I’ve not had much time for writing lately but I’ve been putting a lot of art on my website jngaio.com and making videos such as the one above exploring some of my anxieties surrounding the climate crisis through clowning.
Awhile ago I wrote an article for Archer Magazine which you can now read here, or if you prefer I believe you can still order a copy of the magazine from their website:
My heart cannot cope with the concept of impermanence and so when the blossoms of spring melt off their branches, it hurts. Endings are natural but so is pain.
We’re still in springtime, you and I. Or at least I hope we are, I hope that winter’s so far away that it will remain abstract and conceptual for a long while yet. We’re building memories that I am hoarding, photos, words, trinkets, songs stockpiled and containing the dream that someday we will be old together, faded people sitting with our chosen family on faded furniture, poring through digital scrapbooks containing imagery of so many years that we cannot possibly recall it all.
My heart grapples with the concept of uncertainty and so when I wonder if the climate crisis will leave us with a future, or if perhaps something less apocalyptic but more personal such as accident, sickness or suicide might take you from me… I want to follow you around with vitamins, a high-vis vest and my constant, protective vigilance to keep you out of peril.
My heart struggles with concepts of abandonment and so I am often preoccupied with the feeling that your self-hate is my most dangerous competition and that if I don’t keep you happy enough, feeling loved enough, you might forget your importance to me and leave me alone with a love that has nowhere to place itself.
When I lie in your arms, I breathe you in like a thirsty woman drinks and sink my teeth into your flesh like maybe if I consume pieces of you, you’ll never be away from me. I want your nails digging into me, I want the marks of your violence like graffiti on my skin, I want your cock inside me constantly and your cum stored in my holes so that I can carry as much of you as possible for as long as possible.
My mind travels to you constantly, wherever you are. I wait at night for you to come home. You make me wish there was such thing as forever but I am forced to settle on being joyous and present in every microscopic moment that I have with you. I want to share everything that we can while we can.
I’ve fallen for you so deeply now that I feel with immense certainty that I will love you until my heart stops and my blood goes still and perhaps as I float out of existence, the last thing of me will be my love for you.
I’ve only recently begun to truly accept and comprehend the traumas of my childhood and through this comes a new understanding of the mood swings that I’ve always experienced through my life which perhaps could be better explained as implicit or emotional flashbacks. I am in the midst of one currently and I feel… a bit shite.
Too personal to write about here (yes, even too personal for me) my childhood experiences, which I thought I had left well in the past, are with me today in many forms that have caused me a great deal of undue pain and toxic shame. They are deeply related to my problems with suicidal ideation and mental anguish.
To work past them, I have to feel my way through them. It’s hard work. I’m doing ok. My partners, Wes and Dani, have been deeply supportive and kind through this process. I’m loved and I’m ok.
(Cross posted from a post specifically made for my Facebook)
I feel uncomfortable posting as many scary climate crisis stories as I do but recently I went to a talk by a climate psychologist who said that one of the problems with climate activism has been this idea that we shouldn’t scare people. This idea, she said, isn’t a useful one because in times of emergency, we SHOULD be scared. We should be scared and then we should act on that fear. Fear can be a motivating emotion if we are provided with actions to take.
I agree with what she said. We are currently in humanity’s darkest hour, we are currently in the midst of an emergency. The Amazon and Great Barrier Reef are being destroyed for profit by narcissistic billionaires who seem to have a death wish, the Arctic is on Fire, India is running out of water, The Maldives are going underwater, in some parts of the world, fruit is burning in the sun before it can grow while in other places, floods are turning land into toxic swamps. Does this scare you? Good. That means that you are sane. Fear is a rational response to danger and we are in great danger.
I do feel uncomfortable spreading terrifying news when I know so many people are struggling just to get by, I don’t want to make people feel more depressed and anxious when their lives are already so hard… but we are in a climate emergency and we need to be facing it and acting on it. We are all in this together and if things are going to get better, we all need to do our bit.
