He leaned in close, his voice like raw silk, his breath in my ear, my breath catching in my throat as he whispered “You’ve been teasing me all night, haven’t you?”This man, a stranger who hadn’t taken strange liberties up until that point, held me transfixed with his voice alone, so intimate, so close only I could hear, even in the midst of a bar full of people. That whisper, inaudible as it was to the outside world, awakened a world inside myself of which I’d only seen scant, fleeting glimpses.Even within ourselves, we have voices that whisper. Desires subsumed, emotions over-analyzed, harsh judgments passed. I am not alone in having recesses in my heart and soul that whisper to me. Sometimes seductively, the whisper of a dark thought pulls you in. I am not alone in feeling conflict even as the temptation lures, fear is a choke-collar that catches you up short. If you are human, you have felt this pull.But what do you do about it? Do you shut out those desires and carry on, pressured by what is “normal” and “right” into giving up pieces of who you really are? And what is the price to be paid for that compliance?
In my girlhood, romanticized fantasies of being swept off my feet by Prince Charming were par for the course. That course soon diverted as the covers of romance novels etched their way into my consciousness. These princes seemed to rely on overwhelming strength, on power, on ravishing their consorts into…submission. And this called to me. The whispered “What if…what if you resisted, even as you wanted to be taken? What would that be like?” and that whisper was crushed under the pragmatic cry of independence, of righteous indignation. As I grew, as I learned to value independence over all, I rejected the ides, turned a deaf ear to the whisper and that soft longing died away.
As I continued to grow and started dating, my first boyfriend was damn near the Princely Ideal. I was showered with gifts, lavished with flowers and he never tired of doted on me. I though this romantic ideal would bring me the happiness I sought. But it wore thin. With the gifts and attention came a burden, a possessiveness that bound me against my will. I wasn’t won over by the adoring glances, and the whisper from within started again. As I left that first relationship behind, I was even more convinced that I needed to guard my independence with fierce defenses. I wouldn’t be wooed or swayed or controlled, dammit, I was my own.
The whisper of darker desires was quieted by many long years in a relationship that screeched over the subtlety of my own whispered desires. That relationship was a battleground, and for over six years I screamed, shrieked and demanded my autonomy, to be my own person, to not emotionally bullied by my lover. More walls, more boundaries, defenses armed to the teeth and ready to do battle. Years of this emotional white noise effectively silenced my own small, still voice, and it was not until I finally…finally saw myself mirrored in the eyes of someone who loved me for myself that I realized I could have better. I could BE better. I needed to do better for myself.
“You’ve been teasing me all night, haven’t you?”
This whisper was new. It wasn’t my own fervid imagination that drew me in. This was flesh and blood and heat and desire personified, distilled, poured into my ear where it resonated in my heart.
“You know what happens to girls who tease, don’t you.”
I shook my head, mesmerized, as a deep susurration arose from a hidden place, defenses suddenly uncertain, enervated.
“Well. In your case, my lovely, the teasing will end when I take what I want.”
I was dizzy, confused and alight with a lust so electric it threatened to short circuit my rational mind. My head was filled with whispers, long-hidden tongues threatening to spill my darkest secret, to revel in this inexcusable failure in my own defenses, and yet when I opened my mouth to respond to this man who dared… dared so arrogantly to tell me what he was going to do rather than ask, my own whispered response…
…opened the door to a new world for me.
That stunning encounter on a warm Los Angeles night in 1993 lead me to my first entanglement with a dominant man. This rather startling meeting was the cry of “Havoc!” that let slip the dogs of war. I was ravenous for more. I was ashamed of my desires. I wanted nothing more than to be overwhelmed, to feel the power of another overtake me. And yet…I had been raised to be fiercely independent and I had learned to be fiercely defensive and protective of myself. Caution and curiosity ruled the day and I took my time exploring. My first tentative steps into the broad world that falls under the initials BDSM were online, in the mid 90’s when people were following their own paths into the darker corners of their psyche, bringing it to light, and beginning to celebrate kink. I started meeting people, real people, who had listened to their own whispered desires and were making them real. I moved from the heady world of books and articles and chat rooms and bulletin boards to the real time world of kink. I met many people, made friends, and was hoping to meet that dominant who would overpower me, with flashing eyes and brawny overwhelming force. I was sure that was what it would take to defuse my defenses, for someone to prove to me they could master me; to take me down.
And yet…and yet. The first man to whom I knelt did none of those things. There was no force. No overwhelming pectoral muscles flexing, no barked orders.
I was at a kinky “Truth or Dare” party and I had, rather cheekily, dared a man who had identified as dominant to “…get someone to kneel before him and kiss his boots, if he was so dominant.” He gazed at me levelly, and smiled. The dare was turned back at me, as he quietly ordered me to kiss his boots.
I laughed “I don’t think so. You can’t ask me to do it, I gave you the fucking dare.”
