Not an Odalisque

The Paucity of Play Partners, or Unreasonable Expectations

with 10 comments

SMS to the Lover: “The door’s on latch. See you later.”

I rinse a bowl, turn off the tap and turn for a tea towel. I almost scream. He’s moving towards me, silent, fast, hoodie up, face grim, one hand in his pocket, the other reaching for me. There’s a thud of pain as he swings me round by the shoulder. He grabs my hair, wrenching my neck. I try to pull back—“what are you—?”—but something cold and hard is shoved into the flesh under my jaw. I’m absolutely still. We stand in the kitchen, a tableau of fear and pain. A bus idles at the traffic lights outside.

He yanks my hair and I squeal. Pushing the gun* harder into my jaw and pulling at my scalp, he drags me into the hallway and throws me towards the ground. I go down gratefully, out of his grasp. My elbow hits the doorframe, vibrating my arm to my wrist, and I graze my forearm on the carpet. As I cover the broken skin, rough under my palm, he pushes me down with his weight on my back. My arm’s trapped under my chest. Pain shoots up it as I try to wriggle free.

His weight lightens and I see my moment—he must be undoing his fly. I kick and twist up, but he presses down again. I continue to struggle, although I’ve missed my chance, then the cold metal pushes at the back of my neck, and I freeze. He flips me over, grunting, and shoves the gun hard into the bottom of my ribcage. It will bruise, the barrel thrusting in like a bullet through shards of bone. The idea of bloody shattered ribs does a lot for cooperation. I don’t squirm away from his hands. He worms his fingertips in the joints of my jaw and speaks for the first time. “Open your mouth.”

That wasn’t entirely gratuitous. I think about scenes like that, you see, when I wonder why I don’t get more play. Perhaps there aren’t that many people who are interested in raping girls at gunpoint. But then, my rape-at-gunpoint quota is mostly fulfilled. Being caned for not having learnt my Latin verbs is where I feel a lack. Or being half-drowned. Or abducted by slavers. Or looked at sternly and told that I need to learn my lesson, and it will be taught with a hand spanking, over his knee. Any applicants?

When I moved to Manchester, which has a sizable fetish scene, I thought these wouldn’t be difficult to achieve. They are hardly niche fetishes (well, maybe the drowning). I might have an easier time if a bottle of Chardonnay and a rented DVD made me weak at the knees, but I’m not hoping to find people who want to eat my hair, put me in nappies or watch me impersonate a duck. And even those people generally find someone.

However, these activities, from the guns and the drownings to the hand spankings, do need a fair amount of trust. I’m chasing vulnerability, and there’s a lot that can go wrong. I want to be nearly saying stop at every moment, but forcing myself to continue. I have to trust the person I’m with to not do anything stupid, because I can’t constantly reserve half my mind to assess safety or subtly advise repositioning. That would be half my mind unable to engage in saying, “Oh God, no, please, no!” Worse, I have to recognise that, playing so close to the border between what I want and what I don’t want, I may find myself on the wrong side of the ability to safeword with someone doing something I genuinely wish they wouldn’t do. That’s a risk I’m willing to take, but only with someone who has the emotional nous to help me pick up the pieces afterwards. Oh, and they’d better know how to aim a cane, because I like parallel lines in carefully chosen places. And they should have an excellent stern look. And education and intelligence and a sense of humour and… Oh dear, this list is getting a bit long, isn’t it?

The more I think about it, the longer the list gets, and the more it sounds as if I’m looking for a life partner or a unicorn, not a playmate. I was surprised, therefore, when I signed up for discipline from Miss. Prim a couple of months ago without a qualm. She was offering a Muir Academy style role play at the SM Dykes conference, and once I’d put my name down I spent more time worrying about my uniform than whether I could trust a lady I’d only met that morning. I was nervous about my first caning in front of an audience, but not enough to curtail the doodling and origami frog making during class that was provoking it. And when I leant over the desk I was worried about the pain, not her competence. It hurt. It hurt enough to make me jump off the ground with both feet on the third stoke, causing a titter from the onlookers and a pause while Miss. Prim asked if I’d ever been caned before, but it didn’t hurt so much that I tore off my blazer and ran from the room. I trusted her knowledge, experience and sense of propriety.

But where does that leave my hunt for play partners? I can’t advertise for, “Extremely experienced semi-professionals. Must be willing to give lectures on the history and uses of the cane before scenes and have an aesthetic more appreciative of straw boaters than leather and studs.” Standing on the sidelines at clubs watching people with floggers (no thank you) or needles (I’ve been sent home unpricked from doctor’s surgeries due to faintness at the sight of them) doesn’t seem to be achieving much. So what am I to do? Lower my standards? Be contented with my lot? Or commence a serious search? How do all of you with full and busy kinky lives do it?

*In the interests of those who might try this at home, I should note that it has been clearly demonstrated to me that the gun doesn’t have any of the insides to make it work, that they are in fact in another county, and assured that in any case this really isn’t the sort of gun that you would use for shooting people anyway.

