Little by little, person by person, I have been sharing aspects of my deep psyche with my vanilla friends. Comparatively speaking, coming out as a transgender woman has been much easier than coming out as a slave. But as I sat with a dear friend in the bar of a wonderful London restaurant and caught up on life, at one point she just looked at me and asked me, “are you a slave?”
And the openness and honesty of her question was disarming. She had asked about how and where I found the courage to come out as female. I answered her, describing at a very high level what had transpired. A few years ago, I had a deep need to feel a state of total surrender and to be whipped. I am not, nor have I ever been, a masochist. I had never done anything of this kind, and I don’t remember a rational moment when it popped into my head that I “had to” see a Dominatrix. In fact, it just kind of crept up on me. But I knew that was something that needed to come out, and the only way to get it out was to have it whipped out of me.
I say “whipping” as a euphemism. In the actual moments, she punched me, hit me, slapped me, spanked me, flogged me, and paddled me…only once actually whipping me, but determining I couldn’t take it (I don’t think I did anything, but they get really good at reading our body language). The pain and hitting didn’t make me cry. It was what came next, when she brought her hand to my stomach and dug it in, and out the sobs would come.
But that isn’t how it started. It was a Nigerian catfish Domme who approached me on Tumblr that ended up being the catalyst. I had many risky experiences during these first months until I landed in the web of a most artful Domina. And gradually, I found myself falling into her. It is another story, but in the end, I did pierce the veil, and she eventually confessed to me exactly who she was, showed me pictures of her and her family, and “let me in”. We have remained “friends”.
Her fake persona was borrowed from a NY domme, and I eventually figured it out, and was blown away by the idea that such a thing could exist in real life. Six months in, and I found the courage to approach. In the end, it was someone else with whom the journey began in person, but there was clearly something there that sat under it all.
I really had no idea that the gender issue would surface, and finding the courage to come out would be the gift of the process. And while I played the submissive part in these early musings, as I read up on it, I thought that I was most definitely not a slave.
But my friend’s question, “are you a slave?” was so natural. I had tried to explain to her that I had no real desire to do the things that clients normally do with a pro-Domme…had no desire or need to “get off”, whilst curious about every fetish under the sun, did not feel compelled to do any of them…that my “kink” was service. That her fulfilment and happiness was what I was looking for. And as I said this, I realised too that this is how I love, and it is my most comfortable way of existing.
The whole slave thing has been on my mind a lot lately. So too, the concept of being submissive. I ask myself, is it possible to be “in submission” when one is not actually submissive? My answer to my friend was: “Yes, I think I am.”
I am not a submissive person. Not one bit. That’s a bit ironic considering how much I enjoy the company of the dominatrix. It’s also a bit ironic considering I have even posted here about being submissive, and how delicious being submissive feels. On a re-read, those posts still ring true. So too does this one about not being submissive anymore. So what gives with the apparent contradictions?
Well, some of this is about changing gender. I have written about how the “she” in me has nothing to apologize for. In conversation with a Dominatrix I met recently at a social gathering—not mine I hasten to add—she was asking about my submissive nature and this apparent contradiction, and I was articulating this idea that my submission was born out of an enormous sense of shame of being male…that the way men are in society, the way men in my own life had been, was something I reject…and that I had a deep-seated need to apologise for it when I am seen , for embodying all the things that I have experienced and reject as being male-bodied. And I also said, as a female, I have nothing to apologise for. In other words, shedding my masculinity allows me to stop apologising for not being me.
I also realised that evening how nice it is to feel as if one belongs. That can be to a place, and also a person. There is nothing wrong with that; it is deeply comforting. To belong does not need to mean exclusion of the other. To belong can also mean giving and having the space to be the best of oneself. Slavery has aspects of that in it…the desire to serve can go beyond the person who sparks the feeling and extend to things she values, she represents, people she likes. Slavery should not be about the self if properly felt. Please don’t misunderstand, it feels good. But it can also be embodied giving. It can be providing unstinting support. And it can be behaving in a way that is consistent with the deep respect you feel. Walk in her presence as you would with a Goddess–but conduct your life in the same way. Let’s not misconstrue personal responsibility in this. She is an inspirations, but she is a muse not an object of worship…her existence at best teases out a purity of heart in you, making you a better person, making you strive, making you let go of the ego. And there are few things as rewarding when others see this in you–that your progress is noted.
And I most definitely do not understand this feeling–where it comes from, why it is so strong, how it had to be born through the erotic. But for once, I find myself letting go of trying to understand it. I don’t have to be submissive to be a slave. I am accomplished…I can do what I set myself to. I can make extraordinary contributions to the lives of the people around me. I have begun to come out to my friends as a slave. They have been naturally curious and non-judgemental. I don’t wish to wear a mask or to hide. Being a slave is a big part of who I am. I find it deeply fulfilling.
What I am noticing is that being “out” as a slave is just like being “out” for anything—people begin to process you that way. A small number of my enlightened friends understand that I am wired this way, and that it gives me deep, nourishing pleasure to serve them in small ways. Some of them like to be served. Also in small ways. One of them likes it so much she boasted about it to a friend of hers in front of me, and then asked me to do something for her. It was not at all humiliating, but rather gracious, and that is what I respond best to. She was also thankful in the execution and her friend looked at me with a slightly bemused, kind of fascinated, and vaguely hungry way.
