It is time to go home, Leather and Fetish Pride Belgium 2019 over. Sitting here with a big smile on my face thinking of the fun had and the new faces I have met (trying to remain as angelic as possible). Now seems like the time to pick apart a question that's been nipping my brain for quite a while. This wonderful world of fetish that I feel so at home in and that has become such an important part of my life: what does fetish mean to me?
"A form of sexual desire in which gratification is linked to a particular object, part of the body or item of clothing etc" (Oxford English Dictionary)
Of course I get that, to an extent, when it comes to what turns me on and how I feel empowered sexually (I've been pretty vocal on my profile about the effect a ripe armpit can have on me), but it runs much deeper. For me, fetish is a mindset that grows from a feeling of weirdness, or to use a word I'm not very keen on, of being not 'normal'. When I've been around conversations - whether with friends or in the staff room – and there's been discussions full of awe and distress, of 'weirdos' and their shocking sexual preferences, and I'm thinking: "shit that's me!"
One of my youngest memories of that feeling was going to see the Rocky Horror Show as a teenager. In amongst all these people dressed up to watch a show about a cross dressing scientist who ties up his muscular plaything. Something about that environment gave me the strongest sense of belonging. Then, at my first ever leather night, some two years ago, that calm feeling of being amongst my tribe came right back.
I genuinely stumbled in not knowing it was leather event, though I had bought a wee pair of leather shorts a few months previously but was always too scared to wear them out. It was such a welcoming atmosphere. After 10 minutes of being surrounded by what at the time felt like a room full of Tom of Finland characters, I very quickly went home and put them on. That night my passion for leather really started but it was also where I met the guy I had my first sub/Dom connection with. I had taken a submissive role before but only briefly, very much in the moment, but this was different. This man caught my eye out of everyone else. I could only just see his eyes from beneath his Muir Cap. He had a comforting smile and a very proud moustache. It's safe to say I was under his spell already, then he asked me if I'd been submissive before? Trying my best to sound cool (think that illusion was shattered by now), I said I wanted to go further. Within about 30 minutes I was on my knees licking his boots. This started a Sir and boy dynamic that lasted about a year. Serving him was something I took very seriously. Having my physical pain barriers pushed was thrilling and the more I trusted him the more I could take, I left every "seeing to" feeling mentally and physically stronger than the last. My times with sir were those of true escapism and I loved every minute.
I would say hands down my life is better since fetish became a regular feature. I love all my gear and have a wish list as long as my leg. I've also met some outstanding people and made solid friendships. After my time serving Sir came to a natural end, he became one my very good mates. Quite a few bonds have come from a realisation of "oh you're into that too?" Sharing an interest that is maybe thought of by others as 'strange' or 'out there', I've found is a great starting point for friendship. It seems a large fetish event like the one I've just left in Antwerp isn't too dissimilar to a theatre full of people dressed up to the hilt singing the Time Warp. This community of ours is getting increasingly bigger, which has many upsides (a topic I'd like to explore more at a later date), but we mustn't forget what we all have in common and that it's so important to stick together.
All that aside I would say the most fundamental change has been ridding myself of the guilt. I was always turned on sexually by things that didn't fall in the 'vanilla' category (another term I am not over the moon with) and felt a kind of shame and oppression. By Being able to sexually explore with like-minded people, I now feel liberated and very proud of my preferences. It also makes me very eager to keep exploring all the different aspects of fetish - another list that is getting longer.
I remember nervously trying to explain to a now great friend of mine how much BDSM and being fully submissive had helped me grow as a person. She smiled knowingly and said to me.... "Of course, your family". This cemented what fetish means to me. Family. A safe place where we can be ourselves and have a lot of fun. So, if anyone is reading this that wants to get involved in the scene, but is either intimidated or nervous to do so, don't be. Everyone is welcome in this family.
If you'd like to share what fetish means to you, send your ideas or a first draft of an article to: email@example.com