Shame – a painful feeling of humiliation and distress caused by the knowledge of wrong behaviour. Shame – an action used to make someone feel shame so they will do something different. Shame – a feeling that is all too common when we want to embrace our fetish.
Many people can feel shame when first wanting to explore the Master/slave lifestyle – or any fetish for that matter. And that shame can stop us from moving forward and embracing something that, rather than being wrong or shameful, is a very natural part of ourselves.
Some of the causes of shame can be obvious. When you want to indulge in sexual fetishes when society even demonises and shames normal sex with people, it is natural to that we can feel shame.
I believe that shame can impact us in different ways:
- The shame of the fetish or desire
- The shame of how we look
- The shame of being gay
- The shame after a positive fetish experience
- The shame of being a slave
In this article, I will go through some of the reasons why we can feel and struggle with shame, and then what is the antidote for dealing with shame.
The shame of the fetish or desire
I can remember when I first started to indulge in these feelings and desires through masturbation. And each time, I would tell myself these famous words: This is the last time.
This is the last timeslave phil
But again and again, this shame appeared that these thoughts and fantasies were wrong. And, of course, it was not. It took me a couple of years, but eventually, I moved past to explore my slave self and my fetishes with people and never looked back.
But for others, it can take much longer. Some people call it a second coming out—the first as a gay-identified man, the second for our fetishes.
But we can also feel shame for who we are in the fetish scene. When I first moved to Berlin, and I had broken up with my Master, I remember at one point wishing I was different. If only I liked bondage rather than being a slave – then I would be having so much fun and not suffering this heartache. I was feeling shame for who I was.
Even at the time, I knew this was unhealthy for me, and I need to embrace who I really was. Even if this means I am looking for something different to most people in the gay BDSM scene.
The shame of how we look
Many peoples experience with the fetish scene can be with porn or Twitter. This only tends to show the most amazing beautiful people. And we then look at ourselves and feel that we do not fit in.
Perhaps we go somewhere such as the European Folsom, and we see these amazing men in leather clothes and feels that we can never be those people.
And then this shame holds us back.
But I want you to know something—the true fetish scene, the real Master/slave scene, allows for all shapes and sizes. You only need to head to Qualgiest in Berlin during Folsom or an invitation to Hellfire during IML to realise that.
This is something I wish I had learnt far sooner than I did. It makes me realise that if you really want to play the scene well – your body type is much less important than your brain and heart.
The shame of being gay
This can be very hard for gay people to unravel. Psychologically from a young age, unless we were fortunate, we learnt that there was something wrong with our sexuality and that we needed to be careful.
I remember when I was at school. Every day, it felt like readying myself for multiple attacks from multiple people. As people could see, I was different.
A book called “The Velvet Rage” talks about gay men being subjected to profound shame over their childhood years and how we learnt to manage this through false validation.
False validation is that we learnt things that allow us to fit in or to bring acceptance. This might be having a fantastic job or career. Or it might be validation through lots of sex or validation through how we look.
These things are often false validation as although they can make us feel better; they are not fulfilling on a deeper level. And this means over time, these validation stop working, and we start to struggle. It is one of the reasons why so many gay men can struggle with addiction, mental health and suicide.
So we then need to go through a journey to find what really validates and fulfils us.
If you are interested in reading more about this, I recommend reading The Velvet Rage. It is a fascinating book, and although I agree with the thesis, I do not agree with some of his views – including those on puritan monogamy or that proper validation comes from cashing in on your life savings (which you got through your false validation job)
In terms of shame holding us back in our fetishes or desires, this means that we might still have the shame of our sexuality along with this shame of our fetish(es). And in addition, we might go down the path of false validation that holds us back from embracing our true fabulous self.
Shame after a positive fetish experience
It might be after struggling with all of the above; we finally have an amazing first experience. It feels incredible, but then a few days later, we feel shame for what we did.
Part of this is biological. When we have a fantastic fetish experience, it can flood our body with endorphins, and by god, it feels good. But these will then drop.
And when this drop happens, we can feel really shitty.
This can happen without pain. But when pain is involved, we also get an endorphin rush from the pain. And then, when we drop, we also feel the hurt and the aches from the session.
This drop, and the aches and pains, means people can feel very down, leading to shame for what you allowed yourself to do.
Masters can suffer from this as well – it is not just the slave – it is often called Dom drop.
How can we handle this drop?
The first thing is to be aware of this biological change, so when the endorphins drop, we can be mindful that it is just a phase and will feel better tomorrow.
For Masters – they can often feel guilty. So the best way to deal with this is to ask for feedback from the slave. After a session, ask for a report. Or you can ask specific questions. And that feedback can help you know if the thing you are feeling guilty about is OK.
Often the salve will turn around and say it was one of their favourite parts of the session.
The shame of being a slave
I have included this as something special for us slaves.
Society tells us that to serve someone is wrong and something to be looked down on. It is, therefore, very natural for us to feel shame about this natural desire to serve.
But we need to engage our strength and courage (and we slaves are so strong) and realise that this is good and natural, and it is acceptable to do something that fulfils us.
We also need to embrace conditions. It is OK that we are a leader at work, but then when to worship someone’s boots and feet at home. Many slaves can have positions of responsibility, and it is OK to be both.
How do we respond to shame with our fetishes
I believe Brene Brown can answer this better than me:
If you put shame in a Petri dish, it needs three things to grow exponentially: secrecy, silence and judgment. If you put the same amount of shame in a Petri dish and douse it with empathy, it can’t surviveBrene Brown
Watch her talk about shame:
Exponentially: secrecy, silence and judgment
I believe these can impact us much more with our fetishes. It is not as if we can mention it to a friend and hope they are OK with it. My advice is to speak with others about it.
This might be on the internet. But if you can also go to a fetish bar or a fetish event. Meeting like-minded people in person can help normalise these thoughts and feelings. I was once part of a slave stable, and we used to talk about not frightening the civilians. It was a funny joke, but it also helped normalise who we were and celebrate it.
And if you go to these events also make friends so you have people you can talk to about it.
For myself, I have calibrated my friendships over many years, so everyone knows of my desire and need to be a slave. Many do not understand it, but they accept it, but doing so allows me to be my whole authentic self with all of my friends. This has taken many years to do, and I am glad that I did it.
With judgement, I think we as a community can help. The BDSM scene can have a lot of judgement against the different tribes in the scene. W go through the work of normalising our own fetish but then hold others in judgment. As many of the people I interview in the podcast say, there is so much the different tribes of gay BDSM can learn from each other.
By not judging each other, by not shaming each other because we all have different desires and fetishes, we can help each other become our authentic selves.
Empathy, love and compassion: The antidote to our fetish shame
So to indulge in our desires, to become our authentic Master or slave, we need to face our shame with love and compassion.
Know that what you feel is natural. And when you do it, and if it brings you joy, know that you are doing the right thing for yourself.
We need to risk into our fetish experiences with love and compassion. Love and compassion are at the heart of personal growth and our journey to find who we really are – to find and become your authentic self.
Believe and celebrate in that self and be who you were truly meant to be – with love, compassion and empathy.
Unleash your power and find your light and shadow
- Discover your strengths and improvement areas
- Find out your potential pulls to the shadow
- Test a potential partner