Legs under scrutiny: on submission, stillness & movement

‘I have shorts you can borrow’ my mum says.

Ugh. I hate shorts. Why can’t I wear capris, like I do for exercise, or these super cute flamingo pyjama shorts that I’ve wanted for ages (ok, the physio might have laughed at those).

The truth is, it’s probably not the shorts that are bothering me.

I get accused a lot, by some of my real life friends, of being super vain, by which they mean, ‘I saw you just walk past that shop window and check yourself out.’

Except, I’m not checking myself out. Or at least, not in the way they think I am. It’s true, that when passing a mirror, or a window, or any reflective surface, my reflex is to examine myself in it. But I’m not checking to see if I look good. What I’m looking for is threefold:

a) Do I feel passably attractive today?
b) Do I look fat?
c) Am I walking in a way that people will perceive as ‘normal’?

If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you’ll know I’m not good at looking away, literally or metaphorically, from the things that upset me and/or make me anxious. You’ll know too, that I don’t like my body and that I believe my disability and my submissiveness are intrinsically linked. But what I don’t think I’ve touched on is that one of the things that fascinates me about submission is how often it’s associated with stillness.

And I’m both drawn in by that, and increasingly interested in inverting it.

I was thinking about it today, at the first serious hospital appointment I’ve attended to assess my hemiplegia in twenty years. As the physio explained how the two hour appointment would work – measuring my legs, testing my strength and dexterity, fitting sensors all over my lower half to track my movements – the same old issue was bothering me.

‘Do I have to see the stuff you’re capturing? I really don’t like video cameras.’

‘Not if you don’t want to. Most people find it interesting, though. Gait is very distinctive and lots of people recognise theirs on screen as soon as they see it.’

Yeah, I thought, that’s exactly what I’m worried about.

As it happened, it wasn’t that bad. It turns out you can walk up and down a room endless times and avoid eye contact with everyone present. It turns out that when you see footage that’s essentially just a series of computer-generated lines and dots for your legs, with a triangle for your pelvis and nothing above it at all, it’s not too hard to disassociate that with the body you’re uneasy living in. It turns out that you can live with the limp the way it  looks on screen, even if your left leg does swing through without bending, not unlike the foot in Mousetrap.

It turns out you can leave with a different perception of your disability than the one you went in with- limp not as bad as you thought, but left ankle strength only a 1 out of 5 – and also wondering why you’re not getting to the heart of the way that makes you feel in your fiction.

I wrote a story last year where the FMC shares my condition. In that story, she and her partner invite another man into their bedroom in order that she’ll understand that she’s desirable to men other than the one she’s with in spite of her disability. I’m thrilled it was published, and I’m proud of it, but it fails to engage with the reality of disability and kink as fully as I’d have liked.

Back to the question of being still. When I’m submitting, the act of submission has never been characterised by stillness. I’d freak out if a man wanted to find me waiting for him on my knees. I don’t really see the appeal of rope bondage. I like to be held down, but only if I can struggle against the restraint: I like sex to be rough, out of control, blurry: sufficiently chaotic that neither he nor I can focus on the way my body looks or moves, essentially. Because even kneeling, although it ostensibly means staying still, requires that you can move in a certain way, and I’d want to do it gracefully and independently, not have to lower myself down and haul myself back up by the nearest surface or available hand.

So yeah, I want to write about that, because although it makes me uneasy, anything which makes me uneasy also has the potential for power-dynamic and humiliation play, things which I’m always keen to explore further – and fiction, after all, is a safe space in which to do so. And I want to push it even more – because if I’d be risking humiliation if a guy asked me to drop to my knees, I’d be risking it even more if he asked me to pace the room back and forth while he watched.

I want to play with those ideas of movement and motionlessness in my stories. I want to confront the things that scare me about my disability and that I’d love to overcome through kink, and work them right in there. Keep reminding me. Ask if I’ve written about it yet. Suggest new ways I can approach it. And, if stillness is central to your kink, please consider leaving a comment explaining why it appeals to you. Because, like I said, it fascinates me.

