Fight. Come. Submit.

Lightening flashing outside, photo bulbs. Half smoked pipe on the window sill and I’ve flung the window wide open, welcoming in the damp, dripping, humid night. Quiet, stoned mind. It drifts and settles on J.

A huge man. A quiet man. Law student, PhD, powerlifter, married, polyamorous, quietly dominant. He wears thick glasses, walks with a very still upper body, has a cheeky smile, is highly, intimidatingly, knowingly intelligent.

We fight. In a hotel room in suburban Vancouver, prearranged, I turn up in a pencil skirt and blouse, no panties, no bra. At his command I kneel on the bed on all fours, he walks around me, observing me like an animal at auction. I’m frowningly obedient, bratty, scratchy. Hands, on me, running over my ass, down my thighs, between my legs. He slaps them apart, and, surveying me, slides his hand between and dips a finger inside my wet pussy. I moan.

He steps back and orders me to strip. I’m now naked, standing in front of him, skin tingling, alert. He’s almost naked, boxers still on and muscles and tattoos leap out at me. He has a hammer and sickle on his shoulder, and the union organizer in me notices this, I warm to this man even more. He’s silent, still, and this makes me nervous. My toes are nudging each other, fidgeting, sweaty palms. I look him in the eyes and through the stillness and silence he taunts me…go on.

I take one step, and then another, and then a faster one and then I’m throwing myself at his chest, strength and adrenaline pulsing into my forearms, clenched hands, fingernails bunched in fists, striking hard muscles and warm skin and I’m angry! He flips me, I’m on my stomach on the bed and he’s forcefully twisting his hand up between my thighs. I’m wet and horny, but my nervousness has gone and I’m pissed, determined, stubborn. I kick wildly, barely missing his head and squirm away from his grip, but he growls, clamping onto my leg, dragging me back towards him with speed and aggression. His spare hand is between my legs again and before I can take a breath he thrusts both deep fingers inside me. The feeling is overwhelmingly good and hot and I scream pleasure and madness into the pillow.

He can’t win this easily.

I writhe out of his grasp again and get off the bed, facing him, crouched with hands in fists, panting, sweaty. He gives me that look and I launch myself at him, this time with a yell, throwing myself across the bed and punching, punching, punching, punching him and I’m raging and storming, adrenaline and anger, and I hit him with all my strength again and again. And when he’s had enough he calmly flips me on my back and thrusts his fingers inside me.

We play this way for a while, each time I attack and he bats me off, and then he starts making me come, over and over, thighs slick with wetness, shining with sweat and tangled hair and smudged mascara and fiery eyes. I orgasm, screaming pleasure and frustration and rage into the mattress, and then kick out at him afterwards, tempting him into another bout. He never speaks, never loses control, he observes me with amusement and interest.

I’m exhausted, and slowing down. I’m lying on my stomach, the sheet bunched in my fists, my chin hanging off the side of the mattress in my attempt to crawl away. Legs are clamped wide open under his thighs and his fingers are working inside me again, and I’m coming hard: muscle-clenching-body-shaking-pussy-spasming-eyes-squeezed-mouth-silent-pleasure hard. It subsides and the pressure on my gspot is too intense and I’m begging: “Please no more please please no more now please”. He pulls out, spanks my ass leaving a wet handprint and walks to the bathroom.

And I’m still. I don’t move, I don’t try to roundhouse kick him in the mouth or elbow jab his ribs. I listen to my breath, short, quick pants as my head hangs over the edge of the mattress. I’m aware of my sweaty, sore, exhausted body, my wet and tingling pussy. My fingers and hands relax. I stare at the sisal carpet and follow the floor to the full length mirror on the wardrobe door just in front of me. I slowly look up until I can see my reflection: crazed hair, legs sprawled wide, cheeks red and makeup smudgy, lips puffy and slightly open. I am a hot mess. My eyes are bright, glazed, watery. I see defeat, exhaustion. I want to cry, and at the same time, I feel such relief, such peace.

I burrow my face into the sheets. My body cries, but no tears come to my eyes.

