Tom: I’m at home. On the couch. What would you do if you were here?
Erica: I’d crawl across the floor to you, all the while gazing into your eyes…and then I’d stop at your feet and spread your knees apart…
Tom: Except that you can’t crawl — you opened that sassy mouth of yours so I had to punish you, and I bound your wrists…
Erica: With your purple tie, the one I gave you for your birthday…
Tom: Then I wrap my palm around the back of your lovely neck and pull you towards me…
* * *
I stumbled upon a year-old article on Huffington Post recently, about a study that found BDSM enthusiasts are psychologically healthier than vanilla-philes. The thrust (ahem) of the piece was that people who embrace their kink have to develop a strong sense of self to bypass convention without getting mired in shame.
As someone who spent most of my life pretzeling myself into various social constructs, only to come un-pretzeled, I would have to say this is true. And from my interactions with friends and lovers who prefer their sex with a twist, I have found that each of them had similar journeys, or else were blessed with enough native confidence that they pursued off-the-beaten-path endeavors of all kinds with little to no second-guessing.
Instead of being freaked the fuck out by how willingly I present my ass to a dominant lover, or how I luxuriate in anticipation before the sting of a palm on my flesh, or how I crave the ride from fear to exhilaration that follows an expert grasp around my neck, I relax.
Now that I have relaxed into my sexual preferences I feel comfortable sharing them with a partner — something I was rarely able to do in my strictly vanilla relationships. Sometimes sharing happens in the moment, between the sheets. Sometimes it transpires in the written negotiation of limits. Sometimes it evolves through a texting or e-mail fantasy exchange that feeds my thirst for play.
While self-acceptance and enhanced communication obviously leads to contentment, it is this sense of play, I think, that pushes contentment up a notch into the happiness zone. It provides an outlet from the how-tos of adulthood — the bill-paying, the grocery shopping, the children schlepping, the I-hate-my-job-but-I-have-a-mortgage ruminating– and allows us to explore our sexual and sensual horizons, whether that be bold exploration through group sex and swing parties, or more intimate role-play with one partner.
One of my favorite forms of play is to co-write a fantasy with a lover through text messaging. This interchange can go on for days until we meet and get to put our sex plan into action. I have a younger lover, Luke, with whom I particularly enjoy re-enacting such interchanges. With our 15-year age difference, we are on completely different life trajectories — which makes our creative and sexual compatibility unexpected and unexpectedly delightful.
We always meet at a bar. As he squeezes my thigh, I’ll gaze at him over my wine and wonder if he brought the scarves — so he can bind my wrists and hold them over my head with one hand as he hikes my skirt up, only to discover that I’m wearing panties instead of the crotchless pearl thong as I had promised. I’ll wonder if he’ll punish me for being bad by bending me over and turning my cheeks red with his palm. Or better yet, his crop.
So far, he has yet to disappoint me.
* * *
Sex is a creative act, much like writing. I often don’t know what I think until I write it, and I often don’t know what I want until I entwine my mind and body with the mind and body of a lover. My erotic journey has made me feel younger, more vital, more present. There are so many things in life that I can’t control — but I can control what I do in bed, and part of that control comes with submitting.
Later this week I have a date with another lover, Tom, a preppy banker who looks young enough that one might expect to see him swilling beer by a keg. Unlike Luke, who’s dirty inside and out, Tom is more complex: clean on the outside yet filthy dirty on the inside.
We’ve arranged to meet at my favorite Asian Fusion place near his house. I’ll purposely be 15 minutes late to piss him off. When he sees me, he’ll stand up, fixing me with his stony stare. Fear and delight will infuse my gasp when I notice what he’s wearing.
The purple tie.