Non-Consensual Vulnerability

Feeling vulnerable is awful, when it’s not by choice.

I crave vulnerability in my BDSM play. I live for those moments when I am stripped bare of everything but my need to please, to submit, to give; when I am exposed more than just physically, when my core is laid open to him, to savor, to nurture – or to destroy. Knowing that he has the power to do that – that I have given that power to him willingly, entrusted him with those deepest, darkest places inside me- is rapturous; intoxicating, breathtaking.

But that’s not the kind of vulnerability I am talking about tonight. That’s not the kind of vulnerability that is keeping me from seeing W tonight, from going over to his house for a small kinky get-together with some new friends of his.  I’m not going over because I do not want to come back to the house where I am dogsitting this weekend late at night, wearing slut clothes, potentially spaced-out from play, and have to walk from my car to the house, in the dark, alone.

It’s not a “bad” neighborhood, but it is the edge of one. And I am not an overly fearful person. But I’m not over-reacting. My client’s place, while very nice, sits of the edge of a neighborhood that, on one side, is a very cool place to hang out, with beautiful old houses in all states of renovation, a young, vibrant community and some great restaurants and bars. Just on the other side however – of this very street, in fact – is a neighborhood that might look up in a few years, but at the moment…it’s just not a safe place to be if you are female, after dark, alone. Late at night, when I am alone here (especially on weekends), I am grateful for the security system and three large, loud dogs. I don’t fool around here, though, and am always alert and careful, even when I just go out back to take the dogs out for their end-of-the-night pee.

I don’t like this feeling. It makes me sad. It distresses me that because I am a woman I am automatically potential prey. That I could easily become a statistic. That there is always – always – the potential for violence and abuse. Just because I am female.

I have been feeling non-consentually vulnerable in other ways lately, too. This is harder to talk about. That other stuff, up there? When you are a woman you grow up with that. It’s just how life is. Eventually, the shock of that reality (I remember when I realized that – when it was forcefully brought home to me that that is a woman’s reality) dulls to something like a puzzled ache. It flares again when you have your own daughters, when you realize you have to make them aware of that reality, but, eventually, it simply lives on the edge of your consciousness, acknowledged, but no longer a klaxon sounding the alarm. I do not live in fear – but I do live with consciousness.

This other thing…

Is something that may be harder to make peace with.

I am trying to come to a place of acceptance with my age. Or rather, with my body as it ages.

I have never been happier, more sexually satisfied, more vibrant and charged than I have these past ten years. I would not trade me “now” for the me “then” for anything. But I realized recently that some of the things that I used to do, in BDSM play and in other, vanilla, activities, I…just can’t do anymore. Or if I can, maybe I don’t want to.

I used to love tight, brutal, body-contorting bondage. The tighter, the stricter, the more it cost me physically to submit to it, the better I liked it. And…I prided myself on being able to do a lot of freaking torturous bondage that women half my age couldn’t do.

The last time W and I played, he brought out the bondage wish-list. It’s a bunch of bondage images and ties that I have sent to him over the years that I want to try. Mostly we don’t play that way. Mostly W just likes to tie me up in whatever way he has in his own mind, or to put me in a kind of predicament, or to do something specific to me. But occasionally he will indulge me and we’ll try some crazy-ass bondage tie that I have sent to him. As I looked through the pictures that night though, I realized that many of them I quite possibly couldn’t manage anymore. I just don’t have the flexibility I did, even a year ago. And more than that…at least that night, I didn’t want to be that uncomfortable. Sometimes I just didn’t want to brutalize my body that way.

Maybe I don’t want to try because I am afraid of failure though. Afraid that if I do try them and can’t do them, I will have to accept this new-older-aging body.

Damn it, so often lately it just hurts. In a not-good way, you know? It takes away from the scene, because all I can think about is the cramp in my calf, or the pain in my shoulder, or the rope biting into my wrists. :-( I can’t remember if I used to feel that and enjoy it as part of the scene…I feel like I must have. But if I did, now all it does is remind me that I’m getting older, and I see it as a betrayal of my body. A failure. Instead of realizing that hey, maybe the fact that I haven’t been doing yoga, haven’t been stretching regularly, haven’t been doing bondage consistently lately, might have something to do with it…all I can think of is that W will be disappointed, or worse yet, he will be sympathetic, and tell me “not every body can do every thing,” and that we can do something else, and he will take it easy on me.  But secretly he will know that now I am the girlfriend that is too old to do the things he wants to do, that he likes to do. That I like to do. I don’t want to give in to this new, older version of myself. And I don’t want him to not try things, because he assumes I am “too old” to do them.


I don’t know the solution, if there is one. Perhaps, like the reality of the vulnerabilities inherent in being a female, I will simply have to learn to accept the vulnerabilities of age, as well. But damn it, it’s certainly not consensual!



  1. Marie Rebelle

    Oh how I totally get that your body is aging and you have difficulty accepting it. I know the feeling all too well. I too cannot do all the things I still wanted to do, or did years ago and would want to do again. My body is not as flexible as it was, and some pains I just cannot handle anymore. I try to just accept it, that it’s part of the aging process and thankfully Master T understands it all too well. It’s something we have to get to terms with… not being young forever.

    And, I am so sorry to hear you feel so vulnerable in that neighbourhood. That’s not a nice feeling at all. I am thankful that I don’t have to feel unsafe anymore, not since I left the unsafe country I used to live in.

    Thinking of you, Jade!

    Rebel xox

    1. Jade Post author

      Thank you, Marie…I do love this neighborhood, and I love being in the city (my home with Ad is not) so it is doubly distressing to me to feel unsafe here at times. And the (sad) reality is…bad things happen everywhere. My house with Ad, way out in the county where it’s “safe,” was broken into.

      I do wonder if there are other things at play here…perhaps feeling vulnerable in my body is exacerbating the other feelings. In any case, W agreed with me that I made the right decision last night (he hadn’t considered that I would have to come back here alone, late at night, when he invited me over.) But it was still a disappointment to us both.

  2. Cammies on the Floor

    I have been struggling with re-identify my body and its capacity for three years now since I injured myself. And some days I just want to cry.
    I understand this feeling you describe perfectly, and thank you for being ever-honest enough to write it.

    1. Jade Post author

      It’s taken me months of pondering, of writing and discarding posts, to finally post about it. :-( And oh, I could have said so much more! And possibly/probably will, in future. :-(

  3. Kate

    I feel ya, gal. I feel you on both of the scenarios, first of being a woman and wanting to walk alone in the dark in an ideal world but living in the real one, and secondly of aging and fearing. Maybe you don’t fear, but I do. I fear becoming invisible. I fear the hormonal changes and emotional baggage that I’ve picked up over the years. I do fear the vulnerability that comes with age. This post wasn’t what I expected, but I’m glad it is the first of yours that I read.

    1. Jade Post author

      Hello, Kate, and welcome to my little corner of the internet. :-)

      I so understand what you say about fearing invisibility – I think that in some ways the world renders (or wants to render) women of a “certain age” invisible, at least as it pertains to our being sexual beings. Add on top of that personal fears and ambivalence about growing older and…it’s a lot to process.

      I wish you well!


  4. Michelle

    Beautifully written. I agree wholeheartedly that having daughters (preteens myself) reignites the specter of fear.


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