A little segue into the world of contraception, a side-line in kinky sexual exploration that follows on from the phrase "fluid-bound". In a world of people who grew up with the terrifying tombstone AIDS campaigns of the 80s and now practice all kinds of putting-things-in-each-other (as a catch-all term for non-vanilla, non-monogamous sex it won't catch on, I don't think) with all kinds-of-people we have become accustomed to insisting that condoms are put on everything, that antibacterial gel and cleaner is one of life's essential fluids alongside gin and coffee and to look askance at situations where sexual fluids might mingle. Certainly within Kinksville, it is the height of (unacceptable) risk play to attempt otherwise and marks you out as a dangerous, unsafe person.
Within the confines of a relationship, the situation is different, and the marker point of deciding to remove the barrier methods between you is a division line that signals the importance, in some respects, of you to each other. You go through a very clear process of trips to the clinic to make sure you are all clear and then you discuss the options. In my case hormonal contraceptives were something of use and value before I realised quite how much better my life was without them. The idea of having to take a pill every single day to stop my body from doing something it was designed to do seems odd to me, and whilst I am not against the use of chemicals for exploration, improvement and enhancement, or for when one is ill, I don't really want to take more than is required. So for me, it was the copper coil or IUD.
I spoke to a few friends who had one implanted, and also did some online research, then quickly stopped after reading a number of the comments. If there's one thing that experience has taught me, it's that different people react in very different ways to objects inserted inside them, and descriptions of pain are also deeply subjective.
I take Ganymede along to the clinic at the appointed time, thanking my stars once again that I live in a civilised country which provides these services for free. He is unable to actually come into the room with me because the doctor is training someone else, so I find myself in the interesting position of being a teaching tool. It won't be the first time. I'm nervous, but probably not in the sense that the doctor expects. After all, I'm entirely sure that I will have experienced worse pain and stranger procedures. However, I have never done this before and things which are new are unsettling. She is kind, and obviously very experienced, which puts me at ease. She explains the procedure and shows me an example IUD, alongside a detailed description of what is going to happen, how it might feel and what I need to know. I feel very well looked after.
Then, the time comes to step behind the plastic curtain, remove my skirt and underwear and lie down on the tissue paper, legs up in the grey stirrups, feeling exposed in that particular way when you remove only part of your clothing to reveal your cunt.
"This might feel a little strange". She isn't wrong, but I smile anyway, thinking of all the things that I've done to other people, that have been done to me, that might well also constitute strange.
The process is in two parts. First, she measures and checks. The anticipated speculum comes out, I'm intrigued to note that there are different sizes, and one which is for taller women such as myself. The cool of the metal and the firm click as it sits in place is familiar, although it has been a while since I've felt it. She puts on gloves and inserts a finger, feeling for any abnormalities, which fortunately she does not find. She also checks the size of my cervix and the measures the depth with a plastic sound. The sensation of the sound sliding inside my vagina is neither here nor there and, frankly, expected. When it goes through the opening of my cervix things get interesting. It doesn't hurt. It is very weird. I think I giggle, which I attempt to subdue, lest I put the good doctor off. I am delighted, in a certain sense, at the new feeling. It's not nice, and certainly not pleasurable, but it does feel different. There is a sliding sensation, not dissimilar to the growing pressure of having a hard cock or dildo pushed inside you, except it's deeper. Much deeper. And not quite right.
My body clenches and I break out into a light sweat at the strangeness of it. It's weird, plain and simple. All of my nerves and muscles are telling me that something is in a place it shouldn't be and I get that rising half-panic from my animal hind-brain which tells me I need to get it out. I hush my less evolved self into a calmed silence, shutting my eyes and focusing on how it feels. I struggle to describe it. It is an intimate, awkward, invasive feeling. I'm trapped in place, aware of the fragility of the moment and the process - what will happen if I buck or twist in the wrong way? The plastic is smooth and thin and I can imagine a line being drawn upwards, inside me. She draws the sound out again and notes a measurement. My body relaxes again, and I breathe out.
The next stage is implanting the IUD itself. There are a series of painkilling options offered beforehand. As my cervix is somewhat dilated we opt for a painkilling gel, rather than an injection. I'm glad I took a couple of ibuprofen beforehand, under the advice of my friends.
The implantation is pretty similar to the measurement. The gel goes in, thick and cool, and once again there's that curious sensation of an unfamiliar space within me filling up. It is at once exciting and deeply disconcerting. This part of me that I cannot see, that I can very rarely feel, is making itself known. The IUD is put inside me and then opened out to form the T shape. Two threads trail out of the cervix and sit at the top of the vagina. I'll be able to check the IUD is in place by feeling for them. Already I'm starting to cramp. Yes, definitely some pain but not unbearable, and a little bit of bleeding. I head home for a lie down, with instructions not to have sex or do anything that might "unsettle" my cervix for seven days.
In all honesty, that was probably the hardest part of the procedure. After four days I cracked and demanded an excess of orgasm from the mouth of Ganymede, which he provided, amused and satisfied by the power behind them (abstinence can do that, as well as increase sensitivity).
A few weeks later and it seems to have settled down nicely. In the first few days I got that uncomfortable, swollen pressure and soreness akin to period pains, stronger than I'm used to, but not the end of the world. The main problem was that ongoing pain makes you tired, and that was quite wearing, plus the intermittent bleeding plus associated mucus was unpleasant and annoying but easily solved: I'm a practical person at heart, and not squeamish. Another lesson from BDSM.