The other night he hurt me. Not in the yummy, “oh this hurts so good, hit me again, baby” kind of way, not in the way I “like”—the kind of pain that sends power surging though me even as he wields power over me—but real pain, real torment, pain that battered me until I finally gave in and begged him to release me from it. Pain that finally broke me, that shattered me, emotionally and physically. It was different than anything he and I have done before, that I have ever experienced. And the whole time he barely touched me, other than the impersonal touch you give an animal to be sure it hasn’t broken itself, other than to reposition a rope or to add another clamp. That was the part that made it different, I think, that made it so, so hard. That broke me, in the end.
It’s taken me awhile to write about this, although I did speak with A about it, several days after W and I scened. That’s one of the wonderful things about being poly in the way that we are—A allows me to talk these things through with him, he doesn’t hold anything against me, doesn’t make me feel that I have to censor what I say (although I have shielded him in the past from some things, I am learning I have to do this less and less.) But just being able to talk about it, especially when I couldn’t with W, due to time constraints, was enormously helpful. It’s not that it was so awful, in fact it was an amazing scene, powerful and holding its own strange beauty, but it was so different for me on so many levels, that processing was slow and deliberate on my part. I know W enjoyed it immensely, and maybe that is part of why I have hesitated to examine it too closely. And yet…and yet it is precisely because he enjoyed it that I do it, that made it all alright—and all right—in the end.
I was caged in this scaffolding thing. He had ropes tied to my arms and legs, a rope between my legs and clamps from my breasts and cunt lips stretched to the four corners. The rope between my legs was taut enough that I was forced to balance on one foot or the other to minimize the discomfort, although there was no true way to alleviate it. It was constant, unremitting, and when I moved to adjust myself to some new torment, it would flare up again to remind me it was there. My arms were tied up and back, so that I had to keep them raised above and just behind my shoulders or else roll my shoulders out so that my arms would be stretched tautly behind me, like an angel’s wings. That’s how I thought of myself in those moments, as an angel, taking flight, as I rested the weight of my body, balancing against the ropes that held me momentarily. It was a constant struggle to balance between the fire of the rope between my legs and the fire in my shoulders, the pull of the clothespins on my nipples and the clamps on my pussy and later, the simple embarrassment of the nose hook. There was no relief, no way to find relief, just a gradual build-up in agony and misery until I was screaming through the gag, whining and moaning and begging him to please, please release me.
And all the time he had the camera, all the time there was that impassive eye on me, recording my torment, recording my misery, impassively, coldly, like watching some poor dumb animal twist in a trap, unable to free itself.
I crave his touch when he hurts me. I live for the moments in between the pain, when he strokes me, quiets me, breathes into me—literally, covers my mouth with his, even with a gag in, kissing and breathing into me. He is touching me more than physically, he is calling me back to him, bringing back my humanity, pulling me back into myself, and, more importantly perhaps, reconnecting us. Reasserting our bond. I think in those moments he is reasserting his own humanity as well. He touches me and lets me feel him as a man, as a lover, and not just someone that wants to hurt me, not just the hand holding the whip or the clamps, but all of him. It is that connection that I crave so deeply, it is for that that I do what I do. That, to me, is the essence of power exchange, it is in those moments that we are truly each other’s, when we own one another. He takes, I give, I take, he gives. A beautiful, intimate exchange.
It was that intimacy, his touch and his taste and the feel of his humanity, that was absent from what we did that night, and the lack of it made it so hard, made me truly suffer. I felt so alone, a thing apart from him. He was remote, he was the camera, he was impassive and disembodied and removed from me in a way he had never been before when we played. I wanted him so badly to touch me. If I had known the words for what I wanted (I didn’t, I only knew pain, and flashes of a bright, hot anger, as when you approach a wounded animal to help and it snarls at you, snapping at you blindly), if I had known what I needed, to feel him close, to know we were still connected, I would have begged for that even more than release. But I didn’t know. It is only in writing this that I have come to that realization.
And thinking on it now, I don’t know if I would have asked for it anyway. Release from pain, yes. But to be loved? To be touched, to be held? No, maybe not. There is a fierce core of pride in me that would not have allowed that last humiliation, I think. Even when he finally took me down, his hands gentle, I remember feeling shame that I had begged him to do so, and I remember turning my face away from him, both in anger at him (not knowing what I was angry at) and in myself, in the shame I felt. If I had begged for more and he had not given it to me…no, my pride could not have withstood that. So I know I wouldn’t have asked for it.
