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Meat market

MEAT

‘One of them made me a bone in the shape of a penis; one of them showed me a video of his penis. One of them asked me if I’d like to go upstairs and have sex with him … would I like to have an affair?’

I have a new, unlikely kink, courtesy of the BBC. Smithfield market, trading meat in the centre of London since 1174. (Pretty much) all-male, misogynistic, racist, homophobic – the filth here is as much about the attitudes of the traders as it is about the blood that stains their white coats.

I’ve had a thing about butchers for years now, but this confirmed everything I’d ever suspected to be true, in a way that thrilled and horrified me in equal measure. It starts, as these things always do, with the fact that this is a twilight world. Open from 2 till 8 a.m., it operates to its own codes, its own rules. It is, to quote one trader ‘an oasis from the PC world outside.’

It’s a terrible place to be a woman.

As with all the best filth, it seems, at first, to hide its nastiness well. The traders are old, and jovial, for the most part – they have comedy names, like Biffo – and there’s a flashing plastic santa on one of the counters that opens its coat to flash its pants. Dee, the first woman ever to work as a meat cutter, rather than a cashier, seems to tolerate the ‘banter’ she attracts with a wry smile. Her friends, she says, are proud of her for being the first ever woman in the role – they say it’s ‘girl power.’ Girl power, as you may have guessed, isn’t really respected in this environment. The women who do work as cashiers are, to quote the narrator, ‘cocooned in portacabins,’ locked away from the threats the men present.

These men only respect women in traditional roles. One, asked if he likes Christmas, says no, he hasn’t liked it since his mum died in 1975. ‘Your mum’s your best mate, in’t she?’ he says, turning away from the camera. Another, whose wife has recently died, tears up when asked if he misses her, says ‘Oh, yeah,’ and excuses himself from the interview. Male weakness is a failing, clearly. And, asked about the design of the building, which was redeveloped at some stage, the response is ‘Don’t quote me on this, but I think the new market was designed by a woman, and it shows.’

Christ.

New male staff don’t get an easy ride of it, either – before they pass their training, they undergo some kind of archaic ‘initiation ceremony,’ where they stand naked in the street aside from a ‘mankini’ while the other traders pelt them with ‘various rotten produce – eggs and blood and offal …’ This is filth in its most traditional, most visceral, most stomach-churning sense. ‘As long as he takes it like a man, we’ll respect him,’ says one of the older guys. Like a man. Of course.

It’s not the kind of thing that should make you horny. The men are old, and unattractive, but that’s not why you wouldn’t want to fuck them. You wouldn’t want to fuck them because they’d treat you worse than the animal carcasses they spend the whole programme chopping up. Take Dee. By the end of the programme, she’s left her job at the market.

‘I think it was the pressure of things happening at home, as well as market life,’ says her former boss.

Dee disagrees. Talking about the men she came into contact with, she says, ‘One of them made me a bone in the shape of a penis; one of them showed me a video of his penis. One of them asked me if I’d like to go upstairs and have sex with him … would I like to have an affair? After a while, it’s just a bit degrading, you know?’

‘That’s Smithfield market, unfortunately,’ says the boss. He doesn’t sound like he thinks it’s particularly unfortunate.

Unlike him, I do know, which is why I’m ashamed to say the whole thing left me vaguely turned on, and not only that – it left me wanting to write …

Known/Unknown

‘It’s the virginity thing,’ one of my best friends says, when I tell her I’m writing the intro to #KOTW and the kink is brutalism and/or concrete, and although they undoubtedly turn me on, I have no idea what’s behind this kink.

And she’s probably right. After all, nearly fifteen years on I still conjure up the vision of my French Connection cotton halter dress round my waist and the smell of metal railings on my hands when I need a fantasy to make me come.

So it’s a kink fuelled by something known, by a memory, but also, I think, fuelled just as much by the unknown, the unfamiliar. The most common concrete structures are, after all, shopping centres, train stations, blocks of flats. I’ve spent most of my life in the countryside, so those things just aren’t part of my everyday life: they’re the geography of fantasy, the landscape of sexual escapism.

Which isn’t to say you can’t combine the known and the unknown. More often than not, when I summon the mental image of the stranger I lost my virginity to, it’s that same car park, those same smells, same noises. But recently, I was on a train, and it sped past a bleak grey high rise, concrete balconies high above the ground. And since then, I dream that instead: a hand in the small of my back and another in my hair. I dream of being forced and the background is almost always concrete.

