I’ve been into kink for as long as I can remember. Thinking back, I was writing erotic dungeon stories involving seduction and torture before I even understood how to get myself off. I drew terrible kinky sketches long before I had considered exploring another human’s body on my own. I’ve had people say that my interest in kink must be related to trauma, and I won’t deny, I’m a person who has been through rape, sexual assault, abusive relationships, and violence fueled of bigotry. The funny thing though, is my love of kink and the seeds of interest in engaging in bdsm, began long before any of that trauma. And no, I did not have a traumatic childhood, I was raised in a stable middle class home, never disciplined with physical violence, did well in school, and so on and so forth. So for years I was so proud of being able to declare that kink and my trauma were unrelated, after all I had definitive proof in the terrible scrawled pages of werewolf sex stories, woven together with a good many of the fetishes I maintained later in life. Those happened first, so nope, trauma and kink have no intersection for me!
Well, a funny thing happened in the more recent years, I realized there was a connection. Yes, I was kinky first, but then I went through some rough shit. I was cheated on, I dealt with codependency and abandonment issues, I suffered through emotional abuse and some physical abuse, I was raped and sexually assaulted, I was treated as less than human for being a queer trans man and dealt with violence and threats of violence. And in the past few years, I’ve developed some new kinks, or gone farther down the rabbit hole with others. I noticed it first when a partner cheated on me, not the first time I was cheated, but I had just gotten out of the dynamic with my ex-fiance where cheating played a part in his departure, and that was a particularly brutal emotional roller coaster. Then a very stable partner broke relationship agreements, and while the whole incident was something of a miscommunication, it was momentarily very painful before we sorted it all out, and it brought up the larger betrayal I had just experienced. Suddenly I found myself fantasizing about catching a partner cheating and the sting of that betrayal, or of cuckolding, being made to watch a partner with someone else in something of a negotiated consent but feigned nonconsent and hurt scenario. After the incident with miscommunication, I struggled a little with insecurity and jealousy. Once the fantasies squeezed their way into my brain’s meat space, that disappeared. I didn’t think much of it quite yet.
Then I noticed a humiliation fantasy popping up. Now in real life, I’m a strict Dom, and I do not like to be humiliated or play a submissive role in any way. Suddenly though, there was a fantasy in my mind related to humiliation and cuckolding, that revolved around me lacking a specific body part (psst…it’s a penis). I don’t have a lot of bottom dysphoria, but there is certainly some, and I was confused as why the hell my brain would present me with a fantasy that seemed hell bent on triggering worse dysphoria, and more importantly, why the hell I enjoyed it?
One of the times I was almost sexually assaulted but managed to escape the situation before the assault occurred, was when I was sleeping. A few years later I was assaulted while sleeping by a partner. Well what do you know, my brain decided the next in the series of fucked up fantasies I would develop, was of someone having sex with me while I slept or was unconscious. At this point I noticed a trend, though I had already been wondering what in the ever living fuck was going on with my brain??? Then it clicked. I realized that after my brain turned the trauma I experienced into fantasy, I actually felt better. Now I had no desire to really explore these things in real life, and certainly I knew that any of these without very explicit negotiated consent would be beyond fucked up. But letting them rattle around in my brain and zing right to my sex drive, was somehow cathartic. Not a by the books way of dealing with trauma, but it was working.
Then I remembered a conversation I had many years prior with a partner. He was heavily into impact play, but he had also been abused as a child. I tried to carefully negotiate our scenes, worried especially about triggering that trauma. And I asked him one time why someone who experienced that and had been profoundly fucked up by it, now found enjoyment in being beat. He explained to me that being able to consent to a scene, having the control to say “yes, I want this” or “no, you need to stop” was empowering. And in a scene he had the knowledge that there was a close trusting relationship between himself and me, that I cared for him and was doing what I was doing out of mutual enjoyment and love. At the end of the scene he knew I would hold him and tell him how well he had done, how proud I was, and how much I cared for him. It didn’t heal all that trauma completely, but it was cathartic. It helped rewrite the script of something that had destroyed him, into one of something he was choosing with love, one where he was embraced at the end after holding the reins of power the entire time and being able to say stop the moment he didn’t want it.
So, I’ve realized that I don’t need to wave a flag of pride that I’m a “normal” kinkster, one of the undamaged and unbroken ones. I don’t need to be proud that my kink came long before my trauma and try and justify no connection between the two. Kink is normal yes, and it isn’t something that is born of us being damaged people, but it is okay if the two are connected. When my trauma and my kink finally coincided what happened was I began to heal. We are allowed to heal in whatever ways are most comfortable, and if consensual exploration into bdsm is a way that works for you, that is completely valid. My brain decided to show me that it was a way that worked for me, whether I liked it or not, and I’m grateful for the cathartic release. It did what years of therapy couldn’t manage to, it made me feel better and it helped me move on.