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.

12 Days of Girly Juice 2016: 2 Fears Defeated

After I chickened out on going down on a girl during a threesome this year, my male fuckbuddy – the other participant in said threesome – commented, “I wish I could hack your brain and cut your anxiety out of it.”

I could’ve been offended. I could’ve interpreted this as him wanting to circumvent my resistance and artificially coerce me into doing something I didn’t want to do. But I know him well, so I knew what he meant. He wanted to rid me of my sexual anxieties, not only because it would be more fun for him, but because it would be more fun for me.

I can’t argue with that. There are, no doubt, a lot of fun activities I could enjoy if I didn’t psych myself out of doing them. But we can’t control the mental illnesses we’re saddled with, and we can only do what we can do. So I try not to beat myself up for the hurdles I’m not yet strong enough to jump – and I try, instead, to celebrate the hurdles I have leapt over with flying colors. Here are two such hurdles I cleared in 2016.

Doing porn. I don’t even like my partners to look at me during sex. I don’t know why I thought I could handle porn, where the eyes on me would total not only my partner’s but also the cameraperson’s, any other crew members’, and those of the eventual viewing audience. But it sounded fun, to some deeply buried and uncharacteristically brave part of me, so I gave it a shot. It helped that I have a lot of friends who are involved in porn – most notably Caitlin of Spit and Taylor of Feisty Fox Films – so I knew I’d be safe and supported.

I kicked off 2016 by shooting a scene for Spit with the devastatingly handsome Dane Joe, who bent me over a coffee table in Caitlin’s cozy downtown apartment and spanked an epic bruise onto me with a paddle while I stared at a bowl of oranges artistically placed in front of me. And then I got to eat a cupcake for having been such a good girl. (This scene was later screened at Smut in the 6ix in front of dozens of people, to my blushy glee.)

A few days later, I got naked in the Glad Day Bookshop for Taylor’s camera, posing with goofy props gathered from around the store. The manager pumped Justin Bieber tunes through the stereo at my request and I wore an unshakeable smile as I sidled around the shop in my skivvies, still bruised from my last shoot.

Photo via Spit.

In February I performed in one of Spit’s live porn shoots at Oasis Aqualounge: Dane Joe bossed me around and fucked me with various toys for the crowd’s amusement, until I had a surprise orgasm while she pounded me with my Eleven.

In May, I skipped over to Taylor’s house with a tote bag full of sex toys and masochistic implements. He and his photographer pal Caroline Fox trained their video cameras on me, and I didn’t feel nervous at all – instead, I came alive, perked up, put on a show. I smacked myself silly with my stone crop, then fucked myself with toys until my body burst into climax.

In June, I showed up at Riverdale Park in full rockabilly garb. Caroline, shooting for CherryStems this time, helped me sleuth out a relatively secluded area in the middle of the park, and I saucily stripped off my clothes while she snapped away. Then she handed me an ice cream cone and I fellated it with the juicy joy of someone who loves sugary treats as much as she loves blowjobs. (A lot.) Being photographed for CherryStems felt like the fulfilment of a very old wish: I’d longed to do pinup modeling since I was a wee lass poring over SuicideGirls.com before I was legally allowed to view such materials.

Mid-year, I complained on Twitter that I’d never shot blowjob porn and wanted to – and to my surprise, I got a DM from the owner of one of my favorite dicks, volunteering his gorgeous cock for me to suck on camera. I contacted my friends at Spit and managed to organize things so both Bex and I could shoot scenes for them while Bex was visiting Toronto that month. Bathed in soft light and the giggly glow of a happy little princess, I knelt on the floor between my fuckbuddy’s knees and Spit’s artistic director John Bee shot us in a stunning POV BJ scene. Weeks later, me and my co-star huddled together in my bedroom with boozy ciders and watched the scene on my little laptop. “Do I look pretty?” I asked him, and he replied, “You look very pretty. And sexy. And determined.”