Talking about the climate emergency is an important start. The more we discuss it, the more we can find ways to take action together. This topic has become a taboo one, it’s a faux-pax to discuss the climate crisis. It doesn’t make me popular to discuss this, I know it doesn’t because my “likes” dwindle, people unfollow me, I feel like a party pooper and I worry that people will get sick of me. (And as someone whose psychologist described as a “binge eater of emotional validation”, the idea of people disliking me is really hard to cope with!) After all, nobody likes to be bombarded with horrible news and I do try to balance the fear out with action and hope. Join Extinction Rebellion! Plant trees! Become an activist! Because fear without action is paralysis. Fear without hope is despair. I have so much hope because I see so much momentum all around. But I also see what grave danger we are in and I can’t just sit down and be quiet about it.
So I’m sorry to bombard you with scary news but, frankly, I’m scared. Some days I wake up from dreams of rising oceans and burning forests and my heart is racing. I’m sorry to bombard you with horrible news but soon I’m going to have a niece and I want to fight for her future. I want to face what terrifies me so that she can live on a planet that is full of life, love and beauty.
I know it’s popular to hate on humanity, to fall into apathy, cynicism and bleak nihilism. But I love humans – I’m surrounded by incredible, good, beautiful, kind people in my life and I know that if I know good people, there must be millions more! And I love the diverse, incredible, awe inspiring natural world that surround us! I don’t want us to drive ourselves off a cliff into misery and possible extinction, I want us to fight for the beauty that surrounds us! I love humanity and I want us to thrive.
So yeah, I feel uncomfortable sharing the articles that I do and I hope you will not resent me for it. But I want us all to face the truth and I want us all to fight for something better.
Thoughts on Forgiveness
I’ve had some recent breakthroughs with my amazing psychologist and conversations with amazing partners in regards to forgiveness. I’m really understanding that when it comes to forgiving someone who has done something horrible to you, it’s a process and should never be a requirement. Often, when someone has deeply wounded us with their bad behaviour, we need to be allowed to be furious with them, disgusted with them, we need the freedom to never have to forgive them. I have a feeling telling victims that they should forgive those who have hurt them has the real potential of inhibiting their healing process because it is projecting your own morals and ideals onto the ways in which they work through their trauma.
Forgiveness is a deeply personal and internal process, forgiveness may mean never forgiving the adult who left you wounded and scarred, it may only mean forgiving the hurting child in them who left you wounded. I believe that healing requires the freedom to never have to forgive someone when they have done deep and violent damage and then left you to pick up the pieces alone. Forgiveness cannot be demanded of the victim who is left to deal with the aftermath of bad behaviour. Only the victim can feel forgiveness, if and when they are ready. They may never be ready because some hurts go deep and some last a lifetime.
It’s also important to recognise that forgiveness is not about forgetting – some things you will never forget; they leave you with sore spots and triggers that colour the ways you navigate future relationships and so forgetting really isn’t a possibility.
My personal forgiveness has come in waves. In the early days, I felt too much of it and needed to access my rage, my disgust, my loathing. When the trauma I experienced as a result of emotional abuse left me with a complex soup of emotional problems, I needed access to my truth. I’ve been through much of that process and am now at a point in my healing and moving on where I feel forgiveness and sadness for the person who really hurt me coming back into my heart but even this forgiveness comes in waves; some days I still loathe the bastard, others I only wish him well.
Early on, forgiveness was unhealthy for me because it contained the risk of me returning to the person who hurt me and not giving my trauma the safety and space it needed. In love as I was with my ex, I needed hate and rage to keep me safe. Now, having been through that process, I can feel the same love towards him that I feel for all hurting creatures. I never wish to see him again for as long as I live, but I can now access the sorrow I feel for all beautiful things which trauma, pain and anger destroy.
