I have two cakes. Do you want one with sprinkles or purple roses?
I received Jamie’s text and smiled — it was actually going to happen. It was May 2021. Jamie and I had both been having a hard time with work, a hard time with writing. COVID made everything hard. We shared our fantasies with each other: the parties we would throw when we got vaccinated, the places we’d go. COVID left me yearning to make a mess.
We took COVID tests. We checked in with our pods. I booked us a hotel room and bought champagne. Jamie arrived with the cakes wearing a white lace lingerie top and a black leather jacket. Her huge purple earrings hung well below her bob — “COME” dangled from the right ear while “CLOSE” hung from the left. I swooned and followed directions.
The four-tier cakes were round and covered in thick layers of cheap grocery store icing. I chose the cake encrusted in rainbow sprinkles with a pretty white fondant bow wrapped around the middle. Jamie wanted the cake with excessive white frosting piled high and swirled into mounds of purple roses. The roses matched Jamie’s bright purple hair that would soon be stiff with sugar. Her first bite was from my finger, dipped in frosting and sticky. We were about to get much stickier.
On the floor of a beige corporate hotel near the airport, we laid down a shower curtain to protect the off-white carpet from our sins, undressed to our panties and poured the cool champagne into plastic cups to toast. Jamie found a playlist specifically for the occasion while I placed my sprinkle cake in the center of the shower curtain. We took turns, slowly teasing, tasting, encouraging, drawing out the suspense until the final moment.
We sat on those cakes and lapped up the joy and absurdity of it all. We licked and spanked. She squealed and exclaimed, “Oh, how are you so hot?” We discovered the slippery delight of cake between our toes. I cleaned her hands with my mouth. After months of holding ourselves back in order to keep ourselves and others safe from COVID, we were chasing abundance, and on that shower curtain covered with icing, we found it.
Later I giggled to a steady stream of Jamie’s cake puns as we shared a pillow. I told her I was researching Peitho, the Greek goddess of sweet words and bodily delights. That night, we performed a ritual to Eros, god of both pleasure and destruction. Eros is that chaos energy, both seductive and dangerous, that I’d carefully partitioned away from my well-planned life. That night we found Eros in each other’s bodies and in each other’s abundant joy.
This was the first cake I sat on, but it wasn’t my last. In that dull hotel room, Jamie and I had discovered a kink called sploshing, which includes any kind of food play — but the messier, the better.
Perceptions of kink from the outside often focus on the pain, rules and discipline. The aesthetic is all leather, whips, stern Dom(me)s and pliant subs. It can all seem very serious. However, when I’m in a scene, it’s the laughter I remember the most. BDSM is a set of practices that invite pleasure; for many, it invites healing through power exchange. Cake sitting helped me connect to joy. And there’s power in joy. In “Uses of the Erotic,” Audre Lorde writes on the power of the erotic, which she refuses to isolate into the bedroom and instead infuses into every aspect of her life. To her, the power of the erotic is a reminder of her “open and fearless underlining of my capacity for joy.” I’ve discovered my capacity for joy is expansive.
Women are told to make ourselves small in so many ways. How many times have I asked for just the smallest slice of cake? How many times have I said no, just one bite?
Even in relationships, I’ve made myself small. I dated a man who told me about his grief, anxiety, relationship with his parents, work relationships, relationship with his body. When I noted that he didn’t ask me any questions, he responded that he couldn’t think of anything he needed to know. I stayed in that relationship for two more months. I was accustomed to feeling small.
With those cakes, I was too much. We laughed too loud, ate too much and asked for more than what we needed. Jamie and I both saw it in each other: you’re too much, and together we are absolutely excessive. And I wouldn’t have changed a thing about us. The entire scene was superfluous with sweets, colors, flavors and laughter. It was a decent mess. Afterwards, we both felt sick and thirsty. We saw each other’s big desires for joy, pleasure and excess.
I was raised to believe that if I was very good, my best possible hope was to be loved by one man, to have children and to serve others. I could hope, at best, to feel the joy of being a wife and mother. But my body told me I wanted more. I broke the church’s rules forbidding sex before marriage in several different ways. My desires may have been my savior from the small life my community promised.
Six months after Jamie and I sat on cakes, my friends threw me a birthday party with cake sitting as the main attraction.
Some homemade and others store-bought, we managed to acquire 11 cakes for a party with 13 guests. I sat first and performed a burlesque style striptease, flinging my yellow fringe booty shorts right atop the head of my sweetheart. Then I plopped down onto a white and pink cake to raucous applause. A couple of my shyer friends wanted to sit together. My sweetheart spent most of the night with her bum cozy on a chocolate cake, eating it slowly and lovingly from her own hands while giggling. Another friend gingerly dipped his testicles into whipped cream as a tease that brought all of us into side-stitching laughter.
We showered together, scrubbing sticky food coloring with a loofah that needed to be thrown out when we were finished. Then, snuggled on sofas and blankets, our conversations wandered while our hands pet each other sweetly.
My big desires brought me into a big, loving queer community. And together we celebrate each other. This birthday party wasn’t sexual, necessarily. Erotic joy doesn’t have to be sexual. It’s in the surrender of control that comes when we lose ourselves to joy, personal and collective. Kink moves us closer to those excessive forces of Eros. Those can be dangerous places, but they are also where we expand into joy. And expanding into joy can be its own kind of power. Remembering that power may be the real danger of kink.
Audre Lorde expands on those women who have embraced this expansive notion of the erotic: “Of course, women so empowered are dangerous.”