How I learned to do unto others what I won't do to myself.
BDSM is a fringe practice considered "extreme" by the vanilla crowds, and Kinksters acknowledge its dangers with the many rules we abide by for our safety, such a safe words, the SSC mantra, long discussions pre-session and the aftercare.
One of those rules is the respect of limits. What you will or won't subject yourself to or do to someone else. Most people I've been with fit in either of these two (very broad) categories: "The Ritualists", people who have a very specific idea of their play session, where they want to do again and again the same set of very specific fetishes until each of them is just as perfectly balanced as they want; or the "Explorers", who go along with any type of session as long as you respect the limits they have, whether they're "soft" or "hard" limits.
"Your kink is not my kink" is a famous phrase used to tell another that we do not judge him for a fetish we do not have in common, and is also a polite way of saying "I won't play with you because of that fetish but I do not mean to devalue you in any way", ending a pre-session conversation and telling the other you just won't play with him. Most of the time.
But what happens when both of you still want to play? You can either ignore it and have a session without it, which can be a source of frustration, or you can give in and give him what he wants. Which I find infinitely more satisfying.
One of my biggest turn-offs is humiliation, degradation or insults of any kind because, as a child, I was bullied from Primary School to the end of High School. Whenever someone calls me "slut" or "bitch" or my asshole "pussy" or "cunt", I either correct them or leave because I do not want to be reminded of those awful times when I'm supposed to be having fun and letting go. But some of my partners want that, they NEED it. I love to see people thrive, throb and writhe in ecstasy, begging for me to let them orgasm rather than spanking them until they are in tears. I'm all about pleasing through care, pleasure and nurturing. But some of my partners do not want that. I'd even say, some of my partners want the absolute opposite.
Since I am versatile, I either dominate or submit depending on either my mood or my partner, and I noticed something: my needs and wants as a submissive are not the same when I dominate. When I submit, I want to feel protected, loved and cared for, but ready to accept punishment and discipline if it's to guide me toward the demanded behaviour - hence my love of puppy play. When I dominate, I like to please my partners, placing their pleasure above mine, and do absolutely everything they love but deny them the release they so crave for, until they can't take it anymore. When I humiliate and degrade someone who craves it, I don't take my pleasure from the act itself but from their reaction. Their pleasure is also mine to empathise upon. The person I am during those sessions is not who I am in real life, I am the mirror of my partner's wants and needs.
The reason why I'm able to go through it, and not be reminded of my bullied youth while I do it, is also that a play session is not set in the real world. It's a moment that is out of time, in the privacy of a room, whether a bedroom or a dungeon, between two consenting adults, each playing a role with implied relationship dynamics, with the sole goal of pleasuring each other. I may not - possibly ever - know my partner's full history or explanation as to why he needs certain fetishes during a session, nor is that my business, but if I say "Yes", I consider it my duty and responsibility to go all the way until their limit.
In the end, I think I crave the responsibilities the position gives me above any discomfort I may have when I do unto others what I wouldn't do to myself.
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