Trigger Warning: Rape

I was an akward and shy kid growing up. I still am in many ways, though I’ve done a fair bit of self work to be more outgoing, engaging, ect. I had and have trouble expressing feelings a lot of the time. My therapist and I think I might be on the autism spectrum, but see little use in evaluating for a dianosis at this stage in life.

At 20, I had never dated before and decided make an account on Plenty of Fish. Within a few weeks I was talking to a woman and we decided to meet. She pressured me for sex almost immidately and I declined much to her amazement and confusion. What 20-year-old guy doesn’t want to have sex? She seemed understanding after some explanation and the next couple months were amazing. I had emotional intimacy for the the first time in my life I trusted someone completely for the first in my life and although there was plenty of cuddles and kissing and heavy petting we remained sexually inactive. My first girlfriend. I was in love, for the first and only time.

And then she raped me.

My consent was violated in the worst way imaginable and the event caused a spiral down in every aspect of my life. My productivity at work plmmeted. My grades dropped to academic probation levels and I was all but forced out of my engineering program. My depression as at an all time high, and I had my first of many ER visits for suicidal ideations. I started self harming for the first time since middle school. My body went from football and rugby player to chips and energy drinks.

I didn’t trust my own thoughts. I hated myself for letting it happen. Any self-confidence I had was gone. Any trust I had was gone. I was utterly broken. My life became skipping classes, World of Warcraft, and a social life entirely around online communities. My rationale was that no one could hurt me again if I stayed behind a keyboard. And it was the last place I had any level of from myself or the outside world. I was really good at killing dragons. I may have failed a class or two every semester and barely pulled passing grades in others, but gods be damned, I could main tank for a progression raiding guild get that sweet, sweet, loot.

For two years I had no interest in dating, in forming relationships in the real world of any sort, and just continued to hate myself and the world.

I tried some therapy with a couple different therapists that I didn’t click with, but never uttering a word to anyone what I went though. Surely I’d be laughed at, ridiculed, or simply igorned.

Eventually, I knew I had to make a change. I had to do something, anything, to get out of the house. I recalled one of my former gamer friends telling me about FetLife. She was a ProDomme, though at the time had no reference for what that was. But from our late night talks on Ventrilo, she knew I had at least a cursory interest in BDSM and suggested I take a look. It was over a year later that I took her advice and made in account.

I sit here now over 3 years later a completely changed man. The BDSM and Leather communities have had such an incredibly positive impact in my life. This community and the friends I’ve made are largely responsible for my success in other areas of life: being able to finally graduate college, and starting an exciting and challenging career. Although indirect, the ability to be accepted for who I am, flaws and all, allowed me the growth and healing I needed to bring my life back into order.

When living with mental illness, there are always rollercoasters. It’s a fact of life, something I’ve learned to live with and have it about as managed as I feel I can. And, like the stock market, the general trend is up. In fact, things have been pretty great recently. I have a partner who cares for me and with whom I’m excited to grow with. I work at a great company and have been able to continously earn the respect of my peers and managers. I have a great relationship with my parents. I have an inner circle of friends and a wider net of people I enjoy spending time with on a nearly weekly basis.

I still struggle with trusting people completely. I remain a romantic at heart but find emotional intimacy both my great need and greatest fear. I continue to have a complicated relationship with sex, never pursing it when I want it and instinctively throwing up walls when others show interest. But I’ve been working on it. I’m getting better at communicating my feelings and emotions even when it is scary to do so.

Tonight, all of that work, all the therapy, all the positive self-talk, all the trust came crashing down.

And then I saw her.

A face I will never forget but had for years now kept locked away was in line ahead of me at the con I was at. I just had to go. Get out. Leave. Run. As I type this her face is back a the front of mind and my heart rate is increasing.

A cigarette and an elvator ride later I was in the hotel room. I didn’t want to leave. I could have just stayed and drank the weekend away given the amount of booze we brought. But I didn’t want let her affect me. I’m better than that, right? All that work, right?

A xanax and several drinks later I’m back on the elevator for another smoke. It stops and fucking of course, there she is again, getting on the elevator. My rapist a yard away from me.

More drinks and another xanax didn’t help. Twice more I saw her so I left. A friend drove me home and I lie here now at a loss for what to do. I’m ready to throw eveything out the window. Delete everything and hermit up again. Why can she still affect me like this again? Can’t I just have a weekend of fun and ignore her? Forget her? It’s not fair. Just fucking not fair. I want to throw it all away, everything. Delete my profiles and fuck off to hermitville again. I’m trying so hard here. Razors at hand but yet untouched. Chain smoking still I run out. Will I ever trust again? Love again? I don’t see it. It’s not fair.

