How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Letting Go

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For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to lose control.

I’ve always been an extremely rule-oriented, anxious, and self-conscious person who is constantly in control of my behavior and my life. In college I looked on in envy as my friends went to parties, smoked, drank, did drugs, and had sex with abandon while I sat on the sidelines desperately wanting to join but afraid something terrible would happen if I did. I was simply unable to let loose.

To make matters worse, my fears weren’t completely unfounded. When I was 22, a fling that was supposed to be fun and carefree ended with a trip to an abortion clinic. I’d only had sex five times in my life.

Shortly after that failed attempt at casual sex, I settled down with a man I eventually married. My desire to lose control never left, but it did recede. As time went on, it seemed like abandoning my self-control was not only impossible, but not something anyone expected of me anyway. People knew me as someone who never did anything too wild. Doing so would have been uncomfortably out of character.  

It wasn’t until my marriage fell apart in my early 30s that my desire to lose control really surfaced again. I was an emotional wreck and felt entitled to some sort of bad behavior, but what? My first impulse was to drink more and take drugs, but my fears hadn’t changed much since college, and I was convinced there would be terrible consequences if I did. Even when someone I had known for years offered me a chance to escape with coke and weed during a weekend fling, I turned it down, too afraid to take the risk.

After that, it slowly began to dawn on me that perhaps there was another route to losing control that I hadn’t seriously entertained: sex. Or rather, a specific kind of sex. Up until then, my fantasies about losing control had always involved recklessness or excess: casual sex with lots of people or getting insanely drunk or high. I had never considered that I could potentially achieve what I wanted through quality instead of quantity.

The idea of a partner wresting control from me during sex wasn’t completely new. A boyfriend I’d had in college used to straddle me on his bed and try to pin my arms above my head while I would wriggle away until he succeeded. I knew that I loved the struggle, but I didn’t have the self-awareness to connect those feelings with my desire to lose control until much later.

Once I had an inkling that I might be able to gain the release I craved from sex, I started to look for opportunities to test it out. Not having any knowledge of kink put me at a disadvantage, though, because I struggled to articulate to myself what I really wanted, let alone to anyone else. The closest I came was telling someone that I wanted him to hold me down and call me a slut during sex.

After the demise of another long-term relationship in my late 30s, I went off birth control pills. My libido skyrocketed and the fantasy floodgates opened. Relatively tame desires I had had of wanting to be held down or restrained blossomed into increasingly intense fantasies about rough sex and degradation.

As time went on, these desires became full-blown rape fantasies that I thought about relentlessly. I read a lot of material online about how to enact such a scene and designed a scenario—complete with a list of limits and designated safewords—that I proposed to the same guy who had offered me drugs years before. We had been having semi-regular kinky liaisons, but I wanted more intensity from our interactions. He initially agreed to my terms, but then later changed his mind.

My relationship with him declined after that, and I eventually realized that I might have better luck finding what I wanted online. I was still unsure how to express my desires, however, especially to the entire online dating community.

After several vanilla encounters with different guys, things took a kinky turn with a couple of dates, one of whom was the first person to choke me, with his hands around my neck and then over my mouth. I had been hesitant about choking in the past, but lately it had lodged in my head as something I wanted to try. I was not disappointed. The feeling of having my control stripped away like that was liberating. Another guy slapped me across the face for the first time, which also brought me closer to my goal feeling of losing control. More than ever, I became determined to seek out kinky sex from that point forward.

By that time, I had read a lot more about BDSM and knew I was submissive, but I was afraid to advertise that fact openly, for fear of attracting one of the faceless Doms who pop up on dating apps with profile pictures of whips and ropes, or someone who was looking for a 24/7 D/s dynamic. I wanted a dominant kinky guy in bed who otherwise led a regular life. I added “GGG” to my dating profile in the hopes that discerning men would glean what I was after, and I started looking for specific clues in men’s profiles—”kinky,” “sex positive,” and the like.

Shortly after I set out with these new goals firmly in mind, I spotted Vagabond on an app. He had listed “kinky” along with various other characteristics in his profile. I immediately swiped right and we matched. I decided to be completely honest in my opener and said, “Kinky caught my eye.”

That was enough to spark a conversation. We established some basics about relationship history, jobs, hobbies, and perhaps most importantly, whether we might be sexually compatible. He was a Dom with a lot of experience as a disciplinarian, and although I wasn’t quite sure what all my predilections were yet, I was upfront about being submissive.

On our first date, we talked a fair amount about sex and kink. I was intimidated by his experience and knowledge; he was fluent in kink jargon, and I was still a novice. But there was an undeniable connection and attraction. I couldn’t wait to see him again.

Our relationship quickly developed into something serious in the weeks and months that followed, and kink was, and still is, a central part of our connection. Rope bondage often takes center stage in our sex life along with some combination of spanking or other impact play. I love the paradoxical freedom that comes with being restrained—letting go and allowing him to take control. With Vagabond, I’ve also finally explored my rape fantasies. When I fight and struggle, I’m completely present in the moment. Though I’m physically restricted, I’m able to escape the confines of my mind and experience what’s happening without overthinking or analyzing. The moment when he finally subdues me and forces his way inside me gives me an exhilarating rush of pleasure coupled with an immense sense of relief. And the level of trust this type of scene requires binds us together even more. These scenes scratch a mental and physical itch like nothing else.

I’ve finally figured out how to lose control in a way that lets me escape, and I’m lucky enough to be able to do it with someone who makes me feel simultaneously vulnerable and protected. For him to dominate me and for me to allow it requires a level of trust I’ve never experienced before and gives me the freedom to truly let go.

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