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  1. Can Spicing Up Your Sex Life Promote Intimacy Between You & Your Partner? “Kink” and “BDSM” can seem like intimidating terms for people who have never been involved in the community. The unknown is always a little scary, after all, and popular media promotes the idea that these lifestyles are strange, mysterious things that go on in grim dungeons between people dressed in dehumanising latex suits and intimidating leather outfits. Behind all that, though, lies a truth you might be surprised to learn:  The true core of BDSM is trust, and trust - as we all know - breeds intimacy between partners, and is essential to the workings of a healthy and happy relationship. So what can the rest of us learn from the BDSM community about how this works?  Why Trust Is The Core Of All Good BDSM For people in ongoing kinky relationships, the bond between a dominant partner and their submissive can be one of the strongest and most reliable either of them will ever experience. BDSM takes its practitioners to deep psychological spaces together, and sharing those experiences promotes bonding.  It’s also true that you cannot practice safe BDSM with someone you cannot trust - and that every time you give some of your power over to someone and they handle it carefully, they’re proving to you that you can trust them implicitly. When someone is tied up, they’re relying on their partner to set them free again; when someone is being spanked or beaten, they’re counting on their partner to respect their limits and their pain threshold and not to mess it up.  These practices work like trust exercises; they’re the sexual equivalent of falling backwards into thin air and knowing that your partner will catch you before you hit the ground. Over time, people who engage in these activities together frequently will develop a profound mutual trust that it can be harder to come by in “vanilla” relationships.  5 Things You Can Try Out To Promote Intimacy and Trust If all that sounds good to you, don’t worry - nobody is suggesting that you go out and buy yourself a PVC catsuit unless you think you might enjoy the experience! There’s more than one way to make use of this knowledge. You don’t have to be interested in BDSM to be interested in some of the benefits it can bring. If you’d like to harness the ability of kink to promote intimacy between you and your partner, why not try out a few of these simple ideas together? You never know - you might discover a whole new world of things that get you both going.  Introduce a blindfold to the bedroom. Imagine for a moment that you’re experiencing some of the most intense sexual pleasure of your life - and you’re blindfolded. You don’t know exactly what your partner is going to do next, and you’re finding that the physical sensations are heightened by the loss of sight. This is a hugely intense experience for many people, and could completely change the way you feel what’s going on! Almost everyone can enjoy a bit of blindfolded sex: it’s a great way to deepen the sensation of trust between you and your partner. Discover the endorphin rush of a light spanking. Being spanked causes your brain to produce endorphins, meaning that you can get the same kind of euphoric high from a good spanking as you can from a good workout session. Don’t worry about your pain threshold: ask your partner to start light, and never feel pressured to take anything you’re not comfortable with. In addition to the natural hormonal rush, many people find that spanking is a profoundly intimate activity for both partners and one that can make you feel closer together when you’re done. Embrace the power of symbols to bring you together. We all know what wedding and engagement rings symbolise, but did you know that many people in BDSM relationships have a whole extra symbol that can be equally meaningful to them? Submissive partners will often wear a collar - sometimes a discrete or symbolic one that can be worn all the time - as a reminder of the nature of their relationship. There’s no need to wear a collar unless you happen to want one, of course, but there’s a lot to be said for private symbols that remind you of the bond between you and your beloved - like matching bracelets, for example. Speak more openly and honestly about your sexual self. BDSM encourages people to share their fantasies in ways that other relationship types don’t. There’s a lot to be said for opening up in this way, though - there’s nothing more intimate than discovering that your partner is a safe space, to be honest about your deepest desires. After all, and if they’re also interested in trying those things out you might find yourself having some of the best sex you've ever dreamed of. Formalise some of your likes, preferences and limits. It’s standard practice in the BDSM community to have a list of ‘favourites’ and ‘limits’: things you’re especially keen to do and things that you are not at all comfortable with doing that are therefore off the table no matter what kind of dynamic you have with your partner. This idea has a lot to say for itself in vanilla relationships, too; by being clear and honest with both yourself and your partner about what you like most and what you have no desire to try (or try again). You’ll learn more about your sexual self as well as theirs, and be well on the way to a healthier and happier sex life - complete with all the intimacy that brings. Whatever you choose to do, it’s important to remember that you shouldn't let yourself be pressured into trying things you’re not comfortable with and that trust and safety should be at the forefront of your mind - and your partner’s - at all times.  Modelphoto: colourbox.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.
