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The online diary of an ethical pervert.

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

He loves me, he loves me not

I've been thinking recently about love and BDSM. This was triggered by something that happened a couple of weeks ago and have only just found the right space to be able to articulate it. I find talking about love quite difficult, not because I am embarrassed, or because I find emotions challenging, but because it seems like such an overworked subject. So much has been said on the topic by better minds and sharper pens than mine whilst at the same time an awful lot of inane twaddle has been wharbled by soppy handwringing actors, teenage singers and dodgy "wimmins" literature. It's a road well travelled, clearly. Yet everyone's experience is unique, each person has a specific resonance that comes to mind when they hear the word. For me, love is very concrete, it's not an airy-fairy ineffable concept, it's as real as the sheets beneath my hands, as the keys underneath my fingertips. A definite palpable entity that I own as much as any other thought or feeling in my head; book on my shelf; piece of clothing in my wardrobe.

I thought that love might be complicated by BDSM, that emotional power plays might make it harder to recognise or to appreciate love. Turns out that whilst this is a reasonable concern, it isn't exactly the case.

"I don't love you, you know that, don't you?"

I didn't know that, not precisely, I'd suspected as much and had thought it to be true in my heart of hearts. So I nodded, feeling like I'd been punched in the chest with something hard and cold. I started to cry, part of me felt lost and abandoned, the other light as air, almost relieved in a terrible way as if some awful secret had been confirmed. The Photographer barely pauses, he continues to fuck me and I continue to cry, softly, trying not to alter my position or do anything that might affect his use of me. My mind is reeling and my connection to my skin feels quite tenuous, I'm numb.

"I can't love you, not a thing like you. How can I love a slave? I've never made love to you, that's not what we are about."

His voice is soft, reassuring like one might talk to an animal or an unreasonable child, explaining to them the rationality of a seemingly cruel gesture. It is a cruel gesture. It is also rational, and the strength of the imbalance of power we have sweeps me away for a few moments. I can love him, and I do, perversely perhaps I feel it even more so right then and there because of what he is saying.
He reiterates how much he needs and wants me, how much he enjoys using me but that the very nature of what I am to him prevents love. I have never felt quite so empty around him, quite so much of a thing or object until this precise point. I've enjoyed the feeling of being used like one, but then I could hide myself away in my body, floating happily in the sensations. Here it is impossible. I am not playing at being an object, I am being treated precisely like one. I have not shut my personality or emotions into a little box whilst I enjoy being calmly abused: they are fully present, appreciated and understood. And under examination they are irrelevant to him. I have given so much over to his control, starting with my body which was the easiest, then to parts of myself and my identity that only a handful of people know about. And those parts of me which I thought were unique and special have no value.

Afterwards, I lie on his chest. We're talking quietly, whilst he strokes my face shoulders.

"I do love you. But not when we're doing that, I couldn't do the things I do to you if I loved you at those times." He's trying to explain.

Part of me feels a little triumphant, that he feels as strongly toward me as I do for him. And happy, especially given I know he has a hard time relating his emotions. Most of me still feels hurt, shaky and confused. I'm trying to understand him: I am to him sometimes myself, a real person who he loves, and sometimes his slave, who is not a person and therefore he cannot love me. I can appreciate it as a D/s dynamic, it is very powerful, certainly and there must be a mindset that he adopts just as I have one when I submit, that is different to the day-to-day, that processes and expresses in different ways. For him, love is incompatible with ownership. Like loving a table, or a chair. I can see his point of view, and lay it out here as best as I can in black and white, but I don't think I understand it at all. I suppose because I do not separate out the two states of being in the same way: I am his all of the time, sometimes this is expressed more strongly than others. I'm always his, and I love him.

These are hard waters to swim in, I've never played like this before, never been owned or experienced ownership like this and neither has he. So both of us are working through what we've discovered and I'm not sure how the dynamic will alter given these new revelations: that he loves me, and that he doesn't. It does give me a curious confidence. I know that we have a strong relationship and we keep discovering curious twists and turns that lead us to unfamiliar places. Falling in love was something that I was prepared for, and I like being in love, so it's no hardship at all, far from it. Making love powerful strange was something I'd never anticipated, and dealing with that together will be something entirely new.

Delicate parts

I think I may have sustained my first BDSM related injury. By injury, I mean something that wasn't really intended, so whilst I'll happily sport all the red lines and bruises with pride, this is more of an accident. Accidents are par for the course, of course, there's a risk to everything and it is never possible to eliminate all risk from activity. Potentially there is kink value in being curled up and kept very still, swaddled tightly in cotton wool, but even then there might be problems with breathing constriction.

