This is how you hurt me.

You take my hand. You straighten the fingers. I can’t see you: I’m on my knees with my forehead on the floor, my hands bound behind me. It takes a moment to understand what you want; to surrender these tiny muscles so that you can move them. I breathe, relax my palms, let you shape my body as you want it.

To write about someone, to be written about, is a special kind of intimacy. You asked for, demanded, a story.

The next day we didn’t touch, but this intimacy was happening—mediated by pen on paper, by imagination (mine), by language itself. Bunnies fuck, but only people talk about fucking, transmute it into meaning.

That magic is what makes us gods, isn’t it?

We are generating heat. From the small taut tendons of your arm, through the cane, to my palm: heat. From my hand back into yours: heat.

You hit my open palm with a heavy stick, one you found on the beach on our morning walk. I have never been hit there before, and it hurts. It’s not a sexy pain, not an erotic zone of my body. It sears.

You must sense the crests of sensation: how? Am I moaning, am I crying out? In between you hold my hand—sympathizing with the pain you’ve caused, and glorying in it, too.

In these pauses, your hand is smooth and cool, like mercy.

Now, remembering, that same heat rises through my body. My face flushes. If you’re reading this, halfway around the world, do you feel it, too?  This transaction is not just molecules. It’s an intimacy like no other. It means.

As a writer I am also a theoretician, but not your kind, cool and abstract, nearly scientific. I don’t have to do experiments, test my hypotheses on rats, engage in longitudinal studies of semiotics.  I just know, and then I have to trust what I know: what my body knows. What your body might know too, if you let it.  Every day I try to make this transmutation: matter into energy, dross to gold.

What the world sees as base, as sordid—the desire of one to hurt and the other to be hurt—we convert into a kind of transcendence, a space where spirits touch. It’s a space where we know… not each other, exactly, but know ourselves to be part of one energy, one field.

Krishna says, I am the field and the knower of the field.

Beyond religion: Hegel too believed that, in the relationship of master to slave, spiritual unity was possible.

It scares you, doesn’t it, this moment of synthesis?

When I write I walk toward this fear every day. With each blank page I face the terror of not being enough, of being too much, of being consumed, of remaining unknown. The world tells us we are wrong a thousand different ways every day. So of course we are afraid.

You tell me I am brave, and I realize it’s true. Fear has been my teacher, the one who wears the mask of god.

You make me talk. I tell you how brilliant you are and how scared I am, but you say I must be lying on both counts. You accuse me of flattery.

It occurs to me how young you are, how little you know your own beauty and genius, your power. I, irrepressibly rebellious—I who more than once have screamed no-no-no at a woman with a whip, to make her tame me—want nothing more than to be on my knees for you.

You hit me again, again.

From you I took more pain than I’ve ever taken before. I didn’t tell you that afterward; it was a little prize I withheld, the way you withheld something from me. Is pettiness is the opposite of intimacy?

Story is what we make to survive the pain. Again I don’t mean you and me, I mean our species. I don’t know how bunnies survive their suffering, but you and I and all our kind make narrative.

You didn’t want the intimacy to seep, like a wound, out of the scene. But your instruction, to write you a story, kept me in that space of intimacy while you distanced yourself from it; from me. I didn’t see the trap. I didn’t know I was meant to emote for both of us.

So maybe I was clenching my hands and you had to keep opening them, had to move my fingers out of the way, so as not to break my joints when you hit me. The story I made was that you held my hand through the pain, that you soothed the fire of my hurting.

Later I could have spun this into a big tale of love or the possibility of love. Later you could pretend this gesture was all logistics. Which is a lie, which a fantasy?

We are human; is it possible to avoid drifting, in every direction, from the truth?

After the pain, the reward.

I am choking on your cock and my throat resists, I gag but I don’t want to stop, and you let me keep going and you wipe the tears from my eyes and I feel beautiful.

I thought you’d understood my offering. What does a gift want more than to be given? What can a god want more than a willing sacrifice?

Next time I negotiate, this is what I will say: Touch me, fuck me, hurt me—but don’t you dare back away.

