I mean, don't get me wrong, I wasn't emo or Goth or anything like that, the coffin-position (arms crossed, palms down, fingers by the chin, legs tightly together) was chosen before I knew what people did in coffins. It was only when I finally got a TV in my room (my Mum's old Black and White tuner thing from the late sixties I think) that I saw the sorts of TV shows that even had coffins in them, let alone with a view enough into them that you could work out what position people were in. No, I chose this position because it felt safe and protected. I liked the idea of having my limbs pressed together.
|Kinda like this, but neither me nor the|
friend I was with thought of changing
genders, or the sexual connotations.
|Apparently this happened more often than it happened to|
Penny in Inspector Gadget, or it has been recorded
more on the intarwebs.
In the school library, and at home, I was fascinated by stories where strong women would get captured and be in need of rescue. I don't remember many details now, but I can reference He-Man - one of the Ladybird books has some quite graphic illustrations of Teela getting captured by shadow people and tied up in a cave. In fact, looking at the book at the age of about 17, I noticed that Teela is completely stark-naked in one scene, tastefully hidden by the head of Bird-Man, but still undeniably naked and tied to a post and gagged.
Some time between the ages of ten and thirteen I started tying myself up with string. I have no clue when this started or even what prompted it but I do know that after the age of twelve I would start having recurring fantasies about tying myself up and I stole string to make this happen. That story, Boy to Girl, was written around the age of eleven and, though the story makes no mention of this, became the focal point of these restraint fantasies. I created, and drew, the whole school uniform for the girls' boarding school in the story and the main character was always male - really male. In the story they woke up as a girl, but in my head I knew they were still male. They would be taken aside by some older girls and end up being forced to dress and then tied up or restrained somehow.
As I progressed the fantasy changed. I'm not trying to excite here, this is not an outpouring of some sxual fantasies. I won't deny that as puberty hit there were stirrings in all the right places but the well-spring of these thoughts was not sexual. When I tied myself by the wrists to the handles on my chest of drawers it wasn't a sexual thing. I did it when my parents were still at work, my brother still at school (my secondary school finished before my brother's primary school for two glorious years) and I did it to feel... Well, that's just it: I don't know. My only reference to this is in a diary dated 1993 in which I write the following line: "I've got to stop tying myself up, it is rather silly". It is not referred to again, or at any point previously.
I'd do it at night too. I liked using my headboard to tie the string to. I remember being frustrated that I could only really use slip knots so that any incapacitation was limited and easily rectified simply by moving the knot. I mean, it was a pragmatic consideration: I didn't want to reveal to my parents what I was doing and didn't want to be stuck, I even made sure scissors were always within reach - just in case. But I wanted it to be impossible to escape, it was my fear that prevented me making this so.
|Yes, like this. Strong and confident without being|
overtly sexual. Because it wasn't, at all, no sex
was involved at any point nor threatened,
it was merely female domination.
One night I used toilet roll as ribbon, we had thick luxurious stuff so it wasn't too much of a stretch of the imagination, and tied my wrists with bows and around my neck. Then I used the string handcuffs to tie my wrists and ankles together. I went so far as to add string around my neck too, but abandoned that for safety reasons. It was as though the safety and contentment I felt in being restrained was tied up (ho ho, no pun intended) with the femininity of the bows. Before the age of fourteen, before 1994 and the divorce, I used to think about being locked in the boiler cupboard (because it had wooden shelves that looked like bars).
