Sex. Celebrity. Politics. With Teeth
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Sex. Celebrity. Politics. With Teeth

Fury-Pegging the Colonizer

He was a white cishet Frenchman, and I am a queer Chinese American woman with millennia of rage surging through my body.
Image: Natalie Peeples
By
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Is it okay to hold my rage in a white-flesh dildo strapped to my crotch, with the tip—just the tip—hovering at the lip of a white Frenchman’s lubricated asshole?

As I said, it’s lubricated.

And I’m not white.

Just last week he’d called me a dirty Chinese. (He was joking though, no bad intentions.) His friend was over for aperitif and they were pontificating, in French, about human rights in China. After roughly seven minutes they looked at me as if I’d suddenly brûléed their peripheral vision.

Non? he blinked at me. Don’t you seenk?

This is what I think about while I stare at the quivering strap-on. He bought it, so it actually belongs to him. The whole situation feels like Halloween, but I’m not quite pulling it off because the witch’s nose doesn’t match the color of her face. And then I start thinking: If I had an actual cock, my very own, what would I do with it?

Would I fuck this guy?

Is it okay to fury-peg a colonizer?

Because that cock is very sturdy. And I am very, very angry.

“Shut the fuck up,” I say à propos of nothing. I snap on sleeved gloves, wield the riding whip that’ll double as a teacher’s cane, and prepare to introduce him to post-colonialism.

“Now listen very, very carefully,” I whisper across the vast, white expanse of his back.


The first time I saw this guy, he was stripping his heart out in five-inch stilettos on a pole in a Berlin club. He wore a latex skirt, corset, tights, a garter belt, and was dipping his ass with the thigh strength of a speed-skater.

“Wow,” I said out loud. Around his neck was a corded leash he used to flirt with himself. He winked and moved his hips in ways that felt full and familiar. I learned it from watching you all, he told me much later. The women hung back as he made the entire platform his.

It was my first time in a fetish club. My route there is a banal story—I’m sure your roommates have also dragged you places—but my intention wasn’t: I was fed up. Inhabiting the world as an Asian woman has deglazed enough rage to incinerate an entire country of kitchens and massage parlors and math class and wherever the fuck else they think we belong. For the past six years, I’ve lived in Berlin, where my entrance to a local bar is still announced with a gong. I’m on the old continent, meaning I’m back at the source of it all. And sometimes I need a release. A big one.

We all know that payback, in any form, is an asymptote; it’s not there, what you’re looking for. But in cinema, in art, the greatest catharsis was always suspension: In that sliver of air, however risky, however breathless to take, there could be a full-beat glitch where a woman like me code-switches from underneath, and we’d all believe it to be true.

I’m talking about a power trade.

I’m talking about a dungeon, which dangled before me a flush, dazzling reverie: Maybe this room could free you, it whispered from behind a fog machine.

The best way to find out, I thought, was probably to get on the other end of that leash.


A month later, I’m holding a key in my hand. It opens the stainless steel cage containing his cock, which is crammed so far up there I have to look away.

“Does that hurt?” I ask.

“Nah.”

The look on his face reminds me of the moment before cutting into a steak.

“Have fun,” he winks.

I’m late to a friend’s dinner party, so I throw on my coat and beam out of his apartment, where he’s going to stay chained to the wooden post of the loft he’d built in the living room. Out on the street, the key’s rattle in my pocket feels like I’m the one under house arrest.

I arrive at my friend’s place ready to mingle and eat the four curries he’s prepared. I’m the one in charge, I remind myself. I leave my phone on the table and perch atop a chair, accept a glass of riesling, and butt into a conversation about relationships. Twenty minutes later my phone lights up and goes dark, lights up and goes dark, lights up and goes dark. In charge, I repeat to myself, but swoop in on my next lean over the table.

I’m waiting for you, mistress, he writes in French. What do you want me to do?

Um, I think. Absolutely nothing. I want you to disappear, actually. I want to kill this lukewarm wine and get poured a fresh, chillier one, and talk to this woman over here. I do not want to pay attention to my phone or think about your cock inside a cage.

But instead I write: Shut up and behave.

I consider whether this is a good enough answer—whether it will get him to actually leave me alone while also playing the act. I shelve the phone.

Seconds later it’s lit again.

He’s written: How?

I stare at the screen. If I respond, it would erode my authority. Ignoring him would keep it intact, but is that cruel when he’s chained indefinitely to a post? (Are the lines of consent ever blurry for a man telling a woman exactly how to humiliate him? Who’s the sub here, really?) It’s becoming violently clear to me that I don’t know where the lines are, and whether my real life—does all of this count as real life?—is part of the play. The suspicion that my dinner with friends has become a narrative device in his erotic fantasy begins to engulf me with all the heat and dread of a woman’s consciousness.

A later iteration of me will roll their eyes and scream BOUNDARIES. But back there, I was just trying on clothes. I wanted to see how power was produced. And if I was to go with Foucault’s reminder that power is not “held” by any person or agency, but is rather a regime of truth, this meant that I would have to situate my own knowledge first.

What did I know?

  1. I was not aroused by any of the sex acts.
  2. I was very interested in the sex acts.
  3. Sometimes I didn’t have a flying clue what to say or do during the sex acts, and this made me feel like a bad dom.
  4. I didn’t know if I even liked being a dom.
  5. At times, the sex acts felt like a lot of work.
  6. I was not getting paid for the sex acts.

