Friday, March 30, 2012

Background… Part 4, Working Dog

For two and a half years my Owner and I attended events at our home club almost every month… and we pretty much always volunteered to help w/ something: set-up, tear-down, food, DM-ing, decorations…  You know – the grunt work stuff.

Then, in late 2007, we had a “political” meltdown.  Three of the five board members tried to shut-out the other two.  They changed the locks, changed the online passwords, and moved the money out of the bank account.  NCMaster called for the impeachment of the ring-leader of the "takeover," but I was the first to call for the impeachment of all three of the rogue board members.  They tucked-tail and left.  This left us w/ three unexpected vacancies on the Board… and a couple of the veteran members of the club asked me to step-up.  So I did.

That was my first time on the Board, and it went rather well.  I helped raise volunteerism, implemented a lot of cross-training, and helped shepherd the group through the process of becoming a bono fide, legal, not-for-profit corporation.  I’d serve again a few times over the next five years, and my Owner would, herself, serve a year as Education Director.  I’d always been active in helping out, but somehow I had shifted from doing the grunt work to a position of *Gasp!* leadership.  This meant having to deal a lot more w/ the “politics.”  It’s been good and bad… but mostly it’s been good!

However, we had a real horrible time in 2009-10.  That’s when SheWhoMustNotBeNamed was elected to the Board.  I’ve dealt w/ personality clashes and w/ immature people, trolls, drama queens, and troublemakers… but I have never seen anything so foul as that monster!  Believe me, this was way beyond “kink group drama.”  She bullied people, blackmailed people, threatened to trash their reputations in the community, threatened to out them, to call the attention of the media, to out them at their jobs, to harass them w/ superfluous lawsuits… finally she lost it and threatened someone’s seven year old son: “I know where your son goes to school. I will come to his school, and I will come after your fucking kids! If you don’t think I’ll come after your children, you don’t know who you’re fucking with!”  That’s what she said in a voice mail she left.

Unfortunately for her, the loving and protective father of that seven year old happened to be an attorney.  From what I hear, a damn fine one.  He was promptly in the office of the District Attorney, playing for him the threatening voice mail she’d left.  SheWhoMustNotBeNamed doesn’t show her face anymore.

Like I said, it’s been good and bad, but on the whole it’s been good.  Still… it can all be rather taxing.  I have leadership training, and I know how to run a show… but it’s not something I really always like to do… I am competent, confident, and can get things done, but I prefer to be following orders than giving them.  By nature, I’d much rather offer advice than give orders.  Ma’am says I’m a good service puppy and pack-second; I don’t like to be the head-honcho, but I make a good right-hand-man.  :)

But by now, even when I’m not on the Board I’m never really off duty.  At this point, there aren’t any active members of the group who have been around longer (consistently and actively) than myself, my Owner, Kevin September, and NCMaster… so we’re pretty much in the role of “community elders.”  (Yeah, three Doms and a puppy.  Weird.)  It’s an honor, and I’m not complaining…  I enjoy serving my club and my community, but…  *shrug*

Well, we’re back to where I started in my first post: Lately I feel like I’ve reached a plateau.  I’m still enjoying my local scene… but I think I’ve definitely hit that point where I want to discover some new people, new textures, new play-styles, new sexual experiences, new interactions…  Looking to bring some fresh energy into my life!

So, I guess that pretty much completes the “Background,” and brings us up to where we are now.  Question is: where to go from here?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Leather Contest Rant

So, last weekend, I won a couple of passes to one of the big leather conventions where they do one of those contest things.  I'm very excited to be going!  My Owner and I have never been to this particular con, even though it's supposed to be one of the best in the Southeast.  We tried to go one year (2007) and actually did stay there in the hotel.  We didn't actually attend the con b/c (1) we primarily just wanted to see some friends -- particularly Philip (Boymeat) b/c I had a piece of art that I created as a surprise gift for him, and (2) we found it to be a bit over-priced.  So we saw some friends in the lobby and over dinner, and went to a separate dungeon party that night... but we spent the day at the art museum.

