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Internalized Kink Shame


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CW: self harm, mention of NC fantasy

Apologies if this is not the appropriate forum, if not please let me know and I will repost it elsewhere.

I joined this site last week after an epiphany of sorts, but I still feel the need to share my story and I hope I can find some support and validation in this community or provide some support and validation for others. I am a cishet male in his early 30s who has struggled all his life with a severe internalized kink shame. Through the support of my partner I have been able to work through some of my issues and I hope that together we can build a safe and fulfilling sex life, but I'd also like to *normalize* my kink by having a community of friends who know about it, so here we go.

For as long as I can remember I have found the idea of bondage and domination exciting. My earliest memory is of watching a cartoon (probably Batman) and seeing a woman in tight clothing (probably Batgirl) restrained in spread eagle. I knew that I liked that image and others like it. I began masturbating well before puberty and I also have some memories of family members commenting on it and reminding me to do it in private. I'm sure they did their best to not appear judgmental but it's hard not to imagine that it was here my shame began to take shape.

As I approached puberty I talked with one of my parents about my attraction to bondage and they were understanding and assuring. But I think even then it was becoming clear to me that I was not only attracted to bondage, but to domination, ***, abduction, and what I now understand as CNC BDSM (at the time and for most of my life I called this by a different name which I will refrain from using to avoid any triggering it may cause). This aspect of my sexuality was the root of my shame: a dark and unforgiveable secret that I knew I must never divulge to my loved ones. Unfortunately, prior to my partner there have been three times that loved ones discovered my NC fantasies and all of them were disastrous.

The first was with a best friend in early puberty. We were having a sleepover and talking about sexuality when for whatever reason I began telling him some of the fantasies I had been having. His response--an incredulous and concerned "And this... arouses you?"--shut me up very quickly and when I later lied and told him that I no longer had these fantasies he congratulated me, adding that these fantasies could incriminate me in the eyes of the police if I was ever suspected of a crime. I didn't realize it at the time, but I think this comment from him provided the basis for my lifelong anxiety about being arrested for possession/viewing of NC BDSM pornography (LET ME BE CLEAR: this does NOT refer to pornography featuring actual recorded acts of NC BDSM, but rather acts of CNC BDSM and sometimes simulated NC BDSM in the form of prose or drawings).

I hope it is clear from my tone that I have never considered performing NC BDSM (or NC sex of any kind) and that I fully and completely understand the importance of informed and enthusiastic consent. I am so anxious about the idea, in fact, that I can barely bring myself to act out CNC, even though I cannot deny that it is a huge part of my kink. I'm just trying to lay out all of the key events and feelings of my life in a way that explains my need for a supportive community.

My second experience with a loved one involved my brother, when I was maybe 14 or 15. He was in the middle of a nervous breakdown and told me that he was worried nobody could ever trust him. Riled up, I said to him "You said you think that nobody can trust you. Well, I have sexual fantasies about hurting people. I trust you enough to tell you that." I have to clarify that I think it was internalized kink shame that led me to phrase it as "sexual fantasies about hurting people". I would not phrase it that way today: my fantasies involve spanking and sometimes breathplay or hot wax but nothing that I would personally call '***'. At the time I think I was simply conflating fantasies about NC with fantasies about "hurting people", which I now realize was a very harmful conflation. Anyway, as I said this to him, my brother wordlessly walked away as if to say "I don't want to hear this". We never discussed it again.

At this point in my life my kink shame was well and truly internalized. I believed that I was somehow sick and that nothing could fix me. I began to contemplate castrating myself to put an end to my sexuality and had semi-regular suicidal ideation. I was diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression and on my eigh***th birthday I began seeing a counsellor. They were a help to me, but the worst was yet to happen. This occurred shortly after my nine***th birthday.

I know this thing is quite long already but I have to take the time to give a piece of crucial context for this next bit. My parents are a same-sex couple who were family friends of my mother and who adopted my when I was eight. They were both born in the 1950s and found life-altering solidarity in the LGBT communities and second wave feminism of the 1960s and -70s. For the most part they have been kind, caring, supportive and progressive parents. But what happened when I was nine*** is a scar on our relationship that I'm not sure will ever fully heal for me.