I have a couple of tiny tears at the sides of my nipple piercings caused in all probability by over-enthusiastic pulling during play with Knight of Wands. He has been especially concerned, and yes, they are quite sore but they look to be healing fine. It's interesting to me because I had previously thought of them as being quite durable. They healed up very quickly with a minimum of fuss when they were done, and they have never had anything like the sensitivity that The Photographer's do, for example. On the other hand, I have only had them in for around six or so months and it's a delicate part of the body. I also think that the insertion of metal against flesh gives the impression of durability, when this is not the case. Metal is strong and unfeeling, flesh is very, very definitely not.

One of my difficulties, and something I am now keenly aware of and will bear in mind for the future is that my tolerance for pain is higher than my body's tolerance for damage. I mark very easily, and that's fine: marks that fade after a few weeks don't concern me over much, but the fact that I clearly can't tell especially well if something is causing "good" pain or "bad" pain, is a bit of a concern. To my mind, this must have a lot to do with the levels of adrenaline and endorphins being released as well as the sensation of being in sub-space, the connected disconnectedness of submission does not lend itself to rational and impartial observation of the body. Needless to say
the play itself didn't feel to be particularly heavy at the time I enjoyed it (we both did) but now, several days afterwards, they are still tender. Healing, but tender. So for the next couple of weeks I'm resigning myself to more philosophical and theoretical activities.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Wrapped up

Tis the Season and all that, so here's a present for you all, courtesy of that nice man Frank Miller. The image comes from an association working hard to allow comic book writers freedom of expression within their work, and I think we can all agree that the universe is made all the sweeter when thoughts like that are allowed to come to life through pen and paper.

And also perhaps flesh, now where did I put those sticky plasters..?

Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Time heals all wounds

I have something of a quandary, one of those fortunately rare moments where two things I am very fond of clash in an irreconcilable way. I want to get a set of labial rings, specifically outer labia, because I think that these will look the prettiest. There is a problem, however. I have no issue with the pain involved indeed part of the point of getting pierced is that there is some pain - it's part of the process itself. If the pain was not there it would be less of an accomplishment, less of a ritual. Neither is it any particular worry about infection, scarring or similar, I'm not a fool and understand how to follow the very simple instructions in looking after piercings, and the place I'm likely to go to get it done is very, very good.

My issue is the healing time. By all verbal accounts, and according to those in the know on the Internet this could put me out of action (quite literally) for around three months. No sex for three months. I feel the need to reiterate that in italics no sex for three months. It's possible I might die from some form of erotic malnutrition. On top of that is the concern that this could perhaps also involve being quite uncomfortable in a very important area for a similar length of time. Unfortunately I'm not in the position whereby I could lie on a chaise longue and be served ice-cream during my extended convalescence, and at the very least an alibi will need to be constructed for work. I was contemplating "groin strain" but that might imply some form of exercise on my behalf and I tend not to give the impression of sportiness.

So, I'm currently tabling a list of options to chat through with The Photographer who is almost as keen as I am for new and exciting piercings that offer chastity control options. The first, and most obvious, is to do it and be damned, which is my usual first choice in any given situation where I feel aware of the risks. I know what I'm getting into, I know it will hurt, and possibly hurt for a long time, but if I really, really want them, then I'll just have to go through it. The second is to not do it at all, and compose some form of work-around for chastity purposes, although this may have to wait until the world invents a female chastity belt that isn't bulky and/or ugly. Which could be a while. My final, and currently preferred option is to go for the inner labia instead, whilst not quite as much of a statement piece, they certainly fulfill the same function and have the added bonus of healing very, very quickly.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Pinch me

I'm naked, on my back and trying not to yelp. A gag would make my life easier, but my tongue has been deemed to useful, and thus required. Knight of Wands is exploring, minutely investigating the terrain that is my flesh. It's our first play session, and given he's back in the world of BDSM after a hiatus we both wanted to start slow and build up, see where we get to. We have some areas we are both interested in investigating longer term, but there's nothing that needs rushing. We're in the fortunate position of knowing each other already, so the trust and comfort levels are in place and we've been chatting about potential games and suchlike for a few days now. We've selected a few bits of kit - cuffs and blindfolds mostly, and are now seeing what each of us is made of.

What is slightly unnerving is the silence, he's absolutely focused, and saying very little except the little murmur of approval after I shudder or groan on the back of an especially tight twist of the flesh. Pinching is a curious sensation, it starts of quite slow, heavy massage almost, and I wriggle appreciatively as my muscles warm up and melt under his hands. As the pressure increases and narrows down to specific points it starts to play on the edges of pain. A rough but firm pinch, taking in a fair amount of flesh is pleasant, it speaks of the desire to consume, to manipulate. Finer, more precise pinching is sharper, a deep shooting pain as the nerves are compressed, twisted.
Some areas are more sensitive than others, the inside of my thighs now sport a series of coin sized bruises from where they were held hard and not let go.

Pinches, like clamps on chain, hurt more the more you try and wriggle away which adds to the build of a submissive state, not only are you in pain, but you must control your movements to manage the pain better. The part of me that enjoys being passive bumps up against that animalistic fight or flight response that knee-jerk moves me away from the pain. I settle down back for more, of course. The fact that it is fingers and hands rather than an implement is also attractive to me, I like being touched, and there's something exciting in being grabbed, pulled and pushed around to literally be that which someone can't keep their hands off.