So I am excited to be finally, actually going to this con.  We'll get to see many friends, and I'm sure some of the classes will be quite good.  Most exciting of all: I hear they have a puppy mosh pit.  While I've been a pup for seven years, I've never pupped-out w/ more that one or two other pups at a time... so I'm pretty excited to be in a proper mosh.  *wags*

On the other hand, my Owner is a bit nervous about this event b/c she's certain she's going to piss some people off.  You see, we're both pretty low protocol.  Well, I'm a pup; "high protocol" for me is if I don't lick you or sniff your crotch the first time we meet.  And my Owner is known widely for being pretty brash and outspoken... and one thing we've both been somewhat outspoken about is that neither of us think much of these title contest things.

Pardon me while I get out my soapbox...

Let me start by saying my problem isn't w/ title HOLDERS per-say... but w/ the selection process.  I have known some title holders who are very cool people and very wise, competent, respected community leaders.  I've also known title holders who couldn't find their own ass w/ a flashlight and a Ouija board.  However, it's axiomatic that the results you get depend on the inquiry you conduct.  So let's be honest... the selection process resembles nothing so much as a beauty pageant.  Here she comes, Ms. Leather America! 

(Let me pause at this moment to admit that several years ago my Owner ran for one of these titles an lost.  But least you think the opinion I'm expressing here -- and this is just my opinion -- is nothing but sour grapes, let me note that I felt very much the same way about these contests even before my Owner ran for one.  I supported her in her run, but she knew how I already felt about the whole process.)

While I've known some very good ones, I could also give a litany of examples of sorry title holders.  I've known recognized Master-slave couples who were frankly in desperate need of marriage therapy they were in such an unhealthy place.  I know one person who just fell off the turnip truck yesterday, won a  title w/o ever having taught a class or held any office or leadership position at the local level... then when I went to her first class we all discovered that "teaching" for her was reading a bunch of un-attributed material she printed off the internet -- literally just reading it to us.  But she won a title b/c she her stage show used a laser light show, a smoke machine, and assorted bells and whistles.

I once asked NCMaster about the history of these leather contest things, and he explained to me that they started as a fun show -- for entertainment -- in the old gay-leather bars.  It's a show, meant to entertain, and the winner is (generally) going to be the one who puts on the best performance.

Look... I've applied for scholarships before.  I put myself through school partially on them.  I've applied for grants, too.  I know what a genuine, rigorous process of selection looks like -- one designed to identify those who have actual vision, aptitude, and leadership skills.  Trust me, it does not look like a beauty pageant.  When people are going to give you a financial endowment -- investing in you -- they are serious about finding out if you are the real deal.  They want your resume.  They want letters of recommendation.  They want to check your references.  Years of experience?  Offices held?  Who mentored you?  Who have you mentored?

But nobody would run a leather contest that way b/c that's... well, it's boring.  The producers of these events have a financial investment, and they want to put butts in seats.  They want to sell tickets.  That means smoke machines and laser light shows.  I'm NOT saying that they don't care about the community; I'm just saying that they have legitimate reasons to make it flashy and entertaining... which dictates the metrics the judges are using.

It's worth repeating that this isn't a blanket condemnation of title holders.  I've known some who are true leaders of their communities -- who are the go-to guy when you need things done... or when you need advice.  They're great teachers, role models, and mentors.  I just think it's a shame that those aren't the reasons they were given their titles.

I will now put away my soapbox, and you may proceed to throw fruits and vegetables at me.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Background… Part 3, Becoming Puppy

I met my Owner, the fantastic Shdwkitten, in November of 2004 at a mutual friend’s private play party, and we started dating right after Thanksgiving.  Now, I had long been interested in puppy play, but had never seen it – had never met a pup!  I‘d been fairly active in the lifestyle for 2.5 years, playing as an un-collared, general purpose masochist… but pup play isn’t something that’s common in the het community – particularly ours, which is very male-dom/fem-sub, so we have a dearth of boys, much less pups…  But there was a pup-play demo at Whippersnappers early in ’05 – Kitten wasn’t interested, but seeing that I was, she agreed to drive down to Atlanta w/ me.  She hadn’t yet collared me; we were still just dating.  Near the end of the demo, the presenter asked for volunteers to come up and try it.  Andrew took the opportunity to “volunteer” me.  Well, this was something I was eager to try, so it didn’t take much work for him to talk me into it.  :)

I went up front, and the speaker asked the audience, “What breed do you think he is?”  Instantly somebody in the room shouted back, “Irish wolfhound!”  Just like that.  That’s me – tall, shaggy, and Celtic.