 

I’ve got a guest! #03: Kristina Lloyd on Writing on the Body

Kristina last guested for me when her last novel Undone was released. She’s been quiet for a while so I’m incredibly thrilled that she’s just published a collection of her short stories, On My Knees. The collection opens with one of my favourite of Kristina’s shorts, No Sleep, which features some super hot Sharpie action. As writing on the body is a relatively new kink of mine, and one that recurs in Kristina’s work, she kindly offered to write me a guest post on why it’s just so bloody hot…

Writing on the Body 

Pete withdrew his hand from my breast – much too soon – and pressed it to the flat of my chest, telling me to keep still. It was difficult. Passion made my thighs tremble and my head spin.

Then I felt the cool tackiness of Ilya pressing the lipstick to my back.

‘What letter’s this, Beth?’ he asked as the lipstick snaked a winding path from a few inches below one shoulderblade and down almost to waist level.

‘S,’ I whispered.

‘Good girl,’ breathed Ilya. ‘And this?’

As he stroked a lipstick line down my back, the other guy gave my clit a series of tiny circular rubs, the pad of his thumb hard and abrasive.

‘Oh God,’ I cried, my body swaying with delirium. ‘I can’t take it. Please –’

‘Keep still, Beth,’ urged Ilya. ‘What letter was that?’

‘L,’ I gasped. ‘L.’

Pete carried on leering, giving my clitoris the odd teasing flick or two. Ilya continued drawing on my back.

‘And that one?’ said Ilya, quietly demanding.

‘U,’ I said, a hint of weary resignation in my voice.

‘Well done, Beth,’ said Ilya. ‘S-L-U ­– What’s the next letter?’

I could feel all my juices flooding from my pussy on to Pete’s hand. My arousal was more humiliating than being humiliated. 

(from Asking for Trouble, Kristina Lloyd)

*

Erotic humiliation features heavily in my fiction, tending towards the psychological rather than the physical. For the most part, the humiliation arises from the woman’s failure to be sexually appropriate and decorous. She might be shamed by being ‘forced’ into acts which debase her, such as cocksucking (because nice girls don’t) or shamed for having sexual desire (because yup, nice girls don’t). In all cases, her worth and status are lowered. Writing on the body is, for me, a quick, powerful means of achieving degradation (that lowering) and eliciting those concomitant hot feelings of shame. In this piece I want to attempt to unpick why that might be; not to offer an insight into my twisted psyche, but because I think it’s super interesting, and often useful, to explore the underpinnings and dynamics of kink, both psychological and socio-cultural.

Humiliation is about falling from grace; about failing to meet or adhere to a social value system. It requires a public, even if it’s just a public of one, who brings that value system to bear on the wayward individual. Where it gets particularly interesting for me is when the humiliatee sets no store by the value system they are deemed to have failed. The public system, or representative of it, must then ramp up their activity so the failure is recognised and, ideally, felt in the gut by the individual who’s attempted to bypass the shared values. The rebel must be shown the error of their ways and brought back into line. They must be punished by being publicly shamed.

In our culture, women are not permitted to have a sexual appetite proportionate to men’s. When we overstep the mark, society has  names for us ­– slut, whore, cumdumpster, skank, tramp, slag and so on – words which all have the same meaning: you are having a lot of sex. In this context, ‘ a lot’, of course, means ‘too much for our liking’.

If, as the accused woman, your response is ‘Hey, I am having a lot of sex, thanks, isn’t that awesome?’, it’s still hard to escape the pejorative sting of words intended to shame, of words which carry the values one has tried to ignore or evade.

Words such as slut, whore, tramp etc, are layered with meaning and inference. They equate to ‘lots of sex’ which, for many people, is cool because lots of sex is exciting. The words also, for me, carry the thrill of shame which taps right into my personal submissive desires. The process of being shamed means, for the duration, the humiliatee is exposed for being outside the value system, be it the value system of a society or a house of kink in the countryside. The disobedient person is made lesser by their outsider status and their failure to conform. They need to be taught a lesson so they’ll think twice before straying again. During the lesson, they have no right to reply. They are being shown their failure and are being taken deeper, lower, closer to a place that is beyond culture or rules in order to then be brought back. (The word ‘humiliate’ has its etymological roots in the Latin ‘humus’, meaning ground or earth.) As punishment, they are being reduced by being done to by a greater power.

