Sorting the library

library 1Today I’m a hot librarian. I’m getting my books out of boxes, and sorting them by Dewey, more or less, and alphabetical for the fiction. I’m a snob, so “literary fiction” is shelved separate from genre science fiction, crime, etc. It’s so wrong, but it feels so right.

Then I’m going to buy a leather armchair. I’m sure I’ll find some uses for it.  

But I won’t be writing much today. 

The rite of the first night 4

So Lilah rode the desk, her hips dancing with the ruler. Her ass red as cherries, and now impressively mobile. Jaime concentrated the strokes on the softer skin of her underbum. He’d given up trying to break the ruler, but he was impressed with the colour and heat it raised. He was feeling heat and need for her, and he was feeling cruel.

He concentrated his attention, and the stingy heat of the ruler, on a line just a couple of inches above the crease of her thighs, keeping the blows hard on that line until she squealed. Lilah was wide-eyed now, and slightly teary. She puffed deeply, in time with the strokes. She’d become quite vocal. Jaime didn’t know why, but she preferred to take discipline in silence. He liked that she’d lost that last sliver of control.

He smacked her hard, so she’d think he was about to give a series of slow, deliberate strokes. She waited, expecting more pain while he unzipped and fumbled a condom on. He put his hand in her hair and pushed her nose and forehead to the desktop and slid into her.

deskfuckLilah said, “ah fuck oh fuck” as he filled her It was the first word she’d said in ages. It was true.

He tightened his grip in her hair and fucked her hard, without build-up or tenderness. Lilah yammered, howling like a siamang, and Jaime joined in at lower pitch. The desk rocked under them and moved forward until Lilah’s fingers were caught between the desk she still desperately gripped and the wall.

Later Jaime paused and put his hands over hers, to protect her and to possess her. He had no idea how often Lilah had come. Eventually he let himself come. He rested, with the heated softness of Lilah trapped between his body and the cold hard desk. He softened inside her, and – reluctantly – had to withdraw before the condom could slide loose.

Jaime put the ruler in Lilah’s mouth, and told her she was staying with him that night. “Yeah,” she said. “I might.”

But she always challenged him a little after she’d been beaten and fucked. In Jaime’s experience she challenged and then did as she was told.

Jaime noticed, in the office toilets where he went to flush the condom away, that he’d have to sponge the front of his pants. Lilah had been foamily pleased, and he hadn’t taken his suit off. He made a start with some tissues, then did up his fly. She was still dressing when he returned. He put the files back on the desk, and sprayed the office with air freshener to cover the smell of sex. 

Lilah had her belt back on. Jaime slapped her bottom again, to remind her of various important things. “Home,” he said. 

The rite of the first night 3

Lilah nodded. It was about time. They hadn’t seen each other for more than a month. He told her bend over his desk. The words were clichés, and yet they still had power. They worked for him and it seemed they worked for Lilah.

bent overLilah sucked her stomach in and turned to face the desk. She did like mild humiliation, in its time and place, but he had never known her not to be vain. She leaned forward until she could hold onto the further edge and lowered herself onto the wooden desktop.

Jaime liked the idea of how cold and hard the desk would be, under her body. He always thought of her as warm.

Lilah knocked a couple of files with her hip, and they slid onto the floor. It probably hadn’t been deliberate, but Jaime used the mess as a reason to pick up his new ruler. If it hadn’t been the files it would have been something else.

He brought the ruler down on her bottom and upper thighs as hard as he could. He watched the first stripe form. She had moved her feet a little, to steady herself, but otherwise she seemed comfortable. It was a pleasing pain, and she’;d waited a month for it. So he smacked her again, just as hard. He’d bought that ruler in an art shop that afternoon specifically because it was the cheapest and flimsiest ruler he’d ever seen. He thought she’d be impressed with herself, if he broke an implement of discipline on her.

But the damn thing wouldn’t break. He kept going. He did his best. 

The rite of the first night 2

So Lilah stood, feet some distance apart, with Jaime’s hand gripping her cunt. Not comfortably, but pleasurably. Jaime relaxed the thumb and foregfinger grip on her lips and pleasured her with the two fingers inside her, wetly, hungrily held. And sometimes he focussed on hurting her. 

grip cunt 2Lilah tried to keep still, her hands at her sides, but being still was impossible. He hadn’t told her to be. Jaime guessed it was a form of defiance she put up,  precisely because she knew she’d fail.

He squeezed hard, making Lilah rise onto tiptoes, and when he relaxed the grip a little she thrust down and forward, trying to take his fingers deeper into her, to ride him and the pain together.

He smiled at her. “What are you, Lilah?”

“Puppet… Cunt puppet, I’m your cunt puppet.” It was something he’d called her when they’d first explored this. She’d found it memorable.  

