How do you know when a kinky relationship becomes abusive? One domestic abuse survivor reveals what happened to him:
When I was younger, I always loved getting tied up by a friend.
It started as boys rough-housing. And then, one day, my best friend got a skipping rope and tied my arms behind my back.
It turned me on, feeling both helpless and fighting against the strain.
We did it more. Somewhere along the line, it became him trying out new ways of tying me up.
It awakened something in me, something that would change how I would forever see sex, relationships and submission.
I think I masturbated to bondage and fetish gay porn even before I knew what vanilla sex was.
It didn’t matter if it was a man or woman doing the domination, it just mattered that a man was submitting and feeling powerless.
I couldn’t help but want to be the same; a slave in service to a master.
As I went through various time-wasters and fantasists in my early 20s, I finally met a man that felt different. I was 25. He was 20 years older, he was strict, he was in charge, and I immediately fell for him hard.
Each message from him online sent a stir down inside. Each picture I sent of my body in submissive poses would make me want to cum. I had to meet him.
The first time we met, we had an instant connection. When he tied me up and fucked me, I felt cared for. Domination felt like an embrace.
For the next month or so, we played almost every day. It was like a secret, knowing that I belonged to someone else. I walked in the world as a free man but I knew deep down I was a slave.
And then he offered to take it further: a 24/7 bondage relationship. It had come at the right time. I had just been fired from my job, and I had no idea what I was going to do or where to live next.
He offered to take care of me, look after me, in return for 24/7 submission. How could I refuse?
1 He didn’t trust me
One of the first things he did was put a tracker on my phone. He could track where my phone was at any time. So if he told me to go to food shopping, he would look to see if I went anywhere else. If I did, I would be punished.
His jealousy was also something else.
At first I loved being his ‘model’ on Recon. He would demonstrate his rope technique on me in a bid to welcome other boys in his dungeon.
But then we’d get messages asking to ‘use’ the boy in the photos. He would accuse me of being a ‘slut’ and a ‘whore’. The words were coming out of anger.
If we were out at a club, he would punish me for flirting – even if I was just speaking to another guy. Punishment became his favorite way of exercising his jealousy.
2 He didn’t respect my limits
And then there was the punishment. When we first met, starting to engage in a kinky relationship, I said a hard limit was watersports. I never wanted to get peed on. It’s fine if you like it, but it wasn’t for me.
It became one of his favorite punishments for me, especially because he knew I didn’t like it.
I told him, several times, that I didn’t want to do it. And then, afterwards, he said he had been ‘caught up in the moment’.
3 He isolated me from friends and family
Becoming a 24/7 ‘slave’ was exhausting. He would wait for me to make plans with friends and then force me to cancel on them at the last minute.
This one time, a long-time friend was having his birthday. As I was getting ready to leave, he told me I wasn’t allowed to leave. I had to have sex with him instead.
Why didn’t I just go anyway? Why didn’t I fight back? I wish I had. But he kept saying I would have nowhere to live without him.
People stopped calling. I stopped getting invited to things. I thought no one cared and he was right. He was the only one I had left.
4 He thought he knew what was ‘best’ for me
That’s the one thing I remember he always said: he knew what was ‘best’.
He said he knew what was best for me emotionally, physically, sexually. But for that year, I was trapped. Trapped in a turn on that had turned toxic.
I remember, one day, a friend reached out. They asked, ‘Are you OK? I’m worried about you.’
And I just stopped. No one had asked me that, a genuine question of concern, in a long time. I said no, I wasn’t. And we kept on talking.
It’s been three years since then. Taking myself out of that situation was so hard. I realize I had been manipulated at a time when I was at my lowest point. And because I was looking for help, and affection, in any form it took, I took it where I could find it.
It was a long time before I engaged in kink again. It took some therapy and reconnecting with friends, but I think I’m OK again.
I’ve even ventured back out there on the dating scene. And in the kinky world, I’ve come to realize there are definitely guys that believe in consent and respect. I can’t wait to meet the one that’s right for me.
If you are experiencing any signs of domestic abuse, remember – you’re not alone.
Are you in the US? Contact The Anti-Violence Project hotline: 1-212-714-1141.
Are you in the UK? Contact Galop, who run the National LGBT Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0800 999 5428
Or see our list of global support services for LGBTI people, in alphabetical order.