“I’ve read the rules, and I’m up for this. Can I ask you a couple of questions to clarify the brief?”
This was how it started, but I am not sure how it ends.
I was responding to a request I’d stumbled across online. A woman looking for men to write her edging lit: fiction, factual or fantasy. She seemed sure of what she wanted, with some clear, no-nonsense rules. And so was I. Because as soon as I read it, I knew I could do this, and I knew I wanted to. I REALLY wanted it.
But I had to wait. Little did I realise this would actually prove good training for what was to come. Twitter got in a flap about me not giving a mobile number and put me in jail for two days. Then I waited to hear a response to my question, above. Two more days. Two more long days.
What brought me here was a mix of excitement and desperation. I considered myself a fairly normal hetero male, with reasonably good mental health, able to hold down jobs and relationships. But there was an unhappiness at the heart of me. And I didn’t know what it was. But I knew it was dark, uncomfortable, thrilling. And no good would come of bringing it out into the light. I needed a way to manage it. Make it bearable. Use it to channel my creative thoughts and emotions.
Just when I was giving up hope, she responded. She has a name, but I don’t know it. She is called C. and sometimes Ma’am. She is direct, clever, articulate, funny, accepting, non-judgmental. She is also understanding of the needs of a middle-aged man who is so desperate for answers as to what he wants and why he feels a sexual misfit. She asked me to write her an account of sexual edging and a ruined orgasm. She liked what I wrote, and we carried on talking, online.
We talked about what I liked, sexually. And what she wanted me to write about. I told her I got excited by pain, inflicted on me, in the build up to coming. That I yearned to be dominated, beaten, penetrated and marked. I needed to tell someone this, who could stop me feeling ashamed about it. Who could help me work within the constraints of Real Life, to heal myself. Who would let me channel my creativity for her pleasure, in return for a duty of care.
On the third day, I wrote to C. and told her about my feelings about sex, pain and what I hesitate to call BDSM:
“This aspect of it is hidden from the rest of the world. I don’t go to Eyes Wide Shut parties – it is deeply personal, internalised, private. At this stage it is not appropriate for either of us to elaborate on our wider lives, but you will understand this idea of course. At times it can feel like how it must have felt being a homosexual in the 1950s. The need to find an outlet for my desires – one that is constructive and doesn’t leave me too vulnerable is important to me. And has been frustrating in trying to know how to go about it, to work out in my mind how important it is to me and my life. So, I don’t know how we’d classify what we are doing here, but I like it, it makes me feel good about myself, and as long as you are happy for me to serve, I am happy to.”