Kinky Confessions – Why We Love To Play?

One year and many sessions down the line, today if you ask me do I ‘enjoy’ pain, I’ll say I don’t know. The word enjoy somehow does not fit. But if you ask me, am I turned on by pain… I would not hesitate for a second…hell, yes, I am.

[Editor’s Note: This piece was first published in The Gaysi Zine issue 5. To know more about the zine, go here.]

Kink has a way of turning things on their head. The Kinky Collective would like to share here with you glimpses of some such queerness. Without much ado, here are some of our stories and why we are in love with kink and the queerness of it all.

I remember the first time that whip struck my naked back. What pain… god… and it was just the beginning… I was made to count, one… two… three… the intensity of the whipping kept changing and so did the sounds that were emanating from my mouth… soon I was in some other space… but still aware of how different each of the numbers sounded … some normal, some whispered, some shouted out loud and others almost just yelps. I managed to go up to 15 counts. And one of the first things when I was laid on to the bed that I did, as soon as I was able to, was to check whether I was wet. And god… was I wet!” says Savita, who is queer, bisexual, feminist and submissive.

When asked how she reconciles all these facets of her personality, she says it isn’t a problem: “kinky is queer, because if queer is what subverts ideas of what is normal and natural, we sure as hell are queer.

Savita doesn’t look like how most people would imagine a submissive. She is forward, assertive, articulate and a lot of fun. “our sexual orientations don’t necessarily have to be correlated to our daytime personas” says she, “many submissives have positions of power in their daily lives but have nothing to prove and they love to surrender in private“.

But it’s not just about power for her, it is also about erotic pain. “One year and many sessions down the line, today if you ask me do I ‘enjoy’ pain, I’ll say I don’t know. The word enjoy somehow does not fit. But if you ask me, am I turned on by pain… I would not hesitate for a second… hell, yes, I am. And there have been more than a few times in this past one year when I have simply craved pain. Where more than anything I have wanted to feel that whip dig into, bite into my skin… and you know even though it is about surrender to the dominant, with pain I reach a space where it’s like…everything ceases to exist. It centres me…takes me places where even my meditation can’t take me. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan has never made more sense to me than when I’m in this space. I remember this one session in which Nusrat was singing “hazrat khawaja sang kheliye dhamar”. It was not just a sound outside that I was listening to, it had entered me… I was being whipped, and I started crying… and crying… and my dominant… stopped. I fell on to my knees, my head collapsed on the bed, but even in that far gone space I remember an acute sense of disappointment… why did he stop.. he was concerned, worried…. But I knew I was far from having reached my limit… so I looked up at him, into his eyes and he realized… his hands moved from ruffling my hair to picking up the whip again.

When questioned how such activities can ever be pleasurable, Savita explains; “BDSM challenges the normative idea of pain being repulsive and that pleasure can only be achieved through that which is ‘pleasant’. This binary between pain and pleasure often gets dissolved in BDSM. Kinksters have varying degrees of engagement with pain. It may or may not form an important dimension of sessions/play.

However, it seems to be, for many, an empowering experience. It is the case for Diya, a submissive 26 year old butch lesbian: “I have always felt powerful during submission. One is that you discover your boundaries, what your limits are, this is how much I could take last time… I can now take more… and even more the next time… I get to realize the intensity and the degree of my submission. I feel one should be like the tree that can bend…come hail, come storm… and not fall. The dominant always has to be in control … she has to worry… not to hurt the sub too much. But a sub knows what she can take. A dom has to be caring. My dom can dominate me, only because I submit.”

For Diya as for so many others there seems to be, in BDSM, a play with power which might seem to be at the normative extremes of dominance and submission. The dominant is in control and the submissive follows into a highly unpredictable, possibly scary, exciting journey into the unknown.

This might appear to be a replica, even if an erotic one, of the dominant as the all-powerful oppressor, and the submissive as the oppressed victim.” explains Savita, “But in BDSM, the exercise of power is not unidirectional. It involves an exchange of power. The seemingly powerless player is also engaging in power and it is in the dynamics between the dominant and submissive that power is flowing and being intensified.

Lalit is 39, gender fluid, biologically male and a human rights activist too. This is how Lalit described his first session with Hema, who was in the role of a female dom.

“I was new and didn’t know what to expect. I was asked to mail her the list of my hard limits and fantasies. I did. Once I reached her place she told me, I am glad you didn’t mention anal play as your hard limit… and I thought OH FUCK!!!! And there I was, at the age of 33 losing my virginity. That was the greatest sense of pain that I have experienced when she pushed her strap on in my ass. I thought I would die… but I was ready to die for the experience of having a session. She also spanked my ass with a cane. 5 strokes but I bore the pain and it gave me a confidence that I can do more than I think I can. She also had me wear nipple clamps. Cock in my ass and clamps on my nipples. Once I was out of the room I was in a daze. I didn’t know what happened. I never had an experience of “not being in control” before. I still cherish that memory”

Hema, the woman who played the role of the female Domme in this case generally plays the role of a submissive: “I started playing as a Domme as a favour to my male sub friends. There were so many of them and no female Dommes! I was a sub for 6-7 years. I needed gentleness and caring as a sub but strangely I was the nastiest Domme ever…All my fantasies had me playing as a sub. But when I started dominating, I realized how turned on I was. Watching my subs do what i commanded made my juices flow like a tap was turned on. You could smell me in the room.

