Throughout my childhood growing up, both of my parents loved coffee. In fact, most adults I knew loved coffee. So, when I became that age where curiosity about many things starts to get the best of you, I decided to experiment with coffee. I figured it was like the gateway drug to adulthood, and I wanted in.
I was maybe 10 or 11 when I had my first experience. We were at my older cousin Joanne’s bridal shower, and had finally come to that part of the afternoon when some pseudo form of wedding-like cake was served, and they gave all us “kids” sodas, and poured all the adults tiny cups of that lusciously aromatic, deep brown, goodness. So, being the bold and intrepid girl I was, I asked for a cup, and was met with no resistance. I felt so mature, so sophisticated. I’m pretty sure I even did that dainty little pinky finger lift that most women seem to automatically do when holding elegant glassware. I was about to leave those other kids my age in the dust, and be promoted into the ranks of sophisticated adults who drank coffee. Who knew what the world would meet me with then! I was already calculating all the possibilities on the horizon before me.
One sip and I knew; YUCK! That stuff just wasn’t for me. It would appear I was still, no matter how much I protested, a kid.
By the time college came, I was fairly sure I was going to wake up any day now and like coffee. All my classmates were coming to morning and afternoon classes with a cup from the corner deli, but I was still clinging to my old stand by, Diet Coke. I would pass coffee shops and smell that seductive aroma of Columbian roast, but alas, no matter how much I sweetened it, or added milk to it, I just couldn’t get past its bitter taste. I couldn’t figure out for the life of me how something so deliriously wonderful smelling, could taste so repulsive. I finally just had to admit it wasn’t for me.
And then, on a road trip with my father, it happened. At a rest stop on the NYS Thruway, he had me go in to the Starbucks and get him a cup of coffee to help him re-caffeinate. It was summer, and the line was somewhat long. As I waited for my turn, admittedly somewhat impatiently, I saw the words that would change my life forever, “Iced Caramel Latte“. I suppose I should now, looking back, be thankful for being made to wait long enough to pay attention to this colorfully written chalk board advertisement that was about to change my fate.
I thought, “Caramel, how bad could that be? If I hate it, I’ll just give it to Dad.” I went back to the car, handed him his coffee, and we proceeded down the highway. He eyed my iced latte with peaked curiosity, knowing that I was not a coffee person. Yet.
The first few sips; meh. Still, I kept right on sipping.
Halfway through; this isn’t that bad.
By the time only ice remained, and I found myself wiggling the straw around at the bottom to find any last remaining droplet; I…wanted…MORE. Oh coffee, you subversive vixen, you!
I was hooked. I wanted more iced lattes, and I wanted them NOW. I thought, “I wonder if this is the only kind of coffee I like?”, and so in the days and weeks that would follow this magical mystery trip, I experimented with all kinds of caffeinated concoctions. My mind was blown wide open, and my taste buds were screaming more, more, MORE! I ordered hot caramel lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos, and even good ole’ plain coffee, light and sweet. I drank them alone in the privacy of my own home, with friends, and even in public! I had no shame. I was now all about the coffee.
But what do you do when the opposite happens? What do you do when something that really tripped your trigger for years, now suddenly isn’t even a blip on your radar?
This is what happened to me with BD/SM.
During my first year in college there was a course given on Erotic Literature. I desperately wanted to take this course, but it unfortunately always fell on a day that I had conflicting classes. Luckily for me I discovered one day, by sheer chance, that our school bookstore labeled all the books on the shelves with what course they were needed for, and so I decided that if I couldn’t take the course, I could at least read the course materials. Among the books there were erotic poems by Rumi, and a curious book enticingly titled, The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty. It was this book that would change my sexual life in the most exciting and profound ways.
I’m not what you would call an avid reader, as I don’t just devour books for the sake of simply liking the subject matter. I need to be pulled in, seduced in a way that I just cannot seem to pull myself out of the story or subject matter, and few books seem to accomplish this for me. Most books I can read little snippets of here and there, but ones I truly love, ones that are remarkably captivating, I cannot seem to put down long enough to remember that I need to both eat and sleep at some point. The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty by Anne Roquelaure (or for those not in the know, Anne Rice) did this for me. This book makes today’s Fifty Shades of Gray look like that teen-fandom hit, Twilight, but I digress.
Before reading this book, I had no idea what BD/SM was, let alone even heard of it before. My idea of sex growing up was shaped by overly dramatic romance-novel-esque scenes from soap operas, or steamy scenes from movies, and one really bad porn movie. None of these even hinted at the idea that pain could ever be a pleasurable thing, or dominance, or giving over one’s power to another. As I started reading “Claiming”, I was extraordinarily shocked and repulsed! Here was this young girl who I imagined to be around my age then, 18, who was being forcibly taken by these mysterious men, spanked, prodded, handled like a piece of meat, and taken away to some unknown kingdom where she was put in service of a cruel Queen who had a thing for hairbrush spankings, and I was just thrown! How could they do this to her? Why would anyone imagine this kind of cruelty could be erotic? There was nothing sexy about this.
