I am shaken.
So far, all the the shame and guilt you’ve seen in this blog should really have been in the past tense. I knew people needed to hear my stories, so I told them, but after sixteen years you do get used to your kink.
Or, well, that’s what I thought. Then last week I read “This One’s for the Invisible Girl”. And suddenly I’m not sure if I do know my kink – or myself.
Let me tell you a story: I’ve been masturbating since before I can remember. This is pretty normal. I’ve almost never had an orgasm that wasn’t caused by masturbation. (I’ve had one.) This, sadly, is also pretty normal.
I can’t remember the first time I had an orgasm. I also can’t remember a time when having orgasms, for me, wasn’t tied to a process of self-destructive psychological abuse in which I would hypnotically force myself to re-imagine and re-live variations on violent, traumatizing feelings from my childhood until I came — and then lie in bed afterwards feeling blurry, dissociated, scared, unable to focus, intellectually muted and emotionally numbed. I’ve hated coming for most of my life. And I still forced myself to do it compulsively, similar to the way I used to cut myself compulsively, knowing that I was going to regret it for the rest of the day.
And, because our culture universally frames orgasms as the epitome of sexual pleasure, I told myself that it was no big deal and that this must just be what “good” feels like. And, when I could bring myself to talk about it at all, I told my partners that, too.
She hated coming. She’d feel horrible for the rest of the day. Yet she couldn’t stop doing it, just like she couldn’t stop cutting herself. There’s a word for that kind of thing. It’s self-injury.
And she’s not the only one. I was horrified to learn from her link that many abuse survivors struggle like this.
The women I have spoken with who struggle with using masturbation as a form of self-injury feel deep shame about what they are doing, and each one fears that she is the only person on the planet who does such a thing. They also tell me that masturbating as self-injury is a compulsion: They want to stop, but they feel powerless to do so. This is true of all forms of self-injury, which is why self-injury is a compulsion, not a recreational hobby.
And you know the scary thing? It made so much sense.
At first I only connected it to a friend who has tried to explain this to me repeatedly. I didn’t understand. Until that post, my friend had literally never encountered a single person who understood. (I am so sorry. Thank you for bearing with me.)
But then I started to wonder … is it me too?
You have every right to scoff and say that I’d know if I had it this bad. And it wasn’t this bad. But as I’ve told you, last year I faced personal and professional failure. It was pretty bad.
I could tell you about the recurring fantasies. I could tell you about bursting into tears when I realised exactly what experiences I was compulsively reliving through them – not abuse, but hellish in their own way.
But others have said it better. Here are two stories that I discovered when things were worst, and loved to pieces. I’ll show you the moments that spoke to my kink like a bell.
This one has a courtesan slave on punishment duty:
The butcher dragged him stumbling down the hallway, shadows swallowing the edges of guttering candlelight, shoved aside a gaudy curtain across one of the narrow antechambers not already occupied by a grunting patron and softly gasping whore. He shoved Luca inside with as little care as he’d given the curtains. A courtesy, this; he could have fucked Luca in the public room, a hundred leering gazes passing through him. Luca reminded himself to be grateful.
And here is the tail end of some extreme old-school hazing:
Then it was over. Meredith, sobbing uncontrollably into his arms, barely reacted as Rudd slapped his bottom and said cheerfully, “Sweet blood, what a fucking mess you are. I don’t know why I bother with you. Go get yourself cleaned up. No tea or supper for you today; I want you cleaning my bedroom till you can lick the floor with your tongue. Oh, and tell Davenham I’ll want your services overnight; he can lock up the third-rankers’ dormitory without you.”
Yes, those were the parts that really did it for me. Are you surprised? There is a reason why I named this blog The University of Abject Submission.
But that was last year. I picked up those stories again last month and was shocked by the disconnect. For the very first time, reading about that state of mind felt like I was on the outside looking in. And I could tell that inside wasn’t a place I wanted to stay for too long – however much it spoke to my kink.
I still respond to stories that nail that feeling. This year I discovered Helenish’s Take Clothes Off As Directed and Theft of Assets, Destruction of Property and well, wow. But there is a difference. My strongest reactions aren’t for the happiest moments – but not the worst, either. And I still love Unmarked and The Golden Bird, but now I find myself going straight for their happy endings.
I don’t want to live in those other places any more. I’m so very thankful that my kink has transformed a little – bounced back, I think, though I can’t be sure.
But should I have let my kink dive down that rabbit hole last year?
Will my future self decide that I’m wallowing now, every time I stand at the mirror of my shame and my emotional masochism takes over?