Post-scene thoughts, a letter to my top


This is an email I sent to one of my friends who I’ve been playing with recently. I haven’t written about her on the blog before, so a new nickname is in order. I’m going with Sadistic Giggles, or SG for short.

SG,

As promised, here we go:

Alright, so what I’ve found, I think, is that I have been able to learn how to process thuddy pain quite well. It hurts, yes, but I can breathe and focus on letting the pain dissipate. It feels good, I get an endorphin rush going and all the loveliness that comes with masochism is there.

Towards the end of the scene as you were trying some new implements that got me dancing, that’s really where I start getting on the edge. That’s where the swearing and the ‘why-the-fuck-am-I-doing-this-this-is-really-dumb’ thoughts start coming. But, to answer your question, should you keep going at that point? Absolutely. That’s the boundary that I want to cross. I’ve been held out over that edge and dangled for moments once or twice by other tops, but I want to take a great bounding leap and/or be shoved off the cliff. That’s where my brain can truly disconnect and an altered state beyond the endorphin rush can occur. In the wise words of Liz Lemon:

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Secondly, on drop and such, it’s kind of complicated, but I’ll do my best to explain. With 3+ years into the scene, I’m past the honeymoon-try-everything-in-BDSM phase. I don’t play particularly often, because I’d rather stick to and seek out play with people that I have some level of emotional connection to, such as yourself. This is a double-edge sword. The connection we have allows me to trust you, allowing me to let go easier, leading to better pain processing, and getting closer to the trance state I seek. On the other hand, I drop way harder than I do after pick up play. It’s a trade off but one that’s worth it to me.

Adding to this, the reason I am a relationship anarchist is because attraction along platonic, emotional, romantic and sexual lines is a swirling nebulous mess for me and often intersecting. So because I am sexually attracted to you, immediately after the scene the desire for additional intimacy is at its highest. Because our relationship is platonic, all my shields go up as a defense mechanism until I can better process and manage my emotions once the drop wears off. This can cause me to be colder and more standoffish than usual, but I am working to find that middle ground, because the physical touch you offered really did help, as Physical Touch is my primary language of love.

So I hope all that helps you understand me better and all that. I’d be interested in hearing from you as well on the scene or our play in general from your perspective.

Cheers,

JT

Don’t see what you want? Make it.

It may not always be the obvious course of action, but if you wish there was something going on in your area and it isn’t, you can start it yourself. Wish there was a D&D game in your area? Make a group on Meetup and Facebook. Want to have a weekly meet up for other people that are horseradish connoisseurs and also fly fish? Rent a billboard. Post around the neighborhood. Use smoke signals. No one is writing what you want to read? Write it yourself!

If there are people out there who share your interests, they will find you.

This has become very clear to me in my local kink and leather communities. I was looking for power exchange. For D/s and M/s. I saw examples online of the kind of relationship I was looking for but rarely saw it represented locally and I found frustration. With so many events and groups around me, I could see all the play and sex I wanted. But as the BDSM honeymoon phase wore away, I found myself less and less interested in attending events. I wasn’t seeing my primary interest represented and after seeing the same rope class for the 6th time, it was difficult to make myself go.

So I started a munch.

With a friend, I began a discussion munch that focused specifically on power exchange and protocol. 16+ months later and we have a pretty regular crowd with occasional newbies, and we actually talk about the stuff I’m interested in. The best part? It’s minimal work and costs me nothing but my dinner bill. I post an event page, link to it a few times, and show up. That’s it.

Wanting to take it a step further, I decided to start a MAsT chapter in my area as well. A group solely focused on power exchange, MAsT has chapters all over the world. Given its proliferation, many I talked to in other areas were surprised to find there was no chapter in my area. So I started one and the interest has been enormous. People who were around but I had never crossed paths with for whatever reason showed up. People came out of the woodwork to participate.

Don’t see what you want? Make it.

They will come.

BDSM: not all about sex

It’s one of the common thing we tell newbies to the world of kink: it’s not all about sex. But it definitely can be sexual, and often is. For me, I’ve found, that sexual attraction to my play partner ultimately determines whether the scene is ‘sexual,’ or not, regardless of the relationship (which is usually platonic) outside of the scene itself. This has led to some personal hang ups, re: sexual energy and whether or not that should or needs to be negotiated or otherwise discussed.

