I sometimes see the question asked: “At what age did you discover/realize that you were kinky/poly/bisexual/etc.?”

I have difficulty answering that question, whatever its variation, because of a couple reasons:

1. I keep discovering and realizing new things all the time. My interests evolve and fluctuate, as does my awareness of them.

2. I often had hints that something was “not normal” about me in some way or other, and I might have accepted or understood it at one point, only to suppress or miss it later, and later still “get” it again.

Bearing in mind that second reason, I do find it entertaining to look back at different instances in my life that hinted at my current interests and see those instances with my new perspective. One such instance is the song and music video, Poison by Alice Cooper.

The video features scenes of Alice roaming a room of dangling chains. Some chains end in manacles. Also roaming this room — and posing elsewhere in sultry fashion — are a sexy blonde and sexy brunette, both scantily clad and looking seductive. In a couple scenes, Alice looks like he might be tied to something; we cannot see for sure. Beyond that, though, he primarily moves around as though fighting or struggling, singing aggressively into the camera and breaking objects. The women are not active, but instead seem cool, calm, confident, and in control.

The lyrics of the song primarily suggest that its subject is compelling and deadly… that loving her is a painful pleasure. The opening lyrics set the mood:

“Your cruel device / Your blood, like ice / One look, could kill / My pain, your thrill.”

Desirable as the woman is, loving her is dangerous. The chorus reinforces this:

“You’re poison, running through my veins / Poison / I don’t want to break these chains.”

It hints at a certain amount of dominant sadism from the woman and submissive masochism from the man.

There is one line that particularly leaps out at me:

“I want to hurt you just to hear you screaming my name.”

This line both connects with me and seems a little out of place within the rest of the song. I like the idea of hurting someone to evoke an intimate reaction; you cry at me because I hurt you. The line does feel a little converse to the rest of the song, though; the submissive masochist wants to hurt his dominant sadist. Despite that, I love the line. “I want to hurt you just to hear you screaming my name.” That resonates with me.

It always did, too. Young virgin — with no thought of sex — that I was when I first heard this song, the idea of hurting someone just to make the person respond and be vulnerable to me was exciting. It felt natural and right, despite all the lessons that hurting others is wrong. The hotties in lingerie were not very interesting to me, but I admired their confidence and power; they knew that they could control and cause pain… and be loved for it, not in spite of it.

Over two decades later, I now struggle with my desire to be dominant and sadistic. Yet, I had a theme song for those feelings back when I had no knowledge of BDSM. Which age counts as the one in which I discovered my kinky nature?