Gerlinda Kaltenbrunner meets Nelly Bly meets Olive Byrne meets Lee Holloway

**This post is a discussion of sex and intimacy. Dad, read at your own risk.

From the time I was young I thought about sex, a lot. I was introduced to the idea at a very early age. Something I have come to terms with and have learned it’s not something for which I need to forgive myself. I did not ask to be introduced to it. I was just told not to tell or I would be in a lot of trouble. It was a skeleton in my closet for a long time.

Jump ahead many years. I was in a monogomous relationship for over 24 years, starting in high school. I never had the experience of dating in college. I didn’t live the life of Carrie Bradshaw. And for 24 years, I had fantasies that I was afraid to share and someone who had no idea what I needed. I didn’t know what I needed.

When I entered the dating world again I knew I didn’t want one night stands. That’s just not me. But, was I ready for a full blown relationship or was I missing the physical touch? Getting onto the dating sites was quite interesting. Most men want to know what you are into from the very beginning. Ummmmm, I have no clue. For 24 years my ex asked me the same question. I thought there was something wrong with me that he didn’t know. Did I not communicate well enough. Did I just lie there so he couldn’t read my body language? I just didn’t know. And I was afraid to put myself out there because what if I was a horrible lover.

Sort of tangent. What’s with the names in today’s title. Google them. All but the last are explorers. The third woman was Professor William Marsten’s inspiration for Wonder Woman (and her experiences are very similar to mine). The last, when you google her, well, it will give away a bit about me. If you’re faint of heart, stop here. Or, follow me on the adventures and explorations of my most intimate life. Judge me if you will. I am okay with it because I am okay with who I am. I have gone through a lot of manure to turn into this amazing, beautiful sunflower.

I dated a couple of men about a year after my separation. We were intimate, but I just know something was missing. I have watched people divorce and meet someone and settle for a companion. That’s not me. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was not waiting for Prince Charming and the castle.

One afternoon I was swiping left, left, left, left. And suddenly, a profile peaked my curiosity. Popping out in big letters was “not vanilla.” I’ve read 50 Shades. I know what he means, but could I? Would I? Wouldn’t this be taboo? Oh my goodness, how unsafe is this? It sounds like an adventure I want to know more about. So I messaged him. We met up for drinks and had a blast. He was kind, attentive and very respectful. He answered so many questions. He gave me websites to look information up. And when he walked me to my car, he asked for my consent and gave me the strongest kiss I had ever been given. When I walked away from that date, I realized what I had been missing. Control.

I had spent the last 17 years being mom, working and taking care of others, and basically, being in control. Yet, I also felt like had no control in those last 17 years. It was like chaos. I couldn’t control my outside environment; I could only control my reactions and responses to it. I was exhausted. I was trying to keep everything in control. I just needed to let go sometimes. Let someone else take the lead. I wasn’t looking for Prince Charming to take me to his castle. I wanted Sir Charming to take me to a dungeon.

I want to take a moment talk about the collision of two worlds in my life. I worked in a domestic violence shelter and feel very strongly about the need to not have Power and Control in relationships. But I wasn’t looking at handing over power and control. I was looking into a relationship with a Power Exchange. These are the terms used in a Dom/sub (D/s) relationship. It is exactly how it sounds. No one partner has power and control. There are discussions…healthy discussions, about limits. What scares you? What excites you? What are you curious about? I had never really had these conversations before. It was liberating. I was laying down the groundwork and putting limits anywhere I saw fit. I was in complete control. Yet, at the same time, I was handing control over to him. An even Power Exchange. To someone that has never done this, it may look scary and demeaning. Until you have been there, don’t judge. It’s not at all what you would think.

My first Dom didn’t stick around too long. And I knew he wouldn’t I was a rebound and I knew it was just a passing fling to figure out what I was looking for.