  2. If you've ever been told that lots of sex will lead to happiness, you might be right. Many factors that go into that statement, however. Frequency is just one factor to be considered. Couple compatibility, quality, and type of sex also need to be looked at. So the link between sex and happiness seems to be there, but also to be more complex.  After reading an article on the frequency of sex and whether couples are having enough on Greater Good, I began thinking a great deal about this and whether or not it’s the sex itself or something that goes along with the sex that leads to happier people. This led me to some core concepts that I’ll discuss below.  Is there a link between sex and happiness? Frequency While the article on Greater Good points out that for many folks, having a lot of sex makes them happier, they also say that this isn't the case for everyone. Frequency without certain factors may do the reverse.  I was with a partner that wanted sex daily. I didn't. For one, it wasn't satisfying for me. He rarely put the time in to make it enjoyable, and he usually focused on his release over mine. This made me severely depressed.  Brian Joseph Gillespie of the Department of Sociology at Sonoma State University did a study in April of 2016 where he found that couples taking part in frequent sex were only more satisfied if the sex was also quality sex. So frequency is only a part of the equation.  Couple Compatibility This brings me to compatibility. That ex and I simply weren't compatible. He wanted quick sex and often and I wanted less sex with more build up.  When I met my husband, he loved foreplay. He enjoyed putting the energy into turning me on and getting me squirming. This incident shows that we were far more compatible because this energy was what I needed. I went from rarely reaching orgasm to sometimes having more than one in a sexual escapade.  According to the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, reaching orgasm releases oxytocin, which is also known as the happy hormone. Their article on The Orgasmic History of Oxytocin covers several areas of sexuality and the release of the happy hormone. So all the extra energy my husband put into me and all the additional orgasms led to more of the happy hormone releasing into my body.  The connection I have with my partner leads to far more happiness if it is a positive one. Desiring the same things as a couple leads to positivity. Putting the kids to bed together and reading them a story five nights a week, while only have sex twice a week, may make for more satisfying sex. Other couples may prefer sex seven days a week. Finding that partner we’re most compatible with is essential for improving our sex life even if the actual frequency of sex is less than before.  Healthy connections and finding a compatible partner means we must be mindful of our needs and desires.  Quality of Sex As mentioned above, sex two nights a week may be perfect for some partners. The biggest thing I've found for myself is the quality of sex rather than frequency.  Is it sex I like? I don’t care for missionary style, so for me, that wouldn't be satisfying. I can have sex for an hour, but ten-minute—super intense—sex is far more powerful for me. Because I enjoy the latter more, it means a deeper level and quality of sex. Longer, softer sex is still good, but not as strong for me.  As Brian Joseph Gillespie also mentions in his April 2016 study, couples that had far less sex but felt they had quality sex were more satisfied with their sex lives. Satisfaction contributes to happiness as well.  This isn’t so clear though when it comes to some studies. The Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization also did a study. They found that when they asked participants to have more sex, their happiness decreased! What I found interesting about this study is that it didn’t do crossovers as Brian’s did. So the folks taking part may or may not have desired that frequency, and that can lead to poor and ‘rushed’ quality.  Type of Sex I'm convinced that the more we are self-aware and mindful of our needs around sex and happiness, the happier we will be. It can be related to oxytocin release or happiness with our partner(s). Or it might be that when we honour our needs, we will be more satisfied because we’ll be seeking out the relationships and sexual encounters that make us feel good inside.  One of the things that drive me batty as a sexuality educator is that so many people feel they need to have intercourse for it to be ‘sex’.  I believe that this is untrue.  There is oral sex, anal sex, masturbatory sex, and even tantric sex. Some may get just as much satisfaction from cuddling as others do a three-hour long missionary sex session. Cuddling releases oxytocin too. So for asexual folks, this might be far more satisfying than intercourse.  Conclusion – Frequency Doesn't Equal Happiness What all of this research and my personal experience has taught me is that this is a complex topic. This is a subject we can’t just look at one or two factors with. Even the article on Greater Good (that inspired this post) noted that there is a lot of conflicting research and study results on this topic.  What I find this all boils down to is that we have to be mindful of our desires and needs. Then we need to honour those desires and needs. There is no doubt in my mind that when I've walked away from a very satisfying sexual encounter, I'm giggly and flying high. The elevated mood can last me days. And some of these encounters have been quite short. Sometimes they vary in frequency as well. But they are still—by far—the most satisfying and happy-making for me.  Other times I've had a lots of sex and often, but I didn't get that same high from it. I didn't giggle or walk away with a feeling of euphoria.  Quality Instead Of Quantity The fundamental difference in these two circumstances included some of the topics listed above. Couple compatibility is vital for me. If we don’t like the same things, we aren't going to be happy sexually. Or maybe even in other ways.  If we enjoy the same sorts of sex and sexual encounters, then I find much more satisfaction. I don’t know anyone that likes taking part in sex and happiness when it feels like a chore. Doing chores might be necessary, but sex should never be a chore.  The biggest of all of these for me is the quality of sex I'm having. All of this connects because all of this involves being tuned into who we are. It’s the self-awareness and mindfulness that leads to us finding compatible partners with similar sexual desires, with the ability to turn mediocre into outstandingly—quality-filled—sexual encounters.  If you’re interested in upping your happiness through increased sexual encounters, I’d suggest keeping these things in mind:  Find a partner compatible with your life goals Talk about sex and sexuality, compare your desires Remember that quantity is not the same as quality Honour both people’s needs with compassion In essence, this is simple. Pay attention and honour one another. If you find your partner isn't ready to meet your needs or if you find you’re not willing to meet theirs and you are both profoundly unable to compromise maybe letting go of that connection and being open to someone more compatible with your needs is the healthier way to go.  I was often taught that couples that love each other stay together until death. But I don’t now nor have I ever bought into this belief. If I can’t make my partner happy, then I love him enough to let him go so he can find happiness elsewhere. I'm sure the ex that hated foreplay and loved frequent sex has found his special someone that desires those same things. If we’d stayed together, we’d not have been happy. And that wouldn't have been due to lack of sex. We were having tonnes of sex!  Honour your needs, talk about your desires, and listen to your partner when they share about their needs and desires. Then act. For me, this has been the fastest way to increase sex and happiness.     Model photos: 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/.