This is, I suppose a post about closure. It's a reflection on my feelings after what happened with The Photographer, and it's also a set of musings about one of my favourite topics: the link between pain and emotions.

It has taken me some time to process and digest my thoughts on this matter, not because I'm at all coy about sharing my views or impressions but rather I didn't feel as if I was in precisely the right state of mind to be able to properly describe what was going on. My thoughts were all over the place, especially the following day. We had agreed that the proper punishment was to be six strokes of the crop, but that this couldn't take place instantly and so we would have to wait until the next evening. This meant that I couldn't really accept the matter as being settled, I wasn't forgiven because I hadn't paid the penance, I was not in a place where I was comfortably and safely his any more. I felt caught in between things. Furthermore the emotional expenditure of the evening, and the realisation of the strength of our bond made me feel jittery, a little worn out and tired. It was similar to the exhaustion you can get after an argument, before making up, where the tension hangs over your day like a cloud. I hate leaving things unfinished, and I really hate the sensation of letting someone down and being unable to make things right there and then.

It was in that somewhat fractured place that I met up with him in the evening to go for a date with Food of Love a couple who had contacted us via our shared profile. I was not really in a sociable mood, to say the least, and was a little slow of the mark with conversations and jokes, this was a little unfortunate because they were both very charming and interesting. They are a master slave couple whose entry into the BDSM world came via swinging, so their outlook was a bit different to ours. We discussed fine food and wine (always a pleasant topic) and also the link between D/s play and sex. Eventually I felt myself calm down and relax into the evening, and I'm certainly looking forward to seeing them again in a more mentally prepared state.

We went home, hand in hand. I felt so close to him, exposed and a little uncertain. There was no doubt in my mind that I'd take the punishment, more than that, I needed to do so. But the fact that I had to be punished made me feel a little sad. Almost as soon as we got indoors I got undressed, bent over across the bed, legs slightly parted, arms spread wide. No collar, no cuffs, no symbol of anything. Just me. The first blow was a little off, softened by falling at a slight angle, but the second cut sharp and true. The crop is a bright pain, flashing into the skin and the brain like a physical firework. I jumped, and partly curled up, an instant reaction to pull away from it. My heart was racing and for a few seconds I didn't think I could do it. But knew I had to. I crawled back into position slowly, the traces of pain still flowing through my flesh. You can't remember pain properly, that's one of the interesting things about it. It only exists in that moment, and then it is gone, you only remember that something hurt, not a full recall in the same way that a smell or sound can be replayed. So each time it is new, unique, and each time you are not prepared. That's why the second blow hurts the most, because by that point you are inside of the pain, and you know what it is like once more, just as you know that there is more to come and that when blows fall upon blows they hurt more.

It felt like forever, but it could only have been a minute, maybe three to allow for the time he spent holding me between blows, stroking my hair and face. Then he held me, whispering how proud he was, how wonderful I was and how happy he was that I had done this, that I was his. As the pain faded, and with it the memory of pain, to be replaced by the warm glow of energised skin, of sensitive touches and the floating sensation of submission, relief, release and happiness. Yes, I am his.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Baby's got a temper

In BDSM interactions, we can only set the ball rolling, not predict where it is going to land. We can only speak for ourselves and our states of being. And even then it's not certain. For me, this is especially true of emotional or psychological areas: my submissive state is one in which I have increased sensitivity not merely to touch but to thoughts, to feelings. I will take things to heart, particularly criticism because I want to be good, to be wanted, desired, pleasing. This isn't a mutely facile servile mindset without process, far from it, it is part of who I am as a person so by extension it is part of me. I hate failure, weakness, vacillation or lack of care. Actually, it is truer to say that I fear failure, letting people down, not doing what I should. This can often be a powerful and positive driver, it moves me forwards, keeps me honest. But in a submissive state these fears are exacerbated and the channels for moving beyond them locked down, out of reach because not only do I fear the act of failure itself, I am not in control of what determines a failure, or the consequences.

"Aren't you going to answer me?" He slaps my cheek again, holding my face firm with his other hand, turning it over so he can hit the other side. Hard, regular strokes.

A little thing, in isolation, a small correction of behaviour. Talking about it afterwards we both agreed that it could have gone either way, we could have ignored the blip, laughed it off and carried on, but neither of us did, there was an edge to what had happened, for whatever reason. One of those unexpected, unpredictable turns of emotions and we both decided to run with it. The incident in question isn't important, only that I hadn't behaved precisely as I should, as a slave should. And now I wasn't responding as I should, a simple yes or no would have done, but I didn't: passivity had slid into something else, refusal, negation. I was holding my lips firmly pressed together. A cold, slippery fish flipped in my stomach, I was upset with myself for letting him down, but there was more to it than that. I could feel myself pulling away from him, becoming angry with him just as I was angry with myself. And resolved not to speak, not to react, to not play this game. It wasn't bratting, there was no conscious decision on my part to try and "push" him, or make him angry with me, I just wasn't in a place where I felt I could speak, I gritted my teeth, I started to cry but they were not tears of abandon, or pain or suffering, they were angry, frustrated tears.

