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Getting Into BDSM


I recently found out that I was into BDSM.

For those who don’t know, BDSM stands for Bondage, Discipline, Domination, Submission, Sadism, and Masochism. These are different, but connected practices that give some people a turn-on and peak experience similar to sex, or which can also be a part of sex.

“Sadism” and “masochism” here mean something different to how they are used in everyday language; an everyday sadist would be understood as cruel, but a BDSM sadist gives pleasure through pain and can do this in an entirely kind and compassionate way (and naturally, only to willing partners).

Note: I write here about a partner; since writing this article a couple of weeks ago, we’ve broken up, but I’ve chosen to leave this as is.

My Path To BDSM

For some, my little announcement might be a bit amusing, as I previously had questioned myself regarding BDSM and decided I was completely vanilla (non-BDSM). One friend had even labelled me “The most vanilla person I have ever met”.

It’s a bit more interesting than that, actually, because before my gender transition I had had BDSM fantasies. When I transitioned, though, these fantasies disappeared, and I assumed that transition had done something to turn me vanilla all of a sudden.

It may be, indeed, that my pre-transition BDSM fantasies were gender-related. I had “forced feminisation” fantasies, where a partner would “humiliate me” by making me like a woman. (The horror!). It seems fairly easy to conclude that this was a way of me experiencing my gender identity in some way that felt “safe” for me at the time.

I also think that because we so often subconsciously associate gender with power, whether we want to or not, power play might have been a way of me accessing my gender. All of these things gave me plausible deniability, as in, I could experience some kind of femininity but keep it separate from my everyday persona.

So perhaps when I transitioned this aspect of BDSM disappeared for me, and because of that, I stopped needing to fantasise about it. And perhaps this is how I managed to convince myself I just wasn’t into it at all.


Discovering BDSM

I finally discovered I was wrong by experimenting with a partner. I basically did the things that they said would turn them on, just to please them, without expecting it to do anything for me. However, I soon realised I was getting turned on myself.

At first, it was hard to tell whether I was getting turned on because they were turned on, or whether it was something that I found exciting in and of itself. However, over time I learned to make that distinction. I discovered that I was a dominatrix and a (BDSM) sadist.

Expectations Vs. Reality

Perhaps what kept me so long from discovering my desires was that I had a different image in my head of BDSM from how it really was. Interestingly, this may have also been part of the reason I took so long to work out I was bisexual and not lesbian; in my attempts to fantasise about men I imagined them as emotionless, disconnected, and almost violent… no wonder it didn’t work for me.

In the same way, I imagined domination to be a harsh, cruel thing, and didn’t imagine you could do it lovingly and kindly. I also couldn’t see how sadism could be done lovingly.

And perhaps I saw both as just too serious, rather than play. At least, for me nowadays, BDSM is play. There is a big difference for me between being domineering in the workplace and being a dominatrix in bed. One is violence; the other is a little roleplaying which for some reason turns us on.

I really don’t understand why it turns us on. For me, the existence of BDSM is kind of bewildering. Before, when I assumed that there was some connection between being domineering in the workplace and being a dominatrix in bed, I thought BDSM must be something toxic, some safe playing out of toxic desires. Now, all I think is that I do some silly things in bed and for some reason it turns me and my partner on and this basically makes no sense at all.

Making A Separation

When I started out practicing Domination/Submission, I was going into “D/S mode” with my partner frequently outside of bed. D/S sort of blended into our relationship in general. Later on, I think we both worked out that it was better for us to make a separation between when we were in D/S mode and when we weren’t. D/S is not real life, it’s a game we play.

Some people live in 24/7 D/S relationships; I don’t know how this works, but I guess I’d feel a little lonely if I was always telling my partner what to do and not being able to relate as equals. In my D/S relationship, I simulate having control over my partner, but it’s not real control. For one thing, they can always say “no”, and they do sometimes. For another thing, I’m not really making any very important decisions for them. We just find a setting where, for a while, we can feel like power is being exchanged.

BDSM In The Real World

I do wonder if there is any connection between BDSM in bed and power relations in real life. The thought seems a bit disturbing for me. Do some people want to have a domineering boss? Do some people get off on being told to do menial tasks for a slave wage?

Despite what I do in bed, I am 100% against hierarchy in the real world. And I don’t think there is any conflict here.

I’ve thought about the abuse I went through being beaten as a child. Perhaps this pain and power play would be exciting to some people in certain settings. I guess we can make the analogy here that if consensual D/S and S/M are like sex, then the sort of abusive treatment I received is like rape. The consent and context change everything.

And so, in the case of a domineering boss, the power isn’t just being simulated; it’s real. The person being dominated doesn’t get the chance to say “no”, doesn’t get the chance to say that they don’t feel like it right now. And so, there’s no chance for them to explore power dynamics in a sexy way. It’s more like workplace harassment.

I wonder, in fact, if my experience in childhood is affecting how I experience BDSM now. I suppose it must be. For instance, I seem to have some smidgen of curiosity about exploring being submissive in bed, but I think my trauma regarding that makes it too scary for me. I don’t feel comfortable with the idea of giving up control. Going back to the rape analogy, perhaps it’s similar to how a rape victim might find it difficult to engage in sex after their trauma.


My Views On BDSM

I do suppose my views on BDSM will change. They certainly did regarding being trans; in one of my first posts on the subject, I called myself a “transgender man”, a designation for myself that I would find incredibly offensive nowadays! I plan to gradually get more into the BDSM community, and will surely learn things and hear new perspectives as I go.

I have a lot of curiosity about how my understanding of BDSM will change how I understand people in general… though I’m kind of happy right now exploring the perspective that it’s just inexplicable and doesn’t say much about us at all really.

You know, I used to say that BDSM was basically the only way in which I wasn’t completely “alternative”. I’m vegan, poly, bisexual, trans, and all of that… all I needed was this to add to my collection. And here it is. Frikkin’ predictable 😛

A New Form Of Oppressoin

Finally, I’m wondering how I will deal with a new form of oppression. After all, I know I was pretty BDSM-phobic before, and might have been uncomfortable thinking about people doing these sorts of things, and assumed them to be somehow unbalanced mentally. It stands to reason that other people will think such things of me.

I’m already starting to learn when I might and might not want to talk about BDSM. For me, it’s an exciting new development in my life, so I want to talk about it. For others, though, it may creep them out. I am discovering I may have to find particular people with which to talk about this aspect of my life. There’s a new in-group and out-group, a new safe space and unsafe space.

It’s all a little intense right now. It will take some work to integrate this new aspect of my life. I’m trying to go slowly with it, and to make it as easy on myself as possible.

There are surely more updates to follow.

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