Thank you CrashPad for allowing me to share my story <3
(Trigger warning: Sexual assault is mentioned)
Discussion of sex tips within queer circles often involves sharing tips on using dildos and strap-ons. Strap-ons and harnesses are celebrated in queer culture, portrayed as symbols of desirability especially amongst queer women. Fisting is a queer sex powermove.
This echoes more conventional ideas around heterosexual sex, where it doesn’t count as “sex” or “losing your virgninity” until there is vaginal penetration (though thankfully this
notion is being questioned more and more).
As a queer person who cannot do penetration, for reasons I will detail below, I already find much of mainstream sexual discourse alienating - but the alienation is doubly so in queer circles. I don’t expect mainstream sex (like most of mainstream culture) to represent me at all, but it’s an extra special frustration to feel like a freak in your community. I do not buy into [Dworkinesque politics about penetration being oppressive and resent the implication that I am not sex-positive or somehow ‘frigid’ because I find one mode of sexual activity overly represented. Instead I ask that us fellow queer people broaden our thinking on what makes great sex, moving away from specific activities as highlights to building whole experiences.
Penetration didn’t used to be a problem for me; it didn’t really do as much for me as other forms of stimulation, but it was doable. Long before then I got more out of various forms of sexual play; I would rather spend my sexytime smothered in touch or having intensely intimate conversation. Penetration? Meh.
Then in 2009 I was raped at an all-women’s play party, mostly by the coercive and forced use of overly large dildos. Ever since then I have developed vaginismus, a psychosomatic condition that has made me unable to deal with almost any form of penetration, even smaller objects such as tampons, menstrual cups, or fingers. Dildos - particularly oversize ones - became a major trigger for me, to the point of shuddering whenever I run into the sex toys section at an adult shop. (I am deeply grateful that the crew at Crash Pad respected this during my shoot with them in 2011 and kept the dildos out of sight for me, and that Kitty Stryker found plenty of good ways to have fun on screen regardless. Thank you!)
It was already hard enough to find validation or help in my assault experience, given that it was woman-on-woman — people were stuck on the idea of women not being able to be perpetrators because they do not have penises to penetrate. (Ironically, the use of dildos made my story more “believeable” in the eyes of many misogynists.) In re-exploring my sexuality post-assault I found it very difficult to find representations or resources that didn’t focus on penetration as the Big Climax that everything else builds up to. My preferred modes of sexual pleasure were dismissed as just “foreplay” or “warming up”. So much queer porn didn’t seem complete unless they ended with dildos or fisting (so much fisting). Ow!
This strongly affected my confidence with romantic and sexual relationships. I am lucky to have a (straight, cis) male partner who has grown to enjoy non-penetrative sex so much that he, like me, prefers it to penetration; however, for a long time I felt like I was holding him back from expressing his full sexual options. The joys of relationship anarchy meant that we didn’t have to be each other’s only sexual partner, and indeed he has found another sexyfriend to explore penetration with as he wishes. In the meantime I too have been relatively lucky to find other sexyfriends and partners that didn’t insist or penetration, but many times it felt like making a concession rather than an exciting opportunity to try something different.
I would hear stories about being wrist-deep in another person, or be amongst friendly group chatter around where to find harnesses for dildos in the city, and feel left out. No one else seemed to as rhapsodic about, say, being eaten out the whole night (and have it end there) or not being touched at all and instead having a purely mental orgasmic experience. The closest thing I could find to my experience was the idea of being a “stone”, which really did not describe me. I am often a rather Top-py Pillow Princess; I love receiving dedicated attention. I just didn’t want this to include penetrative activity. Yet I couldn’t find anything that spoke to my sexual preferences without making it seem like I was missing out on something. I felt inadequate, unsexy, broken.
I figured I couldn’t be the only person with vaginismus or an inability to be penetrated. Sexual assault and rape are highly prevalent around the world — up to 71% of the population according to WHO multi-country studies. According to Vaginismus.com, roughly 2 in 1000 women will experience vaginismus, but the number could be higher due to shame and stigma.