To those wondering whether BDSM does nothing but replicate patriarchal stereotypes, Savita explains that “there are important ways in which BDSM subverts gender norms. The female dominant commands a powerful position. She chooses her play partner and controls the erotic play. This is in stark contrast to the normative hierarchy of male female in the society relating to sexual practice. In the role of the dominant, she is not a provider of sexual services, but a pleasure seeker. She explores her desires and derives pleasure from the control she exercises over the submissive. Moreover, within the BDSM community in India, if one uses the crude lens of ‘demand and supply’, the demand for female dominants tops the chart while male submissives are abundantly available. This also points to the space that surrender to the female dominant accords to men who have to experience tremendous pressures of masculinity within a patriarchal context.

This is what a 21 year old female bodied person who identifies as a gay man and insists on the use of ‘He’ as a pronoun, wrote about one of his sessions,“I watch your lips tremble soundlessly and think about the transformations of your mouth. From bratty smiles and trickery to uncontrollable blushing to hopeful negotiations to shock and nervous anticipation. “I am so fucked…” you had murmured beforehand. I told you that you weren’t allowed to talk about it until after I had annihilated you. The terror bound your mind in a way most pleasurable to me. Soothing words were not to be yours. “How many times did you fuck up my pronoun today? I had asked. Your mouth spoke lies and you paid for it in lashes, along with every last one of your mistakes. The smile is still on my face even if it has been wiped from yours. When you lied to me about how many times you had mistaken my pronouns, I laughed.”

The BDSM community also includes non normative gender identities such as Gender Fluid and Gender Queer who might identify at points with a gender different from their biological sex or also question the necessity of being identified with any gender at all. The subversion is not only with respect to gender but also in terms of sexual orientation. It was interesting to us, that although most people we spoke with did not identify as gay or bisexual, they have played with people of all genders. The gender of the person they played with was secondary. What seemed to matter more was domination/submission or sado-masochism.” Says Savita.

Another queer person, a biological woman and a dominant, felt that through the practice of BDSM, she could cross many boundaries, even beyond the human identity.

When asked how she identifies in the context of BDSM, she said:

“…I don’t want to cage myself. There are times when I feel like a snake…slithering over my submissive. At other times I feel like a leopard on a hunt. Sometimes I experience myself as a man.”

Another submissive bisexual female had this to say:

“I remember a time when I used to look at my ex girl friend and her love for our Labrador with envy. Such unconditional love. I used to giggle and say, Oh I am so jealous.

Having entered the world of BDSM, I find myself relating more and more to my dominant as his pet. Or to be more precise, as his puppy. Some of the loveliest moments have been spent sitting by his feet, being casually petted, now and then. The pleasure of begging for attention, without having to have a reason for needing it, making whining sounds that grow to yelps without having to understand the reasons for not getting the attention I need, the joy of being ordered to wag my tail and crawl to bring back the soft chewy ball thrown by him… of being caressed and being cared for, unconditionally.”

But this isn’t surprising to Savita: “the intensity of the energy experienced in BDSM is such that it creates a space for challenging identities, not just in terms of gender and sexual orientation, but to the extent of even enabling us to touch what we feel are non-human identified states.

For her, “The submissive exercises power in different ways. To begin with, the submissive can lay down hard limits, the Lakshmanrekha as it were, beyond which the dominant shall not travel. There is the possibility of the use of a safe word, a pre-arranged word/gesture, through which s/he can bring that particular act or the session to an end. During the play, while it might appear that the dominant is the only active one, the one pushing boundaries and the submissive is merely being pushed. So many of us talk about how we feel like active participants in the process of limits being pushed and how empowering stretching one’s limits can be. The submissive and the intensity of his/her submission is the key to the intensity of the session. The dominant derives energy and confidence from the intensity of the submission and in turn pushes the submissive to deeper and deeper levels. This is part of the exchange of power.

About the guest author

The Kinky Collective

The Kinky Collective is a non-funded group to raise awareness about Bondage, Domination, Sado-Masochism and Kink in society, and works towards strengthening the community from within. The Collective works on countering myths about kink as well as sharing their experiences and insights such as those related to consent, which lies at the heart of kink. For the BDSM community in India, we run an online group on a social networking site, organize regular meet ups where kink can be talked about in a safe space as well as conduct workshops for skill-building. For those outside the BDSM community we organize film festivals, workshops, photo exhibitions etc. We also share our experiences and insights through presentations at conferences as well as through media. The Kinky Collective started about six years ago, and is now an active presence in Delhi, Kolkata, Ranchi, Chennai and Mumbai. We have an active online presence too at kinkycollective.com, https://www.facebook.com/kinkycollective/, https://twitter.com/thekinkygroup