Throughout my ***s I had been accruing a pornography stash in my closet that, tbh, was kind of out of hand by this point. This was the 2000s when the internet was only just getting settled and we only had a communal family computer in a designated study. Smartphones did not exist. So my pornography viewing habit was dictated by when I was able to access the communal computer and I would often print the material and then stash it in my room. I would also, during high school, often write my own NC BDSM erotica longhand and stash that as well. So one day, obviously, one of my parents found the stash and told me to get rid of it, calling it "abhorrent" and telling me she would not tolerate it in her house.

After that we had a family discussion, the three of us, where they expressed their horror and hurt and what they had found. They explained that they could have handled any form my sexuality would take except for this: that these documented fantasies of NC BDSM were intensely triggering for them, and that they couldn't understand how I could harbor these fantasies when I was such a gentle and compassionate person in all other aspects of life. Then they asked me to give them a list of reasons why I wasn't going to go out into the world and !!!TRIGGER WARNING STARTING NOW!!! commit sexual assault. They wanted me to assuage their ***s that their son was going to abduct and r--- another human being !!!END TRIGGER WARNING!!!

I gave them their reasons and they seemed satisfied and not long after that I moved out of home. We have had a pretty good relationship since then, with none of us ever mentioning that day or what they had told me. But throughout my twenties my internalized kink shame just got worse and worse. I worried I would never find love and I worried that if I did I would never be able to be honest with them. My experience with my parents had galvanized my most horrific ***: that there was functionally no difference between fantasizing about NC BDSM and performing NC BDSM. That I was a predator and a criminal and a monster, and the fact I had never committed a predatory, criminal, monstrous act was only a technicality. That I was broken and I would never, ever, be fixed.

Needless to say, my relationship with my partner has done a lot to help me come to terms with my sexuality and I have gradually been untangling my internalized kink shame and seeing it for what it is. The big moment for me came last week, just before I signed up to fetish.com. My partner and I had had a bit of a fight about our recent lack of intimacy and how it made her feel unappreciated. I was pondering how I could access my sex drive and it led me to some old thought patterns and (not for the first time) I googled "why do I fantasize about abduction and ----". The first page of results was all women asking why they fantasized about being the sub in this scenario. Only one result was from a man wondering whether it was healthy that he fantasized about being the dom: a quora page.

I opened it and all 3 replies to his question said no, it's not healthy. One answer even said that repeated fantasizing forms neural pathways that increase the likelihood of acting on these fantasies. And I thought to myself, 'that can't be true. I just can't believe that's true'. So next I googled, 'does fantasizing increase the likelihood of acting on fantasies". I was browsing the results and clicked on one in the first page that seemed to be relevant. And it turned out to be a support page for people attracted to children. I hurriedly closed the browser with a shock and then something just snapped in me. All my life I have been made to feel like human garbage for my sexuality. All my life, everyone and everything has been telling me, 'get help, you're sick, you're evil, you're broken, you're a criminal, don't talk to me about this, don't talk to anyone about this, stop being this way, stop feeling this way'. My own parents didn't even trust me enough to believe I wasn't a predator who would commit atrocities. I had to convince them. And now, I google what seem to me like pretty reasonable questions and people on quora say I'm not healthy and google itself tells me I'm the same as a p--------. I'm sick of it. I'm done with it.

So that's my story. I'm hoping to spend more time around here chatting to people and hearing some kink stories and normalizing this part of myself. I'd love to hear what you guys think about this, and I'd love some support if you are feeling supportive. And if there's anybody reading this who has had thoughts like this or experiences like this, I hope I can help you realize you're not broken. You're not sick. You're not alone. You're a person and you deserve to be happy.


