It’s Saturday night and I’m appropriately adult beverage’d up, which means it’s time for Elegy Goldsmith, submissive of 6+ years to tell you, my darlings, about the first time I got spanked.
My path to BDSM was a weird and winding one, as most probably are. I’m sure a lot of it can be traced back to my childhood obsession with Hellenic Greek mythology, the myth of Hades and Persephone in particular. Violence wasn’t a part of my childhood at all, though. My parents were adamantly anti-spanking; it wasn’t until much later that I got properly hit.
Or improperly hit, I suppose. Despite having lived with domestic violence, I still feel like the proper terminology eludes me.
I think my first boyfriend was the person who actually slapped me for the first time in the domestic violence way (i.e. nonconsensually). We met right as the first roaring maelstrom of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) started to hit, so one of the few things I remember from that phase of my life was my mother’s constant complaints about my inability to find “the middle of the road.”
Oh, how I loathed that phrase.
He was three weeks older than I was, despite being two grades younger. I spent a lot of time at his house, oftentimes spending the night behind a locked door that his free-wheeling parents didn’t bother to check.
I don’t know if that was part of his frustration with me, or whether it was the events of that day that made him snap. He was busy painting Warhammer figurines when a water balloon fight between his younger brother and me spilled over into his bedroom, leaving his mattress as collateral damage. We two sorry combatants hauled the wet bedding outside, and then he appeared.
“Sometimes you just make me want to slap you,” he said.
“Go ahead!” I snarled back.
I wasn’t expecting the blow. It was jarring, and I noticed the snapping in my neck before I felt the stinging in my cheek.
He knew better. His mother was a feminist, his father a mental health professional. They were intelligent liberals, comfortable enough to be like my own family. His parents were almost shocked as I was, though of course they didn’t bear the brunt of it.
I ran away. We lived too far apart for me to walk, but I hiked up into the woods and hid on a sunbaked rock. I could see the road. I could see his father driving up and down the street, calling my name as they searched for me, but I didn’t return for more than an hour, until I was ready.
He was remorseful, of course. He grabbed my hand and pulled it across his own face, trying to coerce me into slapping him back. I was all too ready to forgive him.
I’m sure some will take that story to mean that experience mean I’ve inextricably linked sex and violence — but I had the entirety of Western culture for that. The same forces that’ve brought forward inherent dichotomies like water/ fire/ earth/ air have borne along curiosities about rough sex through fourth thousand years of human mental software.
It’s actually from that experience that I can recognize the difference between domestic violence and BDSM (i.e. informed consensual nonconsent). The latter I came to via Secretary and my first husband, and the sense of shame that’s plagued me my whole life.
Why shame? I still haven’t quite worked that out, honestly. I've been externally well-behaved for most of my life and have rarely gotten into trouble — but a sense of impending doom isn’t something with which I’m unfamiliar. We’re bits of the universe that have evolved enough to take a look at ourselves; a measure of existential dread seems obligatory.
Ove and I had only been dating for about a month or so the day it happened. It was the end of my first year living in Los Angeles (subletting like a proper grad student), and my colossal ignorance about student loans was beginning to catch up with me. I didn’t realize that my classmates had figured out to enroll in summer classes, using the loan money to financially get by.
I sold a prized first edition copy of The Gunslinger, but even that wasn’t enough to cover the first month’s deposit and rent on the new apartment I needed to rent with a friend ($800/month each in West Hollywood, can you imagine?!). I knew my brother needed a car; it had proven somehow psychologically impossible to keep up on the registration, so I offered to sell it to him for a grand, thereby settling a past debt.
It was humiliating to feel so out of control. I was spiraling, disconnected, lost.
I called Ove, and he picked up. I told him I would dial him back, and asked him not to pick up because I couldn’t bear to directly ask him for what I needed.
He agreed, and hung up.
I don’t know why I knew so precisely what I wanted, having certainly never felt it before. I asked him to come over; I’d let him in, but I didn’t want him to speak. Then I wanted him to spank me.
He did exactly as I’d asked. I hadn’t cried for about three years by that point, but that day I sobbed. My ass was black and blue, but somehow the pain I hadn’t been able to voice found its way to the surface, and during the ensuing hours I told Ove about what I was feeling, how shamed I was, and found a way to let all that go. The controlled circumstances gave me something I hadn’t had in years; a sense of safety, of abject release. Of submission.
I floated for a while, and it was enough. I still wouldn’t find my way to proper BDSM, but it was a beginning.
Being a so-called baby masochist is still something I’m exploring many years later. There’s so much to unpack, and certainly my stories are one way of doing that, but unteasing things here, too, is another way of connecting the dots. Thanks for coming along on this journey with me. <3
Stay tuned for the next installment of my speculative fiction erotica anthology JUPITER LIBRARY, VOL. 1, which will be dropping for free on Kindle Unlimited on February 28 (Sanctuary's Price is available here!). A new installment of my Star Wars BDSM fanfic Craving Kylo is coming to Archive of Our Own soon, too — follow me here and on Twitter for notifications and to let me know what you think!
Also the one and only Bianca del Rio just liked my tweet, so that just happened. I. CANNOT. EVEN.
xoxo darlings, and happy Saturday night!