I texted him back. I bought myself time to enjoy my evening. Then I went back to his place and freed his cock, which was starting to look like a dehydrated zucchini left on a grill. We talked a bit about my night, and then he asked me if I wanted to torture his ass. I hung up my jacket and put down my bag like a tired housewife.


Is it meaningful to write about my body’s experience without addressing the race question? Or as the scholar Celine Parreñas Shimizu asks in The Hypersexuality of Race, “Why am I obsessed with the sexualities of Asian/American women on screen and in their relationship to the scenes of everyday life?” Is there a dungeon in which my otherness is not part and parcel to a fantasy? The answer is no: There is no order to this. It’s compressed, like the smoke of a car crash. Outside the dungeon, he was a white, cishet man from France. He wore Vans and ran a bike shop. He left French radio on around the clock in his flat, and wanted to go skiing with his future kids. Occasionally he posted about fintech on Facebook.

Outside the dungeon, I am a queer Chinese American woman. No amount of rope, whip, or gag will rattle this ladder. The fact is, I’m so used to seeing bodies like mine perpetually casted me so horny for the white imagination that I cannot even slough off the deadweight of sideways sight—the one that sees myself through this prism—to locate my own desire. In fact, I cannot even seek knowledge without heartbroken rage, the kind I had reading Melissa Febos’s account of being a professional dominatrix and walking into a passage like this:

Bella, a thirty-two-year-old Chinese-American woman who could pass for a preadolescent, had issued a stream of expletives… “Just imagine my sranted yerrow pussy under my panties you srobbering pig wouldn’t you just rove to fuck my rittle Asian pussy you big perverted cow’s ass too bad I’ve got you stuck in tose tings rike a piece of meat and I’m gonna torture you so bad you won’t even be abre to diddre your rittle tiny…tat’s a good boy. Drink up now.”

Bella has a “child’s body.” She meets “most addresses with silence,” and details methods of securing a rich husband. Febos describes her footwear as “shower shoes, the sort one might don to take out the trash.”

“Not that it really matters, I guess,” the head mistress says. “If they want an Asian mistress, they want an Asian mistress, shoes or no shoes.”

“Or horrific shoes,” another dominatrix jokes.


The shoes I wear the night I peg this Frenchman for being white are black patent. They shine, with a heel as long as his cock. Until now, I’d mostly felt like either a substitute teacher or a seasoned intern in our encounters, neither tempting glory. But tonight I surprise myself. Tonight I’m fucking pissed. I give a speech on Fanon with his cinched balls in one palm and a crop whip in the other. I lecture him on Orientalism like all the white men who lectured me.

So now, I hiss like I’m finally greeting revenge. Do you want a taste of what it feels like to be in my skin? 

Please mistress, he begs.

I hate that word. It makes everything a cartoon. There’s something offensive about how pathetic he’s wanting to appear, but I try to believe in my voice, because it’s finally starting to feel good. I’m getting into a flow, where I’m saying shit I never imagined but it’s all hurling out like 35 years of swallowed comebacks. Is this what teaching feels like? I think. Because I am propagating some serious knowledge, dear reader. It’s all real, inhabited body-truth. This is it, this is my Asian mistress. And the high feels so right that I’m wondering whether I’m freeing my sisters across millennia with this white silicon phallus, and what type of historical process that is.

But women of color know that there is always another truth that dictates the conditions of yours. So even then, even if I’d finally found the hide I wanted to inhabit, I plowed away knowing it was still my neck at the yoke: To him, this was all a game. Fanon knew that what Hegel’s master wanted from the slave was not self-recognition, but work. After the plugs came out, we washed up and rested for the reverse metamorphosis. I’d be the one waking up to the eternal, assured drone of French radio reporting the history of the world.


A month after I ended things, he left me a five-page letter at my door. (Men: The point of a mailbox is to receive letters. The point of a door is to enter a house. If you don’t understand the purpose of keys that aren’t attached to a cock cage, use the fucking mailbox. And a stamp.) He wrote, entirely in French, that he had a lot of regrets. He was grateful for my generosity on this trip into his world, and realized that he hadn’t paid attention to the things that mattered to me. He didn’t give space to my thoughts and feelings, my desires. He really loved me, had gotten a therapist, and wanted to continue the journey.

Actually I’d like to talk about all this beside you, he wrote on creamy, weighted stationery he did not have lying around his flat. Next to your smile, your long and generous laughter, and—brace thyself—your soft, Oriental face.

Voilà. The only difference between a dungeon and the real world is that the real world is a public one. A few months later, covid would hit, and white men would start berating me in the streets for bringing corona to Germany. I’d wake up to CHINA VIRUS scrawled outside my building. Six Asian women in Atlanta would be shot in one go. I’d lose friends in the act of processing racism, and I would fall in love with my current partner, who is white and has a kid who is—wait for it—half French. Years later, this would be the real whiplash truth I’d find out: Being an Asian stepmom in public is exponentially harder than being an Asian mistress in private. There is no costume, not even a pretense of consent, for what my body receives in that reality.

But of course I knew none of this then, with the letter in my lap and a frozen mouth. All I felt was the beginning of relief setting in, my borders back, the distance on paper. The rage would surge back later, sure as hormones and weather, because history just won’t end. My body and bodies like mine will live in its tow until we’re all fucking smart and beige and the word “liberal” ceases to be French.

I wasn’t waiting around. I read the letter again, texted a friend, and promptly filed it in an Aktenordner, the German binder used just for taxes.

Oh, and for the record: My face is really soft. Sometimes I moisturize with rose oil, but it’s probably just the genes.