(The following is adapted from an email I sent to one of the many people who have asked me this recently, and I figured it wouldn’t hurt to post.)
Well, I’ve begun admitting it, so I’ll post it on my online journal, too: While there’s not a lot I haven’t already seen or read about that goes on between people of this lifestyle, and while I’ve been ‘involved’ in it off and on for over four years, I basically have no personal or ‘hands on’ experience with … almost any of it. There were two main reasons and one excuse why I didn’t dive into the lifestyle when I really began dipping my toes into it in 2001 and 2002.
The excuse I’ve always given is that in 2002 I moved to Pine, AZ, which is 100 miles from Phoenix, to take care of my grandparents; it’s true, but it’s not a good reason, since it takes almost as long to get from central Phoenix to Mesa during rush hour (ie: to get to a TNG coffee at Coffee Talk after work, for example) as it does to get from Pine to Mesa (or Scottsdale, and not much longer for the rest of GMPhoenix.) And I came ‘down the hill’ to PHX several times a year; it makes for a good-sounding excuse, but it isn’t really a reason.
The first real reason is that I’ve been single since early 1998 (except for a couple weeks in 2000 and about a week this year), and I know that without a meaningful trusting relationship, there is no one to ‘practice’ the lifestyle with… and so seeing DEMOs, meeting couples, hearing about other people doing things I wanted to try but couldn’t because I’m alone, the whole scene became a reminder of my alone-ness. Alone-ness amplified by living in a tiny town nestled among the mountains and the trees where the only people I know well are my family, the librarians, and a couple of the people who rented out retail space on our property. So that was (is) a factor.
The other real reason is like a sort of catch-22; I have not gotten myself involved, have not experienced these things because … I haven’t experienced these things and am not entirely sure what I like, dislike, or desire. People keep asking me if I’m a top, a bottom, a switch, and I can’t honestly answer. (Based on everything else about me, I’m most likely to believe that none of those is the best description for me, but I doubt I can avoid being pigeon-holed and labeled by some.) People ask me if I like knife play, and I can’t honestly say; I’ve never personally been involved in it. Or flogging. Or wax play. Or blood play. Or piercing. Or single tail. Et cetera. I have some ideas, but I’m sure I need to explore each thing, each combination, and with different partners and in different settings, more than once. And because of the first reason I gave, and the way I’ve reacted to both reasons, I haven’t got the experience.
Which, it is my impression, the community -unintentionally or not- holds against me. So much is assumed, so much is taken for granted as common knowledge, so much that … I might understand, but don’t know I do yet; that I might have a really good answer for in two months or in six months or a year that I don’t know now… but that I feel people expect me to know already. A lot of people seem to be balls-to-bones Doms or Subs or know like they know they like chocolate that they like being tied up or beaten or whatever, and I just don’t yet. Some things don’t appeal to me at all, but most of it just seems… perhaps passe to me, or … like BDSM seems vanilla to me and specific fetishes may be like colored sprinkles, but I have the feeling I’m looking for the chocolate with fudge ripples, truffles and brownies compared to this. Or that maybe I just feel that way about watching other people do it, and I’ll really love it once I try it.
Anyway, that’s the ‘short version’ of why I ‘got out of’ the lifestyle. As to why I’m getting in now? I think in part I’m trying to find a way to break that catch-22 and answer all those questions I’m not qualified to answer about myself, yet.