What’s with making this a stigma anyway? Why do I or anyone else need to have a justification, medical or traumatic, to not want to involve penetration in sex? Maybe it just doesn’t do anything for you; most women (or female-assigned bodies) don’t orgasm from penetration alone anyway. Maybe you like everything else a whole lot more and would rather concentrate on the sex that feels great, rather than trying to hit arbitrary landmarks. Maybe you’re like me pre-sexual assault, and just find penetration middling.
I feel like we need to flip the Pareto principle around when it comes to depicting sexual possibility: rather than 80% of our attention being spent on 20% of our body (penetration of the genitals), let’s spend more time exploring the other 80% of ourselves: the rest of our body, the mind, the spirit. Here are some ideas for non-penetrative sexual pleasure:
Sensation play. The skin is the largest organ in the body - make use of it! As you can see on my shoot with Kitty Stryker, I’m a major feather fan (*snerk*) and go all melty on scratching. I’m also fond of food play — sweet toppings make me feel and smell so luscious afterwards! (Just don’t put them on genitals lest you get yeast infections). Play with textures, weight, pressure, even different ways of moving the object - slowly pulling a leather strap across the skin is far different than slapping that same leather strap. Remember to explore non-obvious sexual spots - perhaps there are certain points on the belly, or arm, or knee that make your paramour shudder in delight. My male partner got a lot out of [Bondassage, a lighter form of BDSM play that is sensation-centric - check their website out for ideas and training.
Creative sexytimes. I often say that art is my kink — I enjoy engaging my senses and erotic energy in creative outlets. Explore burlesque or pole-dancing. Head to a strip club and partake in a lapdance. Read erotic stories - or have someone read them out to you. Better yet, craft a highly personal fantasy for you and your lover! Try music too — the Sex Music tumblr has great recommendations. Have photos taken, make your own porn!
Oral sex or clitoral stimulation. Yes this is rather obvious, but it can be surprising how many people forget this as a viable sexual option, or overlook it in the rush to ‘fill that hole’. Enjoy the scenery, play around with it. Linger. Change your focus from “this is just foreplay for the big stuff”, a hurdle to get past, to enjoying the moment wholly and you will be very pleasantly rewarded.
Not willing to be penetrated doesn’t make us repressed desexualised people unworthy of love. Queer sex is as much about paying attention to individual desires as it is about moving away from heterosexist ideas. Let’s move the focus away from privileging various sex acts over others, and relish each other for the diversity of bodies and sexualities that we are.
Mendhi Henna has just moved to the Bay Area from Brisbane, Australia in the guise of starting grad school. Her real schemes remain semi-secret.
So recently I had my first Domme. She ticked a lot of boxes for me: lanky, Joan-Jett-esque rockstar dyke style, wacky and open and also prone to checking her phone about fifteen gazillion times a day. We met at a non-kink meetup, chatted about kink and Crash Pad and relationships and other things, and when I overheard her tell a mutual friend that she wanted a sub, I wrote her a message volunteering.
I wasn’t fond of most pain, but I was keen on service: I had just worked out that my longtime inclination to show my admiration for someone by wanting to be their assistant likely had a kinky side. And I had wanted someone to be my Rockstar Domme for some time. She sounds like she could be the one!
only possible problem: she was a sadist. A hardcore one. And I wasn’t much of a masochist. At the same time, though, I hadn’t really had much experience - just a few flogging sessions which were pretty mixed - and I did want to train up my pain tolerance anyway so I figured I could give some things a go. I told her I was new, that I was highly into sensation play, and that I was nervous. She seemed to understand, and we had a grand couple of weeks swapping messages back and forth, talking about what we want and our fantasies and little fun things for the day.
Our first date went quite well: I was quaking in my boots, but fell for her hard once she went from FriendMode to DommeMode. With just my back and some choice words she had full control over me, and I was hooked and endorphic. We made plans to meet up again in a week or two, and I was in a happy haze for the next few days. I couldn’t get her out of my mind.
