An Open Letter to my Nipples (NSFW)
This essay is part of Enough Enough Anthology, a project by Lexie Bean for trans and non-binary survivors of sexual assault/domestic violence to write letters to their body parts. Submissions are open until August 1st.
The anthology will be published in book form with Jessica Kingsley Publishers in spring 2018.
This essay originally appeared in Luna Luna magazine.
Nipples, I think about you constantly.
THE LET DOWN
let down n. The release of milk in a nursing mother or lactating animal
I had another top surgery dream last night.
In this vision, a group of friends and I had all traveled en masse to a far-off, tropical locale—not the usual Florida; maybe New Orleans?—to support a friend’s top surgery. It was humid; frangipani air hung on the body. It felt magical.
The friend was laid out on a white sheet, unconscious in a way that seemed more like they were having a very sweet dream. We were all sitting in a circle in the open air around this friend while the surgeon performed the deed. We were holding sacred space; chanting; praying; smiling; singing.
The surgeon, who was genderless, also felt like a spiritual practitioner, as surgeons sometimes do. The way that they performed the top surgery was so gentle and noninvasive that the scars were barely visible afterward, and the nipples, maintaining their sensitivity, didn’t have to be moved.
Everybody hung out afterwards, and there was food and costumes and dancing; it felt like a Mardi Gras, perhaps like the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras of my Australian adolescence.
It was dusk. People were drunk. There were fireflies.
I saw my former roommate there.
“I had another top surgery dream last night,” I admitted.
He smiled at me.
This is a very sweet top surgery dream, I think. Usually, when I have top surgery dreams I am trying to breastfeed, but all I have are drainage pumps full of milk.
I really, really want to breastfeed.
Sometimes, when my partner sucks on you the way he does—gorgeous, sensuous, feminist—I feel like I want him to keep doing it until milk, laced with oxytocin, springs from you into his mouth. Then he and I will be bonded: like mother and child, like kin, like lovers. This is not shameful to me. I am kinky and I have many kinks. But I’ve thought about it a lot, Nipples, and wanting to nurse is not my kink. If anything, it is my recovery.
let down n. A decrease in size, volume, or force
My first boyfriend and I, and you, were 16 when we started dating. He was my first kiss. None of us had made it past first base before. You and I hadn’t even made it to a base before.
He was obsessed with sucking on you; remember? He started doing it a month after we started dating—without asking. We would make out, and then he would almost immediately lift up my shirt and start sucking, like I were a soda machine at an all-you-can-eat buffet. I felt sick, dead.
This wasn’t meant to be your introduction to pleasure, Nipples.
Once I remember him doing it in public, at night, walking down a suburban street to his house. We were making out, giggling, frolicking. Then he stopped me, lifted up my shift and bra, and, to quote Bikini Kill, sucked my left one. Do you remember that?
Do you remember the things that happen to you?
My left breast was, and still is, smaller than the right one. I remember when, noticing this while sucking away at you, he looked up and said to me, “This one just needs a little more encouragement” and sucked on that one for longer.
I withered inside and stayed small, Nipples.
I remember when we were 17 and away at a junior national fencing competition, reuniting and reveling with teen fencers from around the country. I was hooking up with a hot female friend in front of my ex and his friend. It was for us, not them. They were just there. My ex toasted over us—as in pretended to have a glass of alcohol, or perhaps did have a glass of alcohol, and made a toasting gesture, verbally admiring the view with his friend. Something along the lines of “We’ve got booze, we’ve got a view…”
I blocked them out of my hazy, drunken mind. I was busy. My hot friend was giving me head. It was none of their business.
My ex’s friend moved over to me and saw that you were exposed, erect.
He sucked on you. He did not ask me.
The next day, I told some friends. They laughed at me.
let down n. A disappointment or a feeling of disappointment
There was a woman I was in love with in my high school friend circle. We hooked up a couple of times back then. We haven’t spoken in years, not since she moved to the east coast of Australia, leaving her history with all of us behind.
