From one of the early dates with the boy. The story contains some sensual knife play.
This is how it began.
Two hotel rooms, one park, one bookstore, two restaurants, two—no, three—cocks, eight gloves, who knows how many condoms, who knows how many orgasms, dozens for you, one for me plus dozens of moments of shuddering energetic overwhelm, twice we were barged in on, three dams, one blade you put in my hand, three times you got your waterproof blanket out, at least two pairs of my briefs you soaked through, one tight little fist, four sets of three minutes, hundreds of kisses.
I took myself to the airport moments after gathering you in my arms, our hearts lined up, pounding. Waiting for my flight, I sat still, closed my eyes, to harvest the myriad sensations running through my body, to sink down into it, to catch my breath after running for an airport shuttle, after gender panic through security, after rushing to my gate.
I could feel my blood pressure like waves through my veins, rising and swelling, back and forth in an internal rocking. Connected to my heartbeat, no doubt, which, I’ve read, syncs up after hours of sex. That thrum through my veins was the same one that thrummed through yours, or had been, half an hour ago. What was your heart doing as you drove that twenty minutes north, as you returned to your little city on the Bay, as you went back to your partner with my marks covering your chest and thighs? Mine felt heavy, sore, thick and red, pulsing, alive. My whole body feels alive, each nerve ending aflame and perked, awake and eager for the feel of our skins, slick, against each other.
Maybe this even more than any particular action is what I remember: the aliveness. The awareness of my body, of all my edges, of all my pieces, weaving together.
And I remember your eyes. How shy you were to look at me, even after I asked you for eye contact while you sucked my fingers down, how rare it was to hold your gaze. I remember how little you said, patient, knowing how interesting your thoughts are when you do share them. I remember waiting for you to calm and soften, wanting that before moving in to take, play, shove, hurt.
The three afternoons come back to me in snippets, treasures, a rock in my pocket I’d forgotten I put there, a poem in my notebook I forgot I wrote, tucked away in my memories and then surprising when it emerges—was that real? Was I really there? Did I really leave? Why am I not there right now?
I pulled you to me at every possible red light while you drove. Teasing you on my one-way trip to the last hotel, on the freeway, first your knuckles against my lips, then sliding one of your small fingers into my mouth to hear you gasp and shudder. My fingers on your tongue, my hand at your throat, just for a minute. Your heat. The way you squirm.
Eager and impatient within hours of arriving, making out in the sunshine and already drunk on your smell, your everything, I couldn’t help myself and had two fingers in you until you said gloves please and I had to unzip my suitcase, dig into my toy bag. It is different to keep my hand gloved, but I can still feel so much: how you liked it deep, that spot by your cervix I reached twice when I got deep enough and both times you said ohh right there.
That moment of sliding my cock inside you. Every time. The first day I thought I’d shoot and lose it the moment the tip of me touched your hole and I felt you give way, hips upturned, and a firework exploded up my spine. I thought I’m going to collapse right here and that will be that. Done. But that was when you opened your eyes, brought your arms around my shoulders, and I was so bolstered, held up, supported, that I could fuck for hours. And we did.
You kept shying away from me. Squirming, hiding, closing your eyes. I can tell you like to drink in the sensations, but I want that exposure that comes from your eyes open. From seeing. From knowing what your eyes are tracking and watching your responses. So I started calling you on it. Teasing. Pushing. Where do you think you’re going? Do you think your hand over your face really hides you from me? You like it. Tell me you like it. It doesn’t matter; I’m going to take from you whether you like it or not.
Thank you sir.
Good boy. You said I could. You said I could have you. You said you’re mine. Can you take it? I think you can. You keep squirming; lie fucking still. Trying to get away from me? Do you think you can? Go ahead, try. Let’s see what you’ve got. Go ahead and twist, try to get away from my punches, I can hit you other places, too.
I’m fucking yours.
Look at me while you’re sucking my dick, boy; where are your manners. You can do it, just a little more. That’s it. Mm, nice. I like that. That’s what I wanted. That’s exactly what I wanted.