He is beside me on the bed now, pulling me into him. His fingers are stroking, claiming, owning my body and there is no resistance, I don’t even think about fighting. This man has beaten me and he has won my submission. This feels very good. I shyly nuzzle into the space between bicep and pectoral and tell him this. He chuckles, the first sound I’ve heard him make for hours, and looks at me under his glasses, one eyebrow raised, quizzically.

That look says: Good. That look says: You interest me. That look says: I never doubted that I would have your submission. That look says: Is there any other way?

On being a slut

I started having sex two months after my 16th birthday, and I loved it.

I lost my virginity on the beach my family have been camping at for years, bathed in a full moon, moaning enthusiastically, and thoroughly enjoying myself. Later, recounting this at a party with friends and hearing their stories of virginity regret, I felt awkward and mumbled something along the lines of, “Yeah, I wished I had waited until I had done it with a boyfriend.” But this was bullshit, because I didn’t regret anything about this. On a beach, deliciously doggy-style, with a gorgeous man 2 years my senior who I had only just met? Perfect! Sex was fun, pleasurable and I liked it!

Slut.

This was what was whispered behind my back, and then to my face. I was happy and excited about sex, and naturally, I told my ‘friends’. I made trips to see my beach hook-up a couple of times more, and enjoyed hours of sweaty, clinging, exclamatory sex with him. Then, I was curious to see what it would be like to have sex with someone different, so I met a man at a party and I did. I told my friends all of this, and then was surprised, and ashamed and hurt when rumours circulating my high school got back to me. I think these made it as far as my parents, because I remember my mum buying me condoms, and quickly saying to me that since we live in a small town, it’s a good practice to keep ‘personal’ things to myself. We never talked about my blossoming sexuality, I never told her about my first time. I think she just sort of knew, but not in detail.

So, I stopped talking. I had my first real relationship around this time, and this lasted 5 years. This gave me licence to explore, and I did with so much pleasure. My boyfriend was initially taken aback with my enthusiasm, but he was wonderful and open, and we experimented with spanking and hints of D/s. I didn’t broadcast all the new fascinating things I was discovering about myself, but it was a small town and word still got out. “Slut” wasn’t said outright, rather I would be referred to, with more than a little bit of passing judgement as “___’s nympho girlfriend.” This became so common place that it was said to my face, my boyfriend didn’t argue it, and I was a little unsure what it meant so I stayed quiet, smiling uncertainly. People started relating to me differently. Men would hit on me, hoping to ‘score’ me (even though I had a boyfriend), but not viewing me as a potential partner, only as a trophy fuck. Women felt threatened by me and gossiped. I was viewed as a sexual object, age 16.

However, I had the right amount of bullet-proof naivety that none of this stopped me. I was just so…driven…and curious…to explore everything that had the potential to be sexually pleasurable; with a partner, or several, or just by myself. I was fascinated by my body’s reactions, by secret little spots that could make me feel so good! Honestly, writing about it now brings a smile to my face. My exploration was wonderful!

My curiosity also spelled the end of our relationship. We separated for various reasons, but one was that I cheated. Twice. When I went to university I was madly curious to see what it would be like to sleep with this particular person? Or this one? In this way? With this dynamic? (A small, secret part of me was also curious to see what it would feel like to hurt my partner, and myself by doing this. What would it feel like to shatter trust and cause pain, to both of us? Could I survive it? This fascinates me: why was I so interested in exploring emotional pain?)

Both times I cheated I told my partner the next day, and after the second time, after calling me a slut, he understandably finished our relationship.

Sexual confidence and enthusiasm took a bit of a nose-dive. My rebound man was a marathon runner, with the most beautiful cock I have ever seen. He was right-wing, arrogant, immature. We fucked on and off for 2 months, and when he called it off he told me that I was TOO open with him, and that he wished I had been more secretive so he could work harder to get to know me. The subtext of this was that he wished I had ‘withheld’ sex for longer, so he could feel that sleeping with me was more of a challenge. He also called me a slut.