The next time we met up, we went to an all-women’s play party. She had told me the last time that she felt I needed to learn how to be patient, and often left me hanging while she attended to other people. A friend of hers was there, and they had quite a bit of play, and both of them took turns whacking me while I was tied to a cross. It was stingy, not my kind of pain, and I did start feeling really bad about feeling ignored: the physical pain was bearable, if not awesome, but I had a lifetime of being ignored and humanised and it was all starting to come back. Thankfully before it got too bad she would come back and pay attention to me, but it was still quite a ride of emotional waves.
After the party she drives us to her house, and she talks about wanting to dominate me her way. I keep a straight face, but inside I am freaking out. I don’t know if I can take her sadism, if I even want to go there. What happened to all the times we talked about taking it slow on my behalf? Where was my chance to give her service, which I specifically mentioned? What about me? She had control of the car though - this was late at night, too late and far away for public transport - and I had no idea what would have happened if I said no. I doubt she would have been terrible with me if I did refuse; maybe miffed but she would at least send me home - bummer, I missed out on sexytimes. And I really did want to serve her: I had a strong urge to please her. So I went along, without much protest.
Our session was really intense, especially for me having pretty much been thrown into the deep end. Collars, caning, rope, floggers, scratching till I was sore and possibly bruising. Some of it I actually quite enjoyed and would have gladly taken more of, but some of it I did more to keep her happy. More because I wanted her to be happy.
I asked her what happened to everything we talked about before, the service and the sensation play and the taking it slow. She said she had her needs too, that as a sadist she needed to get her pleasure too. I didn’t know what to say - I had no idea whether to keep going or stop or where I was meant to go.
I did feel pretty buzzed up and happy and good when it ended: endorphin rush, I guess. And she was really sweet and lovely with her aftercare, which I still appreciate and fondly remember to this day. We chilled for a while, she sent me home, and I dropped off to sleep around 4am back in my bed.
I was super exhausted the next day; I felt like I had run a marathon. My emotions were a wreck: I liked some of it, but not all. I wanted to please her, but I didn’t know if my body could take it very often, and I didn’t know how often she would want it. I didn’t know if I was ever going to get my desires fulfilled. Yet I felt like I could take on anything after taking on really quite a thrashing, and even craved some of the intense sensation; everything else felt rather dull in comparison. I didn’t know where to go. Was she safe? Is she good for me? Am I good for her? She called me to check in, I told her a few of my concerns, and she figured we could have a coffee and chat about it soon.
A night or two later I talk to my partner - a lovely but vanilla guy who has known me for years - about it, and he shows concern for the scars and bruising. He asks me a million questions about her: does she know first aid? how experienced is she? does she sterilize her tools? I thought he was being overbearing with his questions, but to keep him happy I passed them on to her. She was incredulous, and said that if he was really concerned he could ask her himself. We took this literally, and he sent her a similar message.
Soon after that, I get a series of text messages from her, firstly answering my guy’s Qs but with some annoyance (along the lines of “of course I know first aid! I did sterilise my stuff!”) and a note about how she feels he should trust my judgement more. And then she felt that our kinks don’t really match up, so we probably couldn’t play together anymore.
I was crushed. Here’s someone I really liked, who I thought had potential to go further, after many years of not really getting anywhere…and she dumped me.
A few days later I felt a sense of deep rage. She put me in a spot where I was extra vulnerable, where I didn’t feel safe saying no, and she specifically did things I had told her I wasn’t into or wasn’t confident of. I felt coerced into going along, but I felt like everything I had told her had gone to waste, that she was more concerned with her needs than mine. I wrote her a message saying all of that, saying how I was hurt and heartbroken because I had really given a lot of myself and felt like it wasn’t respected much, about how if being a sadist was so important to her she could have just turned me down from the start.
I didn’t want to say I was violated, I didn’t want to consider it assault - I have been raped and it was a totally different experience. At least here she listened to my safewords and actually *cared* about me as a human being, not like my rapist! but at the same time…I wasn’t sure. I felt like my innocence, naievity, and need to please was taken advantage of, and I had gone farther than I was comfortable.
Her response wasn’t much, mostly that she feels I am hurting now and that she would give me space. We still talk from time to time, though we haven’t had a chance to catch up recently.