The poet Hafiz said, Art is the conversation between lovers. That impulse toward intimacy, six centuries ago, let him live into our time and beyond.

So whatever our separate stories, I know what I felt. It wasn’t nothing, and it wasn’t just a little something. For that moment—that present moment which, in its intensity, is eternal—it was everything.

This is how you hurt me.

Virgin publication! “Mouth”

She had a name, but tonight she would just be Mouth…

That’s the first sentence of my first-ever commercially published smut, available NOW!

…She painted on her bright red lipstain, shuddering as the moist aphrodisiac gel touched the six sensitive neuro-crystals in her lips. They sparked and sparkled…

It’s a raunchy (of course) story set in a post-gender world where sex and gender are defined by pleasure, not biology or reproduction. Everyone’s gender in this future world will be defined by their primary sexual organ, which they can enhance through special pleasure-focused surgeries.

…The silk brushed against her lips so lightly that she felt naked. She imagined a breeze lifting the veil, exposing her genitalia to everyone…

Our heroine is a Mouth who gets invited to a very special party with a Cock, a Cunt, an Ass, and a mysterious mistress whose gender is only revealed at the climax (really!) of the story.

She kneeled, blind, genitals wide open, breathing. If she was to be a hole…

It was super exciting to be selected. The editor, Lauren P. Burka, has chosen an amazing array of stories for the Circlet Press anthology Up For Grabs 2: Exploring More Worlds of Gender.

In my story, “Mouth,” I did away with patriarchy and gender binaries by getting rid of “men” as a linguistic category — nifty, eh? — while keeping the, ahem, genital variation they bring to the party.

I was blown away by the various ways that the other writers imagined a post-gender or non-binary-gendered world.

I think this anthology is revolutionary because people often think that binary difference is what’s sexy — that heterosexuality, or something that mimics it, is the only way to create a certain kind of sexual tension.

In this anthology, we prove them wrong!

Please help me celebrate the end of my smut-writing virginity by:

tweeting, Facebooking, etc. about it this week (yes, do it now!  first-week sales really help!)

reviewing it on your blog (email m.svairini at gmail if you would like a review copy)

buying an ebook for yourself here

gifting ebooks to friends (birthday? Valentine’s Day?) here

suggesting it to any book reviewers or bloggers you know who would be interested

sharing it on any listserves you can think of that would be interested

Thank you! I promise that you will reap lots of warm wet hot karma for any of these acts.

Kaliyuga Yoni

This monologue was originally written and performed as part of Yoni Ki Baat, an ensemble show inspired by Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues and produced by the South Asian Sisters collective.

Photo by Poulomi Desai / Red Threads

THE OTHER NIGHT in a San Francisco dungeon, in a blissful haze brought on by too many orgasms, I looked up at the half-stranger with hir fist half up my cunt and said dreamily, “That’s so nice…”

“Nice?” she snarled, “Did you say I’m nice?” She grabbed my pussy lips, squeezed so hard that waves of shock and pain traveled up and down my body — as I came again, and again. Earlier she had pleased a crowd by hitting me with a leather flogger till I wept, she had run the sharp blade of hir knife over my skin till I trembled, flying on fear and arousal. It must have been the rush of adrenaline and endorphins that made me forget she would consider “nice” to be anything but a compliment.

My vagina is queer, more queer than I am: She walks by two gay men with their poodles and thinks of lifting her skirt so that all four of them can fuck her. My vagina wears a string of pearls to the sex club so that my dyke Daddi can pull up my skirt under the black light and see pearls gleaming ultraviolet against a nest of dark curls. Underneath are folds of brown and purple and pink flesh; deep inside is a creaminess that matches the pearls. For my vagina is femme, and a poet, and an artist who enjoys the synchronicity of color, texture, and arousal. Pearls feel good in the mouth, too, Daddi says.

MY VAGINA LIKES to sit on Daddi’s lap and pretend to be a virgin, though she shed her virginity the first chance she got, freshman orientation week in college, with a boy she never talked to again. She likes to hear Daddi talk about putting hys thick cock in her tiny, tight twat. But really she is wet and ready to suck ten inches of lavender silicone all the way to her cervix, the sweet spot in the back that feels new and beautiful and wide-open, not virginal but personal and transcendent, every time. My vagina likes to be slapped, and pinched, and clamped with wooden clothespins that look innocent as summer laundry, and feel vicious as thumbscrews. My vagina likes to crawl, to be denied, to be forced to beg, to be forced open as if she is the most unwilling cunt in the world.

