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The online diary of an ethical pervert.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Give and take

It's been a draining few days. I'm very tired. I'm tired as I'm writing this. Tired bones and muscles, in that weepy sort of way you get when all your energy has been sapped. At the same time I have a heightened awareness of small things. Most of me feels fuzzy with lack of sleep and heavy bones, but I savour the cold, ripe cherries fresh from the fridge. Enjoy the beautiful, gleaming morning sunlight as it pushes through the apple trees in the garden. It is going to be a glorious day.

It's 8am in the morning, a Saturday. I've been up for an hour or so.
I feel wistful, sad and a little bit sorry for myself. For some reason my brain decided that a handful of hours of sleep was enough. It feels as if my thoughts and feelings are too big for the space in my head, they needed the cool no-one else awake time to fully form. So I take myself out of bed, which is too hot with Mr Smith's sleeping body. I don't want to disturb him so I head downstairs. Two voices float around my still-not-quite conscious brain.

"How do you stay so strong all the time?" Hedwig, at dinner a few days ago.

"You need someone who prioritises you, and who you prioritise." Rossetti hits a salient point over coffee.

Mr Smith and I had a serious, productive but quite involved series of conversations around "where we go from here" on the back of a couple of arguments he has had with his wife. It transpires that she is not particularly happy or keen for him to continue to see me, which led to me creating a plan and structure for how we check-in on this relationship to make sure all involved are comfortable and enjoying it.

Mannequin has been spending a lot of time with Fenrir. She is more taken with men than with women, as am I, so I understand. It's vital that she has a good male partner in her life - which he is - and they are having a lot of fun, intense and wonderful play. This is exactly the sort of thing she deserves and needs: I'm genuinely happy (and proud). I love her very much and want her to have everything she wants and will fight hard to make sure she gets it. The same goes for Mr Smith.

The fact remains that I have two wonderful submissive partners who have other important people in their lives. To maintain these relationships takes work, and the grace to back off from them and be rational with what can be achieved with their time. Add to this the fact that my dominant desires and feelings for them means
our interactions are structured around what I can give to make their lives better. It's not their fault (it's not my fault either) that currently they both need support from me alongside the "usual" dominance, and I want to provide that support. To be a good partner for them. I don't want to let them down or to fail to give them the happiness I want them to have.

I've been doing a lot of giving elsewhere.
I've finished my beloved, but stressful job after three weeks of intensive, long hours at work. I'm trying to prepare for a serious step-change in my career. Spirit and her girl were taken to hospital last night after a bad case of recreational drugs (if someone offers you NRG-3 my advice would be to step back slowly, and perhaps have a nice cup of tea instead). There are a few things happening in my home and family life that don't need to be mentioned here but are "background concerns".

I ended Friday feeling drained but happy. I had worked hard and done a lot of good, so I felt, and was now ready to reap my reward. A night out at Pedestal with both of my pets. I'd been really looking forward to it. The Tribe was in full swing, and it was wonderful to see everyone, especially so many attractive and attentive boys. But things were not quite working out.

Mannequin and I had spent the morning in hospital doing some much appreciated visiting, and she was in need of some play and affection, though probably not in the club. Mr Smith was struggling, finding the entire experience both overwhelming and underwhelming at the same time. It was his first proper outing to a fetish night and I had promised to look after him. He had started off very nervous, and was now feeling awkward. He was not enjoying himself or feeling very submissive. Instead he was just feeling out of place. Alongside that he had the ongoing unhappiness that he was "letting me down" and as such he radiated discomfort and not-wanting-to-be-there. So needed play and affection, though probably not in the club.

I was out of my depth. I had been looking forward to a night of pampering from half naked, soft-skinned and doe eyed submissives, which we had in droves and I felt extremely lucky and smug. I have a lot of beautiful wonderful people all around me. But I couldn't neglect my two in order to please myself. Much as I wanted to spend the night being seduced and fawned upon (Pedestal is good for the soul in that respect) I had responsibilities. These aren't woe-is-me things, these are important promises that cut to the heart of my sense of self and self-worth. Going off and "having fun" wouldn't have felt right as a dominant, as a partner, a lover or friend. It would not have been fun.

