by Jade T Perry – Read By Candace Simpson
“Kink / bdsm can be a corrective emotional experience. When we give our body & nervous system a new experience, or an experience with a different ending than before, we heal.” -Andrea Glik, LMSW, @somaticwitch
“Pour water into a Dixie cup. Place the Dixie cup into the freezer. Once frozen, tear the paper around the top layer of the cup so that a bit of ice is exposed. Place the ice onto the arch of your foot. Go along the fascia in a circular motion for 20 minutes.
Take the night sock and pull your feet up into a flexed position. Sleep this way. Wrap or tape your foot in the morning. Repeat.”
Repeat until the nights blend into one another. Repeat until a new Doctor offers the shots that don’t make things any better. Repeat until you keep repeating until you keep…
“Let us know if you lose any feeling.”
Touch became complicated after the Doctors, the physical therapists, the X-ray techs, and the many hands of well-intended prayer groups. More often than not, these touches made my body feel like a problem to be solved. Since my teenage years, I’d dealt with worn out tendons, micro-tears, and then it was on to degenerating discs, pinched back nerves, and the clusterfuck of Doctor’s visits.
My feet knew the small shock of electric needles needed to test for nerve damage. They could anticipate the cold, squishy plastic of medical gloves, the poking of fingers onto tender places, just before a quizzical, “Does that hurt?” They swelled and bruised after my body rejected the cortisol shot. The sting lasted for weeks, running hot when the Doctor said a smaller dose would have been more helpful. Each step throbbed when I was asked to walk up to the altar to receive a prayer for healing. No one caught the irony. And on. And on.
Slowly, over time, my consciousness disengaged. It was enough effort to make sure that the pain was managed and to try to keep up with the costs of orthopedic shoes. Plus, there was potential for the pain to dull – still there – but expressing itself in low thrums if I played things safe. Wasn’t that “enough”?
The first time I saw my feet with any erotic intent was when an out-of-town lover began to worship them. A conversation about my bright-orange pedicure turned into a few soft and consensual caresses.
“Can I take you to the bedroom?”
“I live in a studio! Technically, we’re already there.”
I laid on the bed. He lifted my aching heels in the palm of his hands and the blood rushed into them quickly… too quickly for my body to register the sensation. I drew my breath in sharply and closed my eyes.
“Too much? Am I hurting you?”
“No. I’m just… Go slow…”
He placed his lips close to my right heel, lingering there, building sensation with the warmth of his mouth before kissing me. Then, he moved towards the arch and did the same. We stayed in this space as time stretched around us and when he placed his mouth around the bright-orange pedicure paint, my legs tingled and shook with orgasmic expression.
“Turn over, babe.”
She helped me roll onto my back and I traced the squiggly red lines that the heating pad had left on my stomach. I focused on breathing, raising my hips on an inhale as she slid the pillow under me, making sure that it cradled my tailbone. I extended my thighs into a butterfly, exhaling into the sensation of warmth from her mouth kissing my inner thigh. Her hips moved along rhythmically down by my feet as her tongue continued its inward movement. I noticed the softness of her cotton underwear, feeling it with the side of my foot, angling to touch her as her hips rolled down.
Sometimes, I notice the ways my toes curl during orgasm. I fear that they will go into spasm, staying curled and painfully contracted. And if the temperature in the room drops, then it’s a possibility that…
An audible breath brings me back into the moment. But this time, it wasn’t mine. I felt the warmth of her against the side of my foot and softly pressed upward until…
My experiences of sex, disability, and chronic pain have been a journey of reclamation – bringing my overwhelmed, stressed-out body back to erotic sensation. It has meant giving up on one, concrete definition of sex. It’s learning to surrender to an entire spectrum of actions and erotic responses. Sometimes, this happens with a partner but many times it happens alone. Most likely, it’s after I’ve soaked in Epsom salt and recovered the small bottle of rosemary oil. Lubricating my feet with it and breathing deeply into the archways. It’s a certain kind of magic-making: asking the elements of salt, rosemary oil, heat, and breath to collaborate.
It typically starts as a way to decrease pain or an attempt to bring some flexibility into the area. That is, until I see the Hitachi wand. I turn it into its lowest setting, rubbing the oil deeper into my foot, and breathe. And I think of all of the “new endings” I want to give my feet. I think about ways to seduce them, build their trust in my own loving touches. Sometimes, I prefer the sensation of my own hands to the wand so that I can knead red circles of warmth into my flesh. Sometimes, my girlfriend hears me moaning. Sometimes, this is how I practice healing.
Jade T. Perry
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