Photo: Marcel Wagner

Jay’s Path to BDSM – The Road So Far

My relationship with sex and relationships is quite simple and simultaneously rather complex. 

Simple, because I’ve always been able to separate emotional from physical intimacy. Complex, because I have used sex in less than healthy ways in the past and been too, well, scar(r)ed to brave something more than merely superficial. Okay, and the decade of disordered eating and years of depression don’t exactly help. 

But one thing after another. 

I grew up in a tiny village in rural Bavaria where the farm animals tended to outnumber the people. It was incredibly boring… until I discovered the art of storytelling, thanks to a movie called The Lord Of The Rings, which I saw in theaters when I was 11. I began dreaming of excitement and adventure, started writing, and found a place where boredom simply doesn’t exist. 

All the joy of creativity can’t distract me from a fundamental truth of my existence, though: My body feels wrong. Back then, I only knew of binary genders – and I was fairly sure that I’m not a man in a woman’s body. So I had to be a woman… right?

In retrospect, I know that what I felt as a teenager is called gender dysphoria. That’s “the feeling of discomfort or distress that might occur in people whose gender identity differs from their sex assigned at birth or sex-related physical characteristics.” It isn’t until my late 20s that I realize: Gender is a spectrum, not a binary. I don’t have to be either/or. I can be neither… or both… or anything in between. 

During my teens, though, I was dead set on being a Woman, capital W definitely needed. In my mind, a Woman is sexy, fun, intelligent, and sexually liberated. Too bad I don’t match the societal ideal – I’ve always been nerdy, loudly creative, and not the type of person to turn heads. Plus, I was in a larger body, as most of my family are, and fatshaming in the dating world is as rampant now as it used to be back in the early 2000s. 

Losing my virginity

That is why I was incredibly flattered when Dan, an older schoolmate of mine, flirted with me at a party. I remember that it took me a while to notice. Even longer to realize that hey, his interest is genuine. We spent the latter half of that party sitting close on the bench while the host, our mutual friend, commented on the development with a raised eyebrow. 

When I was invited to a holiday party on December 23, hosted by the same friend and with the guarantee that the older schoolmate would be there, too, I couldn’t contain my excitement. I packed condoms and spent much longer getting ready than I usually do. Once at the party, I actually turned up the heating in the bathroom in anticipation… which paid off: The schoolmate and I did end up there, and I had a lovely first time. 

I don’t remember much of bodily satisfaction, but I remember vividly how, shortly before we were about to head out again, Dan leaned down, kissed my clit, smiled back up at me, and said, “You’re beautiful.”

No one had ever told me that outside of family members. I floated on that high for a long time and seized any chance I could get to relive this sense of validation. 

(Spoiler alert: Yup, that’s where the unhealthy part comes in. Using sex as a way to combat my own inner self-worth issues and gender dysphoria… not my best idea.)

I made out with any person I took a liking to. I had sex out of curiosity since I have always been fascinated by interpersonal relationships and the different shades of sexuality. Entering the realm of fanfiction, i.e. fan-written stories about existing media, both as a reader and a writer have gone a long way to broaden my horizon. 

Some people watch porn to learn and get inspired… I read fanfic.

That’s also where I first encountered the concept of BDSM.

First-time subbing

Just when I turned 18, I met two people who would derail my life for the better part of a year. Anna and Rob were both members of my hometown’s theater group, which I helped found. 

Anna, funnily enough, used to be Dan’s girlfriend. (They had an open relationship, so no need to climb onto any fences.) She’s five years older than I, tall and larger, with lovely brown hair and a dominance in everyday life that evaporates in the bedroom.  

Rob, mid-20s, had been together with is then-girlfriend for years, a very nice, very boring blonde who didn’t like her partner exploring what else is out there at all. She preferred quiet time at home, and the more Rob got involved with theater, the more he found he was missing out on life. 

The chemistry between Rob and Anna was undeniable from the start. She fell in love with him long before he broke up with his girlfriend, then was a happy playmate while he said he wanted to enjoy being single. 

That’s also where I came in. 

