The first time anyone slapped my face, it was because I asked for it, and it was an experiment.
He was an ostensibly vanilla man I’d met an hour earlier, at a sex club. His posh British accent and shy befuddlement set me immediately at ease: this man was no threat to me. He could fuck me, maybe, but he could not fuck me up.
Face-slapping had been on my mind lately. I had no idea if I’d like it. I liked certain types of pain, but getting hit across the face seemed like it’d be uniquely disorienting and extra risky, physically and emotionally.
Normally I like to try new kink things with a safe, trusted, established partner. But I had no such partners available to me. It had been a while since I had. That was starting to feel disheartening. I tried not to think about it too much.
So when this nice English boy had his fingers deep inside me and his lips on my lips, I leaned back and said, “Can you do me a favor? Can you slap me across the face?” His expression, then, was shock muffled by politeness. “Not too hard,” I clarified. “Like, a 4 out of 10.”
To his immense credit, he did not balk. He was vanilla as fuck (or so I assumed from how he later repeated the phrase “good girl” at me like it was a magic arousal spell in and of itself), but he was nonetheless willing to do this for me. Good boy, I thought, as he wound up his batting arm.
The slap landed. It hurt. It shook me. But it did not turn me on.
Huh, I thought. Guess I’m not into that. We did not speak of it again, he did not attempt it again, and the evening progressed in an otherwise vanilla but quite enjoyable way. And that was that. Or so I thought.
The first time you slapped my face, I had also asked for it. But it felt entirely different.
We’d been dating for a few weeks, and having kinky sex in massive quantities. All traces of vanilla had been flushed from my system, it seemed. I thought about going on Tinder dates with other boys, letting them put their hands on me gently and fuck me in entirely standard ways, and the whole idea just bored me to death. Sex with you felt exciting not only because you were rough with me, but also because I trusted you to be rough with me. I wanted to show you how much I could take. I wanted to be good for you. I cared.
We hadn’t talked about it yet, but I felt strongly enough to bring it up nonetheless: “I think I’d like you to slap my face.” You got that devious domly smile on your face I like so much, the one that means you’ve got some mean tricks up your sleeve and I’m gonna like ’em. “I don’t know if I’ll enjoy it, but I want to try,” I added. You nodded and I saw you file this info away for later.
Later came. Long minutes into hard makeouts, you climbed on top of me, straddling my thighs in bed, and grabbed my hair by the root in one hand. “I’m gonna slap you across the face now,” you muttered against my mouth, and I nodded.
My eyes are normally closed during sex; it’s how I process sensations best, and one way I manage my sexual anxiety. But the moment stretched out and I wanted to see. I opened my eyes just in time to see your hand cocked back, ready to strike. A split-second elapsed and you hit me, hard but not so hard it scared me. I felt jolted. Grounded.
My eyes had fallen closed, and after a moment, I opened them again. I did a thing I almost never do during sex: I looked up at you – coyly, through my lashes – and smiled.
You smiled back, and then you hit me again.
Some vanilla people can talk all day long about how romantic their sex can be, how intimate, connective, sweet and life-affirming. That’s fine. I’m glad they experience it that way. But kink can be those things, too. That moment where I’m smiling up at you, knowing you’re about to hurt me, and then you go ahead and do it? That’s the safest and the sweetest. I feel romantic toward you when we’re cuddling or kissing or holding hands in public; I feel it even moreso when you’ve got me pinned and you’re about to leave a handprint on my cheek.
The first time anyone fucked my mouth, it was an accident and I hated it.
He was a submissive boy – which, fine, whatever. Banging other subs isn’t my favorite, but I can deal with it, if it’s only an occasional thing. Submissive guys can still enjoy receiving BJs, after all, so at least there’s some overlap between our tastes.
Reclined on a soft hotel bed, he moaned and mewled as I bobbed up and down on him. I was doing a great job and I knew it. If this was the only fun thing we could do together, I’d be okay with that. It was pretty stellar, as far as BJs go.
But then he started thrusting into my mouth, and I froze.
My gag reflex is off the charts. I have, more than once, accidentally thrown up from scrubbing a toothbrush too far back on my tongue. I like BJs where the recipient is lying on their back, in part because it gives me optimum control over the depth of the dick. When I lose that sense of control, sometimes I gag. Sometimes I panic.
