I know quite a bit about appetites. I have some that surprise me in their violence, and others that embarrass me in their gluttonousness. My appetite for oblivion slid me about as far as someone can go before the tipping point into lethal alcoholism. And my sexual appetites are ones I control for fear of making some Very Poor Choices. Strangely enough, when I’ve had my Joyous Slut Phases in the past, they were NOT associated with the heavier drinking phases. I preferred to be alert enough to take care of business should things go south. Stinging irony that the sexual assault I experienced at the hands of an abusive, selfish fuckhead was several years into my sobriety. So it goes.
I know about myself that I have a great deal of power, force and energy that is well and truly buried. Mostly because I have had this fear, since childhood, that releasing those could be dangerous. To myself, to those around me. Once I decided to explore BDSM, I was determined to be logical in my approach. I didn’t want my appetites to lead me down a garden path the end of which I could not see, and find myself burned up or burned out on the other end. And I didn’t want to accidentally set loose all of the energy and power at my disposal if it couldn’t be properly contained and directed. And I was concerned that I might feed the hunger only to find it hungrier, and stranded without further foods.
My approach is surprisingly cautious. I have been on this journey since 1993, and yet I still have so, so many more paths to explore. And that is due, in part, to selecting well when it comes to my close friends and partners. And they modeled a slow approach. I aligned myself with people who aligned well with my needs, wants and desires. My first dominant, with whom I trained and performed service for just over two years, was slow moving in his power exchange dynamics. He had a 30-day moratorium on playing with new partners, in order to have time to suss one another out. For me, as I’d decided fairly quickly after meeting him that the connecting was irresistible, it meant I would adhere to his way, since it was him that I wanted. And hence the submission began. In a way that was safe and yet gave me a taste of what d/s could be before hands were even taken to flesh. It felt excruciating, but I somehow survived, and the contact was all the sweeter and felt right once we did step into play.
I was speaking the other day in the course of launching my new podcasts with a dominant friend about hunger. We were talking about the risks of “shopping while hungry:” that being an analogy for playing the field and looking for partnerships when in the throes of ravening desire to quench that hunger. That’s a pretty hardline rule for me. I spend a great deal of time hungry. If you’re on a restricted diet, it can obsess and rock you at first. Eventually the cravings subside, or hunger pain dies down to a dull roar. Similarly, hunger for connection, for contact, and in my case to be owned or in service stabs and twists me so roughly sometimes I have to stop and breathe and clear my thoughts. But then the pain subsides. Because that id-driven desire can’t run the show. I can’t let the hunger run the show. As an addict I know how addicting substances — and people themselves — can be. The withdrawal pain of my last relationship occasionally still stalks and rips at me. But I can’t be ruled by hunger.
Folks new to kink are often caught up in this allure, this hunger. You’ll be sorely tempted to hunt while hungry. Or high. Which isn’t a good idea either. Those of us who have ever had the munchies, or gone to the store buzzed on our favourite stimulant / depressant / mood altering substance will remember the rueful next-day scan of the cupboards and refrigerator and that moment of “What the fuck was I thinking…three fucking boxes of Sugar Smacks. Beefaroni…and a pineapple?” But how often do we rush headlong into relationships when we are high on “New Relationship Energy” or blissed out on the bloodlust of the hunt…or vaporous from starvation? And newer folks aren’t the only one’s vulnerable. Those of us who have been on this road for a while can still be caught up and unawares by our own soaring highs or devastating appetites, But ya gotta wait it out.
It isn’t romantic to advise people to wait, It isn’t sexy to share with people that one of the great ways to feather your nest against heartbreak is make sure the person to whom you are entrusting your heart and energy is actually worthy and desirous of that responsibility. Because yeah, that shit has GOT to be consensual and reciprocal. But despite the buzzkilling potential of this mantra, I’ll repeat it until I’m purple in the face.
Mostly to remind myself.
The hunger and the desire are powerful. Every day I wake up and wonder if this will be the day I find someone who I can trust to provide a safe space for my submission, who actually gets what ownership means and gets off on that weighty fucking responsibility. Who I’d be willing to kick ass for, who would be willing to kick ass for me, with me, and to kick my ass if needed. Who would be fulfilled by owning me and share my singularity of focus. And who is bold enough to step up to the plate and bloody well put themselves out there. And yet, though I have come achingly, painfully close, another day dawn with the hunger gnawing. Deeply.
So believe me, fellow travelers, I know hunger. I know the highs. And I still wait. Because compromising isn’t an option when you respect your own most awesome excellence, now is it?