If you asked me why I did this every time my parents left me in the house alone, I wouldn’t be able to give you a coherent answer. Obviously it would be embarrassing. But there’s more to it than that. They wouldn’t understand.

I know; every teenager feels that way about their parents. They think their mothers and fathers are incapable of grasping the pressures of modern life, only to realize years later that their hormonally-ravaged developing brains were very short-sighted. I’m aware enough to know this, and I’m also aware enough to know that what I do in private, they really wouldn’t understand.

Still, that’s only getting at why I do it at home when everyone’s away. That doesn’t address why I want to do it in general. Sure, I’ll admit to getting some sort of physical pleasure from it. I’m old enough now to realize that what I’m feeling is arousal. What I do alone gets my fluids going more than anything I’ve ever done with a guy ever has.

Stop right there. I know what you’re thinking, and no, it isn’t like that. While it would be awkward for my parents to walk in on me, I’m sure they’d grasp what I was up to and not make a big deal out of it. They’re not hippies or anything, but they don’t have sticks up their butts either.

This is different. The sight of me lying naked on my bed with my feet in the air and my hands between my legs probably isn’t one they want, but it’s one they would be able to easily process. What would throw them for a loop, so to speak, is the rope binding my ankles to the bedpost and my fingers tightening the knot around my thighs. They wouldn’t understand why my body squirms atop my bed, not in passion, but in a frustrated effort to tie my own wrists together behind my back.

I’ve done this for most of my life. In the beginning, I didn’t know it was something I was supposed to do in private. When I was six years old, my parents came upon me wrapping one of my ribbons around my neck. Panicked, they told me that necklaces were the only things supposed to go there. When they later saw me looking out the window with both my wrists pressed against my neck, bound tightly in the small necklace I was wearing, they stopped letting me wear them.

I scared them often in those days until I realized what I was putting them through. By the time I was eight, I learned not to do these things where they could see. Still, to this day, I notice the way they get uncomfortable when I wrap up the cord after vacuuming or put the hose away when I’m done watering the plants in the garden. They’ve never been able to get over the things their little girl used to do to herself.

If they saw me now, trying to connect the knot around my wrists to the one binding my ankles, I could only imagine what thoughts would go through their minds.

I know they would be worried for my health, even though I’m perfectly fine. I stopped tying things around my neck when I was a kid. I don’t even wear necklaces anymore. Well, I have this choker that I wear everyday to school, and while it freaked my parents out at first, its tightness is actually a comfort to us both. It’s too snug for me to even wrap a finger in, let alone strangle myself, accidentally or otherwise. As for me, the constriction helps me relax. It’s the closest I can get to doing what makes me happy around other people.

There’s just something about being bound up that makes me feel free. I’m happiest in that moment when I’ve tied myself up to the point where I can barely move. I find the sensations coursing through me almost overwhelming. I’m trapped, completely vulnerable, and utterly stimulated.

For a while, that was enough. Then as I got older, I started to imagine what someone could do to me in this position. I came up with more elaborate ways to entangle myself in positions where someone I trust could completely have their way with me. It was a fantasy entirely unlike those my friends shared with me at school and online. I didn’t give much of my time to visions of how guys could woo me. I wanted to be dominated. I melted at the thought of temporarily being entirely under someone else’s control.

Until then, I dominate myself. When my hands reach for the rope, the rest of my body submits to their will.

I’m lying chest first on my mattress, my arms and legs tied to the post at the top of my bed. The simultaneous pressure against so many parts of me at once is nearly enough to send me over the edge. I imagine what someone could do to me in this position and start to feel myself staining the sheets against my thighs. It is always in this moment, when my hands are least accessible, that I want to touch myself most. I could untie them, but I get more from staying in this position for as long as I can.

By the time my parents pull back into the yard, I’m downstairs, fully dressed, getting myself something to drink. I sit down on the couch with my laptop, starting a conversation with several friends just as Mom and Dad speak. My rope is back in its place, tucked away somewhere only I know. Someday I hope to be able to share it with someone. That person will have my heart.