Worse, I couldn't look after both of them at the same time. Giving my full attention to one meant neglecting the other. I felt torn. I felt at a low ebb and unable to deliver. I felt weak, and worse, I felt unable to show these vulnerabilities to the people I care about in case that lessened me in their eyes and hence my ability to look after them, or my attractiveness and importance to them.

I made what felt like an ugly choice (between one partner and another) and took Mr Smith home given that was the diarised sleeping arrangements. I left Dandy with instructions to look after Mannequin. I held Mr Smith's hand in the cab whilst he cried and was very upset. I reassured him and explained why it wasn't his fault that he didn't enjoy public submission, or playing in a club - both of which are true. When we got back I stripped him, tied him to the bed and fucked him till he came before putting him to sleep, wrapping soothing words of "private fucktoy" around him. He slept.

Then, feeling utterly drained and a bit sorry for myself, in a moment of stereotypical girlie shame I locked myself in the bathroom for a few moments to have a little cry before going to sleep. I still feel much that way this morning, a few hours later. Feeling older, wiser and having had another of life's rich experiences. I know that I need to get some time and space for myself, to recover my energy. I now know a few prudent lessons about having both partners out at the same event when they both need personal time. And I know what I have always known - that I need someone for myself.

I also need a nap.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

How far can we go? Part One

I'm going to look at boundaries and edges over the next few weeks, because they keep coming up over and over and over again in a variety of different guises, in all kinds of kinky discussions I've been having lately. Whatever else BDSM and alternative lifestyes are "about" they involves people and their experiences, and it involves a lot of edges. Take polyamory. That's about the edges of relationships, the edges of traditional expectations about relationships, the edges of feelings. Take kink. It's about the edges of physical and emotional experiences, the boundaries between risk and thrill, between pain and pleasure, between consent and non-consent.

We live life on the edge, baby. But what does that mean, and how far can we go with it all?

Before I get into the ins and outs of submission, dominance, switching and all that jazz, I'm going to tackle the broader picture. The space that we have for ourselves, as people and for ourselves as kinksters is marked by where we place our boundaries. Think of it like the territory of where we live. The outlying regions mark uncharted areas. Places we haven't been yet are the fuzzy edges - we might fill in the blanks pretty soon. Places that we don't want to go to are harder edges - but that said, we still might go there. Edges are important therefore because we are the stuff inside them. If we don't understand our edges - what they are, why they are there, what might cause them to move, we don't really understand ourselves.

I have a number of "favourite questions" that I ask quite a lot: who are you and what do you want? Which makes me sound a bit like the special magic aliens from a certain sci fi show. They are big questions, serious questions and actually hard to answer with any degree of finality.

So if we can't really answer the questions, then what is the point of asking? Well, even if you can never, ever come to a definitive, final response, you can at least work out where you are right now.
After all, we are works-in-progress, as is our kink. What we can say, if we have a good think about it, is who we are now. What we want now. If you don't know who you are, or what you want, then you will struggle to get it. Simple, really.

Me, I like getting what I want. And I like knowing who I am. So this is all a bit of an experiment in how I think. There are other ways of living life. There are other blogs. This one is mine.

Now, the method. This sort of thing can easily slide into naval gazing so an element of intellectual rigour plus someone else to shout "no!" repeatedly at you can help keep you honest on that front. Anything will do, as long as it actually delivers results. Captain favours large blank piece of paper and black markers, which has a certain charm. I tend to supplement introspective musings with this blog for example, which is both a snapshot of "what I'm thinking now" and a record of "what I thought then". Which is handy.

In other words, we can write down our current borders. We can probably also write down where we want to push these borders. We can even (if we really, really think about it) draw a line between the two and mark out an adventure for ourselves. This gives us the framework for what (we think) we want. Equally, it might not. Life is like that. Insert platitude here. But the important thing is to be an active participant in the journey - to be aware of what is going on.

Self awareness is a big turn-on for me and I push for it in all my relationships because "knowing where I stand" is a key factor in my own sense of self worth (am I doing everything I can do to be as good as I can be with the options available to me?) and general place in the universe. Awareness is a good word to flag up here. Because our little list of what we want needs to be an aware list. We need to know what it is that we are talking about, what lies behind the stuff we want and what it actually is in order to know whether we can have it, and perhaps whether or not we should.

