Because that's what boys do, is what I told myself in the fifth grade one weekday after school.
Two female classmates of mine were coming over to my house for a girl scout event my mother was hosting through my elementary school's Parent-Teacher Association. Just a few minutes before these two (very popular) girls came to my house, I made sure to grab my older brother's basketball and do something I detested as a child: play sports. Upon walking up my driveway, it would be easy for them to spot me shooting hoops. They remarked earlier that day in school that they would be seeing me later. I could have hid in my room or some other part of my house. But I wanted them to see me do something that other boys in my class did. Something to make me fit in with how the world saw other boys.
I would have to wait several years, until I attended university, to realize that what I was doing was trying to fit into a heteronormative paradigm by way of fulfilling the expectations of my male counterparts, in this case, playing sports in front of two girls - you know, doing something "manly". Even before I could make sense of it, I knew I was different, but nonetheless remained terrified of standing out. I was uncomfortable (sometimes obviously so) with being a boy - with being how, as a boy, I was supposed to portray myself to the world.
And then kink entered my life.
What is pride? I never actually understood it. What does it really mean? Long before I embraced my sexuality, I embraced sex. Kinky, dirty, verbal, roleplaying sex. Vanilla porn couldn't excite my cock if it lit fireworks under my shaft. I'd remain flaccid. One day in high school, I recall overhearing some popular guys discuss porn and how hot performing oral sex on a woman was. The greatest thing I've ever seen! One guy declared. They went on to discuss inane heterosexual sex in adult content. I shook my head and laughed in passive judgment. I thought to myself, that's it? That's all you need to get off? I believed myself to be cool because I deviated from the norm. I loved fetish. I loved kink. And even though I was too young then to fully understand why, I knew my cock did, too. I may not have liked sports, or partying with friends, or enjoyed ball tapping other male classmates – or whatever else straight guys did to with each other – but I loved to watch guys get tied up, stripped, spanked, tickled, edged, milked… the list goes on.
What could be more manly than loving the innate primitive nature of what one man could do to another?
- Don't get me wrong. It wasn't an immediate cure. I still found myself unable to resist comparing my relationship to masculinity to those of my male classmates in college. The jocks, especially. Masculinity ostensibly came easy to them. Outside of kink, I felt awkward, inferior, pathetic. By then, I accepted my sexuality. But my relationship to masculinity was still fragile. I was still a stranger in many regards. The self-loathing was debilitating.
It's easy to simply state that we are all different. Individualism is special. There is not one correct way to be a man and demonstrate masculinity. I lived so deep in misconceptions. The first being that I should've been born a girl. The second being that I wished I liked what other straight guys did and the third, obviously, that I wished I had been born straight. The self-pity party went from being pathetic to nauseating.
My last member opinion article was about costumes and aesthetics. One of my overall points was how we dress during play and the confidence it gives us should permeate into our everyday lives. For so long, I never thought myself as masculine because I wasn't heteronormative, let alone heterosexual. During play, exercising my fetish, engaging in kink, I felt manly, masculine: I felt correct. But when play ended, my usual fears and anxieties returned. As ironic as it sounds, I constantly imagined some random man telling me to "man up" about it and just get over it. But I couldn't.
And then in my sophomore year in college, I recall being bound. My hands and arms were pulled back and my wrists tied by rope. My ankles were also bound by rope, and my sneakers were tied together. I remember the verbal degradation from my dom. "Here you are boy, a pathetic, weak man at my mercy." And while that turned me on, I began to realize the symbiotic relationship between dom and sub. How one balances out the other. It had never really occurred to me before. I loved kink for many reasons. Aforementioned, because I felt cool in the face of vanilla straight guys. Now, here I am bound, at the mercy of my dom, and we equally need one another. The masculinity of the submissive type is unique and certainly contradictory to heteronormativity. I took this epiphany and applied it to real life. I may not be stereotypically masculine, but so much of the beauty in our world has been derived from men whose relationships to their own masculinity were far from the norm, whether those men were straight, bisexual, gay, pan… whatever!
Today, I still occasionally question my masculinity. I'm not overtly manly or muscular. I'm not easily intimidating by any physical means. And while there are ways to trigger self-confidence and power - like putting on a hot pair of Nikes - the little boy who desperately wanted to fit in and not stand out in the face of other boys, is still there. But I am a submissive kinky man, who loves to be a submissive kinky boy. And men who are overtly manly and who are easily intimidating (and even those who aren't) need boys like me. And the world, however much of it functions on the stereotypical man being stereotypically masculine, cannot pale in comparison to how much of the world functions on men – mankind – humanity behaving completely against norms, whether inside or outside the bedroom.
I did not write this for sympathy, nor as some roundabout way of trying to say, stay positive everyone! (I am a "recovering" cynic). I don't want your pity. What I want is to seek out commonality. Am I the only one? Has kink helped you embrace your true self? If so, that's fucking awesome - pun intended.
***If you'd like to share a fetish or kink experience in a member article, send your ideas or a first draft to: firstname.lastname@example.org