Ultimately, the party host decided I was eligible.
“SO, fine, OK, I thought. I’ll just say no. This is silly.”
Part of me wondered if he would MAKE ME do it. Part of me twitched excitedly at that thought. This was what I waited for…the brutal overwhelming force. Someone who would bend me to their will…
But he didn’t throw me to the ground. He walked over to me, gently tilted up my chin, leaned in close and said “Listen…” his whisper slipped into my ear, a heated song of seduction in a strange, new language I had barely begun to understand…
“…kissing my boots isn’t something I allow lightly. However…”
His voice dropped lower and for the next few minutes he…well. He explained what he wanted. And why I should do it. And why I would do it. And how he wanted it done.
And a few moments after that I was dazed as a snake charmed by the movement of the fakir’s flute. My will slipped away and I knelt, as instructed and kissed his boots, as instructed, and the whisper in my head purred, in satisfaction and I looked up at him and thought…
I would spend over two years in service to that dominant. I learned a great deal about myself. My own inner desires arose from a whisper and took their place in my life. My fantasies about submission were dragged to light. Some were broken on the wheel of reality, some were exceeded by the gorgeous gluttony of flesh and blood and pain and pleasure. Eventually, all things end. Somehow. I grew past the lessons I was learning there, and moved on.
The whispering in my heart found its own voice. I was still new to this path, but I had thought and written so much that I was beginning to share my journey, my stories. Various kink organizations, Leather groups, BDSM events were inviting me to speak, to teach, to share. My darkest demons became topics for discussion. I was gaining a place in this world I loved so dearly. And yet…I was alone on the path. It was a constant whisper, this longing. The submissive who does not have a place to serve, the slave who is unowned, often feels this peculiar need in their own peculiar way. I eagerly sought out the next person who would touch me, who would speak to me, who would hear my own voice and meet it with theirs. Over the years, I met people who called to me. A dominant couple who I found interesting. A beautiful dominant with a bold eye who intrigued me with her self-assured manner; someone who was called to the path of mastery and might be suitable to master me. And yet…
Life happens. Over the years, I met hundreds…eventually thousands of people in the U.S., eventually expanding my travels to Europe and Canada, meeting a multitude of people who joined me in this tumultuous, joyful world of kink. And I was still alone. The joyous shout of my self-discovery waned to a murmur, then a whisper. More years passed. I struggled with alcoholism, lost myself. Becoming sober on March 13th of 2007, I began my long, slow crawl back to life. I wasn’t even sure who I was, and I had a long road ahead of me. The whisper was silent, for several years, as I learned to love myself. Learned to be myself without alcohol. Found myself again.
Of course, the longing had not died away. It waited, regaining strength until the need reasserted itself. Until I found my independence, my strength, my self, again. And then…yes, the longing. Wondering how, where, or if I ever would find someone who understood what I finally…finally truly understood.I did not need to be bulldozed. I did not need someone who would approach me with overwhelming force: that person would only encounter the immovable object. That was why I had gone for so many, many years seeking and not finding. I was not ready to hear the whisper again.And just when you think you know what you want…what you really need finds you.
A few years ago I found myself backed into a corner. Quite literally. A man I’d only just met, who’s friendly gaze occasionally slewed to feral, who smiled in a way that made me laugh and yet unraveled the quiet edge of my defenses, caught me by surprise. He hadn’t even touched me and yet I backed myself into a corner as he approached me, my eyes suddenly wide, skin damp with nervous sweat as he approached me, until polite distance was breached. And then he came closer, eyes sparkling, a grin barely visible as he leaned over and…there. My breath left my body, his breath heating my skin, his words freezing me in the corner, melting my thoughts and in the fierceness of my submission I felt the whisper, long quiet, answer him silently.
A low voice in my ear still, to this day, is a hardline to a deep, deep well. While I was visiting in Sweden a very nice young man asked me out on a date. Being that the trip had been…well…brutal, it was a relief to have several hours with someone, to chat, to get to know them. initially unsure if we were out on a casual date or a Date (and having to explain this semantic difference to my bemused Swedish friend!) we spent hours walking Stockholm, having fika, having supper, and having a wonderful morning — afternoon — evening. While riding an escalator in the T-Bana and feeling the skin across my throat tingle and overheat as he leaned in close behind me, breath in my ear lips grazing my sensitized skin as a subaudible rumble breath became a low, heavy, rolling rumbling growl that was redolent of a passion that lies dormant, for me, for most of my life. My breathing quickened, my eyelids dropped shut, and I was abruptly shoved into a feral depth of arousal I’d not experienced for…well. For a while. Bittersweet reminder that some things, no matter how long buried are true as they ever were.
Seventeen years after that first whispered sacred profanity and I am still listening to my inner voices; with more compassion, now; with more respect now. I have learned so very, very much. And there is still so much I have to learn. And I look forward to the next quiet moment.