Ethics. Personal morals, perhaps even societal morals. The legal system. The opinion of family and friends. The impact on those around us. A big, big pile of considerations. Our awareness must go beyond what lies behind the simple, animal "what we want" and include the ramifications of getting it, both the process of getting it and how the world will look once we have it. These factors cannot always be identified in advance (the infamous known unknowns and unknown unknowns), but we can at least hang a question mark over them.

We can, of course, say that we don't care. And perhaps we don't. But that too is a conscious decision in the process of getting what we want and it's a factor in who we are. We have decided to be the person who doesn't care about their impact. And if so, we need to own and accept that, and all that comes with it.
We don't live in a vacuum. What we do has a knock-on effect that ripples far beyond us and can often come back to us. Even if we have the empathy of a brick, it is the practical implications of consequences that might prevent us from doing certain things.

These form our very own edges. Every single person who we come into contact with will have their own, which are obviously different to ours (though the chances are if you come from the same society, have similar interests, you might have a lot in common). How we work with other people's edges will be the next thing I talk about.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Fixing femdom

A woman poses awkwardly, hand on hip, bent forward pushing her tits out. She's stood on a tropical beach in tight fitting latex, lots and lots of heavy makeup and with the kind of massive backcombed hairdo I term "Deanna Troi crack-whore". It's the kind of BDSM event flyer that I hate.

Thus far four people have waved the advert for Domme Trips at me giggling about how it's "perfect" for me. Whilst remaining out of reach of a punch or projectile they have joked that clearly I should pay to go on one. Aside from the fact that
I'm a natural redhead city slicker who wears dark sunglasses for 11 months of the year and can't function in temperatures above 22C, the idea of spending a "holiday" pandering to the desires of the male submissive gaze makes me vomit slightly in my mouth.

On the one hand, it's nice to know that people recognise my style of domination as being basically the antithesis of this. On the other, it's a ghastly pain that images and scenarios like this one remain the mainstay of femdom. When we think about female domination these are the pictures we paint for ourselves. And with a small handful of glorious exceptions such as Ms Tytania it is the kind of femdom that is on offer. A vicious circle. This is what femdom looks like, therefore to be a female dominant you need to look like this.

Rossetti and I are drinking endless cups of coffee and pondering this problem. It's part of a wider issue of female sexuality and sexual agency, which is reliant upon male approval and projections of generic male desire which means tits-out, blowjob lips, long legs, long hair. You know what it looks like. It's the same in the BDSM world except covered (well, sort of covered, more exposed, really) in latex.

The same can often be said for styles of female submission (and to be honest if it weren't for collars I'd struggle to tell female subs and female doms apart sometimes). The look is everything, and the look is all about displaying the goods. We hit upon the Queen/princess dynamic which is similar to virgin/whore. The "sexy female" within BDSM is either a Queen or a princess. She is beautiful, superficially powerful or important but above all she needs a man to complete her.

Now, as I've said regarding male submission, presenting what is on offer is an important part of signalling availability and desire to play. But it's just the cover of the book, and especially with domination where elements of mystery and power come to the fore, then presentation should not be everything.

We dress to impress and I understand that, but
the more images I see the more I realise that it is all the same. All of it. So far from representing ourselves we are covering up in layers of looking like everyone else. There are minor variations in colour of skin and hair, maybe. The same-ness of it is worrying on many levels. It seems that there is little room for personality or unique style within femdom. The "look" is so ubiquitous it raises the suspicion that it is all about the looks and nothing to do with, well, domination - by which I mean a power exchange between one individual and another.

Lots of women wear the stereotypical femdom outfits. Why do we do this - let's be clear, I will sometimes dress in a deliberately sexy femdom way. I might be doing it for effect, for irony or because I think the situation requires it. But I'm still doing it. Still using it to exert sexual power by playing on social perceptions of what I should look like in order to be attractive. In all honesty, we will probably never know whether we are doing this because we want to or because we think we should. It's a difficult thing to unpick, it requires a high level of personal honesty and it's almost impossible to strip yourself completely out of the societal and cultural pressures around you. It also cuts to the heart of what we mean by "dominance" and how "being dominant" sits with "looking dominant."

