Please read Part One of this series first.

We kiss and hug awkwardly, but that’s normal, S and I know that. We’re not like straights: We’re accustomed to showing up, taking off our clothes, having sex; then maybe talking about who we are. I was fine with the impersonal sex when I was younger, but I’m not now; it’s colorless, a void unfilled even by ejaculation — actually, I  become even emptier after I cum with a total stranger than I was before we collided. If there isn’t some sort of dating process,  a mental foreplay, it’s not happening. There’s doesn’t have to be romance, or the expectation of it; I’m not emotionally available right now, anyway. I am tied down that way, a semi-reluctant bondage that I want out of one day, want into the next. If I try to visualize my relationship with the Primary, I see myself locked in a cellar. Or maybe I live in a mouse hole, the kind in cartoons, guarded by a paranoid cat — my term of endearment for him is ‘Kitty’.

I’ve already got a buzz on from the beers I had on the Surfliner, and that needs to be reinforced. S guides us to an ambience-filled bar tricked out in mid-century décor. They serve cucumber margaritas. Cucumber is my favorite flavor for white-liquor-based cocktails. I’m not into sweet mixers; that’s for whiskey and cognac. And these are rimmed with celery salt. Joy.

There is a wedding reception in the bar, the sort of wedding I prefer: clearly a civil ceremony, no fuss, drinks with your fellow atheists afterwards; a hipster-ish wedding Santa Barbara style: too un-preoccupied with clothing to be truly hipster. There are cupcakes on a high table, chocolate or vanilla. A photographer takes pictures that I can tell from the set-up will be more interesting than most wedding pictures. The party takes up maybe half the bar, not an imposition. S and I have our first cocktail outside on the patio overlooking the parking lot. It’s downed quickly; it’s the first one, the icebreaker. The patio isn’t exactly Malibu; the parking lot isn’t crashing surf and driftwood charm. I prefer this scenario for easing me into the mood; there’s an urban edge that is more bondage.

The bar itself has cleared, so we take our second cocktail there. I perch my left leg on the lower rung of his barstool and face him. We aren’t at a loss for conversation, an essential thing if I’m going to spend the entire weekend here; it’s by no means certain that I will.

At first I am distracted by the photographer’s strobe — he has set up his studio in the middle of the lounge area. A wall covered in mid-century tschotchkes serves as the backdrop. I’m being lulled by S entirely. I do want to fuck him, I do want to try the many things I’ve fantasized about, to the extent I had to force myself not to think about him in the weeks leading up to this or risk embarrassing myself in public with an erection. Here I am in public, again thinking about what I want to do to him, but I don’t care about my erection. His right forearm is perched idly on my thigh, as if we’ve been together for a few months, but not long enough to be indifferent to each other. I grow stiffer, slump lower in the generous 50s barstool. The next animated gesture and his fingers graze my cock, an accident for S, deliberate for me. His big eyes don’t widen, his big smile doesn’t broaden. He knows to tease me and he does, expertly.

“Perverted boys are so nice” a friend of mine will write to me in a private message online, after I tell him the story of S. “It’s remarkably useful in producing well-adjusted people.” There at the bar, while brushing my hard-on casually with his gestures, as relaxed as he would be scratching his chin in thought, S talks about his work as a physical therapist for people with brain damage. He’s passionate about what he does; I might even call it a vocation, just as everything is about filmmaking for me. He’s going to lead a happier life than most if he loves his work this much. He’s vegan, too, also central to his identity. Ropes and knots are another passion. He once taught knots as a counselor at a Boy Scout camp.

Neither the bartenders nor the wedding party are aware of the surreptitious frottage going in plain view. This excites me more, to the point where it’s time to leave and begin this tutorial.

Drunker now, we make out before getting into the car. I raise our shirts, rub my naked chest against his as we lean against the car, kissing. Then it’s the usual fumbling between new lovers inside the car that doesn’t interfere with the driving. We stop off at the supermarket for supplies: tequila and grapefruit juice.