So that was my first pup play experience.  Ma’am collared me shortly after… but we still didn’t identify as “Owner & puppy” for a while yet… that evolved rather organically over many months.  For me, I started out “doing” puppy play… and rather gradually realized that being a pup was something I just naturally was.  In retrospect, I can see that “pup” was always there, under the surface... even if I didn’t always bark at motorcycles.

One bittersweet moment stands out as an early (and to us, important) moment when my pup-self came forward w/o it being “play.”  My Owner recently wrote on her Fet blog about how she was once raped by someone in the lifestyle.  That was very, very brave of her to write about it and share that!  Well, the day the rape occurred she didn’t know where to turn.  She called a mutual, out-of-town friend of ours, and he told her to go to me.  She was reluctant b/c we had JUST started dating, and she didn’t want to show-up on my doorstep w/ a boatload of emotional trauma – worried what I might think of her.  But he insisted: “Go to Emrys; he’ll take care of you!”

She tried to compose herself, but as soon as I answered the door she burst into tears.  I let her in w/o a word, and she plopped down on my back deck sobbing.  I can remember how we didn’t speak at all.  I didn’t ask her any questions.  My response was completely non-verbal.  I ran and fetched her a cookie and sat it down on her knee like an offering.  My simple, silly act made her smile and chuckle.  I just plopped down w/ her, snuggled… I put my head in her lap, and she petted my hair.

It was the farthest thing on earth from puppy play… but it was the essence of being a pup.  My human was hurt, I didn’t know why, but all I wanted to do was to snuggle-up… to do something simple, silly, and playful, and make her feel better.  No talking.  No “thinking” in words.  Just to be present.  To be there w/ her.  I don’t know… but I think maybe that’s when we both decided (w/o talking about it) that from then on, come Hell or high water, I would always be there at her side.

Canis lupus familiaris.  “Familiaris” means “Family member.”  And did you know that “Fido” is Latin for “I am faithful”?  It’s related to “fidelity.”  In art, the dog is commonly a symbol of devotion and faithfulness.  Notice the little pooch in Jan Van Eyck’s famous 15th century wedding portrait?  That’s what he’s doing there.

 People are often surprised to hear that I’ve been close w/ my circle of best friends for over 20 years now… but to me it’s unthinkable that it would be otherwise.  I guess, like other canines, once I bond w/ someone, I tend to stay pretty glued to them.  I would walk through fire for those guys.  But to my Owner, above all, I will be her loyal hound until the day I die… and if I can find a way back to her after that, I will.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Background… Part 2, Stray Pup

In 1999, I started going to a monthly fetish night at a local nightclub… and did some serious S&M… Stand & Model.  In 2000 I turned 25, graduated, took a job, and moved to a new state… and my whole dating/sex life (such as it was) was put completely on-hold for almost 2 years, during which I went to work, then came home to hermit-like seclusion.

Finally I got the idea to search the internet (this new-fangled thing we just got in 2002) to see about kinky/fetish activities/clubs in my region.  I really was part of that group that came in on the hinge between pre-internet and post.  In 2002, some of the groups/clubs had a website… but most were still relying on Yahoo listserves (email lists) to communicate.  So it was a far cry from the true pre-internet days when you had to have the balls to walk cold into some seedy club w/ a name like “The Glory Hole”…  But it was also a far cry from the day of blogs, twitter, FetLife, and Recon, where one can amass tons of data w/o ever setting foot in an actual club or party.

So I managed to identify three groups in my area to check out: Lynx, CAPEX, and TAAG.  I believe I started w/ Lynx.  This was a simple "munch group," and thus seemed like the most non-threatening – a group of kinky people meeting once a month in a public restaurant for dinner.  Right about the same time I went to the Gateway group sponsored by CAPEX.  This was a small, talking-only meeting (at a church, of all places) specifically for younger people entering the lifestyle.  It was (and still is) an excellent program!  I can still remember the first meeting I went to.  The topic was setting up a “safe call” before you meet-up w/ a stranger for a play-date.  Good safety tip.  I was also recommended to read “SM 101” by Jay Wiseman.  Which I did.

