I have agreed to participate in the blog tour of the highly anticipated publication of Best Sex Writing of the Year, Volume 1: On Consent, BDSM, Porn, Race, Sex Work and More. This book has been edited by Jon Pressick and published by Cleis Press. In this book, no topic is too small or too taboo for writer, radio personality, and sexual pundit Jon Pressick, who has compiled a compelling collection of nonfiction writings on sex. This anthology opens the doors wide to reveal the secretive and hidden side of sex. From heart-wrenching tales of sexual exploit to musings on sex toys and race relations, this book covers the sexual gamut.
Below you find an excerpt from one of the stories in the book, “No Restrictions” by Dee Dee Behind:
My very first session with a client with severe disabilities was while I was working as a professional dominatrix on the third floor of a dungeon in an elevator-less building. In addition to the logistical nightmare of getting a man in a motorized wheelchair onto four hours of public transportation and then up three flights of stairs, how, exactly, was I to tie up someone who was already completely physically immobile?
Paul, a man in his fifties with a degenerative condition that affected his nervous system, wrote a letter, a snail-mail letter, to the listed PO box of the dungeon, explaining his deep and unrelenting desire to be whipped. This, he said, had captured his imagination ever since our dungeon was featured on a silly public access television show that highlights the “wild and offbeat” places of my hometown of Chicago.
Paul explained in his nearly illegible and deliberate hand writing his concern that his parents, still his primary caregivers despite his own age and independence, might think he was being abused by his attendants should they find marks or bruises on his body. He was deeply ashamed to admit that this had happened in the past after he managed to pinch his own genitals for sexual pleasure until he left deep purple bruises. The suspected attendant had been fired and was barely spared criminal charges, and Paul would never live down the regret he felt for the trouble he caused her.
But to come clean and discuss desire, particularly his pleasure in pain, was not an option for him. It was one thing to have erections during sponge baths, but a penchant for masochism would have been too much for those who cared for him. Paul was surrounded by people whom he depended on, not just for a lifeline to all things physically beyond the reach of his crippled body, but also for their emotional ties to him created by his own helplessness. His helplessness was his survival.
As a sex worker, I can imagine that if the source of those bruises were traced back to me, the consequences would be devastating. It freaks me out right now, just thinking about it. I imagine how I might explain consent to reporters at my courthouse interview while standing trial for felony sexual abuse of the helplessly disabled. How could consent exist in such a lopsided power dynamic? To believe that this was a consensual sexual experience would mean to concede to the sexual autonomy of a man who cannot feed or clothe himself. But here were the man’s desires, in black smudgy ink, an eloquent request he preferred to submit to me in writing, because, as the letter continued to explain, his ability to speak is also severely impaired and therefore he is unable to express himself with speech. Great. I imagined myself burning in hell in fishnets.
After Paul arrived in his motorized wheelchair, and a long battle to get him up the stairs in the chair failed, I chained up the chair with my bicycle lock to the steel handles of our downstairs lobby doors, while the house wrestling domme carried him up the three flights of stairs to the dungeon. After strapping him to a wheeling gurney we kept as a medical prop in the “doctor’s office,” I carefully undressed him. I was terrified I was going to hurt him. The irony.
Paul’s body was twisted and unwieldy, his skin a pasty white. His bony apple-shaped rib cage was topped with a huge lopsided head, giving it the illusion of growing out of his shoulder. His face was frozen in an insane smile. I could not tell if he was incredibly happy or horribly contorted. I peeled down his pants to discover, to my nineteen-year-old only-a-year-in-the-biz shock, a raging-hard penis, prominent and quite impressive in size. It stuck straight out of the dark recess of his lap, a lap permanently frozen in a sitting position.
He made little encouraging snorting noises as I admonished him for being a horny little slut—so encouraging in fact, that I raised my hand in a threatening gesture as if I were going to slap his cock in punishment for his digressions. When I did this, Paul went wild. His eyes grew huge and he spasmed with excitement, making these crazy disturbing honking noises that emanated deep from inside his face. The entire session was one long negotiation of me being terrified I was hurting him, and him getting incredibly turned on, and then me becoming a little less terrified, and on and on it went. In the end, he came multiple times with only the stimulation of a riding crop whipping his cock—the mark of a true masochist.
After hauling wheelchairs up and down flights of stairs more than once in the past fifteen years of being a sex worker, I think about the barriers to sexual pleasure people who are disabled face all the time, both the physical and the social. In addition to the isolation people with disabilities face, stemming from their exclusion from physical spaces and communities designed for able-bodied adults only, many social situations prohibit people with disabilities from fully participating in their own sexuality. The world continues to shift and change around disability, but sexuality seems the exemption.
However, despite being shielded most of their lives from the topic of sexuality, no disabled client has ever contacted me with the naïveté about sex that is portrayed in Hollywood versions of disability. Portrayals of sexuality of the disabled as innocent assuage our discomfort around the topic of different bodies and queerness. The reason they “feel good” is because they confront what disturbs us about the desires of the non-desirable. Their sexuality is transformed into something normative and comfortable only if we recast the disabled as children, and the hookers as saints.
I specifically chose for this excerpt, because disabilities in different forms are part of my daily life, and I know in which way it can influence someone’s (sex) life. Disabilities don’t only have an impact on the people who have them, but it also has influence on the people they live with. You only know how and what it is when you are in the situation. I am in NO way complaining, just stating a fact.
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© Rebel’s Notes