Side A: "Hurt"
A week or so ago, I had a session with RHF, who I am renaming Hephaestus. After he caned me for my first time, a while back, I realized that there was a Place I wasn't quite getting to, a Place of catharsis and tears. A Place of release and cleansing. I was teetering on the edge of this Place when he caned me. When we talked about plans for last week's session, I decided that I wanted to fall over that edge. We agreed on a rough session, an "endurance" session, not so much about pleasure as about me allowing my limits on pain to be pushed, me taking what he gave.
I was already emotionally shaky, that day. There was a lot going on, and Apollo and I had been Talking quite a bit. I wondered if this was something I should be doing when I was already in an iffy place emotionally...but decided that the catharsis might be just what I needed. Hephaestus got me up on the cross, and he began. I can't remember the order. I can't remember everything he used on me. Nipple clamps were first, I remember. I was not crying yet. I remember the fierce little rubber flogger, so ticklish on my breasts and so unendurable on my back. He had me beg him to use something else. I begged him for the black thuddy flogger, begged him for that satisfying impact, that sure trip out to Liminal Space, out to Zen Pain Space, out of this blinding pain. My nose was running, and my eyes dripping. I was weeping as he continued to use that demonic little instrument on me. He eventually granted my request, and brought the black, thuddy flogger back out. For a moment, it was better. For a moment, it was ok. But, oh, my back was already so worn, so laced with pain, that even that became agony. There was the paddle. There were other, harsher floggers. There were more tears.
Then there was the moment when he told me to come, and I had to choke out, "I'm sorry, sir, I don't think I can." And I cried harder, for the realization. Me, not be able to come? It was unthinkable. But it was true. There was too much pain, too much turmoil, too much wild grief for my body to consider giving itself pleasure. I remember that I expected to be punished, though I didn't find it very fair, but he only went back to hitting me, with whatever he was using at the time. The last thing I remember was his braided flogger (I think it's a cat...I'm not certain) striking me...and suddenly, it really was too much. Too much crying, too much pain, too much emotion at once. I flashed my hands at him, our agreed-upon signal for STOP. He asked me, "I was going to end with three strokes of the cane. Can you do that?" What the hell, I thought, three with the cane. Can't make it any worse than it is already. Three biting strokes on my back, wrapping to leave raised lines on my arms, and it was over. I wanted to cry more, but it was over, so I didn't. I blew my nose, wiped my eyes, and laid on his bed, recovering. I was numb, but dangerously close to both laughter and tears. I left, eventually, and went home.
That night, Apollo wanted to have sex. I had been listening to my body, waiting for myself to click back into Normal Functioning Modes, wherein I am very present in my body, very desiring, and quite willing...but I wasn't there. The idea of sex was almost repugnant. Pleasure? In this body? This same space where all of That Pain happened? No, I did not want to be present in my body. It was a Bad Place, a place of endurance, a place of pain and tears, a place that had stopped functioning as I expected it to function. I couldn't. There are some Moods that can be pushed aside in deference to a partner's desire - headaches, tiredness, and the like. This was not one of those. I simply couldn't find it in myself to be touched. I had to tell him no. And tell him why. And that was hard, because it has been my goal to see to it that what I do with others doesn't affect our sex life (negatively, that is), and here it was, doing just that.
Now, a week and a substantial amount of processing later, I'm pretty ok with the fact that I'm not ready for that. That sort of play is more than I can handle right now -and that's alright. That's proper for me right now. But I do feel a little weak. A little failed. It was just pain, right? I should be able to take pain, right? It's not like it was humiliation or degradation play. It was just pain. But it was too much pain. And I Do Not Like how it made me feel afterwards, how I related to my body afterwards.
Side B: "Everything's Alright"
That night, I had a movie date with the Magician, the Cloaked Norseman, and CN's wife to watch Hellboy, in anticip......ation of the second one coming out. I went, expecting that we'd watch the movie, and for once, the Magician and I would essentially keep our hands off of each other, as I was so out of my body, so unwilling and unable to feel sensual pleasure. I was off. I knew it. I rubbed the Magician's back, played with his hair - usual movie-watching activities. But I felt closed-off. Cut off. As the movie progressed, this faded a bit. I faded, my issues and aches faded, into Story, into the images and characters. Still cut off, but time and Story were doing their work, helping me away from the pain.
The movie ended and CN and his wife left. The Magician led me back to his room, as was rather usual, as I tried to form the words to tell him that No, I can't connect like this tonight. In his embrace, I managed to whisper that I was feeling Off. Not Right. He asked why, and I shared that I'd had a bad session. That it was more than I could process properly. That the place right in the center of my solar plexus was in knots, and I wasn't connected to my body, and could he please just hold me and not expect more. This last part came as a shock. I realized that I felt safe. I was far enough away, in time and in mindset, from the experience that touch was healing, rather than oppressive.
He was so patient with me. His hands on my body, tracing my curves, avoiding overtly sexual touch. Brushing away the pain, the need to hold tight, the need to endure. Whispering in my ear that I am safe. Comfortable. Loved. It felt like a sacrament. It felt like a benediction. Slowly, wonderfully, he helped me settle back into my body, helped me feel it as safe, as sexual, as sacred again. I felt myself shine again.
The next day, he told me in an email that he'd thought of lyrics for me, which he should have sung last night, but were better late than never:
"Try not to get worried,
Try not to turn onto
Problems that upset you,
Oh, don't you know
Yes, everything's fine.
And [I] want you to sleep well tonight." - "Everything's Alright," Jesus Christ Superstar
Oh, perfect. A song of healing and anointing, of soothing the wounded spirit. Myrrh to my soul.
Bonus Track: "Love Me Two Times"
The Magician and I have progressed to having intercourse. This is a bit of a big deal. Right now, intercourse carries more weight than some other sexual acts. It carries more risks, and thus requires more caution and care. It is, for Apollo, a slightly more thorny issue as his emotions go. For these reasons, I will not ask about having intercourse with a partner unless I want it so badly that I cannot see straight. Otherwise, I'm perfectly content with less risky, less emotionally loaded acts. I'm easily pleased, I love skin, and I come easily. It's not difficult for me to be quite satisfied with something waay short of full-on penis-in-vagina fucking. But, sometimes, I want it. I do. And when I want it, I Really Want it. I want it because I'm comfortable. Because I'm safe. Because I find the other person incredibly hot and/or compelling. Once I want it this much, I'll talk to Apollo about it. It's not worth bringing up otherwise. Really, why push his comfort zone if it's not something I Really Want? That just doesn't make good sense.
So I asked. And we talked about it, and Apollo agreed. And, friends and readers, sex is a good, good thing. Sex is so unique. Sex is inescapably different with every different partner. Different angles and positions suddenly come into their own with the Magician, while some that I adore with Apollo take a back seat. Different internal spots emerge, trumpeting their own glory. Different sounds, different glances, different words whispered. I am astounded by the brilliance of the differences.