 

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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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Making all his wishes come true

It’s probably about the time that I should be writing a festive post, but other than what I wrote about gifts, I don’t really have much to say about Christmas as far as sex and relationships are concerned. Probably because most of my Christmases are like this.

The only tenuous link I could think of between this post and Christmas is that it’s about making people’s wishes come true. Except, at Christmas it’s Santa who makes wishes come true (yes, I totally still believe!), and you probably wouldn’t want that to be the case with the kind of wishes that I’m going to write about here. But anyway, here’s why I’m a bad replacement for Santa:

A good while ago now, the boy brought up the subject of fulfilling each other’s fantasies – merely as a suggestion. I seem to remember feeling pretty vulnerable at the time and desperately craving vanilla and affectionate sex, so I told him I didn’t have any fantasies. He pulled me up on this, which was the right thing to do, because it’s clearly bullshit.

I have lots and lots of fantasies – they’re mainly centred around relinquishing control, letting someone else call the shots, and, when you get to the far end of the spectrum, being forced. But he knew this already, because in the bedroom we were always playing with aspects of my fantasies – he knew I liked being held down, bruised, told exactly what I wasn’t allowed to do. It was rare that this would become the main focus of the sex we were having, but it was always there.

Was the same true of his fantasies? Not so much. I don’t recall now whether we ever talked about his fantasies before I discovered, by accident, that he had a blog where he was writing about them (and even then I wasn’t 100% sure whether I’d stumbled upon his fantasies – he was writing fiction, and I fall whole-heartedly into the camp that says you can write stuff that you would’t necessarily want to do.) We’ve since had a couple of conversations about them, but I still get the feeling that talking about this stuff (with me, at least) makes him uneasy. And then the other day he said something about the fact that his fantasies ‘don’t interest me.’ Not in the sense that, y’know, I’m not interested in the stuff he likes, just in the sense that they’re not sexually interesting/arousing to me and therefore, are unlikely to get fulfilled.

That last part may well be true. Except that that part about not finding them a turn on is a little more complicated than it looks at first glance. I feel like a lot of what I’ve read about acting out fantasies focuses on women who don’t want to act out their partner’s fantasies because they’re in some way morally opposed to them. Even when they’re quite clear that it’s something they do want to try, as the question in this letter to the Telegraph suggests, the advice always seems to be ‘Are you absolutely sure it’s something you want to try?’ (I know, this could be my fault for trying to get my sex advice from a right-wing newspaper …)

Anyway, I digress. My point is that my reasons for not ‘being interested’ in his fantasies have nothing to do with my moral stance on them (no issues there), or being scared about acting them out changing the dynamics of what we have going on. The problem is that all my fantasies centre around giving up control of my body to someone else; while many of his centre around wanting a woman to take control and wanting to be the submissive one.

I’m crap at getting outside of my own headspace, my own fears. When he writes about something as simple as having his back stroked as being something that turns him on, my initial reaction is ‘Oh god, I’d be shit at that because I’m way too clumsy to ever do it well.’ Can you see, then, why stuff like pegging is way out of my comfort zone? Do I judge him for liking it? Not at all. Is my unwillingness to try it down to a moral objection? Nope, just down the fact that it means taking control of his body as well as my own, and, in my head, a massive risk that I’ll hurt him.

And yet, sometimes things take you by surprise. I thought I’d like being handcuffed, seeing as it also represents relinquishing control. The reality was that he cuffed me and I hated it. It threw my balance out, and meant relinquishing control over my body in a way that I hadn’t anticipated not liking. I might let him do it again one day, but only if he cuffed me to something, rather than cuffing my wrists together.

So, my point is that, in my opinion, if you are comfortable with the idea of acting out each other’s fantasies, do – don’t let The Telegraph make you believe that first you have to discuss it to the point of exhaustion and then, y’know, buy some erotica on the subject, just to be *absolutely sure* it turns you on.

On the other hand, if, like he and I, you haven’t really felt comfortable discussing it, then yeah, that probably is the place to start. Just don’t write somebody off as ‘not interested in something,’ without taking the time to find out why.