Are You My Daddy?

“If we have sex – not necessarily tonight, or ever, but if we do – what should I know about you to make sure you have a good time?”

He’s asking me this question in the fluorescently-lit, 24-hour McDonald’s near Comedy Bar, and somehow that doesn’t make it any less romantic.

“Hmm,” I begin, gnawing on a French fry. “I like toys. I like being spanked. I have a burgeoning Daddy Dom/little girl kink. Everything else, I think you’ll figure out on your own.”

He nods solemnly, taking this in. He has a mind like a computer, and he’s just created a folder entitled “How to Make Kate Come.” I see it in his thoughtful, analytic eyes. McDonald’s is heated on this chilly March night, but a shiver goes through me nonetheless.

Later, he’ll be three knuckles deep inside me, fingertips cresting along the spot that makes me come. “That’s your sweet spot, huh, babygirl?” he intones. “You’re getting so wet for Daddy…” And, yeah, that does the fucking trick. Stars explode behind my eyes and I lose sight of the world for a few moments, lost in my littleness.

But post-orgasmic doubt sets in, as it is wont to do. “I’m pretty good at knowing what people want to hear,” he tells me when I compliment his dirty-talk prowess, and poof: there goes my boner. He can’t be my Daddy if he’s only stepping into the role for my benefit. It’s like dancing with someone who’s too cool to really get into it, and keeps pulling “ironic” faces and making fun of the music. You can’t relax into goofy wild weirdness around someone who’s there reminding you how weird it all is, however implicitly. You need them to get lost in the weirdness with you, so you can get out of your head and just be deliciously in your body together.

He didn’t want to dance with me. He kept mocking the music. He kept telling me “what I wanted to hear.” He was not my Daddy.

Wading into poly for the first time, I quickly discovered: it’s smart to talk to your partners’ partners, if they’re cool with that. You learn so much.

“He’s super GGG and so kink-minded,” my metamour said, moonily. “Some guys get so weirded out when you ask them to hit you or choke you, but he always does it when I want him to.” I could practically see the hearts in her eyes. As sweet as she was on this dude, I wasn’t quite sold on him. Something felt… off.

I mentioned my DD/lg feelings mid-sext one day, and then all the right keywords started popping up in his dirty-talk, like a social media algorithm that knows what you’ve shopped for online and reminds you of your history every day thereafter. “Does my little girl need a spanking?” he queried coolly from across the couch when I was depressed one afternoon.

I nodded, but his comment activated a sad sensation I knew well: performative kink. It is categorically different from actual kink. It’s the difference between “Yeah, sure, I’ll play a submissive role for you, I guess,” and “You are utterly in control of me.” Just as you can’t choose whether you’ll fall in love with someone, you can’t choose whether you’ll feel subby to someone – and I felt neither of those things toward this boy. But I could pretend. And I did.

His filthy monologues, at least, were on-point. Midway through our second fuck of the day, he murmured to me in his darkened bedroom, “I want you to come all over Daddy’s cock like you did earlier.” My vagina responded readily, but it was almost perfunctory: yeah, you said The Thing, so I guess I’ll do The Thing. But it wasn’t quite what I had imagined that Thing would feel like. A hollowness followed that dutiful orgasm: I was someone’s little girl, surely, but not his. He was not my Daddy.

My new beau texts me from a party. A couple in his sightline has what he perceives as an overt DD/lg dynamic, and he is, as he puts it, “having some FEELINGS.”

I text back: “Like, ‘wanting me to call you Daddy’ feelings? ‘Cause, like, same.”

We’ve only talked about this in generalities so far, but his reply tells me everything I need to know. “Fuck. Yes.”

I have no idea what I’m doing. I type a sentence which feels like it should live only within the hazy universe of sexting, and can’t possibly bleed into real life – and yet, here I am, saying it to a real-life partner, albeit in a text. “Excited to come fuck your little girl this weekend?”

There is barely a pause before his response comes back: “Yes, little one, Daddy is very excited to fuck you this weekend.”