  3. Some people realise they've got “unusual” sexual needs from a very early age. We explore it but wonder if there’s something wrong with us. Some of us are taught sex is something bad, dirty, or secretive. We shouldn't talk about it, think about it, and certainly not do it - until we’re married.  I was raised in the latter category. At age eight, I asked my mother to explain sex to me, and her response was emphatic.  “We’re not talking about that.” As a parent now, I imagine I surprised the hell out of her. It didn't help that we were in public when I asked or that I was so young. The lesson I learned, however, was not to talk about sex.  Sex was something secretive, mildly wrong, and - when I finally fully engaged in it - wildly rebellious. Never one to do things by halves, once I started fucking, I didn’t stop. The week before I graduated high school I lost my virginity and had frantic, drunken, and bad sex in a dark room. I spent the rest of the summer fucking my boyfriend until he begged me to stop. He couldn’t keep up.  For the next year or so, as long as I had a boyfriend, we had sex. Not kinky. Not even all that good. No orgasms for me. But plenty of wet, sweaty sex.  By the time I met the man who would become my husband, and later my ex-husband, my childhood beliefs had caught up with me. By having sex, I was doing something wrong. I shouldn't want so much of it, and I definitely shouldn't want the wild, animalistic sex that made me scream and writhe.  That my husband at the time was less than stellar in bed was both a problem and relief. When we had sex, it was boring, and I experienced very little pleasure. Never having had an orgasm, I didn't miss what I’d never had. I’d already internalised the mistaken belief that orgasms are rare, elusive, and (worse) unimportant.  Bad Sex in Marriage is “Normal” What do you get when you combine incompatible sexual partners, a stressful marriage, and kids? Some would say you get a completely “normal” situation. I used to be one of those people. I’d been raised on movies and television that depicted an always-horny man and his long-suffering wife who suffered chronic headaches that miraculously occurred whenever the lights went out, or he offered a back rub.  This was my reality. We had sex to improve his mood or to negotiate favours (I’ll fuck you if you do the dishes). It was quick, quiet, and always in a dark room. He would roll over quickly and snore. I would pull myself out of bed to clean up and find a book to read. The times we used condoms, it was over quicker and with less mess. Condoms were my preferred method.  It was a sad existence. We were both miserable on multiple levels. If we’d been honest with each other, the marriage ended many years before the divorce. It wasn't until I had a sexual awakening of my own that I realised that part of our problem was what happened (or didn't happen) in bed.  Owning My Sexuality and Sexual Needs When I divorced my husband, I promised myself I wouldn't date or fuck around until it was final. I needed to be truly free and single before I could contemplate sexual enjoyment. Of course, even then, my idea of a good fuck was quick and hard. The fact that an orgasm or anything other than basic “vanilla” sex was an option never occurred to me.  I went through a few flings and sexual partners until I was ready to do something different. And without the rejection of a man who found my lack of orgasms a turn-off, I might never have cared. What started with masturbation and allowing myself to swim in my sexual fantasies, turned into a deeper exploration.  What was it that turned me on? Power. Control. Dirty sex. Not having the words for my sexual desires, but the images in my head were clear. To be pinned down. I would be ravaged. I would be lead, controlled, and told what to do. Call me names. Make me cry. Make it hurt. I found the language for my desires in erotic writing and personal sex blogs. Kink, BDSM, Dominant, submissive - it was new and a little scary. It was also exciting, and it was who I was.  I am a submissive woman.  I'm Better as a Kinkster As a kinky woman who has embraced her sexuality and found a Dominant partner, I am a better, healthier human being than I was in previous years. The principles of BDSM and kink are trust, communication, and openness. Without those three things, it’s impossible to have a healthy and fulfilling relationship. You can barely play safely without them.  Could I have had a different type of marriage or better sexual experiences as a younger woman if I’d accepted and believed in trust, communication, and openness? I think so. Was the man I married someone who could have fulfilled my need for power and control? No, he’s not wired that way. The few times I tried to express my desires, I learned through rejection and disgust.  We were doomed. In the years since, however, I've found a community and a partner that not only accepts my desires, he and it celebrates them. I'm free to be the woman I am and the submissive I'm meant to be. I live a life that not only expects me to be open about my sexual desires; it demands that openness. Without my willingness to admit what I want and need, kink doesn't work.  After 15 years or so denying my sexuality and being afraid of it, I was an unhappy woman. Life was less colourful, more difficult. All these years later, I know how important my sexual needs are to me and a healthy, thriving relationship. There’s no way I could go back to anything less than what I have now.     Model Photo colourbox.com  Written by Kayla LordsKayla Lords is a freelance writer, sex blogger, and a masochistic babygirl living the 24/7 D/s life. She hosts a weekly podcast, Loving BDSM, where she and her Dominant talk about loving BDSM in a loving D/s relationship and share what they've learned and experienced as a kinky couple.
  4. 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/.
