Finding a D/s dance partner is one long and lonely night.

I have always known why I want to dominate.

It’s not because it’s taboo or transgressive, or even because I’m in charge.  It’s because in that bubble of time where a man bends his knee to me I can finally let go.

I want to dominate so I may trust.

A year ago I met Nate.  I never really named him other than tagging the name in the footnotes of my writings.  He felt like a shadow to me, sand through my fingers.  I didn’t want to name something I knew would be temporary.

He found me on CollarSpace.  Approached me like a normal man, but respectful.  Not simpering or demanding, an all too common combination in the male sub choice of communique.  Simpmanding.  Demanpering?

We met on an October night at a local wine bar and drank two bottles of wine.  His long legs capped with cowboy boots crossed at the ankles stretched out past our table.  We laughed and talked under the stars for hours until hunger drove us out to find a diner.

He walked me to my car and I let him snake his fingers inside my panties.  He was usually dominant he said.  He kissed me hard, almost painfully, and brought me to climax.  I came down my leg and my juices pooled in my shoes.

At the diner we talked some more and stuffed our faces.  His black leather jacket crinkled and he periodically had to flick his jaw-length blond hair out of his eyes.  “We’ll have to make sure you have a hair tie,” I said mischievously.

We said our goodbyes in the parking lot under a street lamp and tried to hide our lascivious petting from the occasional other diner coming and going.  He dropped to his knees and buried his face in the apex of my thighs.  At 3 am we were virtually alone.

He was an intense A-type workaholic with his own one-man business.  His passion and focus was entirely on his career, but he could no longer ignore this burning need to be dominated.  He wanted the freedom of no control.

He was never very good at just casual sex he said and wanted to make a real connection with someone, not just a one-time thing, which was perfect for me.  When we met I was still licking my wounds after a crushing D/s disappointment and I was refocused on going slowly.

We hung out ol’ vanilla style a few times, established expectations in communication and made out.  He tasted of weed and tobacco and I liked to eye his long hair with disdain.  “You don’t like my long hair, do you?” he’d ask smiling.

“Nope.  Not at all,” I laughed.

Over the next 4 months we played with our deeper drives.  The first night I took control I didn’t change out of my work attire, a black pencil skirt and cream colored silky button down with its own black tie tied loosely into a bow right where the last button held at my cleavage.  His eyes bugged when I opened the door.  The black sash would end up around his neck while his hands and feet were bound.

For weeks he’d come over and I would have a different sash, ribbon, or tie.  A length of pink satin wrapped gently, yet firmly around his ball sac and the base of his shaft, my sash tied through his smile, and the little black velvet ribbon I used to use on The Neighbor bowed about his beautiful, pale neck.

I used my “BDSM Starter Kit” on him and experimented with the flogger, the ball gag and the blindfold.  And while bound and blind I liked to slip a plug a boy had once left behind – a boy whose name I don’t even recall – light pink and slender, angled like a soft little diamond deep into his clenched hole while I milked his cock and he cried out begging to cum.

Nate was tall and lean and he loved to do domestic service for me.  I’d sip wine while I watched him put away the dishes wearing my black lace panties with cherries on them, his pink meat stuffed inside the lace basket.

My room lit with candles offered us the safe space to seek that which we wanted so badly.  His trust in me was an aphrodisiac, his complete submission a harrowing, yet utterly titillating experience.  Every touch, every sound, every kiss and lick I gave was for a purpose: submit to me.

I liked to ride his face until I came with him bucking beneath me for air.  He’d look drunk when I’d slide down his body to suck his cock and sound near-to-tears when I finally gave him permission to fill my mouth with his seed.

Afterwards we liked to sit on my balcony so he could smoke and we could come back to earth and our bodies.  It was during one of these post-coital, aftercare moments that I realized my true drive to dominate.  I wanted to trust him.  I wanted to trust him so badly. 

My relationship with Nate, while brief, was also the first time I said, “No, don’t treat me that way,” when he was vague or slippery about plans.  We talked on the phone semi-regularly to touch base and recalibrate.  He was eager, willing, and listened to me.  I felt heard.

