By: Alexis Smiley Smith
Illustration: Allis Bergstrand
As a human growing up in a household with little or no control over its chaotic contents, I evolved into quite the control freak myself- the queen of the grasp, the clutch, the manipulation. Monitoring the way my partner cleaned the sink, only to do it ‘right’ after they left the room. I am a hover agent, a wasp with rules. I can even control the tone and timbre of the air in a room I enter. I am so tightly wound; I wake up with my hands in fists. It’s exhausting to be in charge.
Berlin is the perfect collage of a city to look, to be a searcher or a seeker. I came here four years ago as an act of some version of faith. A fool at the edge of a cliff, armed with a writer’s mind and maybe a little talent, but certainly not prepared for the labyrinth the city is…a twist of turns and tunnels, dark corners and millions of endings and beginnings.
Berlin was the perfect place to embrace my old patterns of finding any sweet deliverance into a loss of control through drugs and partying. But this methodology…so tired. So tired of this easy fix. I wanted something else.
There’s a complexity to the hedo-liberated psychedelic sex geometry of Berlin. If you’re open or already know who you are and what you want, let the sexual shapes begin! If you have the courage and ferocity for exploration, welcome to adventure! But, if you’re like me, and found yourself so far divorced from your own body, your own deep wet, your own map to any pleasure…you can feel like a stranger in a strange land amidst so many sex positive humans. Isolated, confused and certainly not ‘Berlin cool’.
I am 43 years old and haven't had a proper fuck in ages. I haven't made love in who knows when. I am disconnected from my body. I don't know myself. Where is my g spot? What do I want? Am I pretty? No, am I beautiful? How do I cum? How to slow fuck to slow screw, to grind in a sticky wet? How to say there or there or here and here? No performance necessary. Sweet, let it be sweet, but deep and slightly dark, slighty rough. Give me back to myself, let me back in.
As Rumi says, I was a hidden treasure and desired to be known.
I'm looking for something, someone, but what is it? Is there a player out there that holds the key to unlock this fist inside, rolled rubber bands, hard knots?
It’s time to go to the professionals. I decide to honor my inner submissive. Let’s make a death ritual for these old internal patterns that keep me from myself. My deepest gratitude to Berlin is that the city normalizes just about anything considered deviant or transgressive elsewhere. And because I have an air for the dramatic, I decide on attending Mozart’s Requiem followed the next day by an afternoon session with a dominatrix. This will be the juxtaposition to unlock, to release, to give me back to myself.
The beauty of paying for an experience is the purity of transaction. Cash. No head games, no rejection. It’s a ritual. A beginning, a middle and an end. After, you’re on the other side.
I won’t give you a step by step of Requiem. I’m not a music theorist or critic. However, I will tell you three things. One, I brought a fellow friend who is also a latex fetishist. She is deeply complex, totally in her power and the perfect witness and co-conspirator for a death ritual. We get stoned and dress like we’re a couple of lesbian Manhattan art dealers. Personas are best when close to the truth. Two, I paid for good seats and we switch to even better ones at intermission, fueled by the courage of Cremant. Three, I cried. I cried because there is nothing that can rival the power of insane acoustics coupled with live human singing and an orchestra. Sound and its reverberations echoed and danced and rearranged my DNA, my atoms hummed and renegotiated themselves. I died, I was born, I died again.
The next day, still humming. I have the taste of Istanbul tea on my tongue as I step inside Sir Alanis Lilith Cane’s studio. Black tea with mint. Sexy. I want to be sober, present, aware. I want to remember. Sir invites me in and I enter the main chamber. I can smoke while we have a little chat about what’s to come. The room is more than I imagined. Wall to wall of things, shapes, items- some I know and can name, some I’ve never seen before. A massive upside down pentagram made of chains adorns the wall opposite to the dark wood four poster bed. Sir asks me why I’m here. I’m oddly shy and totally at home all in the same moment. I tell Sir I want to find my way back into myself, I want pain to be my guide back into my pleasure. They listen and nod and smile and their whole being is an invitation. Sir briefs me on the green, yellow and red ample system. Because this is my first time, we will take it slow and consider this a tasting menu of the dance between dom and sub. I am ready.