Here's another one. We talk a lot about the "male gaze" within feminism. This isn't saying that men are causing women to look like this, in fact I rather suspect that the "male gaze" is something that is taught to men, just as "this is what femdom looks like" is taught to women. Men find that look attractive because they have been instructed to find it attractive by the constant and persistent use of these images as associated and representative of female sexuality.

Messy, isn't it? So, how to un-mess it.

Rossetti, myself and other members of The Ladies Who constantly marvel at the level of attention given to how femdom should look rather than how femdom could look - how women could express sexual desire in different ways. Going further, there is shockingly little discussion of how femdom could be, in terms of what that desire entails and what skills are needed to get there. This morning we acknowledged how hard it is to ask for help or mentoring as a female dominant, that you don't want to be seen as weak or inexperienced for fear of being patronised or seen as not very good. Despite the fact that everyone has something to learn. And that there's always room to go over the basics. We can support each other in this. In getting the skills, and in being able to ask for the skills, to be a dominant and not relying on simply looking like one.

Individually we can certainly make inroads into the "looking" part as well. Me, I wear boys pants, combats and vest tops as often as I sport cute dresses, doc marten boots and knives in my anime cartoon bag. Each of us can wear what the hell we want and be as dominant in our pajamas as we are in latex catsuits. We can also support each other in doing this, and that includes making room for traditional femdom attire without dismissing it as stereotypical. I will struggle at this, but I'll try if you try to see me in my shirt and trousers as just as sexy and dominant as the lady in the pretty corset. That goes for everyone, incidentally, men, women, submissives, dominants and you lovely, filthy switches.

Like the emperor and his invisible clothes (an interesting parable on power in and of itself), the more we look at the dominant and the less we look at their clothes the better we might all be.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Playing with masculinity - Daddy and boy

This post is about personas and the fantasies they come from and create. It's about the kind of roles I adopt and channel within my dominance, but also my life. I am quite clear within myself that these states of being are not "alternative personalities" as such. Nor are they characters or games to play. It is strongly linked to The Doll Project, yet very much a dominant variant. The personas are an assemblage of thoughts, feelings and desires that are all part of the complete me. But just as one day I might be feeling "happy" so too I can spend a day feeling "boyish". Gender as an emotion.

Recently I'm veering further and further into masculine modes of power and sexuality. I've long known that my looks allow me to flirt heavily with presentations of androgyny and masculinity but there's a point where you realise that it's not about dress-up. There's more going on. Much more.

Let's take it from the top, because this is going to get complicated. There's a healthy amount of female Daddy play in the scene I inhabit, a Goldilocks just-right quantity to make it common enough so I don't have to explain myself with footnotes, but rare enough to stand out as a unique feature. Naturally, I have to be special. But it's not about doing something because no-one else does. That's nice, but the real joy has been in finding a mode of play that feels, well, normal.

Take clothes, for instance. I'm a tomboy.
This rubs up against a lot of notions of how I should present myself as a dominant and a woman. I like to have a lot of useful space between myself and images / archetypes of traditional female dominance, many of which hold very little appeal to me and in fact are often downright off putting.

Daddy doesn't dress up, or at least, not in anything that I don't feel absolutely comfortable and very much "me" in (more thoughts on dominance and clothes are here). I wear a lot of vest tops. They show off my arms nicely and the shape of the clothes is often quite key to feeling in the right head-space. Some mornings I wake up femme and have to wear a dress or skirt. These days I'm more and more masculine.

I like Daddy play a lot, it fits in well with a lot of my dominant qualities. The "firm but fair" attitude, protection and patronage, strength tempered with care. Daddy knows best. The ways of being and doing I find quite easy - a coaching attitude, kindly but steely. The D/s writes itself. The challenge I'm finding (interestingly) is in S&M and sexualised play. For some reason fucking feels strange. It might be because one of the people I'm playing with is very new to me and also female. Sex always comes much later in those relationships. Perhaps due to my sexual (fucking) experiences being weighted heavily towards men, my play experience however contains a lot more women - I can still quite easily separate the two and for me a good D/s session can often be better than "straight" fucking, which has it's own pleasurable intimacy but nothing like the power trip and frisson that a strong pain scene can offer, for example.

