5 Bruises I Loved and Lost

Heads up, babes: this post deals with bruising and other visible signs of (consensual) injury, as well as self-harm. If that’s tough subject matter for you, please feel free to skip this post!

 

“I’ve never spanked anyone before,” Dane mentions offhandedly as we’re hanging out before our porn shoot.

“Oh,” I say, and my stomach drops. “Um, that’s fine, it’s not too hard to learn. I trust you.” I take my Tantus Pelt paddle out of my bag and show her how it works: the momentum, the swing, the snap. It’s been a few weeks since a partner’s used this mean little thing on me and I’m excited to bend over for my hot new friend in front of a rolling video camera.

What I don’t say, and later wish I had: Start slow, and work your way up. Warm up the area with gentle smacks til it’s red and glowing, before you progress to harder wallops. Spread out the impacts, instead of focusing on one spot. Rhythm and consistency are good, but give me time to breathe. I think these things but don’t communicate them. I said I trust her, and I do.

The scene goes better than I ever hoped or expected, given how nervous I was when we began. She teases and spanks and fucks me over a wooden coffee table in the airy afternoon light. But that paddle. Oh, that paddle.

There is a point, somewhere during most spankings, when I cross the threshold between safe, tolerable pain and pain so intense it scares me a little. This threshold is the reason I can’t spank myself effectively: I’ll never leap across that line myself. I need someone to push me.

Dane is bossy and authoritative and mean, and gets me crying within minutes. The silicone paddle rains down relentlessly on my reddening ass. And then she picks a spot on my right cheek and just wails on it. One hit after another, til the pain is a white-hot emergency alert in my brain. I think, I can’t take much more of this. Then I think, No, really, this has to stop. And then a deeper, stronger voice in my head says: No. You can take it. You can take just a little more.

I do. And eventually it ends. I’m left with the best bruise I’ve ever had, a crimson emblem of what I faithfully endured. A blotchy splotch that proudly announces what a very, very good girl I am.

Dane cuddles me on the couch. Caitlin brings me a cupcake. I’m grinning, glowing, good.


Depression comes in waves, arcing over the shoreline of my mind so ominously that I usually see it coming from yards away. I can arrange my schedule so the worst of it will hit when I’m alone, sobbing in bed, shoulders shaking, self-worth crumbling in polite privacy. I mask these desperate spells from my friends whenever I can. But sometimes I can’t.

One night in July, I’m at a party with Bex, Georgia, and a few other friends. But it’s the saddest party I’ve ever been to – even sadder than the surprisingly jovial secular shiva we held when my grandmother died – because I can’t stop crying.

Depression tells you lots of lies, the most pervasive one being that you are unendingly sad, have always been, and will always be. It tells you the tears you cry are justified, because everything is terrible and life is pain. It tells you the glimmers of happiness you once knew have been extinguished and were illusory anyway. It wrings the light from your spirit. It takes everything from you, most crucially, your hope.

So as I cry in front of my friends and they attempt to comfort me, none of it really works. “We love you,” they say, and my depression-brain says, Yeah, but the people you WISH loved you still don’t love you. “You’re a good person,” they say, and depression whispers, Bullshit, you’re garbage, they’re just humoring you. “You’ll feel better in the morning,” they predict, and depression insists, You will never feel good again.

What I need, when I’m like this, is to cry very hard for a while and then to be jolted out of my sad, salty rut. I need a distraction, a shake-up, a gear-change. So when Georgia says, “Do you want me to hit you?” some part of me perks up because I know that has worked in the past and it might work again.

I bend over the end of the sofa like a good girl, and Georgia – armed with my KinkMachineWorks Lexan paddle – begins to knock the sadness out of me via my ass.

When I’m sad and I don’t want to be sad anymore, sometimes I think of the saddest thoughts I can possibly imagine, in an effort to push the sadness through my veins faster so I’ll be rid of it sooner. If I’m crying over a boy, for example, I might force myself to think, “He doesn’t love me, he’ll never love me, he doesn’t want me the way I want him and he never will, I’m not good enough for him, I’ll be alone forever, and it’s only going to get worse from here.” Crying harder speeds up the process so I can get on with my life sooner – and spanking can serve a similar function for me. The pain gives me a tangible reason to cry, so I cry harder, feel my feelings deeper, and move through them quicker.

“I love you, babe,” Bex says to me while Georgia spanks me. “You’re being such a good girl,” Georgia says between hits. One friend holds my hand; another strokes my hair. I keep my face planted in the sofa’s upholstery and I cry and cry and cry.

And when it’s all done, I feel a bit better. And I have some epic bruises to remind me that I helped myself by letting my friends help me.


One night by myself in my room, depression sneaks up on me. I didn’t see you come in, I tell it, and it hisses back, That’s because you’re a stupid, silly girl who doesn’t know anything. I can’t argue with that.

Sometimes my depression comes alongside a restlessness: I know I need to do something to alleviate the uncomfortable feelings in my body and brain, but it’s not immediately clear what. When I’m coping well, I get out my journal, cry in a hot bath, go see a friend, or curl up with snacks and an episode of Sherlock. When I’m coping less well, I think about hurting myself.

