Under His Hand

The journal of a slave

April A to Z — K is for…

K is for Kissing.

Many, many moons ago, I wrote about how my childhood trauma had left me unable to enjoy a deep kiss. A quick peck I could handle, but a lengthy or, god forbid, a french kiss was a serious trigger.

My reactions to a deep kiss are visceral, unpleasant. The immediate response is to get away. To jerk and jump away, like a spider just ran across my arm.

Then I’m flooded with anger- deep, intense, irrational, claw-your-eyes-out anger.

There’s a wave of nausea; the kind that makes your saliva come too fast and makes you swallow too hard.

And then feeling… squicked. Just, icky. I have to wipe my mouth, I have to get a drink of water to change the taste, to change the lingering, crawling sensation.

I’ll get breathless, but not swoony-breathless, more like hyperventilating breathless. My lungs will feel emptied, like I can’t fill them. Should the kiss last for more than a second, I will feel like I am being suffocated, like I am under water. I can’t breathe, at all, and then.. Panic.

I might walk away and need a moment to compose myself. I’ll be shaky, maybe only inside, but maybe outside, too. I’ll need a minute to… stop wanting to stab you.

We’re talking about events that happened between 30 and 40 years ago. Talk about your lingering side effects!

Master and I have been together for almost 12 years now. Master likes to kiss. Master is not a psychologist, and neither have I always been self-aware enough to know why I felt the way I did, or how to deal with it.

Looking back, there were some serious mistakes. He tried to force. I tried to pretend. He liked to do the whole movie-scene, unsuspecting, dipped, lingering kiss (worst. move. ever. Cue immediate and lengthy panic, and hours of anxiety, and weeks/months of being on edge every time he came near me).

It’s odd to me that of all the ways that childhood trauma could have manifested itself it went like this- with kissing. Yes, there are traumatic moments related to kissing, but so are there with many other sexually related activities, and I’m okay with all of them.

Though I did have to do some mental gymnastics to “get over” being triggered by him waking me up in the middle of night by way of fondling/groping/stabbing me with his dick. What’s odd though is that I DID. I mean, I got over it. It is not in any way a trigger for me anymore, and I got over that relatively quickly with him.

But this kissing business had proved a much harder trigger to be in control of.

I’m better now. Which is why, today, K is for Kissing. :)

Flash forward these past 12 years and I’m in a relatively good place with kissing. I can still be triggered by it, but it’s much less often. I can’t do the sneak attacks, and while that puts a harsh on his spontaneity buzz, being catapulted into a panic attack harshes my buzz, too, yo.

But it’s not as if I need him to step back and say, loudly and clearly, “I’m going to kiss you now” (though, truth be told, he HAS done exactly that. I just don’t need it like that *anymore*) but I do need just a second to stomp down on that trigger.

He almost always starts with a couple of pecks on the lips as a lead in (or, if you’re me and you’re fucked up like I am- you might call it a warning). Then perhaps a short flick of the tongue. By then, I’m ready. Usually. I still get a little bit of that drowning feeling if it’s too long of a kiss, so mostly we just don’t have long, lingering kisses, and that’s okay. I don’t really know what I’m doing, mentally, to “be ready”, I just know that I am, that it’s different when I have a minute versus not having any, or enough, warning.

Trauma is weird, right?

Sometimes, I’ll even be the one to initiate the kiss. And enjoy it. And not feel anything unpleasant at all.

Another 30 or 40 years and I might be over it completely, lol.

Oy vey.

2 Responses to “April A to Z — K is for…”

  • di

    Trauma is weird, yes. Flashbacks are flashbacks. Our brains don’t recognize time having passed and it is easy to get lost in the flashback. I get flashbacks of childhood sexual abuse if my husband goes anywhere near my upper lip. After first warning him that it gave me flashbacks, he did it any way. Once. He’ll never do that again, trust me. (No one was dismembered, nor seriously injured, but I got my point across.)

    There is a wonderful writing on flashbacks that I have given out to sexual abuse survivors for twenty five years or so. I don’t know if you allow links on feedback here, but here is the link to Laurieann Chutis’ discussion of flashbacks. Hope it helps:


  • jade

    When we were invited (read: forced) to do group therapy at the DV Shelter, i remember being outraged when the volunteers would come in and tell us that it had been twenty years, or 30, or more, and some things still triggered them. Now, i’m most thankful for that bit of info. i can’t handle tickling, of all things. Instant rage. Yep. Thanks child abuse. From a professional standpoint, i don’t think it matters how long ago a traumatic event was, how strange it may seem that a less “significant” thing is what the trauma got attached to, or anything else. You figured out how to work through it. That is what matters, i think, esp in regards to learning how to stop the panic when it starts. i’m a fan of using all of my senses to stay in present time, which is why i carry gum and lotion everywhere. i’m glad you shared this. And that you can enjoy a kiss now and then. :D


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