Thursday, April 14, 2011

Teach Me a Thing or Two



Let's talk about masochism.  My earliest erotic memories--beginning somewhere before the age of ten--involved my getting beat up ... by a cartoon mouse.  I wanted to be one of the criminally minded cats in a Mighty Mouse cartoon that get the kitty litter kicked out of them.  Why?  Why did I at age eight or nine feel the need (no, not "need," rather "desire") to be punished?  What had I done at such a young age to feel guilty about?

Is masochism really a question of guilt?  I wonder.  I'm not convinced it is.  The "punishment," in my fantasy, hurts, sure, but it only hurts to the point of arousal, at which point it becomes a fairly routine masturbatory fantasy.  In my fantasies, the punishment occurs only after I have tormented my soon-to-be punisher, so the "guilt," such as it is, is for an imaginary crime anyway--all just part of the act.  My impossible wish, as a boy from ages five to fifteen, was to have a butch older brother whom I would mischievously pester to the point that he, altruistically, out of brotherly love, just to teach me a thing or two about life, would open a can of whoop-ass on me, usually on and around my bed.

Believe me, I would like to lay all of this on the doorstep of religion.  Not that I really and truly believe anyone or anything is to blame; there is no "blame" because the act is essentially innocuous--but I do like to imagine Christians blanching at the thought of having contributed significantly to my perversity.  That much, I suppose, is the sadist in me.  Still, it's tempting to blame it on too many images of crucifixion, blinded Old Testament strongmen, prophets thrown to the lions, and martyrs being stoned outside the city gates.

No, if I were to blame anyone, it would be Hollywood.  But, again, "blame" is not the right word.  "Thank" is more like it.  In its iconography of suave and urbane villains, just asking for the right wavy-haired heroes, brimming with decency, to put them in their place, Hollywood gave me a model of male-on-male physical contact that the rest of society failed to provide.  If I could be a supervillain--or maybe only a local bully--I would attract the attention of a beautiful upright man who would make it his mission in life, with singular focus on me and me alone, to capture me in his powerful arms and give me at last what I had coming.

Let me clarify.  It was never my wish to simply be beat up.  I did not crave unwarranted abuse--or a bashing.  The fantasy must begin with a transgression--a stepping over the line that I, the model Christian child, would have never even come close to.  I've always been fond of the idea that, as an effete and cowardly villain, I would trap some handsome hero, strip him to the waist, and tie him to a post so that I might slowly torment him.  Then at some point he would say, "When I get loose, I'll make you pay for this!"  At the sound of which, my balls would squeeze together and tingle with anticipation.

The next essential component of the fantasy, for me, is that said hero would be obsessed with plotting and carrying out my eventual downfall.  I craved attention--to be the focus of a strapping hero's intense attention--perhaps because I was an only child (of quiet and distant parents, father and mother alike).  I wanted the beautiful hero to be obsessed with me, with the idea of "getting his hands on me."  And ultimately he would.

I worried over this for years.  Even after the long haul of coming to terms with my homosexuality, I believed that my masochistic fantasies were more than simply eccentric; they were evil and diseased.  The idea was reinforced by other gays, who often preached that such fantasies were simply internalized homophobia, that if I were a "healthy" gay man I would mostly want to snuggle and coo with my one and only honeybun, instead of fettering shirtless hunks, who would subsequently break free, corner me as I vainly attempt escape, hop on me like white on rice, and beat me six ways to Sunday.  (Note:  The cliches of comeuppance are intoxicating to me, even now.)

Less stringently, condemnation, indirect and overt, exists among even some kink wrestling enthusiasts.  For some, the presumption is that victory and domination are the only satisfying outcomes.  The pleasures of getting whooped can be viewed as inferior or suspect, if not perverted, to say nothing of the derision of "bottoms," often only half serious, even in the gay and bisexual community.  As noted, for me, the scenario must allow me both to inflict some hurt and to suffer just retaliation for it.  As always, in sex, wrestling, and role-playing games, give and take are equally important to me.  Others play the game differently, and, of course, that's all right by me.

This is not the only fantasy I have, not even the only wrestling fantasy I have.  But it is a key one--and, as I said above, my earliest.  It and its variations no longer fill me with shame.  Yes, I am slightly embarrassed to speak of them--or, as here, spell them out in plain sight of the world.  But they are inalienably a part of who I am, who I have been since young childhood, and a fundamental part of my sexual makeup.  If they are unusual, strange, alarming to the fainthearted, so be it.  What they are, as I now see things, are expressions of my desire to be close to other men, to be the focus of their attention, and to achieve some binding and climactic moment with them--a desire that has nothing really to do with evil, disease, or true villainy and violence.

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