by Annabeth Leong
I feel like most people won't believe me when I say I never deliberately misbehaved as a child, but it's true. I was that terrified of displeasing others. To this day, there is nothing worse to me than the I'm-Disappointed-In-You tone of voice. I have always believed I would be caught.
I was fascinated by stories about naughty children—I used to beg my mother to tell me about "times when she was bad"—but these stories were entirely fiction to me. I could not dream of misbehaving myself.
Even as a teenager, when I did manage to rebel, I often did so in contradictory and guilt-ridden ways. Once a friend and I played anagrams with a religious sign in a churchyard, altering the letters from a typically anodyne Christmas message to a lewd phrase. I laughed with my friend and kept half the letters for myself—but a week later I slipped them into an envelope, typed a letter of apology, and snuck back onto church grounds alone to slip this package under the office door.
I have read enough BDSM fiction to know where this is supposed to go. I am supposed to have found freedom in BDSM play, to have become able to enact a drama of naughtiness, disappointment, love, and acceptance that heals this lifelong fear of behaving in any way deemed less than perfect.
That's not the story for me, though. I tried those games when I started practicing BDSM as an adult and they are potent for me, as in arousing and emotional. But they are also dangerous. In the years I've been exploring these things, I've learned that there are types of injuries I can get from BDSM besides bruises and blood. It takes me weeks to put myself back together after roleplaying about naughtiness and punishment. It's absolutely edge play for me, and most of the time I can't afford to play like that.
Considering how often naughtiness enters BDSM play ("Do you need a spanking, naughty girl?"), it took me a long time to figure out how to separate it from the sensation play I really enjoy. But what I do now is focus on the sensation. I don't like to roleplay. I don't like to imagine excuses for why someone might hurt me. Sometimes, a lover asks if I need a spanking and I just say yes.
I like best to do it as if why doesn't even exist. I lean forward across the bed and this wonderful person begins to administer pain. I know this is a hard job—physically demanding, emotionally taxing, requiring skill, requiring care for me, requiring self-care, requiring wisdom. I often tell them how great they are while they beat me.
I don't like to use safe words, by which I mean I don't like to use code words. I can't remember or manage code when I go to that place, just like I can't handle roleplay. Reality seeps through. I need to stay in reality. So I talk about what I like and don't like. I talk about pain I hate and pain I love and how I sometimes want both anyway. I do not submit, I bottom—when I ask them to wait, or when I say no, I expect them to listen to me. I praise my top and my top praises me. We are being brave and bold together, and we both recognize that fact.
And I can't pretend it has anything to do with naughtiness, anything to do with punishment. It's about trust and love, and for me it has to be that way at every level or I am getting hurt in a way I don't enjoy.
(I am out of town at the moment and not really able to get on the Internet regularly, so I'm still scarce with comments and replies. I love you all, though, and look forward to catching up soon!)