  5. How I Went from Writing About My Sexual Fantasies to Teaching BDSM to Others How does a single mom, newly divorced, go from zero orgasms and little sexual pleasure to living a kinky BDSM life? Complete with a 24/7 Daddy Dom and teaching BDSM AND talking to thousands of people? Well, that’s an interesting question. It Started With a Breakup Being dumped because your lover can’t bring you to orgasm may rate as one of the strangest reasons for a breakup. But that was my reality. It bothered me; it hurt. I felt defective. Why couldn't I have an orgasm? And (worse), if I proved to this one guy that I could, would he take me back? Yes, those were my real thoughts. I've changed since then. Me today would tell him good riddance. I would also ask why he wasn't capable of bringing me to a sexual climax.  For all my non-orgasmic ways, I’d been a highly sexual woman for most of my adult life, even when I repressed it in a bad marriage and for multiple reasons. Sexy scenes and fantasies played through my head every day. I was probably a little preoccupied with sex. I had no idea how these two separate things would change my life.  Writing My Truth When those two realities converged - a lack of orgasms and an overabundance of fantasies - I decided to do what I’d done to survive my divorce. I wrote about the journey. But I hadn’t lost my mind. I wasn’t going to blog under my name where my boss or my mom could read all the smutty freaky things in my mind. Thus Kayla Lords was born.  I don’t know what I think until I see what I write. ~Flannery O’Connor Truer words have never been spoken. I had no idea what was going to pour forth on this new sex blog I’d begun. One day I wrote about my first orgasm. The next I wrote a fantasy of being watched, subtle shades of the powerlessness I would soon crave. Writing my truth made me want to discover more of my truth.  The World Opened Up By “the world” I mean the sex blogging world. For those who don’t live their life writing, talking, or thinking about sex, it can come as a shock just how many people are willing to bare their sexual soul online. I didn’t see the potential sexual path I could take until I took the first step and wrote the first blog post.  A door opened. My natural curiosity compelled me to go through it. I found kinksters who fully lived a Master/slave life. Others who loved the sensual side of Dominance and BDSM submission. And, yes, like many others before me, I discovered kinky erotica, dirtier and harsher than anything I would want for myself, but exciting nonetheless.  I Chronicled My Journey From my growing realisations of my submissive self to my first D/s relationship - and subsequent heartrending breakup, I wrote it all. What I thought, what I wanted. Sometimes, I hid my deepest desires in fiction and fantasy.  Along the way, people found me, and I found other kinksters. We shared stories. Sent virtual hugs when life got rough. We were all on our journey, but we found common ground. Dominant and submissive, switch and kink-friendly vanillas. They were all out there, rooting for me, supporting me, and cheering me on. In return, I did the same for them. Within a sex blogging community, we were our kinky community.  People Asked Questions Eventually, I found The One. The Dominant who was right for me, who was worth all the sacrifice and fear. My erotic fantasies became deeper, more nuanced. Still hot sex, but plenty of emotion and questions about what it might mean to submit and trust and love again.  Once I was ready to reveal that I might have found my own happily ever after, the questions began to pour in. How do you meet a Dominant? What do you do when you’re scared? How do you survive the heartbreak? How can I be a better submissive?  I did the only thing I could think of. I answered their questions as honestly and openly as I could.  Giving Back I quickly realised that a lot of kinksters, especially those who were new and still single, all had the same questions. Plenty of people had similar experiences:  wannabe Dominants who were abusers in disguise breakups that made them feel they’d never be whole again communication problems that followed them from the vanilla life to this kinky one. Part of being a good kinkster, in my opinion, is the responsibility we have to give back to our community. People can get hurt when they’re uneducated when they don’t know the questions to ask, or jump in too fast. We learn best from our experiences. In the first years of my sexual and kinky journey, I felt I’d learn plenty. Not to mention what I learned surviving a harrowing divorce.  Writing articles about kinky topics, podcasting about my D/s relationship, answering the countless Fetlife and email messages I receive - this is the way I can give back to the community. This is how I can help the next “generation” of kinksters. To play safe, find happiness, and put themselves on a good path for kinky joy and fun.  I don’t consider myself a true educator. I have no degrees that certify my expertise. But I’m happy to share what I’ve learned: about BDSM, relationships, and about the kink community. I have a voice. I have a perspective that helps people realise they’re not alone. That demanding honesty, trust and integrity aren't “asking too much.” It’s my pleasure and my responsibility to help others so they can experience this journey most safely and sanely possible.  And it all started with an orgasm and sexual fantasy.    Model Photo: Colourbox.com  Written by Kayla LordsKayla Lords is a freelance writer, sex blogger, and a masochistic babygirl living the 24/7 D/s life. She hosts a weekly podcast, Loving BDSM, where she and her Dominant talk about loving BDSM in a loving D/s relationship and share what they've learned and experienced as a kinky couple.
  6. In Victorian times everyone loved their bicycles, including women. Different ages see the journey to happiness in a variety of ways. For many, it takes the form of an actual trip – the ability to travel freely from place to place. The physical freedom of the journey is also associated with other kinds of freedom, including sexual freedom. That was the case in the strange controversy over Victorian women bicyclists and their liberation on bicycles.  “Ordinary” or “penny-farthing” bicycles, with their distinctive high front wheels, had been around since the 1870s, but they were awkward and unstable. Riding a penny-farthing was a task for a hardcore cycle enthusiast. Their frames also made them impossible to ride while wearing the long, full skirts expected of Victorian women. In the 1890s, however, the combination of inflatable tires and the new “safety” bicycle frame. Essentially the style of bicycle frame we use today – made bicycles more accessible to everyone. To the shock and horror of many Victorian commentators, “everyone” included women.  Women around the world enthusiastically accepted cycling as a way of liberation on bicycles. In her 1897 handbook Bicycling for Ladies, Maria Ward wrote:  “Riding the wheel, our own powers are revealed to us, a new sense is seemingly created. … You have conquered a new world, and exultingly you take possession of it.” The thrill of speed and independence appealed to women who discovered a newfound joy in being able to travel where they wanted under their own power. For people who had often had a restriction in their ability to move freely, this newfound liberty was exhilarating. Ward stressed that cycling gave women not only freedom of movement but the power of choice.  “You are there to do as you will within reasonable limits; you are continually being called upon to judge and to determine points that before have not needed your consideration, and consequently you become alert, active, quick-sighted and keenly alive as well to the rights of others as to what is due yourself.” Ward's words reflect a sense of the exciting possibilities of independence. A path to happiness that made cycling popular among the members of the growing women's rights movement.  