“I’m glad we don’t play with a safeword,” he said after. We were on the couch downstairs, me lying curled against him, a blanket covering me, my breathing finally slowing, with only the occasional hiccup of left-over endorphin and shock washing over me. I remember his hand in my hair, his fingers light against my cheek, his touch a silken thread connecting me to him, as light as gossamer, as delicate and tenuous as the connection I felt to him. I still felt disembodied, remote, deeply shaken. And yet, even at that moment, even when my world felt tilted and still hadn’t been put right—he still hadn’t put it right—even then, I was glad I hadn’t had a safeword too.
Does that sound strange, to be glad I hadn’t had a way to say “stop, no more, I can’t take anymore for real,” when I had felt I was at the end of my endurance, when I truly felt he couldn’t possibly know how badly I was hurting, that he must not understand the agony I was in? It’s funny, he said in an email that he is surprised at times that I feel fear, because he knows he isn’t scary, he knows he is in control. But he doesn’t live in my head, he doesn’t know what I don’t know. That is part of it for me, the not knowing, and then, being shown that my fears are baseless. If there is therapy in this for me, there it is. And that is all about the beforetime for me, which I won’t go into here and now. But that is where that comes from, where that lives in me. And that is why not being able to say no, not being able to “safeword” is perfectly logical to me. Why it works for me, in its twisted fashion. Why I am glad (after) that I can’t.
Let’s face it, even if I’d had a safeword, would I have used it? I don’t know. I can’t say, now. I know I was begging him, in gasps and grunts and screams through the gag, to please please take down my arms. But even then, even in the midst of that, I didn’t want him to stop completely—what I wanted was for him to touch me. I wanted him to love me, to let me know he loved me even though he was hurting me—because he was hurting me. A safeword would have ended things completely, and I didn’t want that, even when I broke, even when I was shaking and almost sick, when I couldn’t walk or talk or think. And secondly—I wanted to know what he would do. I want to know. That is part of it for me, to experience what he would do, what he will do, what he wants as much as what I want. I want to see where he will go, how far he will take things, if he truly knows me well enough to stop when I have reached my limit—and what his limits are. I want to be assured that he does know me that well. I want to give that trust to him, and to know that that trust is well-placed. It’s a constant test, of him and me. A test of our bond, our connection. And that is part of the danger and beauty of it, of this thing we do. It is an integral part of it, the need to explore it fully, without artificial constraints, without giving me the chance to stop when I want to. Safe and sane perhaps it’s not, but there it is, as real as it gets. I understand that. I accept that.
We talked for a long time afterward. He held me and we talked and shared and looked at photos…and I hardly remember any of it. We had an entire conversation that is a dim echo of sound without meaning in my head. I know I walked and talked, that there were moments of lucidity and I must have sounded normal, even to myself, but I also recognize (in looking back) that dumbness, that numbness that rendered me so submissive, so passive, he could have done anything to me, asked anything of me and I would have responded without thought, without resistance.
There is one small humiliation I remember, something I don’t think he visited upon me intentionally, but even know brings the sharp bite of embarrassment to me. He was looking at me, at my cunt, for future piercings, and as he did I could smell urine on me, and I realized that I must have wet myself a bit in my fear and pain. And yet even that embarrassment, even that knowledge, was not enough to wake me from the haze I was in. I spread my legs, I gave him access without a moment’s hesitation, when surely I would have resisted otherwise. And did not remember it until maybe two days later, when I touched myself after urinating, and I was reminded of it.
And that night, I slept in shackles. I wanted them, I needed them, I needed the sense of connection to him I would have even as I slept, because in such a state your sleeping body is aware, all the time, of the weight of the metal, of the chains. I cannot describe the sweet beauty of feeling those links of chain against my skin, of waking throughout the night to feel his hands on the chains or on me, of his warmth, his body near mine, the way he wraps me inside his body, as though to own me even in sleep. It filled me with contentment, with quiet and peace. I think it was then, as I drifted into sleep, connected to him though the chains at my ankles and wrists and throat, that my world tilted right once more.