"Why aren't you answering me?" Calm voice, still hitting me. Within me I could feel something build, and at that point I almost felt as if most of my conscious mind had simply shut down, whatever was piloting me forward was pure and simple rage, hate and hurt. It was an animal place, of push and pull. And I was being pushed.

I lashed out, turning round and hitting him back before he caught my arms and bore me down onto my side, holding my wrists tight, his voice was harder, he was talking to me, demanding to know what was going on, making me aware of just what would happen if I ever tried to hit him again but his voice started to sound very far away. It was like blacking out. I had moved so far away, away from my mistake, from his punishment of that mistake and my own guilt at having let him down. I was just angry, cold and angry. There weren't any words where I was, and I didn't move either, immobilised and unwilling to respond. I think I might have growled. After a while he stops, turning away from me, pulling the sheets around him, leaving me in the dark. Like a surly lover, refusing to bridge the gap after an argument with a single kind words, still too raw and angry to speak, I reached for the sheets to cover myself but he pulled them back. At which point I got up and left the room.

Two minutes walking up and down a small, cold bathroom in the dark wondering if this was the end of the experiment, If I'd gone as far as I could reasonably go. If I'd broken what we had, and what I could do next. On my way to make up the spare bed, too proud to go back to the room, The Photographer met me in the kitchen and held out his arms, I held on for a long time and then we went back to bed to discuss what happened, to reassure each other that we were both safe, both happy with each other, both wanting to continue.

The play that we have is not really play. It does not turn on and off, we are not actors who adopt roles, we are people exploring a serious and deep connection. So to say that we went back to the scene is not the right phrase, but we did push ourselves back into that place, to resolve it in the space where it was created. I can start it at any point I want, if I want. And I do, with all my heart. I get on my knees, at the foot of the bed and apologise to him, sincerely, in full and honest earnestness. There is no anger in me any more. I am calm with flashes of concern and worry that he will not take me back. Collar and cuffs put on in silence and after a few minutes I am allowed back into the bed, held tightly.

Whatever was started was both powerful and unexpected and is still continuing. We've talked further, in more depth and the emotional angle to what we are doing is something we are only just starting to fully appreciate. I'm interested to see how it will develop. As my submission grows, as our connection grows, there will be further moments like this, barriers that we never knew existed will appear and we will have to work through them, or put a line under it, say "this far and no further." I'm not there yet. I've got more distance to go.

Monday, 15 December 2008

A manifesto for masochism

"Now I think I'm going to hurt you a bit more now." Shuttered Lens wraps white rope around his arm in a practised gesture as he speaks. "Because you like it."

I wonder if he's right; certainly he's not wrong. I've never previously identified as a masochist, but what else is this situation except for a very considered and pre-planned consensual request to be put in pain? It is all of these things, I've always said that within the contexts of BDSM I don't do anything that I don't want to do, however that may be expressed, and whatever apparent contradictions may come from that. Society hates pain and a great many individuals and organisations dedicate vast amounts of time and resources to overcoming it in all its many forms. Here am I not merely allowing it to happen but specifically seeking it out and exploring it. I am not psychologically damaged and therefore unable to separate "affection" from "control". I am not an abuse victim seeking some form of catharsis. This is not an abusive relationship, I am getting no more and (hopefully) no less than what I explicitly asked for. It is a controlled environment, those I play with are smart, safe and enjoy what they do.

We enjoy pain, although "enjoy" is a difficult word for those outwith these situations to grasp because we have a socio-linguistic disconnect between pain and pleasure. That which is painful cannot, by standard definitions, be pleasurable. Yet we know this is untrue, from experience, even vanilla non-controversial experience: the tired ache in calf muscles after a good run speaks of satisfaction, of physical prowess. Marks on the face and body inflicted by boxers give intense adrenaline rushes, not to mention the roar and sway of the crowd as each blow falls. The sporting world acknowledges pain as part of the process, and thrill seeking as a natural urge. Yet extremes of sexuality still provoke a challenge, especially when the pain is directed towards a woman.

I am perfectly clear on what I'm doing and accept the risks in order to gain the rewards. The bruises are my trophies, the stripes are my badges of pride. I'm not ashamed or frightened about what I want or what I need, however the wants and needs of pain are very different to the daily requirements of eating, sleeping, breathing. I don't have to do this, it is not a pathology, but neither do people need to buy new shoes, to consume champagne, to dance. They want to, and because these things are not considered problematic by society (and indeed are often posited as signs of positivity and happiness) there is no difficulty in doing so. In order to make things a little less problematic, or perhaps just to set my stall out as clearly as possible the follows is a small but perfectly (to my mind at least) formed manifesto for masochism. These points only refer to consensual adult adventures in pain, and are in no way shape or form an acceptance or supporting document for truly non-consensual abusive infliction of pain.