This hurt, and in my already fragile state I took this on board. I decided that there was something wrong with me, that I was a ‘nympho slut’ (in all the negative sense of the word) and that I should grow up and conform to the feminine ideal: hard to get, shyly flirtatious, make men work for ‘it’, not give ‘it’ up too easily. I decided the easiest way to do this was by cutting all penis out of my life and becoming celibate, age 21.

I stumbled into the weird world of ‘with-holding’ sex: if I told a man that I liked him but wasn’t interested in sleeping with him because I was celibate, they would take this as a challenge, and do everything they could to ‘make’ me have sex with them. It was a side to men I’ve never seen before- ultra charming, manipulative, attentive to the point of harassment, they would pursue me with vigour. Creepy. My trust in men plummeted.

It struck me as completely wrong that I could be enthusiastic about sex and met with judgement, yet be actively celibate and have men flocking to me, trying to ‘win’ my sex.

And then, thank god, in a culmination of different circumstances, I acknowledged that I was kinky. I started reading BDSM blogs, I was introduced to the world of sex positivity, to amazing phrases like “yes means yes”, and “ethical slut”, and I felt like crying and laughing and shouting and rejoicing because this was my space, and these were my people! I fit here! This was me!

Now, I’m 25, and have slightly more maturity to see through the dating, pick-up bullshit. I choose men who are attracted by enthusiastic consent, because of course, they are definitely out there. I am not at all interested in men who want to play games with me, who view sex and my body as something to be won, as a challenge to be conquered (because, of course, they are also definitely out there). I am really drawn the performance model of collaborative sex (Let’s Jam!). The term ‘enthusiastic consent’ has given me freedom, and a place where I can relax. I was reflecting that before I came across any of this the only exposure to sex-positivity I had in my late teens was Christina Aguleria and Little Kim singing “The guy gets all the glory the more he can score / While the girl can do the same and yet you call her a whore“. Isn’t that sad?! I’m planning to become a sex educator to work on changing exactly this, but that’s something to talk about later.

Now. Let’s turn this all on its head.

Through BDSM I explore the dark side of myself, of relationships, of sexual interactions with men and women. I go to places I’m too scared to go in my vanilla life. And one of these places has been around enthusiastic consent.

Okay…writing this feels complex and very sensitive. As I write I’m very aware of all the “Yes, buts” that can be thrown at this…’Yes, but aren’t you just propagating gender stereotypes”, “Yes, but haven’t you been brainwashed by a life of patriarchy”, “Yes, but aren’t you just giving another man a chance to ignore you as a woman and treat you like an object.” I ask myself these things regularly (and recently, I found this blog post which asks a lot of good, challenging, difficult questions). I haven’t yet been able to come up with a perfect answer to these “yes, buts”. BDSM has taught me so much about communication, negotation, trust and self reflection, more than any sex education class. And, selfishly, it makes me happy.

I’ll try to write this next part as cleanly as possible.

In my ‘consent play’, I’m drawn to scenes where I don’t LOOK enthusiastic, where I actually say “No!”,  I struggle in partner’s grasp, physically fight them, try to run away. I’m drawn to scenes where my partner exhausts me to submission, where they trap and trick me, where sometimes, they even force me. I’m drawn to scenes with physical violence and emotional manipulation. I want my partner to call me a slut, and a dirty whore, and a nympho bitch. I want them to degrade me to the point where I feel like nothing more than a vagina on legs. I want them to sexually objectify me.

But. Here is the beauty. After all this has happened, they gather me up in their arms, and stroke my hair, cheekbone. Kiss me gently all over and pay adoring attention to every inch of my tender, sensitive body. They tell me that I’m a good girl and that they’re proud of me, and make me hot chocolate and silly jokes and we giggle.

It is empowering for me to explore these feelings of shame and fear in a situation I’ve created, and I can emerge from as a whole person, with my partner’s support.

(Would I feel the need to be treated like this if I had grown up in a sex positive community? I’m unsure. My attraction to this type of BDSM wasn’t necessarily a conscious plan, I just knew I needed it. I have spent hours asking myself “why?”, but at the end of the day, as long as I feel my practices are RACK (risk aware consensual kink), then I do angst over why like I used to).