Liberation On Bicycles: One person's joy is another's hate. But as any social historian will tell you, whenever someone discovers a new way to enjoy themselves, someone else is going to be against it. Liberation on bicycles for Victorian women was no exception. Critics suggested that Victorian women who rode bicycles would turn into men, developing muscular, masculine figures. They warned against the risk of “bicycle face.” They went absolutely berserk over the “rational” clothing that many women wore when riding to keep their skirts out of the cycle's moving parts. They suggested that women didn't really enjoy cycling. Rather they only wanted to pedal for a few minutes, then get off and gossip. And, contrarily, they suggested that women liked cycling a little too much.  How did women ride before the modern saddle? Since the middle ages, the social convention had been very much against women straddling … well … anything. Ladies who rode horseback, at least in Europe, were expected to ride sidesaddle. Now here they were, sitting astride bicycle saddles, with the leather seats pressing right up against their genitals. Who knows what they might be feeling? Worst of all, some of them were “scorching” – leaning forward over the handlebars to go faster. Putting pressure on the, well, you know. On the lady parts. One writer warned that pressure on the clitoris from scorching could create  “feelings hitherto unknown and unrealized by the young maiden.” Another was franker still: “the bicycle teaches masturbation in women and girls.” Manufacturers responded by introducing special saddles that removed the offending pommel. This promoted an upright riding position – which appeared more dignified and ladylike.  Leaving aside the question of why putting pressure on the clitoris and giving women strange new feelings is necessarily a bad thing. You'll be astonished to learn that modern medicine doesn't put a lot of faith in this idea. The idea was silly enough on the face of it. As you can tell from the fact that Victorian lady cyclists weren't constantly having orgasm-induced crashes. In fact, modern doctors are more likely to be concerned with the idea that cycling makes you less likely to experience sexual arousal. Studies have suggested that riding for long periods can lead to numbness in the genital area. The consensus seems to be that, you guessed it, special saddles and a more upright posture can be helpful for both men and women.  Why were Victorian and Edwardian moralists so outraged by the idea of women cycling and finding liberation on bicycles? There are several reasons, most of them to do with the fact that cycling women were intruding on traditionally male territory. In Victorian thinking, Ellen Gruber Garvey argues, women were stationary, and men were mobile. The outdoor world of travel, athleticism and free movement traditionally defined as male. Any female intrusion into it was a threat to that order. After all, women who went out cycling were traveling without any male supervision. They could put themselves in all kinds of danger. Or expose themselves to all sorts of temptation. Female cyclists came under the same criticisms as women's suffrage advocates. They were mannish, they were ugly, they were sexually promiscuous.  The path to happiness that: occurred through exercise and freedom of movement. brought political liberation. led through sexual liberation were all connected in the minds of their critics. There are still modern critics of women cyclists. Of course, Victorian objections to women cycling didn't last; gradually, women cycling – even in trousers – came to be socially accepted. The moral panic about women finding liberation on bicycles turned, in the early 20th century, into a moral panic about women driving. Now they could really go anywhere. In a vehicle that one 20th-century American judge called “a house of prostitution on wheels" (see page 154). Once again, women's quest for happiness and self-actualization became viewed in sexual terms. And it still is in some places! Check out this tweet from 2016:  https://twitter.com/aliamjadrizvi/status/790536587754995712  Admittedly, Saudi Arabia is kind of an outlier, but the idea is still present, even in a small form. In the rest of the world, though, women and men can take to the open road on their bicycles and enjoy themselves without restriction. They probably won't have any spontaneous orgasms, though. Sadly.     Modelphoto: Colorbox.com  Written by James HollowayJames Holloway is a historian and freelancer writer living in Cambridge. In addition to teaching about all the usual kings-battles-and-inventions stuff, he spends his spare time researching and writing about the stranger corners of history, from forgotten holidays to quack medicines to werewolves.
  7. The Journey to Accepting My Sexuality As long as I can remember I've had a longing, an appetite for the darkness, for 'forbidden fruit' and the so-called bad. Maybe that's why I got into so much trouble growing up. I met shady guys who took advantage of me. I became more and more destructive, until I realized that I didn't even knew who I was anymore. My journey to accepting my sexuality might be dark, but it ended in with such a wonderful thing.  I was jumping between men, hoping to find something I was longing for, needing actually. Someone who as good at at giving me spankings as giving me sweet kisses. Nothing I found was completely right for me. Instead of looking inside, deep down in my soul to find what I needed - what I was begging for. I just jumped on the next guy. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with doing that, but for ME, it only broke me down even more.  Until one day it just clicked. The day when my fiancé came into the picture everything changed. He saw me, through my body, passed all the walls I'd built. He saw that little girl and nurtured her. Took care of her. And that was probably where our fetish for DDlg started - without us even knowing.  Mr. B, as I call him, knows the exact amount of comforting that is needed after a rough night in bed. He understands, and views it as a privilege, that I'm his sub. That I chose to submit only to him. I'd been in the BDSM lifestyle for a while before I met Mr. B. Even still, I never totally understood what aftercare meant until I met him. For the first time in my life, I lived out BDSM to please me and my man, not to let other people destroy an already broken person.  Some say that you need to love yourself before you can love someone else. For me it's the exact opposite. Someone loving me has made me look at myself in a different way. And now I'm empowered. I'm strong. And I'm proud of my sexuality.  Accepting my sexuality - Accepting my kinks At the very beginning of my sexual journey I knew I liked it hard, the 'forbidden fruit' of the bedroom. But I didn't really experiment with it. It was the same thing every time: being tied up, spanked, whipped and once in a while a slap on the cheek. I liked it but I didn't really feel satisfied, not completely satisfied.  Then I met my fiancé. We lived on different continents and therefore sex became a lot more verbal. We experimented, and still do to this day, without our bodies even touching. Somewhere along the way, I started sorting out what my kinks were, and which were not.  First meeting... When we finally met for the first time, after a long time of long distance dirty talk and sex-cam action. A new journey started- the physical journey. Not until we were secure in our knowledge of each others bodies and minds, did we feel that we were ready to take the next step: Master/slave. We made a contract and everything. But we, especially Mr. B, felt a little intimidated by it. Like it was too much of a commitment to drop the role playing and live like this 24/7. In the middle of the situation my fiancé took the infamous 'BDSM test'.  