In the past few years, my scenes generally are either in private with an intimate partner or public with a platonic partner. There has been very little crossover. With an intimate partner, sexual stimulation is often on the goals of play, but not so with platonic play partners. Because of this, I would usually keep my underwear or jockstrap on when playing in public. I’ve been fortunate that the right venues, partners, and party energy have mostly gotten over this hurdle in recent months, allowing me to bear it all at parties.

However, this has brought forth my newest concern – the mid-scene erection. My public scenes are generally bondage, impact, and/or needles and never directly sexual. Even though all sensation is far from any erogenous zones, I’m flying at half or full mast with pre-cum dripping down my leg by the end.

And this feels…wrong?

It feels good, great even. But wrong. Because the scenes were never intended to be sexual or include sex (which I’ll define as intentional sexual stimulation), I feel like I’m accidentally taking the scene to place it was never negotiated to go. Taking or giving sexual energy in a way that is not representative of the relationship we have. It even can break me out of headspace as I start worrying what my Top or others watching might think or assume from my uncontrollable bodily function.

Is this okay? Should it be something I tell my top before hand might happen? Am I just being over analytical and worrying about nothing?

Rubber bands and tears

“What are your thoughts on rubber bands?” she asks.

Well, shit, I think, Stingy terribleness from Satan’s asshole.

I tell her as much, but agree to give it a go, anyway. I’m up for pushing some boundaries this evening.

It is somewhat early in the night, the party just picking up. Playing early was a good idea – with a party this size, we would run out of space quickly, and, depending on the severity of the scene, I’ll have enough recovery time before driving home.

My clothes come off and the cuffs go on. The cross we’re using allows my arms to go straight up overhead while my legs are spread as normal.

“This is a very vulnerable position,” I tell her. She grins.

I close my eyes and take a deep breath. Here we go.

The first snap lands and it isn’t so bad. A few more. Alright maybe this won’t be as bad after all?

She wasn’t using them to full effect.

I get a brief reprieve as she switches to more classic impact toys. I’ve historically not done a lot of impact play. It’s particularly difficult for me to process pain from impact play. But hey, I’m here to push boundaries right?

Minutes tick by and there’s impact, more rubber bands, things for poking.

It’s hard to focus on the pain specifically or to simply let go but either would be better than focusing on the sights and sounds around us. A woman in front of me is stretching for a rope scene, behind us I catch the distinct laugh of a friend, to the right, I feel the gaze of a new guy who has stopped to watch.

“I need a minute.” Everything stops.

I take this time to refocus on processing the pain.

We’ve only played once before, but she can read my body well enough – the pain starts again. She increases the intensity till we’re tiptoeing at my limit previous limits.

But I’m ready this time. Only the pain exists and I let is wash over me. The intensity continues to rise, past my previous limits, past any recalled pain boundaries. And then tears.


 

Tears. What? Tears? I’m mean, they aren’t coming down like waterfalls but eyes are wet and these are undoubtedly tears. Weird. I’ve never cried from physical masochism before. Am I okay with this? I guess so? There’s nothing inherently wrong with crying, least of all from pain, but it’s very unexpected.

Sure, tears. That’s fine. I guess I’ve passed a pain boundary. As someone who has historically shied away from impact scenes, this is pretty intense. In fact, it’s the most intense scene in terms of physical pain I’ve yet had. Tears are fine.

Skillfully, she roller coasters the pain, each peak higher than the last till am at a new breaking point.

“Six more,” she says.

I count them out and we’re done. I let my body slump, hanging from the bondage and let me eyes dry up.

I’m weak, exhausted, and my body is done. But my mind is wanting more, hungry, and contemplating the next scene.

2015 in review

As this year comes to a close, it’s time to look back and see what progress I’ve gained and what mistakes were made. I have learned much, forgotten some, and all the while have walked an ever changing path forward.

2015 saw the greatest of my achievements yet – finishing undergrad. While not particularly impressive in terms of the difficulty of classes or bringing forth anything of direct value, it was a milestone that was a long time coming. It took seven years for me to finish undergrad, and although some of that can be attributed to choosing career over school, I made numerous blunders in my college life. Best of all, I have proved to myself my ability to finish a long term goal, even with adversity.

A major side effect of finishing school is my mental health is in a place like never before. Due to how I was raised and the priorities enforced by my parents, education has always been at the forefront of my thoughts. Because of this, most of my self worth was tied to how well I did in school – causing some of the most mentally and emotionally difficult times over the past decade.

But here I stand. A continuing focus on meditation and talk therapy leaves me happier, more confident, and healthier than I have ever been. With this, I feel my communication skills are immeasurably better than they’ve been as well. With a calmer mind, I take slights in hand better than ever and have been able to limit my own. Perhaps most importantly is learning to not require perfection, in myself or others. I started 2015 with a new tattoo and it reads:

And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.

