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I’ve been masturbating to the idea of being tied-up for as long as I can remember. It’s literally my earliest memory.

I must have started as young as three years old. Time and time again, I would lie face-down grinding my crotch against a stuffed animal, thinking about being tied-up by a big scary cartoon bear that was about to cook me for dinner. I kid you not.

tied and cooked

I wanted to be that rabbit

When my parents first found me masturbating, they handled it well. Of course, they didn’t know I was thinking about being tied-up by cartoon bears, but that’s fairly irrelevant. My parents didn’t shame me for masturbating, prohibit the behavior, or even tell me what it was that I was doing. However they did sternly lay down two ground rules:

  1. Be alone
  2. Close the blinds.

They refused to tell me anything else, so while I (luckily) never experienced the shame or self-hate that can accompany repressing masturbation, I also had no freakin’ clue what I was doing! And I certainly didn’t know why I was doing it. All I knew was that I got an urge to do it anytime I thought about being tied-up or imprisoned. I got the urge when watching cartoons, particularly anything with a reliable damsel-in-distress like Olive Oly from Popeye, or Nell Fenwick from Dudley Doo Right. However, the tied-up character didn’t have to be female. I also got the urge with tied-up male or “genderless” characters on the Looney Toons, Disney Cartoons, or Animaniacs.

(I’d just like to reiterate that I was completely clueless: it wasn’t until middle-school sex-ed that I learned the word “masturbation” and realized that what I had been doing was somehow related to sex.)

tiedup cartoon 1 cartoon tiedup 2

My fascination was not confined to cartoons. No matter the medium, if someone was tied-up, I was turned-on. And I didn’t understand what it was to be “turned-on”. I would play “pretend” with my stuffed animals, and whenever my make-believe storyline involved capture or imprisonment, I got turned-on. My favorite part of every Nancy Drew mystery book was that second-to-last chapter when Nancy finally solves the mystery, but in doing so, promptly ends up bound and gagged in a cellar until her boyfriend Ned can come save her. Sheesh! Thinking about that still gets me hot.

Many people who express concern or judgment of sexual “deviance” (“deviance” referring to kink or, more commonly, non-heteronormative sexual orientations) insist that there must be some abusive or traumatic experience that causes people to like what they like. This is bullshit. It’s ridiculous to think that there would be anything about my upbringing that could have somehow influenced my sexuality towards kink by age three. Even if I lent any validity to this absurd “trauma/abuse” argument, my own personal experience and upbringing would prove it wrong. I was never exposed to any imagery or language related to kink growing up. I was even raised in a traditional, heteronormative dad-works-mom-stays-home household. Likewise, I would say that it’s downright offensive and inane to tout this argument in regards to members of the LGBTQ community. So don’t even try, trolls. My “urge” towards kink most definitely came from within.

Sexuality emerges how it does, when it does, without any rhyme or reason. With me, it emerged WAY EARLY for kink. The thought of being tied up has always had the power to transform me into a squirming, grinding, panting mess. However, I didn’t start developing sexual attraction for people until age 11 or so. In hindsight, feeling that “urge” towards kink so early in life provides me with a personal clarity and strong conviction in the whole “born this way” concept. Obviously, not everyone who is kinky feels a pull towards sexuality so early in life. Likewise, a “normal” (straight-cis-heterosexual-vanilla) person may not find themselves attracted to the opposite sex until …well… whenever they feel it.

One day, you just feel it!

One day, you just feel it!

Certainly we exercise control in how we behave sexually. We choose how to behave with a partner: hopefully choosing consent and clear communication. Consent and the ability to consent (sobriety, adequate age of consent, ability to communicate, etc.) are the defining factors between acceptable and unacceptable sexual behaviors. The “born this way” argument is not an excuse for pedophilia or bestiality, as the parties involved are simple not capable of giving consent. Similarly, kink is only acceptable if all parties consent. Otherwise it is abuse.

I do not wish to say that the “born this way” argument the only justification of sexual desire–or even a justification at all. There’s a ton of stuff out there about what’s wrong with the “born this way” argument, and I get it: regardless of whether sexual desire is innate, learned, chosen, or somehow controlled, it is perfectly legitimate as long as there’s consent. I understand: no justification should be needed at all. Furthermore, most people do have some level of range and malleability in their sexuality. For example, I do enjoy vanilla sex…just not as much as kinky sex. Likewise, I’ve had partners who– otherwise disinclined towards kinky sex– enjoy it simply because I find so much pleasure in it. Mega-props to you if you can control your full range of sexual desires– if you can make yourself stop liking one thing or start liking another! I can’t.

I can’t control my desire for kink, or explain why I am kinky. I can’t tell you why being tied up and spanked—or even just thinking about it!—gets me so hot and bothered. Even though I can enjoy non-kinky sex, I am never going to stop being inclined towards kink.

I can’t explain it, the same way a queer person can’t explain why they are queer, the same way a straight person can’t explain why they are straight. Sure, I can theorize about the sexy allure of a power differential, a primal desire to relinquish control, or the physiological common-ground of pleasure and pain. But at the end of the day these are just stories to satisfy that eternal human desire to know why. If they were universal truths, then why isn’t everyone kinky? Likewise, one can make evolution-based theories attempting to explain heterosexuality, homosexuality, social dating patterns, and a myriad of whatnot. Some theories may be true; others bullshit.

But to a large degree sexual desire just IS what it IS. We don’t need to explain or justify it. Maybe you learned or choose your sexuality. Or maybe you were born vanilla or heterosexual or queer or asexual. I was born kinky.