I was laying in bed, minding my own business, when he started poking me with his finger. "You've gotta read this!" It was about Daddy Dom/ little girl. I read it and halfway through it was like everything was suddenly clear. This! This is what we are. This is what we already live 24/7.  From the beginning I was totally terrified. Fetishes like that are so misconstrued. But the more we talked about it, the more we realized that it wasn't that much of a choice. It's just who we are, we'd started living it freely, naturally.  Delicious forbidden fruit Today I feel like a little, really feel like it. I've let my princess side out more and more, which I hid earlier by wearing tom boy clothes and not acting girly at all. Today I've let that princess in me come out and be free and I'm so happy. It wasn't that much to overcome. It was more like poking at it a bit to come out and play. And if there's one kink that makes you feel complete. Makes you feel satisfied in more than the sexual aspect, go for it.  Afer accepting my sexuality I feel free, happy and unstoppable.    Modelphoto: Colorbox.com  Written by Princess EPrincess E is a Swedish freelancer who focuses on DDlg, which she's living 24/7. Most of her writings are based on her experiences with her Daddy; Mr. B. Runs a blog and can be found on Twitter.
  8. Sexual Submission Was My Missing Puzzle Piece By virtue of when I was born (1979, if you’re curious), I am part of a generation of women raised with very specific ideas about what it means to be a woman. One of them made me believe I was broken for many years. You don’t need a man for anything. This notion was practically preached at me. Not unlike a sermon in church. But for years by the many women in my family. “You can do what you want. You can be anything. Don’t settle. Don’t get married unless that’s what you want. And if you do, remember, you don’t need him.” I still agree with that entire lesson - most of it.  Before Sexual Submission There are two distinct parts of my sexual and romantic life: before submission and after submission. Before I discovered BDSM as something more than a strange set of sexual preferences that was incomprehensible to me (at the time), I was your average vanilla heterosexual cis woman.  I dated. I fucked. Gave blowjobs. I got married. Of course, I also never had an orgasm, didn’t masturbate, and never watched porn. Trashy romance novels with ripped bodices on the cover were my limit (and I devoured them as fast as I could get my hands on them).  Before submission, I tried to take care of whoever was in my life that I loved: boyfriends, then my husband, and after him, the men I fucked. If they needed something: care, an ear, or even a sandwich - I was happy to provide it. It was how I showed my affection. I understood that much about myself at the time.  A string of bad luck I had the bad luck to attract and fuck men who didn’t show affection in the same way. They took but rarely, if ever, gave anything back. Not a phone call, not a hug, and certainly not orgasms - although one man did try. If he’d stuck around longer, he may have been surprised to see how far I (pardon the expression) came.  I was incapable of two things in the Before Submission period of my life: articulating what I wanted sexually and allowing anyone to have control over any portion of my life. While I was a fiercely independent woman, just as I’d been raised to be. It was because I was as unsatisfied and unhappy with my life. As any woman is in a bad marriage, directly followed by a lonely divorce.  Taking charge? The only time a man wanted to discuss sex with me was when we were already naked. My mouth would open to say: “I like it when you spank me” or “It’s okay to be a little rough” but no words would come out. Over the years I tried “taking charge” in bed multiple times. It’s what all the magazines said to do - and after a few seconds, I was lost and clueless. Since the men in my life had also been taught to let women take charge, they were of no help.  Even as I was grabbing life, and the men I fucked, by the balls, I found myself alone at night, crying. And feeling sorry for myself, then becoming angry at myself. Why? Because deep down, in a private place I couldn’t admit I even had, I desperately wanted someone to take care of me. I wanted someone to tell me to go to bed, to tuck me in at night, to check in on me, to feel as responsible for me as I did for them.  I didn’t have a name for what I wanted, and I was deeply ashamed of it. Was I broken? Defective? This isn’t what I’d ever been taught a woman was supposed to want. After Sexual Submission Every big change in our lives has a catalyst. A central action or moment in time that propels us forward. Even if we don’t know it’s happening. For me, that moment was when the best lover I'd had so far dumped me because I couldn’t orgasm. He was turned off by my inability to let go of control over my own body so that I could experience sexual pleasure.  I realized later that if we were as “meant to be” as I thought at the time, he would have helped me with this problem. But he was another in a long list that didn’t mind letting me take care of him but wasn’t interested in reciprocating. My lack of orgasms was a problem that needed fixing.  On that masturbatory journey, I began to pay attention to what turned me on. I looked for stories, finding and loving Literotica. Image searches brought me falling into the world of Tumblr porn. I was drawn over and over again to the same stories and images: a woman giving up control of her entire being to a man who dominated her and brought them both pleasure.  I was also intrigued by the real life blogs and stories I found about people who lived a BDSM life. The amount of communication required to make it work seemed daunting but it made sense to me. Talking about what you like before you get naked made sense. It wasn’t something I could imagine doing until I got my hands on my first checklist. Now this made sense to my highly organized self.  X marks the spot Thinking you enjoy BDSM and D/s is much different than the act of submission. My first Dominant partner was a man I met online. We both blogged about our lives. I was beginning to explore my interest in kink, BDSM, specifically submission. The first time I said, “Yes, Sir” to him in response to a command, it happened.  The final puzzle piece of who I am as a person clicked into place. Sure, I was still the same person I’d always been. Anyone looking at me would never see the difference. But I knew that a hole I never knew existed had just been filled.  I am a submissive woman. I want a Dominant man to serve and submit to. But I also want a partner who finds pleasure in taking care of me. To help me grow. To make me do the things I easily neglect, as I take care of the people I love.  No, I don’t need just any man, nor do I want one. Yes, I can take care of myself, survive on my own, build a career, and raise children without BDSM. But without it, life loses its colour. It’s not as vibrant or full. Submission to the Dominant I love beyond all measure completes me. In this role, understanding who I am. Loved and cherished as I love and cherish him...  I know exactly who I am, and I am complete.  Written by Kayla LordsKayla Lords is a freelance writer, sex blogger, and a masochistic babygirl living the 24/7 D/s life. She hosts a weekly podcast, Loving BDSM, where she and her Dominant talk about loving BDSM in a loving D/s relationship and share what they've learned and experienced as a kinky couple.
