You will come upon a piece of writing that tells you that you are not alone. You’ll feel your heart jump up into your throat at the fact that there are people who build lifestyles around kink, a thing that you believed was nothing more than a pathology. You will begin to see your sexuality as normal, even moral. You will feel free.
You’ll find out that your submissive nature is not a weakness, but you will call yourself an ‘alpha’ anyway. Hours later, you’ll 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 irrevocably new.
You will spend far too much money on stilettos and toys. You’ll fall in love with the word ‘play’.
“Go to events,” they will say, but the prospect of parties will feel too intimidating to contemplate. You will find someone to meet for coffee instead.
“How long have you lived this way?” they’ll ask.
“You’re new,” they’ll say. “Take it slow.”
You will resent them for it.
You will want to fuck a hundred people, as though you’re 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’ll think you can tolerate.
A month will pass, and you’ll become annoyed at those who behave like toddlers in a room full of birthday gifts.
“How long have you lived this way?” you’ll ask.
“Take it slow.”
You’ll find out that consent is not only about yes and no and that safe words are more complex than you thought. This will make you feel safe, but then you’ll stumble upon people who travel darker corridors of kink than you have, and your sense of safety will evaporate. You’ll find out that consent has cracks, that there is harm to be found here.
The marks from lashings will be bloodier than you’re comfortable with.
“Yeah, but just because it’s not your thing doesn’t make it wrong.”
You’ll swallow your judgement and 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 feel jealous of vanilla couples.
“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 return to Fetlife.
You’ll go to parties and meet people who teach you that your perception of abuse was right all along, that kink should not entail exploitation. Your sense of safety will return, but then it will wax and wane no matter how many months you spend in the community. You’ll find a 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 wonder if you’re a sex addict.
Your friends will tell you repeatedly that they are proud of you. You’ll start feeling equally proud of how far you’ve come.
You will stop seeing Fetlife as a kink site but a place to catch up with friends. You will feel less alone in the world.
One day, a woman will come upon a piece of your writing that tells her for the first time that she is not alone. She will feel her heart jump up into her throat at the fact that there are people who build philosophies and lifestyles around kink, a thing that she believed was nothing more than a pathology. Hours later, she will step away from your computer and find that the sky is not the same shade of blue that it used to be.