I told my girl I wanted her to top me.
In our years together, some things have always been clear. For instance, I’m a top, she’s a bottom. But there’s a little part of me, say 5 percent, that likes to give up control. Submitting to another’s power is a stretch for me, and I like to push myself.
So occasionally I like to be on the receiving end of the extreme sensations of a well-orchestrated S/M scene. It had been a very long time since I had found myself strapped to a bondage cross. The idea was showing up in my fantasies with increasing frequency. It was time.
Understandably, my baby girl was intimidated. I’ve enjoyed the attentions of some fearsome tops. She didn’t know what to do. She cried to her friends, she anguished, she despaired. Then she came up with a solution.
She found someone to coach her through the process of topping me. When the big day arrived, the two femmes took me to the limits of my endurance. They caned me. They claimed my back for their whipping post and my chest as a canvas to decorate with their nasty little biting clamps. They put me down on my knees and ordered me to give service. I was so thoroughly done, my thirst for bottoming was quenched beyond my expectations.
I came away from the experience with more than a well-caned butt. I saw the lengths to which my partner would go in her desire to fulfill my sexual yearnings. She saw in herself a regal queen with an evil streak. (Now I know that a certain glint in her eye - in or out of the bedroom - means business.)
What could have been a crisis of compatibility brought us closer - and produced some off-the-charts hot sex. I share this story because I hear from women whose partners’ desires do not mesh with their own. I don’t believe that differences in sexual interest necessarily indicate incompatibility - in fact, your differences may provide the frisson that makes sparks fly.
What do you do if your lover wants something from you that you think is beyond your erotic capacity? In our case, there were a number of options my partner considered. She could have logged onto lesbian S/M websites for counsel or attended a workshop. She could have found a willing mentor through a BDSM group or personals ad, or even hired a professional.
Here are some guidelines for introducing your partner to new kinds of play:
Make it hot. How deliciously can you describe your fantasy of wrists bound to bedpost? (“Baby, you never want to tie me up” is a lousy invitation.)
Be creative. Call on one of your partner’s turn-ons to make your desire work for her. One woman told me, “My girlfriend wouldn’t go down on me until I ordered her to get on her knees. She loves it when I get toppish on her.”
Give her time. If she’s never considered play piercing, don’t put her on the spot. She honestly may not know whether she’d like it or not. Pressed for a response, she may quickly choose no over yes. Eventually, she may come around. She may just need time to get used to the idea.
Educate her. Bring home a video or book, or take her to a play party or workshop.
Be curious. Rather than respond to her reluctance with judgment, disappointment, or irritation, muster your curiosity. Where do her feelings come from? What makes her tick?
What at first may seem like an accommodation may prove to be revelatory. “That’s how I came to be such a dirty S/M pervert,” one woman wrote to me. “It was a critical part of my partner’s sexuality, and I stretched myself to do more of the things that didn’t necessarily come naturally to me. I’m grateful to her for the learning experience. I have a richer and fuller sex life now.”
Felice Newman is a founding publisher of Cleis Press and the author of “The Whole Lesbian Sex Book: A Passionate Guide for All of Us.” Visit her at www.cleispress.com. Her book is available in Calgary at A Little More Interesting.