  • The exploration of pain is also an exploration of pleasure. One cannot exist without the other and both are equally important and valid, indeed pleasurable-pain and painful-pleasure are contradictions that enrich sexual experience and interactions. Without pain, pleasure would have no meaning.
  • A desire for pain is not wrong. Masochism is not a mental illness. Historic medicalisation of BDSM has led to a failure in understanding and accepting the drives that underlie these activities, and causing society to formulate unhelpful categories of "right" and "wrong" desire, which do not truly exist. Consensual pain can be actively sought by individuals. Just as it is possible to consent to be pleased, so it is possible to consent to be harmed, provided all are aware and accepting of the type of harm and the potential risks involved. True consent derives only from a sane consideration of the facts. Without pain, we cannot truly be sane.
  • Masochism is a fetish. It is not for everyone and it is not necessary that everyone enjoy pain, but that does not mean it is not enjoyed by some people. In order to live freely, and to allow others to do so, we must accept that some people will want to do things that we could not imagine or countenance doing, but that this is their choice. Without pain, we are not free.
  • Pain is part of human experience. Love of pain and love of inflicting pain are desires to be analysed and understood, not feared or rejected out of hand. Thrill seeking, endurance, curiosity, satisfaction, joy and exhilaration can all be found in pain and these are wholly acceptable reasons for seeking out pain. Pain is personal and makes us unique. No-one can speak of anyone's pain but their own, each person's pain is unique to them, and belongs to them in its entirety, however our pain can help us empathise with the pain of others, and by sharing painful experiences we can grow close to each other. Without pain, we become less human.
  • The body is owned by the self not the state. It is not the duty of the state to legislate for what sane, consenting adults chose to to their own bodies and to the bodies of other consenting adults. The right to self-authoring, to control our existence, to live a whole and full life should encompass the right to affect our bodies in whatever way we chose. Without this right over our bodies, we are incomplete selves. Without pain we are less in control of ourselves and our world.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Pained expressions - Part 2

I'm on my knees, part curled into a ball. I'm naked and my wrists are cabled-tied together. I can feel the plastic scratch and bite every time I attempt to move my hands, the skin there is flushed red with an exposed rawness to it. I feel fragile, physically and mentally, I'm slightly tired from the pain, and going through pain is tiring: all the little jerks and spasms of muscles, the responses to it. I am not quite part of the world: I was certainly moving on auto-pilot as I settled back into position on the floor, as instructed, and my awareness is limited to my instructions. I can hear Shuttered Lens speak commands as clearly as the background noise of the room is muffled and far away. I exist in my skin, and only in my skin, feeling a bit like a puppet jerked on strings both real and verbal.

The world is coming back into focus in dribs and drabs as my brain pulls itself back from wherever it goes whilst my body is being abused. The two slowly melt back together and I watch as pegs are clipped onto The Photographer's penis and scrotum, he wriggles a little and gasps. I wince, imagining what that might feel like. Shuttered Lens attaches thin cord to his nipple piercings, then a metal clip and some safety scissors for weight. He holds them in his hand, as if to drop them, and I wince again. He notices and hands them to me to hold.

"Drop them." I can't. Mutely I shake my head, I can't really speak either, and neither do I want to. After a few moments, he pulls out a flogger, thick black leather cords with knots in the end. A part of me thrills to this, instantly understanding if I don't hurt him then I will be hurt in his stead and the part of me that loves him, that seeks to protect him, wells up. There is strength in my submission, and here I have been given an opportunity to express it, for which I am also grateful. All these thoughts flutter past within a second or so before the first stroke lands. It is sharp, biting and causes a little flash of white around the edges of my vision.

"Drop it." I can't, but I also can't bring myself to say "No" to him, because that feels rude, a criticism of what he is doing, when in fact everything he is doing is perfectly right, and I accept it. I just clutch the scissors and look at him, shaking slightly. He hits me again, and as always it's the second and ensuing ones that hurt most because they prove that the first was neither accident nor chance. The blows will keep coming and keep hurting, that is what they are for. I feel floaty, "high" isn't the right word, although there is a wash of endorphins and crying out to the edge where the tears might become laughter. Not because it's funny, the pain is emphatically not funny, but because I'm making direct reactions to what is happening within me, without social context or intellectual contribution. There's an abandon to it, almost like hysteria at my situation.

It doesn't take long, both the pain and the weight of expectation are too much and I drop the scissors after the third or so blow. I curl up, ashamed of myself, after a while, I feel able to raise my head and whisper "sorry" to The Photographer, but he's smiling, not a grimace through pain, but a genuine smile. I smile back.