Reflections on Broken Love
The other day, I showed my new Dom a love letter that I had asked my previous Dom to write me towards the end of our relationship. I’d asked for this because after my ex Dom had spent so much time telling me all the reasons he thought I was a piece of shit, I needed to find a way to believe it when he also constantly told me I was the love of his life. He wrote the love letter, as requested, but it didn’t help. In fact, it made me feel worse as I felt it read like a shopping list of things I gave him, rather than a love for who and what I am.
The reason I showed it to my new Dom is that I realised my experiences of emotional abuse with my previous Dom had fundamentally shaken my ability to trust the words “I love you”. When my first Dom said “I love you” I had believed and felt those words with all my heart, and so when he said “you’re just a worthless piece of shit to me right now” I also felt those words as truth. And then when he was absent and distant while I was suicidal and traumatised from the experience in New York, his “I love you” felt empty. The words “I love you” became something I could no longer trust.
When I left my first Dom, people were telling me he didn’t love me and this became the story I told myself for quite some time. The other story I told myself, to protect myself and distance myself, was that he was a hateful, spiteful, cruel and cold bastard who was fundamentally incapable of love. This perception of him helped create enough coldness and distance in my heart for me to connect to the rage and disgust that would protect me long enough to help me heal. I needed, for a long time, to hate him. Truly, deeply, hate him.
But recently that hate has started to feel like a rut I’m trapped in. Recently, writing more publically about my experiences with my emotionally abusive ex Dom has shifted something in me, like clearing out the cobwebs. I’ve felt more space inside myself and a desire to move forward, especially as I fall more deeply in love with my two current partners. I want to move forward into life with my two loves and start to leave my old pains in the past as much as possible (though I never want to entirely let them go as my own experiences have left me with a wisdom and compassion for other people that I would never trade away). So perhaps that’s also why I showed my new Dom my old love letter.
“I can see why this letter left you unhappy,” he said. “It made me feel sad for both of you. I can see that he did really love you.”
I started crying. “Thank you for saying that. I didn’t know how much I needed to hear that. He did love me. We really did love each other. He hated me and he loved me.”
“I can see that. And it makes sense. It must have been so painful when you left him, you must have felt so much grief.”
I started sobbing. “Yes I did. It was the most fucking painful decision I’ve ever made in my life. And everyone around me just hated him and was glad I left him and that’s good because I needed to leave him – his behaviour was dangerous for me. But my heart was completely fucking broken and I never really got sympathy for that.”
I sobbed and was hugged. I felt, for the first time in a long time, the memories of all the good times with my first Dom flooding back into my heart and this time they no longer felt dangerous, like they could hurt me. For the first time in over two years, those memories felt safe. And beautiful. And I felt my heart break in sorrow for my first Dom who truly did love me but who was too hurt and broken inside to love me properly.
The next day, I told my psychologist about my experience. He talked about different types of love, he mentioned infatuation, lust; early stage types of love. But this didn’t connect with me. I told him that I actually felt myself and my Dom had formed a very deeply bonded sort of love. All up, we had spent three years together, slowly revealing our deep traumas, our vulnerabilities, learning to talk, learning to love. I felt we had truly loved one another, and to heal I needed that truth acknowledged.
My psychologist said he didn’t like to diagnose people he’s never met but we both had independently come to suspect that my ex might have narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). He said that when he saw clients with NPD, his heart broke for them because it is such a profoundly difficult disorder for people to have. Now please take everything I am about to say with a grain of salt as I am not a trained psychologist, only a regular person with an interest in how people work. Disclaimer aside, here are my thoughts on trauma, schemas and NPD. As far as I understand, NPD stems from childhood traumas and dysfunctional schemas that cause them to have a deep belief in their own fundamental unlovableness. They compensate for this by becoming self-aggrandising, ego-centric and superficial with their relationships. Intimacy is profoundly difficult because when someone loves them, it confronts their deeply held belief that they are worthless.