Porn has never been a career ambition for me, never something I took very seriously – I’ve always done it for the fun and thrill of it, more than for money or glory (both of which there is little of, in Canada’s small porn scene). So I don’t know if I’ll do much more of it, now that I’ve basically achieved what I wanted to achieve by gettin’ sexy on camera. Maybe in 2017 I’ll shoot a solo scene for MakeLoveNotPorn.TV, or spank a pretty girl for Taylor’s camera, or co-blow a handsome person for Spit. Only time will tell…!

One-night stands. Sometimes it’s hard to differentiate fear from regular ol’ dislike. Prior to this year, I’d always theorized that one-night stands would not be my jam (peep this old post where I wrote, “I’m soooo not interested in sex where the partner and I know nothing about one another… Boring!”), but this year I finally delved into them a little bit. I had one in Minneapolis and a couple more back home in Toronto.

Those experiences were okay, but they also confirmed for me what I’d already suspected: that one-night stands are not my preferred type of sex, not at all. I didn’t have an orgasm during any of those three encounters, and it wasn’t a coincidence: sex with a brand-new partner who’s a near-stranger is rough on my anxiety, making it hard for me to relax into pleasure, plus my genitals’ preferences are so specific that someone really needs to bang me a few times before they’ll learn how to get me off. With one exception (a porn shoot at a sex club, using amazing toys), all the orgasms I had during partnered sex this year were with steady romantic partners or consistent fuckpals – people who knew my body, and who I felt comfortable bossing around til they learned what worked.

Another factor that makes one-night stands not-so-great for me: there’s often alcohol involved! It isn’t necessary for us to drink before boning, of course, but it just shook out that way a lot of the time: either we went on a Tinder-borne pre-bang drinks-date, or we met at a bar or party where there was some boozin’. Alcohol numbs sexual sensation, which – for me, during one-night stands – just compounded my already-extant orgasm troubles in those situations.

It’s interesting how sometimes conquering a fear introduces you to your new favorite thing (that’s what happened for me with improv!), but other times, it just shows you how much you dislike the thing you once feared. It’s still always better to know than to suspect, though, so I’m glad I did the legwork and learned one-night stands aren’t for me. Sexual empowerment is a process, and part of that process is learning what you like and what you dislike.

I think in 2017, I’ll avoid one-night stands. (To the best of my ability, anyway. Sometimes you can’t predict when a sexual encounter will be a one-off.) The only reasonable exception I can imagine is if I’m desperately craving a dick in my mouth – in which case, I won’t be especially concerned with getting off, so it won’t matter if the non-BJ parts of the experience are subpar. I’m hoping my sexual situation in 2017 will involve some more consistent, longer-term sexual partnerships – but if not, I think I’d rather just double down on masturbation than risk terrible sex with a stranger!

What fears did you conquer in 2016?

Monthly Faves: Heroes, Queerdos, Stone Crops & Road Stops

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April is always one of my favorite months of the year: the weather gets warmer, school ends, and I get to celebrate my birthday! Here’s some of what made me happy this April…

Sex toys

• When me and Bex get together, spanking inevitably happens. We’re both big fans of impact play – they like to receive, and I like both giving and receiving – so of course, we also share an appreciation for paddles, floggers, crops, whips, canes, and all manner of other impact play toys. In our big road trip across the midwest (more on that later), I bought a purple suede flogger at the Pleasure Chest in New York, a stone crop at Leather & Latte in Minneapolis, and a pervertable paddle-ball at a toy store in Cleveland. So many fun new things for people to hit me with!

• As you might have noticed, I am fond of blowjobs. Normally this doesn’t figure into my masturbation too much, but admittedly, a few of my orgasms this month were intensified by the presence of a Tantus Uncut #1 in my mouth. I like that it’s girthy but not jaw-achingly so, and that the texture of the silicone can feel amazingly real when it’s warm. Hnnnnggg.

• I had the opportunity to visit the Hole Punch Toys studio with some friends this month. It’s located in Minnesota, the homeland of Prince, who had just passed away – so Colin (the brains and brawn behind Hole Punch) had made us special commemorative Prince-themed butt plugs. (!!) They are purple and glittery, and they came in a cardboard storage tube emblazoned with the Prince symbol. So, so, so wonderful and unique.

