Manners

I was speaking with a friend the other day and we began having a conversation about the lifestyle and BDSM community in general. He asserted that he felt that protocol was becoming a lost art. I could see his point and after listening to his argument I disagreed. . . mostly because that is the most fun to do to him after he has carefully laid out an argument. He gets so flustered when you just say “Ummmm. . .No”. So At first the disagreement was mostly just to annoy him but as I defended my disagreement I came to my own concept.

What I think is lacking in the lifestyle these days is manners. Emily Post kind of manners and the understanding of polite company. Because really, when you get down to brass tacks, that is what protocol is. It is manners to the Nth degree. I think people in the lifestyle used to practice more manners than they do today. Service, protocol, even just common interactions and respectful behavior. . . these are all manners and proper behavior.

There are times when manners are set aside in preference to more primal activities or among close friends  . . . but when manners are lax to a casual level to start, where do they go down to? Now Emily Post kind of manners are impossible to expect from anyone really and damn annoying in many instances. There should be a balance though. I really do miss the days when proper behavior and manners were what was expected at parties. It set the mindset to me for the whole thing.

He of course disagreed, mostly just to annoy me in return. In the end though, we did agree that we missed those days when going to a party felt a little classier. When a submissives manners were bragged about with equal verve to her (or his) beauty. When one of the hallmarks of a dominant was class, savior-faire. . . I just seems those things are secondary (absent) now. That’s too bad. It all loses something in the process.

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The Tech Support Affair

So I had issues with my modem and router. For some reason I could not get on the internet so I had to call tech support and that is when this ordeal began. I was not being helped so when she came into my life I was happy and receptive to her. Although at first she seemed to want to give me what I needed, it soon became apparent, we did not fit each other’s needs. She needed someone with a modem issue and I needed help with router. While it was short lived, it was an intense connection while it lasted and ended with her being cold and distant, telling me she would pawn me off to the company that made my precious router so “they” could help me with my issues because lord knows, she tried. She tried everything for me but I just wanted more and more. She was so sorry for not being what I needed.

It was, to say the least, awkward.

Then Sue came on the line. I was immediately suspicious of Sue’s motives when she had such a simple name and yet such a heavy Indian accent I could barely understand it but, I was on the rebound, my ex tech support had left me spinning, unfulfilled and wanting. I ignored my initial reaction and gave in to Sue.

I have to say. . .she did know what buttons to push. She read my wires perfectly and told me just what to do to get my router working again. Within minutes she had me smiling again and feeling better about my day. Then the green lights came back on and I was done with her. I had not thought it was anything more than a quick explanation . . . a brief encounter to get me on my feet. She however seemed to have a more long term idea of things.

Me: Ok, it’s working. Thank you.

Sue: I will stay on the line while you check all your computers to see if it is all well.

Me: Naw, thank you but it is all green again so I am all set. Thanks again.

Sue: I will stay on the line. Best to check first.

Me: No . . . really. I have several computers and am sure they are all fine now.

Sue: Several? You did not tell me there were several.

Me: Um. . . I just asked you about the router, not the computers

Sue: Did you not think I would want to know about them? I am fine with them but I need to know what I am dealing with upfront to best service you

Me: Ummmm. . . The lights are all green, I’m good

Sue: It is about more than the lights being green. I am concerned with your connectivity, are you connected properly. That is all I wish to ensure

Me: Ok. . .this is getting kind of more than I wanted.

Sue: I am doing my best to please you

Me: Ya. . .ya. . .I know. . .it’s just. . . .you know I just got done with the other tech support and that ended badly and. . .

Sue: I see. You see me as just part of that bad experience then. I see. No matter how good my service I could not make you happy from the start

Me: No. . . .no. . .it’s not you. . . .it’s me . . .

Sue: Would you like to talk to my manager?

Me: No. . . no. . .really. . .lets not involve anyone else. Please. . . lets just. . .I have to get going

Sue: I see

Me: Listen I am just going to hang up now, ok?

