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A convenient lie often told to people is that fetishes can't be changed, therefore we should just accept that we have them and continue on with them.

It's convenient for two reasons, first because it keeps people involved in bdsm longer (or in a relationship, continuing to satisfy the kink of one's partner). They're always recruiting and trying to keep participation up because they NEED TO. People leave, kink communities die off if they aren't working hard to find and keep members.

It's also convenient because it curbs any doubts or guilt about fetishes. It's an excuse to give up on changing, even for people who realize that they need change.

The lucky thing is that it IS a lie! We learned it and we can unlearn it. A fetish can be gradually diminished with consistent application of tools designed for other learned behaviors and unwanted thoughts.

False beliefs that reinforce the kinky lifestyle like "i can't stop." or "I'm just a submissive by nature" (examples of things that I know many have) can be challenged with alternative messages whenever we find ourselves repeating those. Instead of "I can't stop",, "It's worth trying.", "Kink is just a choice, and I choose to quit for my own well-being." etc. For example.

Another example is fantasies that we did not ask to have and are unwanted. These become intrusive thoughts and like other intrusive thinking we can change those to be less frequent over time. You can learn more about intrusive thoughts. You can ask your therapist for help with these if you have one. What has worked for me may not work for everyone, but I found two things that helped me most were to 1. Resist any temptation brought on by the fantasy, letting the arousal naturally subside instead of doing anything that might make it stronger. This method trains the mind/body to stop associating pleasure with the unwanted thought. 2. Just calmly waiting, accepting the thought is present and letting it go on its own. Finding a way to relax and keep calm also tends to help reduce those thoughts.

I have heard from many of the members here that they are still struggling with unwanted fetishes and fantasies.

I learned these methods just from resources on managing depression and applied them to the unwanted fantasies. They did help. I have those thoughts less often and feel less distressed overall. I once had powerful urges to find someone to beat me. I had been conditioned to have those masochistic urges. I haven't craved pain in years.

This does not mean forgoing sex either. That might be necessary as a temporary solution if the fantasy is too well rooted (if someone can't get aroused or get off without it), but eventually it is possible to enjoy other things - passionate non-kinky sex and fantasies.

No one is submissive or dominant by nature. No one is born craving abuse or wishing pain on others. We learn that. We learn that it works. Once we have understood how we got to that point, we can learn different patterns and relationship styles, different bedroom behaviors and ways to make things exciting.

This is just a rant because I have had this question so many times and see people who wanted to stop being told that they can't. And that's bullshit. Yes you can!

A convenient lie often told to people is that fetishes can't be changed, therefore we should just accept that we have them and continue on with them. It's convenient for two reasons, first because it keeps people involved in bdsm longer (or in a relationship, continuing to satisfy the kink of one's partner). They're always recruiting and trying to keep participation up because they NEED TO. People leave, kink communities die off if they aren't working hard to find and keep members. It's also convenient because it curbs any doubts or guilt about fetishes. It's an excuse to give up on changing, even for people who realize that they need change. The lucky thing is that it IS a lie! We learned it and we can unlearn it. A fetish can be gradually diminished with consistent application of tools designed for other learned behaviors and unwanted thoughts. False beliefs that reinforce the kinky lifestyle like "i can't stop." or "I'm just a submissive by nature" (examples of things that I know many have) can be challenged with alternative messages whenever we find ourselves repeating those. Instead of "I can't stop",, "It's worth trying.", "Kink is just a choice, and I choose to quit for my own well-being." etc. For example. Another example is fantasies that we did not ask to have and are unwanted. These become intrusive thoughts and like other intrusive thinking we can change those to be less frequent over time. You can learn more about intrusive thoughts. You can ask your therapist for help with these if you have one. What has worked for me may not work for everyone, but I found two things that helped me most were to 1. Resist any temptation brought on by the fantasy, letting the arousal naturally subside instead of doing anything that might make it stronger. This method trains the mind/body to stop associating pleasure with the unwanted thought. 2. Just calmly waiting, accepting the thought is present and letting it go on its own. Finding a way to relax and keep calm also tends to help reduce those thoughts. I have heard from many of the members here that they are still struggling with unwanted fetishes and fantasies. I learned these methods just from resources on managing depression and applied them to the unwanted fantasies. They did help. I have those thoughts less often and feel less distressed overall. I once had powerful urges to find someone to beat me. I had been conditioned to have those masochistic urges. I haven't craved pain in years. This does not mean forgoing sex either. That might be necessary as a temporary solution if the fantasy is too well rooted (if someone can't get aroused or get off without it), but eventually it is possible to enjoy other things - passionate non-kinky sex and fantasies. No one is submissive or dominant by nature. No one is born craving abuse or wishing pain on others. We learn that. We learn that it works. Once we have understood how we got to that point, we can learn different patterns and relationship styles, different bedroom behaviors and ways to make things exciting. This is just a rant because I have had this question so many times and see people who wanted to stop being told that they can't. And that's bullshit. Yes you can!

