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The Pleasure's All Mine: The Memoir of a Professional Submissiveby Joan Kelly
Clients often ask about the first time I realized I had a fixation on both spanking and erotic dominance and submission. The truth is, unlike some other kinksters, I could not remember a ?first time? or a defining moment that flipped an internal switch for me. As far as I know, I always felt as I do now. What did stand out was the first time I understood that this feeling I got in my stomach around kinky stuff was connected to sex.
At age fourteen, I decided to try one of the things I read about in Judy Blume books, despite my friend Michelle?s dire warning that masturbation either made you a lesbian or proved you already were one. One night in the middle of my eighth-grade year, a stark image formed seemingly out of nowhere in my mind?s eye as I pressed and stroked underneath my bedcovers. I saw the boy I had a crush on spanking me. Whatever blood had not already migrated underneath my right hand rushed hotly to my face and neck in the pitch-darkness of my bedroom. Humiliated, I forced the picture out of my mind. A minute later, as I?d been trying to think of this same boy kissing me, the spanking scene re-invaded. And this time I noted something besides my embarrassment??the image of being over this boy?s knee accomplished a kind of excitement that made the work of my fingers nearly irrelevant. I fought it off a second time, now worried I was beyond the bounds of extreme mental illness, never mind lesbianism. But I did not take my hand out from beneath my covers. When I saw myself a third time, ass in the air over Willie?s lap, I gave up. I let the image have its way with me, shutting my eyes tight against whatever it might mean.
Afraid of a recurrence, I lived in frustrated self-abstinence for the next few years. A girl named Mallory helped break my dry spell at age sixteen, passing around a bodice-ripper she?d picked up in the romance section of the local drug store?s book rack.
?This is so sexy! Oh my God, you guys have to read it,? she?d announced in the girls? bathroom, holding the book out to my friend at thigh level, as if it were an incendiary device that a higher altitude might detonate.
?What?s it about?? I asked. I was heavily into Stephen King and true crime by that year, and hesitated to take my mind off the distraction of terror and bloody death for a mere Danielle Steele rip-off. Who cared if rich, beautiful women fell in love with handsome strangers? At sixteen I had bad skin, worse hair, a tragically misguided sense of fashion, and??needless to say??my virginity. By that point I needed something besides raven-haired beauties and throbbing manhoods to keep suicide off the top of my to-do list.
?Just read it,? Mallory growled quietly, waving us away as she disappeared into the halls.
I not only read it, I tore through it by third period of the next day: A sexy Arab prince kidnaps a beautiful young woman and brings her to his luxury tent in the desert. When he?s not at work in his sandy kingdom, he?s banging the hell out of her in a way that makes her forget, at least during the banging, that she?s mad at him. He tries to win her over with good sex and witty repartee, but she insists on trying to escape anyway. When she brandishes a pair of sewing scissors??after all he?s done for her??it?s the final straw. He knocks them from her hand and pulls her over his knee. By the time he?s done spanking her, they both know she?s in love with him.
How dare he? I raged inside. How dare the author, how dare the publishers, how dare the world at large pretend that this is what makes women happy? Just because it made me ache with longing didn?t mean it was realistic or right. Yet a smaller voice inside me did find some comfort amidst the indignity of this kind of propaganda. Mallory had found it sexy, I noted with stunned relief, and indeed the fact of its publication in the first place proved to me that I could not be the only person in the world who felt the way I did. And there were now at least some options for the future??if I could somehow grow up pretty enough to be the object of a kidnapper?s attention, I could probably get the spanking and sex that I now thought about simultaneously on a daily basis.
While spiriting me out of the country in the dead of night did not occur to my first real spanking partner, his mere existence after a few more years of painful resignation was miraculous to me nonetheless. Prior to his arrival, I?d tried to get the few boyfriends I finally ended up having in college to help me with these needs that still embarrassed me. These young men?s attempts to humor me were always awkward and frustrating at best. None of my fantasies had involved being slapped like a horse getting the giddy-up signal while doing it doggy style, and I was still too uptight about my yearnings in the first place to go into any helpful detail about what would have worked. It was to their credit that they had open minds about what I thought of as my ?weirdness,? but their failed efforts merely served to accentuate my despair over ever getting what I wanted.
