Kinky, Submissive, and Still a Feminist

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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.

collar and button  [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

 

 

Why I’m Not Celebrating America Today

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[above image: in the military, the upside down flag is used as a signal of distress]

 

With everything going on in our country we should all take a good hard look at what this “holiday” is meant to stand for and whether that is something we want to celebrate at this time. What does it mean to be an American right now? It could mean a lot of things on a personal level, differing from one individual to another. But as a whole, America is in trouble.

Our country was “founded” by people coming to a land that was not their home country, coming to get away from oppression and persecution. How easily some of us seem to forget that fact. Our country’s first settlers invaded and took over land that was not theirs to claim, and pushed out an entire race of people that were living here long before Columbus “discovered” it. American history has been white-washed for centuries, and painted in a light to make these men look like heroes and figures to be lauded for their acts, while the reality is and has always been much darker.

How can any of us, in good conscience, spend today celebrating a country that is committing heinous acts against thousands of people? Or working to strip rights that we have fought decades to obtain? I have, for most of my adult and adolescent life, never been much of a patriotic person, questioning how great this nation really is. There are many things I am extremely grateful for in regards to being an American, and freedoms I may not be afforded elsewhere, but I have also done my best to look with a critical eye to make sure I wasn’t too complacent, or complicit.

At this point, we are looking at the imminence of the overturn of Roe v. Wade, legislation that has been nothing short of life saving to anyone seeking available options when it comes to pregnancy. To overturn this ruling would set us back over forty years, which is a setback we cannot afford. We can’t afford to return to a time of people dying from illegal abortions, improper healthcare, and the shame and stigma attached to these issues that we have fought tooth and nail to overcome.

There are still thousands upon thousands of children being split apart from their parents and families, while being shipped all over the country and held in facilities for indefinite amounts of time. There are a few thousand children that have just been essentially lost and the government is doing nothing to change or fix it, much less admitting that they have made a grave mistake.

I won’t sit here and pretend to know everything about these issues and what’s going on, and I also won’t lie and say I know how to fix any of it. There is so much going on, even more than I’ve covered here, and I think we are all really at a loss right now, and it’s scary because there is so much that needs to be fixed.

Every American should be outraged at what Trump does in our name and actively resist by whatever means available. Why we need to pay attention, reclaim our democracy, and ensure that America emerges from this collective nightmare as a nation we can be more proud of tomorrow than we were yesterday.

The moral arc of the universe does bend toward justice, but only if we stand together in moments of crisis and bend it ourselves.

America isn’t without flaws or dark chapters, but wallowing in those mistakes doesn’t advance the cause of freedom or human dignity. We must acknowledge the past and learn from it, but our task here in the present is to accept responsibility for the future and, through our actions, continue to perfect the union.

Our nation may not be living up to the aspirations or values of the American people right now, but without it the world is a much darker place.

Sure you could look at my non-participation in the fourth of July as some sort of act of political protest, but it is also an act of self-preservation and sheer lack of patriotism or pride in my country. As Americans, we should be more critical than ever, the government and current administration should be ashamed…and all of this and so much more is why I’m not celebrating America today.

Coming Into My Identity

 

I suppose I’m taking the cliché route and writing my first official blog post, on my queer blog, about my “coming out” story, or my queer/bisexual journey.

But I figured it would be a good place to start, to give some insight into how I got to this point, where I stand now with my queer identity, how I came to call myself queer proudly, and just a general look at me.

In the queer or LGBTQ+ community, there is a lot of emphasis still put on the “coming out” narrative, and people are still obsessed with folks’ “coming out” stories…but for most individuals, it’s more complicated than one succinct, compact, tied-with-a-ribbon story, because “coming out” doesn’t just happen one time, and sometimes it doesn’t happen at all.

I personally prefer not to look at it as “coming out”, but more as a “coming in”. We are finally stepping into and occupying these identities that we hold. The idea of the closet holds so many negative connotations, and many queer individuals feel a lot of pressure to come out because being “in the closet” is still so stigmatized within the LGBT community.

The reality is that coming out is an extremely personal decision, and for reasons of privacy, safety, job security, etc. it should be left to that individual to decide if, when, how, and to what extent to “come out”. I have been coming out since I was sixteen, and am still not truly 100% “out” (we’ll revisit this topic in a later post), but I chose when and who to tell, and did so because it was what I was comfortable with and what worked for me.