My cunt puppet. That’s right. Good girl. Well, almost good. Considering you’re a lazy girl. A slovenly, disorganised girl who needs to be whipped.” He thought. “Regularly whipped, just to get through the month.” That sounded weak, to him, but it didn’t matter. Lilah had blushed, and so he could continue. 

Lilah had told him, long ago, that when she was in a mood for being mildly humiliated she liked to be lectured. He chose faults that were real enough to be credible and important enough for her to care about, without doing any real harm. Although she was actually driven and focussed, she always thought she should be working harder, so laziness was a good topic. He could humble her in the moment, but she’d recover quickly. 

Lilah was very far from stupid, too, but he never called her stupid because her mother had and she was still sensitive about that. He aimed his blows at the well-padded parts of her body, and her psyche.

So he made her respond to his hand, sometimes stroking, sometimes hurting, so she moved involuntarily and remembered that she was a cunt puppet, and she listened to the shameful truth about her slothful self.

shameHer face was flushed –  she’d closed her eyes, now – as he chided her for her intolerable, disgusting laziness. Eventually he ran out of words – extemporising these lectures and avoiding the possible traps was exhausting – so he said, “worthless, idle, workshy girl!”, because that sounded like a conclusion. Then he said it again, louder.

Lilah made a very small moan, and hung her head. 

He took his hand from her cunt, making her gasp in protest and loss, and silenced her by pushing his fingers into her mouth for her to clean. Lilah showed him how well she could perform her cleaning, which made his cock uncomfortably constricted in his suit pants. Well, he’d chosen to be the clothed man with a naked woman. 

He took a breath. “And so, lazy Lilah?”

“You’re going to have to punish me?” Her voice was higher than usual. Punishment would be hot; it would also be absolution, for things Jaime knew he would never be told. 

Have to? “I’m going to punish you.” 

The rite of the first night 1

Jaime sneaked back to the probation service offices after ten. It was still his first day as a probation officer. He’d spent a lot of the morning signing oaths of confidentiality, codes of ethics and some other things, and when he’d signed up he was given some business cards, a badge with his name on it, not the kind that conveyed authority, and his set of office keys. 

Now it was after ten on that Monday night, and he’d returned with his friend Lilah. He’d been pretty sure all of his new colleagues would have gone home, and it seemed he was right. Apart from the security light in the courtyard and one in reception, inside, the place was in darkness.

While, just a few miles away, a girl called Ana turned under her blanket to face the wall of her cell, he opened up the probation service offices, without turning any lights on, and led Lilah into his office.

Lilah looked about her, because it was a new space, but it was just an office. He smacked the rear of her jeans, and told her to undress. He was interested in the difference in status between a clothed man and a naked woman. So was Lilah. She liked mild humiliation.

blindShe took off her jumper, unveiling a white bra and the pale skin of her belly striped by moonlight through the blinds. Jaime hadn’t risked turning the office light on. 

Jaime touched her right breast, cupped it, and then tugged the bra down so it gathered below her bared breasts. He smacked her right breast, then the left. “Now get that bra off, little cunt.”

Mild humiliation has to be judged finely. For example Lilah was happy to be told she was a cunt, so long as it was personal: he had to mean her cunt, and that she was her cunt at that moment, with it understood that he liked her cunt, and that her cunt and she belonged to him.

Though that belonging, that ownership, was only temporary; they were friends who fucked, not lovers.

And Lilah would be furious if he used the word to mean a bad or useless person, the way a policeman had said it to Ana, now was still lying sleepless in her cell. And if he ever called Lilah a bitch, sex with Lilah would stop happening as if a tap had turned off.

The difference between good and bad humiliation could be quite subtle: she liked Jaime to call her his slut, but she’d be an angry woman if he called her a slut.

tit slapLilah moved her hand up to rub her left breast, where he’d smacked her. He slapped her hand away, and smacked each breast again, and then again, so that they shook and then settled, no longer quite as pale. Lilah breathed through her opened mouth.  The thing, the thing that happened between them, was awake, was moving, was happening.

She watched Jaime with awe. Jaime never felt he deserved that awe, but he never questioned it. He said, “Lilah, the fuck are your jeans still on?” 

Lilah said, “oh,” as though she’d forgotten. “I’m sorry.” She took off her sneakers, using her right foot to slip off the left sneaker and sock, and then peeling off the left sneaker with her left foot. She undid the button of her jeans and unzipped, then quickly skimmed her jeans and knickers down to her ankles.

She liked to make a show out of undressing for a man, but she’d learned that Jaime didn’t want a show when he was in this mood. He wanted her naked, and he’d punish her for any delay. She stepped out of the bunched cotton and denim. She was a naked woman. She was a naked woman who would get Jaime’s belt across her ass, if she delayed, if she disobeyed, if she didn’t speak in complete sentences. So many risks to her ass.