A quote from John Steinbeck’s East of Eden, it is now a constant reminder in the flesh. I have become much more adept at understanding the imperfections of myself and others. My frustration and anger at friends’ actions (or inactions) can be understood as normal human imperfections – both their actions and my emotional response. Conflicts do no mean the end of relationships as they once did.

And I myself have made, do make, and will make many mistakes and blunders in regards to others. As empathetic as I am, I will hurt others and push them away regardless of intent. It is only human. Despite a deep seated want to be friends with everyone or to be on good terms with everyone, it is simply not possible. And that’s okay. As long as I continue to surround myself with people who I can count on to press me to be my best and I, them, I will move forward.

My growth in other areas as had positive impact as well. This year I found the leather community and embraced it. I too feel as if I have been embraced my brothers and sisters in leather. In fact, for the first time in my life, I feel truly welcome. My journey in leather has just begun, but I hope and trust those I have met and will meet will help guide me and stand with me on this path.

In previous years, I have had inner turmoil in who I am and where I sit on the power exchange spectrum, but 2015 has allowed me to embrace my submission and service. I’ve been blessed with the ability to serve my community in several ways and hope my ability to do so continues into the new year. I can’t deny my hope that I may one day have a dominant to serve as well.

As these words come to an end I want to thank with all my heart those in my life who have helped guide me, those I’ve been able to confide in (and vice-versa), and all those who have and will continue to be an important part of my personal life and the larger community that has been instrumental to helping me becoming the best man I can. You know who you are.

So, whether online confidant, a Twitter friend, or someone I can see and feel in the flesh, I thank you all for your continued support and friendship. I thank you for all you’ve done for me and I wish you the happiest and best of new years.

With Love,

J.T. Revner

Dominance, submission, and self-confidence

In a few weeks, this blog (and my journey into real-world kink) will be 3 years old. In that time, a lot has happened, across the spectrum. I’ve had three different jobs. I graduated university. I moved out of my parents’s house. I’ve grown as a person in ways I’d never have predicted.

My explorations of power exchange have waxed and waned, but, notably, the label swapping that I’ve done has been a point of interest. Reconciling switchiness in play and sex with submission in relationships has been a particular sticking point. If I can and want to top, why not be dominant as well? On numerous occasions, I’ve found myself meeting submissive people who I am interested in and the draw to dominance comes back. I could be a good dominant.

I’ve ran this past my best friend and confidant several times, and he always responds the same: “Yes, you could be dominant, but would you actually be happy in that kind of arrangement long term?”

I’ve pondered this at length, though I do not have answer.

I have, however, recognized a thinking and behavior pattern in myself: when I am flying high, all is good, and spraying my confidence all over everything, it’s the submission I crave, not dominance. I am the shit and I have every reason to have high expectations for a dominant partner. I will find her eventually and in the meantime: watch out world, JT is here.

I wear my sunglasses inside. I’m a badass like that.

It’s in times of frustration, depression, and exhaustion that the interest in dominance slips back in. This is different than the I-met-an-awesome-subby dominance. This is the life-sucks-maybe-changing-role-on-FetLife-will-fix-it dominance. It’s taken time to recognize this for what it is, but looking back, it’s been consistent. I think that when life is starting to spin out of control, dominance might somehow help – if I feel like I can dominate another, than surely I can take control of my own life? It’s faulty thinking, to say the least.

This recognition has been good for me and has allowed me to stay the course as it were in both my personal understanding of myself and how I express who I am to the rest of the world.

It’s quite difficult to write at night with sunglasses on. Just sayin’.

Leveling up my sex life

This is theoretically a sex and relationship blog, but I seem to not be writing about much of either lately (or at all, for that matter).

So, I’m a kinky pervert who has been active in the local BDSM, queer, and poly scenes for almost three years. I would venture to guess that most people are already relatively versed in sex before they get involved sexually liberated communities, let alone three years in. I, however, am not well versed. Barring one failed experiment a couple of months ago, I haven’t had sex in over a year and count the total number of times I’ve had sex on my two hands. I won’t lie, it’s frustrating.

I’ve “blamed” some of my lack of sexual experience on demisexuality in some cases. I do think I’ve passed up probable opportunities for sex and could have more opportunities if I tried but I have not been comfortable enough to pursue these prospects. So, wanting or needing more emotional intimacy may play a part, but it doesn’t tell the whole story.

