In the sort of D/s arrangement I find myself in, I think of ‘turn-ons’ and ‘triggers’ differently. (For the record, I do not mean the triggers for which a trigger warning is required. I mean the mostly desirable ones.)
While turn-ons are what you might expect — things that inspire sexual arousal or excitement — I think of triggers more within the context of D/s. In my mind, triggers are the actions, events, and experiences that evoke feelings of dominance or submissiveness. They increase an individual’s identification with their role and amplify their reification within it.
For me, sexual arousal and feelings of dominance don’t always go together. Even when I don’t feel particularly dominant, I can still find myself sexually aroused. On the flip side of the coin, there have been times when I feel super-dominant without being immediately or overtly turned on.
But most of the time, they do go together. My D/s triggers (if I may call them that) often elicit both feelings — of dominance and sexual arousal — but not quite simultaneously. In thinking back and reflecting on situations where I felt triggered, the trigger itself wasn’t particularly sexually exciting, but the feeling of dominance evoked by the trigger was. In other words, triggers make me feel dominant, and feeling dominant gets me hot.
For me, the meaningful difference between turn-ons and triggers is this:
When I’m turned on, I want to fuck.
When I’m triggered, I want to fuck him against a wall with my hand wrapped around his throat. I want to suck the air from his lungs, pull his flesh from his bones, and consume him piece by piece. It’s ‘arousal,’ sure, but it’s far more intense than that — it’s possessiveness and want and hunger that’s as consuming as it is predatory.