"There," says Shuttered Lens "that wasn't so bad was it?" It was, and of course it was also a superb headfuck, even now I'm kicking myself for wondering if I could have taken more blows, although at the time I knew I could not. Talking to The Photographer afterwards and noting the power disparity in the paired games, where both of us were put in positions to hurt the other. Even though he was in a submissive position, he was still my master, and I still did not want to hurt him, whereas he had no compunction about causing me pain, especially in situations where it was inevitable. We play the games according to our different rules, each for our own goals and desires.

Pained expressions - Part 1

Shuttered Lens ties me to a chair. Slow, methodical and sure. My arms are bound behind me, legs spread a little and lashed by the ankle to each side. There is a plastic clip on each of my nipples, the pain was sharp and hot when they first went on, clamping tightly against the piercing running through the flesh. Almost as soon as they went on I could feel myself come out in a cold, nervous sweat, and I think I grinned. After the initial bite, the pain flattens a little, coming in constant, rapid waves, rising up through my stomach and along my skin, to the points themselves. I course along with them, feeling them roll and build like the mirror image of an orgasm.

I'm blindfolded and shut down from the world. There is just the pain and whatever part of me it is that is experiencing the pain: stimuli and receptor is the sum of my existence. I'm aware, on some low level that I'm making noise, shifting, groaning and letting out little moans as I mouth at the air, uttering words that are not words. I can't form language from within this space, I can't conceive of the pain because there is no part of me that is able to stand outside of it, to observe it and my reactions in order to describe the sensations. It's hard to unpick them from memory, although I am still reasonably sore and have plenty of tenderness to remind me of where the feelings where the strongest.

It hurts, there is no other way of describing it, I am in pain, I am caught up in this powerful sensation that is flowing through me, a sensation that is just this side of bearable. Just. The small part of me capable of any rational thought whatsoever keeps repeating "any moment now you will have to stop". But the moment passes. Each moment passes. Because I want to carry on, to see what the next wave brings with it. In tandem with the fear (and it is a fear) of having to stop, there is the desire to move on, to feel more, to experience more.

The blindfold is removed and I can see that The Photographer is also bound to a chair, in a similar fashion. There are thin white cords stretching from his piercings to mine. I can feel each jerk and twitch as sure as he must be able to feel me. Shuttered Lens stands behind him, finishing the ties. I can see both of their faces, both absorbed in the moment: the one placid, eyes closed, mouth slightly open, breathing coming a little heavier as the ties are pulled tighter. The other smiling at the reactions. There's a neat dynamic at work here, an exploration of pain and its effects both on those inflicting and receiving. And we have an entire evening at our disposal to work through the preliminaries.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Being and doing

This is a response to one of the questions I have been recently asked. Writ small, the question was about submission and identity - are they separate things and is my submission a performed act: something I "do" rather than something I "am".

I would say that I am a submissive, that would be how I identify myself, however, I don’t feel the desire to submit to just anyone, or indeed the majority of people. It is part of who I am and an important part of my sexual make-up (I don't like vanilla sex). I enjoy topping, but prefer to submit. For me, it is topping that is the act of “doing” rather than the "being" which is one of the reasons I very rarely use the word “Domme” to describe myself when I’m topping, because that’s not how I feel. It feels more like a the game, an action-orientated activity around the physical sensations that I’m giving to someone else and a mindset that I am playfully experiencing, putting on like a new dress and swanning around in it for a bit, before returning to normal.

I don’t like to use words such as “natural” when
describing these sorts of activities but I do feel more comfortable when submitting. It’s a state I’m more likely to seek out and to enjoy doing for longer and in a variety of contexts. Submitting is the “real deal” (obviously all these tags and labels are flexible, I think that as we go on and learn new things about ourselves and others we change and develop but for the moment it’s a useful way of talking about how I feel). It is “me” that submits, I give myself over physically, emotionally and intellectually. If it was just a physical transactional based activity in which I derived masochistic pleasure from being hit, then yes, I would view it as an action or gesture. Sometimes it can be like that, especially when I am playing with people I don’t especially know – then it is the pure thrill of being tied up, or the endorphin rush of being hit. But when I play with my partner (we have a D/s relationship) it is more than that. I’m emotionally connected to him for a start, and we play in more psychological areas – so my brain and my feelings are engaged.

I’m not sure that you can really view this in isolation, however, facets of one's identity can be pulled apart in that manner. We change as we grow, different points come to prominence. Which is a positive thing overall, but does mean that sometimes it can be difficult to think about submission as an identity in isolation, it interlinks with a lot of other parts of my personality and is a reflection of them: .for example, in my vanilla life I am reasonably head strong, very independent minded and have a career that relies upon initiative, personal responsibility and being able to order and manage others. I think that the part of me that enjoys submitting does so as a way of letting go of these cares. However, the desire to submit has been with me for a long time, and I would count it as being part of me and a very definite part of me at that, not just a mirror image of “how I am at work” or anything as plain as that, but an ingrained and extremely pleasant part of my view of myself.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Winsome, lose some?

