Archive for November, 2008|Monthly archive page

Rape Play / Forced Submission

(This is something I wrote months and months ago, and forgot about…)

I’ve never really been a fan of the term “rape play.” To me, it’s a self-contradicting term; “rape” describes a non-consensual sexual encounter, while “play” describes a consensual one. In the past, I was also averse to the term because I didn’t feel that it really described the sort of play that my partner and I have talked about and engaged in. As he’s described them to me, my partner’s fantasies of “rape” have always included the knowledge that the other person actually wants it and is really turned on by it, or rather that he’s making the person want it. It’s the “no…no….YES!” fantasy.

In a sense, yes, this is quite similar to a lot of real-life rape scenarios. The rapist’s idea that “aw, c’mon, she really wanted it, even if she said ‘no'” is a cliché at this point, and quite a lot of rape starts out looking like seduction, especially when the person being raped is confused about what she wants and what she SHOULD want. But in a “rape play” scene, of course, the person being “raped” knows what she wants beforehand, and knows, on some level, what’s going to happen in the scene. Is it really appropriate to use a word like “rape,” then, to describe something that’s negotiated, consensual, and (hopefully) mutually enjoyable?

I usually prefer the term “forced submission” to describe the sort of rough sex that usually takes place between me and my partner, a submission that he has to win from me. It’s a fight, a struggle, and a defiant attitude throughout; I swear and bite and curse him. Or, alternately, it’s “seduced submission,” a shyness, with him teasing me and slowly forcing himself upon me, my protests growing weaker as he shows me that I’m really enjoying myself.

On the other hand, some of my experiences with this kind of play has really pushed my boundaries of consent, because such scenes can drop me into a headspace in which I really don’t know what I want. In those times, the play can sometimes seem very real. I start to struggle in earnest, as if I really didn’t want to be touched. It’s when I reach that space, that just-a-little-too-real space, that I get the most turned on. But it’s also when I come dangerously close to breaking down, to getting hurt. I have reached the point, a few times, when I’ve felt for a second like I was actually being forced against my will, like I actually had no choice. Those are the times when I think that “rape play” might actually be a very accurate term. When I think about it, it’s probably more “edge” than anything else we do.

…yet I’m still not comfortable with the term. There’s a nagging feeling I have that using it somehow lessens the meaning of the word; that it belittles the experiences of those who have been raped to say that what I do for pleasure is somehow similar enough to someone else’s traumatic experience to use the same word for it. It creeps me out, a little.

Humiliation

When I first began to recognize my submissive sexual identity, it was still wrapped up in a “safe” set of desires and fantasies. I focused on seduction, not active submission. I was interested in being taken advantage of, I acknowledged, but it wasn’t like I was into whips and chains, or wanted to be beaten down, or wanted to be degraded and humiliated. I wasn’t a pervert. I just happened to prefer it when my partner was a little more dominant and forward; it was relaxing, I reasoned, to give up control once in a while. I liked getting tied up, but I wasn’t into spanking or any of that. Or, maybe spanking is kind of nice after all—but definitely not whips. I mean, it’s not like I’m a masochist or anything.

…and on and on down the list, until I finally started to let more and more of the shameful fantasies come to the surface and to explore new things I hadn’t even thought of. I recognized my desire to be owned, and to submit completely; I discovered that I could, in fact, process pain in an erotic way, and that I absolutely loved to be flogged, spanked, kicked, and beaten. The one thing I couldn’t really think about was humiliation play.

What’s interesting, looking back on my earliest sexual fantasies, is how heavily my “seduction” scenarios were infused with humiliation play. My fantasies about being teased and toyed with until I couldn’t help but allow my seducer to do whatever he wanted with me, I told myself, got me off because I enjoyed giving up my control. But when I think about it, the “teasing” in those fantasies was downright cruel. They always involved me doing my best to not give in to a person I did not want to sleep with, to whom I did not want to give the satisfaction of making me desire him, of making me come. In the end, I always gave in, I always went from pulling away to desperately trying to draw him closer—as he laughed in my face, taunting me, triumphing. In my fantasies, I did not love the person toying with me. I hated him. I cursed him under my breath even as I begged for him. The fact that the pleasure he was giving me was not done out of love or compassion but as a game, as a show of power and control over me, was incredibly hot. He would make me come not because he wanted to give me pleasure but because he wanted to show that he could do it, that just as he could deny me pleasure when I wanted it, he could also force pleasure upon me when I didn’t want it.

