Category: Boundaries


Precocious

That’s the word for me. To develop exceptionally early or exhibit mature qualities at an exceptionally early age.

I taught myself to read before kindergarten. I grasped cosmic concepts (the immutability of time, the certainty of death) before age 5. I was a generally strange kid who didn’t socialize well, from what I remember. And sex. Well, sex came entirely too early for me.

It wasn’t even my cousin telling me the plumbing of how it worked. (We were like eight and six, respectively.) It wasn’t even when my mom caught me playing with the Barbie dolls. I think it was when she found out I’d been playing “house” with the neighbor kid, and the not-minor freakout she had over this knowledge. Before third grade, I not only understood how sex worked, I understood that it was important to hide this kind of activity from my parents, lest they have a gigantic meltdown. No talk. Ever.

I’m never going to forget the way she asked me, stooping down to get in my face, in a confrontational manner. “Did you suck his dick?” she asked, browbeating me. “Did he jack off in your mouth?” I felt like a horrible, filthy, sick, perverted, twisted, disgusting person. I was eleven years old, eyeing older men, wondering at what an act of rape would be like, wondering at the experience of sex.

Because I couldn’t trust my parents, everything I ever learned about sex was something I learned from somewhere else. Pornographic magazines, the internet, the radio. I’ve talked before about how Sue Johanson is one of my personal heroes; I’m lucky to have had her while growing up. I’m lucky to have grown up riding public transit, where the government publicized links to places like sexualityandu.ca. I feasted on reliable and correct information, and used all the birth control correctly.

I was armed with a false sense of security, knowing what facts I needed to know to keep my body from being physically damaged. I was completely unaware of what place sex served in a healthy relationship, however, and so when my boyfriend-at-the-time started correcting me every time I said “If we have sex” to say “when we have sex,” I didn’t take it as the pressuring I should have. I didn’t see how he was trying to control my boundaries, by setting them for me verbally. I didn’t feel the profound sense of violation I’d feel now, knowing my boundaries. Boundaries had never been explained to me. I was a slut. Sluts don’t get told about putting up boundaries. I was wrecked anyway. I was sixteen. I was fucking a man nearly four years older than I was. My mother was convinced his relationship was based entirely around his ability to use me for sex. I believed otherwise.

The day she figured it out, or rather, the day she screamed about me fucking him, throwing it in my face, and I gave her an answer that wasn’t “fuck off,” … that’s a day I will never forget. There was tons of histrionic crying and hysterical screaming, shouting, threats, shows of violence, and emotional abuse. For the next six months, my mother froze me out of her life. I fantasized about suicide.

“I just don’t know how I’m going to tell my family that my daughter is a slut,” I remember her whispering, between sniffles and tears. I fantasized how my skull would fly apart from a self-inflicted shot to the head. I imagined dying slowly of a wasting disease, leaving home, becoming pale and cachectic and thin. I wondered what it would be like to die of a drug overdose. I was too scared to jump off a building. Guilt, guilt, guilt. My boyfriend was no help. He lived alone, and complained about my mother constantly. I ground my teeth down to painful stumps. He threatened suicide. At first I was scared, concerned for him, missed him, loved him. Later, the attention-seeking behaviour became exasperating. Then, came the Master.

My Master met my boyfriend and lived with him for a short time. I was pressured often to spend time with him, in compromising situations, often asking me to use my Master or my best friend as a pretext to borrow a vehicle and be afforded additional freedoms. At first I exploited this, and Master was given many opportunities to observe me with this strange man. I was depressed and sullen. Then came a night when I deliberately didn’t invite him along somewhere, because I knew he would try and make me have sex with him, and I had no interest in being effectively date-raped. It was at this time that I realized he didn’t respect my body, or what I wanted, or my boundaries. I began avoiding him in earnest, and the histrionic behaviour erupted in full. I didn’t break up with him, because I was terrified if I did, that he’d kill himself.