Relief seemed imminent one day in my junior year of college. I?d just gotten a university email account, and had taken to visiting the computer science building after my last class each afternoon. I didn?t have a computer of my own, and the basement of the computer lab had a dozen or so antiquated machines set up for student use.
That spring afternoon, I received an email from a friend of a friend I?d never met, asking me if I?d ever been tied up. This type of thing was not as out of the blue as it sounds. At that time, I was a latecomer to a sputteringly social computer-geek community that had loosely formed a few years earlier. The guys in the group, or geek boys as we called them, were habitual in their random come-ons to newcomer women. Claiming the mantel of kink for oneself was a common enough ploy amongst the geeks. It didn?t necessarily mean anything except that the person saying it wanted to be thought of as a sexual dynamo. Even knowing it was quite possibly an affectation, I answered my emailer with as much controlled enthusiasm as I could muster. No, I hadn?t been tied up; but I had always wanted to be.
Meet me in the woods behind the computer lab in 15 minutes came the immediate reply. He had to be kidding??there were bugs in the woods, and friend of a friend or not, this was a town that had only recently shaken off the distinction of having the highest percentage of serial killers per capita. Still, the invitation had been irresistible. Ten minutes into the waiting period, I headed toward the back door of the building, trying to develop an air of reserve to camouflage my blind hope.
A few minutes later I stood before him in a little clearing in the middle of some young pine trees. He sat on a fallen log, watching me with a smile in his eyes but nowhere else on his face. I had reflexively followed his first order and taken off my T-shirt and bra without comment.
?Stand in front of that middle tree there, and lift your arms over your head,? his voice came again, low and confident. As I had walked into the woods, I had merely hoped for someone to greet me at the edge of the trees who didn?t gross me out physically. His name was Tim, and I had been extremely relieved by the first sight of his cute face and fit body. His brown hair was not quite thick enough anymore to grow as long and wild as he seemed to be aiming for, but it still framed his slightly dangerous-looking face in a flattering way. His skin seemed pale, more due to time spent indoors than as a result of his natural coloring, and his smooth white hands looked capable of conveying anything I might hope for. v Immediately after lifting my arms, I heard a noise. My first thought was: Is it going to freak out a deer to see this? I worried that what we were doing out in nature was somehow tantamount to a form of spiritual littering. I cut my eyes away from Tim and was alarmed to see a flash of color, chest-high, many yards away but coming in our direction through the foliage.
?There?s someone coming,? I said in a panicked voice, and crossed my arms over my bare chest.
?Stay exactly as you are,? Tim ordered, his tone polite yet insistent. I stared at him open-mouthed, and then raised my arms again uncertainly.
?What if he sees me??
?Probably it?ll make his day. Don?t move.?
Rational thought tried to force its way into my mind, but the jolts of electric excitement traveling the length of my upstretched body refused to be overridden. Don?t move. If Jesus himself had come around the bend at that point, I would have remained still. I could not mess up the opportunity to hear Tim say more things like that to me.
Holding my breath, I heard more clearly the sound of crackling leaves and the whoosh of movement through the stillness outside our little circle. When a clear outline of a blue T-shirt bobbed into view mere feet from where I stood, I clenched my lids shut and waited for catastrophe. Over the roaring of blood in my ears I heard twigs snapping directly in front of me, and opened my eyes to see who was about to make a citizen?s arrest for this public lewdness.
?You were very good; that pleased me a great deal,? Tim said, running his long index fingers from the hollow of my throat out to the tips of each nipple. The jogger had passed us by without incident; whether he?d seen us or not, I?d never know. Goose bumps shivered to the surface of my entire body in the warmth of that spring afternoon.
?Turn around,? he ordered softly. Keeping my hands raised, I swiveled until my back was towards him.
?Bend over. You may put your arms down now.?
?Thank you,? I said sincerely. My arms had been starting to ache. I leaned forward with my hands at my sides, and studied the close-up view of the ground in front of me. I?d heard there were wolf spiders in these parts, and was nervous about pitching face-first into a nest of sharp fangs and eight hairy legs.
Tim stood close behind me, his crotch pressed lightly against the seat of my pants. I took deep, sometimes shuddering breaths as the pads of his fingers brushed coolness across both of my shoulder blades, thumbs meeting on my spine to guide his palms down the back of my rib cage. His fingertips curled into the waistband of my jeans and gave a slight tug.