I get off on scenarios of women being done to; of women being rendered so insignificant and worthless that her male adversaries needn’t behave decently out of respect for her personhood or her femaleness. And I like (the idea of) unrestrained (archetypal) masculinity because it trashes all those notions that say women aren’t really into sex; that they need to be approached at an oblique angle, seduced into ‘surrender’, then gently made love to on a bearskin rug by the fireside.

Submission and being shamed for having sexual hunger is often a way for me (or my characters) to say ‘Have at me, big boy! I like it just as bad as you.’

What does all this have to do with writing on the body? Language is a social phenomenon. Words require a reader. A person wearing signage intended to shame comes with a ready-made implied and disapproving audience.  A few years ago in the States, a deeply unpleasant trend arose for parents disciplining their kids by forcing them to wear placards listing their domestic misdemeanors. Fortunately, the practice was short-lived but it spawned the internet meme we see now where pets are shamed by signs, the joke being that animals can’t read (so woof, no harm done).

Shaming someone with written words emphasises the viewing, reading public, making it a very efficient means of humiliation. With just a few strokes of ink, it states the crime and shames the criminal. Bring this practice into the erotic arena and skin becomes a canvas, the naked body the signboard. The implied audience doesn’t just read the words, they see the person stripped bare, exposed, powerless and vulnerable. Add text to a bare body and, thanks to that implied audience, the inscribed person becomes so much more naked;  there’s potentially a whole bunch of ‘outside’ eyes on them, those metaphorically clothed representatives of the disregarded value system.

When it is written on, the body becomes an object. The living, breathing individual, with their protective ego and their dignity, is diminished. I don’t have space here to delve in to the liberating pleasure many submissive-identifying folk derive from being stripped of the attributes comprising our social selves, of becoming de-civilised. But if language and literacy are one of the hallmarks of an advanced society, it’s easy to see why being turned into a tool that facilitates an expression of that advancement highlights the power disparity between the writer and the written upon, between dom and sub, between being a person and being parchment.

Top all those factors off with the speed, convenience and spontaneity a writing implement affords, and you have a neat and nasty means of erotic humiliation at a dominant’s disposal. While many people kink for elaborate, ritualised forms of punishment, my own preference is for shabbier, less structured expressions of powerplay. When Ilya from my second book, Asking for Trouble, makes a cameo appearance in my fifth book, Undone, he asks Lana, ‘I assume you have a lipstick in your bag? May I?’

He doesn’t need any kit to humiliate and horrify Lana; just a tube of colour and her skin. He doesn’t need to be prepared and that lack of forethought again implies a de-valuing of the person to be punished. And yet speed also implies value: the feelings she stirs in him are so powerful and immediate, that he, the dominant or punisher, is going to act on them right now. (In RL, I don’t believe men are beasts with uncontrollable urges but that dubious stereotype is a hot line to pursue in the realm of consensual play, fantasy and fiction.) Similarly, in ‘No Sleep’, the opening story of my newly released short story collection, On My Knees, the dominant guy rejects an available bag of cuffs, gags, blindfolds etc in favour of a sudden idea inspired by a Sharpie he finds in his pocket. ‘It was a testament to his dark imagination he could reduce her to a sobbing wreck with so little equipment.’

Writing on the body of the shamed, submissive woman encapsulates and condenses so many facets of my own desire. I like a lot of kinky stuff but this small act carries a big erotic charge. In today’s popular culture, sexual submission is frequently represented by the external trappings of that red room of pain, by equipment and fancy stuff that costs time and money. And while all that gear can be awesome, when we look behind those easy media depictions, we can start to see a sexuality that’s often complex, paradoxical, slippery, unsettling, and is rooted in both the personal and the political. I’ve used an awful lot of words here to fumble my way towards some kind of point. As the saying goes, ‘The pen is mightier than the sword’. And of course, each to her own, but for me the pen, the lipstick, the literate badges of shame, are far mightier than the tawse, paddle or fully equipped dungeon.

*

You can read the entirety of my short story ‘No Sleep’ via Amazon’s preview of On My Knees or by downloading a sample to your Kindle. And if you’re up for some lipstick-related fun, please check out my competition, Match the Writer to the Lipstick, and Charlie’s accompanying flash fiction lippy comp. One of the prizes on offer for each competition is a paperback of On My Knees. Charlie and I are both donating a pound per fiction-comp entrant to Refuge, the charity supporting victims of domestic violence. Closing dates are 11th October. Go!