Because, I have ultimate control. I create these scenarios, I consent to being used in this way, I negotiate with a partner and have safe words I can call anytime to stop, if I’m not enjoying how things are going (and I have done this!). I now explore what intrigues me without hurting others, in a community that is as sex-positive as I could have ever hoped for. I AM a slut! And how awesome is that?!

This feels so damn good. I am very grateful I let my sexual curiosity, awakened in my teenage self, prevail and lead me to this beautifully kinky world.

Waterboarding

I’m already shaking and sniffling when he shows me upstairs to the tub. We agreed to this, I was intellectually aware of what I was getting myself into. Simply, I was to lie down, recline my head back past horizontal, and then he would cover my face with a towel and slowly pour water over the towel. How hard could it be? So far, this has already been the most intense scene I have ever done. My tormentors are brutal. Physically so, but far surpassing the physical toll is the emotional. They are closer to breaking me than anyone else has ever been.

She sits in the tub. I lower my quickly bruising body onto her lap. He instructs: how long can you hold your breath? I inhale and hold. He counts. As he reaches 30, I start to play a game with myself. I can hold my breath longer, I know I can. All I have to do is think of something else, and I can get up to a minute. But then, knowing what is coming up, will my stamina work in my favor? Will I be rewarded for fit lungs, or pushed further? I feign exhaustion and breathe out at 40secs. They haven’t beaten me. Not quite yet.

I am pushed down until I am reclining, my naked hips in the triangle of her folded legs. His hand firmly grips the back of my neck and pulls me down until my shoulders are on the bottom of the tub. My back arches over her thigh. They smile sweetly at me. They know what’s coming. I’m still fairly unaware.

Ready?
No safe words, right?
No safe words. We’ll agree on how long to hold each time, and then you endure for that amount of time. Ok?
Ok.

The smiling sadist from before has disappeared. Our exchange frightens me in it’s clinical seriousness. He is focused. I watch him with wariness: filling the water jug, reaching for a towel. Practiced, measured movements. She is still, patient, waiting. She watches him too, but with a glint in her eye. She’s excited. I start to wonder if I’m in over my head.

We’ll start with 10 seconds. You can hold your breath for 40 remember?
Ok.

My eloquence has left me, along with my previous confidence. I think: this is used as torture, right? Perhaps I had underestimated it. He covers my face with a towel. Then, his hand wraps around the front of my throat. Not enough to choke me, but strong enough to know that I can’t get up, and the towel is not coming off.

Ready?
Urgh.

I make some kind of sound in response. Speech is departing faster with growing panic. I take a deep breath, under the cotton. He starts pouring. And counting out loud.

1 one thousand
2 one thousand
3 one thousand

The water is cold. It quickly soaks the towel, tickling rivulets down my scalp, neck, cheeks, eyes, mouth.

7 one thousand

Luckily, an air pocket has formed, right at the base of my nose. No water enters my sinuses. I relax, a little. This isn’t too bad.

9 one thousand
10 one thousand

He releases his neck grip and pulls me up. I sit, shivering in her lap. Very still.

How was that?
Fine.

I’m cautious. I’m hopeful that perhaps this isn’t as scary as I thought it would be, but I don’t want to show bravado in case it’s punished.

How about we try 20 seconds? You can hold your breath for 40 remember?
Ok.

Down I go again. The tub is even colder and I’m lying in a centimeter of water. She looks down at me. Her eyes flash, she’s fascinated by this. Like a child burning an ant, she knows it’s going to be damaging, but she can’t stop, can’t turn the magnifying glass away. How will the ant react when it feels the heat of the light? Her interest is morbid. The towel, now cold and heavy, clamps over my face once more. His hand holds it in place, squeezing my throat down. I take a breath through my mouth, feel the towel suck in.

1 one thousand
2 one thousand

The water is pouring slowly. I wait, unmoving.