?I?d like you to pull these down so I can further examine you.?
I hadn?t shaved recently, as I hadn?t foreseen any nudity in my immediate future. Hurriedly, I tried to think of a good reason to keep my pants on, without admitting self-consciousness.
?I . . . feel like . . . I?m not ready for that today,? I stuttered.
Tim was quiet for a moment. ?That?s fine, but next time I expect you to be ready to do everything I tell you to do. Understood??
I nodded, relieved. After allowing me to stand up again and get dressed, he issued a terse hug of goodbye, but made no mention of when next time might be.
It happened four days later. I had begun shaving legs and trimming other parts daily in an attempt to be ?spontaneously? ready for his next invitation. Each afternoon when my classes were done, I made my way into the basement of the computer lab. It was the end of the week, Friday afternoon, when Tim?s email came through. He wrote that I had ten minutes to meet him at the edge of the woods, and if I got there after he did, I?d be punished for lateness.
I headed quickly to the woods. As I got within site of our little meeting place, I saw Tim waiting for me, and anxious confusion set in.
I know it hasn?t been ten minutes, so I can?t be late. Will he be mad at me anyway?
He wasn?t smiling as I got closer, but he didn?t look angry either. It was something else.
Ah, this is a game??he planned to beat me here all along, I realized. The idea relaxed and aroused me.
He had me walk ahead of him, and although we were on a visible dirt trail, he still gave me directions about where to turn. His voice steered me back into our little clearing from the other day, and again he took a seat on the large log resting like a bench on the pine needles and scattered leaves.
?Take off all of your clothes.?
I stood in front of him, nerves and joy combining inside me to generate a smile that I tried to suppress, fearing it would seem too giggly. I removed my clothes as quickly and gracefully as I could, then waited quietly.
?Now. We had an agreement that you wouldn?t keep me waiting. And yet you did. Do you know what that means?? Tim?s eyes teased me when I looked up from my neatly folded pile of clothes.
?Not exactly,? I hesitated, although I hoped that I did.
?It means I have to punish you. Do you agree to that??
?If . . . well . . . yes, okay,? I finished nervously. I couldn?t shake the paranoia that there was something irredeemably perverted about admitting out loud that I was into this stuff, even to someone else who clearly shared my interests.
?Come over here,? he reached out to me, and pulled me close in front of him by my hips. We faced each other, he on the log, me not much taller even as I stood. His hands closed around my wrists, and I didn?t know if it was my veins or his fingers that thumped a pulse through the surface of my skin. ?I?m going to spank you now,? he said softly, and I started to hyperventilate a little. ?Hey.? He let go of my wrists and squeezed my upper arms gently. ?Are you okay with this??
?I?m . . . it?s just . . . ? I couldn?t seem to breathe deeply enough, ?I think I?m a little nervous. I?ve never done this before.?
?It?s okay,? he said, smiling. ?I?ll take it easy.?
Calming down a little, I puzzled over my miscommunication. I wasn?t afraid that it would hurt too much or that he would go too hard. I was afraid of what I would sound like, look like, act like once I was doing the thing that made me the most excited out of anything else I could imagine. I had never been above medium warm before??I was worried that being completely on fire might produce a giddiness that I wouldn?t be able to contain.
?Come over to this side, and lay across my lap,? Tim guided me to the right of him. He held my waist as I folded myself over him with as much poise as I could muster. ?You can hold onto my legs if you want.?
I held onto him for balance, and for proof that this was really happening, not another one of my daydreams. When he ran a hand over the curves of my cheeks, letting the edge of his thumb trail down the split between them, I dropped my shoulders and let my chin rest on the side of his knee.
?Are you ready?? The fingers of his left hand curled around the right side of my rib cage, gripping me firmly.
?Yes,? I said, aiming for more of a purr but hearing what sounded like a croak as my voice box wrestled fear and euphoria.
I think it?d be most accurate to say that Tim gave me my first ?patting? that day, rather than anything that technically resembled a spanking. His pace and the weight of his hand as he let it fall were careful and soft, just as he?d promised.
How does a person get a guy to break a promise like that? I worried silently. Maybe the next time, I?d have a chance to convey my sturdiness and he?d kick things up a notch.