PS: You can buy Kristina’s new anthology and her novels Asking for Trouble (my fave!) and Undone by clicking on the links below:

Asking for Trouble

Undone

On My Knees

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The Fallen Woman

‘I push open the door and stumble through, tripping over my own feet and falling head first into the office.

Double crap – me and my two left feet! I am on my hands and knees in the doorway to Mr Grey’s office, and gentle hands are around me helping me stand. I am so embarrassed, damn my clumsiness. I have to steel myself to glance up. Holy cow – he’s so young.’

– E L James, Fifty Shades of Grey

I didn’t get that worked up when Ana fell at the start of FSoG. According to a friend, that was as it should be.

‘Bella is clumsy in Twilight. That’s the whole point.’

Maybe it is the whole point of Twilight. I don’t know. I haven’t read/seen it. What I do know, though, is that Ana’s clumsiness is completely fucking irrelevant to Fifty Shades.

I’m not sure that E L James thinks it is, however. I think E L James thinks it might be how Christian spots that Ana would make a good sub. After all, there’s lots about BDSM that confuses E L James – the fact that it’s not born out of a disturbed childhood, the fact that the love of a good woman can’t ‘cure’ somebody of it, and the way no fucking helicopter can make up for the fact that nowhere in the book does Ana suggest she might have submissive leanings.

Anyway. I wasn’t that bothered at the time because it was just a book. Not a book that had sold millions of copies. Not a book that had changed the landscape of erotica. Just a book. And then this happened:

He sank into an elegant crouch in front of me. Hit with all that exquisite masculinity at eye level, I could only stare. Stunned.

Then something shifted in the air between us.

As he stared back, he altered … as if a shield slid away from his eye, revealing a scorching force of will that sucked the air from my lungs. The intense magnetism he exuded grew in strength, becoming a near-tangible impression of vibrant and unrelenting power.

Reacting purely on instinct, I shifted backward. And sprawled flat on my ass.

– Sylvia Day, Bared to You

I’m a big believer in the power of chemistry. But I can honestly say I’ve never sprawled on my ass due to a guy’s ‘elegant crouch.’

I did a bit of Google research earlier this year, when I first started thinking about this. Surely, I reasoned, women falling must be an established trope in romantic literature. I couldn’t find anything. And then it occurred to me that maybe falling/injury is a modern update of this:

“MY DEAREST LIZZY,—

“I find myself very unwell this morning, which, I suppose, is to be imputed to my getting wet through yesterday. My kind friends will not hear of my returning till I am better. They insist also on my seeing Mr. Jones—therefore do not be alarmed if you should hear of his having been to me—and, excepting a sore throat and headache, there is not much the matter with me.—Yours, etc.”

“Well, my dear,” said Mr. Bennet, when Elizabeth had read the note aloud, “if your daughter should have a dangerous fit of illness—if she should die, it would be a comfort to know that it was all in pursuit of Mr. Bingley, and under your orders.”

– Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Romance relies on a weak heroine almost as much as it does an alpha hero. In the past, illness was enough to create a situation in which the hero and heroine are thrown together. These days, it’s harder to convince the average reader that a woman ‘needs’ a man, and so romance does everything in its power to recreate that situation of old. There are various approaches – the heroine can be pregnant, sick, young, poor or just plain clumsy. Because if she doesn’t need rescuing, the author is (ostensibly) breaking the pact they have with the reader.

I’m a cynic, but I was a sucker for Mills & Boon in the past. I loved these women who needed saving so much, I didn’t just read them; I made some shoddy attempts at writing them, too:

He knelt beside her and kissed her gently. She opened her eyes and gave him a sleepy smile. “Bedtime?” he asked.

She nodded, but made no attempt to move. He stood up and gathered her into his arms. She kicked off her stilettos and snuggled up against his chest. He handed her the warm mug, and headed for the stairs.

In their bedroom, he sat down on the edge of the bed and set about undressing her. He slid the straps of her satin dress down and placed her briefly on her feet so that she could step out of it. He unsnapped her suspender belt, removed her stockings and unclipped her bra. As he pulled her white cotton nightdress over her head, she gave a contented sigh, still half asleep. He pulled back the duvet and laid her down.

I think I excelled myself with that particular piece (in my defence, I was eighteen when I wrote it). The FMC has a minor case of being a bit tired, but it affects her so badly that she gets carried upstairs by the hero, undressed by him, and even ‘laid down.’ She couldn’t be more passive if she tried.