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Written by Not an Odalisque

August 6, 2011 at 12:03 am

10 Responses

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  1. “Being caned for not having learnt my Latin verbs is where I feel a lack.” And then made to sit and learn them again, and given another test, and then given double the number of strokes for any errors… until you’ve learnt them perfectly?

    I could really relate to this post and the challenges of finding play partners who are perfectly attuned to one’s specific tastes, amidst a fetish crowd with similar interests but often different emphases.

    And you used the word that, in many ways, sums up my kink: I’ve long thought that, deep down, I actually have a “vulnerability fetish”. Not that I want the women I play with to be vulnerable in real-life, you understand: most of them are confident, assertive, successful. But putting them in a state of “vulnerability” in a scene? Oh yes,,,

    Abel

    August 6, 2011 at 5:58 am

    • Interesting post. I too picked up on the vulnerability word. I am very loathed these days to put myself in a position of such vulnerability with someone I don’t know well.

      But I find how Abel presents this ‘dichotomy’ between strong, assertive successful women and ‘vulnerable’ submissive partners a bit problematic. One of my issues in kink has been that actually I am just one person and that vulnerability is real and it lasts way after the ‘scene’ has finished. It is very difficult to bring all the aspects of oneself together or rather to separate them.

      I also picked up on the ‘semi-professional’ word. I wish it was more acceptable for people to visit sex workers including pro-dom(me)s. I really think their is often a need/value in putting your trust in someone who is not looking for ‘play’ but who is seriously skilled in this stuff. I know it costs money but it is partly the stigma that puts people off.

      Quiet Riot Girl

      August 6, 2011 at 11:45 am

      • Hiya. Just to clarify, as I probably didn’t make it clear enough in trying to write a concise comment rather than a full-blown blog post of my own (!)… I wasn’t saying it was a ‘dichotomy’ at all. It’s the very opposite, in fact – that the real-life confidence and the scene / play vulnerability can co-exist in so many of my play partners that I find rather fascinating, rather wonderful, rather appealing.

        And certainly, pre- and post- scene, making sure that the transition between states occurs successfully is hugely important – aftercare, in particular, has to be something that a good top thinks about very carefully, appropriate to the person with whom he or she’s just played.

        (And, BTW, I didn’t mention the word ‘submissive’ either – that’s not necessarily a word that many of those I play with would associate with themselves, although some do. Different folks, differing kinks and differing self-descriptions).

        Abel

        August 7, 2011 at 6:33 pm

  2. sorry – there not ‘their’. Spank me!

    Quiet Riot Girl

    August 6, 2011 at 11:47 am

  3. […] discussing her hunt for play partners: “Extremely experienced semi-professionals. Must be willing to give lectures on the history and […]

  4. Is it time to confess that I was, more than once, the reason why my class didn’t get a barrel of stale biscuits passed around, the reward we were promised if every pupil got full marks on our weekly Latin vocab test? I suspect a scene in which I actually had to memorise Latin words would become an endurance test for both players.

    I like the concept of the vulnerability fetish; it certainly unites a lot of seemingly disparate kinks for me. I agree, QRG, that it isn’t possible to separate the self in a scene from the self out it entirely, and if there’s pretended vulnerability in a scene its aftermath is usually an interval of real vulnerability for me. That said, I think that to a degree we make a choice as to whether we want to be vulnerable in other situations, and act accordingly.

    I wouldn’t say stigma puts me off seeing a professional, although the cost certainly would. I’ve never considered it myself because the motivations of the Top are important to me, as is sense that they care for me on some level. The idea of someone seeing beating me as work is off-putting. In role as Latin teacher he may be bored and frustrated, but the person underneath had better be enjoying it, if I’m suffering such pain!

    Not an Odalisque

    August 7, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    • I do see what you mean. And I have never visited a pro-dom(me). But I think on the whole they *do* enjoy their work and that is partly what I mean about stigma. How we separate ‘pleasure’ and ‘work’ in sex, in the way we don’t in other arenas. I mean waiters don’t always enjoy serving us food but we accept it and enjoy eating.

      Quiet Riot Girl

      August 7, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    • You make me ponder a point I’d not considered before… I don’t play on a professional basis, but do play with a fair few folks who do professional work (my wife, occasionally, included!). Now, I know that in that professional world, people can find women and men to spank; I know they can find women who’ll spank them. But is there actually a cadre of ‘professional’ male tops out there doing M/f work? I can’t say I’ve ever met any – but I may be living a sheltered life!

      Abel

      August 7, 2011 at 6:38 pm

      • I at least one man who offers such services, but I haven’t personally come across any who have made a great success of it. I haven’t gone looking, though, so there may be quite a number.

        Not an Odalisque

        August 7, 2011 at 11:26 pm

  5. There are definitely a LOT more pro-dommes than men tops out there!

    But then there are a lot more women sex workers than men. Especially in the UK.

    The main clients of sex workers are men, and so pro-top men would have to service more men than women to make a living. I expect many would have a problem with this. Other ‘stigmas’ come into play around homosexuality.

    Quiet Riot Girl

    August 8, 2011 at 12:03 pm


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