So I suppose if I’m writing about my entire experience or identity as a kinky individual, I should probably start at the beginning of my sexual discovery. I wasn’t oblivious of sexuality until I was a teen or a young adult and then one day, had some miraculous sexual awakening. I wasn’t having vanilla sex for years and then one day had a partner spank me or pin my arms down and then realize what I’d been missing all along. I started discovering my kinky side when I was probably about eleven or twelve, though I didn’t have words for it yet and it was definitely surrounded by a feeling of shame and secrets, which I am still in the process of unlearning.
I had my first period the summer I was eleven, and in the time surrounding that was when I started exploring my body and learning the different things it was capable of. I distinctly remember the first time I masturbated, not having the vocabulary to know that’s what I was doing, but grabbing something in my room that looked like it might work and going to town in front of my Orlando Bloom poster. After that initial experience, I was addicted, finding any free time and short moment of privacy I had to recreate this new thing I had found out my body could do…typical adolescent behavior right? I eventually discovered porn – and we can get into all of the problematic themes and practices later, I didn’t know better, I was like 13 – which just upped the game. With no concept of what BDSM actually was, I ventured into that section for some reason, and the plot thickens. I had moved on from Orlando Bloom and started watching and masturbating to some of the raunchiest BDSM/bondage porn I’ve seen to date. I was always met with feelings of shame afterward, not knowing what any of this meant but feeling sure that I was wrong for enjoying it to any degree. When I started getting a little more creative and experimental, I would come up with scenes in my head of what was happening or being done to me. I would tie myself up with bathrobe belts, and regular belts (I had to be inventive) and get off while I was in these precarious and, I now realize, dangerous positions.
So these early discoveries and explorations of a sexuality I knew nothing about were somewhat forgotten for a while. I would still watch and get off to kinky porn, but it stayed fairly on the surface and definitely wasn’t something I ever shared with anyone or talked about…until college.
I am someone with a very strong, independent, dominant personality. I am a feminist and believe in women thinking, succeeding, and doing for themselves; we don’t need men to help us get through life. So how do I balance that with also being sexually submissive? What does that look like? And how does one navigate these two seemingly contradictive paths? To me it feels immensely empowering to tell someone that I am kinky (though this doesn’t usually happen except with people I trust or in a setting where I know I am not in a position of harm). It feels like an act of rebellion in a way, because being deviant from the sexual “norm” is still fairly taboo, even with the recent popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey […we can talk about my thoughts on that later…], the mainstream public still has only gotten a very tame and mild taste of any sort of “alternative sexuality”. People who practice and perform “kink” are not necessarily a small group, but because of the stigma and taboo associated with “sexually deviant lifestyles”, there are not always many who readily talk publicly about it.
The biggest moment in my adult kink discoveries (so far) is probably when I created a FetLife profile. I had never had access to so many people involved in or interested in some part of this community, even having attended conferences with BDSM/kink focused workshops and a seminar given by a professional dominatrix, so many people were hesitant to open up much about their interests and experiences. I, of course, have encountered plenty of men who want to control me, want to bark orders via chat messages, or who are only there to demand nudes with no respect to the community or practices of a proper BDSM relationship or encounter…but I have also come across people who have been helpful and become friends or mentors able to carry on intelligent conversations and impart knowledge of how to navigate the BDSM world, particularly as a female submissive who are often taken advantage of in numerous ways.
So how does a feminist with a strong dominant personality navigate also being a sexual submissive? The honest answer is that I’m still figuring it out and learning what that means for me. It is an interesting balance.
As a feminist, I believe in equality. I believe in equal rights for all genders. I hate the idea of women being the “fairer sex” that needs to be taken care of and helped through life by men. I am not an object for consumption. I have seen toxic masculinity running rampant, I am immersed in a patriarchal society full of misogyny and sexism and these are things I am dedicated to fighting. Because of this, many think or ask how I can, in turn, let a man control me and tell me what to do in bed. Firstly, this is making the assumption that I have only male partners, which is not the case. Secondly, and most importantly to me is the distinction between a situation in which I am choosing to give control over to someone, rather than situations in which it is assumed that I should not have the choice to make my own decisions.
Submission is a choice, and something that is given, not taken. And I believe that in many ways, it takes more strength than dominance. That is not to discount or discredit the dedication and attention that is required to be a successful and good Dom…but the level of trust that a sub is placing in their partner takes great strength of will.
[me, wearing white collar with silver studs and a hot pink button that says feminists are the majority]
Many women are taking back and reclaiming pleasure, whether after sexual trauma, a bad relationship, a long period without any sort of sexual stimulation, etc. Women’s sexual pleasure is most definitely a feminist act, particularly in a society where we are taught to be ashamed of sexual desires and pleasures…that men are the ones with the sex drive, and the focus is almost always on their pleasure over anyone else’s. Well, we are flipping that narrative on its head, because not only are women (and other non cis-male bodies) interested in sex, but we desire pleasure from it as well. That may not always mean orgasm, but pleasure nonetheless.
For so many that are making this reclamation of their pleasure, masturbation is where it starts, and for me, kink is an integral and important part of masturbation, and my pleasure. Therefore, by association, my kink too is a feminist act because it is through kink and BDSM that I am reclaiming the pleasure that I have been denied in numerous situations and for myriad reasons. As an overweight woman, for a long time I felt that I was undeserving of the same sexual pleasures others were afforded, or at least that they were not available to me, because of my size. There have been plenty of vanilla interactions in which pleasure was not made readily available to me because my partner’s focus was on his own pleasure, and there was no stimulation of any kind really, for me. Keep in mind that only around 25% of women (I feel that is a generous estimate) orgasm just from vaginal penetration*, and while orgasm is not always the ultimate goal of sex, and sexual pleasures, I am definitely one of the nearly 86% or so of women who require some other sort of stimulation (whether it be clitoral, anal, etc.) to reach orgasm.
So while many may look at a sexually submissive woman and think that she is backwards, subservient, and the exact opposite of a feminist…look again, and think about whose choice it was for her to be on her knees, or to be tied to a bed post. She wasn’t forced there, she chose to be there; if you removed her bonds, she likely would remain in the same vulnerable position because her submission has already been given, the cuffs and ropes and blindfolds are merely tools to carry out fantasies.
*Castleman, M., M.A. (2009, March 16). The Most Important Sexual Statistic. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/all-about-sex/200903/the-most-important-sexual-statistic