I’m not shy about taking what I want, but you are. How many minutes did it take for you to sit back and pull that knife from your pocket? When I opened up my palm between us and the weight of it dropped, something clicked. Something clicked and I wanted to open you up, do some damage, mark you. Instinctively I could see the scar I wanted to leave, but knew better than to follow that. That didn’t mean I was going to hold back: I let it pour out of me, almost as good as the thing itself, watching that flash of fear come up through you: would I do it? Mark you, take you, own you like that? Not this time. Not yet. There’s more, so much more, to come.
Your hand in mine while I held you down and spread open your chest, blade to skin, I remember it was the fourth slice that brought the first beads of blood, your mouth open and swollen under mine, ankle turned around mine, entwined as we opened together.
Could you feel how I split open with your tongue on the pulse of me? Could you feel my heart in your palm when you curled inside me? (Go get a glove. A small one, for you.) Messy, red, bleeding out, nonetheless translucent and whole, and tastes like sugar when it touches your mouth.
When you touch my mouth you taste like fall. Like falling. Like I’ve fallen from whatever I thought I was reaching for and find myself at the mercy of gravity. I couldn’t keep my mouth off of you. I didn’t have to. Most of the bruises happened the last day, though there were a few in the afternoons before. But these, I didn’t hold myself back for, even though you squirmed and hissed through your teeth and gasped and cried out. I loved watching them bloom on your skin, marks so deep you could see the impressions of my crooked teeth.
I wanted to hurt you, and I did. My fists contract around you, hips shift and switch and I want to throw you up against walls, push you down to the floor, drag you by your hair. (Not enough of that yet. Just wait. I want to scare you.) Punch you. Use my knuckles. Leave bruises. I pulled your belt out from your jeans and the leather in my hands made my shoulders and cock ache. What are you going to do with that belt, you whispered. So eager, aren’t you. I hadn’t decided yet. Curl it around your wrists, around your throat. Snap it at your skin. Which is what I did, eventually, rolling the buckle and letting it fall from my hands onto your body. Oh the growl that comes up from somewhere low and dark in me. Then there were the boxing wraps, something to protect me as I threw. You took it so well, so nice and good. Every time I got heavy you tensed, shouted into the hotel sheets, braced yourself against the bed. Relax, I kept telling you. I’m going to keep hitting you one way or the other, you may as well relax. I can tell you want it. I can feel how wet you are on my thigh.
Another time I pulled out a glove and fucked you, watched you come, held you down, got you off five, ten, a dozen times, before I started really hurting you. Pain is easier to take when the pleasure comes first, and I’d learned from the first day that you get worked up and need release. Such whimpering, such desperation, I couldn’t tell if I should back off or go harder, but now I know: harder. More. You can take so much. After your eyes got starry and your smile got lopsided, I started in on the punching, the biting, the slapping. (It stings, you said. Take it, I said. You like it. And you whispered back, I do like it sir. I know you do.) Shoving your face with my open palm. Knuckles against your jaw bone.
Spitting onto my fingers and between your legs as I steadied myself to slide inside.
It was when I said my sweet boy and you said thank you … thank you … thank you (breathing out that missing word with your mouth shaped around it) that something in my chest cracked open. I didn’t know I was looking for you, didn’t know I was missing you, but now you are here and I’m not sure how I could have not seen this you-shaped space in my life before. I want to throw open my arms and show you the full body embrace you are invited to come into.
Maybe you should tell me what your limits are, you said. I can’t imagine anything you would ask for that I would deny you, I said.
Later you said fuck me sir fuck me sir fuck me and I spread my forearm across your sternum and what else could I do but everything you wanted.
And you’re fucking mine.
Featured image from Indie Porn Revolution.
Because my instinct is to punch
to keep arm’s length
while yours is to hug close
which for a boxer means safety
and for a wrestler means takedown.
I have no technique for body
slams, no low center of gravity,
my strength is my arms shoulders
wrists knuckles, my strength in my
fearless slams against a wall. See—
even there—I am too careful
with my skeleton to have ever sought
a singlet, a blue plastic mat, and
I use walls instead, ropes, gloves.
But I let you tackle me, buck-eyed
in Santa Monica ferris wheel lights
in front of the crash of ocean that
slowly, slowly laps away stone
mountains, even though the first
sideways takedown whiplashed
my neck and I never learned
how to fall, because somehow
I knew how you’d hold me
against your heart
(after the fourth time)
and how I’d let you.