I am shown to the bathroom where I’m told to shower and ring the bell when I’m ready. Every article of clothing I take off, every drop of water that runs down my skin is all an undoing, a cleansing, a removal of old skins and beliefs. I slip into a silk smoking jacket and ring the bell.
Sir opens the door. They are dressed in a black lac dress and I can smell a deep floral musk emanating off their skin. They lead me back into the main chamber. Between the candles’ glow, the pagan-esque mise en scene and the classical music playing, I don’t know what year it is, I don’t know what time it is and I don’t give a fuck.
‘I move you. You don’t move you. Understood?’ Yes, Sir. I’m positioned standing at the foot of the bed. The robe comes off and I am naked, except for the black knee high socks I kept on for warmth. First things first. Sir adjusts my posture because it’s important that I present myself to my dom as a proud offering. We don’t slouch in this room. ‘Now turn around slowly and show me how pretty you are.’ I start to turn. ‘No, no, no. Slooowly. Take your time. Let me look at you.’
I’m struck by the intimacy between us. The power Sir holds balances my power as a gift. I am a gift.
Sir calls it motivation. The nipple clamps will motivate me. What I know is that the specific pain, hyper focused on my nipples- these raw eruptions of sensitive skin now made even more sensitive with pinpointed pain- this is driving me into the moment. I am the moment. I’m only in this room. With Sir and scent and touch and that taste of mint still on my tongue. And as I’m led through the metaphorical corridors of bondage- its own twists of ropes and tightening- I am beginning to release, relax, lose myself.
By the time I’m led to the bed and told to lay down, every cell in my being is at attention. Like a sentinel, like a receiver and watcher. Both. I feel my flesh warm and shatter and regain itself at every contact of the crop or flog or open palm. The dark sheets I press my face into become a black chasm I sink into with every SMACK.
Sir turns me over. A kiss like a warm peach at my lips and then the blindfold. Without sight, everything is on hyper now. I hear the buzz of the vibrator. My pussy is now my eyes and ears, sensing the contact just before it actually occurs and then the warm pour of vibration through my labia, my clit, deep into my solar plexus. Those reverberations and sound find my cavern of knots and tightly wound untouched bands.
I find out later that it’s called edging. With the wand, Sir takes me almost to the point of orgasm and then…stops. Takes it away. A cliff, but not I’m not a fool this time, I am standing on the edge and at the mercy of a wind, Sir is the wind, almost pushing me over and then bringing me back again.
The blindfold comes off. ‘I want you to ask me if you can cum.’ I start to speak and have misbehaved. I get a spanking for that. ‘I’m not done speaking.’ I wait. ‘I am going to count down from ten and when I get to zero, you will ask me if you can cum. And if I think you’re being honest, I’ll let you cum. Yes?’ Yes, Sir.
10. 9. 8. 7… I don’t know if it’s the wand, or Sir, or my heightened senses, but I’m falling, falling as if finally my illusions of self have been undone. Not a violent fear falling, but a silk fall, a sweet release fall, down down down. 6. 5. 4. 3. 2…
Please, Sir. Let me cum. I want to cum.
Lacrimosa. This tearful day. This cry of slick wet now night. I come back into myself, I meet myself somewhere between life and death. My orgasm fills in the shadows with a diamond streak of light. I arch my back as an offering to Sir and we pour into each other. Sub and dom, a oneness of giving and receiving. The borders blurred and who gives a fuck? This, my dear, is the now pain pleasure you’ve been looking for. I’ve arrived on the other side.
Sir holds me close. This is aftercare. I can smell myself. I’m leather, I’m mint, I’m musk. I’m night, I’m diamonds. I am atoms rearranged, I am a reunion. I am a perfect shattering made whole again. I am requiem in lac.