I’m Not a Sub, Not Yet a Dom

Culture Nov 30, 2022
Just wanna preface this article with a little warning that I get into some heavier topics here. Nothing I bring up is meant to be offensive in any way, just reflective of very personal times.

“Am I old?” I asked my 28-year-old self in the mirror this morning, “Or have I just found personal agency?”

The mirror didn’t have an answer. Neither did my chihuahua mix when I presented him with the same conundrum. He just tilted his head at me cause it was walking time. So, it’s an answer I’ll have to find ON MY OWN apparently. Also, before we get into the nitty-gritty of this whole thing, yes, my title is a play on Britney Spears’ “I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman”.

But, all jokes aside, this question, or versions of this question, has been rolling around in my mind for a little while now. Maybe I’m not old. But I’ve lost a sense of naivety I think I once had. As a friend jokingly said to me once, “Ah, you’re a dog now.” But can I still be a “dog” and a pup?

A pup necklace I have in some glitter slime

A pup necklace I have in some glitter slime

Usually, I like to try to write things with a clear outcome, a beginning-middle-end. Something that feels more like an informative essay from high school, but I’m going to free write a little more today and try to get more personal with some recollection and reflection about some of my kink experiences. As I’m becoming older, I feel like I understand my personal agency more, and have been feeling some interest changing sexually, from a “sub” space to more of a switch space.

Pupping around in the pool at DTLA Pride

Pupping around in the pool at DTLA Pride

I want to share some of my experiences in the hopes that it may help others through some experiences they may have (or have already had), but I don’t think this article will reach a clean conclusion, like many of my others do.

In December 2009, when I was 15, I got an iPod Touch for Christmas. I don’t remember how I found it, I think just by searching “gay chat” in the App Store, but I immediately downloaded Grindr. I found out just last year that Grindr was launched in late March of 2009, so it was still establishing itself, but had quickly become the most popular gay-chat/dating app in my smaller area of Omaha, Nebraska. Now that I’m older I see Omaha as a smaller area, especially after living in the bustle of Los Angeles. But growing up, Omaha was the biggest city around and I thought we were a happening and progressive place. So there were a good amount of gay men in the area for me to jailbait (Not that I ever did, just reiterating that I was far too young to be on Grindr).

However Grindr was not my first foray into the online-chat world, and I’m pretty sure I had already been on diaper-bois.com for about a year at that point. I started liking diapers very young, and while there weren’t many boys my age who had gone through their sexuality journeys yet, I knew the internet was my best bet for finding other gays. When I look back on it now, I wish I had been more focused on actual high school, and less on guys. I simply wanted to grow up too fast.

But because I was so young, the men that I found liked me because of my youth, planting a skewed seed in my brain that youth and being attractive were the most important things. Which is why, even at a very young age of 28, part of me feels old. Because when I thought of myself as “young” and “desirable”, I was far too young. And for a lot of time I blamed myself for these underage instances, but over the past couple of years I’ve come to see it as simply an unfortunate pitfall of my naivety at that age. I thought I was being mature and “sexy”.  But the real blame should be put on the adults in the situations, the older men who had more social intelligence and knew what they were doing was wrong. I’m still not happy with or proud of the experiences, but I’m glad I’ve been able to stop blaming myself.

Also, beginning in chat rooms and on Grindr, unfortunately, shaped my brain to think only in those conversational spaces, and once I was 21 and entered real gay bars I found it extremely difficult to flirt in person. After being used to flirting behind the walls of private messaging, the openness of a bar made me uncomfortable and almost scared. It's something I still struggle with to this day, flirting or not, and have to talk myself down from, now understanding that it’s an old emotion rearing its ugly head.

And while I’m very happy that we have the accessibility of dating apps, I’m a little ashamed to say I’ve never “picked up” someone from a bar, and I’ve met all of my boyfriends, even my current one, on Grindr. My current boyfriend is my closest to an in-person meet cute though. I saw him sitting at the bar on pup night just as my friends and I were leaving, so I jumped on Grindr to see if he was on it, and he was. We started chatting through there, so even though we were at the same bar that night, it was a Grindr connection.

Not to mention that jumping headfirst into a diaper kink at that age left me with feelings that it wasn’t normal and was something “I would grow out of” or could forget. I don’t even know why that notion felt natural to me at the time, but it did, and I obviously never grew out of it, as I write this in a wet diaper. However, I did grapple with it for many years, not fully understanding the idea of kink yet, and feeling like there was just something wrong with me. I carried this with me and continued being afraid that loving diapers would keep me from having a “normal” relationship (whatever that means) until I was at least 24. While you could say I’ve been an ABDL for a long time, I think that the bad feelings I was carrying around about it kept me from fully embracing that side, which has now become such a genuine community for me.