His apartment is a well-converted basement in a Spanish-style house abutting an organic farm — vineyards, orchards and farms speckle the environs of Santa Barbara. It’s a pleasant place: white, sparse, clean. I can see staying here all weekend.

Saint Sebastian by Guido Reni

Saint Sebastian by Guido Reni

We engage in a typical man-on-man version of foreplay in the kitchen. I ravage him, get his clothes off, absorb his nudity, his entirety for as much as he can give and I can receive in those brief minutes. We taste each other everywhere, then pause… tequila and grapefruit for both of us. Naked, we sit opposite each other at the dining table and talk more and drink. He likes Afro-French pop; he wants to learn French. The problem is a lot of the lyrics are cheesier than a boy band’s; if I can jerk off to the Marquis de Sade in the original, then I understand the cheesy pop lyrics, and they’re not sexy. S finds a happy medium somewhere on his playlist.

We’re settling in. I’m letting this happen naturally. I’m in control because of who I am, not what I feel obliged to perform. I have no inclination to be the eager-to-please top any more; that’s a nasty, insecurity-riddled habit I’m breaking. I used to say “I get off pleasing the bottom,” but that was untrue. More often than not, I just wanted the mediocre sex to end quickly, and not offend and be liked and wanted. (Most sex is mediocre.)

S casually brings out his ‘box of toys’, mostly lengths of rope of varying thicknesses, plus a harness, some dildos, a couple of gags, cock rings. He puts on the harness, and for once I don’t mind it. I’m tactile with my lovers; I’m particularly turned on by stroking soft skin — the back, the shoulders, the chest — and a harness is an obstacle. S has such smooth skin. It should be unobstructed.

S tethers his neck with a collar, a simple inch-wide leather strap, no studs. This is visually appealing; he has a strong, hairless neck, like a frat jock’s bicep. When he talks, his Adam’s apple causes his neck to flex; combined with the generous baritone of his voice, it’s a pleasing effect.

Be-strapped, S settles back in the chair and lets me scan him, acclimatize to him. My leather jacket is on the back of his chair. He wraps it over his shoulders and grunts with pleasure. That jacket has been such a part of me so long that it’s as if I’m watching myself wrap myself around him, cloak him, protect him.

S allows the flow of conversation to go where he wants it: to rope and knots. He unravels a length of white nylon sailing line and asks me to put my wrists together, palms facing each other. I allow him to do this. I watch attentively, eager to learn. I’ve consumed a fair amount of beer and tequila — my focus is woozy. S teaches me how to bind hands together in a way that leaves rope left over that can be tied to something else, a bedpost, a chair, a headboard. The hands are restrained without cutting off circulation.

My hands are bound. If he tried to strap me down right now, he’d have far more power to do it than he did five minutes ago. He playfully tugs on the rope as if he might just do that. I panic for a moment; the loss of control, of being restrained is terrifying to me, even drunk. My expressions rarely belie what I’m feeling; deception is robbery, not the sort of crime that thrills me.

S unties me and has me practice on him. I fumble the first couple of times, a child learning to tie shoelaces. Then I learn that particular knot, assimilate the flow of it. He teaches me another similar knot used to restrain a single wrist or an ankle to a rack of some kind, “Like a St. Andrew’s cross, for instance,” he says.

We pause again. We drink again. The music is still up-tempo Afro-French pop. If he wants to bring me into a less self-conscious space faster, then he should go more down-tempo, maybe a trashy bass. But music is important to him, merely soundtrack for me; in film, this would be a temp track for this scene.

Without asking permission — it has already been given; his eyes are yearning for it — I bind his wrists together in the first knot he showed me. No more talking now. The rest of the rope I secure to the spindle between the legs of his chair. I tease his ass, then gradually insert one of his dildos. It’s smaller than my cock. Good: I’ve been known to get jealous of sex toys that are larger than I am, and most seem to be. Like the ones based on porn stars’ cocks. I’m no porn star.

S moans more as I glide dildo into him. It slides out. I push it back, make him sit more upright so the seat of the chair keeps the dildo firmly in place.