My Master, who by then had moved out of my boyfriend’s apartment, felt that this was an opportunity to act. I remember listening, horrified, as he detailed to me the list of things he observed while living with the man who would come to be known by many names besides his own. The behaviour obsessing around sex (and calendar marking to match.) The misogynistic comments. The sense of entitlement. The arrogance. The ignorance. I sobbed on the phone, after my boyfriend had yelled at me for lying to him to keep him from being able to have sex with me. He knew I was avoiding him, but I had no idea how to tell him I was terrified of him, that he made me feel unsafe. The Master stood up for me, tearing a strip off of this man on my behalf. The act was sealed when Master returned with the report of how guiltless, entitled, and arrogant the boyfriend had been when Master insisted he treat me as I deserved to be treated. “Are you going to talk to her, too?” he asked, as if my Master was my parent to mete out punishment on the boyfriend’s behalf. Instead, he told me the truth. Master saved me from a pitiful little man, rescuing me from a situation where I, and my precociousness, were being taken advantage of. I smiled for the first time in years.

The ideas about sex stuck, though. I was shocked when I was discovered to be having sex with Master, and my mother was amused rather than infuriated. I was convinced, down to my bones, she was going to kill me and gouge Master’s eyes out with her fingernails. With no explanation, she laughed instead. I learned nothing.

I still believed, as I had when growing up, that I was broken or tainted or unworthy in some way, because I was a slut. From being made fun of by my little brother for being a closet lesbian, getting caught using porn, slurs based on my more boyish appearance, my strangeness was polarized for some people. I hated myself. I wasn’t a virgin, I wasn’t thin, I wasn’t pretty, I wasn’t stereotypically ‘hot’ (big-titted-narrow-waisted), I wasn’t popular… I didn’t even think I was particularly smart. I’m almost ashamed to say that my relationship with Master was not one of romance — I leapt out of a sick and sorrowed relationship, out of a fountain of emotional abuse, into him. I crawled up his leg, into his bed, and unloaded, piece by piece, my months and months of pent-up need for, and lack of, love.

Fortunately for me, Master was smarter than that. He insisted that that not be the direction things take, and caught me, carefully, and put me down. I tried to take advantage of him, sexually. He held me at arm’s length, until I stopped with the force, and he held me close, until he wanted to do more. He picked me up, bandaged my wounds, and didn’t let anything complicated develop until he felt comfortable with everything. He was gentle and careful, calculated and slow. For months and months, our sexual activity consisted of me crawling into his bed, naked, so we could nap together. I had no idea how to expand things, how to get what I want. I had no idea what I really wanted. We built a sexual relationship out of teenaged fumblings, and it’s taken a great deal of time to get comfortable talking about sex and about what feels good. I still feel guilty for asking for things (such as oral) despite many reassurances to the contrary. I still feel like an asshole when I tell him to stop because it hurts.

My precociousness and my armament of knowledge didn’t lead me into good choices, and I was unable to distinguish between sexual attraction and an actual relationship. I wasn’t protected by being shut out. I was unable to seek advice. What should have been a strength became a weakness. I grew into this idea that I should be this totally willing and submissive little thing, a real slut, with no desires of my own, since I was value-less after having lost my de facto virginity to the man before Master. My precociousness, my early development, should have been an opportunity to teach me how to wield the weapons at my disposal, how to protect myself. I was taught to ignore that part of me, and later, taught that it diminished my worth. “Who wants to marry a person who’s not a virgin?” asked my schoolmates, at Catholic school, and later at college. “Not me!” they’d chime. I’d remain silent, trying to shrink myself smaller.

The first person I had a healthy sexual relationship with was my Master… and it seemed the strangest thing, at the time. He insisted on the above — that I tell him to stop when it hurts, that I not have sex I don’t want to have, that I not do anything I don’t want to do. This seemed foreign to me at the time. I remember being stricken with a dermatitis or vestibulitis of some sort from having reacted to a particular brand of lube, and every act of sex was excruciating. Halfway through, Master noticed my pain, and I was sorely chastised for letting him hurt me like that for his own benefit. I have value? I was bewildered. This man I had known before Master, this man who was three-plus years older than Master, who was so much more experienced … he’d never made me feel as if I could ask for what I wanted, or refuse. He’d never made me feel valuable, sexy, beautiful. I had missed out on the best part of sex entirely.

I thought back to my sexual experiences prior … on the ex’s inflatable couch, being groped, knowing that within a time frame of hours he was going to take me to his room and try to have sex with me. Instead of acknowledging the feelings I had on the subject, how distasteful I found the idea, instead of refusing, I simply talked myself into it, trying to relax, detached, for when the inevitable moment came. I ignored my revulsion at the completion of the act, and tried to ignore him as much as possible while he was performing it. I was emotionally detached.

