Seeing the coldly cordial way we pass each other on the street—10 percent head nod, 20 percent grin—no one would ever guess she had once been the defining sexual partner of my life, bursting through my icy walls of uptight reserve like the Kool-Aid Man. What began as a pretty conventional coupling—though we did fuck on the first date, at her very skillful instigation—became a weird tangle of anxiety and drama in every area except sex. The idea of role-playing had always struck me as embarrassing shtick, until, again at her instigation, I enacted a scenario involving hours of wordless, forceful domination according to her precise instructions. Lying flat on my back to slide my head up between her parted thighs while she knelt—blindfolded, bound, and literally dripping—I felt like a snake wriggling out of its old, useless skin and into a new, better self. It occurred to me that this kind of domination was really a form of submission, which obviously made it hotter. And like any good submission, it continues even now, years later, when we pass on the sidewalk like strangers. "MAHMOUD"

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