Fear, Sadism and Pushing My Boundaries

Culture Jul 2, 2022

What is ‘extremity’ when it comes to kink? Why is it that for so many of us, pushing the boundaries of our desire is such an exciting exploration? How far do we push the goalpost to achieve the “next level” of enjoyability, so to speak? These are all questions I’ve pondered for a while now since the kinky floodgates burst open in my mind several months ago. The slippery slope of progressively more extreme kinks has been a shocking journey of discovery. Enjoying impact play - something so strange, alien and at one point, frightening to me - really opened my eyes to the possibilities of what can become pleasure.

Historically, fetishism has always been linked to objectifying experiences in time and place. Whether that be fantasising about mundane objects or traumas experienced, people have always found arousal around them seemingly wherever they’ve looked. Humans, it seems, have always had the capacity to imbue sexuality in abstract concepts and have been getting off to all sorts of things for as long as we’ve been around. I know for a fact that fetish is heavily influenced by our environment: clowns have forever been my most formative kink and the very first expression of sexuality I ever experienced. As such, it’s not the fetish itself, but it’s meaning in relation to our inner worlds, that gives them power and makes them pleasurable.

I recently wrote about some of the early media that shaped my kinks and I kept coming back to one core concept that seemed to run through many of them: the notions of sadism, fear and imposition. Many of these early cartoon experiences involved forced situations for characters and this terrified me as a child. I simply couldn’t get my head around it. The cruel glee with which an antagonist would inflict some involuntary fate upon a protagonist disturbed me to no end, but also fascinated me (thanks Pinocchio).

I seem to recall what must have been a rerun of an episode of Thundercats I managed to catch on TV in my early youth, in which a female character was jokingly forced into a pod of some kind by her male friend. Despite the jovial nature of the scene (I assume they were headed out on some type of mission and deciding who should go), I was so fixated on her demanding to be let out that that’s all I can remember of the scene and it has been seared onto my brain.

Similarly, a scene from the Peter Pan TV series, in which a couple of mermaids tried to forcibly turn Wendy into a mermaid by trapping her in a bubble, left such an impression it unnerves me to this day. The scene scared me so much in the moment that I had to leave the room until it was over, but couldn’t articulate why I was hiding from it. The forced or sadistic element of cartoony transformations is now so hot to me, even though it disturbed me as a child.

More on brand for my fetishes is an episode of The Haunting Hour where a kid who's afraid of clowns gets stalked by a group of them. He eventually gets forced into a jack-in-the-box in front of the audience at a circus and theatrically transformed into one himself, while the clowns all laugh at and tease him with such glee despite his horror at what they’ve done to him. Why the idea of that being done to me in the same way does it for me, I really don’t know, especially when I find the cruelty of the scene so upsetting outside of kink. However, the sadism with which the clowns take pleasure in tormenting their victim with his transformation makes it one of the hottest fantasies for me (one which I’ve recently been able to incorporate into a session).

I’ve noted before that fear and pleasure are so closely linked and likened it to touching each other against the glass of our minds. Some of these scenes still make my heart race just by thinking of them. An uncomfortable, unsettling, disturbing and yet, fascinating feeling. Sort of like the rush of being frightened by a horror film. It’s not all that surprising to me that my brain began to associate this excitement with something pleasurable - something to think about, figure out, explore. Perhaps this is the reason why the cruel clowns in Dumbo fascinated me so much.

The notion of ignored consent is inherently frightening, but even coercion piqued my interest. Not wanting something but giving in eventually, handing over control and coming to enjoy it. All of these forced situations were like the many horror films or episodes of Goosebumps I would watch that always gave me nightmares, yet I couldn’t get enough of them. That’s not to say I found all of these scenes frightening. Robin Hood and Harry Potter had scenes that certainly awoke something in me; gave me that “funny” feeling that kids don’t have words for yet. I remember an episode of Teen Titans in which Beast Boy was kidnapped, collared and forced to entertain an alien man-baby. It’s no wonder I eventually found my way to pup play!

Digimon holds a special place in my heart and always will, but there were a couple of episodes that had a profound effect on me. The penultimate villain was Piedmon: a clownish jester with a cruel sense of humour and a frightening, devilish disposition with which he enacted his clown-themed attacks. On top of this, he was cunning and took great glee in swiftly defeating his enemies. He was the final Dark Master and the strongest of them, whom the protagonists were determined to defeat. The first time I saw these final episodes I was terrified, because unlike most cartoon villains, Piedmon was truly deadly. He immediately took out the strongest of the main characters first and used circus tricks to do it. His lair was a lethal trapeze and he picked off the rest of the heroes one by one as they turned to flee, using flaming hoops and big balls that would emerge from the ground and trip them up.