The very last time we were together things felt a little off.  He was distracted and I was struggling to enter my dominant space.  I checked in with him, corrected things and we forged on.

I wore my harness replete with a slender black dildo the length of my middle finger and after cumming twice myself via his face and cock I unbuckled his ankles and put them on my shoulders.  His eyes, uncovered so he could watch, glistened in the candlelight.

I felt an incredible sense of power kneeling over him with my little mini hardon.  He was so open to me, waiting, trusting.  I dribbled lube all over his crack and hole, pushed inside and shuffled closer to the backs of his thighs, and began to thrust as I played with his chubby dick.

The movement to penetrate was harder than I’d imagined.  A foreign curling of my hips and a strength in my thighs I didn’t have.  The more I pumped and fondled the more he strained against me.  I was on the verge of being thrown completely off the bed by his pleasure.  I shook with the effort to  take in the power of his submission, I was about to be on the floor!

“Nate,” I said tapping the rock hard thigh against my chest.  “You have to stop pushing on me.  You’re about to fling me right off.”  We’d have laughed if we weren’t both drowning in power and submission.

He relaxed and I pushed into him further and continued to squeeze and jerk on his cock.  It all felt a bit like patting my head and rubbing my belly, but I was determined to see it all to the end.

He came mightily and I braced myself against his muscles.  He shook and cried and and the air vibrated around us.

I slowly pulled out and grabbed a towel to wipe his bottom.  He was embarrassed there may be a mess.  I told him not to worry and tucked the towel beneath him and unwrapped the harness from my hips.

We lay together, dazed, incredulous that any of it had happened.  As per our little routine we got up, put on robes and went outside.  I could barely move and felt like I had fallen flat on my face from a four story window.  My legs shook with the effort of walking and I would end up hobbling for days.

He puffed on his weed and I sipped on wine under the moon on my balcony.  He left sooner than I was ready, though it was probably an hour.  I’d needed more time to come back into myself.  He seemed eager to run out and I could almost see him waiting the appropriate amount of time until he could.

We’d talk about it – the pegging and the disconnect – and he agreed with everything and validated my feelings.  We would never attempt that level of D/s again unless he was fully submitting.  I felt good about the chat, so did he.  And I’m glad because it was the last one we’d have while engaged with one another in the dynamic.

He called not long after to give me the update that his career taking off and he’d have no time for us.  I wished him well and accepted my fate.  We texted off and on over the months and even had a nice chat.  He was dating a vanilla girl and No, she didn’t know about his predilections.

Since Nate I’ve met one young man, though we had no chemistry; talked with one on the phone who was basically so unintelligible I wondered how he got through life; and have emailed with a dozen more.  My requirements are specific and my need a lazy one so it’s not much of a combination to move the needle towards a match.

Dozens of men a month send me disgusting notes about being my personal toilet or sitting on their faces to the point they pass out.  Demanding that they be dominated because they want it, calling me Goddess and Mistress and all sorts of honorifics as if they’ve earned it.  It’s as exhausting and ridiculous as regular dating, just with a kinky and sometimes disgusting twist.  It’s not all a complete loss, though.

Recently I found a man who ticked all the boxes, though the ink on his divorce wasn’t yet dry and he couldn’t seem to find the time for me.  I told him my interest had waned, but to reach out if things changed on his end.

And – more excitingly – I’ve found an Irishman who is an astoundingly good match – aside from the distance, that is.

He’s everything I could hope for and our emails are long and interesting.  Perhaps I will meet him while I’m in the UK in March.  I’d been seriously considering popping over to Dublin even before he and I began chatting, so maybe this is a good opportunity for me.  Or just another chance to meet someone I can’t have long term.  I seem to be really good at that.

This dance of D/s is so prolonged, so intricate.  There are steps to follow, dips to learn, twirls to master.  My pickiness is born out of slap-in-the-face after slap-in-the-face as I’ve learned the moves of the kinky world.  Some men can’t handle submitting and lash out by disappearing.  I have to be cautious and hold the bar high above my head – oh so high.  It is delicate and fragile, this power exchange, yet empowering and exciting. I can’t fuck around.