She opened her legs without being told, so Jaime could push two fingers into her cunt, squeezing her lips between his thumb and forefinger. Lilah’s breathing became louder. Her eyes were still open, but she was no longer looking at anything. In particular. Jaime tightened his grip, until she gasped. He smiled at her and nodded, as if he was pleased with her pain. As though it was an achievement.  

How to study doms: Lift out their brains and slice them up

Another in the Great Moments in Science series.

Research carried out in the 1980s attributed “sadism” to brain damage. The basis was a research project whose study group was dead men who, when they were alive, had committed murders involving dismemberment. The funny thing was that the murders didn’t necessarily have any sexual motive at all, so it was a very strange leap of … logic? or something else, perhaps bigotry … to link it to bdsm.  

Ah, the Abnormal brain. Let's use that one!

Ah, the Abnormal brain. Let’s use that one!

Anyway, the study involved slicing up the brains of dead men who’d committed genuinely horrific crimes, and reporting on structural and other abnormalities. They found that murderous insanity often was linked with brain damage, and they published their results as “Sexual sadism: Brain, blood and behaviour.” (In 1988.)

The observation that murderous insanity may be related to brain damage is not startling; generalising this finding to what they called “sadists” is, on the other hand, not only not science, it’s completely off-the-scale bonkers. 

It’s like studying heterosexuality by taking CAT scans of serial rapists. And they wouldn’t do that: why, that would obviously be silly.

In the teeth of perversion

It’s time to share a Great Moment in Science.

One explanation for bdsm desire was supplied by Dr Karl Abraham, one of Freud’s disciples. It’s a snappy little theory, and we’ll get to it in a second. 

These days, if somebody says, “Freud said…” or “According to psychoanalytic theory”, I hear the equivalent of “My astrologer tells me…” I try to be polite and not roll my eyes, and I wait till it’s over before returning the conversation to something sensible.

But Freud was taken terribly seriously for much of the twentieth century, which is probably the most interesting thing about psychoanalysis: it gave us the business model and many of the doctrines for scientology and similar movements/cults.

By carring the typed correspondence in her teeth, the masochistic subject achieves complete dental sexual satisfaction.

“By carrying the typed correspondence in her teeth, the masochistic subject achieves complete dental sexual satisfaction.”

Anyway, Abraham’s idea was that what he called “sadomasochism” was caused by teething. You see, babies focus on their mouths during teething, and because eating is both enjoyable and destructive they associate the oral aggression of biting their rusks with sexual pleasure.

Abraham knew that babies take sexual pleasure from eating because Freud had ruled that eighteen-month-old babies locate their sexual feelings in their mouths, and if Freud said it, then it must be true. (This is what being a disciple means.) 

It followed that babies whose teething was unusually difficult or unusually enjoyable become “sadomasochists” in later life.

And that, my kinky brothers and sisters, is where we come from. And people who had braces on their teeth are all into bondage.

Abraham’s sadomasochistic teeth should, by rights, be resting in the lumber room of science along with phrenological heads and homeopathy kits, but as recently as 1992 a pair of psychoanalytic dentists – yes, I know; they were psychoanalytic dentists – claimed to have carried out anatomical analysis of the jaw muscles and teeth that supported Abraham’s sadomasochistic teeth theory. 

Anyway, Karl Abraham’s kinky teeth march on. The show’s never really over. 



Captain Jack Harkness: Who sees a screwdriver and thinks, ooh, this could be a little more … sonic?

The Ninth Doctor: Well, who sees dentists, and thinks, they really need to be  a bit … psychoanalytic?


Explaining bdsm, in 1629

Johann "It's a wig" Meibom

Johann “It’s a wig” Meibom

Nearly four hundred years ago, a German doctor, Johann Meibom, noticed that some of his patients were reporting something that struck him as odd: they got sexually excited by being whipped across the buttocks and upper thighs.

Whipping happened a lot back then, but very little of it was intended to turn people on. Meibom did some thinking about why people could take sexual pleasure from pain. Eventiually, in  1629, he published a treatise about it: On the Sexual Uses of Whipping (Flagrorum Usu in Re Veneria). 

Meibom’s explanation was that whipping brings blood rushing to the assaulted area, and if the whipping is close to the genitals the increased blood supply will make it easier to achieve arousal.

“Blows on the buttocks and loins (that is, the groin, hips and lower abdomen), the area of the body most involved in producing sexual fluids and carrying them to the genitals,” he wrote, “warm and inflame those parts and contribute strongly to the arousal of sexual desire.”* 

"The irritation of Lechery", as they used to say, around 1629.

“The irritation of Lechery”, as they used to say, around 1629.

Meibom’s was one of the first attempts to explain the causes of bdsm sexuality and, by suggesting that a sexual response might have a sexual cause, he made a promisingly sensible start.

