I doubt that I’m the only one who was originally drawn to BDSM and its many related phylogenies through a strong reaction to the aesthetics of a particular scene, aspect, or implement. For me, it was the glinting of metal restraints and intricate armor made from chainmail and steel that whet my initial, innocent appetite. I pored over Internet videos and images, and then began my ongoing project of collecting [reasonably priced] vintage magazines and books featuring bondage and fetish themes. Before I experienced any slapping, choking, or spanking in my own sex life, it was the imagery of exquisitely restrained women that I aspired to make real for myself one day. It never crossed my mind that I might be disenchanted once I finally channeled this aesthetic infatuation into reality.
Fast forward to my first experience with bondage. My partner was a not-completely-inexperienced dominant type, and I was thrilled by the prospect of actually becoming one of those roped-up women captured so lovingly in the photographs I had hoarded. After some satisfactory, generic foreplay, he whipped out the rope and began binding me into a traditional hogtied position. And let me tell you… I was just so bored. I was unprepared for the seemingly endless time period in which I was being tied up, and all I really wanted was to get to the point where I was tied up. I found myself lamenting the fact that I didn’t have a book, rather than getting increasingly turned on by being bound. Of course, several factors were responsible for my disappointment in this scenario: lack of preparatory knowledge, partner in question, trust and comfort levels, etc.
While it’s often aesthetics and beauty that primarily attract me to a certain scene, technique, or accessory, many of my as-of-now unrealized sexual fantasies get me going for more ineffable reasons. It’s not unusual for each of us to have a buried, burning fantasy — whether it’s subconsciously suppressed or simply hasn’t yet had the opportunity to come to fruition. And perhaps we wonder: Is this best left in my head? What if I’m disappointed by its realization, and the actual experience ruins the erotic delight I get from it? Actually translating these desires into realities might yield just “simple” disappointment, or – in the more extreme cases – they may be physically and/or emotionally dangerous to fulfill. As a totally arbitrary example: I happen to have a thing for limb amputation and prosthetics (think David Cronenberg’s “Crash”). It’s something about the melding of the human and the technological, the flesh and the metal. Bizarre? Maybe. But I know that that’s one fetish best left inside my deranged mind; besides, it’d be hell to get the blood out of the carpet.
For those fantasies that don’t hinge on possibly fatal body modification, pretty much the only way to know if it’s better in the real world than in your head is to try it for yourself. In all likelihood, it’s worth the risk of disappointment and the awareness that not all cravings are rendered as satisfying when they’re brought from brain to bedroom. I know I sound like a broken record, but the importance of comfort and trust cannot be overstated, especially when approaching a complex, wacky, or nerve-wracking fantasy. The best-case scenario is that the reality exceeds your expectations; but if things don’t go perfectly, the experience will serve to either eliminate or refine the desires. Don’t despair if it ends up being more fulfilling in your private masturbatory moments… sometimes the most exhilarating sexual scenarios both begin and end in the mind!