Phoenix’s Journey

This was originally posted as a series of blog posts; however, it has been so well received that we have decided to post all of the parts together in order for future readers. Thank you for your support.

Part One:

I honestly don’t know how many folks in my day to day life would ever think of me as being submissive about anything, much less to anyone.  It has to do with the outward personality that I have around other people I don’t know, or their misinterpretation of it. I do not have a “meek” or “submissive” posture when in public, and I’m quiet, perfectly content to watch the interactions of others long before feeling the desire to join in.

I have in the past been accused of being a “fake” submissive, whatever that means.  I view myself, and know myself to be, a sexual submissive, which does not necessarily include the other aspects (work, family, social events) of my life.  So, the question is: How in the world did I get here?

First, let me say that to understand the journey, you have to have a complete picture of it. Accordingly, this is going to be a series of posts, hopefully each tackling a specific time of my life, and the results thereof.

On to Part One:

I was introduced to BDSM at a very early, and frankly unacceptable, age.  I was six, in fact.  Obviously, I didn’t know an acronym for what I was seeing, certainly was not “turned on” by it, but it is my earliest recollection.  It would have been one thing if it had been something that I had “walked in” on, as children are apt to do in the middle of the night at inopportune moments.  It was not.  It was mid-afternoon on a sunny Saturday and I was “invited” to join in.

I am the product of an extremely abusive childhood.  I do not point it out as a ploy for sympathy.  It is just a fact.  I also do not point it out so that people can have a reason for the way I am.  I am the way I am because of my brain, years of introspection and professional therapy.  I grew up in a house that was sexually, physically, mentally and emotionally abusive, by both parents.  They each seemed to have their own areas of expertise when it came to abusing people.  My sibling and I have both dealt with our having experienced all of these in our own ways, with varying degrees of success.

The worst thing to come out of my childhood is the fact that as an adult I have do not have a meaningful relationship with a single member of my biological family, including my sibling.  It is not that they ostracized me on purpose, but conversations with them always revert in some what to my childhood.  I cannot seem to get them to recognize as me as an adult, probably because the conversations are painful, for all involved, therefore they get the idea that I have not fully dealt with my past.  I have, there is no real emotional involvement for me anymore. I just do not like being reminded of it every time I talk to them, and I see no reason to remind them either.  However, I have found myself as an adult in the position of needing to “find” or “make” my own family.  But that will come later on in the series.

The question of how much influence being exposed to BDSM at such an early age has had upon me subconsciously is a valid one.  I do not honestly know.  At least, I do not know the full impact of this first exposure since it was a singular event.  I know it is a memory, a quite vivid one actually, that has never dimmed.  At this point, I acknowledge that in one way or another my upbringing is what made me into the man that I am today. I am sure this episode has had an impact, I would be a fool not to think so.  I just cannot quantify it in any meaningful way.

Part Two:

I honestly don’t know how many folks in my day to day life would ever think of me as being submissive about anything, much less to anyone.  It has to do with the outward personality that I have around other people I don’t know, or their misinterpretation of it. I do not have a “meek” or “submissive” posture when in public, and I’m quiet, perfectly content to watch the interactions of others long before feeling the desire to join in.

I have in the past been accused of being a “fake” submissive, whatever that means.  I view myself, and know myself to be, a sexual submissive, which does not necessarily include the other aspects (work, family, social events) of my life.  So, the question is: How in the world did I get here?

First, let me say that to understand the journey, you have to have a complete picture of it. Accordingly, this is going to be a series of posts, hopefully each tackling a specific time of my life, and the results thereof.

I was introduced to BDSM at a very early, and frankly unacceptable, age.  I was six, in fact.  Obviously, I didn’t know an acronym for what I was seeing, certainly was not “turned on” by it, but it is my earliest recollection.  It would have been one thing if it had been something that I had “walked in” on, as children are apt to do in the middle of the night at inopportune moments.  It was not.  It was mid-afternoon on a sunny Saturday and I was “invited” to join in.

I am the product of an extremely abusive childhood.  I do not point it out as a ploy for sympathy.  It is just a fact.  I also do not point it out so that people can have a reason for the way I am.  I am the way I am because of my brain, years of introspection and professional therapy.  I grew up in a house that was sexually, physically, mentally and emotionally abusive, by both parents.  They each seemed to have their own areas of expertise when it came to abusing people.  My sibling and I have both dealt with our having experienced all of these in our own ways, with varying degrees of success.