I am so clear on what I want and what is acceptable and I never wonder if I’ve made the right choice, but I do miss dancing with someone… and barely being able to walk for days.

The first thing I knew was sexual assault.

My first sexual experience with a boy – a man of 19 when I was a summer shy of 16 – was rooted in assault.  Every touch, kiss, and fondle was coerced from me.

His breath smelled, he sat too close, his fingers hurt my tender skin as he dug his way down into my jeans and then into my body.  He reeked of Obsession.  I refused to let him look at me naked, never took off my clothes, but he managed to snake his hands onto my flesh and they explored my virgin body instead.  In broad daylight all over his parents’ house, exposed and helpless.

He called me every night long past a decent calling time and kept me up until 3 and 4 in the morning.  I dragged myself to work at the pool where we both taught swim lessons and lifeguarded; I shied away from him in public.  I didn’t want anyone to know about us.

I can still taste the kiss he planted on me after his lunch of a big Dairy Queen burger with onions.

One warm summer night my friends and I all dipped into the Everclear stash of Tammy’s drunken, passed out father.  My friends were vaguely aware that this 19 yo man and I were dating, but they didn’t press.  He and Tammy had dated for several months and every night he’d sneak in her bedroom window and fuck her while her father lay passed out on the couch in the living room.

By all accounts, despite being a year younger than me, she had wanted it and him and thus everyone assumed I did, too. Not wanting to appear less sophisticated than her I didn’t correct them.

The liquor stoked a restlessness within me.  He knew I was there and what I was doing and he’d told me to sneak out and come see him.  To do what, exactly, I never considered.  My innocent 15 yo brain could only explore so far before my imagination gave out, romance novels notwithstanding.

With enough alcohol to embolden me I called him and shared my plan: I would steal one of the 16 year old’s cars who was too drunk to notice and drive across town to see him.  But just for a little while.  “Don’t take advantage of me,” I said.

Underage, without a license, I traversed my little bedroom town and parked in front of his house.  He was waiting for me in the dark awning of his converted garage bedroom.

I don’t remember what we said to each other except that I said those magical, protective words again: Please.  Don’t take advantage of me.  I felt light and hot and like a grown up.  Wild and free.  I’d told him not to hurt me so therefore he wouldn’t.

I knew he wanted me – whatever that meant – and that felt like power.

We kissed in the dark, alone and in his bedroom, a place we had never spent time before.  He walked me backwards towards his bed.  His room smelled foreign and faintly like dirty laundry.  Like a musky boy.

The backs of my legs hit the bed and we stopped.  I stopped.  This was enough.  I was done.  But how??

He was not done.

He pulled off my shirt and I crossed my arms over my bra.  He pulled my hands apart and took off my bra.  I had never been topless in front of him and I shivered with embarrassment, a vague sense of wrong washed over me, but… I had put myself here.

He pushed me back on the bed, pulled down my pants and I shuddered with humiliation thinking he could see in the dim porch light that I was wearing my mother’s high-waisted underwear.  He didn’t notice that I was wearing my mother’s panties.

He only wanted them off.

I froze as he slipped them past my straight little hips and off my foot, pushed my knees apart and put his face between my legs.  There.  Where no one had ever been before, where I had not asked, where he had no right to be.

His tongue was hot and wet and acid.  Mortification, horror, fear pressed me deep into the mattress.  I was disgusted that he seemed to be enjoying it.

I pulled him up, told him to stop, and he kissed me as if it were a lovers moment, my first experience ever of tasting myself on a man’s lips and I pressed mine shut and turned away.

He pulled me into his arms to lay on his bed.  I thought it was over.  That he’d gotten what he wanted and I was safe again.  Stiffly I lay against his bare chest.  He was in only underpants.  I didn’t know what to say.

Then he took my hand – I thought he wanted to hold it – but instead forced it down to his groin, to his hot, hard skin.  I snatched my hand away as if it were burned, sat up and couldn’t stop the verbal outpouring.