So far, so sadistic. And pain-delivery actions such as beatings, especially spanking and other types of CP come quite easily to the Daddy persona. It allows me to put my hands all over their bodies (which I enjoy) without stripping down myself - which in a way would shatter the illusion. I may have a lean and muscular female body but it is still very obviously female. And part of me wants to keep the mystery going for as long as possible. The clothing also keeps a power imbalance going - I keep clothed, they are stripped. That said, it's not actually terribly serious. I laugh when I do it and Daddy is a fun role to play, there's a joy to it, in the way it operates, which I'm still finding out a lot about and these are just my first real responses. I'm looking forward to seeing where it might take me. Already I can see a lot of possibilities. For example, despite the common assumption of Daddy-little-girl it's also something I can see myself enjoying doing with boys as well both boys as boys and girls dressed as boys - I told you it was going to get complicated.

Now I've mentioned boys, there's a flip-side to dominant masculinity. I love playing the role of a sexualised male predator. Specifically a sleazy, nasty teenage boy predator. This role has no problem with fucking, and indeed seems to require rather a lot of it. As cruel as Daddy is kind, as selfish as Daddy is supportive. He is a nasty piece of work. I am really rather fond of him. Like the boy your mother always warned you about, he has a kind of glamour to him. I find it interesting that I want to be him, to use this model to fuck other people with. Particularly men. Particularly nice, well brought up young men of the sort who might have flirted with homosexuality but never found the right, gamine-faced boy to take them there.

What is it about this that works? I'm tempted to snicker and say what is it about this that doesn't work? But that would be the teenage boy talking. It sparked alive (very brightly) when I went to the cinema with Mr Smith and Dandy. I found myself walking between them, they were both dapper and well-turned out in suits, looking suave from days in the office. I was in jeans, a boy's T-shirt with an Atari logo and trainers. I felt for all the world like the teenage son of two gay dads. Incest fantasies and 90s pop band references aside the sensation was powerful, funny, sexual and very, very attractive. The liberation and gender/sexual fuckery of all those tropes within three bodies that I felt I knew well (theirs and mine). It was quite a rush. And one I'd rather like to consummate at some point. Somehow. Maybe not with those two as the compatability only really exists in my head.

I've made a partial start, spending yesterday morning in vest top and comic-book patterned y-fronts shaking my arse seductively in the general direction of a slightly paternal (and slightly disarmed) Mr Smith. It was a strange but pleasant switch-y moment, albeit very topping from the bottom to get him back into bed and entertaining me. It's also a move which signals a pleasant step-change in our relationship, that I can express my other types of desires, especially for the more rough and tumble sort of kinky sex, without feeling as if I'm loosing my dominant belle dame sans merci cool. Replacing it with the lithe limbed and frisky hipped cool of a yet-to-be-named teenager.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

The girlfriend myth

Ah, female dominants and their titles. Here we go again. Or rather, here I go again, with my need to be special and different. Of course. The thing with being fond of words and spending a lot of time (and education) on their meaning is that you can end up feeling like you are over-complicating things.

But precision is important to me. And the right word in the right place is as beautiful and fitting and pleasurable as the right toy in the right place, the right lover, the right relationship. Because that is what the word describes. A relationship. The connection between one thing and another. Language (words relying on words in a system of meaning) is often defined by negativity: we refine out lexicon by adding words to replace the gaps created by difference, by things that are not. And the process lets us be more specific, more definite, closer to really describing what we mean. The new word slots into place, rendering the old one vague, imprecise.

And so it is with "girlfriend". I am no-one's girlfriend. I am the girlfriend myth. Even before I had full time kinky relationships I hated the whole girlfriends and boyfriends thing. It felt juvenile, strange. Like we were play acting. Possibly because I came to it in my late teens and was pretty much an adult by the time I was really dating anyone in any meaningful sense. Now, as a fully-fledged pervert I have no need of the words whilst in Kinksville, and between my pets and I we have the individualised dominant title of Fox to express my unique place in their lives. Only they can use it as a term of address for me, so it bestows a certain specialness to them.

But outside of the scene, things get a little tricky.

and I were casting about for the right way to describe me to her (vanilla) friends and family. She likes "girlfriend", for her it has a lot of positive associations. Not for me. It feels small, pat and paltry for what I am to her, for the connection I have with her. However,
despite my dislike of the word, I didn't want to either dismiss her feelings nor do down the associations. She wanted to name us, to give us a stated bond in the eyes of others. She did not want me to be her "friend". And neither did I. In the end, we settled on "partner" for me and "girl" for her.