The jury is out – by which I mean, my therapist is unsure – whether my self-spanking counts as self-harm. I don’t really do it to punish myself, to feel more alive, or to enact suicidal ideations, all common reasons people self-harm. I think I do it because it distracts me from the “bad” thoughts and feelings in my head, and because I know spanking has historically alleviated my mental health symptoms. It’s a last-ditch effort to snap myself back to stability.

On this particular night, crying numbly in my desk chair, I just start smacking my thigh with the back of my hand because it feels like the right thing to do. I do it so hard, and for so long, that I worry I might break my hand. I switch hands, and do it some more. I keep going until I’m sufficiently bruised, and the dark whispers in my head have calmed.

The bruise I’m left with is a chaotic mass of speckles, and I instantly hate it. It’s ugly, but I know I wouldn’t think that if a partner had given it to me. Each time I catch sight of it, I’m reminded of how I failed myself, how I let myself down by coping poorly with the feelings that rain down on me. I try to forgive myself, but in the meantime, I wear boxers around the house instead of my usual bikini briefs, so I never have to see the evidence of what depression wrought on my body.


When I was younger, I thought I’d hate one-night stands because sex felt too intimate to share with a near-stranger. As I’ve grown up, I’ve learned so much: sex doesn’t have to be intimate, and there are other valid reasons to hate one-night stands (which I kinda do). But it turns out that for me, kink feels too intimate to share with a near-stranger. It feels like an infringement, a mild violation, an incongruent aberration.

One cold night in December, I go out for drinks with a passably smart-‘n’-sweet Tinder boy. Our hours-long conversation brings out the details of my life that usually emerge on dates like these: I’m a sex writer, I review sex toys, I write about my kinks, and those kinks include spanking.

When I invite him over to my place after drinks, he makes a logical leap that any reasonable person could make: I like spanking, therefore, I want him to spank me. During our lukewarm hookup, he lands a few hard smacks on my ass, and I make noises of delight – because, physically, this feels like something I’ve enjoyed before. Emotionally, less so. He is nobody to me. I don’t care if he wants to punish me, or thinks I’ve been bad, or wants to make me feel good, or wants to give me what I want. I give zero shits what he thinks of me, and therefore, with him, kink feels irrelevant.

In the morning, we chat a bit via text, and he asks, “Is your butt even in the least bit sore?” It’s a vanilla-dude question, designed to determine whether his untrained hand even made a dent in my seasoned-kinkster ass. I look in the mirror and there is, faintly, the outline of a handprint. Red finger shapes against my creamy white skin. I text him a picture, though I doubt he even cares.

The bruise is mild, and only lasts a few days. So I spend those days thinking about how gross it feels to be bruised by someone I barely know. One-night stands are okay if I can hop in the shower afterward and wash away their sweat, their spit, their cum. But a bruise stays, and remains both mine and theirs until it fades. I love bruises when they make me feel “owned” by someone I want to own me – but a random-ass stranger from Tinder does not own me and should not bruise me. I glower furiously at the handprint for days, wishing it had come from someone else’s hand.


My fave fuckbuddy is extremely vanilla, but he’s also what Dan Savage calls “GGG“: good, giving, and game. He doesn’t “get” the whole spanking thing, but he’ll still do it if I ask – often quite enthusiastically – and I love that about him.

One night in a New York hotel room, we can’t figure out how to open the bottles of apple-ginger cider we brought with us – and we’re high, which makes this quandary even harder. “Let’s go to the front desk and ask if they have a bottle opener,” I suggest, reasonably, to which my FWB replies: “Okay, but you have to do the talking, because I am way too high to talk to a stranger right now.”

We make a giggly pilgrimage to the front desk; the attendant there doesn’t have a bottle opener either. So it’s back to the drawing board (after a meandering journey through the hotel lobby, mezzanine, and basement, laughing maniacally like the stoned delinquents we are). Once we find our hotel room again, we scour it for any and all objects that might function as a bottle opener: a pair of tweezers, the edge of a countertop, a thick bedsheet crumpled in a palm.

Eventually, grasping at straws, my gentleman-friend opens the wardrobe in the corner and pops out the silver metal bar holding up the clothes-hangers. “Oh no, you broke it!” I chirp, my high-brain momentarily unable to process that he did this on purpose. He grins at me in that roguish way he has, and jokes, “Those were load-bearing hangers.” I collapse into ganja giggles on the bed.

The metal bar works. He’s able to push the gaping end of it against the ridged edge of a bottlecap until the cap pops clean off. He hands me the bottle and gets to work on opening one for himself. I sit cheerfully, sipping my cider, one leg dangling off the bed and one draped over his thigh. We clink our drinks together and sip in the comfortable silence of two people who like each other – two people who just simply, uncomplicatedly, happily like each other.

And then I pick up the hanger bar and start whacking myself on the thigh with it, because of course I do.

He laughs darkly in his throat, because he knows me and he knows what’s coming. “Oh, you kinksters and your pervertables,” he says out loud, or maybe just in my memory because that’s the sentiment I sensed from him in my periphery. I take another swig of my cider and put the silver bar in his hand. “You should hit me with this,” I say.

