Reflection

The Code d’Odalisque:
BDSM revisited

by Marilyn Jaye Lewis

She told me to lie down on the couch, which I did, and then she suggested
that she would be the mommy and I
the baby. She moved to pull down my pants, explaining that I had been bad, that I’d wet myself and was going to
be spanked.

My fascination with the eroticism of spankings began that day, when I was a shy five-year-old, playing house with a seven-year-old girl from up the block. It was Cleveland, Ohio, 1965. The quote is excerpted from my erotic memoir, “A picture in a frame,” written when I was forty-six and wherein I documented my lifelong craving for bondage & discipline [in Entangled Lives: Memoirs of 7 Top Erotica Writers, ed. Marilyn Jaye Lewis, publ. Alyson Books, 2007.]

When I turned eleven, my family moved to Columbus, Ohio, a city that to me felt more like a small town; it was so suburban, it was practically rural. I was never very happy there. I’d also passed from being simply shy to being an introvert. I attracted friends readily enough, but I much preferred being alone, spending countless hours closed up in my room. Mostly, I played

records on a small portable record player, usually some rock’n’roll song played over and over and over. The rhythm of the song transported me to my imaginary world, a world that I’d crafted out of desperation – it sheltered me from the increasingly unhappy hours spent at home with my adoptive family.

My “real world” was an upper middle-class house that lacked none of the comforts of modern life, but in that house, joy rarely flowed. Instead, the atmosphere was critical to the point of cruelty; it was confrontational, pessimistic and unforgiving; it was a world where I was often emotionally abused and, at times, physically abused. It was a house where love might be doled out – it might not; there was never a sense love was bestowed freely there.

My imaginary world, however, was a warm and erotic place. It was filled with joy, even though it was masochistic as well as incestuous. For in that compelling place, I reveled in fantasies of corporal punishment – of all varieties, not just spankings anymore – and further, I had shifted my sexually

submissive focus from the girls in the old neighborhood in Cleveland, to my biological father; a man whom I hadn’t yet met but with whom I’d become obsessed. Alone in my head with my make-believe dad (a man I was convinced was “out there”, waiting for me to find him), I learned all about sex. Even though I was only eleven and had not yet learned any of the acts involved in lovemaking, in that world in my head, my father and I made love and practiced what would be called, by anyone’s standards, hardcore bondage and discipline.

When the time came for me to have sex in the real world, I didn’t lose my virginity, so much as begged a man to terminate the condition for me. This happened when I was thirteen and was already unbearably bursting with hormones and curiosity about sex. The man of course, in keeping with my fantasies of my biological dad, was much older than me; he was a grown man. And although he didn’t discipline me, he was still a dream come true for a few hours one Saturday afternoon in my girlhood. He was smart and tall, like me; and introverted – a classical violinist with very long hair who smoked

SDk Interview with Marilyn Jaye Lewis

At home in Cleveland, 1962, aged 2.

 

SDk Interview with Marilyn Jaye Lewis

At a camp in 1969, aged 9.

nonfiction
nonfiction
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