In Gone With the Wind, Rhett Butler tells Scarlett O’Hara he won’t be refused and carries her up a velvet staircase to thrust—err, drive—Ashley Wilkes out of her mind. This famous scene leaves many readers with their hearts racing. Many men desire the same degree of surrender, releasing the burden of their complicated lives for the freedom of surrender and submission. But at the same time, many people hear “BDSM” and recoil or become incensed.
How many of us have had the “dreams of the 50 foot woman” or “a woman with a cock” fantasy? How many of us fantasize about bondage?” This eternal conflict plagues many confident individuals. How many of us have wondered, “What’s wrong with me?” Not. A. Thing.
Take comfort — the desire to submit is a deep seated desire for many and a true BDSM relationship has nothing to do with abuse. Consider ballroom dancing. When we give our partner the opportunity to lead, and choose to follow, we dance together. The desire isn’t to be conquered — it’s to surrender.
While Dominant/submissive inclinations are as old as human nature itself, there’s a reason the BDSM fantasy is engaging the female imagination now. We’ve come a long way, baby. Woman are in positions of corporate and political power, so why not in the boudoir as well? We have a voice when we stand up and demand to be heard. Getting swept away in a fantasy where our significant other takes the reins, protects and cares for us, takes away any responsibility? I’d argue it’s natural.
Has your partner ever told you to leave your hands above your head while they were… doing wonderful things to you?
Were you tied you up; given a simple command? Suddenly was them doing that even more stimulating – simply because you were letting them take the lead? That’s part of BDSM. Whether it’s psychological or physical restraint, giving up power can be very liberating, especially when you trust your partner to take you both where you want to go. I consider it the reset button to your hectic or demanding life.
“But that’s not what BDSM is,” you insist. “I saw the truth on an episode of Law and Order!” Perhaps you saw whips, chains, leather — all sorts of stuff that you’re sure will put you on the FBI’s deviant watch list. Certainly those trappings exist — and can be a lot of fun, especially when you decide to do “FBI interrogation” role-play — but they aren’t the true heart of BDSM.
At the end of the day, BDSM is about a power exchange and the end goal is trust. Giving someone else the gift of our emotional vulnerability can enhance our sexual confidence and strengthens our psychological core. For many individuals, there’s nothing more empowering. In healthy, loving BDSM practice, relinquishing control can actually set an individual free.
Telling your partner about your kink can be terrifying. While there is no shame in any sexual act between two (or more) consenting adults, kinks and fetishes* can still be stigmatized.
It’s normal to feel scared about revealing your kinks — whether you’re into role-playing as a doctor and patient, foot fetishes, or gang bangs — but kinks are often deep-rooted in our sexual needs. Failure to disclose yours with your partner can mean you’re missing out on a lot of fun and pleasure, and may result in cheating, resentment, and/or breakups due to sexual dissatisfaction. While many of us have sexual fantasies that are fun to masturbate to, without involving our partners, kinks demand attention.
“There are people for whom they need to have that fetish involved in their sex play, or they’re not going to enjoy it,” says Michael Aaron, PhD, an NYC-based sex therapist and author of Modern Sexuality.
You deserve to get what you want sexually without shame. To help you through the nerves that can accompany telling your partner that the sex is great, but you really need bondage (or spanking, or penetration, or role-playing) from time to time to truly feel fulfilled, let Rachel guide you or if a couple, both of you to a more honest approach to your true sexual self.
*The terms “kink” and “fetish” are often used interchangeably, although technically a “fetish” refers to sexual arousal to an inanimate object, while “kink” is umbrella term for pleasure beyond normative penetrative sex.