[Content Warning: Discussion of rape, sexual violence, racism, misogyny, etc.]
Sorry about the long delay between posts. I’ve been trying to find the words for this one and they just weren’t coming.
Today I want to talk about fantasies, kinks, and fetishes. This is a hard topic for me to write about, because I wish I could simply tell you that your fantasies and preferences are 100% fine and good.
I can’t, though.
Don’t get me wrong; fantasies can be wonderful and healthy, and everyone has them. But they also tend to reflect the worst parts of society: violence, racism, sexism, ableism, and more. In this post, I want to talk about how to turn your ugly fantasy into something healthy for you and your partners.
The first piece of good news is that you’re never alone: everyone has an ugly fantasy. If you’ve ever had a rape fantasy, you’re normal. If you are especially attracted to one race over another, you’re normal. If you are especially attracted to hyper-masculinity or hyper-femininity, you’re normal. If you like to treat your partner (or be treated) like a pet – yes, you’re also normal. And there’s no single factor that links people who have these preferences: they come from all walks of life, political backgrounds, genders, races, and body types.
Okay, hold up. The more discerning among you might have noticed that I just equated rape fantasies and healthy BDSM play with sexual racism and sexism. That wasn’t a mistake. Some people express their preferences in healthy, safe ways and others do so in discriminatory or violent ways. At the end of the day, however, we’re all made of the same material; our fantasies are part psychology, part biology, part society, and part mystery. The sexual racist probably doesn’t choose to be racist; the sexual misogynist probably doesn’t choose to be misogynistic. People with these preferences are often wonderful humans in many regards, and they’re often just as confused by their sexual discrimination as I am.
The next piece of good news, then, is that fantasies and preferences are not biological facts. You with the rape fantasy – you weren’t born wanting to rape or be raped. You who enjoys humiliation – you weren’t born wanting to be humiliated. You with the racial preferences – you weren’t born racist. I can’t tell you how your fantasies came into existence because I don’t know. Nobody knows how or why certain sexual fantasies and preferences exist. Anyone who says differently is selling something. What we do know, however, is that they don’t define you.
But wait! Don’t go trying to suppress, repress, or oppress yourself. The fact that you weren’t born with your ugly fantasy doesn’t mean it’s just going to go away. So here’s another piece of good news (I’m all about the good news today): You don’t need to make your fantasies go away, but you do need to examine them. In some ways, you need to love them. Once you start doing that, they can become exciting, intimate, beautiful parts of your sex life. Here’s how to start:
1. Stop Judging Yourself
Feminists have rape fantasies. Sex-positive folks have virginity fetishes. Anti-racists have racial fetishes. Anti-bullying advocates like to bully their sexual partners. Animal rights activists like to engage in pet play. And on, and on, and on. The fact of the matter is that your fantasies and sexual desires won’t always reflect your values, and that’s okay. You can’t change your preferences (at least, not in a day), so you might as well learn how to make them healthy, positive forces in your life.
2. Start Reading, Start Asking Questions
Chances are, there are people who have figured out how to turn your fantasies into healthy, positive realities. Search the internet for communities that share your preferences but also value anti-racism, anti-sexism, consent, and communication. In this communities, you’ll learn how to turn your fantasies into fertile ground for self-exploration introspection. You’ll be able to talk to people older and/or more experienced than you about the darker, more confusing side of your preferences.
If you’re not sure where to start, send me a message and I’ll help you locate communities that could be good for you.
3. Figure Out If It’s A Fetish Or A Kink
Fetishes are things that you need in order to become sexually aroused. For instance, some people only enjoy sex if they’re tied up. Others need to lick feet, pull hair, tweak their nipples, etc. Kinks, on the other hand, are nonstandard sexual acts (such as bondage, pet play, breath play, race play, foot play, golden showers, and much, much more) that enhance your sexual experience but aren’t 100% necessary.
If you’ve got a fetish – especially if it’s a fetish that engages with other people’s identities (such as race, gender, or size) – it’s important that you talk openly to your partners before fetishizing them. It’s important for your partners to know that you’re not choosing them solely on the basis of their looks or identities. One of the pitfalls of fetishism is that it can de-humanize the other people involved. In order to avoid this, let them into your emotional and intellectual life. Also be aware that not everybody will be game to engage with your fetishes, and that’s okay. Plenty of people will, especially if you are respectful and aware of their needs and concerns.
4. Expand Your Horizons
Sometimes, our preferences and desires become more deeply ingrained than they need to be, simply because we don’t expose ourselves to anything else. If you always seem to date or have sex with people of the same race, body type, level of masculinity/femininity, try holding these preferences at bay for a little bit and seeing how that feels. After a little bit of exploration, many people find that their “type” melts away – once they’re on a date (or in bed) with someone, their preferences no long seem to matter.
I advocate this sort of exploration for everyone. If you’re used to penetrating your partner, try being penetrated every once in a while. If you’re used to being submissive, try being dominant. Just because it’s not your favorite thing to do doesn’t mean you should never do it – at the very least, you’ll be more confident in your preferences. Of course, it’s totally fine to have boundaries: you’re never obligated to do anything that seems scary, uncomfortable, or painful.
5. Hold Many Truths At Once
Ugly fantasies can be beautiful. You can be a wonderful, kind, nurturing person and still love to bully, beat, or humiliate others in bed. What you enjoy sexually does not define who you are socially, even though fantasies are almost always informed by society. In order to truly make peace with your ugly fantasy (and enjoy it!), you must be willing to acknowledge that it is highly connected to the world you live in – and that it is entirely yours.
Your ugly fantasy does not make you ugly. In fact, it gives you an opportunity to become more beautiful: to confront the violence and injustice of society in the most intimate of ways, to transmute the painful into the erotic, and to open yourself up to endless configurations of pleasure.