After about five minutes of his gentleness, he helped me to my feet and offered another stiff embrace. ?I expect an email from you by tonight, detailing your thoughts and reactions to what we?ve done so far,? he instructed, before walking me silently back to the Computer Science building.
I sat down to write him immediately, grateful for the chance to tell someone, anyone, how exciting it had been, and how much more I was ready for. I told him how I?d had these fantasies for as far back as I could remember, and how confused I?d been by the strange spanking games that other kids would occasionally initiate when I was little. I?d known it wasn?t normal to want to lose, and so I?d overcompensated for that urge by making sure I always ?won? and thus never got spanked, much to my ultimate frustration.
I also told him that I?d never felt as excited with anyone before as I had with him. I liked regular sex a lot, but it had never left me so uncomfortably, perpetually aroused as that afternoon with Tim had. I wrote that I couldn?t wait to learn more about what it meant to be a submissive and masochist (as he?d told me I was, in an email sent right after our first meeting in the woods). And I thanked him for being so much fun, and so nice to me.
I received his reply after my last class on Monday. He was going to have to cool things down for a while, he said; take a break, as his girlfriend was having a hard time with their open relationship all of a sudden. He was sorry, but he loved her and wanted to make it work between them.
After the initial shock, I decided that none of it was true. Maybe he did have a girlfriend, but they didn?t have an open relationship that suddenly needed to snap shut. I was convinced that he was reacting solely to my eagerness??that I?d liked it too much, wanted more of it too badly for him not to feel like I?d stolen the thrill of the chase away from him or something. I realized too late that his instruction to be open with him about my reactions was actually a call for email porn??not the raw hope I?d sent off to him in fevered anticipation.
The next day, I used the fire pit at my friends? co-op to burn every piece of kinky literature and spanking porn that I owned. I?d told one friend about my trips to the woods; when she asked for an update later that week, I claimed to have lost interest in him. It would be five years before I?d try anything like it again.
Through no fault of Tim?s, college had gone downhill for me from there. I took a pre-existing self-destructive streak and ran with it, until my love for pot and all things pill-shaped had somehow morphed into a run-of-the-mill heroin habit by the time I was twenty-five. When my parents offered to pay for a hospital stay late one summer afternoon, I figured what the hell. I was dying of boredom, among other things, and rehab sounded like an interesting diversion to me.
When I was a little over a year sober, I found myself not much more entertained than I had been back in my heroin daze. Firmly rooted in a $5.15 an hour job selling newspapers and magazines on a corner near my apartment, I thought if this was what the counselors had meant by a new freedom and a new happiness, I?d like to see about getting my old shitty depression back. In a seemingly unrelated incident around the time I was reaching my breaking point, my housemate inherited a Stone Age computer from a friend. I had a twang of nostalgia for all the cute, non-kinky computer geeks I?d messed around with after Tim, and promptly splurged on an Internet account.
Surfing the web did indeed turn out to be a more interesting waste of time than what I?d been doing. On one of my first afternoons online, I came across a message board that claimed to be a place to discuss feminism. Considering the amount of disappointingly anti-feminist posts, I don?t know why I was so surprised to see this one among them:
Ladies, stop lying to yourselves. Admit you want it. Visit www.spankingnet.com.
Believing it to be someone?s idea of subversive humor, I resolved to ignore it at first. I had paranoid visions of some tracking system that kept a record of how many ?feminists? were clandestinely taking the bait, for the purposes of a huge AHA! at some future point in time. Although I dreaded being the bad apple who poisons the reputation of the whole group, I lasted only a few hours before I had to return to the computer and look up the website.
The site not only was real, but better than any other real thing I had encountered in a long time. It was a place for the spanking-obsessed to put up personal ads and talk to each other live in chat rooms. With jittery hands I typed a description of myself and posted it on the website, and by that evening, I had received more private messages in my kinky inbox than I had time to scan through before my housemate came home and needed the phone line.
Before pure glee could sink in, I had a bout of nervousness about what I?d posted. In addition to stating I was very new to the whole bondage and discipline scene and looking for a decent, unattached person to explore with, I?d said I weighed 110 pounds and had perfect 34B breasts. In actuality, I was closer to 120 at the time, and my left breast was a tiny bit bigger than my right one. I had dread-filled visions of finally meeting someone, only to see his face fall before my eyes as he realized I?d oversold myself online. That evening after my housemate went to bed and I had time to check my messages at a leisurely pace, it became instantly clear that my left breast was the least of my worries.
