Posts from the ‘Safety and Protection’ Category

Punishment, FUNishment and Brats

First of all, hello from TEXAS.  The move was far more expensive than I expected, primarily due to my inability to stoically toss things before the move.  But the house is slowly coming to order, I am getting to know new people, and finding a place for my lifestyle and art.  I wish you all the same.

This came from a text conversation this morning with a delightful young lady with whom I am discussing a relationship.  I will attempt to edit it for a more general audience.

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There is still much we do not know about each other.  I understand that we brushed against areas this morning in texts that brought you to questioning whether or not I was being SERIOUS.  That is a constant problem with texts, particularly short ones like tweets.  The inclination is to interpret from ones own fantasy rather than test reality.  Remember, “What did you mean by that?” is always a good question.  I looked to see if I posted on this rather important subject and could not find it.  But that is for another time.

When I say I can go MUCH farther, that is true.  I can whip you till you hang bleeding from the cross, till you are unable to speak.  I can do many MANY things to make your flesh RAW.  I can slap you, yell at you, convince you I am FURIOUS, be one Mean Mother Fucker, and push limits quite firmly.  But all of that comes well AFTER we know each other enough to know the long term affects of that kind of play and a level of communication is established that allows me to KNOW that is what you desire.  That kind of play, after all, takes a LOT of control, knowledge and observation.  In other words, it takes a lot of work.  However, all of that falls inside our relationship, and I would work for a state where, even days later, you would wish to hug me tightly and tell me again and again how appreciative you are of your level of joy and contentment and where I was able to take you.  Adoration, yep, that feeds me.
 
Being inside of our relationship also means that I must consider the results of my actions within my chosen constructs.  As I have said, your health, both physical and mental comes first, next your family and friends, and third your career.  Within those last two is a strange concept, which can best be termed, “Your standing in the community”, meaning what level of “Outing” do you feel comfortable.  If you are the kind of person who enjoys wearing a collar and cuffs around in public and pointing to a bruise and telling a stranger how JOYOUSLY you are treated, then there really isn’t an issue.  However, if that is not your style, and you wish people to think of you as a normal suburban matron, then having you walk around with obvious bruising on your face or neck, arms or legs where it cannot be covered, no matter HOW far you and I wish to push your limits, will be avoided.
 
However, that does not mean that if you push MY limits there will not be consequences.  In the very broadest sense, obviously, we each have the choice, at any time, to say that this relationship is not for us, and move on.  But that, I would hope, would only be considered after extensive conversation.  If errors are made, the first question to be asked is, ,were they avoidable, and if so, why did they happen.  There are reasons these things happen and life does get in the way, but the question WILL BE ASKED, if the error was IN ANY WAY, a statement of dissatisfaction with the relationship.  THAT is serious.
 
Punishment is usually not an action but a removal.  I would HOPE that what is most desired is contact and interaction with me.  True punishment, then, is the removal of what is most desired for whatever is an appropriate length of time.  But all of that is only appropriate after explanations and discussions.  Once done, IT IS DONE, and cuddles, sex and joyous play will resume.  I have talked about my punishment philosophy before.
 
Now, all of that is NOT to say that a bit of brattish play is not enjoyed.  I do enjoy a large bit of repartee and it does add to the joy of play, so we come to FUNishment.  “Oh, Daddy, I did something so VERY bad today.  I was in the office in a meeting trying SO hard to be professional, but I thought of you and under the table I touched myself.  I was SO wet.”  “Oh, my naughty girl, you MUST control yourself.  What CAN I do to teach you to be BEHAVE?”  etc., etc, etc.
 
Obviously, there is also, “Oh, Sir, is that the best you can do?  I am not sure I felt that.  Did you actually touch me?”  But I do warn you to consider the second paragraph above before you try that.  Because I am sure I can eradicate that thought from your head quite quickly.
 
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So much of what we do, what people should do particularly in sexual situations, is play with each other, assume differing roles to increase the satisfaction of ourselves and our partners.  But when playing roles we have to make sure our partners know we are playing roles.  That is incredibly difficult in 140 characters or less.  Possible with people who know each other very well, but also possibly disastrous with people who do not.  Beware!  I will speak on this again later.
 
The Eroticist

Honesty, Transparency

For quite a while I have been reading a blog from a lovely young girl who talks eloquently about her submission.  She talks about her deep commitment to her Dominant partner, how profoundly erotic is the relationship and how much she trust him with her deepest secrets.