My second Dom introduced me to the public aspect of this lifestyle. Kink clubs!!!! What am I thinking?!?! How dangerous. I told my cousin I was headed to a club and she insisted I text her every 15-30 minutes. I was a wreck. I walked in and the host was amazing. The very first thing he did was talk with me about safety and showed me the rules, posted in huge letters, on the wall. This was a very huge, long wall. It was covered with rules. Of course there are etiquette rules. Don’t get too close to a scene. No photos or videos allowed (by the way, you never see phones out at these clubs). But in red letters, covering more than half the wall CONSENT CONSENT CONSENT. Absolutely no touching anyone else in the club without consent. Violations will have you removed and police may be called. Also, there are no private areas. You go to a club and it’s a huge open space. Any rooms have windows with people all around. Some people choose to “play” with a Dom they have never met. There are negotiations before the scene. Other people are around to hear the negotiations…the limits. If the Dom violates in anyway, the scene is over. The people in this community take consent very serious. They are amazing people. I felt safer at a sex club than I do going to a bar. So, my worlds did not collide after all. They paralleled.

Let me tell you something about body image. I hated looking at myself in the mirror. Going out to these clubs/parties, I realized I loved my body, rolls and all. This was the start of me learning to love myself again. And I was comfortable with setting rules for myself at these parties. In this world there are so many types of people. I have found many are polyamorous (I’ll let you look it up if you don’t know – or feel free to hit me up with questions). I’m not polyamorous. I identify as monogomous. I have a partner and that’s my only partner. I was not going to sacrifice that. No one in the clubs ever made me feel bad for turning them down for play. But, I can’t lie, it was flattering. Especially when they would continue to be kind and have amazing conversations with me, even after knowing I would not be with them.

I thought I would see what the D/s relationship was like to live 24/7. Nope. Not for me. That entails a lot more service on the subs part, and at that point you are going into more of what is called a Master/slave (M/s) relationship. It’s still completely consensual, however, there are aspects to a relationship like this, one of service, that I hated. If I like someone, I’m going to love cooking for them, getting a drink for them. But if someone tells me (not asks) to get them a drink, my first inclincation is to say, “Get your own damn drink.”

So, with this Dom I learned a lot about public events and I loved it. I also learned about M/s and really was not a fan. I prefer to have the Power Exchange at specific times. Other than that my doting should be appreciated and returned, not expected.

So that brings me to now. I have a pretty good thing that’s going for me. I met someone. He’s a little bit further away, so we don’t get to see each other but once a week. Our time is amazing. It’s still a little new, so we are still learning about each other. He has pushed soft limits (those are meant to possibly explore) and he has stayed away from hard limits. He is respectful. We have cooked for each other. And he has even helped my clean up. It’s a Power Exchange with a lot of communication and a lot of give and take on both sides. I have seen Doms humiliate their subs and be cruel to them. I am not into that scene. If that is what they both like, then that is awesome. I don’t judge. It’s just not my thing. Finding a Dom is a diffiicult process because you have to find someone you completely trust and who is okay with your limits and who will treat you the way you want to be treated. If my Sir (yep, I totally call him Sir, and I love it) does something that upsets me, I can talk with him about it. We can have an open conversation and figure out the next steps. He doesn’t make me feel like I have no worth. We, by no means, have a traditional relationship. That’s not what I want right now. But what we have works and we are there for each other when we have bad days, or weeks. And when he calls me Sweetness, I melt.

My journey is very different from most. But when you are figuring out what you want, whether it’s in the bedroom or out of life, take your blinders off. Pull out the lasso of truth and figure out what your truth is. What is it that will make you happy and love who you are. Open your minds and be who you are.

I have put myself out there today, not to talk about my sex life, but to encourage people to really be open about what they want. To communicate with their partners about what they want or need. These alternative relationships have truly taught me how to communicate my needs, because in this world, if you don’t, you could compromise your safety. But isn’t that true in all relationships? If you forget to communicate, you may be physically safe, but have you protected yourself emotionally?

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