14 Knuckles is a series about a scorpio femme of color fucking their way through power dynamics, boundaries, and caregiving, as an exploration of who she is and how she relates to others.
I’m sitting on their lap. I pull the sharp edges of their blonde hair to angle their head up to me. I don’t feel them hard beneath me, their body isn’t asking me to grind up on them, their body is asking me to do what I want with them, but I don’t know their body yet so it’s time to explore
I run my fingers into their mouth, kiss their jawline, watch them close their eyes. I’m slow, they’re receptive, neither of us know where we’re going. I trace my fingers against their back where their lower ribs end and they giggle. I pull away, do it again, and they say, “It tickles, that spot.”
I laugh, thinking, Okay, so what I know how to do is not the norm here, I can’t pull moves. We make out, kiss and bite and I’m nervous, knowing I’m in control, not knowing what happens next.
I’d been flirting with Z since I met them at a writing workshop. I was immediately drawn to their grace, creativity, and Food 4 Thot tote bag. One night, I asked, “Are you and your husband in an open relationship?”
“We’re monogamish…there’s an understanding that if the right opportunity came along, I should go for it,” they said. (They’d later claim they weren’t flirting, just answering the question, which helped me claim my truth as the kind of forward-ass femme who will never ask about someone’s relationship status unless I’m flirting.)
That night, I ended up in the arms of the person who’d become my ex, but I’d already found Z on Instagram. Soon after the workshop, Z was sending texts and memes and books by mail; within a few months, we became the kind of friends who knew each other’s kinks. When I found myself moving through different kinds of power dynamics in ways I’d never known, Z was one of the only people I wanted to tell. Once we realized our astrological charts were extremely aligned, it became second nature to get their perspective.
The next summer, after my breakup, I posted an IG story that basically said, “Shoot your shot, I’m open.” They messaged me, saying “Is this considered a shot?” with the see-no-evil monkey emoji.
But, it’s different to talk about your kinks with someone than to actually sit on their lap and do something about it. My relationship had fucked with my sense of normal and I was (and still am) intent on centering consent with every interaction. What did Z want?
The beginning of the date was fully in my hands – I’d taken them to dinner and they told me about their crushes, their exes, and the fuck bois who’d done them wrong. They’re cute when they’re chatty and a lot of time, I can’t follow how quick their brain moves from one thing to another. They don’t always make sense, but they do such a good job being the center of attention that I like to watch. I want to give them the kind of unconditional attention that tops had given me, but I’ve never been in this position before.
Back at their apartment, I keep asking questions — how did they meet their husband, what kinds of sex do they like, what are they curious about? And in their answers, I slowly start to realize that they hadn’t had sex with many people. They hadn’t done a lot of the kinky shit we’d talked about, it lived more in their brain than in their body. Even though both of us see ourselves somewhere in the middle of this top/bottom spectrum, we’ve never had our switchiness play out with another switch.
I run out of questions and ask to kiss them.
We make out until it’s no longer reasonable and I ask if they want to go to their bedroom. “Is there anything in particular you want to do tonight?” I ask as I put on an adrienne maree brown sex playlist.
“We’ll see,” they say. This is one of the first times I feel like I’m really running the show and my nervousness, coupled with the way they look at me with adoring, waiting eyes, is threatening to bleed into frustration, but oh it is fun to kiss. We slowly take clothes off. I kiss down their chest to their nipples, play with their ring inside my mouth, and tease with my teeth. They stroke my hair and say, “Yeah, nipples don’t really do much for me.” (They don’t know that nipples, one day, will do so much for them.)
I laugh. It’s all so awkward, it’s all so start-stop, and I don’t quite know what to do. I offer and go down on them for a little while, but it’s been so long since I’ve had a human dick in my mouth that even this feels awkward. We lie side by side and they ask if they can go down on me. I consent with a smile and a nod.
With Z between my legs, I grind myself into their face and feel like I can suffocate them with my orgasm. I lock their head between my thighs and could hurt them if I wanted. My pussy holds the power and will only give them what they want — an orgasm to drown them — only if they treat it right. An image flashes through my mind: my own face down in someone’s crotch, me sucking a dick. I suddenly imagine Z is sucking my dick.
I gasp. “Can I grab the back of your head?” They nod and I pull their skull into me to ride it, to move myself against everything that feels good, to move myself with total disregard and pure pleasure. I bring my other hand down onto them and thrust over and over again until I come.
In a minute, my brain starts to work again and I’m back to feeling awkward, back to wanting them to feel good. It’s hard to know if I’m actually a switch — I tend to top tops and bottom for bottoms — but either act alone often leaves me wanting more. The hard thing is that there haven’t been many people with whom I can be all of myself; so few people I’ve been with are genuinely switchy with me in bed. I most crave a give and take that feels limitless.
The hard thing is that there haven’t been many people with whom I can be all of myself; so few people I’ve been with are genuinely switchy with me in bed. I most crave a give and take that feels limitless.
I rattle off a list: Choked? Slapped? Do you want to be spanked? They ask me to try it but then stop me; they’re not into it. (Less than a year later, spanking will bring them to a place they’ve never been before. But that’s another story!) I try one thing after another and they very honestly tell me every time when they want something to be done another way or when it’s just not doing it for them.