It was as if the Renaissance Faire nerds had invaded Hustler magazine. I know this is judgmental, but I personally can?t get it up for people who address me as ?M?lady.? Worse, these Little Lord Fauntleroys offered poorly-written descriptions of everything they wanted to do to me??without so much as an initial nice to meet you??leaving me with visions of disembodied tongues shoving themselves rudely towards places they had not yet been invited. I resisted the urge to send out a mass reply consisting solely of the word ICK. On a positive note, it was a relief in a way??all of my own anxiety about whether I?d measure up disappeared completely in the face of people who faked British accents in cyberspace.
But I was truly taken aback when I read the profile of a man who?d invited me into a private chat. His handle was ?Topper,? and while he didn?t say anything especially intriguing in his profile, the sheer absence of any kind of clownish posturing was fairly stunning to me by that point. The only problem was that he?d checked ?attached? in his marital status section.
So, was that a mistake or are you actually with someone? I typed to him that first day. This may sound unbelievably naive, but I didn?t get why someone who openly admitted to having a partner would be contacting me. I thought most guys would try to hide being attached if they were on the prowl to cheat, or at least complain that it was a miserable situation that they would be getting out of any minute now.
No, it wasn?t a mistake, Topper typed back.
Well, are you married to this person? I asked.
Yes, he wrote without elaborating.
Are you in love with her?
Very much so, yes.
By this point I was both confused and angry. Why did the only non-spastic man I?d talked to so far on this contraption have to wave himself in my face tauntingly if he wasn?t available? Fine, you?re sadistic, but this is a little out of bounds even for kink.
Why are you writing to me, then?
I?m looking for a submissive. I particularly enjoy training novices, which your profile says you are; and I liked that you were clearly intelligent and genuinely polite.
I paused for a moment, and then typed thank you reflexively. I just don?t want to be messing around with someone else?s husband, that?s all. I would feel guilty about it; plus I don?t like to share.
Understood. So you know, my wife is aware of my search for a dominant/submissive relationship outside of our marriage. We have an arrangement, catered to be sensitive to her feelings, but it?s understood that within that arrangement I will be seeking a submissive to train.
I?m happy for you and your wife, but I don?t want to be with a married man.
I was irritated now and would have had the urge to slam down a receiver if we?d been talking on the phone instead of online. How dare he think I?d settle for a fraction of someone else?s man? How dare he think I wanted so little for myself, arrangement or no arrangement with his wife?
Okay, he typed. If you?d like, I would still be interested in mentoring you to whatever degree you?d be comfortable with.
Hmmmm, I thought out loud on the screen, thank you, but what exactly would that mean, for you to mentor me?
Well, it means that instead of being completely adrift in this new situation, you?d have someone to answer your questions, someone who wasn?t trying to get anything from you.
My irritation from moments before disappeared, and in its place I felt the beginnings of what I thought would be a safe, and distant, crush. He was here to help me, and at forty-four years old, having been in the scene almost as long as I?d been alive, he undoubtedly had information that I needed. When he offered to call me that day so we could talk without the lag of typing time, I eagerly agreed. When he informed me that I was to call him ?Sir? and follow whatever instructions he gave me during our impending conversation, I was doubly happy. It seemed I would get to have the safety of a purely platonic involvement, while still experiencing some of the rituals of dominance and submission that I?d already found stimulating. I logged off and sank into the beat-up couch next to the telephone in our living room. When the phone jingled loudly, I made myself wait until the third ring to pick up.
?Hello, Joan.? His voice had an almost whispery quality, without being lispy or high-pitched.
?Hello, Sir.? I tried to think of what to say next, what would be good kinky-stranger etiquette. Do I launch into my questions, or wait for him to guide the conversation?
?Tell me, Joan, do you have a wooden ruler in your apartment??
Thank God he stepped in to take the initiative??it hit me that I could no longer think of a single question anyway. I pushed my nervousness at what his question might mean out of my mind, and answered him matter-of-factly.
?I know I don?t have one, but my housemate might. I can go look. . . . ?
?Do that now,? he said gently, and the receiver slipped out of my hand to land noisily on the wooden tabletop as I tried for a smooth disengagement.