Date last night with Tie Tighter, who was a lot more than met the profile page. Given our conversations I'd been expecting a certain type of person and found my expectations utterly, pleasantly, confounded. It's nice to find yourself in that situation, whatever the reverse of being let down is. We had an extended chat, and I observed his eyes light up when he spoke about rope bondage, his metier, listening to his descriptions of tying people, of how he enjoyed delivering pleasure through mummification, sensory deprivation and loop after loop of rope was energising, as it is whenever you hear someone talk about something they obvious love.

As a strict heterosexual (the mention of tying up a man made him wince as if he'd bitten lemon) there is obviously less room for The Photographer in any potential scenario, but although co-subbing is certainly still high on the agenda, also too is the desire for my own experiments and experiences. It's interesting to find someone for whom sexuality is so tied to gender, as this is something that I am quite aware of and beginning to explore more of myself as I play with more women.

Speaking of joint ventures, New Friends dropped us a note wanting to slow our interactions down somewhat, to become, well, friends before continuing further. It's true that we had moved very quickly from chatting to meeting to playing (the latter stage occurring within a few hours). And whilst a part of me can't help but feel a little disappointed, I'm also genuinely looking forward to getting to know them both a bit better: at worst, we will have a couple of cool new people to chat to, and at best we'll have a firmer relationship on which to base play.

I'm feeling generally very positive about future meetings, both as a pair and flying solo. We have a play date lined up for Friday with Shuttered Lens who gave us both the most business like of pre-play chats we've ever had, which I certainly appreciated for it's candour, if nothing else. I'm not precisely sure what to expect of this, his experience would lead me to hope for good play (why hope for bad play?) but it will be one of the few times I've played with someone who I know very little. Play-as-play is still quite new to me, so that may contextualise my feelings and sensations - and as well as everything else, I'm keen to know what effect this has.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Save all your kisses for me

Kisses are powerful symbols, more powerful actions. The signifier of the power of love, whether it be affection, friendship, eros or agape. From childhood we learn that they can wake sleeping princesses or turn frogs to princes. Allegories that a Freudian analyst might draw notwithstanding, the kiss is a potent figure within almost every story of human relationships: Judas' kiss in Gethsemane, "kiss me Hardy", a kiss before dying. When we each have our own first kisses, however good or bad they might have been, they contain a certain something - I remember my first kiss with each of the three people have ever been in love with, and each time was charged with a frisson that time may have exacerbated certainly, but the moment was there. It still is whenever I think about it.

"And that's the last time I'm going to kiss you when I use you." His lips have just left mine, from a delicate kiss, no more than a touch. I'm stunned, literally numb for a few seconds whilst I process this. My first thought is prostitutes don't kiss their clients and that contextualises it all for me instantly. This is how you separate sex from feeling, how you insert an imbalance of power. I want to kiss him, contrarily, and that is certainly what I desire in the those moments whilst I'm thinking. Then a certain calm comes over me, because this is another layer of submission I've been given, another push further down, a way in which I become more and more that object of desire rather than that person, that girlfriend, that lover.

The Photographer looks at me quizzically when I tell him I feel sad, but content. Which is true, after a fashion - just like absence makes the heart grow fonder, what I can't have becomes more prized. Wonderland logic: things taken away are things bestowed. I'll miss his kisses, of course, but I also appreciate what has happened, I am happy to make him happy, and if this is something that he wants, then I'm glad to be able to oblige. Desire represented by no kiss at all.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Kitty and puppy

The efforts of our joint profile appear to be bearing fruit, last night The Photographer and I went out to a small kinky gathering with New Friends - we got on really well, and had a very switchy night of deciding who we were going to do next. They introduced us both to a fantastic piece of electronic kit which had a series of remotely activated pads. These were placed on the girl's labia, either side of the clitoris. The warm-up was a firm but gently vibrating sensation, which was very pleasant, and then as the current increased it became sharper, more like the feel of a violet wand, but still with the vibration underneath the electricity so even at higher levels the pain was intermingled with definite, and intimate pleasure.

The Photographer was seconded to button pushing and took great delight in doing so, but it was a little as if he had sidelined himself from the action, or fallen into his more customary role as amused but detached dom. Given the fact that he doesn't get to submit as often as I do, and that turn about is fair play I decided that really he shouldn't be left out and that he should wear the collar for the rest of the night. On hands and knees in tight pvc trousers and later on, even less, hooked to a lead he made a wonderful gift of a puppy to our recent acquaintances, the female half was especially delighted, and amusement was had when we realised that Kitty (pet name from her other half) had a puppy. Who was, as usual wonderfully well behaved, even when
strapped to a bench and the electrical pads placed on the top of his penis and at the base of his balls. Then the button pushed. Mercilessly.