  9. Finding happiness isn't always as simple as opening a box labeled 'joy'. Some people find it in the most unexpected places, like BDSM submission. Sienna Saint-Cyr shares her personal journey of overcoming a troubled past and finding her inner peace... Finding Happiness Through BDSM Submission What is happiness? It doesn’t come in a neat little package titled, “open me for joy”. So I had no idea how to find it. As with many girls I knew growing up, my thoughts of happiness centered on marriage, having kids, and owning a charming house with a white picket fence. Happiness, according to everything I knew at this time, came in the form of having things that other people could see. Happiness was external.  Yet as I got older and achieved these goals, I realized that I still wasn’t happy. And this was confusing. My whole life I heard that if I had these things, followed this plan, then everything would be okay. That I would be happy. So I got these things, followed this plan and was most definitely not happy. While I loved my husband dearly and adored my children, the problem was still there, and it wasn't going anywhere. Then I had my 'eureka moment'. I realized this whole time that I had looked outward for happiness when I should have been looking inward.  But for me, looking inward caused a problem… Inside, I was an emotional mess. Many years ago I’d experienced a lot of trauma; you can read my story about sex trafficking here. Therefore, my inside was not such a happy place. Certainly, not somewhere I'd look for happiness anyway. While in therapy I actively began to deal with my diagnosis of Complex PTSD. We've all heard of soldiers coming back with PTSD, but Complex PTSD is a bit different. It generally starts earlier in life but not always. It's a trauma brought on in the form of a power dynamic struggle between the sufferer from a caregiver (or other interpersonal relationship) and is long-term.  Letting go of control To cope with my pain, I kept part of me kept closed off, in order to stay safe. On the other hand, this also cut me off from being able to find joy in life. I was in a constant state of defence - sometimes known as 'fight or flight' mode. This constant state of stress was protecting me from getting better. In order to heal on a fuller and deeper scale, I needed to let down my walls. I understood what I should to do, but I’m stubborn. To be that vulnerable was scary. Not because I didn’t trust the people in my life, but because it meant letting go of my control. Staying in control is what kept me safe, or so I thought.  Reaching out for help After many trying many different approaches and having discussions with my therapist and husband, we decided that sexual submission might be good for me. It would be a way to get me out of my comfort zone and let go of control in a safe and consensual environment. But my husband wasn’t into domination to that extent, so I began looking elsewhere. Since my husband and I are polyamorous (meaning we are in an open relationship), I ended up finding a Dom that I met through networking with others. We began talking, and soon, I was submitting to him full time.  My Dom focuses on helping his submissives become better versions of themselves. His focus on me was about helping me be the best mom, wife, and friend I could be. While at the same time, helping me to find joy and success in life. My Dom's focus was to help me find the happiness I was missing. To help me overcome my reliance on external things for happiness. He helped me to find the inner happiness I couldn't find through all the external things I'd acquired. My Dom helped me relearn how to find internal happiness.  BDSM submission as a tool Without sexual submission, I still wouldn't be happy now. Using it as a tool, I found peace. I found a more fulfilling way to love, that inner happiness I was searching for all those years. Finally, I found joy. And all through BDSM submission. By using it as a tool to heal. In handing over my control to him, I allowed myself to trust others. This external trust is what led to my growth and healing. My Dom created a safe space for me to deal with my trauma—both physically and emotionally. He helped me re-contextualize the horrible memories I had.  Creating new memories and contexts for the old hurtful ones was only possible through having this safe space. It wouldn’t have been possible without handing over my control to him. Complete submission meant I could get out of my head and allow someone else to take the lead. To help me process and heal. So that, in the end, I could find happiness and learn to trust in others again. This also gave me power. I was choosing to give my control to someone else. This turned things around. It became my choice to allow my Dom to be in control. Submission is a choice. It's never forced, and that is the difference between my past and now.  My first steps toward happiness Taking the initial steps wasn’t easy, though. While my husband was supportive, I received a lot of judgment from someone close to me at the time. And criticism came from all around. A lot of people challenged my political beliefs. They told me I wasn’t a feminist anymore. Many claimed that what I was doing wasn’t safe. Mostly because they didn't understand what it was that we were doing. People told me that I wasn’t as powerful if I submitted. And I almost listened. I almost gave in and ran the other way.  Overcoming things that certain people said was a big part of what I had to do. I also had to deal with my own self-judgment which came after. Which is often harsher than any external criticism. There were judgements coming at me from all angles. In the end, part of me finding happiness meant accepting who I am fully. A big part of who I am that brings me inner happiness, is as a submissive to my Dom.  BDSM submission taught me to let go in a way that I couldn't before. It helped me to release trauma and pain so I could replace it with joy and pleasure. Submission changed my life in many positive and healing ways. It brought me the happiness I sought for so long. Submission allowed me to look inward instead of outward for my joy. I no longer fear the darkness inside me. It’s safe to look inside myself. Through BDSM submission, I’ve learned to be a more supportive and loving wife, a better mom, and a true friend.     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/.
