My Adventures in BDSM Wonderland

Love and Sex

My Adventures in BDSM Wonderland

Illustration: Mandar Mhaskar

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arlier this year on Valentine’s Day, my long-term girlfriend Sameera and I were fooling around in my Parel flat. There was a moderate amount of tequila ingestion, and the next thing I knew, I’d decided to pour hot oil on her while pinning her against a wall.

There were several things going on in my head at the same time. Was I offending Sameera somehow? Did I have a secret kinky sex fetish? I mean my sex life had only taken off about nine years ago after I came out as a lesbian, but I’ve always been what Pinterest calls “Timidly Tame”. You know, the uber-gentle, nibble-your-ears-and-cuddle kind of lover.

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Surprisingly, Sameera was into it, while also not being into it. And that was a massive turn on. But this whole unexplored part of my personality came as a surprise to me. Maybe it shouldn’t have, since I was anyway making a beeline for “non-consent/reluctance” stories on Literotica.

Either way, that Valentine’s Day encounter was like crossing the Rubicon. For nine years, I’d had coy, straight-edged sex. It was now time to experiment with BDSM.

There were more immediate problems to tackle first. After how happy she’d seemed during the V-Day experiment, I assumed Sameera and I could together try to explore the world of BDSM. But I seemed to have flicked a switch: Stony-faced, Sameera told me that there was no way she was going to ever try BDSM proper; that she didn’t want to get into any “weird shit”.

The best relationships – no matter how temporary – are those without judgement. The last place I thought I would discover this, was the world of BDSM.

I tried explaining that we would never try anything she wasn’t comfortable with, and that the appeal of sadism isn’t about having intellectual power or complete mental control over someone. That it’s more about getting it on with someone who wants you to take charge and “design” the sex. So it didn’t surprise me when a couple of weeks later, she broke up with me. I was shattered for a while, but also a little relieved, nervous, and excited: This could be the beginning of something new, because I knew in my heart that I couldn’t go back to simple sex, spooning, and cuddles. Not after what I now knew I liked.

In the weeks after Sameera left, I frantically researched BDSM in a drunken haze, only to keep coming across porn or gross men. Was there no mid-point for a BDSM-curious lesbian woman with an incipient dominant streak? I’d have given up with a “Bah, humbug!” if I hadn’t come across FetLife one night. This was a hook-up site for interacting with people near you who are into a variety of fetishes, a sort of Tinder for kinky peeps. I was so eager and had no time to linger, so I decided to dive straight in.

I should have known though, that with all things sexual in this world, you have to really work hard before you can find someone to get it on with. It turns out people on FetLife are just as bad at flirting as people IRL. I lost count of the number of times I’ve had the eye-roll-inducing lyrics of Rihanna’s S&M thrown at me: “Sticks and stones may break my bones but chains and whips excite me…”

I learnt very quickly that there isn’t that much space on FetLife for a dominant lesbian. Aside from scores of brain-dead guys (“Yes, I’m a ‘real’ lesbian. No, you cannot watch”), I discovered there weren’t many women willing to be “submissive”. Most people also presumed I was a Big Boo-lookalike from Orange is the New Black, and were disappointed to learn that I’m petite and “feminine”.

Fortune favours the brave and the persistent, however. And after a few disastrous dates – I invited over a girl who later wanted to be lathered in cream and chocolate – I met someone off FetLife to finally try a full bondage session in leather dominatrix get-up. I got to decide what the girl I was meeting should wear, down to her underwear. And I also bought the paraphernalia – from handcuffs (actually curtain holders) to whips (don’t laugh, but it was a belan) to blindfolds (sleep masks “borrowed” from Jet Airways). I felt like a kid in a candy store.

Was I happy or sated afterward? To tell the truth, I figured I’m not so hot on the costume part, which seemed a little fake. For me, the real joy was that I was able to talk about my fantasies openly and act them out – wanting to slap someone, tie them up, fake-throttle them, and have a storyline going the whole time. BDSM sex, as with real life, was really all about acceptance from your partner.

As someone who’d faked 90 per cent of her orgasms until recently, I didn’t think that kind of honesty about sexual impulses was doable or even desirable. Unlike with Sameera, I felt liberated from the worry that the other person was going to think I was a damaged psycho. It’s almost like a sexy theatre workshop. It’s made me breezier and more confident, because I’m not bogged down anymore by the idea that I have dark impulses for which people might lock me up in an asylum.

The best relationships – no matter how temporary – are those without judgement. The last place I thought I would discover this, was the world of BDSM.

A few flings later, I can safely say my sex life has gone from the ridiculous to the sublime. I’ve learnt so much – chief among which is that dominating is a bit like surfing. That you have to learn the difference between the pain people can handle and the pain they want. (Also that some people have really sensitive skin – one girl got rashes all over her body from the same hot-oil trick!)

BDSM is such a broad spectrum that your interactions don’t have to be as extreme as the Fifty Shades of Grey contract bullshit. I haven’t felt the need to use “safe words” yet – I just stop pegging or hair-pulling when the other person tells me to. Exercising that kind of self-control isn’t easy, but it’s a really exciting, sexy challenge.

Will I go on exploring the really intense worlds of bondage and domination, the whole shebang? Possibly, but for now I’m happy with the surfing. I only know one thing: That my days of cuddling and nibbling ears are far behind me.

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