I like to be spanked.

Yes, you heard me, I like to be turned over a knee, pants pulled down and spanked until my bottom is raw and red. I even have a riding crop to help with that activity. Sometimes I even like having a belt taken to my ass. No, I’m not kidding nor am I exaggerating for effect. This is a part of my life that I rarely talk about but I don’t hide it, either. It’s just not that big of a deal to me so I don’t think it’ll be that big of a deal to others.

This week on Twitter taught me otherwise.

When I revealed that I am a BDSM player I got a variety of tweets. Some were amusing while others were disgusting and some were confusing. None were supportive. None asked me why I played at BDSM. None wanted to know my thoughts or feelings. I was disappointed. In the BDSM community, there is a great deal of open mindedness, support and good hearted debate. It’s not all sunshine and lollipops but there is more mutual respect there than anywhere else I’ve found. I think it’s because we understand the potential for witch trials by the public at large to sweep through our ranks.

When people from the outside look in they see abuse. In my case, they see a man putting a collar on me, calling me “whore” or “slut” and slapping my ass. They see violence because all they see is what’s on the surface and they never bother to look any deeper. I’m not a hardcore player and I have been asked why I would want to be abused. I can only stop and stare because I don’t understand. What I and my partner do is not abuse.

When I submit to someone, it’s because I choose to submit.

My world is fairly frightening sometimes. I suffer from anxiety and that means that I go to great lengths to control my environment to minimize the stuff that scares me. That takes a great deal of energy and creates its own kind of stress. My daily life is a ball of stress and there are times when I’d like to escape from that but I just can’t turn off the anxiety like people think I should be able to.

During the time when I play at BDSM something magical happens. All that anxiety, all that stress, all that need for control gets turned off. It’s like a light switch going off and I can suddenly relax. How? I’m being spanked and pain isn’t relaxing for most people.

It has to do with trust. I don’t just kneel for anyone who has an attitude and calls themselves a Dom. There’s more to being a Dom than being an asshole. When I kneel for someone it’s because I trust them to take care of me completely. There is a depth of trust that simply can’t be translated anywhere else. When I kneel I know beyond a doubt that I’m safe. I can turn off that part of my brain that brings the anxiety and stress. If I’m unable to turn it off on my own, my partner helps me to turn it off. For me, that’s like taking off a very tight corset and slipping into the most soothing bubble bath ever. It’s sheer bliss.

BDSM isn’t about violence. It isn’t about being hit or degraded or anything you’ve read in 50 Shades of Grey. I could say it’s about trust or about pushing boundaries. I suppose it is but it’s more than that. Those who are on the outside don’t see the deeper interplay that goes on between Dom and sub. They see the slaps and name calling and call it abuse. I wish I could more fully explain what it means to submit but I simply can’t. The best I can say is this; I submit because I choose it.