There is much there that is valuable, particularly for women who are just beginning to accept their submissive and possibly masochistic side.  Unfortunately, what she does not discuss, at least not in any detail, is that her Dominant is at a distance, her communication is on line, she is married to a man in the military, and as far as I can tell, she has not disclosed to her husband either her submissive desires, her relationship with her Dominant, nor the fact that she has declared her love for her Dom.  I do not even know if she talks with her Dominant about her marriage but know that she has not mentioned talking to her husband about her Dom.

This is very difficult for me.  My feelings take me to a place where I believe that deep submission requires deep transparency.  Valuable Dominance requires care for a submissives entire life, all aspects, and the health and growth of all areas of it.  I do not see that here.  I see a woman strongly concerned with her own pleasure, irrespective of any care and concern for her husband, and a Dominant who requires, even demands declarations of deep commitment even when responsibility for that commitment is not or can not be taken.  It makes me uncomfortable.

But Dear Lord, I so want to hear those declarations.  I want to see in the face of a submissive woman that adoration that so feeds me.  I can not help but understand the reasons behind those demands, even when the relationship is only with words, or video, and not a touch, or smell, or feel of breath upon the neck.

I have been in that place where I have struggled for the connection lost, or never completely found between myself and one to whom I have committed.  I know how overwhelming powerful that response to words typed exclusively for you, even without all those other truly necessary stimuli.  I know what it feels like to find some small connection to something I have not been able to share, and how necessary it can become.

That place is not an affirming place, for me and certainly not for the one to whom I have committed.  Yet to move from there requires admissions and declarations of need which can change your life profoundly, permanently, and without recourse.  You can not go back.  No wonder it is so common to live in a place where these things are not acknowledged.

I have often said that there is much for which I would wish in my life that I do not presently have.  There are repeated opportunities in my life to try for things that are almost what I want, where I can get a bit, but know it will not fulfill.  But I have a few friends now with whom I can be honest, who know me.  One, a friend of long standing who shares many of my struggles, and another who I know might wish for those things we could share, but who also understands that there is much about my needs that are not her needs and so the level of commitment she desires would not be affirming for either of us.  We are honest with each other.

Will I find someone who fits the puzzle that is me?  Who knows.  No guarantees here.  But I know that if am not honest with her or them, if I do not continually struggle to be transparent with them and to demand transparency from them, that I will have no chance to find my needs fulfilled.

That is what it is all about.  Isn’t it?

The Eroticist

I want to be NORMAL

With every fiber of my being, I wanted to be normal.  I wanted to be accepted.  I wanted to be OK.  I wanted people to look at me and know me and smile and wave and think, there goes a good guy.  I wanted to live a life that is acceptable by the general society.  I had these thoughts and things I wanted.  But it wasn’t normal, and I knew what normal was, it was what I was told how everyone else lived.  It was what I saw on TV.  It was what I was taught about at school, so for forty years, well over half my life, all those thoughts were put away.  No one else had them.  Only me, and I had to hide that.

I did, very well.

Until I got tired of it and I began to accept who I was.  But I am also tired of being thought a creepy old man because I talk about sex.  I am tired of feeling that I am broken, or sick because of the thoughts in my head that never leave.  I hate it when my family wants me to “Just not talk about those things” or might be embarrassed if their friends found out.  I am hurt when I loose friends when I talk about what is really important to me, and I am saddened beyond expression when I hear the whispers behind my back that I should be avoided.  All the people who keep saying “No”, “Don’t”, “Shhhh”, “No one wants to hear that” are supported by everyone it seems.  It must be true.  I want to be Normal.

But it is not me that I want to change.

I am free to speak on unacceptable subjects to people who who are interested in what I have to say.  I enjoy teaching to people who want to learn what I know.  I am willing to accept people who have different interests as long as they accept me and mine.  I do not engage in activities with people who do not actively tell me they desire and enjoy those activities.  Why am I not Normal?  Why is this not Normal?  Why is sex, any kind of sex, abnormal in this society, something to be hidden, of which to be ashamed, not for “polite” people?

This is an important Ted Talk and you should listen to it.  Let us work so more people can be normal.

The Eroticist

How can we help?