We weren’t anything official, just had fun and explored. Anna’s is the first pussy I ever ate out. And Rob, during a memorable evening when my parents were out of town, introduced me to Bondage, Discipline, Sadism, and Masochism. He had a bit of experience, liked pain and cuffs, and flogged me a bit. Nothing major… but I liked it. 

Unfortunately, we never did it again until one New Year’s Eve, where Anna and I both subbed for Rob. I don’t remember much of that night except that it was kinda boring, and that it confirmed my decision to distance myself from them. 

I had been thinking about leaving the relationship before, but seeing how Anna acted towards Rob cemented it. I never wanted to be the type of person to be completely obsessed with another human, no matter how in love I was. 

Yet with Rob, I had become a bit infatuated. Maybe I had even been acting like nothing but the three of us existed. It went so far that even my mother said she doesn’t like the type of person I’m turning into. 

Looking back, I can see what she meant. I wouldn’t say what I felt was love, but it was something one-sided that made me want to be someone I’m not. I changed a lot of things about myself during that time, only because I thought Robert would like me better that way. That New Year’s Eve, when I saw how utterly and completely devoted Anna was to Rob, I realized that’s not it for me. 

From what I know, Anna and Rob are married by now, which genuinely warms my heart for them. 

Two new types of spectrums

Shortly after our triad ended, I applied to university in Berlin. My plan had been to visit film school after gathering experience in theater and writing, but all I received were denials. My hope of becoming a director seemed to turn more and more into a pipe dream. Unwilling to stay in rural Bavaria for much longer, I looked for alternatives… which is where my great GPA came handy. I got into the Film Studies B.A. program with a minor in Anthropology without a problem.  

Before that, though: time for a holiday! I spent four weeks in the US with a friend and the pattern of trading sex for validation continued…

  • … with the tall NYC cop who chatted me up on his off hours and treated me to lunch. 
  • … with the Filipino soccer player who first flirted with my friend, then settled for me. 
  • … with the Swiss ski teacher who took me apart in his trailer and showed me for the first time how absolutely amazing sex can truly feel. 
  • … with the Canadian personal trainer, who fucked me on the beach next to the police station after the Finnish mountain of muscle I had hit it off with backed out at the last minute. (He was getting over a bad break-up and didn’t want to use me. In retrospect, the irony makes me laugh.) 
  • … with the L.A. lifeguard who was 46 to my 21 years and took me to a hotel that charges by the hour. 

I don’t regret any of these experiences, but I do see the pattern of abusing sex as a way to numb my negative feelings towards my body. 

I expected this string of promiscuity to continue – or rather, grow exponentially – after moving into my studio flat in Berlin. I even accompanied a new friend to the fetish club KitCat once, and let someone watch me pee. As incredible as I found the atmosphere in the club, as excited as the writer within me got as I walked it with my actor friend (a fellow submissive), I never returned.  

Instead, I withdrew more and more. I suffered from depression and the symptoms of my eating disorder in the solitude of my flat, pretending outwardly that everything was fine. 

Remember the gender dysphoria? Add to it a solid dose of body dysmorphia (distorted body image), excessive dieting, and a perfectionist attitude… and you get a bulimic desperately trying to look like the ‘ideal woman’ they had in their head. Because if they look like that, they’ll finally be happy, won’t they? Then they’ll love their own body. Then they’ll feel at home in their skin. 


Even when I starved myself down to my supposed ‘goal weight’, I was still miserable. I also didn’t look like I thought I should. That day, I sat on the bathroom floor and cried for ages. I’d feared I wouldn’t feel any different, had tried to prepare, but contemplating it on a cognitive level and actually experiencing it are two different things. 

Recovery has been an uphill battle with many setbacks, and it feels strange to gloss over the tribulations. Yet since the focus of this bio lies elsewhere, let it be enough to say that after eight years of full-blown bulimia, I had a breakthrough. 

I’ve been relapse-free since April 7, 2019. 

A huge part of this success is due to the discovery of two spectrums: The gender spectrum, and the asexuality spectrum. 

The gender aspect is easier to explain: Yes, I was assigned female at birth. No, I do not identify as a woman. Nor am I a man. I am nonbinary, neither male nor female. I happen to be in a female body, and strangers tend to gender me accordingly. But at my core, I know who I am, and those closest to me do their best to understand. And that’s all I expect from them. 