He does. The cool metal lands stripes of pain along my thigh, still hitched over his. His thwacks are more earnest than I’ve ever felt from him; I think he’s finally figured out that when I ask to be hit, I want to be hit. Stoned, tipsy, gettin’ beat, and sitting beside one of my favorite people, I can’t recall many moments as purely, perfectly happy as this one, right here.

a thigh bruise“I want you to give me a bruise,” I tell him, but he’s vanilla and probably needs a little more instruction, so I continue. “Pick a spot. Hit that one spot again and again, starting soft and building up til you’re wailing on it.” I wrap both my arms around the one of his that’s not holding our impromptu impact implement, and press my face into his shoulder. “I might scream, but it’s okay.”

He does exactly what I’ve asked him to do, just like he always does; it’s one of the reasons he’s my favorite FWB I’ve ever had. As the bar slices through the air and onto my thigh again and again, my man-friend mutters in my ear about the way jazz drummers hold their drumsticks. He’s playing me like an instrument. His tone of voice reminds me of a doctor who tells you a cheerful story about elephants or fairies to distract you while he sets your broken bone. I don’t want to be distracted from the pain being rhythmically administered to me, but I like the sound of his voice, the closeness of it, how completely and totally safe I feel with this man who is hurting me at my request.

There you go,” he says, and stops. “Look at that. Wow!”

I glance down at my thigh and see a thin streak of red, set in beautiful relief against the paleness of my skin. I’ve never seen my thigh look so gorgeous. In the days that follow, I keep hitching up my skirt to take a look, running my hand along the slightly raised mark, pressing the painful spot through my leggings on the subway to remind me that it’s there.

It makes me feel owned, and small, and safe, and happy. It fades, and I want it back. I want it to last forever, like a tattoo. But the nature of bruises is that they don’t last. Like the tumbling petals of a dying flower, they are perfect in their life and in their death. I am always sad to say goodbye to a bruise, and always happy to have had it at all.

Scents (and Men) I Have Loved

a bottle of pink Kate Moss perfumeIn the summer of 2008, I felt beautiful. It was the first time since childhood when I’d felt confident in a brash, unselfconscious sort of way. I was the queen of my high school, strutting down the hallways like runways each day, dressed in femme finery. Teachers adored me, I was making new friends left and right, and I was acing all my classes. Strolling through life in my signature beat-up black cowboy boots, I felt effortlessly powerful. Unstoppable.

It helped that a tall, gangly girl with rainbow hair was in love with me. It was the first time anyone had ever been in love with me. In a way I deeply regret in retrospect but that felt acceptable at the time, I let her fawn over me – encouraged it, even. She was a close friend and I always made it clear to her that friends were all we’d ever be, but I also liked the way she looked at me. I liked the love letters she wrote me in Facebook messages and Honesty Box missives. I liked the casual cuddling on couches, the dates-that-were-not-dates at coffee shops and art galleries, the endless compliments and harmless flirtation. I liked it all.

The smell of that summer, in my memory, is Kate by Kate Moss perfume. Designer fragrances were out of the realm of acquirability for me, with a meager allowance from my parents being my only income – but I fell in love with the Kate Moss scent one day in a drugstore and resolved to buy it. After saving for months, I finally scraped up enough cash to buy the smallest bottle. I spritzed some on my neck as I left the perfume shop, and carried the precious pink fluid home as carefully as I could, my life already feeling revolutionized and beautified by this scent.

Simultaneously spicy and floral, “Kate” embodied the ballsy femininity I prided myself on at age sixteen (and still do now, when I’m at my best). I wore it that summer, in parks, on rooftops, in alleys, on grassy hilltops beneath big starry skies. I wore it on pseudo-dates with my ladylove-who-I-did-not-love. I was probably wearing it the night I lost my virginity to her, whispering giggly secrets in my tiny twin bed.

When I ponder the notion of “signature scents,” Kate by Kate Moss is the first one I think of for myself – and not just because of the name. It captures a moment in my personal history that I wish I could cling onto forever: a liberated sassiness, a pink dress hitched up to reveal white cotton panties, a gingery kick of joy right in your gut. The perfume’s been discontinued, so I can’t bring myself to use up the remaining dregs in that pink bottle that still sits on my dresser. I just lift it to my nose from time to time, inhale deeply, and think of that girl I used to be.


“Pleasant scents” and “pleasant men” have always been linked in my mind – dating back, I suppose, all the way to breathing in my dad’s Irish Spring and aftershave when I sat on his lap as a youngin’. But the first time I remember there being desire mixed into that feeling, it was focused on my high school philosophy teacher.

Dorky, charismatic, and paternalistic, he was utterly my type. I’d watch him enthuse about Kierkegaard or Sartre, wildly waving his arms and pointing passionately at a Powerpoint, and I’d melt into my hard wooden Toronto District School Board chair. How could any person be so perfect?

If you found yourself in the enviable position of walking behind him in one of our school’s tight stairwells, you’d get a definite whiff of something. A clean-hot-man type of scent. I don’t know what it was – cologne, aftershave, shampoo, maybe just soap. It was intoxicating, like everything else about him.

