Tie Me Up & Worship Me

Whenever I speak - or write - about women's sexuality in the context of empowerment, some very well-meaning person (usually a woman) will want to chat, with that knowing wink-wink nod-nod that assumes we will agree, about BDSM play. Invariably, they want me to agree with them that images of women tied up, bound, gagged and slapped are demeaning to women. They are waiting for me to validate their pent up indignation that anyone could do that to a woman.

And I can't do that. Because lots of women, myself included, are hard-wired to be submissive sexually. I am one of those women that likes a man who can man-handle me right up to the edge of my boundaries. And I can almost explain why.

I am a strong woman, no doubt about it. I demand to be treated as an equal, to be respected, to be heard and valued in all of my relationships. In general, I will only form relationships of any kind with people who I trust to always act with integrity and respect. All of those things go double (at least) in my romantic and sexual relationships.

I have had far fewer lovers in my life than many people I know, and far fewer than people expect based on what I do. I am extraordinarily picky, because I know that in order to have the kind of sex that I want to have, I have to trust my lover to always put my health, happiness and safety first. I know that in order to have the kind of sex that I want to have, I have to trust my lover so completely that I can let go entirely. I can not think about anything. I can try anything and know that no harm will come to me. I can explore things so intimately that I know he and I will go on a shared journey that is, ultimately, unique only to us - regardless of what our pasts may have held.

That just turns me on. To be able to let go of any need to control, protect, direct, request, second-guess....  To know that my lover will make sure his needs are met and I won't find out down the road that he's been holding out on both of us and begrudges my not doing something that I never knew he wanted.

While that does not inherently connect to BDSM play, that kind of trust and intimacy is at the core of every BDSM relationship that I know. I love to be tied up and objectified. To be the ultimate instrument of fulfilling my lover's sexual fantasies. I love it when he hits me in a moment of passion, or pins me down to get exactly what he wants exactly as he wants it.

I love being absolutely exhausted, knowing that I gave everything I've got. And to be clear, this is no cake walk for him either. This drains us both.

For me, this kind of trust truly awakens me on every level, and makes me feel even closer to my partner. I know that he has my best interest at heart, and that he knows I can handle much more than I think I can sometimes. And in the days that we spend together, this same knowledge seeps into much more mundane life moments that we share. Frustrations with family, friends, work....  I know that I can let my guard down fully and express any fear to him, and he'll remind me that I'm stronger than I think I am. And that he'll protect and love me no matter what. For me, allowing myself to be defenseless and emotionally naked with him sexually enables me to be defenseless and emotionally naked with him during the mundane minutia of daily life. The further we push our boundaries, the more space we create around us to fill with love and adventure.

As usual, the woman who approached me after my TEDx talk wanted me to tell her that it was demeaning to see women tied up and spanked. And as usual, I told her I didn't feel that way at all. I told her that I am a woman who likes to be tied up, blindfolded, spanked and devoured. And that it takes an enormous amount of strength to stand up and say that. To ask for it. To  be good, giving and game sexually and get what I want. It takes courage to trust so completely that I can get what I want.

Sometimes, the strongest decision you can make is the decision to not control things. To trust.

I do not know why I like such rough sex. I had a quack acupuncturist who fancied herself a therapist, and should probably lose her license, tell me that she thought as a rape survivor I was re-raping myself every time I had sex. (She told me this at an appointment when she was aghast that I had a clear hand-print on my ass, and I told her I had a great night the night before.) I told her, at the time, that I did not believe that to be true, at all. That I am turned on, intensely, at even the thought of being handled like that. As long as I can remember that has been the case, and I felt enormous shame about it for a long time because I bought the feminist myth that submission is degrading. About a year after I ended my relationship with the quack, I found my junior-high diaries, and in them I talk about rough sex.

Mind you, I was still a virgin, so my fantasies were just that - FANTASY. But truly, for as long as I can remember, I've fantasized about rough sex. And I have the bubbly childish writings of an awkward adolescent to prove it.

The point is, that these knowing and "protective" glances of righteous indignation that deem to protect women from rough sex instilled me with fear and shame of my own sexuality. I believed that strong women weren't supposed to want this. It took a lot of strength for me to buck that tide.

So when she wanted me to agree with her, it was with great glee, triumphant as hell after delivering a powerful talk about the shackles of sexual shame at the TEDx conference, that I stood strong and told her she was wrong. It takes great strength to be a good sub. And that is as true of male subs as it is of female. There is nothing degrading in a dom / sub relationship, as long as it is consensual, safe and fulfilling for both parties.

Sure, in porn there is a lot of crap. A lot of the films, actors, producers and circumstances are unsafe, unhealthy and unethical. I will never debate that because I know it to be true. But what she was talking about was the nature of the BDSM relationship. There is nothing wrong with that. For many people it is totally natural, ultimately fulfilling and intimately trusting.

My tastes are quite vanilla in the grand spectrum of things. But I will still stand strong and proud with the legions of people who bravely explore their own boundaries and the strength of true intimacy between lovers. And I will do it as an empowered feminist who believes that people are their most powerful when they are not bound by external expectations, rather they are unbound by true intimacy.

(Originally posted on NotSoSecret.com)

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Alyssa's Musings: AlyssaRoyse.com

Sexual Information For Women: NotSoSeret.com

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