Archive for June, 2007|Monthly archive page
A recent column by Andrea Nemerson included a letter from a woman in her early twenties whose experience is eerily similar to mine: “I have always felt kind of indifferent about sex. I can enjoy it OK. I get horny as much as other people my age, as far as I can tell. It just isn’t that interesting to me…. Then recently I watched the movie Secretary, and it was like a revelation! [….] Do you think it is possible for BDSM to be an inbuilt kind of sexual preference, as unchangeable as homosexuality?”
“Yes,” says Andrea. “We all know people who’ve gone freaky for a while because it seemed for whatever reason to be the thing to do and then reverted, but for every trendoid there’s an earnest freak who can remember being the kid who always wanted to be the captive princess or the cowboy tied to the fence by wild Indians and was never all that enthusiastic about being rescued when the time came. I believe a lot of people can enjoy a little role play or think it’s fun to get tied up prettily and tickled or teased, but people can enjoy a little of all kinds of things. If you see something like Secretary and feel the deep and unmistakable thwang of a chord being struck way deep in your soul, I think you can trust that that chord was there all along awaiting striking.”
Secretary came out in 2003, which means that it’s been well over four years since that chord was struck, for me. And yet, it’s actually only been about a year and a half since I first began to truly explore my submissive and masochistic side; it took me a long time to get over my inhibitions and my conviction that I would never find a partner who would be able to give me what I really wanted. And even then, it’s only been about six months, give or take, that I’ve been able to consistently enjoy s/m play without any lingering feelings of guilt, shame, or fear. For a long time, I was too afraid to really let go, to truly submit, not for fear of being injured or abused, but for fear of not wanting to come back.
It’s pretty incredible how much I’ve changed, in that respect, over the past year. I feel a degree of confidence in my sexuality, and in myself as a whole person, that I have never experienced before. I don’t mean to imply that submission and masochism are inherently tools for self-realization or confidence, but rather that anything that unlocks hidden desires and shatters taboos, destroys conventional notions of morality, of right and wrong, can be liberatory. It’s a wonderful thing.