Around 1991 I revealed to a friend the dreams I was having where people were chained together, I remember drawing the restraints that I saw in my dream carefully, without ever having looked into proper restraints. I remember a book on Aztecs that I found in my mother's school's library (she worked as secretary in a primary school) that showed the yokes they put round slaves' necks and being so fascinated that I would sit and stare at the illustration for hours. The twins, male, in my form brought in a pair of handcuffs and tricked a girl into wearing them for a short time one morning, around 1991-2, and I remember being unable to put that out of my head for months. I wanted, in that moment, to be her. I think the friend thought that I was gay. My dreams involved, at that point, men being chained together and naked. Now, I was innocent enough not to notice any sexual overtones to this: they were prisoners for some reason, the end. My male friend I think thought that... Well, he seemed to see me as more than a friend for a while until he figured out his own sexuality, I believe he is now happily married and bisexual. Me? I was straight. I did look into homosexuality at about that time, at the friend's suggestion, but was confused as to why anyone would think that my dreams would indicate homosexuality. Did I mention I was innocent? I was also chronically stupid.
These male prisoners, in my dreams, became singular over time and the people sentencing them remained sexless and faceless. Their punishment seemed, to me, to be severe and so I concocted reasons for the severity of the punishment. Without any concept of what I was playing with I opted for rape as their crime. Thus there was a reason for enforcing femininity in these prisoners, as a punishment for being, I don't know, too male I guess. I never really connected this with sex at this point. I mean, around 1993 I was aware that it had something to do with those bits down there that would react strongly and sometimes this involved ejaculation but that was never the main aim. Indeed, I would try to avoid that - I enjoyed the feeling and the aftermath of actually letting my bits do their thing tended to kill the feelings pretty quickly. I experimented with parcel tape, sellotape, string, rope, bits of cloth, even towels.
|The images in FHM weren't like this,|
but it's the sort of image where I want
to be the woman in it.
It was exam leave for GCSEs in 1996 that I next recall events. Wearing the aprons I discovered, far too short for actual use, and tying myself up a lot to the strains of Missing by Everything but the Girl. Trapping myself in the shed, tying myself to the bed, wandering around naked but for the apron, trying to work out how to wear a ribbon round my neck and tie a bow (never did manage that) or get my feet as if I was wearing high heels (my mother didn't have any, and it never occurred to me to try her shoes for size anyway). I modified a pair of white briefs to look like knickers (I couldn't wear my mother's) with string. I did look for a skirt or dress once, but my mother's clothes were, well, my mother's. It would have been like stealing a pair of jeans from my brother - why would I do that? So, by 1996, I had a bit of knowledge of what I was doing and the name 'transvestism' for the clothing. I had no name for the restraining and tying up.
Why chart all this? Well, I don't know. It seems relevant somehow. But the feeling, the reasoning for all of this, appears to have been nameless. There was no rationality about the compulsion to carry all of this out - I rationalised what I was doing for safety and protection from prying eyes - but the reason for the activity... there was no reason. When tied or restrained I felt... safe. Like, in being made helpless, I was somehow protected. Cross-dressing for me, as I've said already, seems to be about projecting a certain view of myself or broadcasting a way in which I want to be treated, or it has been in the past at any rate; perhaps bondage was the same. It was an abdication of responsibility, a surrender of control. Even as a teenager I think I wanted it to be done by someone else but was keenly aware that it would have to be a very private thing.
How does one describe this... Please excuse my poor handling of terminology and assume that I am not trying to offend, quite the opposite. People on the less functioning end of the autistic spectrum, for we are all on it, tend to need calming with applied pressure and restraint. Something about that helps over-sensitive people to cope with sensory overload and those who sense little to feel something, which also calms. I was introduced to the story of Temple Grandin who built herself a 'squeeze machine' for this purpose but, since about 2010, has gone onto hugging people to get the same feeling. I think it's partly to do with that.
|Kinda like this, I guess. The abdication|
of responsibility. Even to the extent of
sensory input. It's... strangely alluring.
Finally there is the sexual element, which is notable by its absence in the story related so far, that kicked in, for me, more in my Sixth Form experience and was cemented in my first year at University. Indeed, I have fictionmania to thank for fully bringing together the cross-dressing, femininity and bondage experiences and transferring them from physical practice to something that I read about until about 2004, when the physical aspects returned, when I started doing things like tying myself up again and actually wore clothes designed for females properly.
There's more to this, but I need to get on and do some work tonight, so that will have to do for now.