The weekend comes. We are hyper-communicative kink nerds, thank god, and lie in bed talking about our Feelings before we delve into sex. “I liked it when we were texting, but I don’t know if I’ll like it in real life,” he carefully confesses. Noticing the confusion on my face, he clarifies: “You know… That word I can’t say.”

I laugh, because I don’t think I can say it either. It feels silly, saccharine, embarrassing, vulnerable. It feels like admitting to something I am absolutely not supposed to want, even though we’ve both admitted we want it, and we both know better than to kink-shame. It’s all well and good to believe other people have a right to their safe and consensual kinks, whatever those may be; it is another thing entirely to accept that you have a right to like what you like. That you are not broken or weird or sick for wanting the things you urgently want.

He kisses me, and it’s like this word we cannot say is silently fuelling our lust; it’s the whirr in my ears, the rat-tat of my heart. I say it a thousand different ways in my mind. I beam it at him while he claws at my skin, spanks my ass red, beats me with a cane. The word resides in my grimaces and in his smirks. It’s an unspoken parenthetical in every sentence we spit.

He lifts his head from where it ended up, between my thighs, and says with the steady calm that turns me to mush: “I’m going to make you come now.” And then he slides two fingers deep inside me, and hands me my Tango, and does what he has promised.

The sounds in the room, as I’m coming down from my orgasm, are a mellow chorus of mewls and whimpers and “Mm-hmm, that’s right” and “You are such a good girl.” I scrunch my fists in the sheets to gather my strength and my resolve, and then I look down at him and say, “Come here. I want to tell you something.”

As he crawls up my body, I wonder if he thinks I’m going to say “I love you.” It’s way too early for that. And also, what I’m about to say feels even bigger, trickier, riskier.

I pull him toward me and purr in his ear, “Daddy, you made your little girl come so hard.”

I feel his cock stiffen and stir against my leg, and he groans like it’s involuntary. Like I pulled the sound from deep within his body. “You want Daddy to fuck you now?” he asks, soft, so soft. I hear how hard he works to push the word past his lips, to force it out while his self-shaming superego tries to tamp it down. I moan my approval like watering a plant I hope will grow strong. And then he fucks me until I am even less than a little girl: a puddle, a cloud, a sweetly sighing mirage.

He strokes my hair in the afterglow, and comments thoughtfully: “I think what freaks me out about that word is how much I like it.”

I laugh. Yup. That. “I know what you mean. It’s like, ‘You can’t say that! That’s The Thing!'” The Thing that catches my breath and halts my words. The Thing that darkens my panties with want. The Thing that flips some secret switch in my brain from “off” to “on.” You know. The Thing.

He smiles, and pulls me tighter against him. “You are such a sweet little girl,” he breathes contentedly, and I know that he is right – and that he is my Daddy.

Submissive ‘n’ Stoned: Reflections on Weed & Kink

Marijuana is magic. I have known this for quite some time, and then a summer romance drives the point home for me.

But I’m not fully committed to this boy, emotionally; my mind is elsewhere, and that’s reflected in the way I talk about him. Tweeting on my way to see him one afternoon in July, I call him my “pothead fuckpal.” He’s normally thrilled when I tweet about him, but this time, he’s irate. I think it’s “fuckpal” he objects to moreso than “pothead.” Because, while it’s irredeemably true he is a pothead, he wants to be more than just my fuckpal. I’m not sure I can give him that, and we’re not talking about it yet.

But I am a bad girl who writes bad things on Twitter, so I deserve a punishment.

We smoke up when I arrive at his house, like we always do – me from my little glass pipe and him from his enormous DIY bong. He’s smoked for years longer than I have, and has years’ more sexual experience under his belt, so I guess he knows what sweet havoc weed can wreak. I always get way too high at his place, nervously smoking more than I should because I’m uncomfortable and don’t know what else to do with my hands. I sit there glued to the couch, and he begins to touch my thighs.