Looking back, it wasn’t the passivity that attracted me to writing these kind of women. It was the bodies that they’d need for these kind of scenes even to work. Women who get carried up to bed must naturally be willowy and feather-like. Not only that, I think I thought they were also easy women – if you could simply scoop a woman up and literally put her exactly where you wanted her to be, she wasn’t exactly going to cause you many other problems. And god, I wanted to be that kind of girl.

Luckily, I’ve grown out of that. A bit, anyway. But I’m still writing women who fall.

Falling is seriously grim. I know that not only from my own extensive experience, but also because I’m hyper-alert to other people falling. When I did the Moonwalk back in May, I witnessed a horrific one – an elderly lady tripped over a tree root and gained momentum as she attempted to right herself. Just as I thought she’d regained her balance, she went absolutely flying. And the smack of body hitting concrete, of other people’s gasps, they bring back every fall I’ve ever suffered. I hate seeing it almost as much as I hate doing it.

So we have to stop writing falls as though they’re romantic. They’re not. They’re painful, humiliating, scary. But those things can all be sexy. There’s one particular scene that’s stuck with me from Unfaithful with Richard Gere and Diane Lane, where she falls and we see the aftermath as a series of vignettes designed to foreshadow the risks and pain inherent in the affair she’s embarking on. She eases her tights away from an oozing graze. There’s a flashback to a boiling kettle hissing as she does. It’s all a bit predictable, perhaps, but it turned me on.

I’m fascinated by cuts, grazes, bruises. And not just the ones caused by kink, either. Watching skin knit back together, or blood bead, waiting to spill. The stickiness of it as it clots. The metallic, iron-rich taste of it. I completely accept that these things won’t work for everyone, though. They’re fairly dark, I guess.

Essentially I feel much the same about falling as I do about disability. We need to write it, to see it in the media, to acknowledge that it’s part of many people’s reality. It’s not kooky, or adorable, or cute. What it could be though, if we wrote it well, is really, really fucking hot.

GT

With less than five minutes till the deadline for Exhibit A’s Sinful Stories 2 competition, I can’t work out how to embed Molly Moore’s gorgeous photo, the one that speaks to all my kinks, into the post! Argh! Anyway, you’ll find it here.  And my second competition entry is below…

***

It all started with Simon Jamieson in Year 9. All those dotted characters whose dots she could turn into perfect bubble hearts as she married herself off to him on the back of her English exercise book. Gemma Jamieson. Gemma Thompson-Jamieson. GJ. Mrs Gemma Jamieson. He turned out to be a cunt, though. Obviously.

All through her twenties it was the same story, worse even. She no longer met anyone she could see herself marrying, and the guys she did meet didn’t give a fuck who *she* was. They didn’t even call her Gemma – it was always ‘Baby,’ ‘Sweetheart,’ or even ‘Baby Gem,’ like the lettuce. She bloody hated salad.

Alex called her ‘Great tits,’ right from the night she met him. Somehow it was the best nickname she’d ever had. He called her other names, too: ‘Slut,’ ‘Whore,’ ‘Filthy bitch.’ Hard words that she found herself begging him to say. He’d hold her down and sink his thumbs or his teeth deep into her collarbone, her neck, her breasts. She was fascinated by the bruises that formed in the aftermath: the way they sprang up within hours where her skin was delicate and close to the bone, only to appear whole days later on the softer bits round her nipples and on her tummy.

Date night, to her surprise, was still a thing. He could fuck her mouth so hard it made tears stream down her cheeks, tell her to clean herself up, then take her out to dinner *and* let her share his dessert. Why had nobody ever told her it could be like that?

And dinner did nothing to sate his appetite for her. On the way home he’d fuck her in dark alleyways, shop doorways, bus stops. She remembered them all, of course, but none stood out more than the subway.

The subway made her feel vulnerable – that was why she loved it. He made her strip off her clothes, fold them neatly and pile them on the damp, filthy floor. He made her walk a hundred yards from where she’d left them, to the point at which the tunnel sloped back towards the road, and told her to keep watch. It didn’t escape her notice that no one was watching the other entrance, and nor was she sure what she was guarding against.

She heard the hiss of paint and swung her head round. In broad strokes, he’d sprayed her initials in the formation in which he liked to mark her: big and black and smudgy right above her heart and then two smaller, redder swellings either side of it. The formation in which he *did* mark her, there under his graffiti, the smell of solvent still thick in the air. He fucked her, hard, and then he got up and went to fetch her dress.