I am often asked to talk about the differences between the Kink community and what we euphemistically call the Vanilla world.  Obviously there are the behavioral differences, the clubs we attend where we engage in semi-public BDSM play, the dress, the ubiquitous black leather, the use of toys, the play with pain among many others.  There is the relationship structures and power or authority exchanges which are central to the Dominant and submissive or Master/slave relationships (and many other, I do not mean to be exclusive).  These are all choices to partake in certain behaviors in which we engage for our own enjoyment which are beneficial to us, but may not be activities or behaviors chosen by and for the broader community.

However, there are many behaviors which a large proportion of us engage that I think deserve a close examination by the “Vanilla’s” because of their positive effects on any relationship.

1. We examine what we do.

I have never been in any community, other than an academic one, where education is so highly valued and widely available.  In a large city there is usually a choice of lectures or demonstrations to attend every week on a variety of subjects.  There are a huge number of books available, and more coming out every day. (see my Sites and Books of Interest page for many.)

While there is probably a far greater number of volumes and possibly an equal number of lectures on how to have a successful committed relationship, what I do not see is that the broader society in general particularly cares about learning how to carry on a successful committed relationship.  It is just a given.  You grow up, find a mate, get married and have kids.  How many of us have grown up through our education process and found even one class on how to relate successfully to other people?

We seek education in how to please.

If you want to know how to sexually please your partner, and yes, even the most conservative community (well, possibly excepting some) would admit that sexually pleasing your committed partner (ahem, within a politically and religiously sanctioned relationship structure) is something that might benefit the longevity of that relationship, you might wish to look into the wide variety of classes available in the kink community.  We actually study the biological structure of the human body and look into what can be done safely to enhance physical pleasure.

We seek education in how to communicate and negotiate.

All sorts of relationships, domestic and commercial, require some sort of negotiation, from the preparation of contracts to how to best raise your kids.  While there are many volumes available and I would hope classes available in any sort of business track (not my educational path), we are one of the few communities of which I am aware where open communication of each persons desires and structured and clear communication and negotiation of those desires is close to being required before any play or relationship can be contemplated.

How many of the couples you know, including your own parents, have had a discussion about the kind of sex they like, health concerns, and detailed talks about the kind of relationship they envision before they got married?  How many make part of their relationship a repeated time each week, or each day, to talk about differences that have come up and concerns raised?  I suspect few.

We seek education on how to resolve conflicts.

Obviously, any relationship structure that is outside of the norm can create conflicts and the need for resolution strategies peculiar to the relationship.  It is difficult for a Master and slave to go to marriage counseling where they are told, “Well, all that is fine, but in here, that role playing should be dropped.”  If it is the basis of the relationship, as it was most eloquently expressed by Master Obsidian and slave Namaste, that just don’t work.  So new ways of resolution had to be created.

How many couples do you know, married or not, who have sought out understanding of the uniqueness of their particular relationship and struggled with ways to resolve the distinctive problems that come up between them?  Are they concerned with what are the best ways to communicate so the other can hear you, and you know they can hear you, are the meanings of the words you use clear to the other, or do they put different meanings on the same words, how do you find out what the actual problem might be, rather than just the trigger that is currently being presented?  Each of these things are valuable for any form of relationship.

We seek opportunities to confirm our relationships.

Actually, I tend to feel that this is the most important.  We hear about couples getting married a second time, not after a separation, but as a re-confirmation of their vows and promises to each other.  Often it happens after many years of marriage after understandings and changes have grown and it is good to make that public commitment reflecting those changes and growth.

Last night I was pleased to participate in Dr. Bob Rubel and his partner Jen’s webinar.  It is a lovely dinner engagement where the conversation is on a wide variety of Kink and BDSM subjects, sometimes alone, sometimes with a video guest.  Last night the primary discussion was on “Do you use any kind of re-commitment ceremony? If yes, what do you do and why do you do it?”

The ceremonies discussed were short, usually very simple, but repeated, once a day or at each time the partners came together again after a parting.  What kind of effect would there be on your relationship if every time you woke you each took the moment to stare into each other’s eyes and whisper, “I am your husband and partner, and I love you from my heart.  That will carry us through.”, “I am your wife and partner, and I love you from my heart.  That will carry us through.”  Each and every day, even through the roughest times, even if you can not see yourself feeling it, but you say it, you keep to that moment to reconfirm.  That will carry you through…or at least do a lot to help.