Weed makes every touch significant, every movement a story. He traces circles and lines on my skin and they spin off into wild visions, all radiating sensation back to my clit. My arousal builds slowly but steadily, like a ski-lift gliding up a mountain. He works his way toward my clit in maddening circles, and I want his touch there but it’s an unhurried want: we will get to that when we get to it, and that’s fine.

Stoned sex is a magnificent blur. Journaling about it in days that follow, I always have to tell the story in point form, free of narrative or coherence. So one moment he’s touching my clit, and the next I’m draped over his knee getting pummelled by a wooden hairbrush, and the next I’m kneeling between his legs with his cock down my throat. Oh, hello.

I love stoned blowjobs and submissive blowjobs for many of the same reasons: they absorb me, anxieties and all, in a way that sober vanilla sex rarely can; they free me from inhibitions and scripts so I can enjoy what my mouth is feeling instead of suffer what my mind is whispering; and they allow me to focus wholly on the task at hand (or… at mouth). I am a good girl, an orally talented girl, a very very high girl, and I love it.

I shouldn’t have called him my pothead fuckpal. I shouldn’t have agreed to date him when I knew I could never love him. But all those shouldn’ts don’t matter now because there is weed smog in my head and a cock in my mouth.

The first time I discovered weed makes pain feel near-orgasmic to me, I was doing yoga at a party, but I’m a perv so of course it didn’t take me long to figure out how to apply that to kink.

In September of last year, I had a near-weekly tradition. I would go to a boy friend’s house (a boy-space-friend, not a boyfriend, you understand), we would smoke weed, he would catch me up on his various Adventure Zone headcanons, and then he would spank me.

The weed served two purposes. First of all, it helped us two awkward anxious bunnies relax around each other. And secondly, it made his spankings feel like molten-hot fireworks exploding in my skin.

“Do you wanna go to my room?” he’d ask when we’d been chilling on the living-room couch for an hour or two, and that was code for: “Do you want me to beat your ass raw with a paperback novel?” Every time, I’d quirk a grin at him and say, “Yeah.” And we would go.

Though I’ve loved being spanked for years, it wasn’t until I met this boy that I thought I might be able to come from it. It always seemed nearly-mine, like an apple on a swaying branch beyond my grasp – but I could never quite get at it. The trying was fun, though.

What I loved most about our arrangement was that sex was never assumed, never a foregone conclusion. The spanking was the main course. The weed was the garnish. The good conversation was the appetizer. And when the meal was done, I could shimmy back into my skirt, say goodnight, and go home, wetness dripping down the inside of my thigh in a guilty ribbon. “Text me when you get home safe,” he’d tell me sternly at the door. He wasn’t my dom but he was a good snack to tide me over in between feasts. A good friend to have. A good warm hand on my ass.

Marijuana extends time in my brain. I can get lost in a moment of sensation and have no idea afterwards if it lasted eight seconds or forty minutes. This is all well and good if my partner is also high, or if they’re someone I know I can take my time with. Less so if I’m nervous.

“How long have you been doing that?” I ask you while you’re two knuckles deep inside me. “I have no sense of time right now. I need you to tell me if you want to stop.” Because I never want you to stop. I want your fingers pressing stripes into my most sensitive spots ad infinitum. I want to live in this hotel room with you and your devilish fingers forevermore. I want to come and come until I’m a husk of a human.

You sigh, with the careful, caring discontent of someone who sympathizes with my sexual anxieties but thinks they’re silly nonetheless. “You just lie back and relax. This is not strenuous for me. I’ll stop if I want to. Right now I just want you to feel good.”

Though our dynamic isn’t kinky, I hear this as a command. I lie back. I relax. And you must’ve said the magic words, because within minutes, I am coming, loud and unrestrained.

You slip your fingers out of me and let me catch my breath before suggesting a mid-sesh intermission to top up our intoxication levels. This entails sneakily smoking in the bathroom of this no-smoking hotel room, because we don’t have a balcony and fuck if we’re gonna throw clothes on and brave the current January windstorm in this state.