Similarly, I am not Mr Smith's girlfriend. More correctly, I am his mistress. Which is now how he must introduce me. I will not be dismissed out of hand as a "friend" and I refuse to accept the equality of terms that "lover" might imply. "Girlfriend" is frankly ridiculous in our situation.

Each of these substitute naming words serves a purpose in the training programme for both of my pets. For Mannequin, the ability to introduce me with a positive, supporting word like "partner" allows her to feel comfortable and confident in us. She can tell people she has a partner, and that makes her secure - which she should be. And they know she has someone who cares for, looks after and loves her. Which she does, and I want her to be able to say so whenever she wants, to whoever she wants. It's a strong word, definite and powerful, like the sort of dominant protective patronage I have over her.
I am her partner, she is my girl. That maintains the level of power dynamic whilst still expressing the relationship in a way that everyone should be able to access.

For Mr Smith, these things are also true - I want us to be named, to have a relationship that can be easily expressed and understood. But "partner" is wrong here, and not just because he is married and his wife is his true partner. I am no more a wife substitute than I am a "girlfriend". The more forceful "mistress" gives a more defined public acknowledgement of my position in his life as well as an opportunity for a semi-veiled deference to me that is still acceptable and comprehensible to vanillas.

Mistress" works because it has a certain power that puts him slightly off balance. It's a more defined role than a casual sex partner, of which there might be many: there is usually only one mistress. Those who might have an inkling of the kind of sexuality he's involved in would certainly be tipped off by the use of that word. All of which adds to his public squirms. He still (sadly) feels embarrassed about being seen as submissive. And I will continue to push on this until he can be proud of it.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Behind closed doors

I had actually imagined that I would arrive at Chiaroscuro's birthday, share a drink or two then be on the last train home. Why I thought such a thing is beyond me. I think the turning moment might have been when I took off my dress and threw it at a young man's head, perhaps in a very basic sort of mating ritual.

So instead of the train, I find myself (a curious yet apt turn of phrase) happily between Dandy and Boy Wonder, all of us in our underwear, all of us running newly purchased pretty knives - including a tanto that I have slightly fallen in love with - on each other's skin. There are hot bi boys everywhere, and a beautiful girl. We are all, for want of a better word, fooling around. It is wonderfully explorative, especially given that there are people here I have never played with yet with whom I click very strongly.

I clearly have no intention of leaving. Especially once Mr Smith expresses his intent to arrive. At which point things get interestingly complicated. I am pleased that my boy is coming, but also cautious.

This will be a challenge for him, he will be out of his comfort zone.
This would be the first private BDSM party for him, he doesn't know many people, the balance of play and players is against him (he's straight). This will be a challenge for me because his behaviour reflects upon my skills as a dominant and trainer. It's especially important here because the group is small and well meshed. Unlike loud and busy club environments, things will go noticed. This is a very D/s environment with relationships described in those terms first and foremost. Actually, it's a very pleasurable space for me to be in, a normalised D/s space where one is able to talk clearly and freely about the sort of rules someone is under before you might kiss or touch them.

But all of this is still alien for Mr Smith for whom submission is desired, but difficult and sex is still framed in a swinging / hetero-vanilla conquest context. The sort of protocol that
Chiaroscuro can expect in his own house is very similar to the kind I enjoy and hence the sort that I want my submissive to eventually deliver. Then there is the fact that I understand how things work which is probably why the play we were doing felt instinctual and natural, and so might fall into the trap of not preparing my boy well enough because things were "obvious". I also didn't want to throw lots of house rules at him in case that triggered a fit of D/s induced panic. I wanted what we all wanted: to carry on having a great party.

All in all, it wasn't going to be an easy bar for him to reach, nor for me to help him reach. As it turned out, he did make mistakes, partly down to nerves and partly down to inexperience. The mistakes themselves aren't as interesting as what happened as a consequence: punishment. Together with Chiaroscuro we discussed and agreed what should be done, then summoned him.

It wasn't a complicated thing, fortunately. But I was anxious all the same, worried it would not be done, that I might have to force it and what if I couldn't? I knew that we were playing at the very edges of all the things he was deeply uncomfortable with, particularly around perceptions of himself as a submissive male by other men.

