I was originally planning to tell you about the whipping Tom gave me on New Year's Day, in the spirit of starting the year as you mean to continue. But we've played again since then and, to my dismay, the scenes are already blurring together in my memory.
Two scenes in one week is less common for us than you might imagine. 2008 was a difficult year in many ways, and health problems, work, house moves have all got in the way of kinky activities. Not that our relationship has suffered - we've always been very good at looking after each other, and the last few months have seen a lot of cooking and relaxing together, gentle spankings and snuggling. And all that is lovely. But we've both missed the other stuff. Since we first hooked up six years ago our relationship has been defined by the breathtaking intensity we can achieve together, the severity we both crave.
Tom is an extremely careful and responsible dominant. He would much rather wait than risk a scene when he's exhausted and his judgement might be impaired. So we've been waiting, and for the most part he's been much more patient than I have.
Now that, gradually, we're rediscovering our energy; now that we're finding a space we can play in, re-awarkening the spark that was always there, it's a source of joy to us both. And it's scary, at least for me.
Not at the time, not really. He knows me very well. When we started on the first morning of the new year, he began by kissing me down the length of my body, a kiss that built slowly to a deeply satisfying orgasm that left me smiling and languorous. I had sleepily started to return the favour when he told me to set up the pillows in the middle of the bed, and in my soft, contented state it didn't even occur to me to be frightened.
He was gentle with me, at first. He started with a thin bamboo switch, playing it rapidly over my bottom and thighs in a way that only tingled at first, the sensation building so lightly that it didn't panic me. I stayed relaxed, only moaning more deeply as the flickering switch started to cut more deeply.
I can't remember exactly what was next. At one point he cropped me, a slow series of hard strokes that covered every heated inch of my bottom. At another he definitely paddled me, and I think it was because I'd started to shrink away from the sharper pain, my will rising like bile and coming between us. He was kind, and the paddle achieved the effect he was after - I stopped fighting back, accepting the pain and letting it wash over me.
The final implement that day was the martinet, with the thick square-tipped leather thongs that are terrifyingly heavy if used with full force. The ends whip around and strike the soft sides of the flank as if bullets were sewn into them. He started with it after the crop, but I twitched away from the sensation, unable to relax into it. The scattered peppering of the tips bit into me seemingly at random, and all the warmth the crop had wakened in me seemed to flee. I shied away, plaintive and frightened. And he was merciful, and followed my lead when I suggested the paddle. The even, solid sensation of the wood after the stinging, difficult martinet was strangely soothing.
But he returned to the martinet afterwards, with 24 heavy strokes. I remember not liking those, either, but it was easier to submit to them gracefully after he'd granted my request for the paddle.
The other scene, too, started with a switching - the plastic cat toy, although at first I thought it was one of our thin canes. That evening it was the heavy leather strap that made me flinch away, made him tone down his strokes to ones I could manage. I was disappointed, afterwards, that he hadn't continued at the heavier pace, but we both knew that I would have rebelled and it would have been miserable. He caned me, afterwards, and it was delicious, but I was tormented by the knowledge that he'd gone easy on me - and, worse, that if he hadn't I wouldn't have been able to cope.
We ended up talking about it a few days later, about the depth of my submission to him these days, how my growing adult independence and the difficulties of last year - among other things - have affected how much I'm able to give him. I think spanking modelling is a part of it, too.
When we're playing, nowadays, I'm less interested in what he wants and much more focussed on my own needs. If I crave a particular sensation, my body is stubborn and he can't easily persuade me to enjoy something I'm not in the mood for. And that isn't how it should be. What he wants should be enough; it should be arousing by the simple fact of it being him that wants it. Of course I trust him not to go beyond my limits. I'm talking here about my mercuriality, my moodiness, my desire to stay in control of what's happening. I'm working on changing it. The conversation we had about this was positive, if difficult. I'm still learning how to submit as an adult as deeply as I did when I was a teenager, but without the unhealthy elements of obsession and dependence which coloured our relationship then.
And re-learning how to give a scene to him, after years of building up my professional self-knowledge and control, is hard. When I'm filming I have a responsibility to my top to stay in control of myself, to be aware of my limits. When I'm subbing, I explicitly surrender that responsibility. Or at least, I should.
I want to learn to let go again. I miss the euphoria and intimacy of total surrender. I miss being able to fly. But it's a big emotional leap, and we're both nervous about whether I'll be able to make it.
Playing long, erotic scenes that re-awaken my senses definitely helps. Remembering how hot pain can be definitely helps. But Tom's gentleness is predicated partly on my reluctance to let him push me. The fact that, in both of the scenes this week, I was never truly frightened is not necessarily a good thing. I need to be frightened again; I need to trust him to take me places I hadn't necessarily planned for, and carry me through them. Hot as they are, the scenes tailored to my enjoyment will never really be enough.
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