Much of the language used in relation to kink, BDSM, what it is that we do, etc. is incredibly individual. This is the main reason I consider labels to be conversation starters rather than answers in and of themselves. While one person may be submissive only during sex, or on weekends when the kids are away, someone else may consider submission to be an ongoing dynamic akin to being someone’s spouse or life partner. In my experience, there is little that can be generalized. But there are some terms that seem more open to interpretation than others, including fear and humiliation.
I don’t do humiliation. Mild embarrassment is one thing, but my view of humiliation is one of being talked down to, insulted, or berated. And that’s a little too close to my inner monologue. While I can understand how hearing those words outside one’s own head can be beneficial, it’s not something I have any personal interest in pursuing. Further, I was made fun of for plenty growing up and there is nothing more triggering to me than to be reminded of that in some way.
Fear though. Fear is more intriguing to me. While negotiating a scene recently and discussing where our activities might lead, my partner mentioned that there was potential for them to take us into a place of fear. I admitted that I was willing to go there if that’s where the scene went, and that it was something I would like to do more of. And then they asked what fear is for me.
Dammit. Couldn’t we just get to the fun sexy times already?
No, no, communication is key here. So I thought back to the few times I’d been afraid during a scene and what those scenes had in common. There was the time a man pointed a knife directly under my chin and said, “all I have to do is push in and you’re a puddle on the floor.” There was the time a friend pushed my face so far into a pillow and for so long, I realized how easy it would be for things to go too far.
“It’s that point where I have to remind myself that I know you,” I told my friend. Vague as that sounded to my own ears, it was apparently acceptable.
And yes, we danced along that edge, that point where one’s survival instinct kicks in and overtakes the need to fight. That point which is as definable as the blade pushing against the flesh over one’s heart or stomach.
So why go to that place? What’s the point? Well for me it’s a catharsis. Much like the ropes provide a tangible object against which I can work out some of my frustrations, confronting fear of any kind helps quiet that inner voice that says, “you can’t do anything.” There’s a sense of accomplishment that comes with pushing those boundaries and coming out on the other side. The resulting cuts and bruises are reminders that yes, I did in fact do that.
The stress, the tension, all of it will return in its time. But for now, I’m as relaxed as I get. The other night, I even sent the book to people who might be able to help market it. And I did so without butterflies and without hesitation. That’s what I call impressive. Still haven’t sent it to publishers but that’s largely a time issue at this point.
And the really interesting thing? Previously, in the days after such a scene, I’ve fretted over how I could enjoy such a thing. To be fair, that knife play scene mentioned above was early, early on when I was still discovering my love for knives. The pillow thing…that was part of something that could only be described as more complicated. Ultimately, I knew I was safe but the context was unnerving to say the least.
This time? I’m good. Sleepy, and still a little sore if you poke at the right spots, but I’ve come to terms with what I want and I’m comfortable with it.