I think my mother’s idea was that she was protecting me, by making sure I knew nothing. Her idea backfired in the sense that I learned everything there was to know — factually — but nothing about what there was to know — functionally. I could tell you brand names of birth control pills, but nothing about intimacy. The solution my mother came up with was to pretend that intimacy wasn’t possible because of my age, my sluttiness. Or maybe she just forgot to mention it, what with all the talk of what a whore I was and asking me if I did it ‘so I could feel loved.’ I was never asked a single question about sex that didn’t sound like a personal attack before I’d even answered. I was terrified of her, but knew sex was as normal as breathing. I had to figure it out on my own, somehow.

I hear this type of thing is genetic — my grandmother developed early and so did many of my aunts. My child might end up being much like me, in this way, and I think about it all the time. How will I handle it? Will I have to explain to an eight year old or a six year old, one day, what sex is, without lying to her or making her feel as I did, as if she were a filthy valueless little thing? And if I don’t, if I indeed tell her (or him) the truth, how many people are going to come crashing down on me, thinking I’m setting my child up to be assaulted sexually? Truth be told, I had no concept of what sexual assault was until I was over the age of 18. Several of my friends had experienced it without realizing, this non-consensual-but-not-totally-forceful sex, myself included, without seeing that we were being taken advantage of, with no advice on how to protect ourselves from things besides pregnancy and disease.

I had no power to say ‘no’ and no idea of when I should say ‘no’ or why. It’s this that I feel it most necessary to correct. I had a significant decrease in my self-worth with the knowledge that I was a slut, and so have vowed to never make my child feel ashamed about their sexuality. It’s a huge part of me, and of my life, and trying to shut off that part of my personality, or not being allowed to experience it because I’ve been taught it’s ‘wrong,’ is one of the bigger travesties of my teenagedhood. It’s part of why I have felt it so important to write about sex, and my sex life, and my sexuality. I need to come to grips with this somehow, to jackhammer the idea out of my head that this is somehow wrong, or bad. Fortunately, I have Master, T, and my good friends around me. My children will grow up happier than I did. That’s a promise.

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On Boundaries

Being a slut does not mean I have no boundaries. This is by far the easiest mistake to make. Most people hear ‘slut’ and they associate it with its traditional definition, sexual promiscuity. In this context, however, I use slut in its more modern sense, as a choice to have sex with whomever my partner and I decide is appropriate.

You’ll notice that in the original article the emphasis is placed on having sex with anyone one so chooses, regardless of pressures. My deviation from this definition is a thing they never taught us about in sex-ed class — Boundaries.

Boundaries are a set of rules laid out ahead of time, so that everyone remains comfortable. The list of rules is long, and some of them are implied. Every couple has its list of boundaries — whether openly discussed or not.

I am a slut. This means I have a high sexual appetite, and desire stimulation in ways aside from what society calls “normal” sexual outlets. I desire multiple people, of multiple sexes.

By far the biggest hurdle for me to get over in rebuilding my sexuality is the hurdle of other peoples’ expectations. It’s very easy for me to get hung up on ideas about what other people want my sex life to be. Monogamous, vanilla, vaginal, no-batteries-required, unaccessorized, on my back, in a bed, legs spread, like I should be. It’s that should word that I bristle at — that I’ve bristled at all my life. I don’t take kindly to people telling me how I should live my life.

So if they are not free to tell me how to have my private sex life with my private partners, why does multiplication in any degree give ‘them’ any more right to degrade my choices? So it’s two girls, instead of one man, or one man and one girl, or a man aside from my declared. So it’s a man aside from the one who took my virginity — if such a thing can truly be said, being as I’d broken my hymen myself from penetrative play long before I’d seen an erect penis.

By far the biggest misconception is that having sex with multiple partners automatically means that I am having sex without value, without emotional attachment, without the proverbial ‘strings’. That sex with everyone aside from my husband (and perhaps even my husband!) is emotionless, flat, a simple act of masturbation between two people.

