I was 14 when I first discovered BDSM. I met a 20something woman on a journaling site who I had some things in common with and I started following her blog. She was a submissive with a love of shoes, red lipstick, and being tied up. Later, she also began financially dominating others. I was very interested in her lifestyle because she was also overweight, and when you’re 14 and no one wants to date you, it’s pretty easy to feel like you’re going to die an unwilling virgin. (Knowing how much sex I was going to get in college would have blown my mind.) I also thought she was very attractive.
This woman frequently posted photos of her bound arms or legs and the bruises she received from being disciplined. She wrote about being a submissive and what it meant to her. Something that struck me about her writing was how much love and respect she very clearly held for her dominant. Another thing that struck me was how much he treasured her.
It was obvious that when they were together, she was able to throw herself into servitude and escape from the outside world for a while. To me, that was probably one of the most appealing aspects of the lifestyle. I loved the idea of being able to tune everything out and focus on the object of my affections. I loved the idea of being someone’s possession and following their directions with rewards or punishments on the line.
I also stumbled upon the blog of pigdog (now known as Cherry Torn), who was doing some stuff that blew my mind. She was enduring some very serious punishments, and underwent a lot of humiliation – the most prominent thing that sticks out in my mind was the fact that at some point or another, she had to drink urine out of a pet bowl. Something about the humiliation turned me on a great deal.
I didn’t have a very realistic view of BDSM in my youth. It all seemed very magical. I think that in my mind, being someone’s pet meant that I wouldn’t have to take care of myself on an emotional level, which was something I didn’t want to do because of my mental health. I wanted all responsibility taken out of my hands, and in return I just wanted to make someone else happy. I was convinced that doing that would make me happy in turn.
Let me just clear something up for you: that’s wrong. BDSM is not a replacement for self-care and attending to your personal needs. While it is your top’s responsibility to be respectful, safe, and caring, it is not your top’s responsibility to take charge of your entire life. Even if you’re interested in servitude, a 24-7 lifestyle just isn’t right for most people, and even in a 24-7 situation, it’s important to take care of yourself. Only you know exactly what you want and need. Stand up for yourself and share that information with your master. Be a healthy individual so you can maintain a healthy relationship.
I use BDSM very differently than I imagined. For starters, I’ve become way less interested in a 24-7 lifestyle and more interested in power dynamics. I love power play, especially where someone has to earn the position of dominance over me. I love being a brat. I’ve found that I’m very kinky and I have a variety of interests outside of bondage and D/s. I’ve discovered that I don’t like as much pain as I imagined that I would, but I love sense play A LOT. I’ve discovered that my love of humiliation is best fed when someone is talking dirty to me.
And most importantly, I don’t use BDSM as a substitute for self-care. I have limits, and I set them, rather than letting someone dictate what they are. I’m present in my life and am able to fulfill my own needs. I take care of myself and maintain my mental health. A kinky sex life is no substitute for self-reliance.
What was the first thing that got you interested in BDSM?