I once overheard some other girls discussing this experience – the walking behind him in the hall, the deep lungfuls of Attractive Man – and I felt strangely infringed upon, like they had stolen some moments that were supposed to be mine and mine alone. At the time, my own fragrance of choice was Lust by Lush, a jasmine-heavy and aggressively sexy scent that I soon had to stop wearing because it made my best friend sneeze incessantly every time I got near her. This, coupled with my hopeless crush on a married and unattainable grown-up, was utterly emblematic of how awkward and unsexy I felt at the time. Teenage Kate would pile on the jasmine in an effort to be half as bewitching as her philosophy teacher, but she never quite got there.


My first serious boyfriend just smelled right. He wore no cologne; it was the smell of his skin itself that I picked up on when I pressed my nose to his chest during long, lazy lie-ins. I was content to silently inhale him for minutes at a time, in that way you get when you’re obnoxiously in love.

The scent reminded me of vanilla or fresh-baked bread. It didn’t actually resemble those aromas, but it felt like them; it held the same deep sense of comfort and rightness that bread and vanilla do. My contentment, when my nose was squished against his warm body in bed, was akin to when you’re six years old and your mom is baking sugar cookies. That uncomplicated, expectant joy. All you have to do right now – your only responsibility in the whole world – is to play, and have fun, and wait for the cookies to be done.

Old Spice Swagger deodorant perched on a windowsill

My mental illnesses can sometimes make me do, well, “crazy” things. Like stand in the deodorant aisle of the drugstore and sniff every variety of Old Spice until I find the right one, and then buy it, never really intending to wear it.

I did this one October afternoon because a boy had not texted me back. I could not believe he hadn’t texted me back. It felt like the most important thing in the world. We’d cuddled, and talked for hours, and had sex. There had been intimacy. It had felt real. Why wasn’t he texting me back?

The answer, I see now, is: our arrangement was casual from the get-go, never intended to be more than that. But at the time I was inexperienced with such things, and the magical closeness of orgasms and pillow-talk had cast a spell on me. I wanted him in a deeper-than-just-sex kind of way and I couldn’t understand why he didn’t want me that way, too.

Hence: standing in an aggressively fluorescent Shoppers Drugmart, huffing Old Spice. I knew that was what he wore; he’d mentioned it offhandedly on our date when I told him he smelled good. There were many different Old Spice products on offer, and I sniffed each one: Krakengard, Steel Courage, Desperado. While the latter had a name that fit my mood, it wasn’t the right scent. It didn’t ping my nostrils with familiarity, or dampen my panties with Pavlovian associations.

When I found the right one, I looked at the label: it was called Swagger. How apt, for a boy who had swaggered nonchalantly into my life and then, just as nonchalantly, swaggered right back out of it again. I bought the deodorant, for reasons I still can’t quite articulate, and it’s still in my closet, never worn but often sniffed.


a sample of Armani Acqua di Gio cologneIn the summer of 2015 I had just started a new job which required me to wake up at 4:40AM and take a 5AM bus to get to a 6AM shift. Most of the time, I hated it. But on one particular morning in August, I didn’t hate it quite as much, because there was a handsome man with me.

A long-time internet crush of mine, he’d taken me out for Thai food the night before, after which we’d meandered back to my place for Scrabble and (eventually) sex. Though I should’ve slept when we were through, I was so elated by the good sex and good conversations that I wanted to stay up all night. We went to a 24-hour diner, and then to a 24-hour coffee shop, and then it was time for me to get on the bus that would take me to work.

He waited at the bus stop with me, making idle chatter laced with dorky jokes. I half-feigned exhaustion, as an excuse to lay my head on his shoulder, in a gesture of intimacy that exceeded what he wanted from me but that I couldn’t help craving. “You smell good,” I commented, and he replied sheepishly, “It’s on purpose,” as if that somehow discounted what I had said.

I don’t think either of us knew, then, that we’d end up steady fuckbuddies for over a year and counting. That cologne he wore – Acqua di Gio, I later learned – became entrenched in my memory with good goofy sex and aimless late nights, like we’d shared that first time. Acqua di Gio has its fair share of haters; its mainstream popularity lends it a reputation as an Eau de Fuckboy of sorts. But that clean, oceanic scent just makes me think of this man I adore(d) and how much he didn’t adore me in quite the same way.

Over a year after that first night together, he came to a party at my house after we’d been apart for a while. Minutes before his arrival, I’d been wondering, Will we have sex tonight? but the moment I opened my front door to him, I knew the answer. He was wearing that cologne. He was trying – “on purpose,” he’d said – to smell good for me. I was gettin’ laaaid that night. And indeed, I did, the smell of oceans and unrequited love filling my nose.


an aromatherapy blend in a bottle labeled "Kick in the Pants for Kate"“So what’s going on with you?” my aromatherapist friend Tynan asked me attentively, notebook and pen in hand. I promptly burst into tears.

Tynan had made me an aromatherapy blend before, so I knew the process. You outline your top three current complaints, whether mental or physical, and she ideally finds three essential oils which each address all three issues. Then she blends them together in a little vial, and when you wear a drop on the collar of your shirt, the scents infiltrate your brain through your nose and – through some kind of psychological aromatherapeutic alchemy – create change in your life.