Sue: Well thank you for allowing me to fix everything for you so you can go and connect to others now

Me: Ya. . .I. . .ahhh. . .I gotta go

Sue: Goodbye

Me: …

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Erotic Art – Bad Dog

Bad Dog

Pastel and Multimedia on Gatorboard

Donated to charity auction

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The Switch-up

Many submissives have a hard time shutting off their mind. They try, but it just doesn’t shut down on its own and keeps going in the background. It’s kind of like having Windows updates going off while trying to get spanked… there is always something that gives a tiny distraction in the background that slows down the speed of the porn you are watching. This shut down is what a lot of submissives crave — the ability to stop thinking and focus on the moment and nothing else. It not only relieves stress, it also increases sensation and responses. To be focused only on that second and nothing else allows them to shut off the updates and just be for a few minutes. This state of mindfulness combined with the physical release causes a sense of euphoria, relaxation, and sensory exclusion that is often called subspace. It is the reset button to the submissive’s mind.

When fighting in martial arts you use tactics and not just random punches and kicks. One example would be to use round house kicks coupled with another attack form. I used to teach fighters to use a double set of attacks together in the form of four alternating leg roundhouse kicks followed by a pause and then three roundhouses followed by a spinning back kick. What this was is basically a right kick, a left, a right, and a left and then a right, left, right; then, as the person reacts to what they anticipate to be a left kick, they step back to defend and move directly into the spinning back kick you are using. People will react to sets of actions and anticipate that pattern to continue, so when you switch it up you catch them off guard.

Many submissives find it hard to release control, even during a scene. It is not a willful act on their part, they just have that issue. It is most likely part of why they are submissive, the need for someone else to take control. A lot of times, they will do what I call counting. While most likely not actual counting, they get the rhythm of the flogging or spanking and anticipate the next strike. By doing this they retain mental control during the scene. They don’t know they are doing it; it is just how their mind works. Sometimes they are obvious in doing this and will turn their body to meet the next hit. If you just stop, they will still shift expecting the next strike to come. Others are less blatant about it; it is a very subtle reaction to each anticipated strike. Either way, as long as they can anticipate, they retain mental control.

Using a switch-up can help them release this control by confusing their potential to count. Simply stopping doesn’t do this, nor does switching toys; they just reset to the new circumstance. Increasing the severity of the play is a way some people overcome this, by overwhelming the submissive through sheer physical effort. This way doesn’t work for me. I just don’t like it. Instead, I use switch-up games to befuddle the submissive into losing count. Here are some examples:

Using a flogger that has a good sting to it, I set up a rhythmic pace of strikes and let the submissive get a good counting going on. Then I increase the speed and slow the speed until they have to focus on each strike to keep doing it. Then I use an offhand flogger, usually a rope flogger with a lot of whomp and little sting, and I hit them as hard as I can. Because their mind is anticipating the flogger with a lot of sting, they will actually experience that pain for a split second before their mind tells them it was all whomp and no sting and by then I am back with the stingy flogger. After an irregularly timed series of these, their mind has a hard time focusing in on the count and becomes somewhat lost to the sensation.

Another method is to use a very different toy as a switch-up. I will be flogging and as they get into a good counting, I come across their ass with a leather strap for about four or five nice hits. Then I go back to flogging. A little while later, I use the strap again for a couple of hits. Then back to flogging. Then I stop the flogging and wait for them to anticipate the strap and hit ’em with the flogger hard. Then I start flogging and almost immediately strap ’em once. Then back to flogging and by then, they are not sure what is next and start to lose count.

There are any number of ways to do it. One submissive I was with years ago was terribly bashful about swearing, so I would stop mid-scene and make her scream “fuck” or “pussy pussy fuck fuck” and then after a few times of that would start flogging her again mid word. The embarrassment of screaming out “dirty words” caused her mind to unfocus. Once unfocused, it was harder and harder to get back to counting until eventually, she would just drift.

By using switch-ups instead of force, you trick the mind into letting go, allowing you to continue play for longer periods rather than using increased force. It also allows for you to shift gears, introduce new sensation, and take the mind of the submissive to different places than pure force can. Once released, many submissives love a good rhythmic flogging to lose themselves in. So you are not limited in type of play, toy use, or anything else like sheer overpowering force can lock you into. They want to release control. One of the reasons they may crave play is because they don’t know how to do it. By befuddling their mind and forcing them to lose that control, you ultimately establish your control. Knowing the buttons to push allows you to choose when they go and how. This knowledge in turn makes the submissive feel more in your power than just sheer force. If you can take them to la la land whenever you want by pushing the buttons, you can do anything; they are at your mercy. That vulnerability is just another button to push to help them release. You can switch it up in anything you do, which means that you can get into their head whenever you want.