The worst thing to come out of my childhood is the fact that as an adult I have do not have a meaningful relationship with a single member of my biological family, including my sibling.  It is not that they ostracized me on purpose, but conversations with them always revert in some what to my childhood.  I cannot seem to get them to recognize as me as an adult, probably because the conversations are painful, for all involved, therefore they get the idea that I have not fully dealt with my past.  I have, there is no real emotional involvement for me anymore. I just do not like being reminded of it every time I talk to them, and I see no reason to remind them either.  However, I have found myself as an adult in the position of needing to “find” or “make” my own family.  But that will come later on in the series.

The question of how much influence being exposed to BDSM at such an early age has had upon me subconsciously is a valid one.  I do not honestly know.  At least, I do not know the full impact of this first exposure since it was a singular event.  I know it is a memory, a quite vivid one actually, that has never dimmed.  At this point, I acknowledge that in one way or another my upbringing is what made me into the man that I am today. I am sure this episode has had an impact, I would be a fool not to think so.  I just cannot quantify it in any meaningful way.

Part Three:

Jump forward in time about four years.  After all, who needs the details of a young teen masturbating to pilfered material?

I lost my virginity (willingly at least), the night before my sixteenth birthday.  It was with my girlfriend at the time, and her idea.  I do not even know if she was aware that I considered myself to still be a virgin.  All in all, with the awkwardness that comes with most first times set aside, it was a quite enjoyable experience.  It was also completely vanilla.  What was not so enjoyable was the fallout of the experience.

One of the few perks my parents allowed was that if my birthday fell on a school day, I didn’t have to go.  So the events unfolded like this:  1) lose virginity 2) stay home from school on birthday while my girlfriend had to go 3) walk through the commons/cafeteria area the next day and have girls I have never spoken to walking up and handing me phone numbers, sometimes with their boyfriends in tow.

Now, I am fully aware that to most guys this would be the epitome of compliments at that age.  I’m not most guys.  I am and always have been quite socially awkward, probably due to the fact that I was the perpetual “new kid” in school. For most of my childhood I was never in one school longer than a single year, and sometimes I ended up in two or more schools during a school year.  I have a hard enough time “fitting in” without singling me for any reason.  Much less in a way that intimidates their boyfriends or makes them feel inadequate at a most vulnerable time.  I am well-endowed, but I didn’t ask for it.  It’s a function of genetics, nothing more, and doesn’t seem special to me since I know nothing different to be hanging between my legs.  My personality basically came up with the solution of “Yep, that’s going back in my pants, and won’t be making another appearance during high school!”  Aside from a couple of brief encounters, in another state no less, I held to that.

Another huge factor in my sexual development which I cannot ignore is the judicial shift that occurred in the mid to late 1980s in the US.  I became sexually aware during a time in this country when the courts made a major shift in how crimes against women (rape, domestic violence, sexual harassment, etc) were being judged.  I do not argue that the changes desperately need to be made, they did.  But as with all major shifts, the pendulum tends to swing too far in the corrective course.  It created the literal situation where a male could be having completely consensual sex one night, and be arrested for rape the next day because the woman regretted it.  As a young man struggling through puberty, not to mention having AIDS/HIV on the news every night, and the judicial shift when all combined was enough to scare the living shit out of any male with half a brain.  I know it did me, and I made every effort to bury any sign of sexual aggression I had.

This was my basic life until I hit twenty-four, with the exception of one remarkable incident when I was seventeen which given the changes in our society since I believe needs a new chapter all to itself.  All in all, even through all the abuse, by the time I was finished with puberty I was almost a functioning adult.  I had friends of both sexes, even had vanilla sex if the girls were forward enough to make it absolutely clear they wanted to not only have sex but have sex with me in particular.  Strange as it may sound, I was getting laid as much if not more than most of my male friends.  I know this because most of the time I was having sex with their girlfriends.

Part Four:

Near the end of Part Three, I mentioned a remarkable incident that happened when I was seventeen.  Unfortunately, it was an incident rivaling the best comedy of errors I have ever read.  It was hilarious, unbelievable, and in some ways life and perception altering.

By my late teens I was fed up.  I had had enough of the abuse, the lies having to be told to keep it quiet, and the uncaring, if not downright condoning, attitudes of the authorities, schools, etc.  I cannot say that I was a “good” kid.  I did basically whatever the fuck I wanted, and paid the price for it.  But shit, I was getting abused regardless, so I might as well as have had some fun to deserve it.  At least, that is what my mindset was at the time.