The trouble was, the thing I most wanted to change in my life felt impossible to change – and I was hesitant to let it go. “I’m in love with someone who doesn’t love me back,” I admitted through a veil of tears. “I feel stuck. No one else is good enough. I swipe through dudes on Tinder and think, ‘Well, they’re not as smart/funny/perfect as he is, so what’s the point?’ I want to move on. I want to like someone who actually likes me back.” With that tirade off my chest, I progressed to the other issues bugging me: a sense of demotivation about my search for a new dayjob, and constantly chilly hands and feet from bad circulation.

“It sounds like all three of these issues relate to feeling ‘stuck’ and paralyzed,” Tynan said. “We need to get your energy moving again.” She flipped through an aromatherapy reference book, read me some passages, and had me sniff some oils. The mix we settled on was a particular ratio of key lime, palmarosa, and ginger – a blend designed to be uplifting and motivational. Tynan mixed the oils together in a small bottle and carefully inked the name of the blend onto the label: “Kick in the Pants for Kate.”

The finished blend is punchy and bold. I put it on first thing in the morning and feel enlivened, energized, ready to face the day. And I do think, in a weird sort of way, it helped me fall out of love with that man who was crushing my heart. My unrequited infatuations often stem from a feeling of powerlessness – the belief that I’m not good enough on my own, and have to rely on this idealized other person for all the humor, joy, and brightness in my life. Tynan’s powerful “Kick in the Pants” blend smells like strength to me. The more I wear it, the stronger I feel.

It drowns out the Acqua di Gio still haunting my heart. My own strength, it turns out, is bigger than that ocean of tears I once cried. Recently someone told me I smelled good, and I smiled at them and said: “It’s on purpose.”

What’s In My Sex Bag? (January 2017)

There is a sick-‘n’-satisfying voyeuristic joy in peering into someone’s bag. I love finding out what someone carries around with them, whether it’s shared in blog posts or Flickr groups or Instagram hashtags.

But while the contents of my everyday purses are kinda interesting, what’s in my sex bag is really interesting, methinks. Here’s a glimpse, for all you nosy pervs out there (she wrote, lovingly)!

I left for New York on Saturday morning, and my trip itinerary includes a sex-date at a pre-booked hotel room with a fuckbuddy of mine. I’ve packed my petite House of Plume zip-up travel bag with a variety of items for all sorts of saucy eventualities.

Firstly and most importantly: vibrators. If I’m going to get off with a partner, typically vibes need to be involved. At home, I normally use my Magic Wand Rechargeable or Eroscillator, but both of those are bulky and thus not terribly travel-friendly. I’ve compromised by packing my Lelo Siri 2 and We-Vibe Tango, two delightfully rumbly and super-adjustable external vibes small enough for my jetset sexcapades.

I’ve packed my Tantus Ryder because of this wonderful text my FWB sent me while I was deciding which toys to bring: “I mean, if you wanted to do PIV with a butt plug in again, I wouldn’t say no.” This is the plug I was using the last time we did that, and he liked it because it made my vag even more preternaturally tight than it normally is. The Ryder’s fairly big, though, so I’ve also packed a smaller plug (the Lelo Bob) to help me warm up for it.

My FWB and I also share an appreciation for clit pumps, so I’ve packed mine. It pairs very well with weed, which I’m unsure if we’ll have access to… but even if not, I’m looking forward to experiencing this odd sensation with a partner for the first time.

The Funkit Signet is small, so it’s easy to travel with. As it’s made to enhance fingerbanging, I’m always excited to use it with people who have skilled fingers to begin with. Unf.

Next up: dildos. Most of my favorites – like the Double Trouble, G-Spoon, and Eleven – are too big, heavy, or valuable to bring with me when I travel. Occasionally I risk it, but I always worry that the airline will lose my bag or the TSA will take my dildos away from me, and I care too much about them to let that happen! So this time, I’m only bringing my Jopen Comet Wand. It’ll work well for any masturbation I do during my trip, and my FWB can also pound me with it if I’m in the mood for intense G-spot sensations.

I’m also lucky enough that my hostbean-with-the-mostbean, Bex, owns a fuckton of sex toys. So if I decide I need to borrow a Double Trouble or an Eleven or a Pure Wand or something, I’ll be able to. Yessss.

Condom-wise, I just threw in a few of what I had on hand: Crown and Naked condoms, sent to me by Condomania. It’s hard to travel with a bottle of lube, so I’m bringing some sample packs of Blossom Organics, Sliquid H2O, and Astroglide Natural, as well as a teensy sample-size bottle of Sutil.

What kinds of things do you pack when you go on sexy adventures? Got any toy-travel tips?

You’re Vanilla. I’m Not. But I Love You.

It’s a giddy-hot summer in Toronto and I am out having lunch with my new boyfriend (soon to be ex). My collar is chafing my neck in the sticky heat, so I unclasp the buckle and slide the leather off my neck and into my purse.

Boyf looks up from his menu. “You took it off,” he comments softly. “You should’ve asked first.” A wicked grin creeps over his boyish face.

I giggle and blush, but it’s perfunctory. When he says dom-y shit to me, it’s like I’m watching a porn scene: it turns me on, in an abstracted sort of way, but it doesn’t thrill my innermost subby self because it doesn’t feel like it’s happening to me.

Because he’s not my dom, not really. You are. And you don’t even know it.


I am a kinkster who loves a vanilla person, and it feels like this:

I plunge my hand between the bones of my chest until I find my heart. Closing my fist around it, I pull it out of me til it’s freed from my body with a sickening pop.