1. What insight about open relationships do you wish you had when you started?
In the two years that I have had open relationships, my greatest insight has been around *yawn* boundaries. What they are, how they work, what they look like, feel like, what purpose they serve, and so on.
When I first observed open relationships, and started reading up on polyamory, I found that this word ‘boundaries’ was bandied about, and given a kind of importance, that looking back, I just didn’t understand. If I’m honest, I never really got it. Once I began to embark on opening up my own relationship, I would talk about my boundaries and other people’s boundaries, as if I had significant understanding of what that meant. I didn’t have a clue.
I truly wish I did. I wish I hadn’t assumed that I should know. I thought they were somehow supposed to just protect me, and other people, like a shield, just by saying they were there, and promising to respect other people’s. I kind of knew I probably didn’t have that quite right. In reality, I must’ve known that there are no such words in our language that have a special magic ability to protect people, like a spell. But I was too embarrassed to ask, and for a long time, being ignorant didn’t have any adverse effects, so I didn’t think it could be that important. So I never really questioned it, until, of course, everything was in a big messy tangled pile and I thought ‘Oh dear, how did I get here?’
I tried so hard to be the fixer. I felt a massive weight of responsibility for a sticky situation. I denied the people I cared about the responsibility to deal with their stuff by intentionally taking it on. And I did this in my home. My home was the base for a polymess. That was when I had a bolt out of the blue, when my very first boundary came to me, and I knew, that whatever was happening, and however sad I was for all of us involved, it was no longer going to be worked out in my home. That I needed my own safe space to escape to when it all got too much. That it wasn’t my responsibility to create a space for us to all work this out, and that it was ok to stop it. That very moment, I clearly and calmly expressed that boundary, and who knew, from that point on, we didn’t use my home any more for our meetings/arguments/counselling etc.
Since then, I have discovered a few boundaries’, and managed to employ them with varying degrees of success. It’s all a bit of a learning minefield, and you just don’t know about the lesson until it blows up under foot. It’s still a word I have to remind myself the meaning of. And when I discover a new one, or spend time thinking about what other boundaries I have, I often wonder if this thing I have invented really exists, until one is crossed, and I feel like my land has been trespassed. Yup, they really exist. I now know what they are (although they metastasise often), what they feel like when they are working, and when they’re not.
What has been the hardest thing about opening your relationship, and how have you overcome that?
I feel like I haven’t had the ‘proper’ test yet; the person who I was with before I discovered polyamory, I am still with now. We are engaged to be married. This man and I began our relationship under the presumed and customary norms and traditions – one of those of course being “I will not, to the best of my ability, fuck anyone else, or fall in love with anyone else, whilst we are together”. And although we both were already questioning this norm when we met each other, we had not yet gone the whole hog and decided to open up our relationship. That came a year later.
Since then, although there has been a healthy dose of sex and play outside of the relationship, only I have formed a loving, meaningful connection with someone else (and the amazing new-love sex that comes with it). He is yet to fall in love with someone else, and I am yet to know if that will be hard for me or not.
That’s not to say things haven’t been hard.
For me, there have been two areas of difficulty. The first has been negotiating the new relationship. In this instance, the person I wanted a relationship with was in a relationship with my friend, formed under the same conditions as my primary relationship – with all the presumed wisdom of monogamy. The new relationship was formed slowly, over a twelve month period, and was done, for want of a better phrase, by the book. As our new relationship blossomed, their pre-existing relationship crumbled. Their relationship has since ended.
Traversing the many challenges that brought was exhausting and most definitely hard. Initially I tried to fix everything, to take responsibility for their relationship and the problems they were facing as a couple. All the while taking on guilt and shame. It was, and still sometimes is, very difficult to learn how to distinguish between what was my responsibility, and what wasn’t. Being able and willing to hold my friend, in her pain, whilst not taking on guilt or resentment, was exceptionally hard.
