Is the erotic a 7th sense?  And what parallels exist in social hate between kink-shaming, sexism, racism, and violence? Is being kinky a progressive form of civil disobedience?


Struggling to explain the kinky internal landscape of a D/s relationship to a vanilla friend

I was out and about with one of my closest friends yesterday, someone who I have been open to since I have known her.  Its funny how some people are accessible that way and others not—and it isn’t the teller that makes the opening possible (listening is an active process; not judging even more so).

She was asking gently about what it is like to be with a Mistress, what is going on in D/s, and that kind of thing.  And despite all of this blogging and talking and working things through, I found it hard to express myself.  And I was puzzled by why it didn’t come easy, and that got me thinking.

Being kinky can invite discrimination.  I think in particular being submissive can invite discrimination.  I say that as a privileged white “male”.  And while I wish this was just my hang-up, I think it exists in society too.  And I processed it thus.  If I were in a work context and was outed as a sub, I would have a lot more damage to deal with than if I were outed as gay, for example.  I leave out trans, as I think that attracts a whole special other kind of discrimination

This is an enormous tribute to the hard work and suffering that civil rights advocates in the gay community have fought for and through over the past decades.  And their struggle has created room for others.  And their struggle was preceded by the ongoing struggle of the disenfranchised races in America—African Americans in particular, but also Asian Americans.  And when I think of this, that racism is not unique to America, but its nasty virulence is, this nation was born in genocide, and the extirpation of the native people.  This is something that we still don’t acknowledge as a society…that “Manifest Destiny” was not positive as we portray it, but rather the most extraordinary defiling of civilisation and nature—perhaps one of the worst in world history.

When I am out in public and dressed in ways that push the boundaries of how a white “man” is supposed to dress, there are times when I feel fear.  [I have touched on this in other posts, for instance here].  But oddly, my fear is oriented towards other white males, not towards other races.  There is a narrative about male on female violence in the African-American community that has been written about a lot.  And it seems that this is in part born of impotent rage.  There is no excuse for the strong to ever prey on the weak, but the context can be understood even if not excused.  And I don’t know why I am not afraid of African-Americans in this sense.  Perhaps it is in part the result of growing up in a predominantly African-American city.  But I do know that white male fear of blacks is real, it is just not my experience.  And I wonder whether the fear itself engenders actual violence.

I digress.  After college, I lived in a very rough neighbourhood in New York.  So rough that my African-American friends joked about being afraid to visit me.  I shared an apartment with a white male Californian musician, and an Ethiopian woman who described herself as “coffee-coloured”.  “I am not black,” she would say.  And I have learned over many years and through friendships that the experience of the African-American is so coloured by US history and racism that the outlook of a black American is so different than it is of those who were raised in Africa, in the Caribbean, or in the UK or France…places from whom I have non-white African friends.  Continuing to digress, I was endlessly fascinated to hear about the trials of dating for this Ethiopian woman, highly educated, talented, beautiful, so smart…and what it was like to date an African-American man or an American white, and dealing with race—her race, the race of her partner, but also the racial bias of anyone looking at her and her partner.  For example, if she dated white, she was labelled a “traitor to the black community.”  I am so grateful for the years that I was able to see the world through her eyes.  And I do not judge any of this, I am trying to report what I saw.

Now, coming to my white roommate of this era.  He was a very nice, low-key person.  I like to think I am nice, but I am not low key.  I was just starting out my professional career, and I wore a suit to work every day.  The walk to the subway from our apartment was several blocks of “urban blight”.  And I think back on that time, and think that not only did it ever occur to me that it was unsafe, but I never felt fear.  I was accosted by a gang once.  I was walking home, wearing a three-piece suit, carrying a briefcase—I must have been oozing white privilege.  This group of young black men surrounded me and blocked my way.  It didn’t even occur to me that I was possibly being jumped.  They just started talking to me, and I talked to them, and we talked, and then we shared a cigarette (egads, don’t smoke!).  And in the end, they stepped aside and I walked on, after being told by their leader, the person who had accosted me, “that I was all right.”  And it was only after that I realised that when he stopped me, basically saying I was too fancy to be there, that I had just passed through a situation that could have been unpleasant.  I only bring this up, because I never felt fear, and I didn’t feel fear, because I see people as people.  My white roommate, however, got beaten up and mugged in broad daylight three times before moving out—and I came to learn that his fear is what invited the violence.  Why?  Because to fear someone because of the colour of their skin is to judge them.  And judgement invites a response.

And I bring this up and bring this back to my narrative, because when I go out in a skimpy sports outfit and wearing a sports bra, or when I wear jewellery and dress in a way that is “effeminate” or is expressive of my non-binary self, I never fear the gaze of the non-white.  And this has puzzled me.  Because certainly in the white male narrative, violence from the other is supposed to be the way things are.  But through my lens, and I can see it in their faces, those who are “other” look upon me without judgement.  And is this because they know themselves what it feels like to be excluded?  They know what it is like to be discriminated against?  Do they regard me as someone who is demonstrably relinquishing privilege in my quest to express myself?

