It’s of course a constant battle when you are a feminist and want nothing more than to be bound under the big, warm and strong body of your lover. When you want to be hit and strangled, manhandled in all possible ways, dealt with in a rag doll like manner. It’s even bigger a battle when you have felt what sexual assault feels like – and it’s still engraved in your soul as your ultimate getting off theme.
No, it’s not easy. Yes, sometimes it makes me want to cry. Sometimes I just can’t handle it.
Whatever anyone might think, it’s not easy to let go of the carefully vowen shield against the wrong kind of touching. Even when it’s something I really want. Do it at a wrong time and I’ll just get pissed or teary-eyed and stop speaking all together. So I’m not a born submissive because I’m fairly dainty and pretty and – oh yeah – a girl. I don’t want to be anyone’s doll. I never expected to be anything like that at all. As a matter of fact, I’ve always been the one in charge, the tomboy, the deviant, black sheep, unfittingly loud and pushy. You know, the girl that all the guys liked and none of the girls.
We had this problem for a while after we met – me and pretty, pretty Wonderboy -and the name of the problem was that I didn’t know what I wanted. I loved everything he ever threw at me, and boy did he try. The lazy and sensual bondage with silkthreads – was fun but not in any way particular. Turning me upside down and inside out, trying out all the Kamasutra I coul be tangled to and more. And then. Binding me, biting me, suffocating me, strangling me, slapping me, dominating me, role-playing with me.
When he first put his hands, tentatively, around my neck, he hesitated. It’s not something you can do to anyone and he couldn’t tell what was going on inside my head. I tend to look tormented, anguished, even scared when we make love. So he couldn’t say if I liked it or not – until I yelped strangle me! (For the love of God, just do it!) First time he, again gently and hesitantly, slapped my face and then with more force, all the while looking into my eyes, I started to cry. And when he kept on going, I came hard. The sheets were wet and I was blushy and basking. And in denial.
At that point it should have been obvious. But you know what? Sometimes what we expect to find limits what we see. I just couldn’t face what I wanted. And being the tossed around bag of resentment I am, I started to build up resentment for Wonderboy’s desires. The same desires that I fervently answered to. Or my body answered to, anyway. Because that was my escape route. It wasn’t me, it was just something animalistic, biological, within my body. I didn’t want any of that.
I, as people say, couldn’t deal. It was too much like the power imbalance that’s happening out there without my consent. The same bullshit I meet every day when I walk out the door. I felt that it was okay for me to want to submit to his will, but it wasn’t okay for him to want to dominate me. That it was somehow a proof that he’s not a decent and loving guy – a feminist even. He’s secretly one of them. My fears got the worst of me. After backing up like that it was difficult for me to enjoy anything. Because now I knew, deep in my gut I knew what I craved. But I wouldn’t let myself – or wouldn’t let him – do it to me. No way was he gonna enact the fucking bullshit powerplay happening in my career life, role-playing me into the limiting gender expectations and all that. (If it’s not apparent, this is meant in a somewhat self-ironic way.) No way was I gonna submit to him, to use as he wished. Yet still it was all I wanted.
I am an orgasm machine. I’m not saying this to brag because there was a time I wasn’t as lucky, trying to please others more than enjoy myself, as girls are brought up to do. Nowadays, though, I usually have a minimun of three orgasms before Wonderboy feels I am sated. (Yes, it’s weird, but he’s so used to my machinery that he’s grown to expect it and feels disappointed if I only have one.) So while I was not submitting to Wonderboy’s deviant ways, I also couldn’t come. And that was a big fucking deal. Because I always come, and not just once.
I needed to get out of my skin, to forget about my scars and the radical feminist stands I at first couldn’t question. I found comfort in the interwebs. As a matter of fact, the first time I came from hitting was because something I read at Maymay’s.
My ultimate reaction was not sexual arousal, nor a masochistic desire to feel the painful burn of her palm across my cheek again. Instead, it was a flood of cathartic emotions released from the intimacy of the act.
– – But the floodgates weren’t opened by my physical vulnerability. No, instead, they were openned by my emotional vulnerability. I couldn’t help it; I began to cry. As tear after tear rolled down my cheek, she didn’t stop hitting me or ease up at all.
I told about it to Wonderboy and I guess from our conversation he got the courage to go past and beyond my comfort zone because I’d told him he could, beforehand. Because Maymay’s description is very nearly just what I feel. The catharsis. Succumbing to the emotional vulnerability. I feel powerful for submissing, having the courage to do so. But for me it’s most important who I do it with. I wouldn’t do it with any other. I trust myself in the hands of Wonderboy.
With my feminist doubts there was little I could do, exept talk to my feminist friends. To my surprise we had a long discussion with my friend L and she ended up saying: hey, in this shitty world anything that gives women pleasure is good. Why would I argue with that? After all, if someone else was telling me my own story I would say the same. After that I started to ponder the accusations of the rad fem group (or were they just perceived rad fem stands?) and I came to the conclusion that there’s just not enough of us level-minded, normal (ha!) academic girls out there telling our story. There’s just really noone to relate to – just as I discovered. If it’s straight to the I wear restraints, a collar, walk behind my bf and call him Dom something or other or the men are meant to lead – it’s in their DNA! growd (and are they really being serious about it? I don’t know. Oh, the setbacks even an awsomly liberating theory like the theory of evolution can have in the wrong hands!) when you google for it then it’s no surprise that you’d feel a little uneasy.
So I wholeheartedly agree with Clarisse.
– – I had no real idea of what my sexual needs were; I knew they weren’t being met, but I tried not to think about it because I didn’t even know where to start, so thinking about how I wasn’t getting what I wanted just made me feel awkward and confused, like I’d failed as a liberated woman – –
But I still remember feeling sick, watching those porn actresses enact a script that didn’t feel right for me. And I can imagine a very short jump from how I felt then to how a woman might feel, if she thought that “all men want the same thing” and her own sexual preferences didn’t fit that script — how such a woman might feel if she were confronted with women who professed to like those things, and even to like all kinds of crazier more perverted things.
I had fallen in to the trap of gender and sexual stereotypes the same way Clarisse describes that perhaps some of the righteous rad fems have. Yes, my problem was that I thought that all men want the upper hand and that all men just really want to dominate me. And I’ve been fighting against those presumptions all my life. It wasn’t that easy to let go but in the end it was easy to analyze. (Yeah, my favorite thing in the whole wide world!)
I am in a loving relationship. I want to commit and connect with my lover, I share all my hopes and fears with him. In my mind that just didn’t fit. I couldn’t put the clunky metal key to the tiny heart shaped lock made out of candy. How could he hit me and love me just as well?
And my realization was this. We are equal. Nothing is going to change that. We can play all we want but the thing is this: he loves me, I love him, just as we are. Playing is just playing. It’s so plain now, so… obvious. But boy was it hard to get here!
The side effects of my journey have been as follows. I like to be a girl now. I feel strong in my s(fr)illy dresses and peeptoe flats. I let my hair grow and sometimes even curl it. I’ve grown to use hand gestures and words I would never have before not to seem too vulnerable, too female. I’m finally comfortable in myself. And just to let you know I’m taking back the word girl. I like it. I feel like it. So, now I’m what I was meant to be. Will you cut the carrots while I grill the steaks?