Last weekend officially marked the beginning of spring and therefore time to skip merrily back onto the scene. I had both a date who was going to teach me how to set him on fire, and an invitation to go to Chiaroscuro's house for a small play party. I always enjoy these parties because they are usually very fluid, queer and kink heavy, and very open to experimentation, I usually come away feeling relaxed, floaty and having learnt or done something new, as well as feeling satisfied that my esoteric urges have been sated. Friday did not disappoint.
Like a scene from a film, I packed a leather holdall and headed out with a spring in my step and everything I might need for the weekend over my shoulder. Spare clothes, washbag, party outfits for Saturday and some kit: flogger, wickedly sharp metal chopsticks and a small knife. The basics. After work I met up with my date and we head off into the night. Somewhere a soundtrack was playing, I imagine. Ninety degrees from reality, with the sun set and the dark blue sky pinpricked with stars and neon glares. It's the other world I live in, the one in which I feel absolutely free and absolutely myself. A world of bodies, pleasure and pain. It's the world I miss when I don't have enough time for it - as I currently do not, and one that I'm working hard to return to.
And last weekend reminded me of why I need to be there.
We arrived, had drinks and met the other guests, some of whom I knew already, two were new. A nice way to meet new people is to turn up to a sex party and get naked. It's the ultimate ice-breaker. My date had a small red metal tin, in which was a lighter and a small bag of cotton-wool like substance. Flash cotton. He took a small piece and spread it out thinly, giving instructions as he did so. We watched. Rapt. Like the beginning of a magic trick, and indeed, flash cotton is part of the stage magicians toolkit. Perverts and magic go hand in hand - we like games of trickery that induce oohs and ahs (especially if there is applause). He set fire to the cotton, it burnt quick, bright and orange. Almost as soon as it arrived, it was gone. A puff of fire, blink and you'll miss it. I clapped my hands, delighted.
I carefully placed the cotton on the back of my hand, and, taking a deep breath, lit it. It flared up and I let out a bark of surprise, but before the noise had left my mouth the fire, and it's brief heat, was gone, leaving only a vague warmth and slight odour. I giggled. This was going to be fun.
This of course meant that we were breaking Rule One (do not be on fire), but in general it appeared we were pretty happy with that. Several wads of cotton and the smell of burning hair in the air, we left the lounge and went into the bedroom where we shed clothes. Chiaroscuro and I had settled on our chemicals for the night, and were experimenting inhaling red balloons full of nitrous oxide. We looked like very bad circus clowns. Very bad.
I'd never tried this before, so watched carefully the pattern of inhalation. Breathing the gas in from the balloon, then re inflating with exhalations, repeating until the world becomes a small white pinprick in the centre of your vision and your ears ring. Like the sensation of being very deep underwater, except with additional euphoria. Laughing gas, to be precise. Continuing in the vein of experiments we passed balloons around, holding the gas as long as we could and kissing, deeply, upon exhaling. Feeling our partners melt in our mouths, the delicate feeling of tongues and lips against the tingling sensation of the chemicals.
The final circus act involved knives and other sharp, metal objects. I bade my date to lie down, face upon the bed. The room became quiet and I was keenly aware that I had an audience. I took a metal chopstick in each hand and began to scratch down his back. In the silence you could hear the skin ruffle and tear as red lines began to appear. He moaned. That wonderful, mascohistic noise. Not the clenched teeth or the yelps of someone for whom pain is a shock and an intrusion, but the delicate purr of a body that can settle into the floating endorphin stream that I carefully submerged him into. Playing with pain is an art, knowing the way you need to layer it on, to pause, to pace yourself, watching and waiting all the time for the twitches and responses from the bottom as they begin to dance underneath you. Dancing with them and riding their feelings. Taking them to a long, slow crescendo and then helping them down, like a gentleman holding out his hand for a lady to descend the staircase.