During my transition, I changed my name, my gender marker on all official documents, and cut my hair short. For the first time in my life, I began to feel at home in my skin. 

The asexuality spectrum is where it gets more complicated… unless you’re already familiar with it, in which case accept my high-five and skip ahead on the rainbow to the next section. 

To all those still here, let me try to explain my realization process: 

I never understood the big deal about sex. It could be nice enough, but I never got why people make it out to be anything special. I used to think there’s something wrong with me since my thoughts didn’t resolve around sex 24/7. Or that, when I had it, I was barely able to remain in the moment (except with that Swiss ski teacher). 

Sure, depression tends to mute a person’s sex drive, but this lack of sexual attraction has been a theme for years prior to then. Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate an attractive person very much. Maybe even more than others, since I don’t connect it with sex. But when I see someone handsome or hot, my brain simply notes it. There’s no thought spared to sex.

And that is asexuality. As with anything in life, it’s not either/or. The asexuality spectrum goes from “not wanting sex at all” on the one end, to “oh yeah, sometimes” on the other. There are different definitions, though, so take this one with a grain of salt. 

The area between sexual and asexual is called “grey-asexual”… which is a space I call home. It’s fluid and changes. Some days, I’m more drawn to sex than others, but all in all, it’s a label that I identify with. 

Also, I think this is why BDSM holds such an appeal to me. It’s about so much more than sex – so much more than the orgasm that I doubt I am capable of reaching. Or if I do, it’s a minor one. 

Master Arcane and sex work

So here I was, newly minted nonbinary grey-a person with a fascination for BDSM. Given my mental health issues, I kept my exploration purely theoretical, reading a lot of fanfiction that featured BDSM storylines and alternate universes. 

Through it, I learned the strength of submission, the incredible courage that dominance takes, and the deep trust that is involved in the more meaningful D/s relationships. 

During my research on YouTube, I came across Master Arcane, a dom and master who truly taught me so much about the dynamics, the responsibilities and the different ways to live D/s in real life. His Dominance & Submissions Basics and what I read on The Crow Academy or on Arcane Advice respectively have shaped my view on the lifestyle more than Anna and Rob ever did. 

Still, I was too self-conscious to act on my curiosity. 

It was only near the end of 2019 when I felt stable and the good days outnumbered the bad in terms of body dysmorphia, that I ventured back into the realm of sex. 

I met up with one older dom who was kind and firm, but I soon realized that I was only going along with the Daddy kink he was trying out to soothe my own issues. I encountered one other person whom I clicked with on a personal level and had another moment of “Oh, that’s why people do this” during our two vanilla sessions together. 

The key to escaping my pattern of abusing sex like I used to abuse food, exercise and purging (vomiting), ended up hiding in a strange place: sex work. 

I began by trading pictures and video clips for money, then soon graduated to meeting up with people and having sex with them. My ability to separate sex from emotions and my own lack of sex drive definitely came in handy. 

My original goal was to earn some decent cash to finance my writing and other passion projects, but I quickly noticed another, even more positive side effect: I feel more confident. I feel wanted in ways I never knew before. I feel valued – the concept of people spending their hard-earned money on me, of all people, has gone a long way to help me come to terms with my inner worth. 

My therapist (who is awesome and understanding) says she hopes that one day soon, I will not need sex work to achieve this end. That I will see my inner worth regardless of whether people will pay for my time. And yes, I want this, too. I’ve dreamed of that ever since I knew life is supposed to be happy, not miserable. But I’m not there yet, so if this helps me on the way, I’ll gladly take that crutch.

Where does this leave me?

Alright, then. Who am I? I’m a passionate creative with boundless curiosity, a penchant for pain and being bound and helpless. I’m a recovering perfectionist who finds release in giving up control, but who is living their own life in the meantime. 

I’m someone who yearns for adventure and a life that isn’t ruled by conventions and traditions, and I want to use my writing and creativity to help the world become a more accepting and inclusive place. I have fierce opinions I don’t need to share unless it’s asked for. I am a fanfic writer till my dying breath. 

And, I guess…  I’m a submissive who can’t wait to explore where their limits lie. 

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *