I dreamt a dream that has left me unsettled all day.

backstory Ⅰ

Since I first had any kind of sexual inkling whatsoever — which is to say, since I was 12 when I’d hang around on an 18+ BDSM-themed furry MUCK and began RPing — I only ever had any inclination to be in a submissive position. When I found randoms to RP with, it was Asherah, the small pink bunny girl, wanting to have anything and everything done to her, especially if consent lines got blurry.

Even then I had to power-bottom a little bit. One rando I recall was only into the most vanilla dynamics, whereas I kept wanting to up the ante. (Tie me up! Get creative with things! Don’t just fuck me, for christ’s sake.) I got bored.

I also kinda.. baited an IRL friend who was a little too obsessed with me into joining me on the server, and then kept trying to “suggest” him into doing stuff to me. (I’m not especially proud of it, but like. I was 12, he was 13, everything at home was completely fucked up, he was super into me and could match my intelligence to boot, so.. now that we got furry MUCK-married, couldn’t we furry MUCK-do-other-stuff too please?)

This positioning of myself carried pretty strong for a while. There is probably a (bidirectional) link between that and trans feels. It’s funny how predictably some things go; I was ostensibly into girls, not boys (never mind the actual physicality that existed between me and aforementioned IRL friend for a while), but then I became a trans girl, and so liking other trans girls is only natural, and then you stop seeing “dick” as a possibly unsettling thing ‘boys’ have (and you’re not sure about your own) but a hot thing girls have too, and then you look at boys and you’re like, hm. You sure could overpower me.

backstory Ⅱ

Despite this, in relationships since I have often ended up being the one with power. Perhaps stemming from the same instinct that led to power-bottoming before, I’d much rather we get anywhere than nowhere, and I have a kind of.. exuberant personality that tends to draw in others who prefer to follow. I am naturally extremely protective, quite opinionated, have mom-vibes, and until recently have been a people-pleaser to a fault. Not knowing myself how to separate these qualities from those of a ~dominant~ has lead to me getting into places I’ve later not known how to deal with.

This mainly became a thing in two relationships, collectively spanning seven years, or a majority of my post-transition life so far.

In the first case I had a handle on life in many ways she did not yet (she was quite a bit younger than me), and so I provided everything I could; housing, a stable life away from sometimes violent parents, support for her relationships and hobbies outside me, and later when I could afford it, university education.

I’m a person who just wants to give, and as I’ve discovered lately in therapy, one who doesn’t believe, strictly speaking, that I actually deserve nice things. Accordingly, giving nice things to other is a very sure route to getting a similar sense of happiness, effectively, even if it does ultimately mean I don’t get what I truly want, and ends up being unsustainable. She didn’t want many responsibilities of life and liked the sound of a more formal and continuous D/s relationship, so I agreed to give it my best. Our relationship did not last the dissolution of the D/s layer of it (among many other issues, but this came to represent a lot about it).

In the second case, she was a few years older than me, but with a heart of absolute gold who had been mistreated a lot, both historically and more immediately. She nurtured a rare kindness and trust despite all that and I felt so much like I wanted to safeguard that. As our relationship quickly deepened she wanted to know if I would be her “protector”, and I assented immediately. (And I still do. <3) Then in natural order, more D/s-style parameters followed, and I put my all into it as well. It just seemed to make sense, and I had already so much of the “technique” down that the lack of deep-felt enthusiasm for the role seemed of secondary concern for a time, or not even—completely masked. I couldn’t feel that I didn’t have my heart in it, only that I wanted to make her happy.

Once you get used to ignoring what you want for a long time, you lose touch with it entirely. It took a massive reconfiguration of our relationship to accommodate removing this part of it — it had been in place from not even a month after we started dating, and there we were some year and a half later trying to imagine “us” without that. It was the best, most correct decision, but I still wish I’d figured this all out long ago and spared her the hurt.

There was one relationship in the past where I was explicitly the s to someone else’s D, but we lacked harmony regarding what each of us wanted out of a D/s relationship, and I found myself pushing for more than she wanted to give (or, well, take). It was fun being a rope bunny, though.

backstory Ⅲ

What triggered the reconfiguration was my own realisation of my asexuality. I’d been slowly putting the pieces together for a while, and then one well-timed acid trip and I just kind of blurted it out, at once feeling the surge of unverifiable truth. As I experienced a moment of serenity, my partner a sense of loss of what was. The relief of no longer feeling beholden to the allo norms of sex-having then prompted the follow-up question of whether I still wanted to be her dominant. The writing had been on the wall for a while, but it was then that the jig was finally up and I seized the chance to say “no”, as painful as it was. Pretending to be something I was not was behind me.

Living a mostly sexless life has been so much better for me. I just don’t have interest in being sexual with another, and just barely more interest in being sexual by myself. Still, it was in my own fantasies that my sexuality originated, so it’s not too surprising that it does live on there a little.

Last year I saw an endocrinologist for the first time since starting transition (which seems super dumb in retrospect but what can you do, trans healthcare is a mess), and we discovered that both my E and T levels were way too low. My E was below the very conservative range put forth by the Australian medical establishment (and well below what Americans would consider normal), and T levels at almost absolute zero. Even in natal women, T is in a clear non-zero range, and completely lacking it could explain a lack of libido, which certainly described me, as well as lack of energy in general.

So I set to correcting my E levels, then T levels. I’m now on ~3% of the anti-androgen dose that I used to be on and my T levels have just slightly inclined upward. They are still below the low watermark for “normal female levels”, but at least I get a reading.

I still don’t have any interest in being sexual with others, even though I’ve had an inkling of a sex drive for a little while again now, so it doesn’t look like the asexual descriptor was particularly linked to my hormones, but I’m increasingly feeling a need to have some kind of a sexual relationship with myself again.

the point

Last night I dreamt a dream — many, actually, with complicated interconnections, people I didn’t recognise, other people who seem like maybe they’re stand-ins for real people, a variety of settings, some drama unrelated to all this.

But there was one “segment” of it that left an indelible expression, because it seemed like my unconscious needed to make a point.

To date, I’ve never been collared by someone else in an impactful way. The tangible, real sense that you belonged to someone else now — even if time-limited or otherwise scoped. The understanding that it was not yours to put on, or yours to remove, even if it was very much your collar. I have (attempted) to provide that experience for others, when in reality it was what I wanted myself. I’ve “self-collared” a bit here and there.

In one distinct dream, I was collared. I was strongly aware I was collared, and moreover, I physically couldn’t remove it even if I wanted to. It was locked. It wasn’t up to me, and I just had to deal.

It felt really, really good. There was a sense that people might notice it, that they might point it out to each other, and that I was literally powerless to do anything about it. If I wanted to go about my day, I just had to accept that this was my lot.

I’ve never felt that before—that powerlessness. Yet it’s what I’ve wanted all along.

The dream then offered a counterpoint.

Later, somehow, the key came into my possession. The dream didn’t describe the actual supposed holder of the key, but the narrative seemed to be that whoever had collared me needed me to hold onto the key now, too. I wanted to be sure not to lose it, so I put it on a necklace.

The feeling was radically altered. Having the means of unlocking it on my person at all times meant it just became jewellery. It was no longer an aspect of control over me, just some ring with a finnicky clasp. Being out in public and being seen wearing it wasn’t a demonstration of someone else’s power over me, just my own determination. Frankly, as a trans person, somedays being seen in public at all can require a fair bit of that. This feeling barely registered, the same lack of impact that self-collaring has. I can always just take it off.

I want to feel that first one again.