I’ve been thinking a lot lately about all of the things that I ask of my body. Life, like I’m sure it is for many of you, is hectic at the moment; it’s the middle of winter, we’re on a deployment cycle, parenting a teenager, I’m in my last 2 months of collage & I’m working on establishing my own private practice. It’s like I’m jumping from busy to busy; with little in the middle to nurture and reward my body for all the things I’m asking it to do right now.
And I’ve started to notice a similar pattern in what I’m asking of my body sexually too. I ask it to settle into the intentional and very directed distress that is kink and beyond a shower and sleep I don’t do very much to nurture and reward it for the immense pleasure it affords me (and my husband).
Is it even acceptable to see your body as being deserving of nurture and reward? It’s seems so like the over used idea of ‘me time” (something I’ll admit I do indulge in) and yet so unlike the common theme of “after care” in kink spaces, it’s indulgent – like me time, but not something that I’ve ever thought about negotiating within my dynamic. On the one hand, I feel like this is something that I need to start doing – after all I’m choosing to engage with the intense sexual behaviours that we use, those which I know distress, through bruises and marks as well as exhaustion and mental “fog” while, almost immediately asking my body to perform normally and without hesitation those things I need to be adulting (as my teenager would say). But on the other I feel that this would add another layer to the erroneous idea that submission cannot coexist seamlessly alongside everything else that makes up the whole of my life. That I’d be somehow buying into the narrative that one must clearly divide their “kink” self from their “normal self.
But I think my apprehension towards this comes from one of the most prolific problems that I have with the way we depict surrender and submission. The idea that we are, inherently and by virtue of some personality architype, altruistic. Selflessly giving of our bodies and our sexual labour; without need of return or recompense. I have many “shame stories” that frame the way I experience myself and my body and I think that this “not enough because I need reward for my surrender” would be in my top three! I feel, somewhat, less than, simply because I cannot and will not abdicate my need to feel as if the surrender I offer him and the ways that I allow my body to be used in our erotic space are worth more than a pat on the head and a “good girl” and more than the just knowing that he is satisfied.
I wonder what it would be like to raise this at the submissive munch I often attend. I’m picturing the faces of those regulars; the ones who are seen as the knowledge base of submission, and I’m wondering how they would react to the idea of nurturing and rewarding their bodies for what they ask of it. And I’m not seeing anything I like! And that doesn’t surprise me.
I exist within a community that, seem to me, to have little time for anything that doesn’t foster strength in submission. It feels like anything or anyone who meanders into thoughts that force them to question the choices and needs will soon be brought back into line. That the status quo and the kumbaya singing must be preserved; at the expense of the individual; be it something self-centred as this or something with wider ramifications like speaking of the sexual violence you have experienced. The slightest hint of weakness and you are cast aside, with your ability to “play with the big kids” debated and judgment soon rendered. See, to be, confidently and consciously within the submissive space may be seen and sold as an empowered step by some, but the truth seems to be it is something quite different.
Are our bodies deserving of reward and nurture; considering what it is that we are asking of it?
Can we still claim entitlement to play with the big kids if we recognise that our bodies might need more than the satisfaction of knowing that he got what he wanted?
And are we allowed to admit that we might not all be the submissive superhero’ capable of all sorts of kink indulgences without corrupting the submission is strength message?