I remember reading in the Autobiography of Malcolm X, which is an excellent book by the way, and should be required reading for all Americans, about how he describes that Jews and Blacks typically got along in racist America, because both experience intense discrimination.  And that thought has always stuck with me.  Whatever the reason, I appreciate what feels like understanding that I see on the faces of non-white America.

Should anyone feel shame about their sexuality?  Okay, I exclude non-consent, and certain kinds of shaming from what I consider acceptable.  The answer has to be “no”.  But the reality is different.  People judge.  And as we were walking and talking yesterday and I was trying to articulate what it feels like to express submission to a Dominant woman, I was trying to work my way through it, talking to someone who is vanilla, but who is understanding vanilla.  And I realised that there is something fringe about this lifestyle I am gravitating towards, and the lifestyle of a Domme, be she pro or not.  And I guess that being on the fringe means to experience discrimination.  And that may be unconscious, but the mere fact that it is difficult to explain or to help someone understand and feel the depth of connection that two people can have in a D/s context, is in itself to experience discrimination.

As we walked and talked, what seemed to emerge for my vanilla friend was that the hardest part for her was that I was paying.  For me, that is not a hard part.  In ways, it makes everything easier.  I am not into Findom, so “pleasure” from paying is not my kink.  Instead, I regard Mistress as a professional.  She is doing a job.  She also happens to be phenomenally talented at her job.  Evidence of this abounds—but the joy and reverence of her many subs is the greatest compliment of all.  She deserves every penny, because she takes deep professional care in doing what she does with diligence and perfectionism.  That all of this emotional connection develops on the side is for me the true value-add, and also why it is so important to find one’s way to the “right” Domme.  I have taken a lifetime to cope with being non-binary.  I have taken a lifetime to become “comfortable” with my kinks.  I have a long way to go, but the progress I have made in accepting myself because of her presence in my life is phenomenal.  And though it is not her burden, or responsibility, acute shame has faded away from me—some of it is still there—but the really sharp stuff that can put me out for days on end, is gone.  What price that?  I couldn’t have done that by myself.  It would have taken years and years of therapy to get there…and with an uncertain outcome.  What price is life itself?  What price a zest and joy in life?  What price on emotional survival?  Tell me.  There isn’t one.  So when I find myself at Mistress’s feet, feeling a depth of emotion towards a professional, a feeling that makes me cry every time, and that comes just being in the same room with her, often just thinking about her, who cares about money at that point?  And since my friend has also said of herself, “it’s a miracle I am still alive,” she can understand this.

We go to doctors to save our lives.  We go to lawyers to save our axxes.  We go to dentists to save our teeth.  To the Mistress, I go to learn to speak with the parts of me that only understand a language written by Eros—and some of that is born in trauma, some of it in love, some of it in other places.  There are very few people out there who are fluent in that language, even fewer who make it their profession, and fewer still who come at the profession with a genuine desire to help their charges grow as humans.  I know just how rare and special this Mistress is, and I will never tire of telling her about that, or anyone else who will listen.  She has a gift, and it is my honour to get to feel it.

The hardest part of the conversation with my friend was discussing sex.  We were talking about me not having sex for almost 15 years.  And I was saying that I didn’t miss it.  And she said, “well, there are lot’s of people who are asexual.”  But I am intensely sexual.  Definitely not asexual.  I see everything through an erotic lens.  Everything.  That isn’t to say that sex is on my mind all the time, or at least not in a vulgar way, but it is—I feel the erotic of everyday life in everyday life.  And my interactions with my fellow humans, and the objects of my life, are both erotic and sensual.

I shared that traditional sex for me was never much fun for me.  Penis-centric sex has always freaked me out.  I have masturbated with hands-on-genitals perhaps 2 maybe 3 times in my entire life.  She described to me a landscape of jerking off, hand lotion, and Kleenex that have characterized every male she has been intimate with.  This is something I have never done.  I was trying to explain to her that my ideal sexual experience involves holding and being held, involves touch, gentle caressing, and long passages of time.  Stepping into erotic, whole body touching.  I have had a few partners in life who enjoyed this kind of exploration, and with whom I had the most memorable “sex”…but not one of those encounters resulted in my climax, and yet, I can still remember them as so totally sublime.  I could feel everything, her body, her scent, but also the blood in my veins, my skin breathing, and touching one another ever so gently for hours and hours.

I did date a woman who absolutely loved my c@@k, and that was a really different experience for me.  She was and is an amazing woman, and I loved every part of being with her.  She was truly liberated and self-empowered and remains dear to my heart to this day.  She is the only person I ever dated who simultaneously loved me as a man, made me feel like a man in daily life, and happy to be a man, but also treated me like a woman in bed.  