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A Cup of Tea

In his book, Zen in the Martial Arts (Hyams, 1982) author Joel Hyams describes a lesson that he learned from Bruce Lee. When Hyams was having difficulty at the start of his training, Lee took him into the office and offered him a cup of tea. When Hyams accepted, Lee gave him a cup already half-full and then proceeded to pour a full cup of new tea on top of this. Of course, it spilled all over Hyams, who was shocked but, it was Bruce Lee, if he wanted to pour hot tea on you there is not much you can do about it. The lesson though, was very simple. If you want a full cup of tea, you need first to empty the cup of all that is left inside. This same lesson holds true in any aspect of learning, including submission.

When you remove the emotional aspects of a D/s relationship (be it master/slave, Dom/sub etc.) you are left with a very straight-forward dynamic. You have the dominant partner, who has accepted the responsibility of leading. You have the submissive partner who has accepted the responsibility of being led. It is nearly impossible to lead someone who thinks they know the way, because then it is in actuality a struggle to see which one leads. Like a trail-horse, which has taken so many trips on the same trails that it tries to go the normal route even though you may want to take an alternative path, you are constantly struggling to keep it going the way you want. It is not wrong in the path it is seeking but, as the rider, that is not the path you want to be on. The same is true in a D/s dynamic. If a submissive “knows” what to do because of past relationships then they are assuming that the new relationship will be the same. In fact, they are trying to lead the dominant partner down the path they are used to. This can cause friction. The bad part is, it often causes friction without either party really knowing it and it slowly festers over time into resentment and a feeling that the submissive is attempting to “top from the bottom”. They aren’t; they just didn’t empty the cup, so it is spilling a little.

Dominants can also have the same issue. After being with a submissive for a while and then starting a new relationship, you can find yourself in the habit of assuming the submissive knows what you want in given circumstances. When this happens, you are being sloppy and not emptying your own cup. You are trying to reuse their left-over tea from a past relationship to slop out a cup of tea instead of making a cup that is unique to the two of you. Once you start the slop, you confuse the new dynamic, because you have now involved past relationships by using previous learning. If the dominant, as the one leading, cannot be bothered to empty their cup, it is highly unlikely the submissive will either. So now, you have two people trying to relate to each other not only as one-on-one, but also as previous lovers did.

Memory is encoded in our brains by the use of what is called memory tags (Cloninger, et. al., 2008) to recall things. These tags are the sensory, thought and emotional stimuli associated with the memory. Say for example, you walk into a room and the room is scented with vanilla, Muddy Waters blues is playing, and a small girl is jumping up and down with a ball in her hands. The girl then throws that ball, hits you in the nose, it hurts like a son of a bitch, and someone laughs behind you. In your mind, that pain is now associated with the scent of vanilla, blues music, little girls with balls, and mocking laughter. Experiencing those stimuli again can bring that memory up in your mind, and I think we can all imagine how traumatic a girl smacking you in the face with her balls can be.

Now if you take that given scenario and imagine a later time when you walk into another room and hear blues playing, you might feel a slight apprehension. If there is also the scent of vanilla, you can feel anxiety because your mind is using those memory tags to recall a girl smacking you in the face with her balls. Or, you may feel somewhat excited and anticipatory if you like that kind of thing. It’s a matter of personal preference. The point though is that those stimuli can create in you emotive responses without you knowing why. If, however, you then experience something new and emotional with those same stimuli, such as finding a cute puppy, you can cross-encode all the stimuli with anxiety, apprehension, and happiness. This is how things can get really oddly associated in our minds. Our brains usually work it out and defrag our minds so that this does not happen, but the more powerful the emotional stimuli, the more likely things will  become cross linked (Bukatko, 2008). Don’t most people describe D/s play as some of the most powerful emotional circumstances of their lives? The more powerful the memory, the more powerful the current stimuli, the more likely the recalling of associated memories is.

