First it was an inkling of an interest from general media. This was followed by a burning desire when I was in Western Australia after visiting two exhibitions - this was a turning point in my life.
The first was the Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition in Perth. Gorgeous black bodies looking like statues. I did not understand it at the time, but now I know this was the awakening of my genderqueerness - I was viewing them as a gay man - not a bi woman. I cried.
But what really struck me was his extreme cbt photos. I walked past and hovered a little. I returned and stared. I sat and stared and observed how others moved quickly passed these pictures - they were too scared to observe the beauty in them, too scared to acknowledge that people did this, let alone examine what such an image did to them. I thought this a great shame.
Black and white photos of a cock and balls in a vice like contraption - haven't seen them since, but that is how I remember them. Something so painful looking and so hot and beautiful. There was blood in the CBT photo/s that was what moved me the most. From what I gathered these were random men off the street that he befriended and talked into doing this - the power play in that - wow! Sad, but hot and maybe no longer sad for them - I do not know. Shame that he was not careful, because he died of AIDs. But the beauty he observed and left behind once he knew his life was limited - also is a stunning statement. Something I am vaguely aware of now that first my submissive died from cancer.
The second exhibition was not as powerful, but it showed me the way. It was in the Bunbury Art Gallery. Bunbury is usually a conservative place. There was all this BDSM gear and pictures in their gallery! The thing I remember is a table with a mannequin on it. She was strapped and tied down all over. I wanted to be in that position and wondered what it would be like to do this to someone else as well. What would I do? What could I do? How would it feel? I never thought of finding a group or anything. I was so lonely and lost in a crap marriage - I sure wish I had made that move, but it was not to be at that stage.
A number of years later in Hamilton I became friends with a voyeur who was in a position of authority. We talked about our interests; he gave the best 'word' ever while I sat on a bench in the Hamilton Gardens. I came as people wandered around looking at plants. Coincidently I went to a univerisity lecture that afternoon about Hegel and Marx and the Master/slave dynamic. I came in the little class room, surrounded by people,without a sound. Sigh! It developed a little more to private meetings. I did things to myself in front of him after we had hot conversations. Sometimes he caved in and did them to me. There was some great power play going back and forth. When I called it off I contacted the local group - the rest was history/herstory ;-)