I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I became aware of fetish but by the time I was having sex I knew kink was something that interested me. On a philosophical level. I’d never be into ‘that stuff’ in the bedroom. I mean it was weird or in most cases; comical. Right?
Nowadays, that couldn’t be further from my truth.
I look back and like so much to do with my sexuality, I was ashamed and ignorant. The heteronormative, male dominated, slut shaming ideology that was the norm in high school still had a hold on me in early adulthood. Turns out, high school is detrimental to your sexual, as well as mental health.
In the early days of University, I had bad sex, I didn’t know what an orgasm felt like. I was under the impression I was liberated and maybe that was true, in an intellectual way. As I learnt more and more about feminism and political activism I began to stand up to the wrongs I saw in a world that was viewed from the male gaze. As my beliefs started to change, my sexuality stalled.
I read the Slutever blog voraciously; watched sex documentaries; and cried huge, happy tears when Maggie Gyllenhaal’s character in Secretary wets herself because her dominant instructs her she can’t move from the desk. Yet, this still didn’t add up to me feeling unbridled enough to step outside of vanilla sex that barely excited me.
I also can’t pinpoint a huge, defining moment in my sex life when I first became receptive to fetish and BDSM play but I can trace it back to an ex-boyfriend who enjoyed women’s feet. He was the starting point of my journey.
It all began with foot massages and worship in the form of kissing. Gradually, it turned into tickling and licking and sucking. I knew I loved this sexy, new thing that had become a part of our romantic relationship. I am an extremely ticklish person and I love massages so it was an easy transition that allowed me to relax and enjoy what I was enjoying. Something that I had been too scared to ask for. He opened the door into a realm completely outside the vanilla sex I had been having and it blew my mind.
However, I played it down when giving my friends the goss. My social circle, much like most of my peers’ was quite open and a lot of people our age were having casual sex and talking about it. But, I still felt like I had to downplay or justify any acts that existed outside what I assumed was normal.
This same man worshipped my booty.
I have always had quite a sizable behind and it felt fantastic to have someone make a deliberate effort to appreciate it, rather than ignore it. Somehow, I knew the butt kissing was linked to the feet worship; that both things existed beyond what I had been taught was ‘normal sex’. However, it never progressed further than that and it would be at least a year before I become more comfortable to explore what I thought was the biggest taboo.
A chance meet up with a friend of a friend, maybe a year and a half later, led to very drunk, crazy sex that I believed would be a one night stand. But, we ended up dating for months and became quite romantic and creatively inspired by one another. In this not-quite-a-relationship union I learnt about dirty talk and ass play. Some of it I loved, some of it was like he was playing out a porn fantasy in his head. I put a stop to anything that crossed my boundaries, quickly and gently. Yet after him, I had decidedly ‘regular’ sex for what seemed like an eternity.
I had noticed a pattern. I would never seek out someone with the same sexual interests as I had, because I never felt that that was dependent on me being able to have a healthy sex life/happy relationship. I would either indulge or abstain from kinky acts or types of play I enjoyed, depending on my partner’s boundaries and preferences. I never took it into my own hands to go out and seek someone who wanted what I did.
If I didn’t value kink compatibility between me and my partners and, therefore didn’t believe it was necessary to have a happy relationship, was I a vanilla girl, after all? I didn’t understand how I fit into this world I had become enamoured with or if, I even wanted to.
These questions are still unanswered and I’m ok with that.
While, light BDSM play using blindfolds and pretty lingerie with my boyfriend is my idea of a hot ‘night in’, the thought of whips and gimp masks gives me the shivers. And not the good kind. I still don’t identity as a ‘fetish’ person and the idea of me going to some club night or sex expo dedicated to people who live their sexual identity 24/7 (god love ‘em) makes my skin crawl not because I find anything disturbing about the scene but because I would feel like an imposter.
Reflecting on my relationship with my boyfriend now and how much dominant and submissive role playing forms the basis of our sexual connection, as well as our emotional connection; I wonder if I could do it all over, would I self-identify as a BDSM lover? Would I actively seek someone out on the basis of chemistry, personality, common ground, looks; of course but sexual preferences too?
In my current relationship, my boyfriend and I both want to be with one another forever. Our relationship is one of those monogamous, we-want-to-get-married type things which is great for us, because that’s what we were ultimately looking for. Luckily, it turned out that his sexual leanings were in line with mine and honestly, I’ve never felt this loved, protected, excited, passionate, thrilled and happy in my life.
The only real question left for me, is; say, in another Universe, had I continued dating people and ended up in a situation that mirrors my current relationship but without the sexual chemistry, would I break it off and find someone as kinky as me and in doing so, begin to understand kink as something integral to my sexuality? Or would I continue contextualising my romantic relationships within what I thought were ‘vanilla’ sexual behaviours, even if that meant I became dissatisfied.
I don’t think I’ll ever know. Good thing, I got lucky.
*Words by Roxanne Groebel. Check out her Tumblr page Smart & Filthy.