Subsequently, having the courage of my convictions can feel hard. I sometimes feel like I have to defend myself, my choices and my actions. When this situation is viewed from a normative context, it looks like this: You fancied your mates girlfriend, they broke up, and you started going out with your mate’s bird… some friend you are! So I think what is hard about this is not having a group of supportive peers. Choosing an ‘alternative’ relationship paradigm sometimes feels isolating because of that. It can be hard to ask for support from friends and family, when first you have to have that conversation. There is fear and vulnerability mixed up in there somewhere – that I won’t be heard, that my feelings will be discounted or invalidated by my peers because I’m being ‘greedy’ choosing more than one lover, that the inevitable question will be “But what about your friend? And what about your fiancé? Aren’t you hurting them?” And I will have to answer “Yes, sometimes they feel hurt, or sad, or jealous. But I’m ok with that, and their pain is not my responsibility, and we talk about this stuff, we have procedures in place to help us through those bits” and it all just sounds like lefty liberalism that is doomed for failure. It’ll be met with the same suspicious eye-roll that my mother gave me when I was a rebellious youth, with that “don’t come crying to me when it all blows up in your face” tone of voice.
A different challenge has been realising, for the first time, that falling in love when you are polyamorous, feels just the same as falling in love when you are monogamous. For some reason I was under the impression that with all these new fancy words, and emotional maturity, and books, that if I fell in love with someone else, I would be somehow immune to all the stupid, crazy, indulgent, ecstatic loonyness that falling in love traditionally inspires.
How foolish of me! It has been quite difficult to come to terms with the fact that I have responsibility to my other relationship. And as great and exciting as new love energy is, and as positive as its effects can be on pre-existing relationships, it is not an excuse, or get out card, for suddenly dropping all your commitments, to your relationship, or anything else for that matter (job, exercise-class, pet, house) and spending every waking minute talking to/fucking/staring at your new love. That’s been hard. We have overcome that by implementing quite a structured framework for seeing each other. We see each other once a week and we see each other somewhere mutual (not in my home, not in hers).
I also spent some time with my fiancé creating a Reassurance List, which is a list of things which I can do to reassure him when he needs it, and vice versa (like taking a bath together, doing some gardening, solving a household DIY problem together etc).
3. What has been the best thing about your open relationship?
Back even before we opened our relationship to others, both my fiancé and I felt that one person could not possibly be all things, to one person, at all times. For me, one of the best things about being able to form meaningful connections with more than one person is just that! I get to explore connections with people without the limit or restriction or fear of developing ‘feelings’ for them. We are multifaceted creatures, different people bring out different sides to our personalities, and we have diverse and changeable requirements. It feels logical, like it makes sense, it enables me to explore the dimensions of myself in a way that I couldn’t with one closed relationship. I remember, way back in adolescence, peers debating over which stage of a relationship was better; the crazy new-love with all its uncertainty and excitement, or the comforting long-haul with it’s predictability and reassurance? I remember thinking, shit! Do I have to choose? I like them both! And the answer was no, I don’t have to choose.
I would also say that the extraordinary level of self-development, of turning yourself inside out, examining the contents, and putting it all back together, is an invaluable process of embarking on non-monogamy. But also, the sex. I have always been attracted to boys and girls. I like having heteronormative sex, with a boy, with his penis in my vagina, but I also like having girlie lesbian sex, I also enjoy genderless sex, and gender reversed sex, I like submissive sex, and dominant sex, and switchy sex. I like having sex with my cock, I like sex with men who identify as gay, I like sex with myself, I like group sex. My fiancé is a heterosexual, cis gendered male. Thus he cannot fulfil all my sexual wants and needs. Although it’s a bit of a carnal and sexually obsessed answer, that’s probably the best thing about our open relationship. Not having to choose or value one type of sex over another and stick with it for life.
“So,” Kristen said, arms around my neck, looking up from under me, my legs between hers but bent and wrapped around each other, both of us naked, skin to skin, sheened with sweat and still a little bit out of breath. “I guess we figured out what gets you off.”
Not that I – and she – and, let’s be honest, the entire fucking internet – didn’t already know what I like: blow jobs, strapping on, fingering a girl until I make her squirt. But this was different: I came twice in the few recent hours we’d been fucking. Probably mostly thanks to what Kristen was saying.
We’d talked about it the day before. “I want to be used,” she’d said. “Just … fucked with no regard for my pleasure.”