That is quite the story. I'm sorry to hear how much it caused you to internalise it, but I'm happy that you're opening up about.
I think the most important thing I can say is this: fantasies are just that, fantasies. They don't have any affect on the world around you unless you act on them. It's not illegal or immoral to have thoughts.
Those outside of kink tend to view thhe things within kinl as abhorrent or horrific. When in contrast, they can be quiet common to your average kinkster.
Many women have fantasies about CNC and many men are willing to oblige. There's a reason why Sadist and Masochist are listed as roles for you to choose. It's because they're more common than non kinksters realise.
I think framing it as a form of role-play might make it easier to explain to those who don't know much about about it. Where you want to assert dominance in a very physical way but only during a play session where it has been agreed upon. That's how I'd describe it anyway.
I too had a talk from my parents when they found out I was into bondage. But it was very short and no where near as traumatic. It was more of a "doing non consensual stuff is bad" and I was like "well no shit".
Safe to say you're not alone in this and there are others who are on a similar journey.
Hi there Arcade,

Thank you for sharing your journey and experiences. It was an excellent demonstration of exactly why the BDSM community is so very important.
To the normal vanilla world our preferences, desires and fantasies are often abhorrent. We are not the norm. What we do is often technically illegal.

You mentioned something that struck a chord, that people could not understand how such a gentle and compassionate person had the fantasies that you did.

We all need a release to the different sides of our personnas so turning this around maybe without your selfish and violent fantasies the you that everyone saw would not have been so gentle and compassionate.

I to had similar fantasies as a young boy and ***. To be honest, it scared the hell out of me and turned me on. I thought I was seriously messed up and buried it like you.

Also like your self it was my first wife that coaxed it out of me, I was no Dominant then. Later I discovered our BDSM community and got to ask a huge amount of stupid questions, I still think those that ask all the questions learn the most.

Things were not as accessible back then, the Internet was only in its first form so RL was easier or talking on the phone.

The people I met were all so kind, sharing and happy to pass on their knowledge that learning the safe way to play was easy. I was lucky.

Since then I have never looked back and I am absolutely not ashamed of who I am.

I to am a Consensual Non Consent player, as long as both parties enjoy it and are thoroughly enjoying it that is fine with me.

It is an image that triggers some in the community, with good reason, trauma leaves its own marks on us and some just do not see the reality of CnC. Which is two people having a great time and getting very turned on by the play.

Welcome Fetish and I sincerely hope you you enjoy your journey. I know I have 😊👍
Incredibly detailed, thank you for sharing. Reflects a lot of what my history with this is, although not in all aspects, but I would have never been able to write it down like this. Will finish reading this later, just wanted to quickly leave my appreciation.

Thank you for sharing this, it helps to know that we are not alone with such experiences. When I was 15, I burned a story I wrote in front of my mother who had found it and thought I was completely lost, in order to show her that I was destroying all thoughts of the kind. I've tried to 'get rid' of my urges time and time and time again. Needless to say they went nowhere. It almost drove me mad. I cannot put into words how grateful I am to have found this specific site and community. The changes that have happened in me over the last months are so enormous that I think it would have taken 2 years of therapy to get there. 😅 Not an easy time at all, but I've definitely confronted my feelings of shame and I'm so happy for you that you are on your way to do the same! 🙏💖

Thank you for sharing, what has clearly been a long, suffering journey.
I think you will find you are now in the right place at exactly the right time.
Among so many people who may well relate to much of it too.
Can't believe I actually read all of that considering how few forum posts I pay attention to... But really good thought and intent behind this post, and sharing such personal details from your own journey has definitely earned my respect and support man. Gonna keep this reply short for a change.. but wanted to show the post some love and make sure you truly know you aren't alone nor are you any sort of monster or degenerate as far as I can tell from what you shared. Please don't be afraid to inbox me if you'd ever want someone to talk with! I enjoy helping others work through things like this or even just discussing anything most people would find taboo. I'm sure you'll have no problem finding plenty of others from the community offering their support as well. Glad to hear you're not silently struggling or confused about this anymore my guy.

bullshit nobody gives a damn about anyone else we all live in our own little world and woe betide anyone who enters i have basically given up on the human race and prefer my own company instead of reaching for new heights we seem to see how far we can drag ourselves down.

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