Anyhow, I did a very typical teen thing.  I came home before curfew, yawned a couple of times, said good night, closed my bedroom door and out the window I went back to my friends.  I had a really good time, until I was woken up, pinned down with my arms under the covers of my bed, and my father standing over me in just his underwear and shirt beating the crap out of me.  Okay, I probably deserved it, but I had already formed two rules in my head.  First, if you ball up your fist to me, you are not looking to discipline or reprimand, you are looking for a fight.  Second, beware if you think I’m not going to retaliate if you choose to fight in an unfair manner.  The beating stopped, and I took the time to shake my head and jumped up to continue the fight.  I have no idea where my father got dressed that morning since all I saw were the taillights of his car going down the street.

My mother got up to find me cleaning a pistol in the living room, and one simple statement from me: “I’m going to kill the fucking coward if he walks through that door again.”  After a series of frantic phone calls, and because it is easier to remove a minor from a house, off I went to the nearest psych ward with an open bed by that afternoon. It is probably the singular reason I am able to still enjoy my freedom now.  There was absolutely no doubt in my mind that I was going to prison that night, and I was alright with it.  I spent four months on a locked, private co-ed psych ward for teenagers while they tried to discover what was “wrong” with me.

Here is what they came up with:  I was depressed, and manic, but it was all due to my severely repressed homosexuality.  Yes, at that time, homosexuality was still something requiring psychiatric diagnosis rather than just being part of the greater human sexuality spectrum.  As far as “severely repressed”… no shit, even I didn’t know! This wonderful diagnosis was achieved because to pass the time I would draw my old high school mascot, the head of a Trojan warrior.  Can we all say WTF?  Thankfully, society and even the field of psychiatry has moved forward from this way of thinking in the last 25 years or so.

What I found even more ludicrous in the entire incident is that after making this diagnosis, my treatment did not take the course of trying to “change” me, or giving me help on how to deal with it, or even once maybe asking if I agreed with it at all.  Instead, my entire treatment regimen became focused on preparing my father that he had a homosexual son!  Once again, all together now…  WTF???

But funny how some things just seem to stick like a bad hangnail in the back of the mind. During my twenties, I again had a couple of female friends who also questioned whether or not I was homosexual, or at least bi-sexual.  It seemed I could never get completely away from it.  Finally, in my mid-thirties, I did have my one and only homosexual relationship basically just to see if it could be true that other people were seeing things in me that I could not see myself.  Yep, that’s what I thought, I’m not homosexual, not even bi-sexual.  Nothing wrong with either, it’s just not a part of my sexuality.

Moral of the story:  Fuck the years of abuse, screw any ability to think for oneself, we have to save Dad from the indignity of a homosexual son!  Yeah, I don’t think so!

Part Five:

As I started adulthood, things started to look up.  I had been in therapy with a very good psychologist for a couple of years.  I had gotten into legal trouble, yet was very lucky all at the same time.  The resolution to the legal problems was court ordered therapy, which doesn’t sound very lucky on the surface.  However, the therapist saw through my mother immediately, and accordingly, I was in group therapy once a week as well as two private sessions a week.  The luck part came in when my parents did not like the direction of my therapy, or her tone towards them, but because of the court order they were powerless to pull me out of it.

One of the first things I did as an adult is completely restructure the relationship with my parents.  Yes, believe it or not, I still talk to them even to this day.  However, I made it perfectly clear that now I could, and would, leave.  Forever, if necessary.  My sibling did completely sever their relationship, so they knew it was possible.  Did it make everything better?  Absolutely not, but it did change the power dynamic.  They would try to push, I would walk away.  They still try to push, I still walk away.

As for my sex life, I had a completely vanilla one except that I habitually dated older, married women.  I did not want the commitment long term, and for the most part they were unable to provide one.  Besides, unhappy married women tend to be much more sexually forward than women in their early twenties.  They had no trouble making it perfectly clear what they wanted, thus alleviating any need for me to be sexually aggressive.  I’m not trying to say life was golden, however.  There were a few very awkward situations to live through, but I was content to just sort of float through this area of my life.

At this point, we arrive back to one of my original questions of the series:  How in the world did I ever get involved in the lifestyle and it’s activities, especially given all the abuse?

