I know everyone in kink is on their own personal journey and you shouldn’t compare yourself to people and blah blah blah. But I can’t help but note that all the other scenes at this party (and also most of the scenes I’ve ever seen anywhere, in my admittedly limited forays to kink events and sex clubs) comprised two people who seemed super attracted to each other, the top started doing stuff to the bottom (usually impact play), the bottom seemed to go to a far-off place and get all blissed out and mostly just moaned, maybe there were some little check-ins or kissing breaks along the way, and afterward the two people gathered up their stuff and went to a quiet place and snuggled a whole bunch while the bottom came down from their blissful happy place.
The time came for TA and I to play. Her body seemed strange to me; I could scarcely remember ever having wanted to touch it, or getting a happy response from her by touching it. Really I think our NRE (New Relationship Energy, that thing where you see a new partner through rose-coloured glasses) had started wearing off, through a combo of us having been dating for almost a year and, y’know, her repeated sexual rejections. So I frankly wasn’t very attracted to her in that moment. I think that may have been a bit of why I felt all weird seeing her naked at the party, too – my feelings for her are dying, this was the first time I’d ever seen her naked body from across a room just doing shit and not paying any attention to me (vs in my bed giving nonsexual snuggles if nothing else), and I felt this cognitive dissonance of “this is the body I’ve been lying around yearning for all this time? She’s just…a regular person.”
But I’d committed to doing this scene with her. And sometimes my brain makes me feel distant from someone as a self-preservation measure; perhaps, if I just bluffed my way forward, it would turn out that yes, TA had successfully leveraged the presence of an audience and gotten herself in The Headspace, and she would start responding to me in the ways she used to, and I’d be able to relax and get into it.
I secured TA’s arms to a hard point in the ceiling. I chose this over the St. Andrew’s cross because I wanted to be able to walk all the way around her, accessing whatever parts I felt like. We bantered a little bit, and she seemed like she was almost in the stuttering, aroused place that I guess might be The Headspace.
I forgot that TA is a squirmer. She simultaneously likes and fears pain. So when I began thwacking her tits with one of my paddles, she backed up away from me as far as the chain to the ceiling would let her. When I would try to slap her in the crotch, she’d reflexively bring her knees together to close off access. She could probably have still knee-blocked me even if I’d had her fully secured to the St. Andrew’s cross instead, mind you. The legs of the cross aren’t that far apart and she’s long-legged and bendy af. But at least she couldn’t have backed away. Still, though, having access to the front and back of her was probably worth it. It was pretty fun being able to walk all the way around her, thwacking her tits and thighs and ass with my paddle.
At a guess, we played for maybe ten minutes altogether, during which she asked me to stop maybe five or six times. Twice so I could carefully tip a water bottle into her mouth because she was thirsty and her hands were bound, and the rest were all just “wait I need a break from the pain for a minute,” sometimes in conjunction with her saying she was having a hard time staying in The Headspace. At one point I asked her a question and she answered it but then when I went to ask a follow-up she said that if I wanted to keep her in The Headspace I’d better stop expecting her to talk and just keep beating her instead.
And y’know…I get that it takes two people to build a kinky or sexy mood – I’m not expecting her to just entirely generate an interest in stuff without me doing anything to contribute to it – but the way she talks often makes it sound like she sees this mysterious fucking HEADSPACE as entirely my responsibility to summon and maintain…by reading her mind. She won’t initiate sex or kink, because The Headspace never happens on its own, only when someone else starts something up. Except sometimes when someone else initiates, The Headspace still doesn’t arrive. But if the other person aggressively keeps going anyway, that might make her feel objectified and that’s hot and then The Headspace will show up. Except when it doesn’t. And if it does, the other person needs to do fifty things at once to keep her there. No, not like that, she arbitrarily wants this other thing today.
Anyway, at some point in our scene I remembered that it helps TA take pain for longer if she has something to distract her from it (is being distracted a part of The Headspace, or is it a parallel phenomenon to it? I do not know), so I asked her a philosophical question to ponder out loud while I applied a riding crop to her ass. That did seem to help her settle into the pain and not be coming up out of it and needing a break so often, so I got a little bit of what I needed out of our playing.
Just as an aside, last week(?) she was telling me how she went on a date with a new guy and it went well so they got a motel room and he hurt her for a few hours. A few hours. It’s not the first time she’s talked about having huge marathon sessions with sadists – and I know they’re not going lightly on her, I’ve seen some of the welts and bruises and they’re heavier than anything I ever put on her. I would say she’s taken probably half an hour of fairly continuous pain play from me before at most. You know, back when she actually had any interest in playing with me. (And yes, I know to ramp it up slowly so the other person gets warmed up and can take more.) I kind of hate how cavalierly TA tells me about some of these adventures, like doesn’t she get that I want to be doing these things with her, too? It just feels like she’s rubbing my face in it. And I increasingly suspect that she’s just fucking obsessed with dick and can get in the motherfucking Headspaaaaaaace easily with cis men because they’re cis men. But who knows.