In my head, I feel like I’d prefer some level of sexual promiscuity and spontaneity in my life. Exploratory bits of fleeting romance and intimacy as I have a taste of all that life offers. Maybe a one night stand with a guy in France with a language barrier adding to the absurdity. Perhaps a passionate but short-lived romance with a woman in south-east Asia as we backpack together for a few weeks. These are some examples of my head fantasies. In reality, I never do this, even on a more local and reasonable scale. Could I? I’d like to think so.

Now confidence, or lack thereof, plays into this a lot. The past three years have been nothing but life-changing for me. The biggest jump I’ve made is being able to actually ask people out with relative ease. I’m much better at picking up signs of reciprocated interest and have confidence that people actually like me and that I’m actually likable. But that seems to have only pushed the anxiety further down the line to initiating intimacy. That’s my new barrier.

I flirt and kiss with reckless abandon, but much past that is a roadblock still. Certainly a big part of it is not wanting to be pushy. There’s a line between sexually aggressive initiator and pushy and I’m deathly afraid of crossing it. Staying too far on the other side is not helpful either and can look like disinterest. I need to be able to move closer to that line without ever crossing it and be confident doing so.

The other issue is simple lack of experience. Currently, my sexual experience pretty much solely is on my back being ridden. Actually being on top or behind or otherwise thrusting is simply something I don’t actually know how to do. My sexual interests range the full-scale from bottom to top to switchy to violent and primal. Having really only experienced the former, I lack basic sex skills. Adding to that, I pretty much only date kinky people now, so basic thrusting while also pulling hair or something seems ridiculously complicated.

This might come as a big surprise, but it turns out that many dominants like to get fucked and have their partners initiate. *Gasp.* So even in a D/s context or with sexually aggressive partners, I need to be able to do more than lie there.

In the meantime, this means I’ll need to find partners who are both patient enough as I get the hang of things or even provide a guiding hand as I earn Sex XP.

 

I want to be happy

I don’t understand it. For all my self-examination, therapy, and treatment, happiness eludes me. I’m a good person, a kind person, and as empathetic as they come. But I am not happy.

On paper, I should be happy, no? I have a loving family who I’m out to and who supports me in every way, a job with great work environment that pushes and challenges me, and an ever widening circle of friends who care deeply for me. I do all the things a formerly-depressed me didn’t do: I take care with how I present myself, I keep up on hygiene, I make an effort to be social several times per week. I go to the gym regularly. I haven’t self-harmed in years.

To most observers, I have it pretty good. Why then am I in tears as I fall asleep most nights? Time in the car is spent wracking my brain for what I could be doing differently, doing better. Suicidal ideations a daily occurrence for as long as I can remember.

Dozens of people would take my call, text, or PM at this moment, but what’s the point of reaching out and talking? I talk and talk and it makes no difference. By reaching out I’m asking those I care about to take some of the load, which is no fair to them. Besides, I have a therapist for talking.

What about all the drugs the doctors love to prescribe? Sure, it slows the depression and anxiety, but in exchange, zombification. Not happiness.

The meditation staves off anger. I goddamn Jedi Master when it comes to that. But it doesn’t bring happiness.

I just want to be happy, is that so much to ask?

Leatherman

I write to you today as I come down from my last weekend kinky con of the year – Great Lakes Leather Alliance. A weekend unlike the others, I believe this to have been the best event of the four I’ve attended in recent weeks. Although my previously written about moment at SINergy still holds a top spot, GLLA as a whole was such an amazing experience that the event stands above the rest.

Notably, I saw many power exchange relationships at the event. As a Leather event and one that hosts a Master/slave title competition (1 of 7), the number of power exchange relationships that look like what I seek was beyond expectations and many of my…internet-M/s-couple-crushes (totally a thing) were there. These are couples whose books I’ve read, posts I’ve bookmarked and the like. Seeing their dynamics operate in real-time was fascinating and encouraging that I may have that one day as well.

The level of community and camaraderie at GLLA was great to be apart of and I felt welcomed everywhere I went. Like with other events, I found that volunteering my time for a couple of shifts allowed me to connect with those I wouldn’t have otherwise (plus, as security, I satisfied my sadism by making people wait while friends ran in to get their forgotten event badges).

Also, as someone who had previously avoided Leather due to my perceiving it as a one-true-way mentality, it was great to see that perception torn apart once again. As with other events this year, numerous Leatherpeople of many different styles and traditions came together as one family for the weekend. In fact, after the past 9 months of exploring what Leather means to me and if it fits journey, I now feel comfortable embracing the label of Leatherman.