I have always, even as a teen, masturbated regularly when not in a sexual relationship with someone.  I got my first computer at twenty-one, and while the 14.4b modem certainly presented a different version of the internet than we enjoy today, I discovered erotica, and specifically lifestyle themed erotica.  As is still true today, the vast majority of material is of a male dominant and female submissive.  A curious thing happens even to this day when I read or watch at this variety of porn:  I put myself in the submissive’s role.  Not that I want to be a woman, or want a male dominant, but I extend the fantasy of what is presented by imagining it being done to me.  The activities I found arousing, I would look into more deeply.  Some of it turned out to be mere flights of the author’s fancy, some things while theoretically possible were not very plausible or sane to me, and much of it left me with a huge sense of “I wish…”  It took a little over three years before I stumbled upon a story with an abbreviation in the title I did not recognize: FemDom.  I read it, and I think a part of my brain literally exploded.

There, encapsulated in a single story, was the seeming answer to everything I was looking for.  In that one story was the depiction of an adult relationship, including all the activities I had been fantasizing about, where I did not have to be sexually aggressive, or pretend to be a woman, or be with a man.  I headed back into research mode, trying to find out if this was actually a real thing.  Believe it or not, the internet was not yet the information gold mine it is today twenty years ago.  The information I was looking for was scarce, and what there was to be found was oblique and misleading.  But I am nothing if not hard-headed.  I reasoned that I could not possibly be the only person to think this way, after all I had the story written by a woman I did not know, so began the journey of introducing it to my girlfriends, and if they were interested, seeing where it went.

As for the abuse aspect, and it’s impact, I have to say that the two things have never collided.  The lifestyle, in general, is firmly based upon the concept of consent.  Through my previous research into activities, I was already aware of this.  I was also acutely aware that there was no consent in any form of abuse.  The two worlds just do not, ever, overlap when the parties involved hold this one simple concept at the center of their play. One word can stop a BDSM scene. A thousand words cannot stop abuse.

Part Six:

I am nearing the end of this marathon, I assure you.  Just a brief tour of the basics that have been my life and experiences in the lifestyle so far.

Once I had a name to go with the sexual concept in my mind, and a fair amount of research and self knowledge under my belt, I gently broached the subject of doing anything kinky with my girlfriend at the time.  She was definitely interested, even mentioning that she would go through my browser history while I was at work on third shift.  So my journey, with no pun intended, was out of my hands and head for the first time, in the care of someone else.

Now, neither of us had any real or useful experience, just our thoughts, fantasies, and a healthy desire to pursue them.  So, that is what we set out to do, together.  I had my ideas, she had quite a few of her own, and we basically agreed to meet in the middle and alternate between whose idea we were trying as long as neither of us had a major concern or limit about it.  I got to try many things that I hadn’t thought about yet.  I like to think she did, also.  I almost hesitate to refer to our relationship as a 24/7 lifestyle one, even though by the end of it certainly fit the bill from an activity standpoint.  Even though she was always the dominant partner and I the sub, the level of equal input into what we were doing, what we were exploring, made it one of the most equality driven D/s relationships I have ever been in.

This first adult, willing experience with BDSM was quite satisfying.  The actual relationship lasted just over four years, and we continued to play together another nine months until personal issues on my part forced a move to another state.  Each of my subsequent relationships have had elements of BDSM of varying degrees.  Some, as you might imagine, were more successful and fulfilling than others.  But that is true of any series of relationships, regardless of the sexual palette being used.

There was one huge exception in these relationships, though.  None of the women had any experience in the lifestyle, so I was the more experienced.  It created a scenario of “topping from the bottom” for me.  Basically, they were centered around what I liked, therefore both of us were left with the distinct feeling of “I’ll do that for you…  if you really want.”  While I cannot say the scenes were not enjoyable, I can honestly say the emotional fallout was not worth it.

I eventually got married, and had kids, with a woman that when we first dated we incorporated BDSM.  By the time we married, she had decided it was not something she was interested in, and I was okay with that.  Later on, her opinion changed again, so we negotiated the terms of that part of our relationship.  After a couple of years, it changed yet again, back to her not being interested.  I could write another whole series of posts on just my marriage, but I won’t.  It is enough to say that eventually the marriage ended, largely due to her infidelity and abuse. (Yes, men can be abused by the women they are with)

Now, in present time, I am in a 24/7 dynamic relationship with my Lady (you, fine readers, know her as Malady).  For the first time, I am with someone with knowledge of themselves and the lifestyle rivaling if not surpassing my own.  It is to her that I owe the biggest thank you to for introducing me not only to acceptance, but to the larger real world lifestyle community.  I feel like I am home, with family, for the first time.

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