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  1. Coming to grips with being kinky when you've been raised in a religious or very conservative household isn't easy. When sex is shamed, let alone any exploration outside of missionary style intercourse, finding out what’s even hot can be a challenge. Yet most of the kinkiest people I know have come from these sorts of family and societal dynamics. Many find self-acceptance through BDSM. How BDSM Can Help You Find Self-Acceptance So you’re kinky, now what? You can explore without jumping right in.  One thing that helped me—though my fear of exploration came from being abused—was with reading stories and seeing if they turned me on. This meant I explored a lot of topics. Some more Dominant and submissive related, others being about rough sex, some on bondage, then there’s fetishes… I explored many areas and found that most of them were hot for me in some way or another. Though I didn't always know why they were hot, just that they were.  I did a lot of reading in both fiction and non-fiction. Both are important because as I read the fiction and found it hot, a lot of it wasn't realistic. Therefore, the non-fiction came in to explain how things should really happen. It was also helpful in figuring out the why portion. The books that helped me most were The New Bottoming Book and The New Topping Book by Janet W. Hardy and Dossie Easton. As well as SM 101 by Jay Wiseman. For fiction, I suggest going to literotica.com or one of the other free sites, at least in the beginning.  Back it up with experimentation and exploration. Once you've explored with reading (and/or movies) and are fairly certain that you want to know more, that’s when I suggest asking around. While some venues can offer introductory courses and demonstrations, I've personally found this avenue riskier in the beginning. To start, try an internet search on kink/BDSM munches. Those are for meeting people and asking questions. No actual scenes take place. Chances are, you’ll find others there that have been raised in similar environments. Once you've met some good and trustworthy people, then find a venue to watch demos.  If you take things slow and gradually lower into kinky waters, you’re going to have an easier time adjusting and backing out, if you feel overwhelmed. When we've been taught—brainwashed—to believe that enjoying ourselves sexually is sinful or inappropriate, we have to face our shame and guilt eventually. This is why talking to others that have been through similar situations is helpful. Because this kind of shame and guilt is nonsense and serves no purpose other than to make us feel bad.  Open minds lead to self-acceptance. Owning who we are is beautiful, and accepting ourselves divine in its own right. So try not to judge yourself. Instead, remain open to what you feel based on the things you read, discuss, and later witness or take part in. Accepting ourselves means we get to experience a level of joy free of the guilt and shame we’d walked around with previously. This isn't limited to our sexual exploration but applies to all areas of our lives.  When we accept our kinky side and find self-acceptance, it means we get to be conscious about our choices rather than have that side sneak out in non-consensual ways. We get to express ourselves without judgement, have better sex, and more fun! In my experience, I've found almost everyone is kinky in some way. So be brave, explore, and experience the joy that comes with accepting and loving who you are!  And always remember: Listen to yourself, explore and it's ok to change your mind anytime.    Model Photo: Colourbox.com  Written by Sienna Saint-CyrSienna Saint-Cyr is an author, advocate, and the founder of SinCyr Publishing. She speaks at conventions, workshops, and for private gatherings on the importance of having a healthy body image, understanding enthusiastic consent, using sexuality to promote healing, navigating diverse or non-traditional relationships, having Complex PTSD, and more. Sienna loves sharing her journey of healing and finding happiness with her readers. Along with writing erotica and romance, Sienna speaks at conventions, workshops, and for private gatherings on such sex-positive topics as a healthy body image, using sexuality to promote healing, and navigating diverse or non-traditional relationships. She writes for several websites. Find out more at https://siennasaintcyr.wordpress.com/.