I know a couple who has a place in their home where, in times of discord, they reconfirm their relationship by going to that place and sitting, he in the chair, and her on the floor with her head on his lap as he pets her hair.  True, perhaps at times the intentions are not easily felt, but the actions help to confirm, to remind them of what was the original promise.

While I am currently partnerless, I look to an eventual M/s relationship where each time we come together after a parting, even if the parting was only for a few hours, even in a public place with vanilla company, we take that moment to embrace, and whisper words of reconfirmation, “I am here, my Master, to serve and please you, with body, mind and heart.”, “I am here, my slave, to serve and protect you, with body, mind and heart.”

I do not believe that relationships can be of the “Set it and Forget it” type, and I have deep regrets that I did not learn all of this before I discovered the communities in which I now reside.

The Eroticist

Entitlement

I feel myself to be an empathetic person.  But empathy requires awareness.  When I see someone in pain, it effects me.  Entitlement, however, is a strange condition where its presence is marked particularly by operating outside of the beneficiaries awareness.  I am a tall Caucasian male, well spoken, who knows how to dress and can, at times, be relatively charming.  In modern day United States society there is an overwhelming number of things I can get away with without the least awareness of the people in this society who can not.  It is just the way it is.  Why question it?  Why even look?  “Let them eat Cake.”  The pronouncement mistakenly attributed to Marie Antoinette is a prime example, as it comes from a total lack of awareness of the other’s situation.

Since I have begun this blog I have become more and more aware of the overwhelming entitlement my being a white male affords me, particularly in regards to women.  Listening to the complaints of a person of great importance to me that she gets no financial or physical support from her father with whom she lives because “he works full time” at first sounds unreasonable, until you consider she is a single mother, goes to nursing school, is employed part time and expected to clean, cook, and do the laundry for herself, daughter and father, plus independently pay for school, Drs. and child support outside of her own personal needs.  All this because he is entitled.  It reminds me of the advertised “Mom” who keeps the house clean, children fed and well dressed, runs the local charity, and maintains herself thin and beautiful, with that slight hint of welcome to bed sexiness, as well as a happy and grateful attitude.

Dylan Matthews posted a graphic showing the relative proportion of rapes which were reported, rapist arrested, went to jail or were falsely accused.  The data was taken from Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey and FBI reports.  It is sobering.

I read a powerful, informative and painful article by E. J. Graff this morning.  In it she talks about a truly horrendous incident in India.  But to me the more frightening is that “When I told my wife the prosecutor how shocked I was by the India case’s rusty metal bar, her response disturbed me terribly: She laughed at my naïveté.”  I, in my entitled ignorance, immediately had to check the sex of Ms. Graff.

I have lived through a period of US history which has seen overwhelming changes in relations between black and white.  When my father was driving me to college in down state Illinois, he mentioned that in a town we passed through they were quite proud to say, “No black man has ever stayed over night here except in jail.” and I look at our recent re-election.  Yet, when I look at male – female relations, we are still proud that “We” gave them the vote.  THE VOTE?????   GAVE????

WE, are still entitled in the most blind and incomprehensible way.  WE, still have no idea of the innumerable ways we create a society where WE have the power and WE do everything we can to subjugate, limit, and control OUR women.  WE do not even see it and more shamefully, WE do not even look.

It is time to look, listen to those who know and complain, and become empathetic to a state of being that can not and should not allow to continue.  We need what we are refusing to see.

The Eroticist

Abuse Causes SadoMasochism?

All through my exploration of the BDSM lifestyle, my Dominance, and my sexual Sadism, I have heard well reasoned reports, some from well respected scientific journals, about the causal association between early physical and sexual abuse and a later interest in Sadomasochism.  Everyone around me, until I found a community, confirmed that Sadomasochistic behavior was so twisted and destructively perverse that it must have come from some traumatic event, for it could not be a desire born naturally into anyone other than a psychopath.

In discussion groups held through BDSM communities to which I began to belong I heard an inordinately large number of reports of early abusive relationships and met people who talked painfully of going from one abusive relationship to another before finding a BDSM community where they were able to experience their desires and needs in a safe and caring relationship. The message was so clear that I began to search through my memories to try to find instances of abuse in my early life which might have caused my interest and enjoyment in sexual Sadism.

