Written by Chaney Williams.
Art by Charisse.
I didn’t know for years I was a submissive but looking back now it’s been a part of me since my sexual debut. When talking to possible partners about what sexually got us off, I would always list acts that would be considered impact play — from biting on any parts of the body to being spanked heavily with open palms.
But I never made the connection of why I loved and craved it so much. I wasn’t satisfied if the sexual encounters I had didn’t leave me with marks on my body, marks I felt strange about loving but also came with a certain kind of pride. I would always use the terms “I love pain in a controlled setting with folks I trust”. And the more I experienced that controlled pain and pushed it further I couldn’t go back to how I was.
I wasn’t satisfied if the sexual encounters I had didn’t leave me with marks on my body, marks I felt strange about loving but also came with a certain kind of pride.
There’s this scene in one of my favorite movies,“Interview with a Vampire” where the character Claudia, after experiencing her first taste of human blood, looks up her face aglow from the encounter and says “I want more”. I always describe my first experiences with impact/breath play as that moment. I needed more of the release. I felt like I constantly had to be in control of my own body at all times, something that was amplified after I experienced sexual trauma.
I felt like I constantly had to be in control of my own body at all times, something that was amplified after I experienced sexual trauma.
From that moment on I desperately sought out the release I felt in those first few experiences with kink play. The account @kinkypolyamory on Instagram describes sub frenzy as “a mind state that may cause an uneasy feeling of desperation and need to fulfill all your kinky desires by rushing or jumping into a dynamic.” This was a constant thing for me. I craved the high and release I received during those fleeting moments. I looked for it in a way that led to more trauma from fake doms because I was blinded by my excruciating need for the feeling of hands grasped around the nape of my neck or the pleasure I felt from an over-the-knee spanking.
I was drawn in immediately because in sub space, I am focused on myself. I ground into my play partners’ touch and voice, connecting to the sensations that my body experiences. I feel completely uninhibited and safe as I dive deep into the feeling of their callused hands hitting me across my face. In sub space, I can focus on the instant release from flogging or whipping. I know with my play partners I am completely safe and respected. I know if I say yellow, red, or blue (the colors I use as safe words) or if I double tap on their body, they will slow down, they will completely stop, and they will check in with my state of mind and body. I do not feel the need to dissociate like I used to during sex because I know that even though they are in control physically of what happens to my body, I am ultimately the one who can always say slow down, stop, or I need to check in. In that way, submissives are in control of the scene as well.
I do not feel the need to dissociate like I used to during sex because I know that even though they are in control physically of what happens to my body, I am ultimately the one who can always say slow down, stop, or I need to check in.
There is a sense of absolute support you feel from a Dom who is there to care for you with everything they have. To put all their focus and energy on keeping you safe. I craved and needed that nurturing while navigating my my identity as a sexual assault survivor, not to mention while I came to terms with my history with my authoritative father. In sub space and during aftercare I discovered I could fully surrender to the pleasure I get from impact play and power exchange dynamics. That I am in a safe space with play partners because we extensively go over boundaries, limits, and check in frequently about how each other are feeling emotionally and physically. After surviving sexual trauma one theme that came up in therapy was how I hate to feel out of control of my body and mind. A feeling that came from growing up without strong boundaries and feeling disempowered after having been raped three times.
Through EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and Internal Family Systems therapy I was able to get to the root of how the different parts that exist in me come out to help protect me from feeling out of control or as if I constantly have to be perfect to keep myself safe. I learned that these coping mechanisms were no longer serving me. Discovering and diving into my identity as a submissive, I’ve navigated a space where I can calm my inner child and let go of my perfectionism. When I’m in a scene the parts I have within myself who have given themselves jobs to protect me from harm or the feeling that I can never make a mistake are embraced, comforted, and supportive by the dynamics I have built with a strong foundation of trust and honest communication with my partners.
When I made that conscious connection it began to spill into every other part of my life in a positive way. Even though in the past I was made to feel like I could never set boundaries because of fear of backlash and consequences, I have learned to thrive in D/s dynamics where my boundaries are honored. Because of the explicit communication and limit-setting necessary for a scene, I’ve learned how to trust in the power in myself, my intuition, and regain the bodily autonomy that I thought was lost after being raped.
About The Author
Chaney Williams (she/they) is a queer, biracial, intersectional feminist, and witch who is currently in midwifery school. She is a southerner since birth and has a MFA in Creative Writing: Poetry. Chaney loves to knit, hike, and strongly believes that it is “our duty to fight for our freedom, it is our duty to fight for what’s right” (-Assata Shakur)
Follow on IG: @theintersectionaldoula