With the gingerest touch, I reach out and place my heart in your open palm. We both watch it, beating, twitching. My blood drips between your fingers and onto the floor. When at last I feel brave enough, I drag my gaze up to meet your eyes… and you look horrified.

“What the fuck,” you mutter under your breath, and toss my heart into the gutter. “Gross.”

I know you don’t mean to make me feel that way. But you do. It’s no one’s fault you make me feel that way. But you do. You didn’t choose to be the vanilla-est vanilla boy in all the land. But you are. And I didn’t choose to be collar-over-heels, sweetly-starry-eyed, dreamily-devoted in subby love with you. But I am.


I notice it first in the way I always sit below you if I can help it. The night we met, you sat on my piano bench and I sat cross-legged at your feet, staring reverently up at you like I was six years old and you were telling me a story (you probably were). It becomes a pattern with us: at your place or mine, in the bedroom or the kitchen, surrounded by friends or just the two of us, if you’re on a chair then I’m on the floor. It just feels… right.

You’re barely taller than me, and when we crunch down crowded streets together, we look like equals. I don’t want to be your equal, have never felt like your equal. Sitting at your feet restores a natural equilibrium I can feel but you can’t. I know you can’t feel it because you always ask me, “You sure you don’t wanna sit up here? You’ll be more comfortable.” You don’t get it. I’m comfortable when I’m where I belong: on the floor, looking up at you.

We trade sex secrets and carnal confessions over pints in the brew pub. Your eyebrows knit together in that way they do when you’re trying to understand something incomprehensible. In this case, it’s my kinks.

“I just kind of fall apart when someone calls me ‘little one,'” I tell you. What little nonchalance I can muster is being channelled into keeping my voice steady, trying not to betray how much this means to me. “If I’m having trouble coming, sometimes that’s The Thing that finally makes it happen.”

You stroke your chin in a broad gesture of thoughtfulness and reply, simply: “Interesting.” I wonder if you are filing away this piece of information to be used at a later date. But probably, you’ll just forget. You never call me “little one.” You never call me “princess” or “babygirl” or “sweet darling.” You just call me my name, sometimes. And never in bed.


Names are important to me. Names frame my understanding of a sexual situation. Names are the real-world manifestation of the archetypes and roles floating around in my white-hot kinkster brain. Names matter.

When you’re fucking me – with your fingers, a toy, or your cock – sometimes I want to call you names. They float at the periphery of my awareness; sometimes they ghost across my lips. My mouth forms the syllables “Oh, Daddy” or “Please, Sir,” but no sound comes out. I’m ashamed. I hide these silent pleas in the crook of my elbow, bury them in the warmth of your shoulder. I don’t want to ruin the moment or make you uncomfortable.

It’s agony that the words which would flip your switch from “on” to “off” are the same words that rev my internal motor. Sometimes you ask me, “How can I make you come? What would you like me to do?” and I list physical acts I know will work on the mechanical level, because I don’t dare ask for the mental-emotional-psychological stuff that might scare you off.


You ping my teacher’s-pet kink without even realizing it. One night I send you a draft of something I’m writing, wanting your feedback, and your critique jokingly begins, “Well, if you want to earn an A+ from me…” Of course I fucking do. I make all the changes you suggest, even the ones that conflict with my own taste and voice. I feel that old familiar sense of surrender I’ve experienced while tied up or getting spanked: the deep belief that someone else knows what I need even better than I do. When I show you the finished piece, you tell me it’s perfect, and I feel a rush of something halfway between “just got a 95% on my philosophy exam” and “just gave the best blowjob of all time.”

On bad mental health days, I feel like a useless, unsalvageable failure. Friends remind me I’m smart, funny, talented, kind, and valuable – but I don’t fully believe it until I hear it from you. Earning your A+ makes me feel accomplished, whether you’re complimenting my sexual skills, my writing, or my overall value as a human being.

One night, I’m anxious as hell about an impending deadline. It feels like an end-of-the-world emergency: if I don’t get this article done in time, or if my editor hates it, all will be lost. My head is swirling with panic; I hyperventilate at you via text. “You’ll get it done and it’ll be great,” you tell me, with more confidence than I have ever felt about anything. And suddenly, I know that you’re right. In the hours that follow, I get it done. It’s great. It’s all for you, and you’ll never know.

“Service submission” has never particularly resonated with me. I’ve occasionally fantasized about it, but I’ve never done it with a real-life partner, because I’ve never wanted to. Until I met you.

When I show up at your place with the exact kind of beer you like, or accompany you to events you’re nervous about, or ask a waitress to move us because a wobbly barstool is hurting your bad back, you tell me, “You’re a good friend.” But that’s not really what this is about. I’m not being generous; I am serving you. Being your good girl. Of course, you don’t see it that way, and I’ll never tell you.

When you go out of town to attend a work conference, I sit at home fantasizing about how I’d serve you if I was your plus-one. I picture myself bringing you your coffee first thing in the morning, made exactly how you like it. I would organize your schedule, prepare the documents you needed, choose and press your outfits. At the end of a long day, I’d kneel in front of you, slip your shoes off, and ask you if a nice blowjob would help you relax. I’d suck you off and then bring you a beer, and watch you drink it from my favorite vantage point on your floor.

