This story is part of a series called Craigslist Confessional. Writer Helena Bala has been meeting people via Craigslist and documenting their stories for over two years. Each story is written as it was told to her. Bala says that by listening to their stories, she hopes to bear witness to her subjects’ lives, providing them with an outlet, a judgment-free ear, and a sense of catharsis. By sharing them, she hopes to facilitate acceptance and understanding of issues that are seldom publicly discussed, at the risk of fear, stigma, and ostracism. Read more here. Names have been changed to protect her subjects’ anonymity.
In my genuflected state, I can feel that the palms of my hands and my kneecaps have become entirely etched with the shapes of the carpet. I shift my left shoulder imperceptibly to relieve the pressure on my left hand, which has started to tingle. A few moments go by in relative comfort, but then my right hand starts to cramp up, my knees start to wobble, and my back starts to ache.
When I feel like I’m going to pass out from the pain, I lift my right hand off of the carpet, and her legs reluctantly slide off my back. I bow in front of her, and rub my hands and knees vigorously, carefully hiding myself so as not to offend her. She has been expressly clear about the rules—no erections, no displays of emotion, no displays of weakness, and especially no displays of dissent.
I am to do her bidding unequivocally, without complaint or question, and I am so eager to please her that my physical weakness shames me profoundly. It has taken me years to find her—the perfect Mistress—someone who understands my need to worship her wholly and completely. I don’t want to lose her.
Men like myself are interested in the female supremacy lifestyle, which is often mistaken for or confused with sadomasochism. For example, the three professional dominatrices whom I’d previously visited in hopes of fulfilling my desires were entirely uninterested in the concept of female empowerment. Their jobs were simply to cater to men’s sexual fetishes of being bound and gagged and spanked—the Shades of Grey vanilla variety of sexual fetishism that carried no deeper intellectual components. Their lackadaisical movement and only casual interest in the tasks at hand made it obvious that they achieved no pleasure or empowerment from the situation. And if they get no pleasure, I get no pleasure.
What I’m interested in is very different. I’m a natural leader, which I know you may find hard to believe. When I pay for a weekend with my Mistress, I go through rigorous submissive positions training. It’s a break from my reality—from always having to have the answers and telling people what to do. And, on my end, it’s completely asexual. If I become sexually aroused, she expresses her verbal dissatisfaction and sometimes disciplines me.
During submissive positions training, I am always at her feet, never looking her in the eye, and never turning my back on her. When she visits, she sleeps in the master bedroom, and I am expected to turn down her bed, make her meals, and launder and iron her clothes. I do all of the above on my knees, which are not want for wear and tear at my age. I can only stand when the situation absolutely necessitates it.
When she punishes me, she hits my upper legs or my bottom. I brace for the first few lashes, which are always the most painful because my skin still hasn’t become acclimated to the assault; after five or six lashes, however, I stop feeling the sting as acutely, and eventually I relax into my punishment, believing wholeheartedly that I deserve every bit of it.
Every time she doles out my punishment, I say “I’m sorry I’ve displeased you,” and reflect on my wrongdoing. I am a snake—evil, slithery, dirty, and banal in nature—and she is my charmer. I dance to her tune, transfixed by her power and entirely in awe of her beauty. I feel relieved to have no control of my body, my destiny, and my faculties. I relieve myself when I am allowed, eat when I am told, and sleep only once I’ve completed all of my chores. We don’t sleep together, or even in the same room.
I look forward to our time together, and only feel truly free when I am under her power. I relax only when she tells me what to do, who to be, and how to act. When she leaves me, I feel oppressed, weighed down by my sudden agency, and plagued by the everyday choices I am faced with. I want only for her to return, so that I can be free again, even if just for a few days. The world is overwhelming, you know—it’s nice to have a break from it, or a different role in it, even if temporarily.
When she leaves at the end of our weekend, she goes back to her boyfriend and her baby. I go back to my life, too. I’m retired now. You wouldn’t believe what I used to do for a living.
Read more Craigslist Confessionals here. To share your story with Helena, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn how to write for Quartz Ideas. We welcome your comments at email@example.com.