Now that I’ve spoiled the climax (haha) with my super creative and writerly (not a word) title, let’s just skip to the meat and potatoes. Do you want to know perhaps the most embarrassing part of the whole scenario? It was my dog’s actual collar, like the one he wears to roll around in the dirt with, not some fancy diamond-encrusted leather choker you can buy at Kiki Montparnasse or something. This was top shelf faux-Pendleton purchased from the quality establishment that is PetCo. I probably bought it alongside a giant bag of kitty litter. That’s the level of class we’re working with here. But it’s not all bargain back alley with me, folks; I can be a lady sometimes too. The leader (a short leash used to train insubordinate puppies like myself) was imported European leather (fine it was Chinese pleather but it looked super fancy!) I guess it just goes to show that you can still plan a DIY sex party while on a lowly writer’s budget.

Normally I’m pretty forthcoming about my perversions. If you know me IRL or even just virtually, then you’re aware of my fondness for all discourse pertaining to sex and feminism. In theory, the two get on swimmingly, but occasionally, specifically when in reference to the lewd, semi-offensive acts I voluntarily partake in behind closed doors, I feel like a disgraced false feminist and all around social deviant who deserves to have her penis cut off and be banished to a nunnery (ed note: What?). With 9,000 forms of social media in our ears and eyes and armpits everyday, I’m astounded by how much of what I see is devoted to kale cooking secrets, organic beauty tips, and spin classes. Don’t get me wrong; I love kale as much as the next LA-residing weight-conscious girl, but I just prefer talking about sex. It makes me feel better about myself. So let’s get back to it.

The scene: It’s a balmy summer night (I don’t remember if this is true I just like the world “balmy”) and my boyfriend and I had just gotten home from the bar. Things were heating up when suddenly he reached toward the dog (who was creepily watching us from the corner of the bedroom). I was relieved and intrigued when I realized what he was motioning for: the aforementioned collar. I was alarmed at how fast it happened and by how minimally he hesitated in attaching that collar around my neck. I’m not an erotic novelist, and this is a family site (ed note: Yes, if your family is the Manson family), so I’ll let you piece together the rest with your own imagination…

As much as this is a confession, it’s also a forum for me to reconcile the dichotomous and often contradictory nature of being a feminist and a woman who is (sometimes) aroused by being dominated in the bedroom. I am not a dog, nor do I appreciate or tolerate being disrespected or oppressed in the workplace or amongst my peers or in my emotional relationship with my partner. I’m very conscious of the fact that women have struggled for years to achieve a place of equality in this world, and that domestic violence is a real epidemic. So why do I, a modern freedom-loving independent woman with access to all the opportunity and choice in the world, enjoy (on certain occasions) being sexually objectified by the person I love and trust? I guess trust is the keyword here.

In conclusion, sexual exploration is important. In fact, I believe it is paramount in a relationship, and that through playing out different fantasies and roles and power dynamics in private, you can gain a better understanding of where you fit in the world and what you’re comfortable with. I think the freedom to be myself, and to be vulnerable at home, makes me feel more empowered and confident in the world than anything else possibly could.

Jane Helpern

About Jane Helpern

Writer & Over-sharer. @janeohelp jane@cultistzine.com