I quickly graduated from CAPEX’s Gateway to CAPEX itself.  I really enjoyed this group.  The people were very friendly and welcoming.  I learned a lot from the first presentation I went to (which, conveniently, was “Entering the Community” – yea, serendipity), and I attended my first actual kink party… where there was a 101 class on fire-play, which I tried-out and found it, not terribly erotic, but pretty neat.

Both Lynx and CAPEX are still going strong 10 years later, while TAAG is now defunct.  This is unsurprising, b/c I found this group to very unwelcoming.  I went to a couple of TAAG events in 02-03, but they were a very stand-off-ish crowd.  CAPEX was all about bringing people in, educating them, and giving them forums to network…  TAAG was all, “We don’t know you.”

Meanwhile, at CAPEX, I was diving in w/ both feet.  I soon started volunteering to help w/ set-up and tear-down or bring food…  And my eagerness to jump-in (and lack of modesty) led to me being asked to be a demo-bottom just a month or two after my very first play party.  CAPEX had always had trouble finding male demo-bottoms.  It’s a “pansexual” group, but it’s always been dominated by older, het-male-top/female-bottoms.  Naturally this limited my opportunities to find the 20-something female-dom I was searching for… but I also very quickly found that I didn’t mind bottoming to men, provided that they were safe, competent, and I liked their energy.  I’ve never been at all homophobic.  (Of course it probably helped that one of my long-time best friends is gay… but then I had suspected he was gay even before he realized it about himself, and it never bothered me.)  I also learned early that BDSM could be erotic and sensual w/o being “sexual,” and so I’ve actually bottomed to more men than women over the years…

I also landed a few invites to private parties.  Volunteering and demo-bottoming led to some quick networking.  I was invited to my first Fantasm to come down and demo-bottom for one of the presenters.  Sure!  That was my first kink-con (and if you don’t remember Fantasm… lets just say “seedy” doesn't touch it; forget the dungeon – you could sit in your hotel room and play “guess that stain”)… and I managed to play a couple of scenes in the dungeon (one spanking, one wax).

One other thing that helped my reputation early on was that I entered the community very humble.  I knew nothing, I didn’t pretend to know anything, and I asked lots of questions.  One downside of the internet I’ve already seen is a lot of inexperienced newbies coming in w/ arrogance and superiority b/c they saw it, read it, or “did it” online.  Seriously?  I may be old-fashioned, but I don’t see any substitute for going to clubs, cons, and events… watching, asking, and participating.  (And also, get off my lawn you damn kids!) 

Truth is, there’s no substitute for direct experience and interaction… and I still trust print media over anything digital.  If somebody actually invested in publishing a book then it’s probably going to be higher quality and better veted than some crap some shmuk posted online.  (Which also means you shouldn’t trust anything you’re reading in this blog.  I’m actually an eleven year old girl named Margaret.)

In 2004, I helped to form a bi-monthly interrogation play group.  That really launched my reputation as a heavy bottom.  The first session they broke me by sticking needles in the webbing between my toes.  When that wasn’t enough for session two, they pushed needles through my cheeks into my gums.  I think session three ended w/ a taser to my balls.  (It’s been a few years since I played quite THAT heavy… but I’m still a pretty tough pain-puppy.)

Two other very important things happened in 2004: I bought a motorcycle, and I met the beautiful girl who would soon become my Owner.  (That’s chronological order; not necessarily order of importance.)  After being a stray in the scene for almost two and a half years, I found my perfect match.
  • Beautiful girl
  • Close to my age
  • Dominant (although she switches – NOT w/ me)
  • Tom-boy tough w/o being “butch”
  • Tall for a girl
  • Sexually aggressive (Okay, I did kiss her first… but after that, let’s just say she quickly took things in hand!)
  • Smart, curious, and physically fit
We met in November, started dating in December, she collared me in February, and moved in by March.

