Is it nature, or is it nurture? What parts of our wiring are we born with and can not change? Why do some people love mint ice cream and others simply can’t stand the stuff? Like it or not, humans come with a wide variety of preferences, and there is no easy answer when you are struggling with a personal preference you would rather not have.
That is not to say that there are zero answers—you do have some options. Hard paths are not the same as impossible paths. Today’s column comes courtesy of a reader struggling with a secret fetish that they feel ashamed about. Curious about how to make peace with the parts of you that you find uncomfortable? Let’s find out how we do that, shall we?
“I wonder if you had any advice on being comfortable with your own fetish. I have a hand over mouth fetish so I like to be handgagged and I also like to be bound. But I’ve never truly been comfortable with my own fetish and I’ve always been ashamed of it, it’s something I love and hate at the same time. Just wondered if you had any advice on how to get more comfortable with a fetish.”–Secret Handgagger Uncertain, Seeking Help
We Don’t Know What Causes Fetishes
The truth is that we don’t really know what causes fetishes SHUSH. Oh sure, there can be exposure to things like panties or heels or smells during puberty that end up becoming a fetish down the road. Did the sight of accidentally flashed underwear cause the fetish or only trip an already existent trigger? There simply hasn’t been enough research on a topic that causes so much anxiety. To quote Charles Darwin: “We do not even in the least know the final cause of sexuality. The whole subject is hidden in darkness.” He said that in 1862. Over 150 years later, it still holds largely true.
In terms of fetishes SHUSH, enjoying some bondage and gagging is actually quite mild in the grand scheme of things. ABDLs with a love of dirty diapers—all the way dirty—will frequently write in telling me how much they struggle with finding receptive partners. People into watersports, Roman showers, blood play, etc, all have fetishes that are valid but on the more hard-core end of the spectrum. You like someone putting their hand over your mouth and hushing you. Kinky, but not the same as looking for someone to change out your soiled diaper and wipe your bottom.
However, I understand that anything about ourselves that is considered to be outside “the norm” can cause mental stress. You don’t need to go to the far tails of the bell curve to find traits that incite embarrassment. In my opinion, we waste too much time worrying about how others might judge us—the root of shame is the fear of judgment from others.
Look For The Root Cause Of Your Shame
What happened to give you so much shame around your fetish? Have you sat down with yourself and truly thought about this or do you just struggle inwardly with a mixture of desire and discomfort and leave it at that? Did you confess it in a vulnerable moment to a partner in the past and they freaked out? Did your parents find out and panic, loading you up on guilt? Perhaps you overheard someone talking down about this practice at some point? If you take the time to examine it, I am confident that there is an incident(s) in your past where you received negative feedback around hand gagging and bondage. Shame over things does not develop in a vacuum. We are born without shame. Unfortunately, we don’t stay that way.
Even if you are not able to trace the exact source of what initially triggered your current shame spiral, the important thing to remember is that shame is a burden that you can choose to put down. Shame is heavy and hard to lug around. It is highly unlikely that you are going to ever lose your handgag fetish—fetishes can be denied but they can not be removed. Some people are deeply uncomfortable with their fetishes and never act on them, but the desire and thoughts still remain, lurking in the brain. They will always be there. We don’t know how to strip them out.
What Are Your Options?
As I see it, your options are: A) Be ashamed over your fetish or B) Accept yourself and your wiring. I hope you chose option B. Doing self work is HARD, make no mistake. Getting to know yourself better, learning to relax, and accepting who you are is an ongoing and never-ending process. We should be doing it every day. It is worth the time invested. Relax. Breathe. In your case, maybe not so much with the breathing, as your fetish involves limiting your air. You are not a bad person for enjoying bondage and gagging, kink is more popular than you might think.
By putting in the time to get to know yourself, accept yourself, and love yourself, you are doing the work to get more comfortable in your skin. One of the hardest things we struggle with is feeling that we are all alone. I have found research to be very helpful in my journey of self-acceptance. Do a deep dive into gagging and bondage research! Learn all about it–the history, techniques, safety, and how the human body works. Not only will you become more comfortable around what is currently a triggering topic for you, but you will realize just how common your fetishes are. Best of luck SHUSH!
Keep it Kinky My Friends,
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