And so I did. And we liked it, a lot, both of us.
“Fuck my hole,” she whispered, “take me, fuck me hard, pound your big cock in me deep. I’m your slutty little girl.”
Just typing that makes my knees go a little weak. Why does that turn me on so goddamn much? Makes my head spin. I feel guilty for it, really, somewhere, just a little, a small piece of me that fears that treating a beautiful, smart, strong woman like that – objectifying, humiliating – is bad and wrong. I know fantasies and role play are so much more complicated than that, that the problematic power play and gender play that we oversexualize for pleasure is just that – oversexualized – in a very specific context, and it doesn’t mean I would ever do those things outside of that context. In fact, the context is what makes them hot at all – the consent – the way she asked for it, explicitly and specifically.
I’ve known this is what deeply gets me off. This isn’t new. I discovered that I could come while strapped on and fucking with Callie, and this is precisely what we used to play with, precisely the language we used, precisely the kind of thing she wanted. I had trouble with it, sometimes, partially because I wasn’t sure I could trust her (go figure) and because of how she demanded it, and that if I didn’t deliver correctly there were consequences.
So this kind of play does open me up in sensitive places, triggers me a little bit, pulls on old wounds of trauma.
I’ve known how much these concepts, this play, turns me on, but I haven’t really brought it up with Kristen before. Well – no, that’s not entirely true. We’ve been building to this, been learning each other and building trust and playing with consent and dirty talk and power play. We’ve been building to this, and it’s of course I wouldn’t have come to her on the first date – or in the first month! The first three months! – and say, I want to take you down like this. I want to fuck you until I get off and disregard what you feel, whether you like it or not. I wouldn’t say that! Even now, I have trouble writing it out – it’s more complicated than that being what I want, what I crave, because while it is, I just can’t get there to do that until I know for certain that my respect and honor for her are in place – and that I know she knows that, too. That I know some of her history and why she craves to be degraded in these ways. I need the trust to be there, and a deeply feminist understanding of sex and power play such that the issues of consent and degradation are clear, understood between us, and ultimately irrelevant to the way we play.
So I didn’t say it first. Honestly, it never occurred to me to this extent – if it had, I might’ve brought it up. We have played with elements of this, but nothing quite so specific or elaborate as we did yesterday. But I so needed that extra little piece of consent, that explicit permission which came from her – so I know I didn’t coerce her into it – that says take me. Overpower me. Use me.
We talked about this a bit recently – I wrote about it – about how hard it was for me to get off and how much she wants – we both want – me to get off more, and one of my major conclusions in exploring that has been that I pay so much attention to her, how she feels, what I can read from her tones and moans and body language, that I forget to pay attention to myself. It’s a strength of mine, to be observant, thoughtful, to pay attention to the person I’m with, I think it makes me a good lover and friend, but it doesn’t always serve me well: I loose myself sometimes, in ways even that I don’t always recognize at the time.
(I wonder how this relates to my history with Callie too, the ways I lost myself so totally and terribly with her. Maybe my getting off (easily) with her wasn’t actually deep connection with myself – or perhaps that’s unfair, since honestly that’s precisely the benefit that I took from that relationship: knowing that I needed to learn to deeply trust myself. But maybe the ways I came with her were about something else. Regardless, whatever connection to myself I began culminating with her was so challenging to keep while dealing with her neuroses and insecurities.)
And that’s precisely what Kristen brought up when we talked about it later: it makes sense that it is a big relief, and release, for me, when I stop doing that. When I no longer put someone else’s needs above my own, and in fact allow myself to override theirs with mine. I never do that, sometimes to my own determent. So being able – and being asked explicitly – to do that sexually is a huge, huge turn-on.
What I’m trying to say is, Kristen & I opened up something deep and wounded and complicated and beautiful and fucking powerful yesterday evening. It brings up guilt, it triggers some old wounds, brings some of my issues of overattentiveness to the surface, and makes me feel so strong and powerful, like the king of the world.
I know you want to know more about what it was we actually were saying, those dirty, filthy things that got me to come inside her twice while strapped on, during a blow job, during a punishment spanking for her being such a dirty girl, during some intense fucking with her ass in my hands and her legs in the air. It’s taken me all day to get through this, unfortunately, so I’ll have to write up the dialogue tonight and get it to you tomorrow.