When we are children, we are creatures of ego. When children are traumatised and abused, they feel it must be because of something about them. If a child is neglected and deprived of love, they may come to believe that this is because they are fundamentally unlovable. People with narcissistic personality traits were often deprived of love in their childhood and so they had to be self-sufficient from the start. They may come to view their self-sufficiency as a sign of their superiority to others. I suspect this may in fact be the reason that so many men seem to have traits of NPD and go on to become abusive – because we, as a culture, tend far too often to deprive young boys of their need for love, safety and a place to be vulnerable. A culture that doesn’t let boys be soft and loved is like a factory that produces narcissistic, abusive men.
The view we have of ourselves is largely formed in our childhood, and if our childhood didn’t contain the love, consistency, validation and safety we needed, we form faulty views about ourselves, or “schemas”. These schemas are powerful; they are deeply held and are very difficult to challenge or shift. They are not impossible to work on but it requires a lot of work, a lot of therapy, a lot of patience and a lot of mistakes.
If your childhood schemas include the idea that you are worthless and unlovable, then when somebody loves you it puts these schemas into a profound state of shock and confusion. Schemas will try anything to maintain their “truth” and so they will tell you that the person who loves you must have something wrong with them. And when that person doesn’t behave the way you think they should, this will put you into a critic mode; a horrible, judgemental, cruel critic mode. You will start to find all the things “wrong” with the person who loves you. And then, if you feel the person who loves you is seeing the real you, the worthless and unlovable you, this will put you into attack mode.
A person with narcissistic traits in attack mode is not a pretty thing. My memories of the man who had held me and whispered “I love you babe” contrast so deeply with my memory of the same person looking at me with pure disgust in his eyes and saying “you’re a worthless piece of shit”. For so long it was impossible for me to understand. Had he tricked me? Was he a sociopath who was incapable of love? Was I insane? Was I a fool for believing him when he said “you’re the love of my life”?
I wasn’t. He did love me. The healthy, evolving, adult in him loved me. The child in him who needs love, like we all do, loved me.
And then… he didn’t love me. When his schemas were triggered, he reverted to a childlike ego state and in that state, he despised me as much as he despised himself. In attack mode, he wanted to destroy me and he used all my vulnerabilities as weapons against me.
So the truth, as I now believe it, is that he loved me and then he didn’t. And then he loved me again but he couldn’t face the consequences of his actions so instead he started to shut down and push me from his heart.
How heartbreaking for both of us. How deeply, fundamentally tragic that his childhood traumas destroyed the beautiful, precious, irreplaceable thing that we had together.
Because it was beautiful. It was imperfect and there were many unhealthy aspects to it which I was not experienced or wise enough to see. But there were so many truly beautiful, profound, bonding moments that we had together. That those beautiful times have forever had a shadow cast upon them is… devastating. It still breaks my heart.
About a year ago while I was intoxicated, I sent my ex Dom, who I no longer speak to, a sloppy email telling him that I would never forgive him but that he should forgive himself. However, I said that first he needed to look in the mirror and face the fact of how appalling his behaviour was. I also said a lot of stupid shit about how I was going to become a feminist porn star – ha! I never got a response and to be honest, I would never have sent that email sober.
I never saw him take accountability for his actions and perhaps he never will. This is the reason I had to remove him from my life and this is the reason I needed to connect to my rage and disgust, because he wounded me and then I had to do all the recovery work by myself. Yes, while we were together he had suggested that we get couples therapy, but he expected me to do all the work to find a therapist, and underlying this was his belief that I was overreacting; that dealing with it was my responsibility, not his.
I will never forgive that. I forgive the child he once was who never received the love he needed. I forgive the adult he is who still needs love but may never be capable of holding onto it. I forgive the person who held me in his arms and whispered “babe, I need you.” But I will never forgive the adult who shrugged when I was suicidal, who abandoned me to the trauma he caused me, who said “sorry” but had no idea how little that meant when he continued to justify his behaviour and attack me. The pain of his attacks was tremendous and traumatic but his indifference to my pain in the following months was the most wounding thing of all. That was the biggest betrayal of our love.
