This is our truth, tell us yours
When we were travelling around India we stayed for a month at a family home that had been recently converted into a hotel. I still remember sitting on their lawn, eating dinner, the sounds and smells of a post rainfall evening drifting into their walled garden. Its one of those perfect moments that just closing my eyes can return me too. The next day I was invited to meet the mother of the house. She observed quite a strict purdah, but in watching me from the roof she had noticed I served my partner before myself. She judged me worthy of meeting (she had a very low opinion of most western women who stayed at the hotel)
A simple thing, something I considered good manners, and she considered proper behaviour of a woman towards her husband, our differing perspectives of the same act meeting and allowing us to communicate. Carter wrote wonderfully earlier today about how he has learned that just because someone kneel and bends doesn’t mean they want to be buggered and beaten. Or if they do its because of the other things they want, the ring, the new carpet, the white wedding that says “Someone wants me”.
I am a masochist, and a submissive, people often seem to assume the two things go together, sometimes the people assuming this are Doms, and that can lead to the kind of abuse Carter talks about in his post. Every relationship is different, but it;s not just those who are hoping for romance who can bend for the cane in the hope of pleasing their Domly one. This is why grown ups have conversations about hard limits before they ever get to the wet, messy, fun stuff. When you are alone and naked with someone bigger and stronger than you who enjoys causing pain it is simply good sense to have already had the conversation about exactly what pain means to you first.
For me the joy of pain was a surprise, one night in a swinging club I decided to wander into the dungeon, the sensations I discovered there made me want to learn more. I have come across many who oppose masochism when explored by women, who suggest it must be a sign of some mental instability or lack of self esteem. As someone who has suffered from mental instability and low self esteem this angers me, quite a lot. It was only when I thought myself good enough to deserve good sex, orgasms, the full richness of a sex life that went above and beyond the usual that I was even able to go to a club. When I lived in a world of self hate I could no more have stripped naked in front of other people than I could have flown.
Of course there is an elephant in the room here, as someone who writes about their experiences of being abused as a child. When wanting to explore the places pain could take me I discovered that submitting to someone who wanted to inflict that pain transformed the experience. I have bottomed (that is been beaten without submitting) Its fun, but, as I discovered its like a Mcdonald’s versus a fillet steak. Both might fill you when you are hungry, but that is about all they have in common.
So when I submit am I reverting to learned behaviour, the plaything of a more powerful male figure? Undoubtedly yes, the difference, as Carter explained so well, is consent. As a child I could not consent. I could however feel pleasure, and that confusion that abuse can bring, of learning to hate a body that betrays you. As an adult submissive and masochist I have been led to liking myself, to leaving shame behind. The criticisms of submission, and of masochism always have at their core that somehow the observer is wiser, more far seeing than than the participants. They lack respect, or an understanding that those of us who kneel may have given far more thought to why we do it, for without thought all those dangers Carter spoke off loom large.
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