Service-submission feelings toward a vanilla person are essentially a deep, carnal desire to be their unpaid personal assistant. I’m a feminist and so are you, so I get the sense you wouldn’t accept my “help,” even if you knew what it meant to me. We speak different languages; my word for “purpose and fulfilment” translates to “heartless exploitation” in your native tongue. This can never work. But I still sometimes think about shining your boots.


It occurs to me one day, as I’m walking home in a shirt you let me borrow because I misplaced my dress amid your bedsheets somewhere, that you’ve never left a mark on me. Other partners smack bruises onto my ass, bite toothmarks onto my fleshy hips, carve crimson hickeys into my neck – but you’ve never left so much as a friction-burn on my thighs. It’s ironic, I think, as I pull the sleeves of your shirt down over my chilly hands, that you’ve marked my heart more deeply and irrevocably than anyone else I’ve banged, and yet signs of you have never shown on my skin.

My one souvenir of you – which embarrasses me to even contemplate – is a dime on my bedroom floor. It fell out of your jeans pocket the first time we made out in my bed, and after you left in the morning, I just… kept it there. For the better part of a year. Friends who knew me well would visit and say, “So that dime’s still there, huh? When are you gonna move it?” I’d respond, “It makes me happy to look at it. I’ll move it when that’s no longer true.”

The day I decide to get over you, I text my best friend: “I picked the dime up off the floor.” They reply with a blue heart emoji. There’s nothing else to say, really.


Once, we’re out to dinner, and the subject of kinks comes up. (It always fucking does.) “I just feel like you could be such a good dom if you tried,” I lament for like the twentieth time. I’ve had too much rice wine and am being an asshole.

“Being dom-y makes me anxious,” you tell me through half a mouthful of sushi. I know this. You’ve told me this before. I hate myself for not wanting to accept this answer.

“I dunno, a lot of things used to make me anxious before I got good at them,” I counter. “Maybe if you practiced more, you’d feel more confident about it.” The conversation stagnates and we switch gears.

I’m wracked with guilt for days afterward, and text you: “Hey, I’m sorry I got kinda pressure-y the other night. You said taking charge makes you uncomfortable and I should just respect that. I won’t ask you about it again.” It’s the only decent thing to do, but it feels like giving up on the thing I want most in the world.

“It’s okay,” you text back. I sigh, from relief, or sadness, or something.

12 Days of Girly Juice 2016: 3 Fave Encounters

Today’s “12 Days of Girly Juice” instalment sums up my three favorite bang sessions of the year, and I have an embarrassing secret to confess: unlike last year’s diverse trio of fucktimes, all three of these encounters were with the same person.

It’s embarrassing because it implies that he’s the only good partner I’ve had all year, out of the 12 partners I had in 2016, and that none of the others were worth remembering or writing about. That’s not true at all; I had so much good sex this year and all of it was worthy of celebration!

But there are emotional factors at play which affect how I think about all those encounters. Many of those people have peaced out of my life, after messy break-ups, painful rejections, and/or shocking betrayals – and that drama retroactively mars the memory of the sex I had with those folks. What was amazing sex at the time just feels sad in retrospect.

The following three stories are about a fuckbuddy I’m still friendly with, one who doesn’t make me feel sad, resentful, angry, or betrayed. As such, my memories of sex with him have been left untouched by chaotic emotions, so I’m free to recall these memories in their full splendor. They seem every bit as hot, fun, exciting and transformative now as they did then.

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I snapped this selfie for Bex before embarking on my BJ date. “Do I look pretty?!”

Impromptu blowjob date

On the evening of February 11th, I sat in a lukewarm bath, realizing my sex life was about to change.

A few days earlier, I’d blown a fuckpal whose dick just jived with my mouth. Craving blowjobs was a completely new thing to me, so it’d taken a few days to sink in: not only did I enjoy blowing him, not only did I want to do it again, but I couldn’t stop thinking about doing it again. This was, for me, unprecedented.

In a sudden fit of impulsive bravery, I leapt out of the bath, grabbed my phone, and tapped out this DM to the aforementioned good-dick’ed dude:

Apologies if this comes across as crass or un-“chill,” but I have been thinking a lot about going down on you and would 100% be down to do that again sometime soon. Just lemme know. Sincerely, girl who is totally not this much of a BJ perv with most people but just had to speak what’s on her mind(/vag).

His reply was, shall we say, enthusiastic. We hammered out details, I threw on some clothes, and then I ventured out into the icy Toronto evening, en route to dat dick.

I gave him two blowjobs that night: one when I arrived, amid giggles, blushing, and R&B slowjams – and one later, after we’d gone out for drinks and dinner, when he muttered darkly into a kiss, “I’m thinking about your mouth…”

Sexual tastes take time to shift; it’s rare for a kink to spring up, fully formed, overnight. So maybe my descent into the Blowjob Fandom was more gradual than I realized. But for me, this is the night I’ll always remember as The Beginning of My Blowjob Obsession. Some dicks are so good, they make history in your life. Some dicks are so good, they rewire your brain. Some dicks are so good, they conjure desire where before there was only distaste.

