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Not the Good Kind of Pain

Ida Lake Feb 10, 2005

By Ida Lake

I am holding my new lover’s arms down above her head on the bed. kaitlyn said hotly that she wanted to be tied up. I don’t have rope, so I improvise, leaning my weight on her hands to restrain her as I roll her nipple between my teeth. After a few gasps of delight, she cries “ow,” and I let her hands go. She flinches, jerking her head away. I fold myself into a hug around her body. She is trying to learn how to enjoy sex. I am trying to learn how to have sex with a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. “I flinched because I thought you were going to hit me… not in the fun, erotic way” she explains.

Our embrace attempts to cross a chasm that separates our sexual experiences. Until this relationship, I approached sex and sexuality as scary, but fun and ultimately rewarding. How do I approach sex now that I realize this chasm I am standing at the edge of, which separates those like me who have never experienced sexual abuse and those who have? “I really wonder what sex is like for you,” she says.

kaitlyn is trans. Having sex with kaitlyn often feels like juggling two bodies. There is the body she was born into and the body that she should have. The first time that I had sex with the body that kaitlyn should have was on a day when she was dressed particularly feminine. Corset, knee-high boots, tight skirt. The reverberation of my finger tips caressing her thighs in the nylon hit her in a new, deeply erotic way. We were in bed within minutes and didn’t get our clothes off. This was integral. Her genitals were bound by the stockings. She felt the pleasure of riding on my iliac crest in her real but not actual cunt. I watched the beautiful expressions of her face as she discovered her body with awe and pleasure. “Is that what it’s like? Does it really get better?” After decades of abuse and ugly relationships, she was finding sex to be something other than pain. I was elated to help her find enjoyable sex. We will have confused and painful sex many times more, but this was a glimmer for me of the place kaitlyn is reaching for.

After the sex with all our clothes on, the eroticism of our interactions was turned up. One night, she taught me a little SM. I bent over on the bed and she talked me through a properly administered spanking. I listened closely with my body as her hand struck my ass. It wasn’t pleasurable for me, but I noted closely how it felt and how it was done. We switched. “You will deliver 20 spanks and be graded on a scale of one to nine based on groups of five spanks.” As soon as I started, we both lost count. I though that this would be hard for me to do. In the situation though, I assumed the dominant roll with eagerness. Kaitlyn only graded my spanks when they were nines. She was very turned on and that turned me on even more. We moved to kissing and caressing, but kaitlyn asked that we stop. She was entering the sad, serious space of a survivor. Motionless on the bed, I looked into her closed eyes. She asked me to touch her scars. When kaitlyn was a year old, a 40-cup coffee percolator was dumped on her, scorching her body and mind. I moved my hands across the knotted skin of her back and the smooth scar tissue of her lower right leg. She cried as my touch brought her back to the pain of that experience.

So many emotions passed through me that night that I was a wreck the next day. I had given kaitlyn a lot of things, but didn’t know where I was in the mix. I experienced the ecstasy of administering erotic pain and wanted more. But how do I navigate that landscape when it is connected to traumatic places in kaitlyn’s past? How do I manage the pain of those places? It is part of the healing process. Trauma places the emotional horror of an event and hides it away in the psyche to be dealt with later in a safer space. That is what I am providing. A safer space.