Finding Your Kinks: A Case Study

Power Exchange

When I first started intentionally seeking out things that gave me sex feelings, as a teenager with a shiny new laptop all their own and a burning curiosity about that burning in my loins, I started with guy-on-guy fanfiction. I was already deeply invested in the Kingdom Hearts and Harry Potter fandoms, and it seemed like erotica about characters I already cared about would be far more engaging than poorly-lit heterosexuals having bad sex on Pornhub. Whilst in a lot of ways not ideal (riddled with misogyny, fetishisation, abuse apologism and deeply questionable grammar), so-called “yaoi fanfiction was the first patently sexy thing I ever engaged with. As well as helping me to realise that I was nonbinary (because I identified so strongly with masculine-of-centre protagonists, regardless of the sexy fictional characters they were boning), my fascination with erotic fanfiction unlocked a number of my kinks before I’d ever even been naked with another person. The Off The Cuffs podcast refers to things like this as being one’s “radioactive spider bite”.

Guy-on-guy fanfic, and especially guy-on-guy fanfiction written by misinformed teenage girls who have never spoken to a gay man in their lives, features power exchange all over the damn place. Teenage girls apparently still haven’t received the memo that gay sex is, y’know, gay, which means that you don’t need a dedicated dick recipient and a dedicated dick deliverer like you do when having hetero PIV. Spreading a misconception like that around isn’t great, but it did mean that there was very often a struggle for dominance taking place before or during sex scenes. I found myself re-reading passages which featured characters being pinned down, lovingly bitten, or otherwise physically overpowered – sometimes more often than the passages which featured actual genitals doing actual fucking. By the time that I was talking to other people about sex (and doing sexy text-based roleplay things), I thought you pretty much had to be a top or a bottom, and by extension, either dominant or submissive. I was taken aback when I learned that some people weren’t into “that kinky stuff”.

Being the nerd that I undeniably was and still am, I took to Google to investigate “kink”, and from there “BDSM”, and from there all sorts of resources that were much more fact-based and accurate than fanfic written by virgins. Erotica was my gateway, sure, but it didn’t tell me how to compose a Yes/No/Maybe list, or what aftercare was, or that wanting to be tied up and gagged while your partner hits you with a flogger does actually count as straying off the beaten path. (Get it? Beaten path? I’ll see myself out.) I found things that made my cunt drip on, but I didn’t know how to apply any of them in my own sex life until I did further research.

The Daddy Thing

You know that text-based roleplaying I mentioned earlier? Yeah, it turns out that when you identify as a girl (which I mistakenly did until my very late teens) and your nerdy online guy friends find out you have a keen interest in sex stuff, they fall all over themselves trying to add you on Skype. Skype, of course, facilitates more than text-based roleplay. You can video call people.

Enter Blue (not his real name, obviously). Blue was a li’l older than me (eighteen when I was sixteen, an age gap I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions about), he rocked a dark beard, and he showered me with attention while I went through a messy breakup. (All the breakups that sixteen-year-olds go through are messy. I was not good at communicating, and I still thought I owed it to boys who’d hurt me to let them down gently.)  We had a couple of chatty, fully-clothed video calls before things escalated, and then we were having Skype sex.

I was already okay-ish at Skype sex stuff, having been in a long-distance thing and blossoming into an exhibitionist before making friends with Blue. I wasn’t surprised when he told me to say his name as I orgasmed, or when he wanted me on all fours, or when he wanted me to do things to my nipples. I was, however, surprised when he gasped, “Call me ‘Daddy’!”

I knew that that was A Thing People Did, but only because it was joked about in movies and on TV. I’d called people ‘Sir’ before, and in the moment, I thought ‘Daddy’ was pretty much an equivalent. So I did as I was told, and Blue was very pleased about it.

Later, I returned to Google. I found the term DD/lg, which stood for Daddy Dom/little girl, and I fell down the Tumblr rabbithole. Initially, I was spooked by all the photos of skinny white girls in nappies (I wasn’t that tiny, and I wasn’t – at that point – into watersports in any sense) – but I was drawn to the sheer perverseness of it, the fact that it sent a “This is weird” tingle straight to my clit. I was fascinated by the idea of roleplayed innocence being “corrupted”, and by the idea of being so irresistible that a Daddy figure had to have me even if it was very, very wrong. I also immediately noticed that self-identified ‘littles’ had a great deal in common with me, like a fondness for colouring, a need to be looked after and nurtured, and a desire for power-exchange-filled sex with older, bearded guys.

I was full of trepidation. I had grown up without a decent father figure – my dad died when I was three, after doing the Hokey Cokey in and out of my life for years, and the two partners my mum had after him were evil bastards who shaped me into the people-pleasing, needy, somewhat traumatised kid I was at sixteen. Did being into “the Daddy thing” mean I was fucked up? So many littles on Tumblr were insisting that their kink wasn’t rooted in “Daddy issues” – what if mine was? Would it be unethical to pursue my interest in it? Would it damage my psyche even more?

My advice to you, dear reader, as well as to Past Morgan, is – worry less. You should definitely proceed with caution if your kink has ties to a complicated past or a mental health issue, but don’t fret if your kink doesn’t originate from some vacuum, devoid of any complication or relationship to real life. Most kinks are tied up in psychological weirdness – is it okay to be turned on by being humiliated, when so much of sex positivity discourse revolves around empowerment? (Answer: yes.) Why are people, especially women, turned on by being called sluts in the bedroom? (That’s different for each individual, but it’s basically inextricable from society’s slut-shaming bullshit.) Do women want to submit to men partly because the patriarchy says that they must? (Kate Sloan, of the Dildorks, remarked that in a patriarchal society, most people have Daddy issues of some sort.)

After things came to a messy end with Blue, too, I met another guy, and I explained in full my interest in DD/lg, and my chequered history with actual father figures, and we decided we were going to give the Daddy thing a whirl.

Now, four years on with a different partner, I own a multitude of pacifiers and I sit in my Daddy’s lap to watch cartoons. My kink isn’t entirely detached from the lack of paternal love and nurturing that was present throughout my childhood – but it’s healing, and sexy, and that’s okay.


My relationship with pain has been as complicated as my relationship with dads and Daddies. I have a long history of deliberate self-harm, but none of it ever turned me on. The idea of masochism, of having a pain kink, mystified me more than the whole Daddy thing did.

Until I tried it out.

The first time I really enjoyed pain was pretty much an accident. I’d been fucked, hard, by my boyfriend at the time, for maybe the third time ever. When the fucking was happening, I was preoccupied by what was happening to my G-spot – but afterwards, I noticed a deep, bruisey, delicious soreness.

I mentioned it to him over text the next day, and he apologised. I reassured him that I wasn’t complaining – I loved the reminder, the regular ache that whispered “You got fucked yesterday,” deep in my battered vulva. He was turned on by that, though he never identified as a sadist – and we started exploring more by way of hickeys, spanking during sex, hair-pulling and more.

This is probably the most straightforward of my “core” kinks in terms of how I discovered it – it happened sort of by mistake, I liked it a lot, and so I tried different things along the same lines. Still, I grappled with similar doubts to the ones I had about CG/l stuff – what if this was somehow too close to self-harm? What if this made me a “bad” kinkster? Eventually, I came to the same conclusion, too – that kinks can never exist in a vacuum, and that as long as every participant was safe (psychologically and physically) and having fun, I could do whatever I liked with my body – including allowing other people to hurt it.

How did you discover some of your favourite kinks?