Not That Kind of Masochist
“Well, my partner and I have an agreement,” Nic said. “I can play with other people, but I can't have sex with them.”
Nic said he was queer, and I wanted to believe him. Who was I to invalidate his identity, to condemn him to heterosexuality, just because he only had sex with women, and the occasional AFAB genderqueer? Living somewhere between faggot and dyke, I felt I had no room to be skeptical. I'd like to say it was in recognition of my own hypocrisy that, after we messaged on Fetlife, I decided to meet him in person, but honestly, I just wanted to get fucked.
We got coffee at a North Oakland cafe, a bourgie nook where the succulents always outnumbered the customers by five to one. Meeting men like this (acquainted through an app or a website; in public; with the intent of having kinky sex) was an uncomfortable necessity for me at 25. I had never found it easy to track down dominants – real, honest-to-goddess, no-switching-whatsoever dominants – of any gender. Experience had taught me that while those of the male variety were more risky than the alternatives, they were also far more common. Desire makes all of us practical, or so I rationalized.
Don’t get me wrong: there are few entities more despicable than male kinksters who see in dominance, as an orientation, a convenient smokescreen for their own urge to violate consent (the plague of the Tumblr daddy dom is well-documented). But having spent a few years playing as a switch in the Bay Area by the time Nic and I met, I was well-aware of the dearth of non-male dominants. I was also beginning to think that maybe, when it came to male doms, their appeal was by virtue of their inherent danger.
By that logic, engaging with them for the purposes of kinky sex was not entirely dissimilar from interacting with any man at all. If you could tolerate his benign condescension, his obsession with Ron Paul, and his telling fear of dominant women (not to mention the omnipresent risk of unwanted violence), you just might be rewarded with the authentic display of authority that you craved. Because what was a true dominant man if not a dude who had completely bought into the myth of his own superiority?
It didn’t hurt that Nic was hot. Tall and thin, he was a chain smoker with lean, ropy muscles and bright blue eyes. Now in his early thirties, he had recently retired from his Black Bloc days of burning cop cars to more lucrative work as a creative professional. The grittiness of his presentation and politics complemented his obsession with physical debasement and ugliness, but it also seemed to clash with his demonstrated desires: from what I could observe, the kind of women he interacted with on Fetlife were exclusively white, young, thin, and cis, or so it appeared to me. I knew what I was supposed to think of this contradiction, but the thought of kissing his mouth, of running my tongue over its pack-a-day decay, gave me an intoxicating charge of disgust and guilt.
It was disturbingly easy to put my reservations behind me. Over espresso and Nic’s Marlboro Reds, we discussed George Bataille and Elaine Scarry, de Beauvoir's essay on de Sade, and the satisfaction of depravity. I folded myself into our cliché, relaxing into it like a bed with downy blankets and iron chains soldered to its headboard. I almost forgot to feel guilty for wanting him to fuck me.