Content note: sexually explicit language

It was a dark night in Bangalore, curled up under my sheets reading through some content on Literotica when I first stumbled upon a story that quite literally blew my mind. The idea of being dominated was so fiercely against my very being, in absolute contradiction to all that I was and claimed to be: a fiercely independent feminist. I dismissed the feeling instantly. Then, while in bed with a partner, I discovered that I liked sex when it was rough, even more so than normal. It is then that I realised that only I can stop denying myself the pleasure I deserve.

Endless nights were spent in research: is it normal that I feel this way? What is BDSM? Why do I feel this way? How to be ‘submissive’? What is control? I was met with a slew of content, often unhelpful. The first of this was, of course, pornography that was heavily directed towards the male gaze. And therein began my conflict – the videos seemed to propagate non-consensual sex, rape, torture, abuse, slavery, confinement, humiliation, suppression, and more often than not, pain. I was not only immediately disheartened, but disillusioned with myself.

Where are my principles if I am watching this content and contributing to the propagation of these injustices? As a person who has been sexually abused, how can I like this? I was torn between being a ‘good feminist’, standing up for the rights of women, and my sexuality.

I was torn between being a ‘good feminist’, standing up for the rights of women, and my sexuality.

Let me offer you examples to illustrate my point. Often, in porn found on mainstream providers like pornhub, xvideos, xnxx and redporn, the pages are pregnant with videos of women being tortured, told they were worthless, spat on, forcefully subjected to sex, kidnapped, groped on trains/buses (or any mode of transport, really), and whose overall pleasure was completely ignored. A common thread ran through these videos – a man teaching a woman ‘her place’. Women being spat on, pissed on, used as commodities, raped, and publicly humiliated were the dominant videos on these platforms.

It only exacerbated my plight when I began to visit niche Reddit forums such as r/maledom, r/strugglefucking (formally r/rapeporn that was removed by Reddit, and yes, it is a page dedicated to rape videos) r/maledomempire and r/misogynyfetish (the tag name gives you a very real glimpse into the content) where videos/pictures were often accompanied by captions such as: pissing on the worthless pig, using my (in reference to the woman) fuckhole, my slave slut, using her pussy, controlling the feminist bitch/teaching her that her worth only comes through a man (yes, this is a quote from r/maledom, and that only weak men allow women to dominate them & it’s really a favour you are doing for the woman in fucking her (yes, another quote from r/maledom).

These captions were enraging. There was not enough information on whether these videos were obtained/created consensually for me to engage with it, but I did know that this brand of misogyny was not one I wanted to promote. Mainstream porn is never, ever an accurate description of consensual BDSM, and that was a lesson learnt the hard way.

Also read: No Sex Until Marriage! The Hypocrisy Around Premarital Sex

The problem was compounded by the fact that BDSM groups, especially in Bangalore, were not extremely active on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. This caused an immediate onslaught of the feelings of isolation and loneliness. Further compounding these issues were the lack of open availability of sex toys – almost none on Amazon and Flipkart, and a few on Snapdeal.

After extensive searching, I moved onto platforms such as Ali Express, Imbesharam and Thatspersonal (after reading countless articles and reviews to ensure their products assured quality and privacy) and was greeted with the surprising realisation that there is a trove of good quality sex toys outside the convention. We must demand that the traditional platforms and our government drop their misplaced sense of morality and allow adults to purchase objects for their pleasure without having to hide them behind cloaks, and the only way to do this is to be more open about it with the people around you. Put your dildos in the air like you just don’t care!

Mainstream porn is never, ever an accurate description of consensual BDSM, and that was a lesson learnt the hard way.

It was only through slow exploration with a loving partner who was patient and understanding that I understood that a submissive is not ‘giving up’ control to the dominant, but is very much in control of the situation. I would often fight off any suggestions from him for it seemed to me that he was subjugating me to the same kind of ridicule I had witnessed online, that I had lost my autonomy in bed. I would analyse every thought and every action. Why does my partner like choking? Does he enjoy seeing me struggle for air? Does this mean he wants to hurt me? Despite enjoying the idea of choking, I fended it off for the subjugation I thought I was being subjected to.

However, the more I read about the psychological requirement for BDSM that renders it pleasurable to us, the more I realised that by setting the paradigm of our actions I am in control of the situation and dictate how my body will be treated. My entire process was made easier by having a partner who focused on my pleasure (as much as I focused on his) and to whom my consent & comfort came first. Through this painstaking process of trust, trial & error and constant reading, I began to let myself enjoy being submissive without viewing it as a compromise on my principles. I took control of my sexuality.

BDSM is based on power, yes, but both parties have this power. It is important to remember that is a power ‘play’, that in acting out your fantasies and allowing someone the permission to dominate you, you are not handing over your agency to them. In fact, it is here that I realised that I am in absolute control of my agency, that I am no less a feminist because I enjoy being submissive in bed.

I delved deeper into it, often engaging in roleplaying (such as that of a slave-master), tying up, handcuffing, spanking, and more. Needless to say, my heavens have been brighter than ever. Often, something I suggested would bruise my ego and erupt into psychological warfare with myself. It is then that I sit with myself and have the talk: you enjoy these acts, but the action of being submissive sexually does not make you a submissive person.

This is a cry for open content on healthy, consensual BDSM. Not the Christian Grey kind where he claims to “rectify the problem” of Anastasia’s virginity and often disregards her capacity and consent.

Also read: Fingers To Scroll And Fingers To Touch: What Erotica Taught Me

This is a cry to no longer have to keep any articles about my sexuality anonymous, that someday my traditional south Indian family might be more accepting of sex, a woman’s need for pleasure beyond marriage, and my right to explore this wonderful world of BDSM. That hopefully someday, the light at the end of the dungeon might permit me to discuss my desires without being labelled a sexual vagrant.

It is here, now, as loud and bold as can be, that we must drop these societal cuffs and liberate our sexuality.


Featured Image Source: Fine Art America

1 COMMENT

  1. I went through the entire article, the opinion of your is the mind-blowing and literally you have been highlighted the and you defined the BDSM in well manner, but what do you think about the sexual issue arising in this time, i hold up my statements, but the use of sex toys, our government should make it legal, it most probably can reduced the rape and women molestation. There are many companies in India, secretly selling the Sex toys, Sex Vibrator for women, and other kind of sex toys, as one company I know i.e. ThatsPersonal.com use to sell online sex toys, so most probably they are doing good job, and trying to overcome sex accusing.

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