Being Little

I have only ever called two men Daddy. Neither of them were my father. When I first began experimenting with BDSM, I was much more comfortable with words like Sir and Master; they have a certain civil politeness about them that doesn't feel quite as filthy, or as intimate, as Daddy. With my first boyfriend, it never felt like the right title. I remember the way I cringed every time he reminded me to use it, a game that quickly became a chore. It only began to come naturally with someone who never, ever required me to be a grown-up, a later partner who remains one of my favourite people and dearest friends.
ddlg

I am wounded when he and I start seeing each other. We are friends above all else, and so I take him out to a press event at a cocktail bar, a non-date. Both dressed-up and drunk enough to make long, unflinching eye-contact, he runs his fingers through my hair and gently pulls my head to one side, just to see if I will allow him to move me. We hold hands on the way home as he reassures me there's time, that I don't need to panic about missing my train. He can see my nerves tremble whenever I mention the hour, the station, or look at my ticket, but he does not question me too hard. Being friends, no one is trying to destroy or humiliate the other.

And so it happens very quickly. My voice falls out softer and higher in his presence. Yes, daddy. Please, daddy. Deeper, daddy. He is a foot taller than me and when we hug I can hear his heart. I swap one train journey for another, and sleeping and waking starts to get a bit easier, because being little means being cared for. No endearment is too silly or embarrassing. The smaller I feel, the less anxious I become. Even though this is all happening at the wrong time - even though I am often distant and non-commital and everything else I hated people for being before I was wounded myself - I am no longer afraid to wake up and remember what hurts. I am his babygirl. I have permission, and that knowledge keeps me on the earth.

ddlgThe sexual roles I go to out of habit feel like affected and ridiculous characters, an unnecessary layer between us that needs to come down before we can begin. Kitten, bunny, secretary, a devoted Grecian slave tending her warrior. He wants none of them, and what we have left afterwards is somehow the opposite; a regression, a stripping away of everything I have learned in order to please men. He knows when to choke me and when to let me breathe. The rules are designed so that I am forced to practice self-care, they do not exist merely to trip me up and bring me punishment. He knows I have been punished enough. We take our clothes off as soon as we are alone, and the sex becomes our clearest form of communication, an adoration without cruelty. Something in me unbreaks. We spend hours watching Disney movies and eating junk food in bed, and after fucking I fall asleep on his chest, unshowered, and dream of nothing. I am held in place.

ddlg

Babygirls are often misunderstood. Being little has nothing to do with fantasizing about incest, or pretending to be younger than you are. Those things are normal, healthy kinks in their own right, and as much as I want to clarify a distinction, I also don't feel the need to make too fine a point about it. In their essence, all relationships like these are about the exquisite contrast of a childlike spirit within a sensual, adult body. They are about giving and receiving care in the most raw and instinctive form, and relearning a sense of profound safety that we all lose as we live. They're about healing. Everything else is play.

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