4 one thousand
5 one thousand

The airpocket below my nose breaks. Immediately, water starts seeping through. It’s cold, trickling down my sinuses. I can feel it behind my eyes, the back of my throat. All of a sudden I feel an overwhelming urge to breathe. I try to ignore it, but my body starts screaming at me: “Breathe! Breathe!” I’m yelling back, “I can’t, I can’t, I can’t, I can’t!”.

9 one thousand
10 one thousand

My body wins, and I open my mouth, to try and take a gasping, life saving breath. Water pours into my mouth, the towel sucks in, clinging to my lips. No air comes in at all, and I’m panicking now, really panicking. I’m going to die here in this fucking bathtub, and I can’t even hear the countdown because my brain is screaming louder than I’ve ever heard it: “BREATHE! BREATHE!” I’m aware I’m struggling, flailing with cold hands, fighting. I feel his hand grip my throat harder, I can’t beat him, I can’t win, I can’t breathe, water is in my nose and eyes and throat and mouth and hair and I’m totally helpless and I just need to FUCKING BREATHE!…

20 one thousand!

He shouts and this breaks though my crazed mind and then I’m pulled up. I’m choking and coughing and breathing, taking in huge gulps of air, so hard and fast. I’m bawling too, and instinctively move out of her lap, into the far corner of the tub. I crouch over the Dr Bronner’s Almond Soap, hugging my arms to myself, sobbing hard. The tears come from some place, deep inside me, and I can’t cry hard enough, my whole body moves with each sob and I’m gasping huge mouthfuls of air at the same time. I squeeze my hands to my chest so hard the pain from my already damaged nipples brings me back to reality, and I slowly look over my shoulder, viewing my captors through bloodshot, wet blue eyes. They look back at me calmly, impassively. This scares me even more. Wasn’t I just about to die in their arms? Why aren’t they more emotional?

Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, holy crap, oh my god.

I hear this again and again, and then realize I’m saying it, babbling in-between sobs. It scares me, to hear how messed up I sound, to hear how much emotion I’m betraying. I try to claw back self-control: I run shaking hands over my hair, inelegantly wipe my nose on my arm, turn my body slightly out of the corner and towards her. He’s too scary to face.

I’m going to get a bigger jug.

He turns and leaves the bathroom, matter-of-factly. The significance of what he’s doing doesn’t even register, I’m focused on her. I’ve stopped babbling, but now what I’m saying barely makes sense to me. I’m not even sure if I’m conscious of it.

Oh my god, and I’m alive! And I thought I was going to die, I thought I was going to die lying there, I was going to die. That’s so fucking scary, that’s so scary, I didn’t think it would be that scary, I had no idea it would be like that, no idea at all. But I’m alive now and I can breathe and talk and breathe and I’m alive.

I start to calm, a little. I feel my heart, thumping in my chest so hard. I try to slow my breathing, imitating a woman in labour. Slow in, slow out. Then a voice pipes up in my head. I ask her:

That was 20 seconds, right?
Yes.

An idea starts to form, and before I know it, it’s grown in cognizance. I can beat this. I can beat waterboarding. I know about meditation and mental control. It’s only 20 seconds! I can hold my breath for 40 easily, and even longer if I’m really calm and focused. All I have to do is stay calm, hold my breath, think about something else. It might even be relaxing, think of it as a water cleanse, getting all my sinuses washed out with cold water, water gently trickling. I can beat this. I can fucking beat this! I can beat water boarding! I am fucking awesome! In the couple of seconds it took to formulate this plan, he was back.

Again?
Yes.
30 seconds?

This is too much. My heart starts to race again, and I can’t control the panic in my voice.

No! No, 20 please, just 20, just 20 please Sir. Please.
Ok, 20.
Promise? Just 20 again?
Yes, just 20. Promise.
Ok.

I hear myself doing ‘woman in labour’ breathing again. I focus on my crashing heart, try to slow it. I clench my fists to stop my hands shaking, and chant in my head: relax. You can do this. Think of something else. Count with him. 20 is easy. You’ve got this. You are fucking awesome. His hand clamps my neck, the cloth goes over. My whole body tenses. I’m still going over my mantra, but my mind is screaming it at me. RELAX! YOU’VE GOT THIS! 20 IS EASY! YOU’VE GOT THIS! STAY CALM!