I said to my favourite therapist the other day, the one who wants to become a dominatrix—and I have a new name (s) for that, a dominapist or theranatrix, “you don’t really want to be a dominatrix do you? You really just want me to be your slave. Isn’t that right?” She said, “yes.”
“I like that,” I said.
“Good,” she said, “we have work to do.”
Why do I put up with this within the context of a therapeutic relationship? Ex-Mistress was right to point out that it is hopelessly unprofessional. At least by normal clinical standards. My therapist does not describe herself as my therapist—instead she says that the degrees, all of that, were simply a way to help me find her…she is instead a healer and a medium. And you know what? She has absolutely covered more healing ground with me than any of my other therapists, and at a faster pace, and it is precisely because she is playing into the space that falls between therapy and my pro-Domme experiences.
There is a lesson here for all of us who inhabit the right side of the slash. We must own our own self-care. Although the submissive party in a D/s dynamic is letting go and trusting the Domme, we can never give ownership and vigilance over our own mental and emotional health. So, I am hyper-vigilant with my therapist, also because we are unashamedly digging into some really tender and deep-seated issues that strike to the heart of the why of all of this.
In the session I referred to above, we went somewhere shortly after that exchange which will be remembered as one of the watershed moments of self-awareness and personal growth. It is the third major breakthrough I have had with her. Interestingly, it is precisely where actual Mistress has expressed a desire to play…which is in my deepest, darkest place of fear.
Sexual abuse is inexcusable in any form. Worse still is sexual abuse of the innocent, the weak, the dependent. Abuse can come in many forms, and the abuse of a child is the most heinously evil sin that scourges the earth. I was abused. By my Father. By my Mother. By my siblings. All in different ways. Separately. And I still make excuses for them. And they wonder why I don’t like to be with them.
But through a BDSM experience, I recently found myself right in the middle of it. It was the first time I used a safe word. Twice. In quick succession. Yellow. And both times, she did just enough to keep from going over the edge. And rational me knew what was happening was no big deal, but limbic me was in overdrive. I couldn’t breathe even though my mouth was only lightly obstructed and my nose was completely free. I had this intense sense of suffocation even though it wasn’t happening, magnified a million-fold because I was bound, lightly gagged, and blindfolded. And there was nothing that my rational mind could do to overcome the feeling.
And that was where I went with my therapist—back into that place, right into the heart of its root cause, to the abuse, to feeling suffocated and bound and kept in the dark. Back to being locked in a closet by my mother, terrified of the dark, feeling the hard, poking heels of her shoes digging into my little-boy legs, and my face caught between the dry cleaning bags, feeling them press against my lips with every breath, and crying, crying out for the person who put me in there to let me out, knowing from her footsteps that she had left, and being filled with despair, hating to need someone in that moment who was my jailer…Stockholm Syndrome. How can a parent do that to a child?
He was innocent. I still love him. He’s my baby now. Stepping into my femininity allows me to be there for him.
I had never played with this Domina before, but the two steps from my Queen to her were reassuring. I trusted her. Her experience showed through. She took me to the edge of terror and then held me there. It was not a conscious choice on her part, it just happened, and only after do I think she knew where she had taken me…but as she said before we played, “through the rope, I will know you.”
Afterwards, I lay on the floor and she knelt beside me and placed a hand on me, and we stayed like that for a long time. Perhaps after 15 minutes I meowed, and she began to pet me, to stroke my hair. And we remained thus for quite a while, almost like a painting, very still, peaceful, re-finding each other and our respective states of equilibrium.
With the therapist, through hypnosis, breathing, and meditation, we went back to that place, uncovered, understood it, and learned how to process it. I was able to feel it in therapy. With my main therapist, it would have been a rational processing…that’s fine, but it isn’t the same. The body really does keep the score. Animal us is more powerful than the mind. Sometimes it takes unorthodox methods to tease things out.
And how does this relate to the original theme of this post? The next day, as I drove the Domina to the airport, I realised that the way that we had been together over the space of a few days, was the way I see my life developing. I was able to care for her and look after her in ways that she enjoyed and which became mirrors of my own enjoyment. Some people might think such feelings are nuts, but I find it deeply satisfying to cook for someone, to host them, to care for them, to drive them around, to show them things…And while most of our time together was “vanilla” in the sense that there was nothing kinky about it, the energy of knowing where we each stood on the spectrum was an unspoken truth. It was bliss.
Slavery is freedom.
Slavery is freedom. So true when one gives up control and just follows and serves makes me absolutely free.
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Thank you for your comment. I know you understand exactly what I mean. Who really knows where these feelings come from and why they are so intense, but I feel that my Mistress has no part of her which is not dominant, and that I have no part that doesn’t respond to that.
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That feeling that responds to Her is naturral to you and yes i understand that.. Enjoy that relationship.. The sub in me says just go with it and don’t think just submit to Her and your feelings.
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I think you are right. I think she is going to turn me into her foot slave. I think she is wanting that. We shall see. There is nothing more beautiful than a strong, predatory woman.
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A powerful recount of this part of your journey. Much love, my friend XOXO
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” There is nothing more beautiful than a strong, predatory woman.” — so true
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Oh boy, don’t we know it. Female desire, especially when primal, is the most savagely beautiful energy there is. Even my therapist is like this with me now.
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