And we lived happily ever after… or: To be continued…

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

My Leather Resume

Given that my previous/other blog was/is locked, whereas I've decided (for the time being) to leave this public, there may be a fair number of people coming by for a look who don't know Pup Emrys from Adam's house cat.   So by way of introduction, let me post my leather resume.  If you're serious in the leather/BDSM community, I recommend you keep a leather resume to keep track of yourself... and you never know when you might need to formally present yourself.

Allow me to present myself...

Leather family:
  • Collared pup of Shdwkitten, 2005 – present

Group Affiliations:
  • Member of CAPEX (Charlotte, NC), 2002 - present
  • Member of MDG (Asheville, NC), 2004
  • Founding member of Torquemadas (Charlotte interrogation group), 2004-2005

Offices held:
  • CAPEX Board: Interim Board Member (elected), 2007
  • CAPEX Board: Education Director (elected), 2008
  • CAPEX Decorations Team Leader (appointed), 2008
  • CAPEX Education Team Leader (appointed), 2008 - 2009
  • CAPEX Board: Finance Director (elected), 2010 (resigned for personal reasons)
  • CAPEX Bylaws Team Leader (appointed), 2010 - present
  • CAPEX Board: Finance Director (elected), 2011

  • CAPEX Volunteer of the Quarter, 2005
  • CAPEX Volunteer of the Month, March 2006
  • CAPEX Volunteer of the Month, June 2007
  • CAPEX Volunteer of the Month, November 2010
  • CAPEX Volunteer of the Quarter, 2011

Presented classes at:
  • Frolicon (Atlanta, GA)
  • CAPEX (Charlotte, NC)
  • Triangle (Raleigh, NC)
  • Fetish Flea-market Fair (Charlotte, NC)
  • WINK (Wilmington, NC)
  • Crimson Phoenix (Virginia Beach, VA)
  • BEG (Morganton, NC)

Classes presented:
  • Primal Play, or “I want to fuck you like an animal”
  • How to Survive Real Life in a 24/7
  • History of Fetishes in Fine Art
  • Puppy Play (show and tell)
  • Avoiding the Kink Ghetto, or “How to say no and still be kinky”
  • Polyamory (roundtable discussion)

Special skills:
  • Drawing and painting
  • Public speaking
  • Writing
  • Conflict resolution
  • The ability to take a lot of pain

Monday, March 19, 2012

What it is to be a Pup

This ad makes me smile and wag my tail.  How perfectly does this capture what it is to be a puppy!

From Thri-kreen to Puppy

What makes a pup?
(1) Loyalty. Canines put their pack at the center of their being. They live for the pack and act w/ ferocious loyalty to their pack-mates.
(2) Hierarchy w/o rigid formality. Pups like to have an established pecking order. From the Owner/Handler to the Alpha, the beta, and on down to the omaga pup… However, one thing that separates pups from the "Old Guard"-style hierarchies which were modeled on military ranks would be the added element of playfulness. Pups aren’t big on stiff formality or rigid protocol. Once we know our place, there’s plenty of room for teasing and goofing around. :P 

Gamer geek alert!
The old AD&D 2nd-edition Thri-kreen handbook is online at:
I was looking at it, and… Okay, so I think this is cool – you can read the section on “The Law of the Clutch” (p.12-13) and swap “pup” for “thri-kreen,” and swap “pack” for “clutch,” and it really works. See:

“Belonging to a pack determines the pup’s place in the
universe, and gives the pup a set of parameters within
which he or she must operate. The requirements of a pack
transcend alignment. Pup might be good or evil, lawful or
chaotic, but the pup still behaves the same way toward
pack and packmates. Regardless of the pup’s true alignment,
behavior toward pack and packmates is essentially lawful

“As previously stated, a pack is organized along a strict hierarchy
based on dominance; each pack member knows who is
more powerful and who is less powerful. In most cases, determination
of pack hierarchy is peaceful; most pups can tell
who is more or less powerful and aggressive, and give or take
orders accordingly. Most positions in the hierarchy are determined
by someone giving an order or making a suggestion, and
others following it; the one whose suggestions are followed the
most is the pack-leader, while the pack-second is the one followed
next most frequently, and so forth, to the pup who
takes the dominance (and orders) of all other pack members…

“The pack hierarchy system does not mean pups shirk
their duties. If humans were organized in such a way, and the
leader issued an order, the order would likely be passed
down by each person to the next lowest person in the order,
until the person in the lowest position ended up doing everything.
This does not happen in a pup pack.
When a pack-leader issues an order, the order is usually
given to a specific pup, normally the best suited to the
task, someone the pack-leader wants to test for ability, or
someone whom the leader wants to gain experience. If no one
specific is named, the pack-second or the pup best
able to perform the task voluntarily takes it.”

