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COLUMN

Savage Love

I'm a happily married woman. I have a great sex life with my husband of many years.

I am 22, standing in a bookstore on Castro Street – this is many years ago, just after I dropped out of Bible college and hitchhiked to San Francisco – looking at a gay BDSM magazine for the first time in my life, trying to hide my erection, reading a story about a Master who makes his naked slave carry to his Master’s friends a six-pack of beer that’s hanging from a rope that’s tied to his nuts. To my horror, I shoot a load in my pants without touching myself.

My problem: A bit older now, I’m still very much that boy in the bookstore. The things that turn me on are what my own mind – still brainwashed by Southern Baptists – deems “bad.” I tell myself it’s OK to embrace my “kinks.” I tell myself to stop analyzing why I’m turned on by forced-exhibitionistic-sex-slave fantasies and just accept them. The problem is that I perceive my fantasies as reactionary: They exist by definition in reaction to my upbringing. What is my hard-on but a big “fuck you” to the preachers, prudes and family members who made me miserable?

What would turn me on if I could get free of the whole fucked-up system? Am I asking questions that shouldn’t be asked? Should I just enjoy the fact that I’m turned on by humiliation and seek safe and sane situations to act out my fantasies?

Having A Rough Day

There are people who do not share your craycrayfundy/bible study life experiences, HARD, who are nevertheless turned on by the exact same things you are. Human beings are primates, our cultures and societies involve all sorts of overt and covert power dynamics and almost all humans wind up eroticizing those power dynamics to greater or lesser extents. Some of us eroticize them in subtle ways (pleasure taken in “servicing” a partner, a desire to be held down, a mild foot fetish), others more baroquely (elaborate D/s scenarios complete with props, costumes, and clearly defined roles), but power, as a gross old man once observed, is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

Even if we could determine that your kinks were shaped by your upbringing, HARD, the shit that turns you on is still going to turn you on. And if your kinks are a “fuck you” to the preachers, prudes and family members who made you miserable – that’s a “fuck you” they earned. Let them have it. (I mean it: Take pictures. Mail ’em to that preacher.)

And remember: There are people out there having vanilla, hetero, missionary intercourse in unhealthy, abusive relationships, HARD. You can explore your sexuality in healthy or unhealthy ways, just like vanilla breeders can explore their sexualities in healthy or unhealthy ways, but you can’t escape who you are and what turns you on. So stop beating yourself up, HARD, and go find a nice, kinky guy who takes that responsibility off your hands. (Here’s some great advice for gay guys just beginning to explore BDSM: tinyurl.com/bensten.)

Reading your column made me asupporter of the LGBT community. I get your back in formal political debates and drunken bar discussions. The LGBT community deserves equal rights, just like any other group of citizens. Period. However, I must protest Kate Bornstein’s comments in a recent column. She said that sex-positive heterosexuals who support the LBGT community – guys like me and FRAUD – are not “straight” men, but “queer heterosexual” men.

Sometimes it’s hard for me to get people who are not gay to support LGBT equality because they’re afraid that someone will call their straightness into question. Don’t make it harder.

Liberal And Straight

Being a big ol’ queer myself, LAS, I viewed Kate’s suggestion as a compliment. But your point is well taken. Everyone gets to choose his or her own label, and you’re straight in my book.

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