If Temple Grandin Were Kinky

Time for another discussion about kinks!  This one is an especially nerdy one, so I’m dedicating it to all the kinky nerds out there.  Hello!

I’ve always found pressure comforting.  As a little kid, I would wrap myself up really tight in my blankets, or crawl into any space I only just barely fit into, or hide under the couch cushions so someone would “jokingly” come along and sit on me. As a little kid, I was pretty weird, so these quirks went unnoticed among the many other quirks I had.  Just a silly kid thing, right?

As a teenager, most of my childhood quirks looked more like serious issues with relating to the rest of the world.  That’s just a silly teenager thing, right?  During my high school years I got into caving.  I would come home from a weekend trip and tell my Mum all these great stories about how we ended up in a cave that had a crawl SO TIGHT that we all had to get down on our bellies and inch our way along, rubbing along solid rock walls on all sides and if your gear got caught you had to wriggle your hips and belly to free it because whatever position your arms were in, that’s where they would stay until the crawl opened up again.  Poor Mum had to ask me to please stop being so detailed in these stories because just hearing them was upsetting her.  Mum’s always been claustrophobic.  Not long ago, she had a panic attack during an MRI and they had to take her out of the machine right away.  I don’t get it from her, but those tight crawls were a huge source of comfort during those years.  I could play them over and over in my mind to settle myself when I needed to, and an opportunity to explore a new cave always had me thrilled for weeks before the trip.

As an adult, once I had the worst of my social and sensory issues under control I’m sure I started to seem at least a little less weird to other people.  Plenty of new challenges came up in between those high school years and the period I’m talking about now – my early 20’s – but those are another story.

I was 21 or 22, and my friend Emma (still one of my best friends)  invited me to a fetish party.  For a first fetish party, this was an excellent choice.  It was in a store that had closed down because the building was about to be demolished.  It was a huge, lavish party with tons of people and all sorts of fun equipment and good music and drinks and I had a whole group of friends to go with – but there was one problem.  I had nothing to wear.  Emma had put together an outfit of pinned-together black leather scraps that made her look like an Amazon queen, Joe had some fabulous latex trousers with braces (that was the night we met.  Thanks, Emma!), and another lady had a sheer black lace gown.  I had nil.  Luckily, I had an idea!  I called Emma and said, how about I just get some saran wrap and Allen can make me an outfit right before we go?  She thought that would be appropriate for the dress code.  That is how I ended up with a great outfit for about three dollars.  When I got to Emma’s house to get ready for the party, I stripped down to my black knickers and Allen wrapped some black bondage tape around my breasts.  That alone was a pretty good outfit, but not festive enough.  He started with a few layers of the clear saran wrap I’d brought that enclosed me from my armpits to my upper thigh like a minidress.  Then he brought out a black stone heart he had, and nestled it between my breasts before adding more layers.  I wriggled with geeky excitement and told him that when the Egyptians mummified people they added in charms and amulets while they were wrapping them for the journey to the underworld.  (Fun fact: I had a childhood crush on Anubis.  Yes, it’s weird.  I know.) Next he positioned my arms so they’d still have enough circulation but be completely immobile.  As the next several layers of wrapping went on I relaxed and drifted into a sense of calm that held my body like the wrappings were.  The kind of calm that I never feel before parties, since usually the prospect of a roomful of strangers gets me at least slightly on edge.  Once I was fully wrapped, we got a few pictures and then someone threw a coat over me to cover up Allen’s handiwork on the short trip to and from the car.

I kept my calm feeling all the way through the first part of the evening, as I walked into the party, had my friends feed me drinks and cigarettes, and met and had conversations with total strangers.  Later on, I gradually lost layers of my outfit by having people pull them off me as I danced.  I was in a good headspace all through the night, and went home happy.

Somehow, I didn’t manage to connect this feeling to my serenity in tight spaces from earlier in my life until years later.  I had enjoyed being bound at the wrists and ankles before and after I tried out my party dress, but that was different in my mind because the whole point was that I was showing vulnerability, and therefore trust, to the people doing the binding in private situations.

What made me finally connect it all in my mind was reading Temple Grandin’s books.  Which is kind of funny to me because she lives with an entirely different level of social and sensory issues than I’ve ever dealt with, but especially because she has said in her books that she’s chosen celibacy all her life.  Well, when I first read about her squeeze machine, my first thought was “That sounds so calming!”  My second thought was “How can I have sex in one of those?”

If you’ve never heard of the squeeze machine, you can Google it, but I suggest reading Grandin’s paper on it:

http://www.grandin.com/inc/squeeze.html

Actually, I suggest reading all her books, just because I tend to recommend books I like to everyone.

I want to make this clear:  I am not making fun of Dr. Grandin at all with these thoughts, and especially not with my title.  For me, sexuality is part of who I am, while for someone who is celibate it might seem like a weird or alien thing to apply to something you’ve come across in a non-sexual book.  With all due respect, what I find interesting is that something that is deeply comforting to a non-sexual person can be equally comforting to a highly sexual person.  And reading about the machine helped me understand my own kinks a bit better.  To me, it just shows that for those of us who are sexual, the sex aspect isn’t an extra thing in our lives, but is connected to everything else.  Sexuality is at its best and most healthy when it works alongside any other quirks or challenges we have.  Sex can be harder for those of us with social and sensory issues, but the whole point of this post is that if you figure out how to integrate all of the above, you will be much happier.

With actual bondage involving another person, there is the comfort of being bound, but there are also the trust issues.  As soon as another person is involved there has to be enough trust to relax and know that they’re not going to hurt you.  That does make it a little – or a lot – more complicated!  I’ve had times that I couldn’t relax enough to reach that serene place, or didn’t have enough trust in the first place to even allow myself to be restrained at all.  Yet, for me, this isn’t just a fun game to play but also a deeper part of my own mind-body connection.

I wonder how this compares to the neurotypical’s experience.  I’m curious, but I suspect that if I’m going to get any answers I’ll have to put together my own panel discussion or workshop.  This post, as usual, is just a starting point.  There may be some new-age back-to-the womb explanation, but I doubt it since the reading I’ve done on swaddling infants as a comfort tool has suggested that they normally grow out of it before they’re a year old.

As for myself, I clearly need to do more research.  I’ll spend some time in the lab and report back.

 

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