In 1983 and 1984, when I was nine and ten years old living in a dismal highrise in Scarborough, Ontario, I had a babysitter named Pat Cowan. Pat was 17. Pat was a blond-haired rocker whose appearance and manner were appropriate to the time. As in smoking hash oil, as in listening to Judas Priest, as in a hairbrush constantly protruding from the embroidered back pocket of her embroidered Jordache jeans. Pat was beautiful. Pat had a great body. Pat was my first lived experience with sexuality. With coming to understand the function of my dick. My mother would not come home from work until nine p.m. My sister who was much younger was generally in bed by six. We had Pat from four until nine. From six until nine Pat had me.
My babysitter asked me very early on in our relationship if I could keep a secret. I was already keeping different secrets all day. Pat told me that she had arthritis in her ass. Later I learned that asses cannot become arthritic. She asked me early on, would I please, if she lay on her stomach, sit on her thighs and massage her ass with my small hands. I said yes, because she asked, but also because I wanted to. She told me I must never tell my parents this, so I knew it was wrong and liked it more.
I came to know the shape, form, texture, colour and beauty of Pat’s ass more than I knew anything else in the world. More than I knew my mother’s own face.
For eighteen months every night, after my sister went to bed, Pat would smoke a joint on the balcony, lay on her stomach on our shag rug, and say “Bradley my bum hurts. Help.” And I helped her. For three straight hours I would massage Pat’s ass, rub it; she would often pull her pants down so that I was contending simply with her underwear. She made nicer sounds the closer I got to her asshole. She might have put her hand under her stomach and between her legs, but I didn’t notice, as my eyes were fixed on her ass the way a hunter is fixed on a bird in flight. I came to know the shape, form, texture, color and beauty of Pat’s ass more than I knew anything else in the world. More than I knew my mother’s own face. I didn’t get erections, but I was definitely enjoying myself. I thought about her all day during that time. I couldn’t wait for my sister to go to bed. I prayed my mother would be home late. I just worked and worked on soothing my babysitter’s putative ass pain. I could elaborate endlessly on how I felt about it, but simply; I knew what we were doing was wrong, I was confused, and I was obsessed with this part of her body.
Today at 40, I don’t really care about your tits, how long your legs are, what colour your hair is: I want to know about your ass. I want to look at it. I want to get inside of it in multiform ways. The best part of my wife leaving me, a woman who had a great ass, was watching her walk away. To the exclusion of my own pleasure, my own orgasm, I'm happiest when I can touch asses, smell them, bury my face in them, smack them, photograph them, paint them, eat them and worship them. I'm the ass man of lore. You’ve heard of me. It doesn’t take a Ph.D. to understand my fetish. Pat Cowan turned me into a man obsessed with women’s backsides. Do I feel victimized, molested, abused or taken advantage of? I don’t know. I don’t care.
Do I feel victimized, molested, abused or taken advantage of? I don’t know. I don’t care.
For the last 20-plus years, I have been spanking women. I have soft—not feminine—very large hands. In reality, spanking women isn't something I get off on inordinately. I just enjoy giving women whatever they want, sexually. The fact that it’s ass-related just happens to be a happy accident. It gives me more time to look at them and handle them. Bill Callahan said, “most of my fantasies are of making someone else come.” That's me. Because of Pat Cowan, I come second, if at all. For a reason that I can’t really explain beyond some unknown laws of attraction, something in my eyes that says "Yes, I know about your ass and I know what to do with it," the women who have been attracted to me were often into being bent over my knee. They want a basically innocent, consistent application of my hand on their asses. A wonderful red cloud appears over the course of a few minutes, like watching a puddle accumulate through single drops of rain.
We were spanked as children to teach us lessons about what is and is not correct behavior. So when I am enacting this behavior, these women are asking me to be complicit in a fantasy that involves physical correction for behavioral mistakes. When a woman lays herself over my knee, when I pull down her pants and apply my hand to her rear end, this is a violent act. It’s violent because it hurts. It’s meant to hurt. But I am not trying to hurt or punish. Some women certainly want to be told they deserve what bad girls get. I can get behind that. I’m trying to fabricate a scenario, to satisfy a longing to experience a sensation that is inextricably tied to a psychological need. My actual intention is to make the woman I am with happy, to give her pleasure, to satisfy her. The thing about the consistent experience of pain is that it lasts maybe about five minutes. Then as with being tattooed, you are flooded with endorphins. You become absolutely present, you exist only in the moment, where nothing at all is real except what is happening to your body and how it is affecting your mind.
Pat Cowan has had an enormous impact on what shaped my sexual interests. As is the case with women I know who've been sexually abused, their fantasies and needs are often associated in some way, obliquely or directly, with the abuse they endured.
What's different for myself, and for other boys I've heard of who got to fuck their teacher or aunt, is that I don't feel like a victim. I feel like I was granted access to an exclusive club at an early age. It's had positive results. I've made some nice art about it, and the majority of women I've made happy sexually can trace their experience back to what others might classify as my abuse. For me it's the only real education I ever benefitted from.
All drawings by Brad Phillips.
Brad Phillips is a painter and writer based in Vancouver.