Many people (with no research to back them up) will go on record stating things like ‘premarital orgasms ruin your ability to form lasting relationships‘.  The theory is based on the fact that every sexual encounter releases oxytocin, the hormone of attachment, which promotes strong feelings of interconnectedness between two people. Some Christians, particularly one Eric Keroack,  believe that multiple exposures to oxytocin dulls the body’s natural response to it — that eventually the attachment hormone gets worn out and stops making people feel attached to one another.

This theory sounds like it makes a lot of sense — we know this happens with other drugs in the human body. The part where this logic departs from common sense is the part where Mr. Keroack and other people trying to control your sex life tell you that your brain only becomes desensitized to pre-marital oxytocin; that oxytocin produced by the brain after marriage produces no desensitization at all. Mr. Keroack does not offer any evidence-based studies to back up his theory, but uses his credibility as an OB/GYN within the United States to push this piece of propaganda.

As there’s no evidence to back up this claim, and indeed, every claim against cohabitation and premarital sex, I am forced to reject my other teachings from the Christian church regarding sex, on the basis of lack of evidence. This includes: the sanctity of marriage, the entirety of the homosexual issue, the topic of birth control and abortive choices, monogamy, the woman’s place in a relationship, etcetera, and so on and so forth.

This will leave many people to believe I have no belief system in place to cause me to set down boundaries. Why don’t I fuck everyone I pass in the street, then, since I seem so unable to control myself?

For starters, because it would be disrespectful to my husband.

My belief system (or I should say, truly, our belief system, as we have constructed it together) is based on trust, respect, and intimacy. It has our relationship as the pinnacle in a large network of relationships. I describe him as my ‘primary‘ relationship, and primary he is — he is the first person I depend on. We have built our lives together so they intertwine, so that we are really one family unit, and I’m sure, as he is, that our friends think of us in this way.

It also means it’s his primary input I listen to when I want something to change. And nothing changes, without a discussion. There is no going out to prowl around and having late-night sex with an unnamed stranger and coming back to eat dinner at home — because it is outside of our boundaries.

A feminist or two would point out at this time that by allowing him to set my boundaries, they really aren’t ‘my’ boundaries. Talk like that gets us into a deep discussion into the natures of my BDSM relationship, and frankly, I’m not about ready to have that talk yet, so hold that thought, kittens.

Our boundaries do not include lines — of what is off-limits and what is not, for example — but rather, protocols for certain situations. Mostly, if I want somebody who isn’t my husband, I have to ask my husband, and then suitably convince him that this is not a passing crush — that I want to have a proper relationship with this person, and that they are suitably interested in having a proper relationship with me. Then there’s the screening to determine if this person is suitable to be trusted … after all, my husband is trusting them with his favourite toy. One does not loan out one’s favourite toy to just anybody.

So far, only one man has met these criteria. He’s at present asleep naked in my husband’s bed.

In talking about our boundaries we’ve learned so much about our relationship, and about each other. My ability to have penis-in-vagina sex with my secondary is a temporary arrangement — available to me at this time only because my husband is unavailable for six months, and on constant negotiation with my husband. I am pleased with this situation, and see my secondary for what he is — a gift, from my husband, someone sweet and warm to hold me at night and care for me, while he can not.

The unwritten rule is, then, that once he is back to envelop me in bed, the secondary boyfriend becomes less of a boyfriend, and more of just a friend. Being the open and honest people that we are, the secondary knows this — I dare say it makes our time together a little more precious, since we know that it’s limited.

There are other rules of course — mostly that there are several things reserved solely for the husband. As a slut who’s devoted herself to him, I cannot deny him these things. He has the privilege of keeping precious to him the little things he enjoys — unprotected sex, anal, and the ability to make me helpless, among a few things.

I laugh when it’s implied that someone like me must have a lack of value for sex within a relationship. I dated my secondary for eight months before being allowed intercourse with him — and I knew full well the entire time that intercourse might never happen. How many serial monogamists do that? That’s not even the relevant question — the relevant question is how many don’t? What boundaries exist there — are they even socially acceptable?

Ahh, how the lines blur when situations change, but this is the beauty of boundaries; that they are flexible and can be updated to follow the times… which is why I expect that my boundaries will be a topic of discussion on a fairly regular basis. Enough so that I think it gets its own category.

So there.