This made his words “babe, I’ve got you” hollow and painful.
Now that I can sit with some of the beautiful memories we once shared I can see the complexity of the truth. None of this could come from trying to force myself into a narrative that others felt about how I should relate to my experience, though of course their thoughts, emotions and opinions helped me gain better clarity on my own. Ultimately, I needed ownership over the specificities of my story and the complexities of my truth. None of this can be simplified or put into trite statements about forgiveness.
He loved me, he didn’t love me. I forgive him, I don’t forgive him.
That’s how I feel today. All of this may be different tomorrow.
(Content warning: this post discusses rape fantasies, heavy BDSM play, emotional abuse and sexual assault.)
Rape fantasies. An incredibly common sexual fantasy, emphasis on the word “fantasy”. I believe this is one of the biggest things at the core of my own sexuality, this is the fantasy that has led me to BDSM.
Except that “fantasy” doesn’t feel like a good enough word for my sexual inclinations, the word “fantasy” feels reductive. Let’s see if I can unpack my feelings here. Please note, this is not going to be a guide on how to do rape play, in fact if you are new to these explorations I would very much NOT recommend doing what I’m doing. Rather this is an attempt to better articulate the specificities of my own desires and how I explore them in my sex life. In my opinion, whatever takes place in the realms of fantasy or between two consenting adults is just fine and dandy. If your opinion differs, or the eroticisation of dark subjects is a trigger for you, you might want to proceed with caution.
In my mind, there are two modalities within which it is common to engage with this fantasy. The first is “rape play”, this involves consenting adults engaging in a type of role-play that involves the acting out of forced sex fantasies. Rape play has never particularly worked for me, I could never really suspend my disbelief enough to enjoy sexual roleplay, it has always become something of a cerebral activity, done more out of curiosity rather than genuine excitement. In short, it feels like acting and I want it to feel “real”.
And then there is “consensual non-consent” or CNC for short. CNC tends to involve two people, often within an established kink relationship (in my case, a Dom/sub dynamic) where one partner will give their blanket consent to the other at any time, any place. Generally this involves a list of ground rules such as hard limits (certain acts that remain off bounds) and a safeword that functions as a genuine “no”, as opposed to a fun “no”. Sometimes however, and I’ve seen this become a heatedly debated topic in BDSM communities, there may be a decision to do away with the safeword. Basically, a mutually agreed upon dynamic where both partners have agreed that there is no such thing as “no”. There may also be no hard limits.
I have been in two D/s relationships where, through mutual desire and negotiation, we have limited the efficacy and power of my safeword. I am currently in my second such relationship. I have never before written publicly about my experiences and the exact rules of my dynamic as to do away with a safe word is considered foolish and potentially dangerous. In fact, I’d be the first to agree that it is potentially dangerous as I have indeed had this sort of agreement cause me a great deal of confusion in the past. However my sexual desire for this type of dynamic has meant that I have not remained deterred and so I am now in my second D/s relationship where I have given away my “right” to consent and put some degree of disclaimers on my safeword so that the functionality of my “no” is limited. As someone who has often been drawn to the more sensorially and psychologically intense and therefore risker forms of BDSM play, I prescribe to the Risk Aware Consensual Kink framework within which I consider the risks vs benefits and make an informed choice.
So I have evaluated the risks and have had experienced when things go wrong. I have also looked at the rewards and for me and the way my sexuality works, the rewards have so far outweighed the risks.
At some point within my relationship with my current Dom, I had grown comfortable enough and felt safe enough with him that I requested a change in our rules. I wanted my safeword to no longer mean “stop”. We agreed that this was risky and to do away with the safeword altogether would be foolish. So now, instead of my safeword functioning as a true “no”, it instead has a more limited and practical application in that it only serves the purpose of being something I can use if I feel that the scene is going wrong and might put me in actual danger. Essentially, if I fear a scene runs the risk of doing me genuine and lasting damage, then my safe word is my way of saying “this has to stop and it has to stop now.” However, if I simply don’t like something that happens to me, simply really, really don’t like it, then there is the agreement that I have no ability to back out. I’ve consented to my Dom not needing my consent.
