“Can we try a mummification scene?” I ask Samantha.
I’ve wanted to try being mummified but never have and somehow we, two people who have never been intimate, verbally stumble into this agreement while I’m waiting to ride the Sybian. I’m holding a long piece of cling wrap while we wait — my standards for sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention are that all shared sex toys have to be boiled or wrapped in a barrier. Holding cling wrap leads to me stretching it out across my naked stomach. Across my naked breasts. I’ve brought Samantha to Sapphic Aquatica, the women and trans-only event at the sex club, Oasis Aqualounge.
The first time I saw someone mummified, they were wrapped head-to-toe in cling wrap so tightly that they couldn’t move, breathing out of a straw, their dominant pinching and slapping their still body. Until that moment it had never occurred to me that I could engage with sexuality in that way. I was exposed to a new way of engaging with my body. My cunt decided I wanted it.
The first time I made out with a girl, it took us about three hours of sitting on railings with our pinkies touching and neither of us moving our pinkies away to admit that I wanted to kiss her and she wanted me to.
That’s how it goes with me and Samantha. We check in at the desk. I show her around: the hot tub, the room with the Sybian on a stage, the dungeon. The locker room. I get naked. She’s looking hot as fuck and we’ve just arrived at a queer sex party together and neither of us are mentioning that our pinkies are touching.
On our way to Oasis, Samantha and I chat casually about what she’s done with boys she’s dated in a BDSM context. She reminds me she’s a dom. She knows I’m a sub — but when she says she’s a dom, what I decide to hear is that she’s into an aesthetic. Dominance as costume. Not a dom in the sense that when I call a woman my “dominant,” it means that her sheer presence moves me to drop to my knees. Because of Samantha’s age, I doubt sex with her has anything to teach me.
But in Samantha’s too-young-for-me eyes, I do see an energy that I haven’t seen before, when we talk about her mummifying me. So we ask the bar staff for more cling wrap, because wrapping my body in plastic will require more than what we have for the Sybian. We take the cling wrap to the dungeon. She starts wrapping my body in it.
Samantha and I met six months earlier in Vancouver in a theatre workshop. She’s got blonde hair and blue eyes with a gradient of pinched pink skin all over and lips you just want to watch move. When I sit down beside her, it’s also a decision my cunt makes for me.
I’m always embarrassed when I’m drawn to someone as commercially desirable as her; she’s an actor, gorgeous in a cover of Cosmo kind of way, young but legal and eloquent but young — an ingénue. As in, “I’m always cast as the beautiful ingénue,” which highlights that she’s hard done by but also really, really hot.
She’s 23 and I’m 29 and I remember being her not too long ago, eager to show everyone who I was and ready to wring myself out like a dirty dishrag any time anyone asked me what I thought of something. I pick up on some of that energy in Samantha and it’s as endearing as it is distancing. I feel wiser than her. I also envy her ability to live so sincerely. Her age and beauty make me write her off as a potential lover. I’m as jaded as I am intimidated.
But a few months later I’m back in Vancouver, performing a play about my first consensual BDSM encounter. Samantha comes to see the show. She tells me she’s coming to Toronto and asks if I know of any public BDSM parties in the city, because she’s never been to anything like that before.
Sexual mentorship holds cultural significance for queers in a way that doesn’t exist in the straight world. Messaging on how to be straight and the societal ease that being straight carries is crushing and constant. Even when the messaging isn’t that being queer is immoral and unnatural, it still suggests that being straight is easier and therefore desirable. Which is why sexual mentorship is an essential part of queer culture — it’s a rare instance where a voice of authority teaches us that being queer gives us an advantage.
When we meet someone in a position of seniority, in terms of age or experience, who wants to show us how to have queer sex, we’re indebted in a way a young man fucking an older woman isn’t, because the sex isn’t the whole point. The sex is an organic and secondary aspect of teaching a person that it’s exciting to step outside of the predominant paradigms of what pleasure looks like. And that once you step outside of what you are taught sex can be, you realize that who you are is only limited by what you can imagine.
Queer sexual mentorship teaches us that at its core, being queer is not about being disenfranchised. It’s about creative self-authorship.
The same has been true for me in a subset of the subset: sexual mentorship in queer kink.