In her later teens she behaviorally fled her Christian fundamentalist upbringing and troubled familial support system, spiraling out into drugs and unsafe promiscuity. She lied a lot. She clung to her arms in her sleep until she bruised. She fucked my boyfriend/ex-boyfriend. She hooked up with my crush in his bed while I was in the next room, unaware and still hopeful. When I moved to the States for college she moved in with my ex, or so I heard years later, and they told everybody that they were in love. And then she moved to the other side of the country to rejoin her family and religion, getting married to a guy who sexually assaulted her.
They have a baby now. Are they happy?
I loved sucking this woman’s nipples.
One time, she stood over me and lifted up her white singlet halfway, exposing the bottoms of her breasts. She posed for me, tugging on her cap and miniskirt, thrusting out her hip: a slutty cheerleader. I lifted up her shirt and starting sucking. I didn’t ask her.
Another time, at a family-and-friends-type party at her parents’ house, she had a panic attack. I followed her upstairs to comfort her. She told me that her father, who always unsettled me, had been sexually assaulting her. I had many questions I didn’t ask.
This scared me out of my queerness for almost a decade.
I still have a great sexual appetite for people with breasts, though I rarely act on it now. I theorize that I am still too wounded from what went on before. That’s part of it, I’m sure. Mostly, though, I’m afraid to violate the breast-havers with my desires.
I play it in my head, over and over: I see my lover’s breasts and grab them with my taking-hands, letting all the toxic masculinity deposited onto—into—me by so many bodies ooze out at once. My lover withers, as I did, becoming distorted and fixated too.
Maybe I was always destined to be a breast- and nipple-lover.
I drank so much breast milk from my mother that she had to pull me off her, lest I sucked her dry.
One time, when I was less than two years old, we were in the bath with her. You were tiny back then. I twisted my mother’s huge nipples and cried out: “Pretty buttons!”
My first crush was Jessica Rabbit. I would stare at her breasts and get hot between my legs. I was three. I rewatched Who Framed Roger Rabbit? until I wore out the VHS.
As soon as I learned to draw, I would draw Disney-princess-type women in princess-cut dresses with Jessica Rabbit proportions: enormous breasts, tapered waists, blue eyes, blonde hair, massive lips, long lashes. I was an overweight “wog” girl—frizzy brown hair, big nose, double chin—and half a boy inside.
I wanted to be Princess Jasmine. I wanted to fuck Princess Jasmine. I wanted Aladdin to fuck me. I wanted to be Aladdin.
When I was seven, my friend came over and taught me how to make my Barbies make out with each other, topless, undressing each other with their plastic knife-hands—clothes getting stuck on right-angle arms—and fondling each other’s nippleless breasts.
Later in the scene, I made a Ken doll assault a Barbie, and then I made Barbie take Ken to court for sexual harassment. I made my friend do Barbie’s voice in the courtroom. I fed her the lines. My friend didn’t want to. She was seven too.
When I was ten I saw a dance performance with my family: a dark-haired man and a blonde, statuesque woman were doing the tango. The woman looked like Barbie. The man dipped the woman and lifted her back up; she kissed him passionately, grabbing his face with both hands. I wanted the woman to kiss me. I wanted to be the man.
Recently, a new lover fucked me without asking me. We were in bed together. Things escalated. I couldn’t find my “No.” I cried the next day. He listened.
Before the fucking, this person told me that my breasts were “magic,” because he sucked on you, Nipples, and I had an orgasm.
I’m still amazed by your superpower. You give me orgasms. Nipplegasms.
And you know what? My breasts are magic. Pendulous, soft, and creased with colorless stretch marks, with huge alveoli and a hair or two around the edge. They hang heavy, and taper beautifully into the soft points of you. They are gorgeous. You are gorgeous, and you are highly responsive. You give me orgasms. You are magic.
This was what I masturbated to as a horny sixteen-year-old with a nipple fixation:
Fantasy #1: Coming into my hot 34-year-old high school teacher’s office and begging for an A. Opening my uniform (a colonial-chic navy Aboriginal-print dress with a tie) to reveal my pert teenage breasts. We make out. I put his hand on my right breast and he fondles me. I guide his head toward you, Nipples, and he sucks on you. Then the principal is about to come into his office. I hide under his desk, which has an opening for legs but is opaque otherwise. He sits at his desk, hiding me from the open side, and bids the Principal enter. I unzip his fly and suck his dick to climax while he speaks with the principal, barely stifling his pleasure. I greedily suck his semen down.