Within this framework, I have no hard limits, only acts that I hate but must endure. This does not apply to anything which will put my health at serious risk – we do not engage in any form of particularly risky edge-play without prior discussion and a great deal of caution. After all, it is a priority for myself and my Dom that I remain healthy and in one piece so that we may continue to play for many years to come.
And of course, if this agreement ever stops working for me, I can halt this agreement. Ultimately, my consent does still belong to me but we’ve done our best to create a framework within which I feel as if I do not have any rights because this is what we both deeply desire.
My erotic imagination has always gone towards darkness. Sensual touch has never done much for me, for as long as I can remember, the things that give me the greatest erotic charge have been much more violent and contained elements of coercion and violation. Sex for me isn’t so much about bodies and orgasms (though I do love those things) but the core of my sexuality comes down to this feeling of me being helpless, humiliated, violated, abused and, yes, raped. Why is this? I, like many, have theorised on this for years and at times in the past I would try to re-wire my erotic inclinations towards something gentler and simpler but our erotic inclinations so often go deep to our very core and honestly, that is how I feel about my drive.
I met my first Dom when I was 26 and the first time we played was the first time I was ever truly dominated, made to feel the emotions of humiliation, desire, fear and arousal which are so profoundly potent to me. Though I had dabbled in kinky play for years and had an enjoyable and adventurous sex life, the first time I ever played with my first Dom was an erotic awakening, a discovery of the core truth of my sexuality. Before then, though I’d always found sex immensely pleasurable, something had been missing but that first time with him, I found myself thinking “this must be how it feels to normal people when they get sexually aroused!” For the first time in my adult life, I actually discovered what it meant to have my cunt become truly wet with desire. Like, properly wet. Slippery wet. That was new to me, to discover how much my body responds to mistreatment by someone I’m attracted to in a sexual context.
Since then, my explorations of my submission and masochism have involved my chasing that high. As someone who has very few hang-ups or taboos around sexuality, it takes a lot to make me genuinely uncomfortable and there are very few things that I am unwilling to try. For me, being simply tied up and spanked, for example, sounds a bit dull and old hat – after all, I’ve been asking partners to tie me up and hit me since I was 16 years old. I am someone with a large libido and an insatiable desire to explore the depths of my own experiences and so sexual activities such as rape play, or entry-level S&M simply do little to give me the sort of erotic intensity I crave. The acts one does within sex and kink don’t necessarily mean a lot to me, I wouldn’t say I have a lot of fetishes as such, rather what is important is the context and energetics surrounding the act.
My current Dom and I have created a psychological space for us within which my consent means nothing. When I am unable to say “yes” or “no” to any given act, suddenly every sexual act becomes potent. His hand groping my breast is molestation, his cock pushing inside me is violation. Outside of our D/s dynamic, my Dom is very much my partner, friend and equal but in our D/s dynamic, we have created a hierarchy where his desires rule and I am simply a glorified fleshlight, fuckdoll and punching bag. It’s mutually beneficial. It’s what we both desire.
In essence, the feeling we both crave is a sense of coming as close to stepping off the edge of what is right and into a dark and violent void. As ethical, principled, intelligent and emotionally aware people, we of course understand that to actually step off the edge and into darkness would not be a sane or reasonable thing to do. However, we have acknowledged and accepted the depths of our desires and we like to get as close to the edge as possible.