I sit back and look. Here is my bound saint. Bound and penetrated, vulnerable. Ecce homo.

My normal sense of self is thickly veiled by beer and tequila and lust. I no longer need an ego; I am liberated from it through this binding. His life is in my hands, he barely knows me. That is liberating. Now I wish he knew less about me.

I am a camera. I push in from mid-shot to extreme close-up. His legs are spread open, his bound hands creating a V framing his cock and balls — they are already restrained by a steel cock ring. I am on my knees between him, my cock pressed to his. I sink into an early childhood amorphous-polymorphous desire to press myself against a bound man. I press, I rub, I stroke his cock with one hand. My other hand is a serpent gliding across his milken surface — the weathered skin of my forearm, the scaly tattoos. My camera viewpoint scans his strapped neck as I kiss him. He cannot grow a beard, never will; he’s utterly smooth and alabaster, but not a boy, not a Ganymede, very much a young man. If this were In the Realm of the Senses… But this is In the Realm of the Senses: I am there, in the first BDSM film I ever saw, about a Japanese woman who goes crazy after choking her lover to death during sex, so she cuts off his cock and carries it inside her.

There is only one thing to do with that leather strap around the jock’s bicep neck. I switch stroking his cock to my left hand. I wrap the right under the strap, as I might when hoisting a large dog into obedience. I don’t want this to end in death, I don’t even want it to end with a safety word, which we haven’t established; S knows I’m not at all dangerous. Still, I choke him while stroking him; it feels right. The true measure of a man’s pleasure is how hard he is, and S is very hard in my left hand. He gurgles, doesn’t resist at all. I would be thrashing around, barking threats, my cock soft and recoiled with anxiety.

I am this man. I am this: the man who entangles, the control freak pouncing on the sacrifice made to appease him. I consume you, strangle you, bathe in your you-ness. The Old Sea Captain Devouring his Cabin Boy, the erotic masterpiece Francisco Goya never painted. It’s just us adrift with ourselves, naked but for your strappings, you bound, me binding. I could kill you, but that isn’t even a thought much less a desire. It’s a thought that will occur to me only when I replay this scene and admire your trust. Maybe the danger of the possibility of death is what makes you harder. Maybe you’re just a horny kid who needs to be bound and fucked.

Peter Paul Rubens and Frans Snyders, Prometheus Bound, c. 1611-1618

Peter Paul Rubens and Frans Snyders, ‘Prometheus Bound’, c. 1611-1618

I release the collar, fall back from S. First I remove the dildo — it must be done slowly — then the rope. He takes off the harness himself. I lead him into the bedroom and we have vanilla sex for another hour, no leather, the only rubber my condoms. We mutually edge each other to climax, and I ejaculate as hard as I did when I was his age. That’s the effect of his technique.

The next morning I am hung over, a three-alarm hangover that makes me list slightly to the left. There is no coffee, nothing for my usual breakfast. I get most of my protein from animals and their products. S is a dedicated soldier in the vegan army. Where I have egg and dairy cartons in the fridge, S has big clumps of fennel and lettuce that he gets delivered from the farm next door. Without coffee I cannot wake up; I take a heavy antihistamine before I sleep that needs to be counterbalanced by a massive dose of caffeine in the morning.

S keeps reminding me he likes sex in the morning. Normally I don’t care either way, but hangovers do make me feel a little hornier. We fool around; vanilla, no toys, no rope. He jerks himself to climax while lying on top of me, his back against my belly, his healthy legs pinned down by my larger ones, my arm around his neck in a chokehold.

“I’ve never been with someone who wants to choke me before,” S says a few minutes later while we’re getting dressed to go out for brunch. It’s not something I desired to do before I did it, nothing I’ve ever fantasized about. It just felt right; it was the filmic thing to do, the right action for that particular scene. A bit cliché, maybe, but he did have that collar on, and that milky jock-bicep neck needed to be garroted. As for the chokehold minutes before this, I thought that’s what he liked given the response of his cock the night before while he was being strangled.

No more of that, then.

To be continued.

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