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This is absolutely true and I know because I taught myself out of being into pain and submission. Did it take years and effort and therapy for a whole slew of underlying issues? Absolutely. But it worked. I barely have those desires anymore and when I do, I can acknowledge them and let them go. I used to be one of those people saying "oh I was born this way" because I was raised more or less without boundaries, but you absolutely can change that and it's no one's natural state to want to be hurt.

Wishing everyone struggling with kink the very best in recovering!

Hey same thing for me! I had to let myself grow out of it! Before my husband pretty much all my sexual experiences involved pain and submission. So I just tricked myself into thinking I only liked that kind of sex. Turns out "vanilla" sex with someone you love is the best thing.

It takes self-denial which is something almost every man and the majority of brainwashed-into-free-sex-positivity women are averse to and can’t imagine would be a “good thing”.

I think there are three streams of thought in this:

1) But it feels good and I can’t help it!

2) To say I need to deny myself something that feels good is like being ______ (insert whatever applies most to their life experience— i.e a religious freak, a prude, a loser, a repressed, impotent person, etc)

3) A failure to see the good in balanced, metered sexuality. Like with 2, the assumption is you’re either for it or against it. There isn’t an acknowledgment of how you can love sex, not adhere to religious purity culture, not promote celibacy, etc. and STILL critique, evaluate, and discipline yourself in regards to how healthy your sexual behaviors truly are for you.

Even if you are willing to see point 3 it is difficult, frustrating, and can cause self-confidence issues so I understand that it’s hard, but OP you are so right that the attitude that kinks are just as much a “feature” of you as your red hair or your humor is just dead wrong.

[–] Lilith [OP] 14 points Edited

It's really just written for the people who are receptive, maybe even curious about making a change and just aren't sure how or if that's possible.

The single most common question people have in /r/antikink is "How do I change my fetish?" This was originally made to give anyone like that hope.

Wow that’s dark! I wasn’t trying to say anything against your post if it seemed that way.

Don’t you think the majority of these are caused by rampant porn use? It’s destroyed the minds of so many. I remember reading lots of relationship advice posts where the woman was wondering if it’s alright that her bf or husband was doing a certain thing like not coming to bed til 5am, not letting her ever see his computer, or jacking off too much to have good sex and it was always glaringly obvious the dude has a fetish he indulges online.

Very true. Another reason they don't want us unlearning fetishes is $$$$$$$$$
Gags, cuffs, stiletto heels, violet wands, queening chairs, black latex catsuit complete with inflatable breasts and mouth tube... not to mention all the mountains and mountains of porn.
If they can keep us dependent on kink to get off, they can keep selling us kink.

Is it any wonder that BDSM is popular among upper-middle class coastal elites? I rarely ever heard anything about that stuff until I moved to a mostly white neighbourhood and university.

[–] LobselVith 13 points Edited

I couldn't agree more.

And I'm sure many people who have consumed porn for years have experienced the formation of weird fantasies or even fetishes that, after quitting, completely disappeared in time.

It's all brain programming, and our brains are WONDERFULLY plastic.

Quitting pornography, avoiding exposure to pornographic imagery and avoiding engaging with intrusive thoughts and images that were assimilated from the outside have done miracles in making me turn back to my authentic self and sexuality!

What strikes me is BDSMers and trans, all with their “it’s natural! I’ve always been this way! It’s wrong to try to change people! Conversion therapy!” lies, are the ones insisting that homosexuality, which is natural and is observed throughout the animal kingdom, is merely a “preference” (deviation?) and can, and should, be unlearned.

Isn't it strange how fetishes are seen as inherent and unchangeable, while sexual orientation should be flexible and ready to change if you try hard enough?

This is a great post! Thanks for sharing your experiences.

I often wonder if some of things we think are innate desires are indeed innate but we translate them poorly due to misogyny, if that makes sense. For example, I used to eroticize (mild) submission, but I think that comes more from a desire to be taken care of, to get a break, to briefly not have to worry about obligations... There are so many healthier ways to achieve that - you can have sex that makes you feel cherished and taken care of without having to introduce submission. But because our society is so steeped in unhealthy power dynamics, our brains take the things we desire and look for ways of achieving them that support existing power dynamics instead of finding healthy, balanced ways of fulfilling those desires.

No one is submissive or dominant by nature. No one is born craving abuse or wishing pain on others.

Appreciated reading this right now.