The three of us spent quite a while alternately petting and abusing him, until he was quite spaced out and staring, glazed and smiling into space. At which point, we changed location to the St Andrew's Cross and I got to spend a bit of time glazed and smiling as I was flogged and had my nipple piercings toyed with at length. Puppy stayed firmly on the floor, his tongue industriously investigating the potential of Kitty's stockings to everyone's delight.

What was especially nice was the level of sexualised contact, and strong mutual attraction. Lots of kissing, groping, licking and alternating dynamics which were very exciting. Although an element of Britishness (perhaps?) prevented us from inviting them back to ours for a "coffee" afterwards, I'm sure that future encounters, now the ice has been broken, will see us being a little less coy.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Learning by doing

I keep trying to work out whether or not I am actually polyamorous, and the answer is I don't know. I'm definitely in an open relationship, and (time permitting) keen to date and see other people, just as The Photographer has his partner. And we're certainly both busy trying to find those special someones who would like to tie us up and put us through our paces.

I'm not sure if that makes me poly, though. I don't know precisely where the line is between "feelings" and "play". I know that I need some connection with my partners, but I think that's true of everyone. Certainly better play has happened with those I've felt something for. Whether that is pure attraction, affection, friendliness, confidence in their presence or a mixture of all of these. I don't know where this leads - I am reasonably confident that I don't have the room in my life for another relationship that is as emotionally involved as the one I have with The Photographer, and I absolutely will make time for him before anyone else. Which is meaningful in and of itself. Does that make me not poly, then? Equally, I'm not sure that hanging labels on things ever does much good, I know that I've had a few cheeky little sniggers at people who introduce themselves as being firmly fixed in one category or the other. But perhaps they are. Just as I am happy to try new things, and would hate to shut the door on potential options. Which admittedly makes me sound greedy, but a little bit of what you fancy does you good. As my gran says, though probably not in this context.

So why the worry? If I'm happy to keep sampling from the varied menu of sexuality, why do I feel the need to work out just what my ideal relationship status is. I suppose the key here is in the word "ideal". As many of my friends are now cemented in their Noah-esque pairings, with weddings going off here there and everywhere, I'm starting to wonder how everything will pan out, where the dust will settle. Part of this has come from recent conversations in which I've tried to sound out how the future might look, but of course no-one can do that, and as time moves on, things change. I've changed. In the last nine or so months my life has moved into a very different place and I feel more comfortable with my love life, my sex life, my life. But less settled in my future.

Where once boy met girl and they went and chose curtains I'm not even sure I could begin to plan for anything now. It's a curious mix of freedom and anxiety. Worries about how it might all turn out, terribly aware of the fragility of these relationships see-saw with the excitement of possibilities, of everything from fun dates to finding love. Again, again and maybe even again. For as long as it works. And that's the rub. Which I know is exactly the same with any sort of relationship ever, but I think that recently I've been forced to be more honest and appraising of how relationships work (and don't work) and more accepting of impossibilities, of things that can't be changed.

It sounds a little maudlin, I suppose, but I am generally very positive, but perhaps also cautious. The more people that are involved, the more complex things get, and the less in control of the situation each individual feels. I've lost the illusion of control. Which can only be a good thing, but I'd gotten used to it, and now I'm doing without.

Clipped at the edges

"You've got a red pen mark on your back"

And other phrases one would rather not hear at work. Much as I would like to have smiled winningly and responded "oh no, that's from a knife" I am happily employed and would like to remain so. As it stands, I am hopeful that my general clumsiness about the place will assure folk that I am indeed capable of falling in such a way as to get a perfectly straight line of red ink from a curiously placed Biro. Perhaps one balanced on the edge of a desk, held firm with Blu-tak. Actually, I'm more hopeful that they won't think about it. Coming out in the workplace as gay would probably be met by some sort of parade, as a BDSM practitioner? I am less than convinced.

It didn't actually feel like a knife, although now, touching the raised and textured line I can imagine The Photographer drawing that precise mark down my spine. At the time I thought it was the pinwheel, pressed deep. It's funny how when blindfolded and without clue or guide sensations can trick you. There were distractions, in my defence, a pair of metal clips on my labia, bound together with a loop of cold, heavy chain, like the sort an old fashioned fob watch might hand from. I really enjoyed the feeling of being held like that, of having the chain pulled or flicked in a playful way. Enjoyed it more when the clips were tightened and the pressure became sweeter, more intense. He fucked me doggy style and the edges of the clips pressed against me with each stroke, biting a bit against my flesh: the contrast between the deep pleasure of penetration and the rhythmic sharp jab of the clips was fantastic. The build of a medley of alternating sensations is something guaranteed to push me down into a tingly spaced out world, and this was no exception.

I thought about how it might feel to have piercings there, that could be similarly chained or otherwise bound. Except permanent. For keeps. Something to move higher up on the list, I think.