My very first sexual memory is of seeing two air force guys in a pub whilst on holiday with my parents and grandparents, they were wearing shiny black short football shorts and I could not take my eyes off them. My Dad made some dreadful comment about them being bum boys, I was very embarrassed. I’m not sure what age I was, probably about 11.
I started out on the gay scene when I was 19, I didn’t come out, I was forced out when my mother discovered a gay newspaper in my bedroom, ultimately everything was okay, although there was a phenomenal amount of crying and “how could you let them talk you into it”. I bought a copy of the book ‘How to cope if your child is gay’ and despite being told that it wouldn’t be read, a bookmark was working its way down the pages and I knew that it had been.
For a while a friend moved to Manchester and I had some fun times on the scene there, away from home, free.
A proper relationship
At the age of 20 I met the man with whom I will very likely spend the rest of my life, I was young, constantly horny, and very different to how I am now, he was 29. It was also against the law at the time because the age of consent was 21, not that I had ever let that bother me with him or anyone else, I don’t think the long arm of the law was very concerned in prosecuting people for consensual sex, I do remember being aware of Operation Spanner through the gay press although it didn’t feel like something that had any affect on my life.
About six months after meeting we moved into a rented flat and normal life began, work, bills, cooking, arguing over the washing up. When our initial tenancy agreement was coming to an end we went to look at other flats, at first we were just going to sign another lease and continue as before but we found a flat that we liked, very similar to the rented flat but with the bonus that you could actually get parked nearby. It was relatively easy to get a mortgage, but interest rates were much higher, although it would mostly be cheaper to buy than to rent and pay someone else’s mortgage.
I had a higher sex drive than him, but things were fine until I found out that he had cheated on me, something that he only really actually admitted to years later. I was working in a very stressful job at the time, on shifts, and we probably came fairly close to splitting up. it took quite a long time for me to be able to move on. I didn’t really know if I could actually forgive him.
Things returned largely to normal over time, he would regularly go out drinking and from time to time I dabbled with other guys, mainly guys into gear, I suppose I felt that he wouldn’t know and that he had opened the door to allow me to see other guys. I think that he did the same, but it was never spoken about. We had regular arguments and seemed to be incapable of discussing a lot of things without retreating to our own corners, I think we were just so very similar and neither of us was very good at talking or admitting when we were wrong.
Changes are coming
The arrival of the Internet is responsible for so much! Dial-up, ISDN, AOL chat rooms, newsgroups, IRC, ICQ, comic chat, although for a while everywhere seemed to have at least one Brazilian teen demanding pics. The availability of information and indeed pictures to suit all persuasions and kinks was incredible, changed days from finding a porn mag in a hedge or under my brother’s bed, or looking at pictures of footballers in the paper.
During what I class as a mid-life crisis I booked to do the motorcycle CBT and I announced this to my partner the night before, I passed and then went on to take motorcycle lessons, after which I bought a 600cc bike, thus began an obsession which lasted several years, taking me all over the country, and even down to north and south Wales on a couple of occasions. My partner followed the same path so we could do things together and we had one memorable week traveling all around the north and west coast of Scotland, in mostly glorious sunshine. I suppose I had considered that this was a way to access part of the leather culture, and in a small way I did, but it was rather limited.
Exactly 13 years from the day we met, we entered into a civil partnership, family and friends were there and it was a lovely warm early summer day.
Thinking back, I suppose I’ve always been attracted to leather, masculine men and some degree of submission, but it was a wish more than something I got much of a chance to experience. The first time I saw an actual real life leather man was outside a club in Glasgow, he was tall, head to toe in leather with a thick moustache, I said hello and that he looked amazin, but he wasn’t interested in me. One year, between Christmas and New Year, I met a man who was staying in a hotel in Glasgow, he was the very first dominant leather man I had ever met, we had a drink in the hotel bar whilst talking, he studied my body language and knew I was nervous, we then spent a few hours in his room. It was incredibly exciting, but at the time I didn’t see it as bringing any great revelations about submission, it still felt like I was more interested because he was a top into leather. Years later I was able to thank him, although I subsequently discovered that only a few months after that he took his own life.