“I’ve got to go, I’ve got to go, I’ve got to go,” I said.  “No, no, no,” spilled out to nothing as he helplessly watched me find my clothing in the dark.  Retroactive words that couldn’t turn back time.

I was sober now.

He continued to treat it like it was a tender moment between us and hugged my stiff body goodbye.  I walked to the little red Pontiac Le Mans 5-speed and drove back to my friend’s house and cried.

I cried because it was my fault.  I cried because I was supposed to feel differently than this, this despondence, this hurled into space feeling.

I had called him, flirted with him, went to him.

I hadn’t fought or slapped or kicked or said even one word to him to make him stop.

But none of what had happened had felt right — nothing about our entire “relationship” had felt right — but I was raised on dysfunctional interactions with men – you must be so beautiful you stop traffic, so desirable you make him reckless and irrational, so lovely you make him weep.  Not listening to how I felt with him was what I’d been bred to do: what I needed never mattered.

He shipped out the following fall and married a sad creature from our high school.  He occasionally wrote me letters telling me how special I was.  By then I didn’t care.  I no longer wanted to impress him.

A decade or so later, with a divorce and two children under his belt – including a daughter – he apologized for that night.  He avoided calling it assault, but he acknowledged that if I never wanted to speak to him again he deserved it.  My reply was gracious, but lackluster.  I had shrunken it down: It was just a bad night.

I wish I could remember when I named that night for what it was.  It wasn’t right away, I know that.  For years I considered that just another really bad sexual experience, a bad start. “Sexual assault” was too hard to swallow.

I didn’t date another boy until I was in college and those fumbling attempts at sex were consensual, though I was barely present.  I would drink too much and throw myself at these boys and descend upon them fearlessly, my tender heart a million miles away.

I fucked like that throughout my 20s, through serious boyfriends who’d paw at me and beg and wear me down until I finally said yes, through drunken liaisons with hot, willing men in bars whose names I barely knew.

Close to 30 I began to try to marry sex with emotion and embarked on sober sex with a lover or two before I met my exhusband – who was so not sexually charged that I considered him safe enough to open up with.  I had missed the mark again.

Another decade and I left our sexless marriage and was back to heartless fucking and a lot more “bad sex.”

Sex when I didn’t want to have it after a wonderful date.

Oral sex when I had said I didn’t want it.

Being abused by a “so-called dominant.”

Being fondled in public on a first date without my consent.

Being completely ignored when I said “No, not tonight.”

Maybe having sex with the bastard who dragged me across a room filled with people into a dark bedroom, but I can’t remember because I was so fucked up or maybe I just blocked that part out.

The date with the Frenchman who coerced me into his car, into his apartment, and into letting him jam his disgusting, fat tongue down my throat.

The same Frenchman who insisted on pawing me and trying to sneak his hand up my skirt despite my many firm NOs.

The light-weight chef who blamed the whiskey or two he’d consumed on his boorish sexual advances.

I literally cannot count the number of times I have been physically assaulted in my life —  Twenty-five?  Fifty? — let alone count the number of times I have been assaulted by unsolicited dick pics and disgusting “erotic” messages online.  If I had to guess at that combined number it’d have to be in the thousands.

After a couple of winter assaults in 2016 I began 2017 with a date at a swanky restaurant with Rex, a feminist and bleeding heart liberal.  Imagine my surprise when I registered the shock on his face as I told him, “Literally every woman you know has been sexually assaulted.  Every. Woman.”  He should know this already, right??  But, no.

He wanted to know more, why hadn’t I reported anything ever? A bad thing happened to me at the hands of someone else and I should report such bad things. “Because it wouldn’t have held up in court; I know what kind of world I live in. I did X, Y, Z and a jury would find me at fault.”

He had no idea that No didn’t actually mean No to a whole lot of men out there, that women felt compelled to follow through with a situation because she felt responsible, that some women — myself included — did things with her body because it might mitigate potential violence should she try to fully stop her date, that all women understand she bears the burden of proof and if one signal were mixed she has no legal leg to stand on.