When I was fresh to BDSM, it was the middle-aged leather dykes I met at the first sex parties I went to who taught me what “red” and “yellow” meant in a dungeon and laughed at how little I knew and told me I needed to join Fetlife. I would walk past them wearing bondage-inspired lingerie, and they’d strike up a conversation based on telling me how nice my gear was, which was great, because I had no idea what I was doing.
Older leather dykes were the people that taught me, and are still teaching me, that it’s not that I can’t come hard. I just need the right sensory input to come hard. Sometimes that sensory input looks like being immobilized.
So when Samantha asks me for queer Toronto BDSM tips, I figure it’s my turn to be the sexual tour guide, not in that I assume we’ll play — like I said I’ve written her off because I think she’s a bit full of herself and also too gorgeous for me to have a shot with — but I do think I’ll be the one to tell her that “red” is a universal safe word at a public play event. I’ll describe the nuances of thud pain versus sting pain. And maybe I’ll introduce her to someone in the kink community I can vouch for as a good person to play with. I’ll show her how things at a sex party work.
Layer by layer we’re placing my body in a cocoon. It’s tight. Inside it, my body gets hot. One layer is easy to rip off quickly. Five layers aren’t so flimsy. My experienced sub brain kicks in and I tell her we need scissors on hand in case my hands or feet start to go numb. It might not sound dangerous, rough, or like the kink you see on TV, but mummification can be dangerous. We’re playing with dollar store items that can cut off your circulation. Samantha gets scissors. And then we play.
All the parts of her that are self-aggrandizing drain out of her and she is focused. Focused on my body. She’s quiet. It’s as if you can look at her face and know she is only thinking about my body and what she is going to do to it. She’s wrapping my breasts the way she wants to, plastic pulling around and into me and reconstructing me in fragments. Samantha’s legs wrap around mine, using all the leverage she can to pull the wrap tighter. I look down at my body and see it’s like a grotesque sausage half-stuffed into its case. She wants me that ugly. And it’s liberating.
Once she’s done wrapping me, the quiet focus that was tangible in her eyes and lips and fingers doesn’t change. She asks me what she can do now. I suggest that she slap me. She does. She slaps my body while I can’t move and my body’s sweating against see-through plastic restraint while a dungeon full of women and trans people watch. I offer that she can scratch me, nails against plastic — because of the plastic she can really dig into me without badly breaking skin. She asks if she can bite me. I say yes.
The first part of my body she bites is my breasts. She’s devouring me, but because of the plastic she can’t get at me. I love that tension. It makes me feel wanted and untouchable, desirable and indestructible, all at once. For me so much of being a sub is discovering new ways to feel strong.
The details are endless. They always are. Each glance, pull, thwack in a scene like the one Samantha and I are playing out is a lesson that we can all be more than our ages, talents and insecurities. We are what we decide to be. Creative self-authorship.
The dungeon disappears and there is no reality beyond benevolent agony. Samantha keeps attacking me ’till my cunt is swollen, red hot and soaking wet and my eyes are teary and creative self-authorship stops being an intellectual concept and becomes a truth crackling in my nerve endings. Her teeth write in my body that I am not my age, my saucer-wide eyes pronounce that she is not her beauty. We are wilder creatures underneath all the labels and expectations, fighting with housewares, lust and frenzy for a chance to be seen.
I scream. I fucking scream.
And I breathe.
A good dom knows coming out of a scene is just as sexy as going in. She tears me out of plastic, slowly, with scissors, and then fingers, and then teeth. I see all the parts of her that I didn’t see when I sat next to her in a workshop in Vancouver. Her age, beauty, and acting career yes, make her a stereotype of a stereotype at moments. But when I first met her, I didn’t realize that she’s more than what straight male casting directors cast her for.
As she turns hard bondage into delicate wisps of plastic at my feet, I watch her electric eyes and know that what’s beautiful about her, in this moment, has nothing to do with her youth and everything to do with her power.
I take her back to her Airbnb, the opposite direction of my bed. I’m not going to spend the night at her place, but I escort her there because we’re back in the normal world now, and she’s a young woman in a short skirt at 3am who doesn’t know Toronto. I want to keep her safe and I want to do something to show her how much I appreciate her subversion.
I thought I would play teacher and I was wrong. I thought I would show Samantha a new world but instead this young kink newbie dommed the fuck out of me.
Katie Sly is a performer, playwright, visual artist, community organizer and the producer of Too Queer: A Bi Visibility Cabaret. They are the 2016 recipient of the Buddies Queer Emerging Artist Award.