You will come upon writing that tells you for the first time that you are not alone. You will feel your heart jump up into your throat. You will be staggered at the fact that there are people who build philosophies and lifestyles around kink, a thing that you believed was nothing more than a filthy desire. You will begin to see your sexuality as normal, even moral. You will feel free.
“I thought I knew everything there was to know, but there is so much artistry involved in kink,” you will think. “It will take me years to develop those skills, but I’m not sure it’s too obsessive to try.”
You will read about polyamory and realise there are more people in the world who will go there with you than you thought. You will find out that your submissive nature is not a weakness or that your dominance doesn’t make you powerful. You’ll see that you are only on the first rung of a ladder that many around you have already climbed.
You will call yourself an ‘alpha’.
You will spend hours combing through writing. You will step away from your computer and find that the sky is not the same shade of blue that it used to be. You won’t feel as though it’s you who has changed—it’s the world around you that seems somehow different and irrevocably new.
You will spend far too much money on stilettos and toys. You’ll fall in love with the word ‘play’ and become a feminist.
“Go to events,” they will say, but the prospect of parties will feel too intimidating to contemplate. You will meet someone for coffee instead.
“How long have you lived this way?” they’ll ask.
“You are new. Take it slow.”
You will resent them for it.
You will want to fuck a hundred people. You’ll feel like a toddler in a room full of birthday gifts, and you won’t know which one to open first. Potential partners will be scarier than you think you can tolerate.
You’ll stop calling yourself an alpha.
Months will pass, and you will become annoyed at those who want to fuck a hundred people. You’ll criticise those who behave like toddlers in a room full of birthday gifts and reject them when they decide you’re the first one they want to open. You’ll find it strange that those who are new to the community find you scarier than they expected.
“How long have you lived this way?” you’ll ask.
“Take it slow.”
You will find out that consent is not only about ‘yes’ and ‘no’ and safe wording is more complex than you thought. This will make you feel secure, but then you’ll stumble upon people who travel darker corridors of kink than you have. Your sense of safety will evaporate. You’ll find out that consent has cracks in it and that there is harm to be found here, that kink is potentially more destructive than you’d thought before.
“How can you take that kind of sadistic behaviour?”
The marks you see on others will be bloodier and gorier than you’re comfortable with.
“Yeah, but just because it’s not your thing doesn’t make it wrong.”
You will have an epiphany when you realise that just because your kink isn’t theirs doesn’t make it wrong. Later you’ll stop judging those hardcore players, and you’ll think you’ve found the darkest part of BDSM. You’ll be wrong. You will feel physically ill when you see abuse. You will deactivate your account and consider living the rest of your life as a vanilla. You’ll feel jealous of couples who have monogamous missionary sex.
“I don’t think I’ll ever be able to live that way.”
Your heart will sink because the sky is still a new shade of blue and the world has changed irrevocably. So have you. You will be grateful that your Fetlife account can be reactivated.
You will go to parties. You’ll meet people who teach you that your perception of abuse was right all along and that kink should not entail exploitation. Your sense of safety will return, but then it will wax and wane over the months that follow. You will find a potential partner. Your sense of safety at the prospect of being with them will wax and wane. You will be terrified. You will be thrilled.
You will have new experiences in this grand new world of BDSM. You will wonder if you’re a sex addict.
Your friends will tell you repeatedly that they are proud of you. You will feel puzzled, but then you’ll start feeling equally proud of how far you’ve come.
You’ll shut your eyes when you click the ‘express yourself’ button for the first time, but people will gather around you telling you they identify. You will feel less alone in the world. You will stop seeing Fetlife as a kink site but a place to write.
You’ll find it strange that exposing your thoughts in your journal is therapeutic.
“Your work is incredible,”
And so writing will become your new calling. You will be staggered at the fact that there are people who build their Fet lives around writing culture, a thing that you believed was nothing more than a hobby you were bad at. You will begin to find your talent. You will feel free.
“I never knew I was capable of this much artistry,” you will think. “It will take me years to develop the skills these writers have, but I’m not sure it’s too obsessive to try.”
You will spend hours evolving as a writer. You will step away from your computer and find that the sky is not the same shade of blue that it used to be. You won’t feel as though it’s you who has changed—it’s the world around you that seems somehow different and irrevocably new.