?Sorry, Sir,? I snatched it back up and breathed into the phone. ?I?ll be right back.? A minute later, I was seated again. ?I found a ruler, Sir, but it?s three-sided and plastic, not wooden.?
?Even better,? I could hear the smile in his voice, and again purposefully refused to think about where this might be going.
It was one handy skill I?d learned in rehab??how to fend off sheer terror of the unknown by focusing exactly on what?s going on in any particular moment. We are just talking. I am just sitting in my living room. Thin, vertical lines of sunlight are shining like laser beams onto our ugly brown carpet.
?I?d like you to lie down with your back on the couch, and lift and spread your legs so that you have access to the backs and insides of your thighs.?
?Okay, Sir, I?m in that position,? I rearranged myself, scooting some pillows out of the way, and ran through the litany in my mind. I?m lying down. I?m holding a phone receiver to my ear. Nothing bad is happening.
?Good. Now I want you to use the ruler on yourself, first on the back of each thigh, then on the insides, ten strokes at a time, and I want you to count out loud for me.?
How to explain what it was like to hear those words? I had never before been so aroused and ashamed at the same time, even back in eighth grade when I?d fantasized about this for the first time. What kind of person sat alone in her living room and beat herself with a ruler while talking on the phone? What if the neighbors heard, and worse, what if they understood what the sounds meant? What kind of lunatic was I, to be participating in something as ridiculous as this? And yet there was never any question in my mind that I would do it. Already the sound of his voice in my ear felt like a physical touch to me, like his hands were on my body, mostly around my ribcage of all things, pressing my heart and lungs together so that breath, my pulse, and longing all became one blended bodily function in response to his calm orders.
?Does it matter which side I start on?? It felt like a silly question as soon as I asked it, a lame attempt to stall and ask for some kind of reassurance at the same time.
?No, it doesn?t matter, but why don?t you start with your right side? And it needs to be hard enough for me to hear it.? He hadn?t sounded like he thought I was silly. If anything, I thought I?d detected a note of genuine warmth in his response, and I wondered if it was just an attempt to put me at ease, or something he really felt.
?Yes, Sir,? I said, and then, ?One.?
?I couldn?t really hear that,? he interrupted me evenly. ?Please begin again.?
?One,? I gasped as I brought one side of the ruler down on the back of my right thigh with as much momentum as my short arm and the position of my body would allow. Before the full sting of it could take hold, his voice interceded.
?That was much better,? he sounded like he was smiling again, and the redness on my white leg felt only warm then, not painful. By the time I had finished all forty strokes, I thought either I must have an unusually weak arm, or an unusually high tolerance for pain. I?d tried really hard to make it hurt, but mostly all it had done was make my body throb in a different location altogether from where the ruler was landing.
?That was wonderful. I?m very pleased, Joan.?
I thanked him, and wondered why his simple words of approval made me feel so simultaneously happy and horrified. I had not liked to think of myself as someone who sought validation from men, and yet here I was, feeling like a cat who?d been scratched behind the ears just because a man I didn?t know was ?pleased? with me. What the hell? Beyond that, I wasn?t even totally convinced he meant it. He could be anyone. He could be laughing at me right now, or taping this for some humiliating purpose in the future for all I knew.
?Tell me how you?re feeling right now.? Apparently he was not done bossing me around. I wanted to hang up the phone then, not ever talk to him again. Who was he to pry into my feelings, anyway? I?d done what he?d wanted me to do, why did he need to know how attached I already was to the idea of submitting to him?
?I?m okay,? I said, more to myself than him, and wiped the wetness from my closed eyelids. I?m still okay. This is okay. And then he did laugh, but not at me.
?You don?t sound too sure, although it hadn?t occurred to me that you wouldn?t be, quite frankly,? he chuckled softly as he spoke.
Is it okay to tell a stranger the truth, or is that a socially awkward thing to do? I wondered silently. It couldn?t be any weirder than what I just did, could it?
?Ugh, I don?t know,? I began. ?This is exciting for me, and I?m afraid that makes me some kind of freak. I?m also afraid you?ll think I?m weird for it, and not talk to me after this.? I exhaled loudly, relieved that at least it was out there.