I stepped into my “non-straight” identity for the first time when I was sixteen years old by telling my best friend at the time. I had been confused and questioning my sexuality for about a year because I believed I had a crush on another friend of mine that was a girl. I knew I wasn’t a lesbian because I was still very much attracted to guys, but I went back and forth on thinking maybe this was just a fluke and I was still straight, it was just this one girl. Finally I was honest with myself that this wasn’t a fluke, and I told the one person that I told everything to that I knew I was attracted to girls…but I still didn’t use the term bisexual.

The time I was in high school was, I feel, the peak of when people would say that anyone who said they were “bisexual” was just looking for attention or making something up to be different. I never felt that way about anyone, but because that idea was so pervasive at the time, I shied away from associating myself with it.

So I told my best friend I knew I was attracted to girls and guys, and he was the only person that knew for two years. Over that time I struggled to figure out even what to identify as to myself, because if “bisexual” meant slutty and looking for attention, then that wasn’t me, and I began to internalize that idea. For a good part of those two years I ignored it all and got wrapped up in a crush that I was convinced was love, on the aforementioned best friend, and I focused on him.

Fast forward through those times, the biggest heartbreak of my life (so far), and the ending of our friendship (which I’m sure we will come back to in a later post), to the first time I called myself bisexual, and it changed everything.

In the Fall of 2011, I was in my first year of university. It was around early October and I had just discovered my school’s student-led LGBT organization. I still wasn’t “out” to any of my roommates, friends at school, or friends back home, and I wanted to explore and discover this on my own, so I went to my first meeting by myself and it was amazing. I had been involved in my high school’s GSA (gay-straight alliance) and was always accepting of anything LGBT, but I had never seen so many out, loud and proud people in one room before. I made a friend that night and he became my introductory mentor to the group. After the meeting, we were talking and he casually asked me how I identified, and without thinking about it much or skipping a beat, I told him I was bi, he accepted it as my truth as easily as if I had told him my hair was brown, and in that moment my life changed.

I started telling my new friends at college, I started going to every meeting each week and quickly making new friends, and like the old cliché, over Thanksgiving break, I came out to my best friends I’ve kept since middle school.

It continued on like that, my queer community and chosen family forming around me, and I completely immersed myself in all of it. The word that I once had shied away from and been ashamed to associate with was now an identity I had thrust myself into full force, and with pride.

Why bisexual? At the time I began learning about and realizing my sexuality, I had a limited lexicon of terms to choose from, and it was the only one I had to describe what I was feeling. As my bonds strengthened with my university organization, and my LGBT family, I began to learn more about the spectrum of gender and sexuality, and the different identities that people occupy.

The first time I heard someone identify as Queer was in a panel held by my newfound organization. The individual who held this identity explained her personal definition of the term and something clicked inside me. It just described everything I felt I was, even things that bisexual never quite reached, and I knew it was a term I liked and identified with.

I still use both; for myself because both still resonate with me, for different situations because in some settings one may feel more right or fitting than the other, and for others because as much as many folks don’t like the idea of labels, I find them liberating. It is an identity that I can step into and feel validated, I can share my truth and have a common ground on which to connect with others who share at least part of that identity.

The process of “coming out” is never truly done, and it isn’t a one-size-fits-all. But this is how I discovered myself and came in to being bisexual.

Here We Go!

Hi everyone!

Welcome to Bidentity! I’m so excited to share this journey with you, and I want to tell you all about what’s to come and what you can expect to find here. But first, I want to answer a few basic questions to get them out of the way.

What is Bidentity about?

The short answer: intersectionality, and just my life experiences with various minority/marginalized identities.

What is the identity behind Bidentity?

The biggest reason that I am not currently using my personal identity, and you don’t see my face, is just because I haven’t yet decided if I wish to reveal my identity, or if I prefer to remain anonymous.

How often will I post?

At this point, I have no idea. Since I am just starting out, I do have several ideas for posts that I am really excited about, but I haven’t decided if I will establish any sort of posting schedule in the future.

So, about what’s to come…

I plan to share stories about my ideas and experiences as a woman, as a queer identified person, as a plant-based eater, navigating life with mental illnesses, and much more. This will be a place for me to share my thoughts, experiences, and ideas about all of my passions, interests, and personal identities.

If you like what you see so far, and are excited to take this journey with me, sign up for the email list so you can be notified about new posts.

And please, feel free to send any questions or requests my way via the email form in the Contact tab. I am open to post topic suggestions and happy to answer any questions you may have!

Thanks,

MH