Well, as anyone who has looked into the Salem Witch Trials can tell you, if you are convinced that something is there, you will tend to find it, and I did.  But the memories seemed so tenuous and questionable that I felt very uncomfortable accepting them. Then I saw a study that seemed to say that there is little difference between those who identify with interest in the BDSM lifestyle and those in the general population, not only in general socioeconomic criteria but in history of abuse.  While I would love to see further study, this did not explain to me the high number of reports I heard among people in my local communities of early abuse.

Before I continue, I would like to state, with homage to Robert Young, that I am not a therapeutic professional, though I have played one one TV.  What happened was that I began to question the assumptions of the early messages I heard stating that any interest in Sadomasochism must have come from abuse for it could not be a naturally occurring interest.  I began to wonder what would it mean if these desires, on either side of the relationship, were naturally occurring interests, and what would happen to someone who had those interests but were raised in a society where the interests and desires were so unacceptable that they could not be explored nor even acknowledged?

Well, I suggest that each person would be naturally drawn to someone of the opposite inclination, sadist to masochist, masochist to sadist.  I further suggest that if that coupling occurs between people who have strong desires in their (dare I say) God given direction, but with no training in how to experience them safely, adding to that an environment of shame and possible self condemnation, that combination could make for a volatile and possibly abusive relationship.

[I feel I must say at this point that abuse does occur, both inside and outside of sadomasochistic relationships.  I am not trying to redefine it, explain it nor excuse it.  No matter what the cause, abuse is inexcusable and should be something that requires immediate therapeutic care.]

Does this explain the number of stories I have heard, the tales of coming from an abusive background?  Not necessarily.  As I say, I am not a therapeutic professional, nor a sociological statistician.  But it does answer some questions for me and so, until something better comes along, I will tend to go with it.

I do believe that you can be a born sadist or a born masochist.  But I also believe that in the complex world of human sexuality and interpersonal relationships, no matter what your inclination, SM or not, it is wise to get a great deal of competent sexual education, something unfortunately very difficult to find in this society.  I also believe that it is possible to have a deeply sadomasochistic relationship that is at the same time joyous, fun, affirming, healthy, and physically safe and enjoyable.  You just have to learn how to do it.  What I do not believe is that SM is inherently abusive.  So, as Sergeant Phil Esterhause used to say, “Hey, let’s be careful out there.”

The Eroticist

There is an excellent post by one of my favorite bloggers, Clarisse Thorn which seems to fit here.  She is truly so much better a writer that I.

Abuse, Misogynation, and the Broader Community

The first post I read Sunday morning was by the excellent blogger Charlie Glickman.  With great pleasure I state publicly that he is a far better writer than I and has covered this issue well, so there is little I can add, but the subject is an important one, so I quote a bit of it here and highly recommend you follow his links to the other posts mentioned.

“Yesterday, Jezebel posted an article about a woman whose post on Fetlife (a social networking site for the BDSM world) about an experience of sexual assault resulted in the usual slut-shaming and victim-blaming. It’s worth checking out, and if you’re on Fetlife, take a look at the original post. The Jez piece ends:

Dayna’s experience with FetLife reminds us of Rebecca Watson’s horrific account of rampant misogyny in the skeptic community. You’d expect a certain amount of enlightenment from a social network that celebrates alternative sexuality, right? Well, looks like you’d be sorely disappointed.

As someone who has moved through different facets of the BDSM world for a while, as well as many other communities of erotic affiliation, I’ve seen this pattern play out before. A lot of these crowds present themselves as non-judgmental and welcoming, but sooner or later, they don’t manage to live up to the expectations that message creates and people become disillusioned. In my experience, that’s at least partly because those expectations are unrealistic, and I think it’s worth unpacking them to see if there’s anything we can do about them.”

While I accept Charlie’s conclusion (yea, you will have to read it yourself), and understand that any community is built from a wide variety of people who have come from their own backgrounds of “racism, sexism, homophobia, ageism, classism, cisgender privilege, transphobia, ableism, and every other kind of privilege/oppression you can name”, I think it is important to recognize those attitudes and do what we can to change them.  I am sure Charlie would agree.

I am ashamed to find that at age 65, I am still surprised at what women must endure, and have endured daily at the hands of men who, for the most part, truly believe that their behavior is acceptable.  I am bothered to see the number of people who can not, to even the slightest degree, stand up and say this is wrong, and I am deeply bothered that in many or most cases of such behavior, the first response from the woman and most respondents to her story is, “What did she do wrong?”.

The Eroticist