a mythology of intimacy
you can’t build a family with desire alone
I don’t talk much about my history as an insatiable succubus because that version of myself is lifetimes away, an unrecognizable specter howling for painpleasure in the rearview mirror. I was much younger then, in pain and greedy for the novelty of feeling something, anything. I’m different now, right?
A horror filmmaker, she said, as she sipped her mezcal, chunky silver rings on each finger clinking against the glass. She was so sure of herself and spoke slow and intentional. She had that look in her eyes that I recognized from years of being a woman—she wanted to fuck/kill me and she wanted me to know it. I knew deep down that half of everything she said to me for the next two years was not true but, because she she was my first lover who obliged my request to be tied to the radiator and fucked into the seventh circle of hell, I pushed it to the back of my mind. She had basically no furniture in her room except for a vintage medical chair and a thin mattress on the floor (“minimalism”). Today they eat men alive on the internet for this sort of psychopathy. It was the perfect set up for relishing in our depraved appetites.
I remembered her today because of the book I’m reading—page by page the words cutting me like razor blades. Desire and grief, grief and desire. Suddenly I’m sucked back into her vortex. My first and last top, although we didn’t really use that language back then. I begged her to hurt me and I begged her to smack my clit and I put her hand over my mouth and nose to slow my heart rate until I came/died. I was always begging her and mostly it felt humiliating to need something so badly from another person for the first time in my life, so completely out of my control, but she eventually gave in to me.
She would take her giant rings off one by one, never fast enough, while I salivated like a dog in heat. On one rare occasion she pushed me into the back door, face pressed against the cold metal, and when all my holes were satiated I cried like an absolute baby. I thanked her for the strenuous labor of shooting electricity from every single fiber of muscle from her toes to her tongue straight through me like a goddamn dyke Furfur.
But she tore through me like a maelstrom. I felt it coming from the second she first looked at me in that bar with those fuck/kill eyes. It was worth it—the intoxication of finally feeling seen.
Something about the power she had over me and how dangerous it was to need someone that much just so I can feel my toes tingle. I fantasized about it, about being that for someone else, to have a plaything that begged for it, a sweet girl that said, “Please Daddy, I’ll simply die without it!” Except I wouldn’t be wrong, withholding like she was.
One of my many mistakes is that I insisted on being a chaos demon of vulnerability while she lied and lied and lied. I could change her with my softness, my wetness. I didn’t know any other way. I still feel her in my bones all these years later, reminders surfacing in unexpected places. Except now I know that it’s a demon called grief and I know how substantially it changes you. I know so much more now, but never enough never enough. She was part of my transformation while I didn’t even know her real age. She gave me nothing of herself but the electricity.
Intimacy is a lot of things but you know what it mostly boils down to people making themselves knowable to each other. It may sound easy to you, but the pain can be unbearable. Here’s what happens—people take turns cracking open and you each throw your bleeding pink guts at the other person’s feet like an offering at their altar. You’re disemboweled, and it feels absolutely horrible, but the bright side is that you get to peek at your lover’s meatstuff all fucked up and delicious. You learn some things. If you’re lucky, they help to sew you back up. Some even say the more you do it the easier it gets.
In time I built a shiny life with someone new who needed painpleasure just as badly as I once did. I got so much power from being the giver, holding the path to salvation in my hands. It was serious business. They took it and took it and I gave it with such pleasure, they never even had to beg for it. We danced together over the fire falling deeper through each circle of hell. Every loving stroke from my deliberate hands to their body had a current passing through it and I saw it in their eyes that they felt like I was lightening. I learned to be a top but it seems that I did not learn my lesson.
Our parents would roll over in their graves if they heard us praying together, speaking to our demons in tongues. While they never said much, at least they told the truth. This is different, this is different, this is different. We created a vessel—my lover poured themselves into it and stretched to the edges. Fall apart baby, fall apart, I’ll catch you, I’m here. I would have gathered all the magic in the world to feel supported like that, but it wasn’t about me. They lost sight of me and I become a projection for what they wanted me to be. Giving, loving, lightening doesn’t have needs. You can’t build a family with desire alone.
I clawed at their skin, gnawed at their inner thighs, my desire to consume them was a desire to know them. I drank their blood straight from the vein, burned my initial into their flesh, it was all the same. I did everything to try to get closer closer closer but none of it made a difference. I was starving to get a taste of what was really inside. How close can you get without language? What space can you fill between words? I don’t know but I fucking tried and I was always left hungry. You can’t build a family with desire alone.
Things were different now and I couldn’t be as vulnerable as I once was, but in time there was a tender place and I was able to crack open. I threw my guts at their feet while I, again, had to beg for what I needed. I stood there bleeding while they did not even peek at my raw insides unfurled on the floor, and I got no assistance sewing up my belly. It was terrible and it did not get any easier.
For months I could feel a new demon growing inside me, I carried it around with a heavyness. Everywhere I went there were people just walking around alive who didn’t know that I was without a heart. The barista handed me my coffee. Why does this keep happening to me? I ran into my neighbor down the street. I’m always just a projection of everyone’s greatest fantasies or worst trauma. I was teaching a class. Why is it so hard to find someone to sew you up? I went to dinner with friends. You’d think drinking blood was was more intimate than having a conversation. I was just trying to piece it all together, keep it together, but I knew very well what failing looked like.
Then I woke up in a cloud of ash, my guts sprawled out on the floor. I was in a fever dream and nothing made sense. I was in a fever dream and everything made sense. A small demon crawled out from inside my festering wound. The demon pointed a long finger nail directly at me and said, “The things you desire the most are just distractions for what’s hiding below the surface.” The demon turned its back to me and slowly walked away, the ash cloud following closely behind. I scooped up my insides, carefully jiggled them back into place and painstakingly sutured myself up. I stared at myself in the mirror fingering the wound and wondered if I should take something for the infection.