I tried to be chill about it. But after a few minutes, I could not. “Hey, can you stop that?” I mumbled during a pause, pressing my hand against his hipbone to still him. “You’re gagging me.”
“Oh. Sorry,” he said. “I’ll try to stop.” He tried. He didn’t really succeed. I get it; sometimes thrusting isn’t entirely voluntary. But I spent the rest of that BJ trying to get it done, instead of enjoying it for what it was. My throat didn’t trust him anymore.
The first time you fucked my mouth, it was highly negotiated, and I was ready.
A few days previous, I’d mentioned – in one of our many chats about desires and boundaries – that my skittish throat was a frequent buzzkill for me. “It’s why I don’t really like choking or face-fucking,” I said, “even though I’m totally obsessed with deepthroat porn and find it so hot.”
The conversation meandered in a different direction, but a few minutes later, there was a lull, and you mused, with a soft smile: “So no face-fucking, hey?”
The way you say “hey” instead of the more familiar-to-me Canadian “eh” is somehow so endearing to me; it sneaks into your dirty-talk when I fantasize about you, a signature feature of your vernacular that puts an instant smile on my face. With anyone else, I probably would’ve just said, “Yep, no face-fucking,” and moved on. But you – your pressureless demeanor, your easy handsomeness, and that gentle little prod of a “hey” – gave me pause.
“I meeeeean,” I began, in that way I begin sentences when I know I can be swayed. “I haven’t liked it with previous partners. Maybe I’d like it with you.” You grinned. I grinned back.
Later, after embroiling me in subspace in all the pervy ways I like best, you arranged me on the bed so my head hung off the edge. You placed my hand on your warm upper arm and said, “I want you to tap my arm if you want me to stop, okay?” And then you slowly slid your cock into my throat.
There was an ease to it I had never experienced with this act before, an instant and eager facility. I could feel myself getting wet as I thought about you using my mouth, fucking all my holes like I was your personal sex toy.
At some point, I started to gag, and tapped your arm. You stopped immediately, made sure I was okay. But I wasn’t scared or shaken. I was smiling. I wanted more.
The first time anyone choked me, I was fucking furious.
“I told you I don’t want to be choked,” I practically shouted. His hand had snuck onto my neck too many times. He knew what was up. This was the last straw.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” he babbled. “My other partners all like being choked. I keep forgetting that you don’t.”
I rolled my eyes. He had used this excuse more than once before. I had no idea whether to believe it. It did seem that his memory was genuinely bad – he’d often tell me a story he’d already told me, or stare at me blankly when I referenced an anecdote I’d relayed the week previous – but it also seemed like a half-assed attempt to eschew my boundaries.
He was the first polyamorous person I’d been involved with, and the whole situation made me doubt that poly was right for me. If mixing up your partners’ sexual preferences was an occupational hazard of poly, could I ever really trust a partner? Could I ever truly enjoy myself, knowing someone could badly fuck up at any moment?
Months after I stopped seeing him, I talked to another former partner of his. She told me he was always “forgetting” her boundaries, too. Maybe that’s not a thing poly people do, I thought; maybe it’s just a thing abusive shitheads do.
The first time you choked me, we had – again – talked about how I’d never liked it before, but thought I might like it with you. You tend to have that effect on me.
“I’m going to put my hand on your throat,” you told me, your face so so close to mine, “but I’m not going to choke you.” You were true to your word. It didn’t scare me. Instead, weirdly, I felt safe.
“When you go home tonight,” you continued, “I want you to masturbate thinking about my hand on your throat. I want you to think about how small and defenseless it makes you feel – and how happy it makes me.” When I relayed this episode to my journal later, I wrote, Damn, he’s good. And indeed, I jerked off thinking about what you’d told me to think about. And it made me really fucking wet.
The first time you actually put pressure on my throat, I squeezed my eyelids shut from the intensity of the sensation. It didn’t feel bad, it was just… a lot. “Open your eyes. Look at me,” you commanded sternly, calling me back to earth. I did as you’d asked. “Hey. It’s okay. You’re okay.” And I knew you were right, and I was safe.
You released the pressure slowly, and I wanted to cry. Never knew I could feel like this, I thought, a love song from Moulin Rouge echoing in my brain. It was a strange thought to have immediately after being choked, maybe, but it was what came to mind.
See? Kink can totally be romantic.