  10. Fulfilling relationships are about Communication Ask someone what they think of when you say “kink” or “BDSM” and, even if they’re not into kink at all, it’ll be something about pain or rope or leather. You’ll also talk about sex and fetishes. A lot of people focus on what makes kink stand out from non-kink. That’s the fun part for a lot of us, but there’s another level to many kinky and fulfilling relationships that anyone can benefit from doing in their own relationship.  Kink and BDSM don’t work unless both parties are willing to communicate with each other. You don’t have to be kinky for that to be good for your relationship. It’s both as simple as and as hard as doing very specific things:  Say what you feel - good or bad Communicate your desires, even the ones that are new to you or you’re ashamed of Share your fears - about sex, relationships, and everything else Listen to each other - without thinking of what you’re going to say next It’s important not to be judgemental about what the other person is telling you. They may admit to a curious desire to something you find repulsive. Instead of judging them based on how you feel about it, let them know it’s safe to talk you. We have a saying in BDSM: Your kink isn’t my kink, but your kink is okay. The same is true outside of kink. You don’t have to want something for yourself for it to be okay for your partner.  Communication isn’t only about sex, though. Sharing fears, concerns, and worries that you have at work, at school, in your relationship, and in life bring you closer to each other. You’ll develop a trust and a bond that comes with knowing each other intimately.  Be Open to New Things In a BDSM relationship, we discuss both hard and soft limits, as well as our desires. A hard limit is something you have no desire to try, it may even disgust you to imagine it. A soft limit is something that you’re unsure of, maybe even nervous about, but you would try it - at least once. This works when you’re not kinky, too. Fulfilling relationships aren't always about sex. You may have a no-pet policy in your relationship, but you’d be willing to consider a goldfish. You may say you hate to travel, but if your partner was with you, you’d consider a road trip. The growth of a relationship is proportional to the growth of the people in that relationship. When you try new things - whether it’s a new sexual position or you ride a roller coaster for the first time - you learn something about yourself, and you grow.  Successful relationships, kinky or not, thrive on trying new things. It fosters communication, experimentation, new ideas, and new opinions. Every relationship can benefit from that.  Understanding Consent The quickest way to break someone’s trust is to violate their consent. Most of the time, we’re talking about sex when we discuss consent. In a kinky relationship, not everything we do is sexual. Sometimes it’s about the kinky play - being tied up, being blindfolded, or anything not directly related to sexual intercourse. When you say no, whether it’s a clear, “No!” or a safeword like, “Purple banana!” or you don’t enthusiastically say yes to any activity, that lack of consent must be respected.  It’s important to understand consent on a deeper level - for both parties. If you’re going to try something new, you’ll want to be able to give informed consent. This means that you have some idea of what to expect, what will happen, and what it will feel like. Your “new thing” could be a new restaurant, meeting someone new, or a new vibrator. We feel more at ease about our decisions when we have an idea of what to expect.  Saying yes to something blindly can lead to bad surprises. And having someone ignore you when you say no will too. It will also create a crack in your relationship that can be hard to repair, and may break your relationship. Consent should be informed, understood, clear, and, above all, respected.  Take Care of Each Other In BDSM, there is always a top and a bottom or a Dominant and a submissive. One controls, the other gives up control. One has the power, the other consents to that power.  What most people don’t realize, however, is that in the best BDSM relationships, each person takes care of the other. We fulfill each other’s needs as much as we can. We help each other. We build each other up, care for each other, and nurture our passions and goals. Every relationship can benefit from a bit of care.  Even if your relationship isn’t one you expect to last forever, while you’re together, genuinely try to make that person’s life a little better. It may only be better while you’re in each other’s presence, and it should never violate your own ethics and morals, but asking how their day went, giving them a hug, encouraging them in their goals - these are all ways to easily take care of someone.  Celebrate Your Differences Yes, compatibility is important in any relationship. If you didn’t have a single thing in common, things could get awkward and boring quickly. That being said, where you’re different are opportunities to learn and grow as individuals.  Don’t shame or allow yourself to be shamed for wanting or liking something different than your partner. Instead, use it as a place to begin a new journey for yourself, with your partner, or, if you’re interested in a more open relationship, with someone new.  An open relationship won’t work without openness, honesty, integrity, trust, and constant communication in your relationship. When people think about BDSM or kink, sex and fetish are usually the first things that come to mind. It’s what excites some people and turns others off. But there’s much more to kinky relationships than that. Look beneath the surface, and you’ll find bonds that run deep. Everyone can benefit and find satisfaction from the things that really make fulfilling relationships work.     Model Photo: Colourbox.com  Written by Kayla LordsKayla Lords is a freelance writer, sex blogger, and a masochistic babygirl living the 24/7 D/s life. She hosts a weekly podcast, Loving BDSM, where she and her Dominant talk about loving BDSM in a loving D/s relationship and share what they've learned and experienced as a kinky couple.
  11. 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.