The closest comparison, and I think it is an apt one, is to someone who engages in extreme and risky sports such as mountain climbing. There are very real risks you consciously desire to take on because the thrill of exploring rarely visited territories and the thrilling feeling of touching the void is utterly intoxicating. The explorer of hostile but fascinating landscapes does all they can to educate themselves and equip themselves for their adventures but also acknowledges that this cannot be completely free of risk. It is exactly the same with our explorations of the subterranean world of dark sexual fantasies. The risks are worth it, the rewards are incredible.
What are the rewards? Aside from just being really fucking hot? It is bonding. Deeply bonding. There is nothing like going on an adventure to really bring people close together. It is thrilling, profoundly thrilling, to feel in a moment like you cannot possibly take any more, only to be pushed even further beyond that threshold and survive the experience! It expands your sense of who you are and what you can do. D/s has shown me that I am far stronger and braver than I ever thought possible. But mostly… it’s hot. When my Dom touches me nowadays, it is as if my mind switches off and I am floating in a murky haze of arousal. When his eyes go dark and my gut clenches with fear, it is a thrilling and intoxicating fear that I suspect is paralleled by people who are addicted to sky-diving. Finally, as a masochist, when I am forced by my Dom into doing something I genuinely do not want, when I am made to feel truly miserable… these experiences will turn into the most potent memories of which I will later furiously masturbate to.
As I have written about extensively before, my relationship with my previous Dom contained some elements of genuine emotional abuse, as well as a time, before we had a full CNC agreement, where my previous Dom crossed a hard limit of mine by engaging in breath play.
Breath play is an inherently dangerous activity and so for a long time, it was a hard limit of mine. One day towards the end of the first year of our relationship, heavily intoxicated and in the midst of something of an emotional breakdown, he one night started to choke me and restrict my breathing. At the time, I found this experience terrifying which made me profoundly aroused and I tentatively broached the subject very soon after as he had crossed a boundary that I had not consented to. (In retrospect, I wish I had broached it more assertively but it took me awhile to properly realise how much the experience troubled me.) He was apologetic and expressed gratitude for my communicating to him and in fact, because fear and non-consent are such a turn-on for me, I felt this experience as profoundly arousing. I even wrote erotica about it. A month or two later, I broke up with him for unrelated reasons but the sense of confusion around my being turned on – by what was essentially assault – really left me feeling a lot of fear and distrust around my own sexuality. Because I had been so turned on by the experience, I do believe it stopped me from realising how fucked up what happened was. It stopped me from properly addressing my concerns and fears with him.
And so two years later I once again entered a relationship with this Dom. This time, our intimacy and love grew to a point where, at my request, we entered into a CNC agreement that was similar to the one I am currently in, albeit a tad more rudimentary. This became, at that point in my life, the most powerfully intense sexual connection I had yet experienced. I believe there is a psychological shift that can take place within a submissive in a long term relationship where at some point, you start to truly believe in your dynamic and in your lack of rights. I would sometimes describe it as a feeling of being brainwashed. It is, in fact, incredibly erotically potent but it’s also risky in ways I did not yet perceive (though may have gleaned with the breath play experience). I did not realise the risks until after that night in New York…
As aforementioned, I’ve already written in great detail about his emotionally abusive behaviour in New York, in particular one night when he extensively verbally abused me. Within that writing, I mention what happened at the end of that night:
“I remember that night he held me down and fucked me while whispering the cruel, nasty, humiliating things that had always been a part of our D/s dynamic and which had always turned me on intensely. Except now it felt different and so I lay there, crying, until he came inside me. My crying was not an unusual part of our sex life, in fact it was something that we both sought out as it turned us on, but this felt different. I no longer felt emotionally safe. “I probably shouldn’t have done that tonight” he said as he held me. “I’m ok” I whispered back, through tears.”
I believe that this was the moment when something between us broke irreparably. I am not sure that either he or I could have realised how deeply it would break things but our D/s have been built upon a deep foundation of trust and fundamental safety. Though his fucking me that night was technically within our rules, I believe it hurt us both. I remember that night as he fucked me… I had this sick, cold feeling inside me which would not leave me for the entire duration of our New York holiday and for several months afterwards. It felt like something had died inside me, like we had gone too close to the edge and fallen into the void. The fact that I almost committed suicide the very next day is deeply interrelated in ways that I am still unpacking. Trauma takes time to understand.