It’s shocking, really, that I didn’t recognize it sooner, and it makes me wonder what it is about that fantasy, about being humiliated for my desire, that makes me so uncomfortable. Undoubtedly it’s the fact that it’s just as much of a fear of mine as it is a fantasy, something I’ve had a hard time getting past—the fear that expressing sexual desire in any way will make me a target of ridicule. (Both in the sense that I obviously must be a shameless slut and in the sense that I’m not attractive enough for the object of my desire to reciprocate the feeling.)

Not too long ago, my partner and I began to play with humiliation a little bit. It was incredibly intense, much more than I expected—it sent me reeling out into a headspace in which I felt a range of conflicting emotions and completely out of control. It’s been interesting to see what turns me on, what does nothing for me, and what disgusts me or makes me feel too uncomfortable to go on. Spitting on my face and forcing me to drool are both incredibly hot; spitting in my mouth just makes me want to vomit. Calling me a filthy slut or a worthless piece of trash is hot; calling me a whore makes me want to immediately stop the scene. Being told to masturbate while he simply watches makes me feel self-conscious; him taking my hand and forcing me to masturbate feels amazing.

There seems to be a fine line between domination and humiliation, and what one person finds humiliating another might consider a sign of affection or submission. Being collared, kneeling, boot worship/licking, and obeying commands are all things I find erotic, but not at all humiliating. Another person might think nothing of the fact that being gagged makes him drool a little bit, but for me it has a profound effect. And, of course, what makes me feel humiliated might not synch up with what my partner thinks is humiliating, which affects our play as well.

It’s nice to have a new kink to ponder.

Rejection

Has it really been a month since I’ve last written on this blog?

I’ve been finding it really difficult to write, lately, as I suppose my absence here would suggest. I’ve been tired and stressed and exhausted all the time, worn very thin by what seems to be just “normal life” for everyone else around me. I find myself daydreaming of escape more often than is probably healthy for me. I’ve been cutting myself off from people and activities I used to enjoy, simply because it seems like too much effort to maintain the relationships or to spend my non-work hours doing anything but curling up under a blanket. Old sources of guilt and depression have been resurfacing out of nowhere. In short: the last few months have been sort of crappy.

We had a second meeting of “Anarkink,” as we’re now calling the Anarchist BDSM group, and it was great, and we had some interesting conversations, and I left feeling confused and sad, because like everything else, it now seems too difficult, too stressful, to really throw myself in and to get the most out of this group.

…but enough of that. Let me try to assemble something like a decent blog post, here.

One piece of the repressed-sexuality baggage I’m still struggling to discard has to do with rejection. In my head, if I try to initiate sex and am turned away, this is because my sexuality is bad and repulsive and I’m a horrible slut — not because my partner is tired, sick, or stressed out, which would be a more reasonable way of looking at the situation (i.e. based in fact). When I let my desire show, and he doesn’t reciprocate — when he gently tells me that he’s just not feeling it right now — my stomach turns inside-out, and it just starts a vicious circle of us making each other feel worse and worse.

The other night, that started to happen. We ended up in bed together, both of us feeling terrible. I tried to explain how it made me feel ashamed to want sex when he didn’t, and how I just didn’t know what to do in these situations, when my body was burning and he just wanted to go to sleep. Earlier that week I actually hadn’t been able to get to sleep because of it, and had ended up going to sleep in the other room instead. This time, I let him know that I was turned on enough that I wasn’t going to be able to fall asleep without coming first.

And then we had a long conversation about what he could and couldn’t do in such situations, to what extent he was willing to help me get what I needed. I could masturbate, he said, and I could do it with him in the room. But I felt too uncomfortable to do that if he was simply passively sitting next to me, or worse, turned away from me. It felt deeply shameful, no matter what he said to dissuade me from those feelings. I realized that earlier, when he’d admitted that he wasn’t feeling interested in sex that evening, I probably would have been fine if he’d done it in a more direct way, telling me that we would not be having sex — but also telling me that I would be able to come if I wanted to, if I waited and didn’t put any more pressure on him.

I also realized that his discomfort at those situations in which I start to get pushy, when it becomes really obvious that I want to play or fuck, wasn’t due to my desire but to my expectations. Expectations put pressure on him = immediate turn off.

So here’s sort of the ideal situation I’ve worked out in my head:

Me: [Passionately kisses him/kneels/puts my hands behind my back/etc.]
Him: Just so you know, we’re not going to be playing or having sex tonight.
Me: Oh. Okay.
Him: If you wait until we go to bed, I’ll allow you to come then. [OR: I want you to go into your room and have two orgasms. Come straight back here when you’re done.]

By the time we were done discussing all of this, naturally, we were both really turned on and ended up having an awesome time…