A couple of things around this time really dented my confidence, the second one in particular. On my way home from work one day on my bike I skidded on a diesel spill and slid along the road on my face (with a helmet) at about 30mph, I remember thinking to myself at the time “well this is just perfect” and having a couple of nice people come to my aid, I knew it was just one of those things and I wasn’t particularly hurt. When the bike was repaired and my bruises were gone I got back on and continued as before, after overcoming some nerves.
I changed jobs and needed a car, the bike became a weekend toy as my workload increased; one late spring evening I was driving home from work and a supermarket lorry came into my lane on the motorway, there was no hard shoulder, nowhere to go, I could either brake hard and hope that I wouldn’t get crushed or drop gears and floor it, hoping to get past before getting crushed, I almost managed to get past when the lorry hit, it buckled the front wheel and spun me out in front of it and across all five lanes before hitting me side on, twice. It all happened so fast and yet parts felt as if they were in slow motion, I’m amazed that nothing else hit me, it was the evening rush hour, I smacked my head off the side window a few times as the car was spinning and I was sore all over for days afterwards. The lorry driver said “sorry, I didn’t see you”, which was pleasant enough, although their insurance company subsequently tried to make me take some of the blame and only settled two days before we were going to court, after an 18 month battle. My confidence took quite a dent, I knew that if I had been on the bike I could have been killed, although I would also have had the breaking and acceleration power to get out of it easier, so who knows. My partner forced me to drive two days later, I think if he hadn’t it would have become more and more difficult, I needed to drive for work and I needed to be made to drive again.
Around this time we moved into separate bedrooms, partly because he snored and generally became hotter than molten steel overnight, but I also think that to an extent we just needed our own space. It helped a lot when he got up early for work and I wanted to read or watch television late at night. Partner had a lower sex drive and was then diagnosed with diabetes, and he started to suffer from erection problems, he told his doctor, which I know must have been difficult, and was prescribed viagra and later cialis, this seemed to really help with his confidence and things became better, but still infrequent.
Not long afterwards my partner became suddenly ill, he had had a chest infection and muscle pains, and it took some time to be properly diagnosed as a problem with his heart, sex reduced further, and he stopped taking the cialis. I went through long periods of not wanting sex, interspersed with periods of almost desperation where I would spend hours watching porn and cams and eventually asking him to help me cum which would cause an argument if he didn’t want to, or if he forgot. I occasionally sought out other people, seeing some numerous times, being honest with them but not being very honest at home. I suppose by then I had rationalised it as a desperate need, I didn’t want to hurt my partner, and I knew that I wasn’t looking to replace him. I wasn’t looking for any sort of emotional replacement, but I did have to at least like the other guys.
The black dog
Thinking back, it was clear that I was suffering from depression, I don’t know how long things had been that way, a long time? a very long time? I did know that it wasn’t normal, to some extent, there was also some degree of anxiety and for years I would find excuses to get out of things at the last minute. I felt enveloped by my own negativity. I spent entire weekends in bed, often sleeping for many hours, passing the time by sleeping. I had considered going to get help but I had a fear that I would be put on medication and that I would lose my sex drive, this felt like too high a price to pay. I pushed a lot of people away and withdrew from quite a lot of social interaction. The negativity bled into everything. I had resorted to occasionally taking benzodiazepines to quiet my mind and to bring sleep, obtained online, I rationalised the risk. They also appeared to help reset my poor sleep habits which were almost certainly exacerbated by the depression. I took care not to take them frequently as I knew they would lose their efficacy. I was also suffering more and more frequently from heartburn and was taking over the counter medication every night to be able to sleep. I didn’t want to see a doctor.