I was, however, in denial. Deeply in love and desperate for things to feel ok when we returned from New York, I pushed for us to reconnect through BDSM. He was, understandably, reticent but I insisted it was what I wanted, I felt this desperate desire to be close to him again and I suppose I hoped our D/s bond would… fix us.
One night I said to him “I want you to make me afraid, really afraid.”
“Are you sure?”
He put his hand around my throat and lifted me into the air for a brief moment before he did something we hadn’t done before, he punched me in the stomach. Hard. Winded and in pain, I started immediately sobbing and he did it several more times. It was terrifying and I was, of course, profoundly aroused.
When he then fucked me, I screamed at him.
“You bastard. You stupid fucking bastard.”
When we were finished, he whispered to me.
“Babe, I need you.”
“I need you too…” I whispered back through tears “I’m lonely without you.”
Then I asked him about the punching. My stomach still hurt and I wondered, out loud, if he had researched this type of play before.
The cold, sick feeling came back. The same feeling I’d had the day after he broke my hard limit three years ago, the same feeling I had that night in New York… I realised that I was not safe. Some later research confirmed this, punching someone without understanding the risks is incredibly reckless and dangerous. Shortly after, I ended the relationship and have not seen him since. I hope never to.
CNC in My Current Relationship
I’ve always eroticised fear, violation and degradation. However, my relationship with my first Dom gave me a deep distrust, disgust and fear of my desires. My experiences taught me that within the sort of relationship I crave, the boundaries between true violation and consensual play can be… grey and slippery. I had learned that when I was genuinely in danger, with a partner who didn’t have my best interests at heart, the situation would become confused by the fact that danger and violation arouses me so greatly.
For some time after my New York experience, I was unable to orgasm without crying. My sexuality felt unsafe to me and so I deeply wished to rid myself of it. For awhile, I felt it would be most wise for me to simply not engage in any more BDSM play, I felt I was responsible for getting myself into such messy experiences and that the safest course of action would be a sort of kink related abstinence.
But the heart wants what the heart wants and the cunt wants what the cunt wants. Over time I started dabbling in play again, with my then girlfriend, with friends and with this one person at a festival which is a story for another day… And then I met my current Dom. Our connection was at first a cerebral one of deep friendship, growing love and a shared affinity towards many things such as art, nature, comedy and so on. Unlike my relationship with my first Dom (where into D/s fast and hard long before we knew one another as people) my new D/s relationship bloomed slowly, organically, cautiously, thoughtfully and intentionally. It continues to do so.
I now believe that this slow bloom and creation of trust is fundamental to a healthy D/s dynamic. With my new Dom, I have in fact played in ways that have felt more intense, more terrifying and more intoxicating than what I experienced with my first Dom and we both feel that this is only the very beginning as we are only a year in and still building the foundations of trust, stability and security around our relationship. In short, we are gently tangling our lives together and building something that feels strong. And increasingly safe.
My last Dom was resistant to intimacy to say the least. He found conversations and communication gruelling and while I do not regret my sexual experiences with him as they led me to where I am today, his emotional abuse and the lack of safety, comfort and trust I felt with him was dangerous when combined with the complexities of my sexual desire.
So while the CNC agreement I have with my current Dom might bear some superficial resemblances to my current dynamic, the structures that support it are fundamentally different. Yes, with CNC I accept some degree of emotional risk but I now feel that I have a partner who had my deepest interests at heart and will, if things go wrong, be there besides me to pick up the pieces. This is completely, fundamentally different to what I had with my first Dom.
I have handed my body and self to someone who understands the gravity and immensity of his responsibility to me. We stand side by side and like partners who climb mountains together, we have each other’s backs.