Did I mention how much I am just totally loving my life? I can’t believe what an amazingly dirty filthy sexy hot freak I’ve found. And? She likes me as much as I like her. Grateful, grateful, grateful.
In retrospect, it seems so obvious. Of course it’s hard to date while you’re falling for someone else. Of course you should work on that new relationship, get it to a stable place, before dating around, otherwise the foundation will probably be too shaky.
In making that other date, I think I was attempting to not acknowledge how much I’ve already fallen, how much I want to keep falling, how much she matters already. “Nah, it’s just a casual thing,” I was telling myself. “I should keep dating, keep seeing other people, this can’t really work, what can we do.”
“Nothing.” My friend, the Musician, said to me. “It’s impossible. There is no possible way for it to work. Except when it does.” The Musician and her girlfriend spent fifteen months at the beginning of their relationship apart, in different states and then in different countries. And somehow, they made it happen. She & I are probably the most romantic people I know, kings of the big gestures in love.
The people around me are laughing when I tell them my predicament. I kind of want them to say, this can’t work, just give up now, forget it, get real, but they don’t. They get it, like the Musician. Cody‘s girlfriend is also long distance, and about to move to his city to be with him. Dylan is beginning to practice dating more than one person at once (is that public knowledge? I can edit this out if you don’t want me to say that). Molly, my fluffer femme spy, reminds me that she is also an IT department of polyamory. And I haven’t even started tapping the resources of Eileen & Maymay & Rona and other sexbloggers who date multiple people and still manage to love and commit.
Y’all are seriously rooting for us, aren’tcha? It’s kind of strange to feel so supported in this. Maybe you’re sick of the smutty Sugarbutch gallavanting? Or perhaps you’re mirroring my own enthusiasm? Maybe you’ve been following my heartbreak and loss and know how happy I was when I was in love, and just want to see me happy again? Perhaps some of you still believe that One True Love thing and want to see me settled and happy.
Sugarbutch will die when you’re all in love and monogamous, you know that, right? more than a few friends have said this to me. But I don’t think it will die – I still want to write smut. Perhaps it’ll be less dating, but there better well still be sex in my life.
“It just keeps working, until it doesn’t work,” The Musician said. It’s like that quote from Death, part of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series, where she comes for a little baby and the baby says, “That’s it? That’s all I get?” and Death responds, “You get what everyone gets. You get a lifetime.”
I like a lifetime as a unit of measure. Same with a relationship. That’s what we get, DD & I … how long we can make it work, and how we’ll make it work, is definitely still To Be Figured Out.
“Will the grand gestures be worth it?” The Musician asks. “Who knows? I won’t know if all these huge gestures, flying across the country for my girlfriend, were worth it, until I’m on my deathbed saying, ‘holy shit, I’m dying, and you’re still here.'”
“Yeah, you’re right. And at the same time, I don’t regret the grand gestures in the relationships I had that have ended. And as much as I’m sad about the endings, or unhappy with how things ended, I don’t regret giving everything I could give, in them, at the time.”
“You’re such a romantic.”
“Yeah. But at the same time, what would I do if she was here? Is it only safe because she’s far away? Would things be totally different? Would I run?”
When I stop to think about it, I’m terrified. Second-guessing myself and my feelings, uncertain, unconvinced, unclear. I still feel so messed up from the two major breakups in my recent past, so particularly fucked by the manipulations of the unholy bitch that I have been trying to unlearn and unbelieve about myself. Somewhere in there I still don’t believe I’d be any good for someone in this state of flux. Too many unknown variables, too much changing.
But, on the other hand, I am closer to being who I want to become than I’ve ever been, and that is saying something. I’m refining, distilling, settling into a version of myself that is sustainable, solid but flexible, just good.
“Are you kidding!” The Musician says. “We’re alike, you & me. You squeeze your heart out in every direction you can find. You want her. You aren’t poly. You want the big love. You want to fall. And clearly, you want to fall for her.”
I still don’t have any idea how to make this work, but I think it’s beginning to sink in, a little deeper, to those inner layers, and clearly I have some new, revised choices to make.