Saturday afternoon, I was righteously, properly fucked. I went to brunch with a happy little remote vibratory egg tucked inside my pussy, and as my playmate and I talked about the pleasures of baseball, the evils of football and the exigencies of capitalist culture, he intermittently flicked on and off the remote as he saw fit.
It made conversing a bit of a challenge. But not that big a challenge, really. My mind is much more powerful than my pussy, a point I shall return to later in this piece.
We ate our high-cholesterol food, drank our afternoon adult beverages, paid the check, walked around the streetfair that lined Eighth Avenue like a bright, fluttering, stalled parade, and then we returned to my apartment. During all of which, my partner turned off and on the remote as he wanted, once leaving it on long enough that I asked him to please please turn it off.
He said he’d left it on to see how long I could take it. And then he switched it off.
In an odd kind of woodcut way, the absence of the vibe made an impression almost more important than its presence. The vibe is cool, sure, but I wasn’t going to get off on it alone, and while it made me wet, I’m not sure my excitement sprang from the secret pleasure of our public naughtiness more than the toy buzzing inside my vagina.
So, yes, we returned to my apartment, my partner/playmate and I, and he kissed my body with an extravagant attentiveness he has rarely shown before. He played with my breasts, swatting them with metaphorical cat’s paws; he searched out tender spots on my ribcage, my instep, my pubic mound and nuzzled them until I laughed from the tickling; he inserted a butt plug in my ass and he licked my pussy as I writhed on my bed; he teased me until I begged to suck his lovely cock.
He fucked me with fervor and beauty.
And I was close, so close, thisclose, to coming.
And then the door squeaked. And then my roommate was home.
My bedroom door was closed, so she did not bear witness to the frisky. But there I was, on my knees, my playpartner behind me, my Anglo-Saxon cunt slick with my universal desires, and I could not let loose as I wanted because my roommate—who is a lovely, charming, unbelievably cute twenty-two year-old Chinese confection—had returned.
So I retrieved my ball gag, presented it to my playpal for him to fit me and found, as I bit down on it, the instant release I have written about previously.
I found subspace.
My playmaster leaned down to put his mouth close to my ear and whispered, “Now I’m going to fuck you the way I want to, and there is nothing you can say about it.” Which, literally, was true. There was nothing I could say about it with this overlarge, red and ridiculous leather-covered springy ball wedged in my open mouth.
Moreover, there was nothing I wanted to say about it. For even though my masterplayer was fucking me the way he wanted—which was harder and faster and nastier than I usually would have found pleasure in—I found it divine. And I came, hard and attenuated, singing a silent, wordless song into that ridiculous leather ball.
And here’s my point about my mind and my pussy: Submissive acts grant me an inherent license to experience pleasure in acts that my mind would usually fear. Usually, that is when I am not bound, not gagged, not restrained by word or deed, when a man is fucking me forcefully, usually, my mind remains active. Those busy, busy whirring hamster wheels of my head keep me feeling afraid, and they keep me from experiencing fully every tidbit of pleasure I could get from the experience.
Those hamster wheels get in the way, what with their furry and fearful ceaseless whirring.
When I am restrained, somehow, some way, through some kind of mental and physical alchemical transference, that dross of fear transforms to the golden glow of ecstasy.
And here’s something else, while I can—and do—get great pleasure out of “vanilla sex”—these sweet submissive breaks in consciousness paradoxically contain a flavor of profundity I did not know I was capable. These breaks surprise me in part because I am such a thinky wench, above and beyond being a kinky wench, and in part because I am an ardent and unapologetic feminist.
I have been reading around in the debate concerning submission and feminism and my hypothesis is this: before feminism there was no true submission. Paradoxical as it might seem, feminism gives me the choice to knowingly, consensually, and respectfully give myself in submission. Before feminism, submission was status quo. After feminism, it became a legitimate, if vexed, choice.
Feminism is a squishy word, so let me define my use of it. Feminism to me is a series of political, personal and intellectual practices that critique, analyze and question gender and gendered power structures. Feminism at its core understands gender to be a cultural construct, rather than a biological given, and therefore as a practice it looks at how genders have come to be constructed, what gender means, why we think of them as we do, and how this series of understandings can be a platform for change.
Submission, too, can be a bit squidgy. But to me it means the consensual, explicit, and ruled sexual roleplay between myself and a partner. Definitions aren’t very hott. But the ramifications are.
I grew up a girl who felt the burden of sexual double standards even before I reached puberty. I never followed the girl rules well. While I am undoubtedly a good person, I have never been a good girl. I was the girl who sucked the boys’ cocks, who fucked them in her Mustang’s bucket seats, who kissed and never told.
I was the girl who made her own rules and I was hated mightily. And after time, that hating had emotional weight. It’s hard to be a maverick in a culture of sheep. Their bleating, bleating, bleating wore me down. And on some level I began to feel shame about the numbers of men I’d done. The furtive gropings, the hot and quick couplings, the meaningless sex I’d had because I’d wanted to have meaningfree sex.
And, too, I had experienced meaning-laden sex, tender Sarah McLaughlin sex, and I saw the difference and I saw what the hubbub was bubbling about. And that intensified my shame.
But then I got over it. I grew up. At least I thought I did. And here’s what I’ve found. That as a feminist, and as a slut, the giving up is not the giving in. The giving up is an act of submission, and when I choose to surrender, and it’s not all the time, it gives me a blank cheque to live for a moment beyond the cultural noise that lives, ceaselessly, inside my head. I am not giving in to a culturally mandated sexual paradigm; I’m enjoying it on my own terms.
I can’t help it; I am a product of my people. And though it may be vexed, though my submissive joy comes in part from my own complicity with the shame my culture has bestowed upon me for being a sexual woman, it is pleasurable nonetheless.
When the man of my choice takes that ridiculous red ball from my hand and thrusts it in my mouth, it is my choice. When he kneels behind me and thrusts his cock into me with a sweet painful violence, it is my choice. When he whispers guttural in my ear that he will take me as he wants, that is my choice. When my finger rubs my clit as I tilt my ass up toward him, opening my pussy to his cock, that is my choice.
When my keening come cries are muffled in my submission, that is my choice.
When I feel my mind kiss me a sweet farewell, when I feel my body lift impossibly off the bed below, when I enter this utopia that is subspace, it is my choice.
And no one can tell me that my choice is not real, is not valid, is not legitimate.
I am woman. Hear me roar. Into my ball gag.
Because that—along with every other gift that feminism has given me—is my choice.