Semen is a bit like breast milk, don’t you think?
Fantasy #2: I am a journalist covering an event at the Playboy mansion. I have on a black pencil skirt with matching garter stockings and pointy black pumps. My white sheer blouse reveals a sexy black bra, with matching high-cut, black lacy underwear.
The Playboy bunnies are wearing outfits that look like black bathing suits with holes to let their gravity-defying breasts poke through. The holes and edges of the suits are laced with white doily fabric. They look like French maid bunnies.
One of the bunnies is assigned to me as a tour guide. She is sexy, and looks like a cast member of Baywatch. I take a tour of the mansion and grounds. Finally, I am led through a series of underwater grottos. We pass another Playboy bunny straddling a man, squatting on his dick and riding him wildly and he lay flat on his back, receiving, helpless to her desire. They are both fully clothed except for his dick and her breasts and cunt. The bunny suit has another hole, it seems. They moan and scream with nasty, opulent pleasure, fucking away in that damp, gray grotto on the cold, stone ground, splayed out next to a shimmering swimming pool bathed in light from a skylight overhead. My bunny leads me nonchalantly past them, shooting me a coy glance as I stare. In the next grotto, a tall waterfall tumbles lustily into a lagoon. My bunny asks me if I’ve seen enough, if there’s anything more that I’ll be wanting from her. Am I interested in what I saw? Curious? She takes me behind the waterfall so that nobody can see. She is soaking wet. She puts my face onto her breast to suck. I suck her nipples. Then she sucks mine: you.
I am masturbating and touching, pinching, twisting you as I write this.
My obsession with breast removal, breast sucking, and breastfeeding are all parallel, as in they do not touch.
I remember a sixth-grade classmate giving a speech about Amazon women and how they cut off their left breasts. I was eleven. I returned to this image for a long time. I later learned that it was to better shoot with a bow and arrow. What about the lefties?
One time in eighth grade: I was rifling through a glossy magazine, and I saw a slender, modelesque woman with buzzed blonde hair and almost no makeup, wearing a singlet that clearly showed a flat chest. The caption read that she didn’t want her breasts anymore, so she removed them. I wonder where this person is now. Who is she? Is she trans? Was this article woefully gender incompetent, or did she still use she/her pronouns at the time of her surgery? Why did I fixate on this image for so long?
For years after my experiences with my first boyfriend, I saw and felt dark energy in my right breast, the larger one. The one that needed less “encouragement.”
My first energy healer told me that I needed to sort out my relationship with my breasts. She saw the dark energy too. She saw that I sometimes wanted them gone.
My transmasc friends tell me that one can lose sensation in one’s nipples after top surgery. This prospect horrifies me.
Once, when I was 20, I cried about not being a man. I was in the arms of my gay male friend, in college, in bed. It was late. He kissed me. I cried some more. Then I got up and put on mascara. Or was the mascara another time?
One of my greatest sexual appetites is for queer men who fuck other queer men. They don’t see the queer man in me.
I met a beautiful 53-year-old transman last year. He was a radical faerie, and had transitioned seven years ago. He had always been butch, and was always attracted to queer and gay men. He had sex with men before his transition but “it never felt right.” Now it feels right. He told me that he underwent the physical transformation so that people would see him for who he was, so that he could have sex with the people to whom he was attracted. It wasn’t as much for himself, I don’t think.
I highly identify with this story.
Maybe when I am middle-aged, and done breastfeeding, I will transform into a queer man and have sex with the faeries for the rest of my life.
I have worked with the same energy healer for the past five years now. Her name is Eva. Many miracles, too many to name here, have occurred as a result of my work with her. One stands out: The dark energy is gone from my breasts now. I am very kind to them. I am still confused by them, sometimes, by their existence on my chest, but I accept their presence in my life as long as they are there. You will always be there, Nipples.
Eva helped me recover my gender too. I am a hybrid.
Like the car; like a mule; like an orchid.