Filed under: Feminism, Sex | Tags: bdsm, body image, Feminism, flogging, Sex
One Sunday a few weeks back, I went with some friends to a kinky fetish night. Admittedly, this is only the third time I’ve ventured to a BDSM event but every time my experiences and observations have been positive.
I want to share some of my thoughts in no particular order. Please keep in mind I am relatively inexperienced and if I say some really stupid shit, you’re welcome to contest my points.
Random thoughts in no particular order.
– In my small amount of experience, BDSM clubs are not like people seem to imagine. Yes there are people being flogged, suspended, having needles put into their skin and crawling around on the ground and yes the scenes sometimes seem kind of intense. However, mostly the atmosphere feels very relaxed and most people are just standing around, watching, talking, drinking, joking… basically just socialising.
– At these events, I’ve actually felt far more comfortable and relaxed than at any bar or nightclub I’ve been to. There are a lot of rules around consent and respect, so I get the sense that were I approached by an interested party, I’d feel quite empowered to say “no” and have that respected.
– In everyday life, I do not tend to feel very sexually attractive. I haven’t the time/money/inclination to put a lot of effort into giving myself the lean gym bunny body so many people seem obsessed with. I am short and I dress sort of weirdly in the cheap, not quite right clothes I get at op shops. In other words, I don’t quite fit into what are current mainstream ideals of sexy. At best, people usually tell me I’m “cute” which makes me cringe and die a little inside (Seriously, I even made art about it! This film from this body of work.)
However, at the BDSM spaces I’ve been in, you get to see a much wider range of body types, ages, identities etc in a sexual context. When I see so many of these people strutting about feeling and looking sexy, owning their bodies proudly, I too feel sexy and empowered. This is a world somewhat removed from so much that is disheartening to me about mainstream society. Sexy isn’t just such a narrow, unobtainable, physical thing – it’s something that’s much more of an attitude.
And in these spaces I think “Damn, I am SMOKIN’!”
Also… I got flogged!
I watched a friend, Erin, who has been involved in BDSM for a long time flogging someone else and I was so impressed by the look of intense concentration on his face something akin to the look a cat gets when preparing to pounce, or my partner sometimes gets in the bedroom. Intense, focused concentration. Very hot.
I’ve always liked the way Erin talks about BDSM, often emphasizing the importance of safety, responsibly and communication. I find that incredibly admirable and I realised he would be the perfect person to ask to try being flogged for the very first time. See, though I consider myself very much into BDSM as a mindset and love being submissive in the bedroom, I’ve not done a lot of the “standard” stuff.
So I spent a little time psyching myself up to ask Erin. When I finally did approach him, I said something along the lines of “I don’t know if I can ask you this but…um…” and I swear the cheeky bugger had a twinkle in his eye when he grinned and said “Yes? I’m going to make you say it!”
Very soon after, I was handcuffed to a St. Andrew’s Cross (Erin could have tied me up, he’s awesome with rope but I think we decided against that simply for the time it would take) and he tried out a couple of different floggers on me. It was at this point that I realised I may be a bit more of a pain slut then I realised. I was not feeling especially submissive that night, perhaps because of the public setting… rather I was excited to see what my body could take and had adrenaline and endorphins pumping. So the pain was exciting and, well, fun!
I didn’t last for very long, as I am new to this. When it was starting to get more intense (intense for me, other people were probably snickering!) though I felt I could go on a little longer, Erin decided that was a good time to stop which in retrospect, I agree was a good and responsible idea. Afterwards, I was shaky but elated, I had this similar feeling to after I’ve been out dancing. I was full of happy chemicals, I’m sure, but I also felt this sense of excitement about what I can put my body through.
When I mentioned I was shaky, Erin asked his boy “Where’s that thing for people who get shaky?” and started rummaging about in his toy bag until he produced a muesli bar! Ahhh! A muesli bar! How freakin’ adorable is that? I politely declined as I had just had a cupcake offered to me by someone who was celebrating their birthday. Yes, cupcakes in a BDSM club. With coloured icing and sprinkles.
I think a lot of people are baffled and upset by BDSM either because it’s not their thing or because it IS their thing and that scares them. Perhaps because they are unable to separate real, non-consensual violence from what essentially strikes me as fantasy, role playing and even a sort of sport. But really, coming into this world so far has been a very positive thing for me. I know there are lots of criticisms within the BDSM world about various aspects of it and I’m sure they’re not all wrong. However, there is so much about it that I’m finding to be far more welcoming and wonderful for me than the “vanilla” world has been. Perhaps because I’m entering this world with a lot less baggage and a lot more feminism than when I first became sexually active… but yeah, it’s exciting.
Oh and I still had marks on my back, several days later. When a workmate asked me about them, apparently I instantly broke into a huge grin because she knew right away what I’d been up to. What can I say? I was really fucking happy.
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