So you had a daydream or saw something in a movie, and suddenly you have a burning desire to have your partner tie you up. Or you desperately want to try what it would be like to feel some pain during sex. And with that desire, you have completely conflicting feelings of embarrassment or shame. So you feel ashamed or embarrassed about your sexual desires. What should you do about it?
Modern society has told us many stories about what sex and sexual desire “should” be. We have expectations about who we should be attracted to and how we should pursue sexual interests. We see romances on the TV, and, for the most part, they are vanilla. Depictions of sexual fantasies were relatively taboo until recently – the gay community helped bring some of these more into mainstream culture (think San Francisco Leather Daddies). However, more heterosexual-leaning people are often still behind in their ideas about what sex should and shouldn’t be.
We often get questions about if a particular interest or kink is “normal” or not. With the societal pressure to behave a certain way and not a lot of information about anything other than vanilla sex, it can often feel like a fantasy or an interest is “wrong.” The truth is, human sexuality is much more complicated. Recent studies have found that women’s sexual desire and interests are much more fluid than initially thought. Your interests can change wildly throughout your lifetime – from who you’re interested in what sort of sexual activities you prefer. And that’s totally and completely normal.
Feeling some amount of shame about your sexual interests is also quite normal. We have pictures of what we should like, and when we find that we want something completely different, it can feel like something is wrong with you. Think about it like coming out, in a way. You may be heterosexual, but admitting even to yourself that you like bondage or being dominated can feel shameful if you have a story about what you should like. So how do we get over that? Read more to find out.
Is Liking ___ Normal?
Before we get started, there are some important topics we should cover about safe sex and kink. While some are more socially acceptable than others – if it’s legal, consensual, and ethical, then having an alternative sexual interest is safe to explore. Whether or not society says so, your interests are defined by a complex net of experiences in your life. Being sexual is entirely natural and good for your well-being. That being said, some sexual activities are illegal. While this means we wouldn’t include them in our legal, consensual, or ethical list, these things change over time. In some places in the United States, anal sex is still illegal, among other “Non-Vanilla” sex. While at Bottega Nera, we don’t agree with some of these antiquated laws; other laws are in place to protect minors and other vulnerables. It’s essential to check your local area and understand how you can explore what you want to within the law’s boundaries.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way – chances are, whatever you’re interested in has other people who like it too. It’s prevalent for people to be interested in being tied up/subdued or into sadism/masochism. We’ve heard people relate their first stirrings back to old Batman cartoons or some other innocent impression (helloooo Indiana Jones). Ever heard of weighted blankets? It’s a similar concept; there are real physical benefits to being tied up. Many people find the “weight” or pressure calming – it allows them to let go of their current worries and just experience sensations. The desire to feel this pressure is so common that we would say it’s becoming mainstream now.
When you think about how these kinks pop up – it’s no surprise we see them. While Batman didn’t mean to be kinky, it was. Our seeds of interest are hidden in everyday life. When they come up, it’s a perfectly natural path for our brains to take.
Kinks vs. Fantasies
As humans, we are deeply imaginative – and as a result, we also can have daydreams or fantasies quite often. When people begin to be more open to these, they are sometimes surprised at what they dream up and what excites them. Our imagination can go a lot farther than we may be interested in going in real life – and that’s also totally normal. When you’re daydreaming, there are fewer limits, and you don’t need to match those daydreams in real life.
If a daydream you had about an anonymous threesome is great but is too risky for you in real life – that’s completely fine! This relates to what is ethical, consensual, and legal. You may daydream about something that doesn’t fit within those bounds – rape fantasies are very common. However, you shouldn’t act out those fantasies in their true form. There are ways to explore a fantasy or some elements of it within the consensual and legal bounds. That is what a lot of roleplaying is based on.
A Little Embarrassment is OK
Feeling embarrassed about your sexual interests is totally OK. We all sometimes feel unsure about what we want. When asking a partner to engage in something different, it can feel scary and uncomfortable. Knowing that almost everyone goes through this can be a comfort. Even the most practiced BDSM players were probably unsure or embarrassed about what they like at one point in their lives. There are some ways to overcome this if you choose to and move into exploring what you want. Here are some of our top tips:
- Research what you’re interested in. Luckily, many alternative sex blogs cover almost any topic you could be interested in. They cover how to practice safely, what to expect, and much more. This knowledge can be vital, just like understanding the basics of safe sex are crucial to your health.
- When you’re ready, talk to your partner if you have one. Let them know that you’re interested in something new. Remember that it’s OK if they don’t feel the same way. Though you may be surprised at how open they are to trying something new. Novelty is essential for long-term relationships, so trying something new and having a partner who is open to experimenting can be great for your relationship.
- Explore your feelings around shame and embarrassment. Emotions aren’t “bad” or “good” – you need them all! Often your resistance to feeling shame and embarrassment can make those feelings worse. If you feel like your quality of life is affected by your emotions around the topic, we recommend trying therapy with a kink-friendly therapist.
Suppose you feel ready to experience your fantasy. In that case, Bottega Nera’s Gift Sets can be an excellent way to get body-safe toys in a curated set based on themes or interests.
Kinky Sprinkles – A blog that covers topics in kink and polyamory from beginner all the way to advanced topics
XCBDSM – A BDSM blog that covers the ethics, how-to’s, and learning resources for kink
7 Ways to Deal with Sexual Shame – An excellent resource by Pleasure Centered Sexology AU that breaks down the psychology and how to cope with severe sexual shame