Take a deep breath.
1 one thousand
2 one thousand
3 one thousand
4 one thousand

I lose it. There is no air bubble at all this time, and the water starts running into my sinuses straight away. By the time I feel like it’s at the back of my eyes, my ‘calming mantra’ has gone. I don’t want to be doing this again, I don’t want to be here. I think I’m crying already, panicked tears mixing with the cold water running down my neck and ears. My body is yelling at me once more: “BREATHE! FUCKING BREATHE!” I obey, and straight away my mouth fills with water, no air. I think I may be gurgling stop, red, anything, I can hear terrified animal sounds. I’m thrashing around, wishing wishing wishing he’d let his hand off my neck. My fingers connect with flesh and I dig my nails in, hoping to hurt someone so they’ll let me up, hoping they won’t let me die.

10 one thousand
11 one thousand

Fuck, we’re only half way! Amazingly, another voice suddenly bursts into my head and manages to drown out the survival instinct yelling at me to breathe: FREEZE! Don’t move anything! FREEZE! Wait it out! FREEZE! My mouth stops gaping helplessly at the suffocating cloth, I stop thrashing. I freeze. Inwardly, there’s a fucking war on. The voice ordering me to freeze is speaking from somewhere I’ve never heard before. Somewhere deep inside me. Somewhere incredibly strong and powerful, with my survival as it’s core interest. It’s fighting for me. It’s fighting against my frenzied, knee-jerk response for oxygen.

17 one thousand
18 one thousand

I cling to the sound of his voice. I feel like I’m seconds away from death.

20 one thousand

I burst up, my head silences in a second and all of a sudden I’m back with my body, back in the tub, gasping and bawling and panting and hiding in the corner. There’s no voice screaming at me any more, I’m gulping air and my body is shaking with silent sobs. I squeeze my arms into my chest, tuck my head into the corner of the tub, and something hits me…the silence. I’m not babbling. Neither of my captors is saying anything, I’m barely aware of them. But….and this is monu-fucking-mental…there is NOTHING in my head. The screaming voices are gone. The thoughts are gone. It’s totally, completely, silent and empty.

It bewilders me, I don’t know what to do with this sudden silence. I lift my head, and stare at the tiles, without seeing them. I feel totally blank. It’s white light, fingers tracing sounds on wineglasses, hazy blue sky, loss of gravity, infinite middle C. There is no past, no future, just total, absolute…present. And it’s void, tipping into emptiness, slowly spiraling forever in space. A noise behind me, perhaps one of my torturers, ripples into the ringing silence and my eyes dart, from the sterile tiles to my body, resting on my fingertips. The disturbed rhythm they are tapping on my chest seems totally at odds with the blank of my mind. This juxtaposition is enough to jump-start my brain, thoughts flood, colors into the white, sounds and noise and memories and photo flashes of what I’ve just survived.

I’m back. Very present, hyper-aware. I turn, and stare at my Dominants. I don’t even register how they look at me, but they’re touching me. A steady hand on my shoulder. A warm thumb brushing my cheek. Tears are still leaking out of my eyes, but I’m not racked with sobs as I was earlier. I hug my body, quivering with cold and relief. And in that second, euphoria rushes in. It feels hot, tickling my core, spreading like fire to my fingertips and toes, leaping up to my heart, neck, mouth, nose, eyes, top of my head. Holy fucking shit! I just did that! I just did THAT! I was water boarded! And I’m alive! And I even tried to beat it, what a CRAZY I am! I think a smile cracks from my lips, I feel incredibly high. Everything is wonderfully hazy and bright at the same time. I’m alive! I ask for a tissue and blow my nose, then dry my face on a towel. I’m helped out of the tub, but I barely notice the two people beside me.

I tried to beat water-boarding. It kicked my ass. And I’ve never felt so beaten, so broken-down. I am all emotion: elation. Survival. Fear. Strength. Presence. Exhaustion. Elation.