?Let me get this straight??you?re worried that I?m going to reject you for enjoying the things I like doing with you?? he asked seriously.
?I know that sounds strange??? I started to explain, and he cut me off.
?That?s okay, I just wanted to make sure I understood what you were saying. Let me ask you something, and I?m not meaning this in a teasing way, but is it your experience that that?s normal human behavior when you?ve done something you enjoy with another person??
?I don?t know, really.? I stumbled for the right way to say what I didn?t want him to know: that the last person who?d seemed to enjoy dominating me had also seemed to find me repellent afterwards, and had left me with a fear that it was the very nature and depth of my urges that would put people off thereafter. But there was no way to really backpedal from it now, so I told him, with as little detail as possible, admitting fully only to the fact that Tim had hurt my feelings and left me wary of taking any of this seriously.
?But you don?t have a choice about that,? he said reasonably.
?What do you mean??
?If you were capable of not taking your feelings and desires seriously, we wouldn?t be having this conversation. You?d be feeling happily detached right now, and that?d be that.? I resented how cheerful he made it sound.
?Then as my mentor, can you help me learn how to do that?? I asked, only half-joking, but he roared on the other end of the line.
?That?s something I liked about you from the start. Even in reading your profile, it was clear you had a sense of humor.?
?Thanks,? I said begrudgingly. ?So. . . .??
?So no, I can?t help you feel things less intensely,? he said, still amused, ?but I can tell you that, of the things that could potentially make me uncomfortable with you, your excitement isn?t one of them. And I?m sorry to hear that you had such a hurtful experience earlier on??it sounds like that guy was a jerk.?
I didn?t realize how hunched up and tense I?d been until his simple words made my shoulders drop down to their normal position. I stretched my neck, rolling my head forward and to each side in the couch cushions, wondering what it was that people were supposed to talk about after an exchange like this.
?Tell me, are you still wet right now??
Wow! That?s so not where I would?ve gone with it myself. I told him I didn?t know.
When he told me to check with my right hand, it turned out that my body was indeed better at handling excitement than the rest of me. He asked me if I would like to ask his permission to come, and I thanked him but said I?d have to pass. I?d never done that over the phone either, and somehow it felt even more personal to me than what we?d done with the ruler.
?In that case, I rescind the offer.? Before I could thank him for his understanding, he went on. ?Now it?s a direct order. You will come for me on the phone today. Are you lying on your back??
That was sort of the last straw for me, in terms of any resistance to messing around with someone else?s husband. Really, why would he lie about being in love with his wife and having an arrangement with her? And if she wasn?t going to get her feelings hurt by it, and if I had a little less fear now about getting my feelings hurt by it, then what would be the hold up? Last I checked, there was no surplus of men around who were both good at being bossy in a sexy way and even more interested in my orgasms than I was.
The next day I sent him an email.
I wanted to tell you that I thought of you today when I was out. I was wearing a skirt when I went to the store, and it wasn?t until it rode up during the drive home that I saw the marks. I checked in the mirror when I got home??the backs and insides of my thighs are blue, purple, and yellow where I used the ruler. It scared me at first, because I associate bruises with injuries, and I feel weird about the idea of injuring myself with sex stuff. But they?re shaped funny, like butterflies with their wings spread, and now I?m sort of fixated on them. Am I going to stay this preoccupied with you and with this kind of stuff permanently? It?s making me feel sort of retarded in the rest of my life.
By the time he wrote back to me two days later, I was convinced I had said too much, and I steeled myself for the rejection as I went to open his e-mailed reply.
I was very pleased to get your note. Yes, you might stay somewhat focused on what we do together for a little while to come, but eventually the novelty will wear off and you?ll be able to think of other things again as well. I wish I were there to enjoy those beautiful butterflies. Maybe some day soon.
Soon after, when he offered to send me money so I could get a hotel room near where he lived, I accepted eagerly. I didn?t want to meet first at some public place, or have a friend go with me to chaperone outside the door until we knew for certain he wasn?t a well-disguised maniac. I could tell from his voice and the things he said that he wasn?t dangerous. Plus, for reasons I didn?t really understand, I liked being a little scared. I could never tell if it was that particular preference of mine, or his unconditional acceptance of me in our first phone conversation, that kept me going to those hotel rooms long after the butterflies had turned into something that left me routinely shaken instead of stirred.
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