Years of suffering in silence, although ironically constantly moaning probably all came together at the same time with what felt like a complete crash in October 2015 when I allowed a work situation to get completely out of control in my own head, the actual reality was very different. I convinced myself that I was going to be made redundant and that I wouldn’t be able to find another job. I remember thinking that I could take a lot of pills and make it stop, but despite dwelling on the thought for hours and hours over that weekend I don’t know if it was something that I would actually have done. I’ve always had a dark sense of humour and still very occasionally joke about taking a lot of pills, although I know I shouldn’t.
On the Monday morning I made an appointment to see my doctor, the actual appointment was three days later and I was prescribed antidepressants and medication to stop my incessant heartburn. I was still concerned that I would lose my sex drive. That Saturday night I made another excuse to get out of a social engagement and I took the antidepressants for the first time, I felt it was wise as I might feel dizzy and I wanted to be alone if that happened, I did feel dizzy, but it only happened on that one evening.
After about 5 weeks of taking the antidepressants I noticed a huge and dramatic change, it was like the cloud overshadowing everything had moved away, I could still feel that it was there, somewhere, in the background, just out of reach, but my entire mood and outlook had completely changed. I had the easiest Christmas and New Year in a long time, although it still all seems like such a disappointment when you’re not 8.
In the January my partner was away for two weeks and I met up with a guy for sex, I was a little self conscious and I was still concerned about possible side effects from the antidepressants, in the end the only real side effect was that it was occasionally a bit more difficult to achieve orgasm. we met a few times after that, when my partner was back he attended a social engagement which meant that he would be away overnight, I met up with the same guy again and we took drugs and I stayed out all night (I wouldn’t recommend it, and I wouldn’t do it again). My partner returned home the next morning and started to worry that something had happened to me, or that I had done something to myself. I phoned and apologised and returned home, unable to sleep or eat for another two days. Afterwards I forced a conversation about sexual needs, and said that I was unhappy and was feeling desperate, I felt far more capable of actually having that conversation, I felt able to prevent it disintegrating into an argument, but I was also careful to ensure that he knew I wasn’t blaming him.
Three weeks later we were going for a four night trip to Berlin which had been booked since early January, I asked to be allowed to meet a guy when we were away, I said that there were some things that I wanted to try whilst I was still young, he was unhappy about it and said that he didn’t know if he wanted to go, everything was very quiet for a few days and then it became clear that we were both going to Berlin. On our second night in Berlin, after a nice dinner, we took the tram back to Alexanderplatz together and then parted company. I took the u-bahn and met up with a leather Master who I had been talking with online for some time, he met me at the door to his apartment in full leathers and over the following three hours proceeded to absolutely blow my mind and push buttons that I didn’t really know I had until then, he was dominant and yet caring and encouraging, the connection was really incredible. Afterwards I thanked him profusely and caught a taxi at midnight through Potsdamer Platz back to our hotel. I suppose that was the cat being let out of the bag. I texted my best friend all about it, relieved to be able to talk openly with someone I trusted and who cared for me, and yet wouldn’t judge me.
Not long after that I was idly looking at twitter one night when I came across the account of a Dom leather man in the Midlands, I was instantly attracted to him, I read a bit of what he had to say and sent him an email. He answered fairly quickly and we talked quite a lot through messaging and email, he was clearly interested in finding out about my experience, wishes, fantasies and fears, and I arranged to meet him one Saturday in early March 2016. I got an early morning train and then a taxi to his house, he answered the door in full leathers, taking my breath away. We talked and then I was collared and we played, it just felt like there was an instant connection, he was handsome, tall, and a bit of fantasy man for me. I had no issue submitting to him, following his instructions and calling him Sir.
Being collared during play quickly became an incredibly emotional thing, which was a bit unexpected, but it was clearly due to the build-up of trust, and because the connection was growing stronger every time we met. After a few more meetings he gave me an ‘earned collar’ (a chain collar and padlock) to wear on the train when visiting him, an extension of the play collar but it also allowed me to have an object to keep that represented our connection, something that belonged to him, which helped me with insecurity.