The question of what causes bdsm desire, where it comes from, is one of the first questions asked by people who discover bdsm desires in themselves or in someone they love. (Yes, it should be a joyous discovery, but it isn’t always that way at first.)

When people raise questions of cause and origin – of aetiology – it’s only partly out of curiosity. They also want to know how the aetiology of bdsm affects the answers to some other questions.

Those questions include whether bdsm is part of the natural range of ways of being human and sexual, or whether it’s a sign that the person drawn to bdsm is pathological or damaged; and whether or not a person can simply decide to have, to to get rid of, bdsm desires.

If they turn to more recent medical or psychiatric theorists for answers, they may find that medicine and psychology have taken some giant backward steps since 1629.

Take Karl Abraham, for example, the twentieth century psychoanalyst who argued that “sadomasochism” was caused by … teeth.

Nah, let’s bring him on tomorrow. 


* I was going to use the contemporary translation by Edmund Curll, because he’s a hero of mine (all underground publishers are), and because he used the phrase, “the irritation of Lechery“, which I love. But for clarity’s sake I’ve provided a modern translation.

Why isn’t everybody into bdsm (a lot)?

elephant swimI’m going to be writing, off and on, about what we know about why some people like bdsm, and respond sexually to bdsm-like situations, while others don’t.

 I’ve been putting this off for a while because it’s a huge task, and I’m revising the Probation Officer novel into (I hope) publishable form at the same time.

But I promised I’d write something about why corporal punishment of children is a bad idea, and that topic fits into the bigger topic: where does bdsm come from, anyway?  

Since the nineteenth century, most people trying to come up with explanations have come at this issue the wrong way. Bdsm is thought of as pathological, “sick” and evil, and yet there are people who are drawn to it and enjoy it, so psychologists and theorists asked “what is it about those people? What went wrong with them?”  

But bdsm is intensely pleasurable. It seems to work by taking some sexual things that everybody shares (surrender, for example, and the desire to make your partner respond to what you do), and making those things even stronger.

So what mystifies me is: why isn’t everybody into bdsm? 

That oceanic metaphor...

That oceanic metaphor…

Another way of looking at this is to agree that pretty much everybody actually is into bdsm to some extent, which is why so much love poetry is about conquest and submission, why some lovers scratch and bite each other, and so on. It’s just that some people only explore the shallowest edge of bdsm, getting their feet wet paddling at the shore, while others dive into the ocean and have a whale of a time.

Some of us like bdsm a lot, and some only a little bit. So … why isn’t everybody enthusiastically into bdsm? 

Watch this space. 

Up on the roof (a confession of cowardice)

It's a very retro look, the skinhead thing. These are 1960s skins, but the guys who crashed the party dressed exactly the same. But they didn't listen to ska anymore; it was white power music for them.

It’s a very retro look, the skinhead thing. These are 1960s skins, but the guys who crashed the party dressed exactly the same. But they didn’t listen to ska anymore; it was white power music.

I was at a party once, that got gatecrashed by skinheads. Shaven heads, Doc Martin steel-capped boots, yellow laces, admiration for Hitler, weird views about Jews and Asians, and so on. Neo-Nazi skinheads, not the fashion trend following kind. 

Quite a lot of the guys at the party got beaten up, and … I couldn’t see anything I could do. I could get beaten up too, but I couldn’t save anyone else. I hadn’t punched anyone at high school or since. I was shit at fighting. So I wasn’t much use to any of the non-skinhead guys present. 

The skins didn’t attack the women. They made themselves unpleasant, but they didn’t do any punching or raping. 

They’d planned it. Someone in the house must have annoyed them, because they’d guarded the doors and windows so there was no way out. 

So, because my girlfriend and I were less drunk or drugged than most people there, we climbed to the end of the fire escape, and then pulled ourselves up onto the roof. It was quite cold up there under the stars, with this house of horror scenario going on underneath us. She was shivering, so I held her tight for body warmth.

roofiesWe finished up fucking. On a sloping corrugated iron roof, with a two and a half story drop below us, and nothing to break your fall except the concrete at ground level. 

We must have made enough skeleton sex noise that the skins realised there were people hiding on the roof, because one of them poked his head over, but before I’d even moved he fell while he was trying to pull himself up.

He must have hit the concrete walkway at some speed, but I never heard the impact, or what happened to him. Drunks are often lucky. I don’t like skins, but I hope he was lucky. 

Eventually, it was the women at the party who saved the guys. They realised that the skinheads weren’t just ideologically weird about women: they were afraid of them. So some of the bigger women simply beat up a couple of the leaders.

The skins leaders didn’t know what to do. Getting punched by big punkette and goth women hurt, and it was humiliating; it didn’t fit the things they believed. Then the guys from the party started punching back, and someone grabbed a poker from the fire and was angry with it. This time the skinheads lost. 

Me and girlfriend, we were on the roof. Unscathed. Useless.