I began to feel responsible for the mixed signals I had given.  How would he know if I didn’t say No?  If I didn’t fight?  If I ended up just going along with it because my body responded to his touch?  I was a part of the problem, too, then right?  I was actively contributing to misinformation about sex and women and the miseducation of men.  Wasn’t I?

It wasn’t until this fall, right as the Harvey Weinstein news was crashing down upon us all, that I wondered this aloud to a young man who wanted to connect with me before we embarked on a sexual relationship.

Nate and I sat in his dark Volvo outside my building and he listened to my concerns and he became incensed at my logic.  Incensed.

I could hear the horror in his voice as he realized I was owning the revolting behavior of the men who had hurt me over the years.  “NO, HY.  NO.  MEN KNOW WHEN A WOMAN DOESN’T WANT IT.

“But what if I didn’t want him to know??”

“NO.”

“But what if I went along with it?”

“NO.”

“But what if eventually I just stopped saying No??”

“NO NO NO NO NO.  WE ALWAYS KNOW.”

The windows steamed up from his shouting.  I felt like I had been punched.  Not by him — no, I was in awe of his emotion about this — but by a new reality: those incidents hadn’t just been “bad dates” with ignorant, stupid men, they had been sexual assaults by men who knew better.

They knew they were hurting me.

They knew they were pressuring and pushing me.

They knew I didn’t want to.

They knew.

Just like that 19 yo boyfriend always knew.

I don’t think that this makes every man who assaulted me a bad man and a predator.  It makes him irresponsible, possibly an opportunist, certainly a jerk, but not an automatic menace to society.  That would require more data if we are to be fair.

And a man is as much a product of his socializing to conquer and take sex as I have been socialized to please and give it.  Imagine how different our world would be if we raised our men to give sex rather than take or get it.

Honestly, how the fuck are any of us to know when No is a real-No and a No is an I’m-Supposed-to-Say-This-So-You-Don’t-Think-I’m-Easy-No.  Aziz Ansari is a numbnut dipshit and a perfect example of this and that date personifies my guilt about my role in all of this.

He [willfully] believed all her dodging and eventual capitulations were part of a consensual chase, that it was his role to pursue, but those two poor souls were definitely not on the same date.  She was in hell, he was the romantic hero of his own romance novel.  But he still knew, he just assigned a different meaning to her behaviors.

She was being coy, playing hard to get, and if he could somehow convince her to say Yes then it was consensual.  Score 1 for the good guy!

And she’s thinking, “If I say Yes, then maybe it’ll stop.”  Or, “Maybe it won’t be that bad.”  Or, “Maybe he really doesn’t know and I won’t die if I just do it.”  Or, “I did invite him back to my apartment/go to his apartment/a secluded area/his car so I’ve given the signal I’m interested and I can’t stop now.”

This issue does not lay at the feet of only women to solve.  It is not about us saying No louder or avoiding situations or running away or “just leaving.”  It’s about men understanding that it lays equally at their feet to be honest, present, and responsible.

Men need to question the model of masculinity handed to them, the Patriarchy which tells them once turned on it is their duty and right to satiate their need by any means necessary.

Women must reject what’s been handed to them, as well, this belief that they are solely responsible for what happens to them.  If only she hadn’t worn that skirt, had that drink, said Yes the last date/hour/minute then this wouldn’t have happened to her.

What we’re taught is breathtakingly fucked up.

Once we realize what we’ve been spoon fed we all – both men and women – need a path to redemption.  Men need an avenue to a safe place for growth and forgiveness and women need a route to believe in her inherent human value and her rights to safety with men.

Being violent is only the most obvious assault, but it’s not the only way men force their sexual will on women.  They also intimidate, beg, cajole, plead, manipulate, wear down, corner, argue, and insist upon.

And because he didn’t raise a hand against her he believes he did nothing wrong and the woman who just went against her instincts to survive the encounter is left with a jagged empty space in her heart and a truckload of guilt for bringing it upon herself.

But he knew.

And now we know, too.

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Post inspired by Katie’s, “Not that bad.”