  2. Bisexual acceptance wasn't an easy thing to figure out. Since sexuality plays a big role in our search for happiness, we at Happiness want to share personal stories. Stories about people who have taken a brave step forward into embracing their sexuality. This one explores the first steps of acceptance and how it eventually lead to a more fulfilling life of happiness. How Bisexual Acceptance Gave Me Deeper Connection and Trust I thought my fantasies about women were normal. It wasn't until I was talking with a group of cis females that I learned what I thought and dreamt about wasn't what everyone else was dreaming about... I didn’t know I was bisexual until I was 25. This doesn’t mean that my sexuality changed. This means that it took me that a long time to figure it out. My assumption was that I was straight. (An assumption I think many people make.) I fell in love with guys and I thought my ‘girl crushes’ were just a normal thing that straight women had. Not once did I ever think it was unusual.  I did my fair share of fantasising about having sex with women, but I honestly thought that it was just something that straight women did. My ‘girl crushes’ seemed to be a little bit more intense. Instead of ‘wanting to be like her’, it was very much ‘wanting to be with her’. I never really talked about it because I genuinely thought everyone felt the same.  So you can image the shock I felt when I learned that not everyone was like this. I'd gone my whole life with this idea of everything I did, thought and fantasised about was normal. Then suddenly one conversation stole that stability out from under me.  I can remember the moment I realised that I wasn’t straight. Apparently, I have a unique feeling about my sexuality as I thought it was totally normal. This could come from the fact I had pretty high self-acceptance. I was comfortable with who I was and what I was. There were no doubts in my mind that everyone else felt this way. Many other people I've read about and talked to have had quite the reverse experience.  Instead of feeling like an outsider, I just didn’t act on my desires because I thought I was straight. Yes, it is confusing. You can only imagine how confused I was when I realised that this whole time, my identity had been bisexual but I had just been confusing it for heterosexual.  I can remember the moment I realised that I wasn’t straight. I was talking to a group of cis-female friends about homosexuality and none of them could picture ever going down on a woman. A few of them mentioned that their minds “went blank” if they tried to think about it. As if they couldn’t process the idea because it was never something they had imagined doing or ever wanting to do. Totally shocked, I asked:  But wouldn’t you want to try it? At least once? At this point, you can probably guess their answers, and my mind slowly started realising that I was the odd one out. I spent a few months thinking about my sexuality. Read countless ‘coming out’ stories, focusing on bisexual or lesbian women who only realised later in life. I poured over articles about how you can be bisexual without having ever acted on it.  It isn’t your actions that matter; it is your heart and brain. Just like if a bisexual woman marries a man, it doesn’t invalidate her bisexuality. Which is true about any sexuality. It's not necessarily something you can do much about, it's just who and what you are. Sort of like having green eyes, they're just green.  Even after all this research and self-reflection, it still took me a year to tell my boyfriend. I kept it hidden inside. Embarrassed by my delayed realisation, and terrified that he would be offended. The idea he might be worried that I would leave him because of it was unsettling.  I didn’t know how to handle this realisation for myself and I had no idea how someone romantically involved with me would handle that information either. It was a completely unknown field for me. Full of uncertainty and questions spinning around. When I finally did tell him his response was something I will never forget.  He told me, 'I want you to explore that part of you'. Lucky for me, none of my fears were validated when I did tell him. It hit the point in my mind where I couldn’t hide it anymore. Even if I never acted on it, it didn’t invalidate my sexuality. I couldn't continue hiding who I was. He held me close and thanked me for sharing. He asked me a bunch of questions and was a bit saddened that I had waited so long to tell him. Then he looked at me and said: “I want you to explore that part of you. I never want you to feel like you’ve missed out on part of who you are”.  I’m not going to go into the details about exploring my bisexuality together with my partner, but I do want to detail how close this made us. This new chapter of honesty with myself and with my partner took our relationship to another level. One that I've learned a lot from and can say has infinitely helped me in becoming a happier, healthier person.  Opening up about my sexuality was the icebreaker for so many parts of our life together. It made me feel lighter. I felt like myself. I had accepted my sexuality to the point of expressing it to the person I loved, and it made all the difference. As we continued to dig deeper into to each other, he opened up to me about his life in deeper ways, too.  We trust each other because we are able to communicate about everything. Together, we continue to speak openly and honestly about other aspects of our lives. We continue to explore different parts of our sexualities and kinks. We go on adventures together. Most importantly, we trust each other because we are able to communicate about everything. These things would never be possible without that first step of acceptance and honesty.  This openness and trust is not something that came about because of my bisexuality. True this was the initiation for it. The starting point, so to speak. Somewhere we could jump off into a deeper pool of trust in our relationship. That, in the end, made me look at myself and what I truly craved and needed to create a satisfying life. I was very fortunate to have such an open and accepting partner.  Realising and then accepting my sexuality made me love myself more for who I am. As well as deepen the connection to my partner. If I could change anything, I would have hoped to realise it sooner!     Model Photo: Colorbox.com  Written by Abi BrownAbi Brown is a freelance writer and general pen-for-hire devoted to sexual deviancy, far-left politics and wearing too much jewellery.