Our contributor Abby Spector, who is majoring in Feminine/Gender/Sexuality Studies at Wesleyan University, has a confession to make:
“Abby, you never seem to get angry,” my coworker said to me the other day. I hate that scumbag, but all I knew how to do was smile. If I was in a worse mood I might have left orange rinds on the counter. That would show him!
You see, in public life, I’m extremely passive. The only manifestation of anger I know is tears or a timid note. However, in the bedroom, I’m domineering. It’s like a creature kept somewhere between my genitals and my mind gets out of its cage. Best part is, I like it.
This creature is a new discovery. In the past, I was a starfish in bed — the kind of partner that lies back, limbs spread, and counts ceiling tiles until it’s over. I had never been on top for longer than thirty seconds. Up there, I’d clumsily bounce up and down while trying to keep my breasts from flopping into my armpits. It was terrible for all parties involved. Within no time I returned to the comfortable, tile-counting position on my back. It never crossed my mind to be aggressive. I was too much in my head to appreciate the pleasure of my body.
My choice in bedmates didn’t help things: they were all either drunken douches or douches who couldn’t blame their bad behavior on alcohol. In the moments that I had a sexual personality (which were rare) I resembled a self-loathing Lolita: I feigned inexperience because I knew the men I attracted wanted to feel powerful. As the first douche said, “Sex is about the man coming…the man’s pleasure.” All I knew was to give them what they wanted.
But what did I want? I took a vow of celibacy to find out. And I decided that when I eventually lost my “second virginity” I would make it count: no one-night stand, no married men, no starfish. I would be myself — whoever that turned out to be.
With the help of my vibrator, I spent thirteen months without any partner sex. It perhaps wasn’t the most therapeutic move (nor the most surprising) that I spent those months jacking off to porn that puts the female in the submissive role. It may not jive with my personal politics, but it’s what gets me off. (Damn you, fucked up power dynamics of the porn industry!) As a result, I assumed that my sexual self would be like these fantasy women. I saw myself pinned to the bed and enjoying a good pounding by a muscled hunk named Stallion.
Turns out, I want to be the Stallion.
I was expecting my new sexual self to be like the personality of my outer-shell: a friendly, funny, free-spirited fuck. The bruises on my new, non-douchey boyfriend’s hips seem to tell another story. The inner me that emerged after thirteen months is the exact opposite of my usual people-pleasing passivity. In bed, I am, apparently, intense. I bite, suck, yell and pin my partner to the bed. It sounds violent but no worries, it’s not over the top. I am concerned with my partner’s feelings, but this concern is now on a par with my own pleasure.
Recently, I have been listening to the instinct I’ve just newly tapped into. Its drive is animalistic. For example, the other day I had a polka-dotted scarf in my hair and had a sudden urge to tie my boyfriend to the bed. In the grand scheme of sexual experimentation this is not unheard of. However, for me, a girl who is often seen as emotionally and physically fragile, taking a dominatrix-esque role is downright shocking.
My initial reaction is to call my sexual side the Jekyll to my Hyde. But these characters seem to imply a good and a bad, a right and a wrong. Despite the occasional bites, my bedroom self is not an evil villain. She is real. And because of that, she is wonderful. Who knows? Maybe my fragile exterior is the true villain.