I stand in front of you in the yellowish fluorescent bathroom light, and we’re both poetically, unselfconsciously naked. I watch, rapt, as you grind some weed and load your one-hitter. You hand it to me along with your lighter, but I can’t get it lit, so you have to help me. I am a quivering little girl making doe eyes at you as you flick the sparkwheel and make a flame for me. I inhale deeply and feel so sexy, so safe.

The trick, you explain, is to exhale through a damp washcloth toward the exhaust vent in the ceiling; that way we’re least likely to set off the smoke alarm. You’ve pre-moistened a cloth for this purpose, and after watching me inhale, you grab it and lay it flat over my mouth, pressing the edges down tight. I breathe out and make a rusty stain on the white rag. “That was maybe the kinkiest thing you’ve ever done to me,” I joke.

I take another hit, and you wink at me – the big, broad, unexpected wink of someone who knows about my thing for winks – and I can’t laugh because my lungs are full of precious smoke. I grab the washcloth and push my breath through it, along with a rush of pent-up giggles. “Oh, you were trying not to laugh out the weed,” you realize. “I thought it seemed strange that you didn’t react to my winking. That never happens.” My whole body, my whole brain, wants to hug you and kiss you and suck your dick. C’mere, loverboy.

Minutes later, in our big hotel bed, I’m on my back with my legs spread wide and you’re sitting cross-legged between them, like my vulva is a movie you’ve been dying to see. You slide the S-Curve into me while I snuggle my Tango up against my clit. Despite having come twice already today and being, traditionally, a one-and-done kind of girl (a one-hitter, you might say!), I feel an orgasm building almost immediately. Be it the comfortable environment, the familiar partner, the excellent toys, or the weed, I don’t know. And I don’t really care to analyze it.

You push the toy’s rounded glass tip against my A-spot hard and I fall apart completely, an orgasm bursting through me and extinguishing all thoughts. The combo of climactic incoherence and marijuana incoherence is a funny one. I want you to keep fucking me, harder and faster, all the way through my orgasm, but instead I’m just shouting, “Aaaahhh, I want, I want,” and “M-m-please-m-m-moooore.”

You indeed keep fucking me, but also, you bark, “English!” The frustration in your tone seems to extend my orgasm, to stretch it out like taffy. But this command also jolts me just enough that I can collect my wits. “Harder, please,” I clarify, in perfect English, and you give me what I want.

Sometimes, when I’m in my head and struggling to come, you tell me to fantasize about whatever I want.

It’s a remarkably generous offer. Most people want you to focus on them, and them alone, while they’re fucking you. They want your eyes open and affixed on theirs. They want to do you so right, they blow your other thoughts away.

But this ignores, for many of us, how our sex-brains work. I can think you’re gorgeous and still need to picture someone else to get me over the edge. I can love what we’re doing, but get even more turned on when I think of us doing something else. I can adore you the way you are, but still envision a different version of you when I’m on the brink and I need something extra to get me there.

Tonight, in my bed, we are high, and you are fucking me, and I am close, and you say it. “You just relax and think about whatever you need to think about.” Your voice, as always, is steady and calm. And generous. So generous.

My mind moves in hazy kaleidoscopic shapes, searching for that one image or phrase that will get the job done. I see spirals of light, blinding sunsets, scenes from another dimension. But beyond all that, what I come back to is you. A different type of you, an alternate-reality version of you, but you, nonetheless.

“Be a good girl and come for me, princess,” the you of my fantasies mutters as you never will. And I come so hard, it clears the smoke from the rafters of my brain.

You Know What I Like

a collar, a tiara, and a massive steel dildo

What makes me wettest is when you know exactly how to make me wet. Your touch feels even better when you know you’re touching me the exact right way. And I come the hardest when I know you know exactly how to make me come.

