way mainstream porn represents real people fucking. Meaning: not at all. Most of these people aren't wearing latex! (I know, sad face, right!?) Some are fat. Some are thin. There’s cellulite and stretch marks and scars. At the last event I went to, there was a woman in leg braces and another in a wheelchair. Soldiers, school teachers, secretaries and fire fighters. These people are real, with real bodies. The only thing different? They tend to be more comfortable in their bodies and with the bodies of others. It's an amazing and inspiring thing to witness. And, frankly? Having men and women tell me how lovely my body is and how beautiful I am? How spankable my ass is? How hot my noises and facial expressions are, how amazingly I bruise? Dude...that's an extra shot of awesome! It's helped me feel so much more comfortable in my skin and not worry so much when I take my clothes off, even while outside, the sun not allowing me to hide anything.
At my first play party (a few weeks after I moved to Alabama) I played in front of everyone. I stripped down to my underwear while a room full of strangers watched me get my tits beaten with a belt. I could have gone into a separate room but decided to do it there. I wanted to shock myself into getting over my terror. Like jumping into ice cold water. Like doing the scariest thing you can imagine because nothing else seems as scary afterward. After the scene, people asked if they could touch the burning hot bruises already covering my tits. Now I take my clothes off with little thought. If you don't like what you see, you don't have to look. But they do look. And I've never once felt judged. BDSM has helped me accept my body in ways I never have before.
I'm constantly amazed at how many people want to play with me. At how many people love the noises I make and the way my body responds and the way I react when I'm being hurt in various ways. (And when I'm told that, I, of course, blush and cover my face. I'm the shyest exhibitionist you know!) For whatever reason, really skilled, experienced, and sought after people seek me out to play with on a regular basis and it's awesome!
It's not a magical fix. I still feel embarrassed when I have to tell someone that, right now, I'm not physically able to stay standing during long scenes or to kneel on the floor. I'm working on accepting my limitations and working within them...instead of using them as an excuse to lock myself away. I still sometimes feel that I'm ugly or gross or too inexperienced but it's getting better and I feel more comfortable in my body now than I ever have before.
It took me time to create my boundaries and keep them firm. Something bad happened and, because of it, one of my closest friends took on the role as my “protector.” She chose who I could play with and what they could do to me. She acted as my barrier when people approached me and I was too uncomfortable to say no. Because she sure as hell was never afraid to say no to creepy, inexperienced people. No one could lay a hand on me without her permission. (Dude, we even made a color-coded Excel spreadsheet because that’s how we roll. She also made me a necklace when her role became “official.” It’s a pink octopus holding a heart! Eeee!) She protected me because I trusted her more than I trusted myself. Because she loved me more than I was capable of loving myself. Eventually that role ended because it was no longer necessary but it’s still one of the most important relationships I ever had. She helped me become so strong that I no longer needed her in that role. And that was the greatest gift she could ever give me. I no longer need her to slay the dragons. Not because they no longer exist but because she gave me a sword of my own and taught me how to use it.
Life is a journey and it, inevitably, takes us places we don't expect...places we're afraid to go. But sometimes those are the places we need to go the most. Sometimes those are the places where we find who we really are.
Maybe it is all a horrible result of my abuse. But, if so, as I go further into therapy and deeper into healing my trauma, it should go away. Maybe it won’t feel as good and okay and acceptable and healthy as it does now. I doubt that but if I play devil’s advocate, I can’t really argue with that idea. Because it’s possible. We all grow and change and evolve and if kink is something I move on from, I’ll still have everything it gave and taught me.
I'm not telling you to do the same as I do. I'm not saying that your self loathing or fear is going to be helped by fucking multiple people and getting slapped around. But if it is? If you can look yourself in the mirror; if you truly take pleasure in it; if you’re being respected; if you feel safe, regardless of what role you’re in… There's nothing wrong with that. And if you feel those things in a monogamous relationship with vanilla sex? That’s awesome! There's nothing wrong with that either! Your journey is yours just like my journey is mine. None of our routes are better or worse than anyone else’s.
What I want is okay. What I like is okay. What I fantasize about is okay.
I am okay.
What you want is okay. What you like is okay. What you fantasize about is okay.
You are okay.
And neither of us should let anyone tell us differently.