An art piece a friend got of me for my birthday. Done by artist narciso_di_fuoco on Instagram

An art piece a friend got of me for my birthday. Done by artist narciso_di_fuoco on Instagram

My other serious boyfriend involving pup play, other than my current one, had an uncomfortable power dynamic to it, that didn’t translate well to a real-world relationship. I don’t want to speak too much on my relationship with him, only because I don't want to make assumptions about what he was feeling. He’s also who I was with when I entered the LA pup community, and I feel like I used him as another wall. If I felt like someone thought I was cute I would slink back into him as a way of saying like, “I’m collared, I’m with him”. I think this kept me isolated though. I wasn't a part of any packs, like a lot of the other pups, which felt like a more social way of pupping. And a strange idea I had picked up from my ABDL journey, that having a Daddy was the most important thing, was plaguing me in the pup world as well, even though I didn’t realize it. I thought having a Sir/Owner was the most important thing.

But, after doing the LA pup contest, I became increasingly depressed, and our relationship suffered. It seemed like he wanted anyone else but me, which isn’t me making an assumption, but rather is what I perceived at the time. No matter what was going on in his head, which could have been his own depression, I was perceiving it as “he doesn’t want me anymore”.

One of my very first pictures with my pup hood, paws, and collar.

One of my very first pictures with my pup hood, paws, and collar.

Suddenly, it felt like my decision to hide behind him when entering the community had been detrimental. It felt like I was too late to join a pack like everyone else, especially because most of the packs were younger pups entering the scene together. And speaking of younger pups, while I was only about 25 myself, I felt threatened by pups that were younger than me. Thinking I had lost something they still had, and feeling angry about their naivety, while I felt too old and like I knew too much. I still felt too nervous to talk to guys who I may have liked, and had unconsciously learned to put out negative body language in crowds.

Thankfully, my current boyfriend and Handler has helped me turn a lot of that mindset around. While it’s still difficult for me to insert myself easily into social situations, he always encourages me to push my boundaries. And now that I’m with someone who makes me feel physically and mentally attractive, I find that the “threatening” feeling from pups that are younger than me is gone and actually I’m increasingly becoming attracted to them, and especially to diaper boys that are younger than me. And with that I’m feeling more comfortable taking on a dominant, or caregiver role with them, while still keeping it playful.

Allowing myself to embrace that caregiver side has also made me more attractive to myself, and overall has been letting me have more fun with kink. Also, in a way, it's helping me heal my younger self, because I can provide the care I think I should have gotten. I can’t change anything about my past, but I can use that as a learning process to change someone else’s present.

Enjoying Barking Billiards at the Eagle 562 in Long Beach

Enjoying Barking Billiards at the Eagle 562 in Long Beach

To veer somewhere else, recently at my part time job at a coffee shop, a wonderfully nice gentleman was flirting with me (I think). He told me he loved my dog tag and asked if Faun was my name. After he sat down, I proceeded to have a full internal anxiety attack, because of the idea that this man may have thought I was cute. He also could have just been being very nice with no romantic or sexual connotations at all. But the self invented idea that he may have thought I was cute sent me into a spiral that was unpleasant, but also unsurprising. It’s something that I recognize as a pattern now.

But, because I’ve been rewatching Brene Brown’s “Atlas of the Heart” on HBO Max (I highly recommend it), I tried to take some of her tips in that moment. I asked myself if the emotion I was feeling fit the current situation. I was very anxious and I wanted to shrink away and hide. But the guy who said he liked my tag had been very polite, and was calmly working on his laptop. So no, I realized, none of my emotions fit the moment. Meaning that these were old feelings coming back to the surface, because they had been triggered by something. Probably the same feelings I felt while at a gay bar. The idea of being attractive to someone made me feel like prey.

That sentence still feels daunting for me to read, because it came to me in that moment, and touches down on so many emotions I’ve never quite been able to place. And I think that moment is really what drove me to want to write this more personal article, because it's definitely brought many of the memories that I’ve mentioned back to the forefront of my brain. I feel sad for the old me who felt like prey in those situations, but knowing that it’s an old emotion is helping me tell myself I am not prey now. All I can do at this point is understand this part of myself, and move forward with as much openness as possible.

Having fun at the SoCal Creatures PuppyPalooza (now called the Pet Show)

Having fun at the SoCal Creatures PuppyPalooza (now called the Pet Show)

Like I said, I didn't think this article would end with a very clean conclusion (but my OCD brain is telling me I have to have something). Again, my hope is mainly that reading some of my experiences will help others with experiences they may go through, or maybe have gone through already. The way we heal is through open discussion, no matter what topic it is. And like I said, I absolutely recommend  “Atlas of the Heart” on HBO Max. Try to watch each episode a day or 2 apart, so you really have time to absorb the concepts. If you don’t have that service, Brene Brown also has some great Ted Talk videos on YouTube.

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