Cool, eh?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Background… Part 1, Sexual Awakening

Well, here I am.

I’ve been in the BDSM community for a decade.  I’ve done a lot of things.  Lots of stuff checked off the ol’ “fetish list.”  Still… plenty of things I’ve yet to experience.  Met a lot of cool people.  Met many abject losers.  Met a couple of abusive predators (not many, but they are out there).  Taught classes, volunteered at cons, served on the Board of Directors of a local kink group (over, and over, and over…).

But, now, here I am, and lately I feel like I’ve reached a plateau.  I’m still enjoying my local scene… but I think I’ve definitely hit that point where I want to discover some new people, new textures, new play-styles, new sexual experiences, new interactions…  Looking to bring some fresh energy into my life.  It’s started already – I’ve been reaching out to some new folks in new settings… and my Owner and I have focused a lot recently on going back to the fundamentals of our power exchange – “hitting the reset button” we call it.  But I’m still a little unsure about where I WANT to fit in to the BDSM/Leather/fetish community these days.  Starting a new blog (been on LJ for years) is another form of trying something new.  I’m still going to keep my LJ for more personal things (job, family…) and maybe use this primarily for fetish stuff.  Why not FetLife?  I don’t like that site!  It’s too “chatty,” and I’m not looking for “chatty” or for a “hook up,” so much as “substantive reflection.”

So, I figure it makes sense to start by backing-up and taking it from the top.  To re-cap.  For those who came to the theater late and joined our hero in-medias-res, let’s go back to the beginning and look at how we got here.

I’m 36 now and soon to be a year older.  Like most of us, I can (retrospectively) see the roots of my peculiar brand of sexuality in childhood and adolescence – long before I ever got chained to a cross.  As a kid, I really liked the tough-girl heroines of my boyhood: Princess Leia (especially!) and Marion Ravenwood of “Raiders of the Lost Ark”… Margot Kidder’s Lois Lane.  I think I always liked the Howard Hawks style of tough-talking “broads” who could throw a punch and drink men twice their size under the table.  Eventually, I was fortunate enough to find such a lady, my wonderful Owner… but I’m getting ahead of myself.

As a teen, I was a big-time Marvel comic reader… especially the X-Men.  Now, I am 100% convinced that Chris Claremont (longtime writer of the X-Men, especially though the 1980s) is into BDSM and into fem-dom in particular.  His female characters were strong, assertive, badass, and very sexy (Storm, Phoenix, The White Queen, Dark Phoenix, the Goblin Queen, Psylock…), while his men (w/ the exception of Wolverine… and perhaps Nightcrawler) where generally weak and whinny.  Who didn’t cheer when Storm kicked Cyclops’s ass and took command of the X-Men away from him?  (I’m tempted to ask, who didn’t want to drop to her feet and lick her boots… but that was probably just me.)  Of course, a lot of Claremont’s X-Men storylines involved overt fetish-wear, bondage, collars, mind-control… and I know I, for one, used to masturbate as a kid to many fantasies of X-men ladies and the men they dominated.

Then, of course there was “Batman Returns” and Michelle Phifer’s Catwoman.  Woof!  I can remember watching it in the theatre and having a boner through the whole film.  And the shot where she pins Batman and licks his face!  Oh… my… gods…  And she had the whip!  My fevered teenage brain started entertaining the fantasy of being flogged by her… scratched open w/ her claws… her running her tongue, catlike, over the wounds…  (And I’ll again break my temporal continuity to note how lucky I am to be owned today by a fierce feline who does all those wicked things for me and more…)

