The cruel and the meek: how we read sexual images

wigheadThe drawing in yesterday’s post, showing a domme and her shaven-headed, corseted submissive, is one of the first bdsm images I ever saw. It’s an illustration in the book, The Cruel and the Meek, which was the most forbidden and wonderful thing I’d ever seen, in my small country town.

I couldn’t face the clerk with it, and he  wouldn’t have sold it to me anyway. I was too young for a book like that.

He didn’t know there were confirmed and determined 11-year old perverts stalking his streets and haunting his bookshop. One junior pervert, anyway. So I stole the book, and bought lots of other books off him later to salve my conscience.  

I knew in my own mind what I wanted sexually, and I’d built fantasies that included my imaginative image of what a kneeling submissive girl, for example, would look like. But this was the first time that I’d seen visual representations of fantasies that were like mine, but were made by someone else.

Spock-Saavik pon farr: apparently, they're having sex. Ah, the magic of touch.

Spock-Saavik pon farr: the finger touch symbolises their mental link. Apparently, they’re having sex. Saavik later retired from Starfleet to write a manual sex sex manual. 

That made them important. An image that someone else creates seems to have far more sexual power than an image that you create in your own mind, even though the image you create is more likely to reflect the specifics of your own tastes.

I suppose we’re hard-wired to respond more to someone else’s sexual touch – which can include mental touch with words or images – than our own.

Otherwise we’d all prefer masturbation to sex, and we’d become an endangered species. Fortunately, most of us would rather be touched by someone else.   

So I paid a lot of attention to that first touch from a like-minded, or at least like-kinked, mind. The thing that struck me, I think, was the presence of two contrasting messages.

Some of the details were “hard”, like the submissive girl’s tight corset and her shaven head. I thought that would make it hard for her to leave the house; she’d have to wait every day until her Mistress came home. It never occurred to me that she could just put a wig on. I’d never seen a wig except for obviously fake joke ones. The way her Mistress rests her feet, in fetishistically high-heeled shoes, on her naked head was also “hard”.

But the image as a whole is “soft”. The Mistress relaxes in her chair, and the submissive rests below her, providing her footrest. It’s a scene of sexual tension, but also of peace; it’s a domestic image of a couple quietly together. They seem to be lovers as well as Mistress and submissive. Perhaps, after the Domme has whipped her submissive, and the submissive has pleasured her Mistress, and perhaps been allowed to come herself, they might walk in the park in the evening, hand in hand. 

So the image helped to shape what I wanted and expected from bdsm. But then, I shaped what the image meant, at least what it meant to me, so that’s only natural.  

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