So, understanding how memory works it becomes more clear, at least to me, how past relationships can creep into a current one. Since what I like is a constant, many of the things I might require of a submissive can bring up past relationships and emotions through memory tags and I might not even realize it. I might just suddenly feel a subconscious emotion that is contrary to the current situation and that might influence my conscious thoughts (Cloninger, et. al., 2008). Previous emotional issues might taint a dynamic with a person without me even knowing it and the same might be true of them as well. A fetish I have or an order I give might bring back emotional responses from their past relationships and now we have a whole bunch of people involved with our relationship without anyone even really seeing it. Because our cups were not empty, now we have slop. No matter how good it might have been, now we have this confused emotional mess.

No one can remove all ties to their past. The past and the memories we have are how we have learned to be who we are today. We start as Tabula Rasa {Solomon & Higgins, 2010), a blank slate.  We learn through experience and develop predicated on that learning. Who we are is a combination of all the things we have experienced to that point (Bukatko, 2008), so really to be a blank slate is impossible. We can choose, however, to release these things and empty our cups. It is simple but requires a continued effort. From the submissive, it requires communication and the expression of what they are feeling so things can be examined and altered as needed. From the dominant, it requires diligence to watch out not only for their own memory ghosts but also for the submissive’s. The establishment of new rituals can help in this. Don’t do things the same exact way you did before. An example of this is when I play with my babygirl. I start the music I am using for the scene with the song Stigmata by Sinead O’Connor as a warm up song. I like the song and that song now has memory associations to our play. It helps both of us to place our minds in the current moment and exclude anything past. Scents can also be a powerful trigger . . . changing perfume or cologne can help remove past associations and make new ones. Using certain incense can create a new sensory set of cues that will be associated only with the current relationship. A ritual of touches, kisses can create an intimate set of memories. Emptying the cup is not a passive act; you must choose to do things to make sure the cup stays empty.

I do not think most people enter into a new relationship hoping it will be the same as past relationships. There is a reason past relationships ended. Trying to bring part of that dynamic to a new one just doesn’t seem wise. To empty the cup of tea so that you can get a whole new cup is a process and is not always a simple matter. Most of us have a lot of emotional ties to what has happened before in our lives and to let go of that is a hard task. The effort to do that though, is worth it. The effort to empty the cup helps us to remember, to value the new tea we have been given to savor. The efforts we put forth to start anew makes that new start become more powerful emotionally, and that in turn helps the process of emptying. Like most things, this too is cyclical in nature; as we strive, we find ourselves empowered to strive more. As we do, we achieve, the new relationship becomes stronger, and that helps us finish emptying the cup. I don’t ever forget past relationships; I just choose now to let them stay in the past as fond memories rather than influence the current moment. I live now, not then. I empty my cup because I want a full cup of tea.

 

Bukatko, D. (2008) Child and Adolescent Development. Cengage Learning. Mason, OH.

Cloninger, S., Allen, B., Friedman, H., & Schustack, M. (2008). Past and present views on personality: Boston, MA. Pearson Custom Publishing.

Hyams, J. (1982) Zen in the Martial Arts. Bantam Publishing. New York, NY

Solomon, R. & Higgins, K. (2010) The big question, a short introduction to philosophy. Wadsworth, Cengage Learning. Belmont, CA.

 

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Erotic Art – The Vanquished

 

The Vanquished

Pastel and Multimedia on Gatorboard

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Kink Hoarders

Kink Hoarders

Hoarding is the need to keep stuff. It doesn’t have to be good stuff or valuable stuff. It doesn’t even have to be safe stuff. You just keep stuff. All stuff. It is a way of avoiding loss. It is a way of avoiding abandonment. It is a way of insulating the self from the outside world and possible grief and pain. It is building walls of stuff to keep you safe because stuff doesn’t leave. People leave but stuff is always there so stuff becomes more important than people.

