Last night J gave me the most extraordinary hickey. I mean, it’s huge. And super dark. It’s lovely. I love getting hickeys, I like giving them. The process of receiving one is one of the most sexy, sensual, hot, chill-inducing experiences of my life. (And I’m referring to getting hickeys on my neck. My neck is definitely in my top 5 places of erogenous zones on my body).

Hickeys get a bad rap. The most common opposition I hear is: Well I don’t want people to see it!

And of course my mind goes to: Well… why?

Because we are so averse to showing our sexuality. Subtle forms that display we are sexual, through dress, body language, eye contact, tone of voice, are everywhere. But to show off the fact that we were in fact sexual last night or the day before allows the person looking at us to conjure images of us being sexual. What were you doing when you got that hickey? Who gave it to you? What did you look like, sound like? What else do you enjoy?

I remember encountering this during school a couple of years ago. My professor, an amazing trans lesbian, came to class with some serious bruises up and down her arms. While she did not offer an explicit explanation, the conversation that ensued made it clear that she had engaged in some consensual BDSM or other kink play. She seemed to be quite happy and satisfied with her bruises, and delighted in sort of winking at the class with what it meant.

I was so intrigued, and of course, my imagination went to all of those questions I posed above. I was distracted, but it was a bubbly, effusive distraction, inviting me to think about my professor in new ways, and about my own sexuality and desires. Would I ever want  bruises like that, delight in receiving them or giving them?

Hickeys (depending where they are) are a public display of past sexuality, of romance and desire, of heat and passion. They show others that we, too, enjoy and delight in kisses, sucking, licking, biting. That we moan and ache. I don’t think a low-cut shirt or a sultry eye gaze necessarily says quite the same thing, which I think results in the differing resistance people encounter in showing off a hickey versus cleavage or physique. I think our culture of slut-shaming similarly affects women’s resistance to displaying hickeys (we may be freaks in bed, but heaven forbid other people know about that). [Interesting note: during class tonight, I did not take off my scarf. Was I afraid of people’s observations and reactions to my huge hickey? Did I not want to make other people uncomfortable with my display of sexuality? I really don’t know.]

Ultimately, embracing and displaying marks like hickeys can be a form of reclaiming one's sexuality and challenging societal norms around public expressions of sexual pleasure. These visible signs of intimacy serve as a reminder that enjoying and openly expressing one's sexual experiences is natural and can be a source of empowerment and confidence.

Long live the hickey. Long live desire and pleasure.

HickieHickie 2

2 thoughts on “Hickeys

  1. This is hilarious. Rock your hickey gurl. Lol I do want to play devil’s advocate in that while I personally think there is nothing wrong with hickeys I do find them hilarious. And relate them to middle school. So while I can acknowledge the embarrassment of having hickeys as social slut shaming, I also feel there is a bit of youth within its history as well and ergo can come off as a bit sophomoric. I have been blessed with wonderful lips, but with some women in the past I have had experienced them telling me to be easy with the sucking. Some people just get hickeys by accident. I personally feel that the correlation of hickey to one’s sexuality ratio is questionable. Having a hickey is like having a blemish in the sense that it is a clear temporary imprint on your body. Only with hickeys it’s usually received by another person. So there is a story behind it. (Embarrassing sidenote: I however actually managed to give myself one on accidently around the lips by sucking on a Burger King cup throughout a whole movie) I guess what I’m saying is that with each hickey there is a story, some of which entail amazing passionate sex, horrible sex and awkward sex. And sometimes some people are just embarrassed to go into details of that story.

    • Bahaha yes!!! I totally wasn’t thinking about how hickeys were treated in middle and high school, and their connotation with youth and inexperience. Even at that age, I was into hickeys and found them arousing. But you are completely right that hot, awesome sex is not always behind a hickey, and sometimes not even sex at all is behind one 😛

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