How to 'Untie' Your Sexuality and Explore BDSM

As Fifty Shades of Grey hits theaters, erotic coach Phyllis-Serene Rawley, 55, shares how she discovered BDSM and why the lifestyle can be appealing for Black women.

As Fifty Shades of Grey hits theaters, erotic coach Phyllis-Serene Rawley, 55, shares how she discovered BDSM and why the lifestyle can be appealing for Black women.

Growing up with a father in the Air Force, I discovered a bondage room in Japan while biking off base. I was mesmerized by the beautiful images of tied-up women and officially curious.
After a five-year party of casual sex and disco in my teen years, I was ready for a break from the nightlife at age 20. I decided to study Christianity and became a celibate missionary. After 12 years, I realized denying sex did not make me feel closer to God, and shifted from trying to be “pure” to liking myself and my sexual interests.

At 32 I was ready to embrace my sensual desires, including me in leather and under someone’s control. My journey to BDSM (also known as bondage, dominance, submission, sadism) had to be safe and consensual, which are standard requirements. I was selective on my “first” and interviewed prospects. After a lengthy phone call, I had lunch with an older dominant who’d submitted a newspaper ad requesting a BDSM partner. He was shorter than I am, so I figured he wasn’t much of a physical threat. I also figured his package would probably be small and unimpressive. He explained what equipment he had and how he liked to play. While I wasn’t initially attracted to him, he was alluring, so I chose him.

I followed him home after lunch. He fitted me in a collar, leash and leather cuffs and gave me a safe word in case I wanted to stop, another BDSM practice. Then he ordered me to remove my clothes, except my panties. Once cuffed, he led me on my hands and knees upstairs to his decked-out dungeon. I was so turned on. He blindfolded me and began to use different pleasure products to stimulate me. I was now dying to have sex, but when he untied me, he just smacked my butt and sent me home. That fueled my fantasies for months.

In the beginning I hid my lifestyle to protect my career as a high-earning economic professional. My clients had no idea of my erotic proclivities, and I traveled out of town for events. However, for my fiftieth birthday, I came out of the “kink closet” and entered the 2010 Southern California Leather Woman pageant. I won and launched a new career teaching the science and sacredness of sex and exploration. Bondage feels good to me and as the submissive, I have all the control. Submission is a gift you give to your partner for your pleasure. I have enjoyed working with Black women because there’s an assumption we’re not into BDSM.  There are so many men contacting Black women in the lifestyle just to kneel and kiss our feet.

No matter what your fantasies are, when a woman owns her sexual desires she is more confident in herself. I’m not threatened by “good” or “bad” labels. After all, we are made from a creator who invented sex. At serenesin.com, I teach women to explore their fetishes, set their own boundaries and dissolve their shame around what turns them on. Whatever your pleasure fantasy is, fulfill it. It’s your life. It’s your body. Do what turns you on. For me, that’s red leather and a leash.

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To learn more about Rawley’s work click here. Arielle Loren is the editor-in-chief of sexuality magazine Corset.

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Filed under: Love & Sex