Fantasy fodder

• I’ve been aching to do service-based submission lately. I want to bring some charming domly person their coffee made exactly the way they like it, help them schedule and fulfill their appointments, and give them a massage at the end of a long day. And then, you know, maybe suck their dick to relieve their stress. Like ya do.

• I’m going to write about this in more detail eventually, but: I recently went out for coffee with someone I’ve looked up to and had a crush on for LITERALLY TWELVE YEARS, and he kissed me. It was the kind of kiss that makes you all tingly and sends out residual ripples in your life. I don’t normally fantasize sexually about kisses – they’re usually so innocuous, or so much just a prelude to more explicit things – but damn, it was a good kiss. And it meant a lot to me.

• A recent hookup made me realize how little I fantasize about penis-in-vagina sex these days. It still feels good and I enjoy it, but I don’t get off on it psychologically the way that I sometimes have in the past. My fantasies nowadays are more focused on kink stuff and what Bex calls “queer sex”: sex involving primarily hands, mouths, and toys.

Sexcetera

• Late in the month, Bex, Taylor, Caitlin and I embarked on a weeklong trip across the northern U.S. We called our journey #HaveDildosWillTravel. I flew to New York on the 21st, we attended AltSex on the 22nd, and then we spent the next two days driving through Pennsylvania, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. We stayed in Minneapolis for a few days before turning around and driving all the way back to Toronto. It was a raucous trip full of sex-positive sightseeing, best-friend bonding, and bad jokes. I feel so grateful to have excellent friends whose idea of a good time is in line with mine.

• Speaking of great friends… Early in the month, my closest pals finally convinced me that my burgeoning-but-floundering relationship needed to end. I broke up with my boyfriend and it was the least emotionally affecting breakup of my life, because the relationship had been doomed from the start. It made me realize that I don’t actually want or need to be in a romantic relationship right now, though I’d previously ached for one. Weeks later, on our road trip, I had my first-ever one-night stand, which further drove home the point that maybe fun and feelings-free sex is what I need at the moment.

• School ended for me this month, and my last project – the only thing standing between me and my journalism degree – was an audio series about kink and mental health. I spent most of March and April doing research, conducting interviews, and editing audio. (I’ll let you know where you can listen to it when it becomes available!) As such, a lot of my thinkiest thoughts lately have been about the power of kink in psychological coping and healing. Working on this project felt very “meta” because kinky encouragement helped me get through it: dom-y people in my life instructed me to work hard and gave me verbal and tangible rewards when I did, which kept me on-task during my psychologically tumultuous final stretch before the deadline. I’m proud to say I completed the project and got a great grade on it!

Femme stuff

• I turned 24 while we were on the road, and Bex bought me a gift so sweet and thoughtful that I burst into tears when I opened it: an Aslan Leather collar. I’ve stayed up many a late night staring at leather collars online this year, desperately wanting one for both kink reasons and femme reasons, and this one in particular really spoke to me. I originally thought it might be weird for me to buy myself a collar, given that I don’t currently have a dominant partner to “own” me – but then I became increasingly drawn to the idea of “owning” myself, of being my own dom. Bex giving me my dream collar felt like an acknowledgment from my best friend that I don’t need to wait for that perfect dominant partner to come along; I am a whole person now, capable of taking care of myself and being badass on my own, even though sometimes I feel submissive and small. ♥ ♥ ♥ (Plus, let’s face it: this collar is fucking gorgeous and fits my aesthetic perfectly.)

• I felt a lot of love for my Frye harness boots during our road trip. I’ve stomped all over Canada and the U.S.A. in them, and they’re hardy enough to handle it. I love how they add a little toughness to otherwise-girly looks; there is something so satisfying about pairing a flippy floral dress with chunky black leather boots.

• When I visit the States, I always like to check out the makeup selection in drugstores, because it’s a bit different from what we can get in Canada. I picked up a NYX liquid eyeliner in the shade “Crystal Pink,” and it is so deliciously on-brand for me. Intense pink glitter! Yessss!

What got your rocks off and your gears spinning this month, my loves?