But I couldn’t put it down! I couldn’t stop reading! I was so entranced, so beguiled, and I was getting wetter and wetter with each page turn. I had never read a book so quickly in my life. My whole erotic world was being turned on its head, and I somehow knew then that nothing would ever be the same.
I was lucky at that time to be living in NYC, because as most good cities will have, a host of clubs were around that catered to this fringy new passion of mine. I was bold enough then, and fearless enough, that the idea of waltzing in to unknown territory didn’t seem to intimidate me much. In retrospect, a nubile 18-year-old in club Hellfire is like sending a unicorn into a field surrounded by hunters with full quivers! I had no idea what role I wanted to play (Dominant or submissive), all I knew was that I wanted to experiment with it all. And that I did.
In the years that followed throughout my 20’s, and long after I eventually moved upstate and out of the city, I gradually dipped my toes deeper and deeper into the pool of the BD/SM world. I was tied up, down, corseted, spanked, flogged, waxed, clamped, you name it, and I was also on the giving end of all of those experiences as well. My first real kink relationship was with a man who was my submissive, and we spent many a weekend in the city at Paddles exploring joyous hours of public play. This was back when Paddles was on 17th St., and had all sorts of deviously wonderful theme rooms. My favorite of which will always be the throne room because it had this perfectly placed ornate gold framed mirror, flanked by two pillars that had wrist and ankle cuffs with pulleys attached to them. Oh, how can you not see the inherent perfection in that design? Have you ever seen a real live human puppet show before? I have! I make a fabulous puppet master, er, Mistress!
In my late 20’s I ended up in another relationship that took a different avenue. I guess you could say that I was predominantly a Dominant, but for the right kind of man, I longed to submit. I’m not sure I could tell you in words just exactly what this “perfect storm” of a combination was for me, but suffice it to say that it was a serious interplay of physical desire interwoven with a mental prowess, which created a sort of magnetism that is insanely intoxicating. I imagine this is what a moth experiences as it watches a flame dance. I have only felt his 3 times in my life thus far. As if the yin of the universe yearned for its yang, so did the turning of my experiential tide. Thus began my first 24/7 Dom/sub relationship with me as the submissive.
I had met someone who seemed to just innately pull this desire forth from me. He was much newer to the exploration of BD/SM than I was, but somehow this did not detour me. I suppose because I trusted that with the right about of information, he would be more than capable. That’s how it originally started; he came to me for my expertise. We talked, and played around a little together Topping another woman (his wife), together, which was all rather mild newbie play. But I could see he wanted more. I could tell he wanted to go deeper, harder, more intensely into this new realm. I wanted to experience that for myself, giving myself up to anothers’ will as someone had once done so beautifully for me. And so I offered myself to him this way, gave him full reign, with only my checklist of “yes”, “no”, and “Definitely not”‘s to guide him. It was like falling down the rabbit hole, and here I was, Alice tumbling into who knows where. My only “out” was a safe word that would, upon utterance, terminate everything.
During the course of this relationship no corner seemed left unturned. Of all the tastes I enjoyed: spanking, flogging, restraint, knife play, wax, anal play, to name a few, there were many that I would be exposed to that I did not find palatable. Humiliation of various kinds was most intolerable for me. Even more jarring to my soul perhaps though, was to be “dropped”; riding that great build up, the rising crescendo of powerfully erotic exchanges, only to be left hanging without sexual release. This was, as the cards would have it, part and parcel of being involved with someone who needs to also concern themselves with the care of another loved one, who might not be so thrilled by their partner’s kinky extramarital relationship. It was all though, in its intensity and fullness, balanced none the less.
For the year and a half that this relationship grew, blossomed, and eventually withered, it was beyond intoxicating for me. Our BD/SM play was all I could think about, dream about, long for. It’s the closest thing to an addiction that I have ever had. I would day dream for hours about what our next scenes would include. I would create elaborate fantasies within my dreamscape, put them to paper, and he would recreate them with his own style. Every breath that passed between my lips, every thought that flickered through, every inch of skin, and every fiber of my soul yearned for that seemingly insatiable exchange of power. It was my drug, and it coursed through my veins like horses with wild abandon.
And then, without warning or foreshadow, it was gone. Just like that.
I have often wondered if perhaps that relationship had somehow completed within me, the two halves of the whole; light and dark, form and shadow. I don’t know why, or how, and I have yet to adequately explain it, if it’s explainable at all, but somehow that circuit in my sexual appetite reached completion. I entered into my 30’s a new person, with new desires and undiscovered tastes, but the old hungers are just whispers, now sated.
I’m not done exploring the vast and expansive menu of sexuality and eroticism, it’s just that, like coffee, my taste has inexplicably and forever, changed.