Reading Kitty’s recent posts on consent culture and kink made me think and rethink this situation. It fitted some of the warning signs of a scene gone wrong - wishes gone unheard, feeling coerced, vulnerability being taken advantage of. She hit a big hard limit for me: dehumanisation and ignorance, trauma tied to many years of bullying and racism and oppression. And yet, and yet my biggest secret guilt:
I still like her.
I feel like I shouldn’t, that I shouldn’t still fancy someone who probably didn’t show me enough respect especially when in a particularly precarious situation. But she did many things right. She showed me tenderness and affection before and after, and still does really. She explained what was going on and let me make choices. She made sure I got home safe and hydrated and rested. She empathised with me when other people in the community were being racist fuckwits and (to my utter delight) didn’t try to exoticise me or quiz me about my foreign nature. She first met me as a regular person with a common interest who also happened to be kinky, more than just a sub, and she still remembers that and respects that.
She wasn’t malicious, and unlike my rapist she wasn’t completely selfish (my rapist actually did tell me she saw me as her fucktoy, without my input in the matter). I felt that she likely got ahead of herself and didn’t realise how far beyond my comfort zone it was.
I remembered a very similar situation that happened over a year before, a non-kinky setting, with the girl of my dreams, a situation that turned into such a nightmare that she avoids me now and I don’t know how to make things right. It was - to me - just a moment of online shenanigans, but it triggered something in her and she felt like we had gone too far. The fallout that unfolded not long later when she figured she couldn’t deal with being friendly with me anymore because of that one day in May was one of the worst times of my life; I had fallen into a deep pit of despair and horror and anguish, and have only just come out the other side.
I still miss her, the girl who I unintentionally violated just by words. And I still miss her, the woman who pushed me a little too far, unintentionally violating me with her desires. All of us not totally aware of our limits and reactions until it happens, all of us just wanting to have fun sexy delicious times with each other, all of us deeply desiring and attracted to each other - all of us eventually hurting each other.
I never quite know whether to consider this assault, a violation, what. I remember being quite horrified at Janet Hardy’s comments about “turning someone into a rapist without their consent” - as though the violator’s “consent” over their label was more important than the consent of the survivor. But I’ve been on possibly both sides of these, with people I know from outside contextes to be decent and friendly and lovely and caring, the sort of people who would take consent culture seriously and treat people with respect. But some things just don’t quite go right. and then you don’t know what to do.
Is it bad that I still want my former Domme to take me back as her sub? Or at least still count me amongst her bevy of ladysexyfriends? Should I be damming her to hell instead, outcasting her, refusing to see her again - just because that’s apparently what you do with someone who pushes your boundaries? Am I part of the problem? Do I have a right to an opinion or feeling on this, or am I being a hypocrite because just under two years ago someone else I deeply cared about saw in me what I saw in the Domme, felt the same way, had the same moral quandries?
I don’t know. I don’t really know.
Part of the 52 Pickup Project with mimart
song: marks and angles by anechoix (cc-by-nc)
shuffle the cards that you’ve been dealt
cut them up paint them change them
make them the cards you’d rather have
make you the card you’d rather have
bluff, but don’t
use your sleight of hand to call on Jack
and Jack will come
painted razzle dazzle spades of
gloss and adornment
only Jack will take you as you made yourself to be
Jack adorns you and plays with you
playing with charms
placing bets on your pleasure
it’s all fun and games really,
is it not?
who needs to reveal their hand
when the mystery is what makes the game?
my first piece of erotic fiction in a while! I’ve long had a thing for mentor/protege dynamics and this was inspired by my first lady lover, whom I’ve wished was more of my creative mentor and was quite turned on by the idea of me being her canvas. Too bad she moved interstate!
Ropework, service, knife play, scratching, sensation play. F/f pairing.
Feel free to share, just keep the credits…written by Mendhi Henna.
NEEDS TO BE ON MY BLOG AND YOURS AND EVERYONE’S
Personally I think that http://xdress.com/ generally looks better and has better pics….
Though I like that this is “lingerie for men” rather than assuming someone wearing it is “crossdressing”. Though the australian place seems to assume heterosexuality more so idk.
omg the pictures at xdress. (bites lip)
It’s really nice looking lingerie, too.