Any early experiences that, in retrospect, hint at your kinks?
The short answer to this is no, my relevant early experiences were explicitly kinky, no hint about it. I’m not referring to childhood experiences, because although “childhood behavior x1 is clearly related to kinky behavior x2.” makes a compelling narrative, I don’t buy it. Kink is intensely sexual. Any behavior I participated in before being a sexual person I just can’t relate to kink.
As I said last week, I was introduced to BDSM very early in my first relationship. I got to skip the angst-filled stage of not knowing how to get what I wanted, though figuring out what I actually enjoyed vs. what looked exciting on paper took longer. I learned early to be blunt and direct when asking what I wanted, rather than hoping my partner would magically guess. I got used to hearing “no” a lot, too, but having had a kinky partner first and having read a kink book or three as a young teen helped mitigate the feeling that being kinky made me some kind of freak.
That said, there are certainly factors that led to my being more open to kink when I first learned of it. I know B expected a bad reaction of some kind when I found his copy of Screw the Roses, and most girls probably would have. It wasn’t just that I especially liked him, either. He was very pretty, athletic, and popular, so when we started going out I assumed that he’d get bored and move on to a prettier, more outgoing, or sportier girl rather quickly. I had no intention of getting attached. Finding that book was a big deal for several reasons. First of all, I knew a secret of his. I’m sure he worried that I’d tell people, but even when we broke up (twice) that was never a temptation. Knowing it made me feel closer to him though, like a co-conspirator. Second and more important, kink was something we had in common at a comparable skill level. We both enjoyed surfing, but I wasn’t strong enough even to paddle out on days when the waves were good, and even in low surf I wiped out most of the time. We played Scrabble quite a lot, and I would wipe the floor with him. BDSM was something we could learn and do together. Finally, I was always an outcast as a kid and a teenager, so I knew better than to reject a new idea just because it wasn’t mainstream.
Kink is certainly compatible with a lot of aspects of my personality. I like to push boundaries and try new things, and kink certainly provides an avenue for that. I’ve always been willing to go to great lengths to prove I’m tough–I loved showing off bruises and stitches as a kid. Again, this carries over nicely to BDSM. I have some compulsive tendencies. Structure and planning make my life much easier, and the typical vanilla model of not talking about sex seems a lot more stressful to me than the ideal BDSM model wherein we always at least discuss a vague outline (who’s hitting whom, and with what, and where) before getting started. [Note: I know vanilla sex can and should be discussed, and that BDSM sometimes is not. The dichotomy presented here is meant to outline differences in socially prescribed behavior in mainstream vs. kink culture, not to suggest that the described behavior is universal in either case.] That said, it’s possible to push boundaries and be tough without kink, perhaps by taking a boxing class, and my compulsive behavior is if anything diminished in sexual contexts. The bottom line is, kinky stuff is fun, and there’s no way I could have known it was fun without trying it first.