“I trust that you will say ‘yellow’ or ‘red’ if things start to get too intense. You are so safe with me. I’m going to take such good care of you.” And then she smacked me so fucking hard in the face that I thought I would die.
—My journal, May 11, 2012
Until I was 35 years old, I knew I wanted more from my love life, but I didn’t know how to ask for it. Before that, I often fantasized about romance, pleasure, and pain. Even as a kid, I daydreamed about being bound in chains and breaking them to overcome my powerful female captors. I also experimented with pain, frequently electrifying my fingertips with the stingy current of an ionizing air filter on my night stand. These were wonderful diversions, but it didn’t occur to me that I could explore these fantasies without pants.
B Is for New Beginnings in BDSM
Being extremely introverted didn’t help me land any second dates until I was 24, and when I got one, I held onto that imperfect relationship and marriage for 11 years. It ended, in part, due to my failure to communicate my desires. Near its end, I began what I called “research and development” about my sexual fantasies. I read about BDSM and finally began to understand my desires. My wife and I even tried to explore each other’s kinky and non-kinky sexual fantasies as a last-ditch attempt to save the relationship, but you can’t save a marriage with anal.
Single for the first time since the Clinton administration, I excitedly accepted the first date that popped up on OkCupid’s short-lived “Instant Date” feature. Through sheer luck, this brought me to a spy-themed orgy on a yacht attended by a lovely group of polyamorous kinksters. They were generous with their advice about kink and relationship models, which inspired me to delve into the BDSM subculture. I briefly dated a young woman who was interested in exploring her dominant side, and we told each other our fantasies about the different ways we wanted to give and receive pleasure and pain.
S/M Is for Sadomasochism
“I trust that you will say ‘yellow’ or ‘red’ if things start to get too intense,” she said, while touching my fingers to make sure the bondage tape around my wrists wasn’t dangerously tight. “You are so safe with me. I’m going to take such good care of you.” She slapped me hard across the face and I saw stars. The pain lingered long enough for me to briefly regret being bound to a dorm room bed, but it finally gave way to warmth and pleasure. My inner masochist felt subsequent slaps as an electric, euphoric release, followed by a feeling of floating away. This otherworldly “subspace” is never sexually arousing to me, but is a deeply satisfying experience in a similarly primal way.
As it turns out, being slapped in the face by a 21-year-old college student is a very effective way to learn deep lessons about the power of consent and communication. That night, I learned how negotiating allows partners to push each other’s limits to explore new pleasures. I understood that the fulfillment people receive from kink sometimes might not be sexual, but is wonderful nonetheless. And perhaps most importantly, I understood the equality of the process, and how in the dance of dominance and submission, each partner serves the other. I was very excited to turn the tables.
I pushed past my introversion and started going to BDSM parties and dungeons alone, expecting nothing more than having the opportunity to learn something new. Though I rarely made a sexual connection, I usually ended up trading strikes or hard slaps with new friends who were just as thrilled about it as I was. This type of play was exciting, but it was not erotic for me.
S Is for Submission
I also started dating so much that it became a second job. I found many kinky partners online and in the wild and began to explore the more sensual and mental aspects of BDSM. Since I was interested in pain, I tried submitting to a cruel and creative domme. Though she could use pain and fear to easily make me float into a blissful subspace bubble, submission didn’t come naturally to me and wasn’t at all arousing. However, I did enjoy rough sex where my partner and I were mutually fierce, mixing pleasure and pain.
D Is for Dominance and Discipline
This combative play extended further into the psychological realm in my first serious kinky relationship with a woman who had a fetish for rules and punishments. I took on the role of a disciplinarian in the bedroom, which was an erotic escape from my chaotic life. She would provoke my ferocious inner dominant by “disobeying” arbitrary rules, and I’d restore order by doling out a severe punishment or lecture to the troublemaker. Even when the play wasn’t in person, it was still intensely sexy and satisfying. This type of dynamic was an adult way to explore and satisfy my childhood fantasies of turning the tables on a villainess.
That relationship solidified my sexual identity. Being a dominant remains a perfect and natural fit for me, and continues to be a constant sexual thrill. Dominance puts me in a state of ecstatic focus, where anticipating my partner’s desires or bending her will makes me feel waves of warmth and consumes me with lust.
B Is for Bound (Together)
After nearly five years of exploration, I finally knew what I wanted from my love life and exactly how to ask for it. And along came Mimsy, a woman who fits me perfectly, is at a compatible place in life and kink, and is super fucking hot. From our first date, our chemistry was instant and undeniable; my dominance and her submission fit together like lock and key. As we learn more about our kinks and each other, our relationship and our sex life keeps getting better. I love every second of our research and development together.