“Can you just fuck me?” I ask. I’m tired of thinking and I want their cock inside me, to blast through the anxious thoughts and expectations and pressure I’m imposing on myself. Luckily, their husband had bought condoms for the occasion, so I rub their cock as they put it on.
When they fuck me, that’s exactly what I need. That’s what feels good right now, not us trying to rush towards something when we’re still getting to know our own bodies in relation to each other. It feels good to push at the wall above my head and feel them deep inside me, to stay slow and move at a pace I’ve never felt with a dick. When I’m beneath them, I love the view I have of their wedding band, this present reminder that I’m having sex with someone who’s married, whose husband is okay with everything happening, and that we can create whatever relationships we want, even if it’s strange and unfamiliar. I get on top and they give me feedback, let me know what they like and what they don’t, I close my eyes and feel how deep and big they can get.
They come only when I grant permission.
When I leave the next day, I’m confused by how I feel. I’d hoped to have that giddy, floating, connected feeling I get when I share sensuality and orgasms with someone, especially when our bodies move in ways that are unexpected and illicit and feral, when I can become engrossed with another person’s body and not have to think at all. The connection didn’t flow in the ways I’m used to and in this unfamiliar space, I’m vaguely disappointed in myself. There was so much on the table, but I feel like most of it didn’t feel good to them. And I’m glad they told me when things didn’t feel good, but I also just wish it had. I wish I’d been able to take charge or intuitively just know what to do with them. Despite our desires for kinky sex, part of me feels like we ended up fucking in missionary.
One of the many things I learn from Z is how to not overprocess with them. They’re married, they have a job, they’re a writer. Over the next few weeks, I work through feeling like I personally failed while they show up, consistently, lovingly, and with care. There’s an implicit confirmation that nothing is wrong. They ask when I’m coming back to see them and it’s clear that I did not fail. It’s my own feelings I have to work through. I realize that it’s not that we didn’t have good sex, it’s just that we both have a lot to learn: neither of us have a friendship quite like this and we’re both concerned with respecting each other’s boundaries and creating safety for each other.
The next time we see each other, I get on their lap quicker. I smear lipstick all over their face and have them suck my fingers until I’m in a trance. We move easier: their fingers against my asshole, my dick inside of them, vibrating every time they grind onto me. We do more of the things we’d talked about, more of the things they’d wanted. We’re not checking things off a list, but actually feeling each other’s bodies and moving towards the want inside. We don’t do everything, though, and it leaves them with a longing for more. They text me after we hook up the second time, saying “I’d still really like to experience what happens when you’re more dominant.” This time, I don’t feel like a failure — I feel like I’ve planted a seed. “You will, babe,” I text back. “Slow burn slut.”
This time, I don’t feel like a failure — I feel like I’ve planted a seed. “You will, babe,” I text back. “Slow burn slut.”
With Z, “slow burn slut” has become code for how intimacy and trust can grow slowly over time. If we’re patient, we can build the foundation for the kind of exploratory sex that allows for new and intense things. Being present with each other, more than an overtly kinky experience, is a way to experience the most pleasure possible.
I believe in abundance and seek to unlearn scarcity of all kinds in my life. “Slow burn slut” also asks that I believe that my time with another human is infinite, that I imagine abundance even when it comes to my potential sexual encounters. Abundance asks that I not rush things simply because I might not see them for another year; instead, it asks that I plant seeds and allow them to grow at their own pace.
Can two switches have sex? I think so, and I think there is something beautifully different about having sex with someone with whom sexual options are truly abundant. It’s been a little less smooth, a little more negotiated and explicit, a little more intentional. In my own journey through whatever it is I am, I’m hoping to learn from other people who inhabit multiple positionalities. Maybe sex with other bisexual switches is a way for my many facets of self to be recognized alongside someone else who has done the work of bringing out all their multiplicities.
““Slow burn slut” has become code for how intimacy and trust can grow slowly over time. If we’re patient, we can build the foundation for the kind of exploratory sex that allows for new and intense things. Being present with each other, more than an overtly kinky experience, is a way to experience the most pleasure possible.”
I love this!!
This was really thought provoking. I liked it a lot!
I am… extremely jealous. As a genderqueer, pansexual writer monogamishly married to a straight cis dude… damn I wish I had this. This is the first time I’ve ever commented on Autostraddle. The pandemic has made me feel hella cut off from queer community. So… thank you Mary Ann for writing this, and hello, everyone.
Hello and welcome! Sorry that you’re feeling cut off from queer community, that’s rough. I hope you can find a sense of connection here :)
Thank you Chandra and Luna for the well wishes! Hope y’all are holding up okay with everything going on! :)
This is my first comment on Autostraddle. And the comment is: I really wish you will find everything you are looking for, as soon as the pandemic is over!
Best of l*ck :)
this is so thoughtful and well written, thank you!
Wow, Mary, this article had me engrossed. So beautifully articulated and leaving me with lots to think about. I also can’t wait to read about your travel adventures!
It has never occurred to me that it could be a question for two switches or non top/bottom affiliated people to have sex. I think the majority of my sex (which is a lot) has been switchy or not included top/bottom dynamics at all, so its surprising to read that other people think of that framework as the default!
this piece was so great to read! also, I’m a switch who is pretty much exclusively interested in dating other switches so I feel ~seen~ (but also bemused at the idea it’s a novelty??)
Thank you so much for sharing your writing. I connect with it and feel safe reading and reassured to explore my queer non-binary switch desires.