“I just find it creepy and sick, honestly.”
People under 18 don’t exist in a void.
I didn’t, when I was 6 and 12 and 13 and 16, and that fact is why looking at a BDSM website restricted to 18-and-over, one filled with nothing but basic information on how you’re not bad and sick and scary, not a monster (for that reason at least) makes me quietly anxious while I want to be angry. I’m an expert on previously-mentioned unemotional shame, and this is why it’s a multi-field specialty.
There’s a Simpsons character who I’ve always remembered who screamed that you don’t know what you want and that’s why you’re kids, and that was predominantly my experience of childhood. I didn’t know why I wanted to do Those Things, or the common element in them, I just confusedly tried to reach out for what I knew I needed, with clumsy, random, fumbling and inappropriate expressions of submissiveness, the kind of things I force down under a howling maelstrom of thoughts about something, anything else when I get near to remembering them.
Of course, it didn’t just stay emptiness that filled up with strange, contradictory good feelings when my friend pushed me into a mud puddle or something I was told to do hit that spot between being something I wouldn’t want to do for that person and being something I would like to do for that person. BDSM, D/s and the other initialisms like it like it are typically characterized as always sexual, and while they still aren’t always sexual for me, they started to be, just a little, when I was 12.
Not that I’d admit it. It was just one daydream, and it was full of enough horrified shame that I threw it out completely, realization that I was trans included. I try not to think about how things would have been different if I hadn’t, just like I try not to think about how they ended up. I succeed, not even thinking about them enough to bring them into that plain where they’re solid enough to attract words, so just imagine something disgusting, constant reader. Unthinkably disgusting.
In fact, imagine several things like that, and imagine that you do them in private, because you have a constant, horrifying urge to do them, and you feel a horrible mix of sickness and self-hate and a respite from feeling empty while you do it. And the shower you take afterwards is so hot it’s agonizing, and you hope that it’s enough suffering, enough of an apology to nothingness for being so fundamentally awful that you can muster the tiniest speck of forgiveness for yourself.
It’s a heck of an experience for a 12 year old, you know. It seems amazing that I ever did experience it, really, because it’s so very easy to stop it. You just need an explanation, some information. The knowledge that some people need this, and they’re not sick and bad and perverted and broken. Permission to be neither empty nor disgusting, to not take 4 years to slowly, painfully understand this by yourself.
It is so very simple, so very basic, and so very often restricted to those 18 and over. Like everyone else lives in a sanitized void, puberty held back by magic, underwear fused into their hips, with potential needs like mine that appear safely, predictably and never non-sexually at age 18. It’s the same principle as abstinence only sex education, really. If you don’t educate people about what they’re going to want to do, they won’t do it.
Only they do. They feel horrible about wanting to, of course, it does that much. They will feel horrible when it goes horribly wrong. But they will do it. The statistics show it, the personal stories scream and sob and whisper it, and they will do it. The only difference lies in if things are horrible or if they’re fine.
When they’re fine, I’m quietly and openly submissive to someone I feel my odd, fixated, wanting-to-please equivalent of love for, and it, who uses it/its pronouns and loves me too, likes that I am. It doesn’t seem to mind that the consentual, meeting-certain-conditions kind of humiliation feels good to me, and I get so excited and gleeful when I please it that I make strangled squawks that I’m too repressed to make at any other time.
When they’re fine, I’m not frightened and ashamed of the urges I get and the things I want, I don’t do inappropriate things that I’d happily kill the memory of forever and I don’t pick up painful, uncomfortable aversions that take years to break. I’m okay. I’m okay like my inclinations are, like I’ve almost never been, like I didn’t get to be when I was supposed to be being a kid.
You’ve already heard about when they’re horrible, and I’d like to leave you with the contrast for more than a moment, constant reader, but I’m anxious-afraid to.
Because BDSM is so constantly characterized as sexual, and I’m anxious-afraid of being seen as advocating the sexualization of children, the inappropriate knowledge and sudden moments of horrified, humiliated shame at accidentally betraying it that I had as a child, from exposure to truly adult desires.
And I worry that I’m retroactively doing that now, betraying myself as some bizarre, broken un-child grown into something worse, a hybrid transgression against the ideal of innocence itself. The persistent fear and sexualization of what I’ve always wanted has shaken my certainty that I ever really was a child, that there was anything for my abuse to really damage in me.
But if that is the case, I was doomed from the start, and I can’t believe that.