I call it a kink, or sometimes a fetish. But kinksters do that: we round up our sexual interests to kinks. In this case, though, it might actually be a fetish… because I can’t think of a time in recent memory when I got off and I wasn’t thinking about someone knowing precisely how to get me off, and doing exactly that.

In the past, I’ve said I have a kink for teaching people how to please me. That isn’t totally right, I see now. It’s not the teaching that gets me hot; teaching can be exhausting, annoying, with an inattentive pupil. No, what I like are the moments when my partner learns what makes me tick – whether because I’ve taught them, or because they figure it out on their own.

My fantasies are devoid of the articulate banter that thrills me in real life. The people in my fantasies (predominantly faceless, predominantly men) mutter short phrases which all signal some version of the same meaning. “You like that, huh?” “Is that your sweet spot, princess? Want daddy to touch it again?” “If I keep fucking you exactly like this, you’re gonna come for me, right?” “I know, baby, you like it just like this.”

My sexual history is lengthy and storied, but when I think back on the moments of laser-sharp hotness that soaked my panties and charmed my brain, they’re all variations on a partner knowing exactly what to do to me. The bossy FWB who made me come with her mouth in under a minute in a locked bathroom, and, knowing my body well enough to know what it was capable of, retorted, “That was too fast; we’re not done,” and kept going. The boyfriend who knew to tease me with long, in-and-out strokes of his dick until I was ready to burst, and then give me the deep, short, consistent thrusts I need to come on his cock. The attentive fuckbuddy who always finds my A-spot in seconds flat, and sometimes asks me, “You like that?” with the mischievous grin of someone who definitely knows I definitely like that. These are all moments I return to in my fantasy life, again and again. Even as my feelings for those actual people have faded, my lust for their knowledge of my body has not.

This kink, I think, is a huge part of why one-night stands hold no appeal for me. Even if those near-strangers cared about my pleasure (which they rarely do), no one can learn my tastes in one hookup alone. There are exciting moments of recognition – a new beau doubling down on sucking my clit when doing so elicits screeches; a hookup discovering how deep I really mean when I keep begging “Deeper, please!” – but what really gets me hot is someone remembering my preferences from an earlier experience. It’s like when your best friend buys you a birthday gift you mentioned wanting months ago – only, you know, with more orgasms involved.

I love being analyzed like a computer, played like a violin, manipulated like a doll. I love watching partners synthesize all their knowledge of my body, like getting me off is a test they’ve been studying for all year. “Lick her clitoral hood in a circular motion while rubbing the deepest part of her front vaginal wall with two fingers, fast but not too fast. Tell her to be a good girl and come for you. Fuck her hard and fast while she’s coming, and don’t stop until you’re told to stop.”

I love the look of accomplishment in a partner’s eyes when they make me come so hard I’m trembling. I love when partners give me orgasms using mostly their intelligence, memory, and astuteness. I love that I’m primarily attracted to nerds, because nerds try to learn everything about each new task they’re faced with, nerds remember the exact geography of past quests, and nerds take immense pride in unlocking achievements and optimizing tasks. I love when the task they’re seeking to optimize is making me come so hard, I can’t form sentences.

I eroticize the inverse of this, too. The gasp a partner emits when I take him extra deep in my mouth. The breathy moans that guide my tongue along his skin. The soft grunts against my lips when I pull his hair or scratch his shoulderblades. The near-immediate release when I drop the exact right piece of dirty-talk into our dialogue. It’s all data, it all makes me feel like a goddamn genius, and it all makes me so unbelievably wet.

I could write a piece on “how to fuck me properly,” but a) that’d be like handing someone a Prima strategy guide alongside the new Pokémon game instead of allowing them the fun of figuring it out themselves, and b) it would really be the same advice I recommend for good conversations. Pay attention to your partner. Remember your past interactions with them and go forth accordingly. Delight them with your thoughtfulness, your attunedness, your attention to detail.

Except, you know, those qualities in good conversations don’t usually make me come so hard I see stars.

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.

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.