I love photos of marked backs, of welts, and scratches, and cuts, oozing droplets of blood more than bruises, a random lattice of lines or a message written in vivid pink words.
I remember the first boy I ever hurt with the awareness that hurting him turned me on, that the way my nails raked along his back when we fucked, the way his body arched when I did it was more than an expression of passionate desire. I remember how, two weeks after the first time we fucked he would get hard simply when I slid my hand under his shirt and run my fingertips over the marks, I remember how I pinned him to the wall in a covered doorway of a shop on what might have been Great Queen Street, a late December midnight after he’d come back from visiting his family, rain pouring down, my knee between his legs, my hands slipping under his jacket, pulling out his shirt, making their way up, looking for the healed scratches, ‘’You missed it, didn’t you?’’, his moan of a ‘’fuck, yes, yes’’, the nails digging in, my lips on his spine later on, flat tongue trailing the boyishly sharp shoulder blade, the three years between us feeling more than ten might now.
I remember a man, some years later, in a dark room at a party where his girlfriend was trying to get back with her ex, his mouth desperate on the lace of my best Triumph Papillon black bra, my fingers looking for the soft skin, stroking, pressing, scratching again, his nearly-yelp and the way his cock filled up against my thigh when I didn’t stop, when I did it harder. We never fucked that night. The marks were enough for me.
It’s not all bloody and violent though. I once wrote a poem to a lover's back. It was crap, but it was the very first poem I wrote in English ever. I like straddling hips leaning down to work the knots and tensions out, firm and deep without any intention to cause pain. I like to feel my way down the spine with my fingers and with my mouth, to map its curve vertebrae by vertebrae, to trace the line where the ribs meet the softer area of the waist, to place my palm flat just below the small of the back and sense the heat there.
Yes, you may say I have a thing for backs, one that goes as far (back) as I remember having a thing for any body part whatsoever.
And yet, I am not a connoisseur of beautiful backs. I couldn't tell you what backs of my old lovers looked like. As long as it’s not hairy, it will do (yes, I did - once only - leave someone’s flat at 3am because I found he’d had a very hairy back). My thing-for-backs is generic, nearly all-encompassing (furry backs excepted), its locus in my fingers rather than my eyes, my memory almost entirely tactile, the textures of the skin and the alternating hardness and softness of the tissues underneath, the muscles tensing and relaxing, the contour lines of the bones, the arching above me or under me when we fuck.
That is, unless it’s a kneeling man, his back almost-straight, his shoulders just slightly relaxed this side of a hunch, his neck just slightly curved, his head just slightly down, his eyes up. But that is entirely different side of things. I'll get back to it.