CW for SM, sex, sexual violence
The scene felt short, as scenes do, and I felt like I redded too early, as I often do. They first spanked, then paddled, then caned me. I can do anything in my mask, I thought. I thought about a lot of things. When I’m doing a heavy impact scene without a lot of verbal communication with the top, it feels like I finally have the space to mull over mundane decisions—what should I get [redacted] for Christmas? I was pleased to get so deep in wherever I was that half the time I wasn’t anticipating the next stroke, even when they baited me, tried to frighten me. “Wouldn’t it be terrible if this never stopped?”
They cleaned my blood for me, wiping alcohol across my ass and the tops of my thighs, and it burned. I got dressed and sat on the carpet while we talked, knowing the pain wouldn’t set in for a while. It hadn’t looked all that bad to me, anyway, from what I could see (remembering Winnicott on the mother as precursor of the mirror. I’ll never look. It’s too ugly, too frightful.), but the next day I realized that it was probably one of the heaviest beatings I’ve ever taken. It hurt so much to sit down. It hurt in my bones. I spent the afternoon burning over ice, like a cocktail with jalapeño bitters . . . There’s nothing like having someone bigger than you take a baseball bat to the fattest, softest, thickest parts of your body.
It’s May. I haven’t gotten my ass beat since December, which for me is a long time. Above is my journal entry about the scene, which was disturbing and sexy. (I journal. Sorry!)
While I always look forward to being challenged by a competent partner, I started to miss—truly miss—the possibilities of play a few days ago, more than a month after New York City’s shelter-in-place order and a week after arriving in California. The shock, I suppose, has worn off. I seem to finally be joining the ranks of the thirsty texting and tweeting from various stages of quarantine, wondering when we’ll get to chase that dragon again.
I miss the four perverts I regularly play with, including the sexy maniac from December. I miss them as people, but especially as sadists. These are players with whom I have different levels and styles of intimacy, which are naturally reflected in the play. These relationships vary in sexuality—from strictly platonic to extremely horny, although I never fuck when I play—eroticism, formality, mystery, purpose, humor, communality, and fantasy, but whether we’re casual or devoted, we won’t be seeing each other, much less playing, for the foreseeable future.
This yearning was triggered by a leatherdyke documentary I watched a few nights ago. BloodSisters by Michelle Handelman (image up top is a screengrab) includes interviews with Pat Califia, Tala Brandeis, Queen Cougar, and many more. It hit me in the gut, got me to my feet. I found myself suddenly lacking play, bereft of it. I wanted it so bad. I wanted the excitement and the safety and the feeling of being treasured to death.
Nothing is like that. When this is over, I’m hunting down the nearest impact top. I’m going to get destroyed. God, nothing is like that!
I believe the energy in a scene can only be partially attributed to chemicals, the adrenaline and the endorphins. When you play with other people, you’re making something that did not exist before. Like fucking or breaking bread or doing art, it’s generative and healing, in addition to being hot and exciting and pleasurable. “When were you most lustful?” asks Tala Brandeis in BloodSisters. Within an SM context, I understand lust in uncertain terms. It is as specific as the word that gets you wet and as broad as the high you can’t revisit, even in memory.
I’ve added Tala’s question to my personal meditations on fantasy. Fantasy is a regular here on DAVID because it’s fertile ground for self-reflection and discovery. Like a dream, but not boring. This week, Jade sent me one of Fucktheory’s newsletters on the topic, and I liked this summation of the concept:
“I've always been interested in fantasy as a middle ground between desire and reality and hence a terrain for the unfolding of ethical and metaphysical questions. Fantasies help us negotiate consciously what we do or don't want, what we would or wouldn't do, what we are or aren't turned on by.”
I’m not any kind of expert, but thinking about my own fantasies has proven not only interesting but purposeful. It helps me identify what I actually want, which can go toward understanding what I need. It’s true that sometimes a foot is just a foot. But sometimes thinking about the desire for the foot—the context inside of which you and the foot and the foot-bearer and the Pleaser and the gel pedicure and the apartment and the pain and the wanting exist—can tell you more than mere pleasure can.
For example: I have four sisters and was assigned female at birth. No males in my two immediate families, other than my dad and the guys my mom dated. When I was a teenager, I thought a lot about what my brother would have looked like if he’d been born. This wasn’t a theoretical brother, one of the many phenotypical permutations of human my mom and dad could have created between the years of 1985 and 1990, but a single, impossible brother, a person who should have existed but didn’t. In my imagination, he looked like me. He had my hair and my eyes and my interests, but a boy’s body. He knew how to skateboard and girls loved him. He didn’t wear dresses and he didn’t have big thighs and he was never sad. What a guy.
I thought it was normal to wish for a sibling of another gender who didn’t exist, for a person the same as me except, you know, a boy; as I thought about him—as I fantasized about him—I assumed my sisters were similarly occupied.
They weren’t, of course. It was only years later, when I started wondering if perhaps I was trans, that I realized that most people don’t have this kind of fantasy. The only people who did were also trans. I made some connections.
This is why I’m trying be more proactive about the connection between desire and reality: This why I’m thinking about my fantasies, rather than just letting them wash over me.
If you’d like try this yourself but don’t know where to get started, here’s a fantasy exercise: If you think about something—an image, a memory, a scenario—when you jerk off, ask yourself where that place is located. Are you in a room? A house? An institution? Is it a place you recognize? A place you’ve visited? (Where were you most lustful, and when? In some ways, it’s the same question.)
(Not all fantasies are sexual. You can do this with any old desire. And don’t worry about overthinking it. Fantasies are resilient. You can go fist deep in one without destroying it—you may even help it grow.)
I assumed that everyone laid in their bed at night thinking about a boy who didn’t exist. Learning that everyone didn’t do this taught me to take nothing for granted when it comes to fantasy. I’ve begun to notice when the settings in my sexual fantasies change. Sometimes they change with my physical location (jerking off in my room is different than jerking off in the shower); sometimes with fluxes in my interpersonal relationships (single versus partnered; in a fight with a parent). They change as the world changes around me (the fucking pandemic has changed how I fuck myself). They change as my body changes, too.
You don’t have to start with location, of course. You can start anywhere, with any aspect of the fantasy. But I’ve found that it’s easy to forget that there’s more to it than the horny parts. You can get Freudian about the star of the show, the centerpiece, the main course, the search term, but let’s not forget the window dressings, the lighting, the supporting cast.
The purpose of this exercise, by the way, isn’t to find out what you “really” want, or what “caused” your particular desire. I realized recently that I didn’t start thinking about anything when I masturbated until I started medical transition. Prior to that, my desires were amorphous, unclear. Jerking off to nothing (which I didn’t do very often, by the way) was something I did every once in a while, which had about as much effect in satisfying me as eating without tastebuds or sleeping without dreams (dreams are boring but I acknowledge their importance). I was just stimulating my body enough to reach a predetermined outcome. It was only as I got more in touch with my body that I began to think consciously about what I desired.
I’m hesitant to say there’s a destination, answer, or goal in all this. Have your identity dismissed or challenged enough times because something fucked up happened to you in the past, and you start to lose interest in why you are the way you are. We defy the nature/nurture dichotomy, not because there are no reasons or triggers or pasts, but because what would knowing why change for you really?
There are many other things to know besides why.
David tweets at @k8bushofficial.
going fist-deep into 2020...