Knkstriped

BDSM: behind the sex mask

Until very recently, sex for me had never been an act of intimacy. Quite the opposite in fact, I used sex as a way to hide from myself, and hide myself from others. Any connection or communication I achieved was all in the chase and anticipation; once I got my kit off, I became an automaton, performing for the benefit of the other in the hope that their appreciation would help to fill the emptiness I felt. Sex wasn’t about me; what I wanted or needed or liked – it was all about figuring out what the other person wanted so that I might, for a few minutes, provide it and feel as though I mattered to someone.

Intimacy, to me, means handing over control. Not control of the situation necessarily, or even control over my actions, but control over how much of myself I reveal to another person.

As a child and young person, I stood out for the ‘wrong’ reasons. Nerdy, unattractive (or later, slutty), outspoken, lacking a volume control, awkward and bad at picking up on social cues; it was clear to me that I was ‘not right’ in some way, so I built a protective shell layer by layer, learned to disguise my awkwardness, memorised social protocols and made an effort to improve my appearance. I passed as normal on the outside, but I never felt my alienation as much as when I was having sex. There, with no protocols other than what I’d learned from Hollywood, Jilly Cooper and hedge porn, I was exposed. So I extended and reinforced the facade to the bedroom* as well. (*and the lounge, kitchen, office, alleyway, loo cubicle, graveyard, etc…)

My first real insight into intimacy came with my first hands-on experience of BDSM. Someone I really really wanted to have sex with, someone older and much more experienced, who – for noble and entirely sensible reasons – would not allow himself to go as far as actually fucking me, introduced me to the practices of bondage and impact play, humiliation and submission. Finally, something – someone – who could elicit pure unfiltered response instead of calculated performance. He wanted a genuine reaction from me, was just as interested in my responses as his own desires. As an experienced dominant sadist, he also understood how to get that reaction without abusing the trust I was placing in him.

Wow. Mind blown. I flinched, I begged, I whimpered and I came so hard – not because I’d chosen to play it that way, but because the intensity of the experience knocked down all the artifice I’d built around my heart, and let me be me.

[cuts long story short; other relationships, other experiences, I went back into my shell and stayed there]

It’s only been in the last couple of years that I’ve been able to start undoing the tangles of self-programmed response and protective masking that I’d used to hide behind when having sex, and enjoy it honestly. Therapy helped. Getting back into a BDSM lifestyle has definitely been good for my confidence and self-awareness. Reading and writing about sex has allowed me to examine my thoughts and feelings without the pressure of action or expectation. I still find it difficult to have honest vanilla sex as there’s so much memorised habit still stuck in my mind, but I’m not just going through the motions any more, I do enjoy it. Would I be able to if it weren’t for the intimacy of my BDSM life? I doubt it.

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16 thoughts on “BDSM: behind the sex mask

  1. I emphasize with much of that except for the sex part (not yet) and I’m sorry such an intimate thing got infected with the same doubt and glad you were able to find the cure!

  2. So pleased to see you in the link up this week for F4T 🙂 I can relate to parts of this post, but it was kink I was using to hide from myself and others and I suppose in many ways I cut back on sex because I knew I couldn’t or wouldn’t hide there, which would have been a useful reflection in one of my own recent posts, but I only just made the link as I responded to you. I’m glad you found your way to untangled those self-programmed responses, I’ve been doing a bit of that myself lately and I know it’s not always easy xxx

  3. Oh yes I could relate to so much of this – now I understand your comment on my post.

    I suppose in my life I now don’t worry that for me sex is not intimate and to enjoy it without feeling bad means some pain should be administered at some point. I have accepted all that because it works for me and I feel like I am winning, and that is good.
    Great to have u on F4T again
    May x

  4. Thanks for sharing this post (and for having come out of the shell). I feel that your not alone in associating so many acts that should be intimate with other expectations that they become anything but intimate. Getting rid of that ‘shell’ isn’t easy. I’m glad you found a way. xox

  5. I think it’s such a human response to put on a masker in situations like this, not perse for sex but. I’m glad you’re starting to find your way back even though it’s still difficult sometimes. You’re taking care of yourself and that’s what matters. Even writing this, is another step in the process

    1. Writing definitely does help, but what has been most helpful of all is the realisation that there is no such thing as ‘normal’ – only what people expect. I changed my expectations of myself, the rest has been falling into place ever since

  6. I love that it’s BDSM that gave you insight into intimacy, and that it was with someone who didn’t take advantage of you, but showed you the beautiful side of BDSM. I hope you can find that again.

    Rebel xox

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