Navigating Being Non-Binary & The Fetish

Published in Slaves to Sin zine

March 2022

“the Androgyne is the hieroglyph of arcane perfection” - Alastair Crowley

Inside all of us exists a multiplicity of identities, sexualities and desires, they grow and evolve over time through journeys of self discovery, and the easing of social suffocation. That being said I often find a lot of discourse around gender identity skirts around the way gender can impact sexuality and desire. Though truly someone’s gender offers no indication on sexuality, there are still normative ideals and phobias around gender that effect sexual exploration of ones own body and of others, these feelings can incite deep level shame and and fear - and this goes for everyone regardless of their gender identity. The topic of sexual desire surrounding non-binary individuals is often left unspoken about, which is a surprise since so much of sex is coded as binary. For me it is exciting to explore the multiple ways sexuality and fetish play-out without the baggage of gender impacting the pleasures of the body, and the way an ungendered body can be desirable, arousing and fulfilling. This isn’t without its difficulties - I hate it when sexual partners wish to box me into performing a certain role within sex, particularly with a binary person who may try and see me as their antithesis.

The way we experience our own desire has been open to manipulation by society through the way we are indoctrinated to the male and female binary from a young age; and throughout life we are often reminded beauty is found within the binaries masculine and feminine, and the idea that binary opposites attract each other as an equilibrium. The porn and fetish industries compound these notions to an even harder degree and further influence habit and micro desires. Generally according to these coded ideals the male is seen as strong, dominant, animalistic, and brazen. Females are seen as submissive, demure, alluring, beautiful and supportive, ideals that affect personal grooming, clothing, behavioural and of course sexual desire. Transgressive sexual acts happen, for example where the woman is dominant, and the man is submissive, it’s a role reversal where the man is seen as effeminate and emasculated, but it’s the same story of binary opposites connecting in a relationship - male and female, top and bottom, submissive and dominant. The same criteria often arises in same-sex and queer partnerships, and has been the model for LGBTQ+ acceptance - or should we say assimilation.

In my enjoyment of sex, transgression is overwriting these narratives altogether by removing binary restrictions and subverting references; I am beautiful, powerful, sexual and androgynous, while simultaneously taking on acts that are usually seen as dominant and submissive, my lack of gender and unfixed identity means I can frequently mutate into different sexual acts. I’m a sexual being that can give and take pleasure, and I want to be celebrated and enjoyed as just that. Aleister Crowley wrote “A devil who had unity would be a God”, and I’m in agreement that the perfect being, would encompass the best things of all genders. Godliness could never be restricted to man made definitions of how a human body should enjoy pleasure.

Baphomet is the goat deity which originated in pagan and Templar traditions, and symbolises balance, and the equilibrium of opposites. The figure embodies male and female hermaphroditically, and combines animal with human, it usually points with one arm up and one arm arm down reading “as above, as below”.  Perfection is found in balance, and that’s how I want to live my life: sex and desire is not outside of that remit.

I haven’t knowingly witnessed many non binary identities in porn or fetish photography, which is a shame as so many of us learn from these arenas, so I’m proud to be featured in the first issue of Slaves to Sin zine. These images shot by Dani Mejia show the various sides to how a non binary identity traverses the sexual realm. In these images I may often appear dominant, others are sometimes soft and subdued, and these are connected to my personality traits rather than any gender identity that’s been ascribed to me. The fetish can be restricting, but it can also be liberating - a way to eschew labels and a different way to exhibit and consume the body.