Even in the largely edited dub, Piedmon was also legitimately violent and was actually shown stabbing characters. He brutally crucified my favourite digimon, drawing a curtain of hopelessness with each passing minute of runtime in a way that I still remember hiding behind the couch from the first time I watched it. Piedmon delighted in his methods; he turned all of the characters he defeated into keychains and displayed them on his belt one by one throughout the episode, laughing and tormenting the two remaining by the end. Knowing the heroes would turn the tide eventually evaporated my discomfort in later viewings, but the fear and fascination I felt watching this joker character take pleasure in tormenting others left a deep impression.

Fear players sometimes approach me about my clown kink, though I want to emphasise that is not at all my vibe when I clown around. I’m all about the silliness, the fun, the slapstick. However, that tinge of sadistic glee is something I love to toy with. Power play is intrinsic to all of my kinks and acting out forced situations is oftentimes how I like to express that. The coercive element of giving in to a transformation, or denying the arousal before finally admitting it, are all great fun to play around with in scenes. Likewise, nothing turns me on like turning someone else on. Whether I could extend that to engaging in some fear play is something I’ve yet to find out. I’ve been asked to dress as the Joker in superhero scenes - one guy even asked if I would be willing to swing a real crowbar in front of his face whilst he’s tied up dressed like Robin. At the time, that seemed far too extreme for me, but I might be ready to test those waters.

It should go without saying that play consists only of consenting acts and that is especially true when engaging in any type of forced play. Non-consensual play is a perfectly valid and common desire and something I have come to enjoy engaging in, but like any kink, safety is paramount. Knowing your play partner well is crucial and as always, make sure to meet anyone you haven’t already but intend to play with platonically and in public first. Trusting each other and discussing your limits, safewords and desires, knowing fully that you are both safe and that either’s consent can be revoked at any time are the safety nets that allow us to indulge in these kinds of play. I was once approached to make a faux snuff film in which I would be choked out and even though that was long before I might have considered doing a scene like that, I would still trust my gut today and decline. Our bodies can often pick up on things our rational minds don’t. If it doesn’t feel right, listen to that feeling. You can always apologise later if being rude is the safest or fastest way out of an uncomfortable situation.

So how ‘extreme’ do I want to get? At this point, my limits are very few. They were pain, scat and blood once. Now I typically define my “no-nos” as femme stuff and chastity, with messing slowly approaching a conceptual maybe. My avoidance of femininity and sissy play is better defined as a preference for now and likewise, I can see myself engaging in chastity with the right person and situation to help me overcome my trepidation. Electro play was another big “no-no” that flew out the window when I tried wearing a shock collar for a couple of evenings in Berlin and, shockingly, loved it. I’ve come to love being corrupted. Inviting a brand new thrill with feigned struggle and protest, juxtaposed by my excited expression makes my heart race with anticipation - that familiar adrenaline rush.

Impact play used to be a hard limit and is now something I thoroughly enjoy. I want to undergo some proper pain training to see how far I can stretch my limits. I tend to scream the pain out and fuel it emotionally, but I think I may have reached the limit of what I can achieve doing so. The catharsis can be great, but I want to build up better technique to endure more and experience the sensations beyond. Having others watching me too went from something I hated the idea of to a very enjoyable experience. Perhaps it’s why having an audience during my spankings makes such a difference to me. The group clown session I recently engaged in involved some of these same exhilarating elements. Dog training is something I’ve been meaning to do, as I haven’t had much in the way of proper mutt training since finally getting into pup play. Even ABDL used to be a hard limit for me and is now my second favourite kink!

My takeaway from all this is to enjoy the thrill of exploration fully. We will always surprise ourselves with what we find if we dare to push the boundaries of what we already know. For some of us, that means testing the limits of our most ‘outrageous’ kinks. Whether this journey sees me try messing, breathplay or permanent marking is not what’s important. It is what I learn about myself from travelling this path. This journey is a personal one, but not one we walk alone. Strong rapport and deep trust are cornerstones by which I play and I consider them necessary to establish before we can give over fully to testing our limits. Given the time to build upon natural chemistry, the depth of trust between two people prepared to explore their innermost desires together can be enchanting. That is what I want to achieve.