Some of the toys I brought with me to our hotel-buttsex date (and a bottle of gin).
Some of the toys I brought with me to our hotel-buttsex date (and a bottle of gin).

Anal sex in a sketchy hotel

When we went out for dinner and drinks between Blowjob One and Blowjob Two (which sounds like a duo of Dr. Seuss characters I’d dearly love to meet), we discussed the possibility of him being the first person to fuck me in the ass.

It hadn’t occurred to me before that night in that Distillery District pub, but this particular fuckbuddy was really the perfect person to usher me into the world of anal sex. I liked and trusted him, we had good sexual rapport, and he had experience with butt stuff from both sides of the dick. He outranked me in the realm of Butt Wisdom, and I trusted him to guide me through the experience.

We booked a cheap hotel for the following Monday night and met up there, both nervous as hell and self-medicating with weed (him) and gin (me). We set the scene by cuddling, talking, and joking around. And when we were ready, we started into a sex sesh that lasted about four hours in total. Four languid hours of messing around, laughing, and trying things out. My butt got fucked at some point during the proceedings, but it didn’t feel like the Main Event; everything else was so much fun that the actual butt stuff felt very low-pressure and almost like an afterthought.

This night confirmed what I already knew: that goofy, relaxed sex is my favorite kind, that a shared sense of humor and rapport is vitally important to my sexual enjoyment with a partner, and that – yes! – I like getting fucked in the ass.

I don’t know that it’s always useful to agonize over who should be “your first” when it comes to a particular sexual act. I’m endlessly picky about who I want to fist me first, for example, whereas the first person I ever had sex with was just a friend, for whom I didn’t have sexual feelings. I think the importance of the person really depends on the specific act – and because anal sex is highly intimate, emotionally risky, and physically tricky, I’m super glad I held out for someone I deeply trusted and adored. The experience could not have been any better, truly. I think back on it with immense fondness and gratitude, and I hope my butt gets fucked more in 2017!

28042689031_dbf0210c7d_oBAMF threesome

One night in April, my then-boyfriend was over an hour late to meet me. I complained to Bex, who said, “You know who’d never be late to meet you?” and then they said the name of my fuckbuddy, who, at that time, I hadn’t seen in quite a while and missed a lot.

Bex was joking about my FWB being better for me and nicer to me than my boyfriend, but they were also right. That boyf was disrespectful, unfeminist, and made me feel terrible about being a sexual person. He always wanted me to “warn him” in advance if I wanted sex, acted like it was a favor he’d begrudgingly do for me, and talked about my body less like a hot piece of ass and more like a mildly distasteful science experiment. Though I didn’t want to admit it, I missed having sex with people whose approach to sex was spontaneous, enthusiastic, and joyful. Like that far-away fuckbuddy.

After tweeting about Bex’s remarks, I went to bed, because I had work early the next morning. By the time I woke up, Bex had a) had a conversation with said fuckbuddy about my tweet, b) explained that my boyfriend was basically the worst, and c) established that me, Bex, and the FWB should totally have a threesome. Bex makes dreams come true. They hadn’t gotten the go-ahead from me to set this up, but they didn’t need to: months earlier, on a streetcar, I’d randomly turned to them and said, “Hey, hypothetically, would you ever want to have a threesome with [my FWB]?” to which Bex immediately said, “Yeah!” So there was a precedent. And now that plan had been set in motion.

Over the next six weeks, we planned, brainstormed, sexted, and negotiated. I booked a bus ticket to New York and wrote a decidedly sex-centric packing list. We titled this landmark event “the BAMF threesome” – “Bean (Agender)/Male/Female threesome” – or, alternatively, “The Great Threesome of 2016.” I broke up with my boyfriend, in part because I realized I’d never been half as excited about him as I was about this threesome.

We wore matching rainbow socks, 'cause we knew the dude liked 'em.
We wore matching rainbow socks, ’cause we knew the dude liked ’em.

I took a 10-hour overnight bus from Toronto to New York, and then trekked from the bus station to Bex’s Queens apartment with my little suitcase and backpack full of sex toys. When I arrived, I found that we were wearing the same shirt, which just reiterated the whole “we are gonna sexually team up on a dude tonight” vibe.

The threesome itself was fucking adorable. Dude came over, showered, and the three of us nervously cuddled on a couch for an hour or two, talking and catching up. Then we semi-awkwardly transitioned to kissing, moved to the bed, and took some clothes off. What followed was a blurry mess of blowjobs, fingerbanging, spanking, fucking, biting, dirty-talking, and laughing. It was a magnificent synthesis of two people I love very much and all my favorite aspects of sex. So, basically: the best.

Despite all the threesomes I’ve been involved in, they’re not really my jam – I prefer the unbroken focus and intensity of one-on-one encounters. But sometimes the stars just align, and a magic threesome materializes from the ether like a stroke of genius. This was one of those. More than a sexual encounter, it was a bonding experience, a true test of friendship, some serendipitous playtime. I felt so lucky to know both of those people.

When we were done fucking, we ordered Mexican food, ate it while sitting unselfconsciously naked on Bex’s bedroom floor, and then climbed into bed for a cuddly three-way snooze. I’ve rarely gone to bed so happy, comfortable, and satisfied in my life.

 

What were your favorite sexual encounters of 2016?