In the psychological illness of hoarding people will often hold onto items that have an emotional meaning to them. This is not to say a sentimental meaning but rather a meaning that comes from perceived reactions to gifts and items a person may want. The hoarder will have an item, be it a gift or a keepsake or even an old t shirt and they will experience the idea of how much someone they care about being delighted by the item or the hoarder having cared enough to keep the item for them. In that imagining, they experience the emotional fulfillment of giving that item. Once they have that emotional fulfillment then actually giving the item risks that feeling. If they give the item and the reaction is not what they imagined, they lose that emotional feed. So they keep the item and continue to relive the imagined reaction rather than face the possible rejection.

People on web sites such as alt or fetlife or collarme can be kink hoarders I have decided.

By imagining how good something would be with someone, they get an emotional feed. This feed can be a sexual arousal and/or a feeling of acceptance and emotional closeness. If this imagining becomes very emotionally powerful and fulfilling, the person can be reluctant to experience a real life interaction as it threatens the emotional feed of what they have imagined that meeting to be like. The idea becomes more powerful than the possibility. So they have excuses and reasons for not meeting so they can avoid that risk to their imagined experience. They can become irritated and even angry with attempts to bridge online to real life and it is not rejection of the real life, it is addiction to the online. They are hoarding those possibilities in their mind because those possibilities are giving them a fulfillment that real life may not.

Because the imagined meeting or scene can be perfect in their minds, it can give them the emotional feed of being perfect. Faced with the possibility of things going wrong, rejection, or lack of acceptance, the person cannot bridge that gap to real life. They are stuck in a loop of imagining and online. There is always someone else to imagine. There is always someone else to play perfect. Reality pales in comparison to them as they can have perfection, why risk reality? Since there is always someone else to act the part they are stuck hoarding these emotional interactions and using imagined feelings to supplant real ones. They use imagined actions to safeguard them from real possible imperfect actions and circumstances.

This is a form of emotional hoarding.

You’ll often find they have gigs of saved text messages and emails and instant messenger conversations that are perfect. Often they will be edited slightly so that everything is just right. This is the electronic version of the room full of books and boxes. This is hoarding of ideas and feelings to protect them from possible reality. They will save and archive pictures of people. They will save anything that can associate and help them relive the potential perfection. That potential for perfection becomes more alluring then reality because that potential can be perfect and reality never is. So they will cling to the hope rather than face disappointment and judgment.

They hoard kink. They hoard feelings. They hoard emotions because they can feel through those imaginings and they don’t have to risk reality. Text files don’t leave. Perfect conversations saved to the hard drive never go wrong. Stuff never leaves.

The best way for someone to overcome this is to make friends, not play partners or people that want to fuck them. . . Just friends that they can meet with and have coffee . . . go to a book store . . . just interact with in a non-threatening way to experience reality. The more person to person time you spend, the more reality becomes more compelling than fantasy.

Text, IMs, and emails are just potential reality. They are the foreplay . . . not the fulfillment.

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Poetry – Back Street Belle

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Erotic Art – Daddy’s Girl

Daddy’s Girl

Pastel and Multimedia on Gatorboard

Donated to charity auction at Beyond Leather earlier this year

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Breathe

When you go to take a breath do you think to yourself “I will try and breathe now”?

No. . .you just do it. That is because you must breathe to live and so you never question that you can, you just do it.

To say you will try is to say “I think I might fail” Once you allow for the possibility, not just in effort but in planning to take that effort, you degrade the chance of succeeding.

Think of the things you just do without thought and then the things you “try” to do. Many basic things we do we never even consider, we just do them because they are either so necessary to live or so commonplace that we just assume success. This is the mind you must learn to bring to all things. The mind that is set upon completing and not just starting.

Failure is a part of life. You will sometimes fall flat on your ass. Then you dust yourself off, get up, and start again. But to allow for that failure in the planning stages of any action is to increase the possibility of it dramatically. To divert the energy of your thoughts to allowing for a “try” alternative is to divide your attention and focus.

Today is all we have. Do not try and have a good day. Just do it.

Do not try and achieve your goals, just do it.

Do not try . . . Do . . . If you fall, get up, see why you fell and then make sure you don’t do that again. There is no shame in falling . . . there is only shame if you do not get back up again.

Do what you will

Do not try

Do not give failure the foothold in your plans

Believe in your self enough to Do

To Be

and be what you want to be

Just breathe. . .

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