Originally posted on Fetlife.
My apologies if this seems unfocused or a bit jumbled. I still haven’t been sleeping well and my brain is turning to mush.
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been doing a lot of self-reflection and having a lot of conversations about people’s struggles in kink. I find that the more “off the beaten path” people’s desires are, the more that they struggle expressing what they need, want, and what will fulfill them. This happens on both sides of the slash.
It’s relatively easy for people express that they want to hit/be hit or tie/be tied. The procedure for these are well-documented among groups. Most of the concepts surrounding them are well-known. Negotiation, consent, after-care, etc. It’s fairly straight-forward if you know people to request it from and are familiar with what you want to experience. You’ll find demos, classes, instruction, discussion groups on a pretty regular basis (during non-COVID times).
Delve outside this realm and it becomes more complicated. You want D/s? That’s different. You are seeking a kinky relationship more than play? That’s different. You want a punishment dynamic? That’s different. DD/lg or MD/lb? That’s different. You want a humiliation scene? That’s different. You want chastity? That’s different. I have attended many groups and many munches and parties, and how to go about these things aren’t as well-known.
The lack of discussion on these topics is something I notice. It’s like, we as a whole just want everyone to take BDSM 101 a dozen times and rarely offer BDSM 201, 301, 401, etc. While I can understand the need to instill the basics and keep newbies safe, if your kink falls into those “other levels,” it can be easy to feel marginalized or like “no one else must be into this.”
It can be particularly taxing on the psyche when you know what you need but no one else is talking about wanting to do that.
If your kinks surfaced at a young age, you may have struggled like hell with this. Sort of like, “wow, I felt all fucked up about myself for having different needs when I was younger, then I found the community that is supposed to be ‘my people,’ and now I feel even more fucked up for having different needs than everyone else.”
Sometimes it is the lack of attention to various kinks and interests in an academic or institutional sense leaves many people without the words to adequately describe what they want, what they are, and the details surrounding it. Sometimes it’s fear that no one else will want this that makes people afraid to ask for it or talk about it. Sometimes it’s fear about being perceived as thirsty if you make your desires known. Sometimes it’s just too damn painful to put it out there in plain view and acknowledge yourself as being as fucked up as you think you are.
From my experiences, what I find most difficult of all is stating my desires in a vacuum. If I list out the bullet points of my kinks, they look ugly. I feel like a “do me” sub. I’m ashamed. I can’t imagine why someone would want to do any of this with me.
Things change a bit if it is given a context. It needs a backstory. It needs a series of dynamic events that show the interplay of what is done and how it makes me feel. It starts going beyond just me. It shows the other person what their payoff/benefit may be. It shows the energy that they will be able to feast upon. It makes things more appealing.
The problem is that there’s a stigma attached to this. Tell them your deepest fantasy and it’s a coin toss if the response will be hostile and negative and they will tell you that they aren’t just some fetish dispenser that will follow your personal scripted fantasy.
Thankfully, there’s a solution for this. It’s a pretty good solution for a lot of the struggles that people face when communicating their needs become this complicated. That solution: Fiction.
I should note that this isn’t the solution to be proposed by the person struggling to share or communicate. It requires the other party involved to request it and it becomes the task of the struggling individual to fulfill it.
Fiction provides the context that that more complex kinks require in order to be compelling. They are an idea of what sort of things someone would want and how it could be done, but it isn’t a requirement or demand for the exact events to play out as written. It also gives someone else the ability to read between the lines and start getting to the core of what makes them tick.
For the struggling party, fiction is a buffer. You don’t need to feel as ashamed about it, because this is just a made up set of events that include people who don’t even exist. While the character may resemble you, it isn’t you. There’s deniability. Since it isn’t a request, you can delve into areas you are unsure about. You can imagine how they would make you feel and hint at experiences about them, knowing full well you may or may not like it when it happens for real. It’s okay to be curious and to give context to that curiosity. It isn’t real. It’s just an idea.
It also allows you to portray a complex kink that you are struggling to describe in a vacuum. You can write out the scenario, what might need to be in place for things to work, and how you think it might play out as you experience it. If you don’t know, it’s okay to make your best guess. There is no right or wrong, this is fiction.
For the one who will read the fiction, their words will give you greater insight into their kinks and psyche than any type of formal negotiations ever will. You’ll find amazing little Easter eggs that will give you secrets of understanding them that they never could have communicated to you otherwise. It really is a useful tool.
The great thing is that this task can be repeated as many times as you want. If you are thinking about trying something new but scared/worried to go down that rabbit hole, write some fiction and share it with your partner. Talk about it with them. The more that you do it, the easier it will become.
If you are the one reading it, tell them what parts you like and why. If you encounter something troubling that you don’t understand about it, ask them for clarification. If you make it clear that you think something like this would be enjoyable, let them know that. It will validate them. The more fiction of theirs that you read, the more the important themes will begin to pop out at you. You’ll be able to see that it’s about the idea of something and not just a static set of scripted events.
The best thing about it is that you can write about anything. It can be sexy or mundane. Sometimes in fiction, the mundane is sexy. You can write about a single day, a year, an hour, etc. It can be realistic or pure fantasy. It might include things that you couldn’t imagine doing, but want to do after you have been involved with someone for five years.
If your partner or someone you know is struggling with communicating their needs and desires, you might help them out by asking them to just make something up that they think would be hot.
I once wrote a fantasy about waking up and making breakfast for my partner and having her eat it. There was no sex and no fetishes, just an ordinary day making breakfast. People told me it was hot. It said more about my kinks than I could ever describe in normal words. I wasn’t ashamed of it at all because even though it was based upon me, it wasn’t about me. It was made up. It was fiction.