My fantasies changed when I healed my core wound, but it might be more accurate to say that I healed my core wound by changing my fantasies. Once I saw the correlation between my problematic fantasies and my toxic relationships I was unable to get turned on by them anymore.

As I’ve said before, my sexual orientation as a submissive was a way of enabling my inability to set boundaries and justifying my feelings of unworthiness of equal partnership. Once that clicked for me, I had to start coming up with a fantasy life where I was allowed to say no.

It occurred to me (probably far later than it should have) that there are people who can just be submissive for a few hours at a time without letting their dominant partner completely pillage their entire lives?? I would have once disdainfully called them weekend warriors.

I wouldn’t say it was easy giving up my submission (literally, at the time, my favorite – sometimes only – source of pleasure), but once I saw that it was what was holding me back, I had faith there would be better things waiting for me on the other side. It was a no-brainer. There was a long dry spell where I had no idea what turned me on. I had to, in a way, actively seek out a rich fantasy life in which I was treated with care and respect. I was like, where do I even start with that? ALL of my fantasies had involved the removal of my agency. Part of that was because I had been conditioned to believe that it was dangerous for me to need or want things, especially in my relationships with men, but I remember fantasizing about hardcore fucked up power exchange long before I should have known what it was. I’m talking age 4 or 5. I didn’t even connect those narratives to what we think of as BDSM until my 20s. So I truly believe I came into this lifetime with this to transmute, because I can’t find any other explanation.

I’ve obviously done a lot of inner work around this but the element I believe is neglected in the discourse is that I absolutely could not have made these changes without consciously altering my sexual fantasies. I won’t say this has to be true for everyone but for me, I guess my inner fantasy life is something I commit to really hard. And I guess you don’t get a lot of warnings about that in the BDSM scene – since I was consenting to it, I saw no problem letting men ruin my life. Once I found fulfilling sexual fantasies where I was cared for, respected, and cherished – importantly, FOR JUST BEING MYSELF, not for my sacrifices – it was so much easier to navigate away from partners who were obviously not a fit for that.

Anyway I know I have talked at length about the importance of sexual freedom, and more recently about its limitations. Sexual freedom is necessary, but it won’t solve your problems, and it’s often pitched to you like it will. The truth is, your problems can HIDE themselves in sexual freedom, because sexual freedom is necessary, and your problems are smart enough to know they’ll be free from attack there. I know how sacred our fantasy lives are and that’s why no one wants to come for them. Our sexual expression is supposed to be a sanctuary. Any questioning of them smacks of judgment and shaming. Trust me, I remember.

I defended my right to choke on lit cigarettes for fuckboys like it was the hill I was prepared to die on – and let’s be honest, it was.

And I know it sounds impossible to say with a straight face, Hey, no problem, just CHANGE WHAT TURNS YOU ON. Like you’ve ever been told that that’s under your control in a way that wasn’t trying to repress you for others’ comfort.

But for me, I decided, consciously, to hack into my core erotic narrative and choose a fantasy that would actually be healthy for me to live out in real life. Because apparently I DO live them out in real life. And I realized that all along a part of me had been terrified to be caught wanting tenderness, because I guess I was afraid someone was going to make fun of me. But eventually I was too sick and tired of the other thing to let that stop me anymore. And I’d already proved in my toxic relationships how strong and capable I was, and so I finally was able to justify my deservingness of care.

Anyway. Don’t be fooled. Nothing in your life should be safe from examination. Not even your sexual fantasies, as much as we like to box them off and pretend they exist in some other space that ISN’T creating our reality.

Yeah I call bullshit.