From then on I read everything I could find online and I bought several books on submission and BDSM, it was through these that I learnt that a great deal of the feelings, body image and confidence issues that I was having were really fairly typical, a bit of a comfort I suppose.
I decided that it was time to take direct responsibility for some things and I went to get an STD screening to demonstrate that I was taking proper care of myself, although I had always practiced safer sex, I went on to get vaccinated against hepatitis A+B, and later against HPV, because those were on offer to me and were recommended.
In June 2016 we changed our Civil Partnership into Marriage, and I wore my chain collar under my shirt, only my closest friend and Sir knew about this, I had asked his opinion and permission beforehand. The day after we went away on holiday for two weeks, I think it was probably the happiest holiday we had ever had.
Stress and reassurance
My husband started to show signs of insecurity, up until then it had been a careful balance, he likes his own privacy and space and he didn’t want to discuss other people, but I gently forced (bit of a contradiction in terms, I know) more discussion and I reassured him that I loved him very much and that I would never leave him, I also let him know that Sir had a husband too. I made it clear that he could ask anything he wanted and that I would try to answer as honestly as I could.
For a few months I went to see a counsellor, mainly to help me cope with my feelings of guilt, and occasional depressive episodes, bu I think this also demonstrated to my husband that I wasn’t taking things lightly.
We started to do more things together, taking more of an interest in general, home life improved massively and we’re taking more time to go to the cinema and for meals out together. He also gives me a lift to and often also from the station if I’m visiting Sir or going away for the weekend elsewhere, allowing me some valuable time to myself, rather than thinking of it as time away from each other.
I never imagined that I would ever be in a BDSM relationship, let alone proud of the fact, but I was seeing Sir about once a month or thereabouts and it really was just amazing, although it was also extremely emotional and before long I was head over heels, although he did a very good job of keeping boundaries in place, for which I was grateful.
Sir very much helped me to handle my feelings and emotions by getting me to write a journal, to which he had access; I also practiced various relaxation techniques, often whilst holding his collar. He occasionally gave me written tasks which helped me to get things out of my head and also to understand my thoughts. I discovered a new thing – subdrop, I encountered this regularly 3 or 4 days after meeting him, clearly all emotional again.
On one visit to see Sir we went to visit Fetters in Warwick, it was incredibly exciting and I enjoyed the experience. On another occasion we went for a social evening in Manchester. We went for dinner and then drinks and I showed him respect and deference in public, whilst wearing his collar for all to see. That was when we spent our first night together.
It must have been obvious that I was gaining more and more of a desire to take part in the social side of the leather scene, so we went to London so that I could be measured for leather jeans and a waistcoat. I got just what I wanted and needed, I would thoroughly recommend Fetish Freak and have been back for more since that initial visit.
Soon after on a visit to meet Sir he gave me a steel cable collar and offered me a long term Sir/boy bdsm relationship with mentoring and support, I asked if he had ever done this with anyone else, he said no, someone else had come close but the emotional side of things with me was what made the difference. I did of course accept, without hesitation.
On my next visit I presented Sir with a leather rose to say thank you for everything, and I met his husband, either by accident or design, this was a very positive step.
When my leathers arrived I took them with me to meet Sir, it was clear that he was happy and proud, it was a huge confidence boost.
All of this was leading me on a direct path to the Manchester Leather Weekend which would take place in early October 2017, I booked to go as I knew that that would force me to attend, but I also knew that this was still quite a big leap for me, I needed to go to something more low key, and I needed to meet some people first. In May 2017 I met Sir again in Manchester for the night, we went out for dinner, but then back to the hotel to change into leathers, I can remember my heart beating out of my chest, we left the hotel and went to the Manchester Leathermen leather social. I met and talked to quite a few men and had an extremely good night, I knew that I had found an accepting and welcoming group, and that I would be back. The next month I was back, on my own.
To be continued …