It wasn’t the first time I’d used a knife when playing. But before, it was always just for the thrill and threat of it, never to actually use the blade to cut skin. When I finally did, it was when rife and I played the three minute game. The one where each of you gets to ask the other for something done to your body for your pleasure, and then ask for something that you do to their body for your pleasure. It sounds simple, but it isn’t easy. Being so bold and clear about my desire can sometimes be practically debilitating. First, I have to figure out what I actually want. Then, I have to have the courage to say it aloud.
I can’t remember who went first. I remember I asked to fuck his face, rough and hard, and he drooled and choked and hurt his throat. I wasn’t used to being so rough. But I’d watched scenes that he’d done with others, I’d seen the bruises he sported with pride, and I knew the ways he said “I can take it” and “don’t stop, please don’t stop, please hurt me, please,” when we played. We’d spent hours talking and emailing about how deep we wanted to go, how so often the other people we’d played with just didn’t go far enough, and we always craved more.
I’d rented a room in this filthy motel, a staple in the Castro in San Francisco, for us to have for the weekend. It’s notorious for the tricks and cruising gay boys, leaving their doors open and leaning seductively over the railings in shorts and boots. The bedspread was scratchy brown and orange, the walls a dingy white tinted with yellow. The carpet was thicker than I’d expect at a motel, and I was grateful it would be easy — well, easier than other options — on his knees.
I trusted him to let me be as rough as I actually wanted to be. I wanted to push him. He kept asking me to — to push past him saying no, to really use force. I am bigger than him, but he’s stronger than me. We were both creating this desire, both escalating — a swirling spiral taking us up and up and up together. I had to trust that he would actually communicate his no, his safeword, his hesitancy, his serious pain, if he needed to. Of course, I would stop if any of that happened. And he had to trust that I would stay in control, that I would stop, that I would only go as far as was safe.
But I also had to trust that what he wanted now, that he would look back fondly on today tomorrow. I had to believe him when he said he wanted it.
The give and take between us made our play not just a dominant’s desire and a submissive’s willingness, but a well-paired craving, with mutual desire equal and opposite and completely complementary. It isn’t just me doing these acts, and it isn’t just him asking for them, just like it isn’t just me asking and him doing. It’s all of it; it’s mutual. As much as we play with the power and authority between us, underneath it all, it’s co-created, and we are equally involved — with every part of it.
So far, all of that and more had been so smooth and deep between us. We stumbled into each other on accident, and quickly found that we’d both been looking for something more than we’d had for a long time. We’d quickly developed a palette of permission that I knew I could work within and, in fact, the less he knew about what was happening in the scene, the more he liked it. He wanted to be scared, to be surprised. I could work with such a full range of color, such a full range of expression, and I would use as many variations on a theme as I could imagine. We would play for hours, for days. But now, with the three minute game, we were playing with desire in a new way: with naming what we wanted in the moment, and with getting to have it. I never tire of what a powerful experience it is to ask for what I want and then get it. Particularly when it comes to sex, and kink, and my body. It feels magical.
Sitting between the two double beds in the hotel room, on the floor, where I’d left him, the drool was still on his shirt, lips were still pink from the roughing up his mouth took. I liked using the limited space between the beds to keep him pinned.
It was his turn, but he was stalling. He looked away from me, and didn’t make eye contact. He stayed quiet, with something quivering underneath the surface.
He twisted his hips to dig into his pocket, and I bit my lip with desire. He mumbled something. I couldn’t understand him. “What was that?”
“For my pleasure, I would like… would you…” he took a breath, and rotated the blade of his Swiss Army knife. “Cut me?”
I shivered. I’d played with knives before, had cut off clothing and dragged it along lovers’ skin. But aside from barely there scratches, I’d never broken the surface. He’d asked me about it before, saying it was something he’d always wanted.
And now, he was quivering on the floor, looking up at me, handing me an open knife with both hands.
I wanted it. I wanted to take it and use it and slice him open. I wanted to see the red. I felt dizzy with the desire, and scared of it. Am I a monster, to want such a thing? To get off on it? No, I told myself, constantly having this same inner dialogue. You want the power. You want the palpable trust. He trusts you. He trusts you so much, that he’ll ask you to do something you haven’t negotiated and he doesn’t even know if you’ve done before. It’s what he wants.
We’re in this together.
I knew it was a risk. I knew it could have consequences. And I knew I could show up for them, if they happened. I just had to trust that he would, too.
I reached out and took the knife.