THE JUNGLE GIRL AND ME:
My Secret Bondage Obsession
By Frederick Reynolds
There was given to
me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan, to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
2 Corinthians 12: 7
My whole life . .
. was one long struggle not to be laughed at.
Shooting an Elephant
I lead a double
life. I know this sounds as though I am deliberately trying to be mysterious, but it is a simple statement
of fact, and there is no mystery. Outwardly, I am rather ordinary, which is the way I wish to be and the
way that I wish for other people to see me. But there is an inner abnormality. When
I was quite a young boy, I began to be aware of this and, in fact, to perceive myself as being abnormal in a horrible and
disgusting way that must be hidden from the outside world at all costs. For years I had no name for this
abnormality, but eventually decided that it was a sexual perversion, or more precisely, a fetish.
My own particular
fetish is that I am aroused sexually by the thought, or the sight, of women who are bound and gagged. This
began, as I mentioned above, when I was a young boy. Throughout most of my life, this fetish, this obsession
with bondage – this perversion, if you will – and the necessity to conceal it, have claimed a considerable amount
of my time, energy, thought, and creativity. I feel that I have managed to live a useful and productive
life – hopefully a good life – but I’ve often wondered what I might have done differently, or additionally,
or better with my life had I not harbored this powerful distraction.
But along with this bondage fetish, I have also been driven by a strong
desire for “normal” romance and sexual intimacy with women. A large part of my story dwells
upon sexual desires, both normal and abnormal, and how the balance between the two has swung back and forth between an uneasy
coexistence at times and a conflict at other times.
I am an M.D. approaching retirement, a physician whose career has been devoted to medical
research, teaching and clinical practice. I am happily married, with two adult children. I
am active in church and in community affairs. Thus, in appearances, I am normal and respectable.
Why have I written
this book? In large part, it stems from an attempt to answer questions about which I have been curious
most of my life. How and why did this obsession with bondage begin in me? Why me in
particular? Why this fetish in particular? Why do thoughts of bondage provoke sexual
arousal? And were there answers to these questions in books?
The available literature on bondage
is rather meager and unenlightening. Most of it consists of books either on the technical details –
“how-to” manuals – or books of erotic material designed to titillate rather than to inform.
Virtually all of these books are by authors who seem to think that their bondage proclivity is natural, healthy, and
in no need of explanation. If an author tells his own story, it is simple and brief. He
is driven by this particular urge, he has worked hard at gratifying it, and he wishes to share and to “celebrate”
it. There have been no regrets, no qualms, no shame, no introspection or analysis.
But this seemed to
me to be a very incomplete and skewed portrayal of those who are excited by bondage. Surely, there were
others out there, like myself, who kept this preference a tightly guarded secret while leading normal-appearing, respectable
lives. They had spent most of their lives living this double existence. How, then, had
this bondage fetish affected their lives? What did they do to indulge their bondage urges and fantasies? Did
they act, or merely fantasize? How had the need for secrecy altered the patterns of family life and work?
Did they enjoy conventional sex? How many, if any, had normal marriages and children?
How many had good jobs, went to church, coached Little League, were good neighbors and valuable citizens?
Moreover, did any
of these people understand why they were in the grip of this strange abnormality? Had any of these people
managed to find a book, talk with a therapist, or uncover some clue in the events of their own lives that offered an explanation?
And had any of these people – people like myself, who have spent most of their lives trying to understand, while
trying to hide, their own obsession with bondage – told their stories publicly?
I have been disappointed to find that
the answer to all of these questions seems to be “no.” And I, in turn, may disappoint the reader
who expects that my book will reveal the key to the underlying root of the problem, the “scientific” explanation,
the cause-and-effect mechanism of a person’s obsession with bondage. In fact, my life-long interest
in the problem has only deepened my skepticism that, up to now at least, any such answers have been discovered.
Since the relationships
between normal and abnormal sexual urges and behavior are so poorly understood, I have thought it worthwhile to include almost
any details that might clarify the picture of my sex life, mental or physical, normal or abnormal, whether such details have
any obvious connection to bondage or not. I have also included a fair amount of history about my life that
I think might help to delineate my character and personality as they developed.
I must emphasize here that this book is confined
almost strictly to my own personal experience, and in no way have I intended it to be a scholarly treatise or a scientific
explanation regarding sexual perversion, fetishes, or bondage. Nor have I intended it to be an apologetic.
My goal is not to defend, legitimize, advocate or “celebrate” the fetish of bondage or to make a plea for
acceptance or tolerance of alternative sexual practices in general. My essential aim is to describe my
observations and experiences - and my insights, such as they are - in a way that may be helpful and interesting to those readers
who share my strange proclivity, and perhaps to those with a professional interest in sexual topics, as well.
Even though I offer no final answers, I think there is still great value in the sharing of human experience, especially
when the issue at hand is difficult to discuss openly.
If my story has any message at all, it would be that unconventional
sexual drives are perhaps more common, more bizarre and more powerful than people generally appreciate. This
is hardly a secret; still, it may surprise many people to realize what a cauldron of weird and even monstrous fantasies and
urges may be boiling within a person of the most ordinary, blameless and exemplary appearance. I think
there are many readers who will readily recognize the thoughts and feelings I describe in this book. Those
who do not identify with these obsessions may nonetheless find it interesting and instructive to reflect upon the powerful
grip that such urges have on many seemingly ordinary people.
Finally, the words “abnormal” and “perversion”
require comment. Popular attitudes about sex, indeed about nearly every aspect of life, have become so
tolerant and nonjudgmental that the terms “abnormal” and “perversion” are now, for many people, nearly
meaningless. Nevertheless, I think that the term “fetish” – in its definition (its psychiatric
definition, that is) as a nonsexual object that excites erotic feeling, or a fixation on such an object – is
still a concept with meaning.