I don’t mean to imply that I’m kinky BECAUSE I grew up on Marvel comics.  Where does it come from?  There’s a stereotype that submissive men have self-esteem issues.  I suspect anyone who knows me would describe my level of self-confidence as reasonably high… (Okay, most would probably say that I have an ego the size of a small planet.)  There are those who come to BDSM b/c they need the stress relief and release from being in control… but I’m a lot better than most at processing stress and have a very laid-back, type-B personality.  I’m very patient, focused on the big picture (not the little, trivial shit… I never get ruffled when I get cut-off in traffic), and prefer spontaneity to great forward-planning.  (“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon.)  So, from where comes the masochism and the submissive-ness?  I don’t know, and I’ve long since quit trying to answer.  These days I tend to think that our sexuality is basically something we’re born with.  Asking why I’m a sub and a masochist or why I get a hard-on whenever I see motorcycle racing gear, is as productive as asking why someone is gay or straight or why they have green eyes or a high/low IQ…  It is what it is; I am who I am.

Returning to our story:  I didn’t date much as a teen or in my 20s.  Combination of two things: my unconventional taste in girls/sex + my strongly introverted nature.  I’m an introvert.  Borderline hermit.  I’m not shy – never had a problem being on center stage.  I work and play well w/ others.  But I need to be alone more often than not.  People (even those I like) can become very taxing for me, and I soon need to be out hiking alone or riding the motorcycle.  Yeah… I spend a lot of time in my own head.  This is something my Owner got right from day-one; she’s very good at allowing me my own space and alone-time.  But being a strong introvert didn’t lead to a lot of dates when I was young.  Complicating the situation was the fact that, by the time I was in my early 20s, I was so completely kinky, that I had no interest in any kind of vanilla relationship.  Problem was: I had no idea how to find a healthy BDSM relationship… or even the notion that such things existed in the real world.  (“BDSM” was not in my vocabulary then – I didn’t know what to call it.)

I did struggle w/ that some… particularly in 96, 97, and 98.  Those were my first college years living away from home.  I did wonder in those years why I felt these things, and if there was something wrong w/ me.  Of course, not having any notion of what a healthy BDSM lifestyle would look like, my fantasies during those years (my early 20s) were quite dark.  I had this need welling-up in me to be dominated, hurt, helpless, humiliated… broken, abused, and destroyed.  For a few years I just internalized… I can remember waking up to some dreams in those years that were somewhere in-between erotic and nightmare.  Many of them even included the desire to be torn apart and eaten by a werewolf.  (Today, I have a wonderful were-tiger who loves to rip into me, and I’ve found an awesome alpha-pup who does some pretty incredible things to me w/ his teeth as well.)

(Side note: I would actually be in the lifestyle for a number of years before I would come to realize that even in our community I am a rarity.  I haven’t had a vanilla sex fantasy since I was in my mid-twenties.  I actually was surprised to realize that even among perverts, it seems that most are not as strongly defined sexually by BDSM as I am.)

Now, my college roommates through almost all of this were very close friends of mine.  Still are.  We’ve known each-other since we met around a D&D table when I was 13 or 14.  But… as well as they knew me, it turns out none of them really suspects what was up w/ me sexually-speaking.  One close friend/college roommate, who is gay, says I never showed on his “gaydar,” but he knew there was something different w/ me – he just could never imagine what.  I was actually very surprised when I came out of the kink-closet to him, b/c I thought he and my other best friends had long suspected my tastes were kinky (I had, half-jokingly, dropped various hints over the years)… but no, apparently I played my cards closer to the vest than even I realized, and all the half-jokes were taken as just jokes.

Finally, in 1999 I started venturing out.  A local, college-town night club started advertising on the radio a monthly fetish night.  (Remember this was the primitive 1990s before FetLife and Recon and such.)  So, now a grad-student, I started to hang out at this club once a month.  It was what we like to call “S&M: Stand & Model.”  Lots of good-looking, young kids in sexy fetish clothes – leather, latex, rubber (I had my leather motorcycle jacket; the same one I still have today) – and they had a BDSM floor show – a kinky burlesque.  But I never actually did anything but stand and… well, model.

In 2000 I turned 25, graduated, took a job, and moved to a new state… and my whole dating/sex life (such as it was… which is to say, almost nil) was put completely on-hold for almost 2 years, during which I went to work, then came home and either read a book or made artwork… and that was pretty much my hermit-like world until mid-2002.

To be continued….