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January 15, 2013

The Joy of Submission

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Photo Credit: Brea Saunders

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With 500 miles between us, we're in contact over e-mail, text, and Skype. Because BDSM is about so much more than just sex, Doug can still be my Dom from afar, focusing more on psychological control. I'll text that I'm going for a run, and he'll tell me I can't. Over Skype, he'll watch me get close to orgasm and make me stop. Or he won't speak to me because, with the distance, it's one of the only ways I can feel the sting of his decision.

We know what we're doing isn't fair to our spouses, but fortunately for me, I'm able to be honest with my husband about Doug. We went through counseling a few years ago and agreed to have an open marriage. I love my husband — and I love having sex with him, but in an entirely different way. Doug is my dark and my husband is my light. For Doug, it's not that easy. His wife has no idea about this side of him.

Recently, I flew to Boston for a long weekend when Doug's wife was out of town. He arrived at my hotel and made me sit on my knees while he spanked me with his belt. Even though we have a safe word, I've never used it. In a D/s relationship, you need to trust another human being in ways that are rarely explored. A Dom is intoxicated by someone who is willing to trust him or her that much. A sub is intoxicated by the surrender — and not because he or she is weak. A sub is willing to go to a place many people do not, or cannot, go. The physical pain is just a small part of it. And surviving it, enduring it, is a feat. I know it's weird, but I feel like if I can do that, I can do anything.

I didn't tell any of my friends about Doug for nearly four years. I just didn't want to be judged. Eventually, I started revealing details when we'd talk about our sex lives. They couldn't believe that I liked being bossed around, that I allowed a man to hit me. I explained that in his normal life, Doug would never hurt a woman. He even donates to a battered-women's shelter! One day at lunch I showed my best friend some texts from Doug. She got really upset by the controlling things he wrote, like telling me what to wear to work. And when I revealed that he had a wife, she was totally disgusted. We'd been friends for 18 years and she had been my maid of honor, but we haven't talked in nearly a year.

Sometimes I feel like I'm someone's dirty little secret. Doug is now a full-on conservative businessman. He lives in a huge house in a fancy Boston suburb; he plays golf, flies planes, runs marathons. (As embarrassing as it is to admit, he's a lot like Christian Grey.) And he has the perfect Stepford-looking wife. But the truth is, I feel bad for him. I couldn't imagine leading a double life like he does. And I do feel guilty about his wife. Yet selfishly, my main concern is protecting him and our relationship.

I love that Fifty Shades of Grey has gotten women talking more honestly about their fantasies, but I hate that the book perpetuates the notion that a Dom must be messed up to be into this kind of sex. People who aren't in the BDSM world think that Doms and subs are broken people. Subs supposedly have no backbone, have daddy issues. I am completely alpha at home and work. I have two full-time employees and am a bossy boss. Subs are not doormats. We are just expressing darker sides of ourselves the way everyone else probably has some fetish they're afraid to share.

Last week, I got home from a weekend with Doug in Boston. I don't know how much longer we can go on with the distance and his sneaking around, but I can't imagine my life without Doug, without this in it. For now, I am comforted by the scenes I play over and over in my head. The way he walked into the room the last night and pinched me so hard that I inhaled deeply and tried not to cry out. "What should I do to you for making me wait?" he asked. "Anything you want," I answered. And I meant it.


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