What I was trying to say to my friend is that fxxkxxng is not always fun for me.  It is mildly traumatic.  I have the baggage of not accepting my c@@k for what it is, and this self-awareness of being male as it happens, that just crowds in on me.  So, I have to accept that this makes me useless in a conventional vanilla sexual relationship…and of course, that is really not a good feeling.  But that is far from meaning that I am not intensely sexual and erotic.  

What I was trying to explain to her is that feeling sexually charged is deeply fulfilling.  I know that orgasms are therapeutic, and I will have to study this more deeply, because orgasms are said to release tension, hormones and other chemicals which are very good for us.  I feel as if, however, that I am getting the same through my own form of arousal.  And when I am aroused enough, I just cum.  It just happens.  No touch, or the most gentle kind; it is happening in the mind.

So when I talk about whether erotic is the 7th sense or not, I really believe it is.  What we find erotic in life is different for each one of us.  Experiencing the erotic is therapeutic for all of us.  What each of us finds as erotic, is tapping into something unique in each of us, about who we are, and the way we see and feel the world.  Above all, it is at times an expression of how we experience stress, shame, but also positive things like validation, acceptance, love.  

And that brings me full circle.  When I shivered like a baby deer the first time I met Mistress, when I feel the flood of emotion that comes in submission to Mistress, when I do something for her and she acknowledges it, I experience a kind of orgasm.  Sub-space, for me, is like a climax, only I can live inside a climax for hours, sometimes even days.  And when I talk to Her, or others about it, I often find myself brought to tears.  These are not tears of sadness, but rather tears of being overwhelmed by a depth of feeling.  Submission is release, crying in this way is release, feeling the yoke of Mistress is liberating.  And there is no more powerful thing in my life today that actively helps me to shed shame.  There is something so deeply reassuring about wearing a collar and a leash—not necessarily physically but feeling that I am collared and that I belong is filling my inner confidence in ways that give voice in a comfort of self-expression.  

At times I feel like a drunken sailor from this.  Some people might call it sub-frenzy.  I feel more like a toddler on wobbly legs, just learning to walk.  And no, I am not making a kinky metaphor.  It’s like wielding a gun that is too heavy; or using language filled with words that I don’t yet understand; or trying to walk purposefully before you can fully control your legs…it is empowering, feels great, but is also just the beginning.

How is all this connected?  The erotic is connected to trauma.  It is an expression of a desire for release.  The trauma is held there by shame and by social stigma—part of it internal and part of it external.  Learning to “speak” the erotic, gaining fluency, is part of the journey of self-discovery that is being championed by working with a Dominatrix.  Having a safe space, a non-judgemental place, to feel intense eroticism and connectedness is more therapeutic than therapy itself.  I have learned more, let go of more, and grown more in the past 6 months through play with a Domme than at any other conscious point of my life.

So, when I think about my “sexless” life, I don’t feel deprived in the slightest [you can read about this on another post].  It is just that my form of release, my form of connectedness with fellow humans, my form of eroticism, is just not processed through the lens of “vanilla” hetero-sexual sex.  And while I used to wish it should be so, I am finding that exploring and becoming a slave is giving me all of that and more.  And to be able to just let go of all the crap and expectations that being “vanilla” might mean, and just accepting that I was born on the fringe and meant to live on the fringe, is complete release.

To become slave is my version of release and self-acceptance.  And it’s hard to explain, but when I say that I “love” the person I submit to, it is not in a conventional sense.  It is that through submission and devotion to her, through a deep-rooted respect for her, and serving her, that I experience a kind of ecstasy, but also this sublime feeling of being protected, held, cared for, and spiritually whole.  And this is feeding into my daily life, and the energy I am putting out is growing…I can feel it, and I can feel that I am giving off much more love to everyone that I am interacting with, and I feel it coming back to me with strength.

The first time I met Mistress I told her that I did not expect her to be my therapist (and that the burden of personal growth was ultimately mine alone to carry), but that I did imagine that being with her would be therapeutic.  Smart boy.  But I did not have any idea of how much being with Mistress has pushed me in positive ways and at a pace faster than any I have ever experienced.  I know what is possible from years of therapy, and I feel like every time I am with Her, I am doing a whole cycle, getting new challenges.  And I don’t know what anyone else in my position with a Domme lives through, or what they do together, and therefore whether what is happening to me, with us, is unique, unusual, or typical.  But what I do know is that it feels good, and it feels right.

My challenge?  How to be “out” without consequences or fear.  And that, my friends, will take putting one foot in front of the other and facing all manner of challenges.  But I am feeling strong enough to proceed.  And I am more than comfortable with the growing team of people that are encouraging me along.

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