He’d reduced her to nothing more than a body. He’d sprayed her tits with his come and the wall with an elegy to her tits. She stretched. The concrete bit into her arse. Her grazes stung. It felt like coming home.

***Massive thanks to @Mollysdailykiss for permission to use her gorgeous pic, obviously. Thanks Molly! x ***

 

Wicked Wednesday: First Time

The stories of my first times are scattered round the internet. Girlonthenet has the story of my actual first time. My first real wake up call to kink is this post. First kiss is here.

That leaves two, by my reckoning.

‘Write about your “other virginity”‘ suggested someone on Twitter who’s not usually so coy. Anal, I presume she means.

I could. In truth, I’m a little surprised that I never have written about it. I’m not ashamed of having done it, nor of the fact that I like it, much to the surprise of some of my RL friends, who have only ever had bad experiences of anal. The secret to good anal is quite possibly doing it with a guy who is a) not anti being on the receiving end of it and b) knows his way round a bottle of lube, although I didn’t know that either of those things was the case when he first said ‘I really want to fuck your arse.’

But with anal, although I was undeniably nervous that it would hurt, I liked the fact that it felt like something he was entirely in control of. I can understand why that’s the very aspect of it that might terrify some people, but I like it when the responsibility for something physical is taken entirely out of my hands.

So let’s talk about something where it’s not.

I don’t think about my hard limits all that often anymore, but for a long time, oral, both given and received, was my hardest of limits.

Giving head is a skill, undoubtedly. I still think I’m really shit at it. I still worry about grazing him with my teeth, about gagging, about the fact that I can’t make him come that way.

But I used to think you gave oral in order to get oral.

When did that change? The first time he fucked my mouth so hard that my face was a liquified mess of tears, mascara, saliva and pre-come.

It felt like more of a milestone than anal.

On seminal kink

‘Seminal’ is one of those words that makes me really happy. It has its good, solid, academic meaning: ‘very important and having a strong influence on later developments’ and also means ‘spunk-like.’ How can you not love it?

Anyway. I got to thinking about seminal kink again yesterday morning, having last thought about it when lovely Molly at Mollysdailykiss mentioned it on Twitter last week. I can’t remember exactly what was said, but I do remember saying that I wished all sex bloggers would write a post on their first memories of kink (I totally stand by that remark. I’m fascinated – please do leave your memories in the comments section here or write your own post and let me know where I/others can find it).

For me, tiny things can send me back to my earliest memories of kink. Yesterday was kind of a perfect storm. Seaside Slut tweeted about a dream involving having sex with a cat with good hair, and I was instantly transported back to reading Nancy Friday’s Women on Top, with its chapter on fantasies of beastiality (let me be very clear that that’s *not* my kink.) Then, clearing out the paperwork in the drawer of my coffee table, I came across a scribbled book recommendation on a scrap of paper. The book was Alina Reyes’ The Butcher, which looks like it’s out of print, but which I immediately bought secondhand on Amazon. Beautiful cover, for a start.

And in my current (non-erotica) read, I read the line ‘pinned my wrists high above my head,’ and realised that those words are *everything* to me. They’re obviously not always worded quite like that, but I know, as soon as I encounter a similar description, I’ll be instantly wet. That crude, non-kit based bondage is the key to it all.

When I was eight, I was at a tiny, tiny village school. A church school. No more than ten kids in my year group. There was a girl who worked in the kitchen, washing up. At the end of lunchtime play as she tried to leave we’d corner her and try to ask about her clothes, her tattoos, her boyfriends. She can’t have been more than eighteen or nineteen. She smoked. She was a total tomboy. She was an enigma, and therefore she fascinated us.

I say she was an enigma. That’s not quite true. Aside from her school kitchens job, she had two others. She worked in the butcher’s in town, and she babysat for a handful of us, me included. And when she babysat, she would tell stories. About the butcher.

Let’s be clear. There was nothing sexy about the butcher, nor about his shop. It was, as all butcher’s shops are, mainly white tiles, the smell of raw meat, and plastic parsley dotted everywhere. He was in his fifties, grey, red-faced and well, old, basically. Looking back, I don’t know quite what was going on between them – whether she invented the stories, whether they were seeing each other, or whether she was putting a brave face on something that was actually non-consensual and more than a bit grim. But in her stories, when they were closing up, he would chase her round the shop, pin her against the wall and try to slip something – money, I think; a tip – into the pocket of her jeans.