Anyway, at some point TA said she felt she’d had enough so I freed her arms, stood close to her for long enough to be sure she was steady on her feet and wouldn’t fall or anything, and then went back to the spot on the couch where I’d been sitting all night. I was abruptly super exhausted. An acquaintance sitting next to me asked how I was feeling after my scene and I said I was pretty wiped out.
And then it occurred to me that TA hadn’t come with me to the couch. I know she’s not a person who needs aftercare, particularly – she plays with randos in motel rooms and just leaves after, ffs – but I kinda need it. Or at least prefer it. Kink is an intimate thing to me and I wouldn’t want someone leaving right after without at least chilling and talking to me a bit, anymore than I’d want someone to come over and fuck me and immediately leave. It’s weird that TA didn’t know that and come be with me. She was so solicitous of me at other gatherings before, making sure I was comfortable socially and petting my head in passing and stuff, and those gatherings didn’t even have a potentially emotional thing like kink going on.
Then I got all up in my head again about the fact that we were in a big group of people. Did the other people know that TA isn’t a big aftercare person? Or would some of them think I was an asshole who’d wandered away from my partner at a vulnerable time?
So – partly for the optics and partly because TA’s aloofness worried me – I walked over to where she was standing gazing around the room and I asked “how’s your butt?” (her butt being the place I’d smacked the most). She curtly said “I’m not in a headspace to talk right now” so I went back to the fucking couch and tried to keep on talking to the other people there like I wasn’t feeling rejected and confused and shitty. The next time I looked in TA’s direction, she was chatting with a couple of people, so it seems she was able to talk after all. She later explained (unbidden) that I’d approached her right when she was figuring out the logistics of some party-related thing, and she didn’t want to talk until she’d come to the solution for whatever it was. So that’s…something.
In the meantime, though, I started slipping into some kind of shutdown. It was becoming difficult for me to move or speak. I think part of it was the big emotional roller coaster I was going through with TA, but a big part of it was just that the party was in full swing and it was very noisy and it was just too much.
I wanted to get up and go home, but the steps to accomplish this felt insurmountable (announcing I was leaving, gathering my stuff, saying some goodbyes…). People on the couch next to me were having a conversation, but not aiming any of it at me, I don’t think; I’m not sure if they noticed I was being distant and weird or not. I think one person briefly said some mouth-sounds to me that acknowledged that I seemed worn out, or something.
TA came by briefly. She asked me if I was okay. I wanted to say no, but I also didn’t want to make a scene or be a burden on her. I managed to say “I’m just a little overwhelmed.” She said that was understandable (was it? What was it that she thought she understood? That the room was loud? That I’d just done an act of intimacy with her that was almost entirely performative and then come to the conclusion that our relationship, in its current form, wasn’t working anymore?) and then began putting on the arm band that signified that she was a DM. “You’re DMing again? Now?” I asked. She shrugged and said that’s what she’d agreed to. So, she and the other DM had officially not left any time for us to chill out after the bdsm stuff. This was a thing they had decided was okay. Huh.
There was only maybe half an hour left before the party ended (remember, we were renting the space, so the 11pm end time was serious, not just a guideline) so I gave up on the idea of leaving on my own; everyone would be leaving soon enough, and their momentum would get me going. I sat on the couch and watched people play and tried to act like a human. Occasionally TA came by to chat with people around me and/or let them grab her tits while she kept an eye on the remaining scenes. Sometimes she absent-mindedly stroked my leg in passing.
And then things were winding up and TA spoke with some of her friends and determined that the one who’d driven us to the thing actually lived near me and could drive me home. TA herself would be driven home by someone else. I gathered up my shit and she hugged me and I left the dungeon with my driver and their partner.
Incidentally, in the car on the way back, the partner shyly asked if I’d be willing to top them sometime. Also someone else messaged me later to say it was really fun watching me play. So I guess the scene I did with TA didn’t come off as a big sad failure to everyone in the room. That’s…something.
The next day, TA texted me thanking me for coming out and confirming whether she’d be coming over on Monday as usual.
I texted her back saying that I was very happy she’d organized the party and reserved her playtime there for just me, but our play had felt “off,” I didn’t think it was a fixable issue, and I needed to kill any remaining hope I had of us ever fucking or playing again and just rebrand the relationship as one where We Don’t Do That Sort of Thing. As such, I wanted to spend my Monday lying around moping by myself as I retooled my expectations of our interactions, and probably resume our Mondays the following week in a clothed capacity (our usual pattern was for TA to be naked for her entire visit except for when we ventured out of my bedroom for dinner).
She replied with a heart emoji and nothing else.