She doesn’t like the word yoni; in English, it sounds spiritual and soft, new agey, shallow as a henna tattoo.

She prefers cunt, as in wet cunt, nasty cunt, naughty cunt, bad cunt, good cunt, beautiful cunt. Cunt from the Sanskrit word for well, or spring, a deep source: kund, as in kundalini. As in the word for menstrual blood: kundapushpa, flower of the holy well. Red. Violent. The taste of birth and death, of origins.

SHE ALSO LIKES PUSSY, as in sweet pussy, precious pussy, pussy needing to be stroked, whose pussy is it, Daddi’s pussy, yes, give it to me, show me your pussy, open it, spread your pussy wide for me, Yes Syr I will. My cunt will say Yes Daddy and Yes Sir and Yes Ma’am and Mistress and Oh Goddess and Fuck me Oh God Please, but she will not say Mummy and Pappa, nor can she reconcile herself with the languages of repressed childhood. My cunt has never begged to be fucked in Marathi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Hindi, Sanskrit.

Maybe in a few years she will be fluent in other languages. Some say she was the first word, the kund from which all other words spring, the deep well from which the first Om rose like an echo of her true name.

Maybe that’s why my cunt can absorb all the suffering of the Kaliyuga, what the Hindus believe is our epoch of confusion, corruption, plagues. My cunt dreams of violation, of rape and prostitution and incest. When I was eight years old I spent hours in bed telling myself the story of Cinderella, how her evil stepsisters tormented her. The prince was supposed to come and rescue her in the end, of course, but my baby vagina enjoyed the torture scenes more. I did not know why I was touching myself as poor Cinderella endured more and more delicious forms of suffering. Most nights, Prince Charming never arrived.

MY CUNT LISTENS to my aunties’ stories about discipline in Indian schools, and she envisions a boarding-school filled with sadistic desi butch and femme teachers who force bad girls to stay after class, pull up their skirts and pull down their panties, and submit them to the discipline of metal rulers and canes.

My cunt is both exhibitionist and voyeur. She fantasizes a world without STDs so that she could have safe anonymous sex all the time. My cunt rides the Muni and thinks of being forced to give a blowjob to the nastiest, smelliest man on the bus. She gets so wet I have to squeeze my legs together and stare out the window and think about Buddhism to keep from soaking through my skirt.

Birth after birth, lifetime upon lifetime of suffering — sometimes I feel I want to pull it all into my body and transform it through my body into pleasure. The mind has no shame, observe the Buddhists. My cunt has no shame, despite everyone’s best efforts, especially my own. Now I am practicing radical acceptance: Every desire can be named, spoken, examined, and — maybe — fulfilled.

BEFORE PLAYING with the edges of these desires, my cunt insists on a lot of negotiation. Vanilla folks don’t understand that S&M begins with talk, sometimes hours and hours of talk: This is what I want, this is what I cannot take; and you? My cunt has definite limits. She takes references. She knows whom she trusts and whom not, in whose hands she will be safe to enter the danger zones.

But the trust also expands, limits soften and shift and melt away. At first my cunt was afraid of knives. Now in the right hands she likes the cool steel blade resting at her throat while a finger, two fingers, a whole hand tunnel their way up inside her corridors. At first she could not imagine a fist resting in her, but now there is nothing she loves more than its slow opening and closing, expanding and contracting, inhaling and exhaling, folding and unfolding, like a heart. Breathing, the rhythm of the present moment. Nirvana is right here, and sometimes we touch it.

My cunt and I, we are learning to move toward the deepest levels of our fear. This is the nature of our lust.


The photographs in this post are taken from a YouTube slide show of images by U.K. photographer Poulomi Desai, collected in the gorgeous, amazing, sex-radical book Red Threads by Parminder Sekhon and Poulomi Desai.