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The Transformative Power Of Submission

flickr/ danor shtruzman

By Elena Kristof

“I got you a present, but it’s out in the car.”

I racked my mind for what it could possibly be. A new vibrator or anal plug? Perhaps some fetish gear? Lacy lingerie? Something else fantastically sexy? I gave up guessing and trailed after him.

He slowly popped the trunk, and — with a sheepish, wholly proud expression on his face — presented me with my gift. A dog crate.

For pups tipping the scales at 100–200 pounds, mind you. Or in this case, for me.

I should back up.

The domain of power dynamics within sexually charged situations had always been alluring. Among more contemporary classics, the works of Marquis de Sade and Jean-Baptiste de Boyer sat forever stacked upon my nightstand. I’d dog-eared my way through Anne Rice’s Sleeping Beauty Trilogy, and panted through every taboo tale Anaïs Nin ever penned. Admittedly, I’d even flipped through 50 Shades of WTF — wherein “my subconscious” snagged a couple of easy Os.

It was within the confines of a nurturing, wonderful relationship, that the opportunity for further, real-life exploration organically presented itself. Together, we touched the novice tip of some fantasy-infused, role-play-charged, pain-vs-pleasure iceberg. Together, I realized not only did I not have to steer anymore, but that willfully releasing the wheel was actually super hot.

Every relationship and every fling prior to this one had starred me as the initiator. I was the fuel to the fire. Often I even built the fucking fire. I was the dominant one, both above the sheets, and between them. Needless to say, it was a pleasant surprise to find that surrendering that deep-rooted need for control, and playing someone’s submissive little fuckslut was even more fun.

While that relationship inevitably ended, it served as an initial launching-off pad — laying a foundation wherein playing submissive suddenly started all the right juices flowing. Yet something more was prompting this deeper peek into all things kink.

For one, it terrified me. A recent turn of events had inspired me to — rather than run away, or repress — face every discomfort head on. Flip every unfamiliar rock. All or nothing. Full-on or fuck it. Or in this case, full-on and fuck it. I figured one could never test the tepid waters of fetishism while standing shyly on the shore.

If anything, this was an experiment. A journey of sorts that served orgasms along with an unbelievable amount of self-exploration. The fact that you often never know your limits or your boundaries, never know your triggers, or your turn ons — until you’re smacked (sometimes literally) in the face with them, was an intense win-win of a situation.

Tit torture: yup. Extreme bondage: definitely. Spitting: fuck no. Sensory deprivation: yes please. Public sex: sure. Flogging: always. Whip: nope. Foot worship: meh. 24/7: woah. Aftercare: well duh. Wax play: uh huh. Threesomes: okay. Foursomes: naw. Masochism: no can do. Spanking: absolutely. Verbal humiliation: never stop. Electro shock: go away. Role-play: wait come back. Dog collar: hot. Dog crate: . . .

Before Operation Fuck-quest, sex had been many things to me. A fluid, flexible, ever-changing entity that was often served with social assumptions, unspoken expectations, boundless intimacies, spiritual insights, and ample uncertainties. To my surprise, kink simply encouraged a deeper immersion into each of these.

What if you intentionally stripped those social assumptions away? Made a point to isolate exactly how you defined your gender, categorized your sexuality, organized your ideals and labeled your preferences? What if, once you hammered out how and why you remained “comfortable” within a controlled environment, you opted to completely abandon it? What if, instead of “playing the game” or hoping that the random you flirted up at the bar would surprise you with the best sex of your life, you sat down over a coffee and discussed in detail what you wanted and how you wanted it?

Kink offered all of that.

With kink, I learned that the humiliating could also be hot. The terrifying could also be thrilling. The uncomfortable could also be meditative.

I also learned that, when lined with a towel, a dog crate is actually pretty comfortable. I can speak to this, as I made a split-second decision while standing baffled in my driveway: Game On.

For the sake of any fear facing. For the sake of any boundary discovering. For the sake of uncovering a new trigger, or tapping a new turn on.

The two of us experimented a bit further with our new “prop.” And while I occasionally pulled it out, shrugging, for other partners, it eventually became less provocative, and more just a technical pain in the ass.

After folding it into my closet one last time, I threw an ad up on Craigslist. And, as I helped an eager Labradoodle owner carry it to her car, I lied about the “dog” that was, sadly, no longer around.

Then I made a point of spending her $150 on the shiny new vibrator I had originally anticipated, a less-mangled copy of Anaïs’ Little Birds, and a pair of lacy lingerie for no one other than myself to admire.