At school we embellished. It wasn’t money he slipped into her pocket. It was love notes, gifts. We believed our own narrative so much, we used to beg her to show us this stuff, even though it almost certainly never existed. And at home in bed, I’d take it a step further still. He’d kiss her while she was pinned there against the wall, or he’d tie her up and leave her there, just her and a load of animal carcasses in fridges, until he returned to open up the next morning.

I think I’ll enjoy The Butcher.

On growing out of kink

I haven’t bought my Eroticon 2015 tickets yet. There are a few reasons for that: better to wait until payday, fear of a repeat of last year’s anxiety attack, and, most worrying of all, the ‘hope’ that I’ll be in a relationship that means erotica/sex blogging/kink will no longer be a part of my life.

I use ‘hope’ in the loosest possible sense. I’m not actively looking for a relationship in which I’m unable to express my submissive desires. It’s just that, well, finding decent guys on dating websites is hard enough, so inevitably, there are things on my wish-list I’ve decided I’ll compromise on if I have to. And finding a partner who’s at least a little bit dominant may be one of those things.

And yet. One of the most frustrating conversations I’ve had in recent weeks was with my best friend, who I adore. She’s got through her fair share of unsuitable men over the years, but she’s had some great sex with these men. Recently, she’s started dating a nice guy, but, in her words ‘It won’t last if the sex doesn’t improve.’

Ok, so for her, sex is a priority. Great. All the more frustrating then when, over brunch, I was talking about how it’s only in the last year or so that I’ve really started to embrace submission and how fantastic it would be if I met someone who I not only liked and fancied, but who also shared my kinks, and she said ‘Oh, but that wouldn’t really matter if you met the right person.’

FFS.

I feel like, in a way, I’ve come reluctantly to kink. In the past month two people, completely independently, have pulled me up on my claim to be vanilla, citing my increasing desire for pain, bruising and toys as proof that it’s simply not true. Not to mention increased participation in things like Sinful Sunday. Not only are they right, I’m also having the time of my life, sexually: I’ve discovered what turns me on, I have a sexual partner who’s happy to explore that further with me, and I am *loving* it.

I’ve written before about submission and self-confidence, and unlike Girlonthenet, I still think there can be a link between low self esteem and submission. I think it tends to be a more passive kind of submission – a letting someone else take charge so you don’t make any false moves, rather than purely because it turns you on – but I’d argue that it’s submission nonetheless.

Novels like Fifty Shades of Grey would have us believe that the only reasons you could possibly be interested in BDSM are a) difficult childhood b) trying to hold onto a billionaire who had a difficult childhood. They also promote a very fixed view of what BDSM means: it’s spanking, flogging, bondage, waiting on your knees for your Dom to turn up.

It can be any or all of those things. It can also be none of them. Girlonthenet wrote a wonderful piece a while back about being a ‘stroppy submissive’ and I associate with it more and more. When the boy grabs my wrists and forces them high above my head I don’t submit willingly: I try to wriggle free, desperate to get my hands on his belt, to suck his cock, to touch him. I let him slam them back against the wall, my rings clinking as they hit the plasterboard, and I beg him to let me have his cock in my mouth. When he refuses I don’t look at the floor while my inner goddess pirouettes with joy, I tilt my chin up and look him square in the eye. I’m as defiant in submission as I am outside of the bedroom.

I’d love to find a long-term partner who loved all those things about me and who wanted to embrace them within our relationship. Even before I started exploring my submissive side, sex was a key interest: I’ve been writing erotica for years and years. Not buying an Eroticon ticket for 2015 because I’d met someone who didn’t like that side of me would be a massive let down, really. It would mean I’d compromised massively on who I am. But would I put kink to one side if someone was perfect in every other way? Quite possibly, yes.

If I do though, it’ll be because I choose to compromise. It sure as hell won’t be because I ‘grew out of’ kink.

Fight me for it

Sometimes, when the boy has me on my knees in broad daylight, his hands wrapped in my hair, his fly wide open, his cock in my mouth, I think:

Could we do this in reverse?

I don’t see it, somehow. I can’t imagine assuming the authority to force him to kneel in front of me, push my knickers to one side and to lick me until I scream. What would I say?

It’s not that his kink isn’t my kink. His kink is precisely my kink. I just don’t want to share it.

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