First came the public apology on reluctantly bended knee. Eventually. With a request for a repeat due to lack of sincerity. Then came the rest. A bare-bottom beating, in full view of all. And a thank-you. Teeth were gritted, and his awkward embarrassment and nascent impotent anger were evident. The punishment was hard won. It was
nowhere near as gracious nor elegant as it could have been. He is not a natural submissive, which in many respects makes this whole process more pleasing and fascinating. But it was done. And the first time such a thing was done, which marks it as special and valuable in my eyes. As I watched I both winced in empathy and swelled with a certain pride. How he took it (mostly) like the man he will become, the one I see flashes of every now and then. The submissive I will make of him. That we will make together.


The needles go in. One after another after another after another. They are cool little slices of life, tingling and sparkling as they go. They sit next to each other, chattering with a buzzing pain that isn't really pain. Yes, the MDMA is helping them along in their conversation with my skin, with my flesh, allowing the spreading warmth to mingle with the shuddering chills and wrap me up in a full metal jacket of sensation. Once they are all there I float in them, as they seem to float in me. I get up, move around and let them take me where I might go.

Eventually they come out. I rest myself down on Mr Smith's chest. Chastised, leather mitts on to prevent any more unfortunate knocks. One by one by one, Chiaroscuro takes the needles out. I feel the blood slip down my naked shoulder. My eyes are closed. His body is warm. It is one of those absolute moments of BDSM perfection that you want to go on forever.

i am basically wallowing in my own personal piece of heaven. I haven't bottomed in a long time, and tonight just felt right. Full of moments of animal pleasures from all ends of the scale from the simplicity of kissing for hours, of almost constantly being held, stroked, of holding and stroking through to the deep thrill of the taste of blood and the almost reverence with which it was offered and accepted. Everything fell into place, without formula, planning or even intent. The balance of people, the space, the way we interacted. Freeform bodies in motion. Things were done because they were desired, connections created and acted upon. I am not sure whether it was the privacy of the event,
and this for me is almost the definition of private play. An intimate group of people sharing kinky desires.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Better behaviour

The pop sociologist in me is endlessly fascinated by the way that different spaces and groups of people create certain sorts of play environments. I'm not the only one. Rossetti and I will meet for breakfast every now and then and discuss the "mix" in our tribe, the sorts of people we want and need for the kinds of parties, events and gatherings we like. I select kinky events based on who I know is going to be there, rather than the theme, or venue or even the actual sort of play party. Because I know that it's not just the people I am going to play with, but those around them.

People create moods, experiences more so than anything else. It's very new age to say "energy" but it's a word that keeps coming up over and over again in BDSM circles - the vibe and buzz in a room, the waves of sensation that hit you, like a warm breeze, from a hot scene.
There are ways of making group dynamics better - smaller groups, who know each other well, who communicate in a way we understand and generally gel nicely with ourselves and our mores. This is why we tend towards cliques surrounding ourselves with those whose play we find enjoyable and in whose company we are comfortable being naked, vulnerable, powerful, weak, pained and pleasured. All at the same time, if we're lucky.

Then there's the unlucky. The awkward shuffling of an inadequate mix with too many voyeurs and not enough players, or the uncomfortable silences of unspoken play requests and poorly worded play refusals. Bad play that causes damage, physical and emotional. A lot of drama goes on in Kinksville, and often it is entirely unnecessary. It happens because we, as people, do not always treat each other as well as we could, with as much realistic kindness and consideration.

On bad days we are moody, socially awkward nerds, shuffling our feet at the edges of the disco, never feeling cool enough to ask the pretty ones to dance. We're over-inflated ego maniacs, desperately attention seeking, swinging from giggling highs to weeping lows - anything to get a bit of a fuss. We're uber dominants swelling puffed up chests out of bat utility belts (you know what I mean) and demanding everyone kiss our boots. We're snivelling, lisping submissives or snooty, snidey brats clamouring for attention. On bad days. We're also a bit unhappy inside too, annoyed with ourselves perhaps. Caught between rocks and hard places. Failing to fit in and needing to compensate or just plain lonely and finding the whole scene too much, too little, not what we thought it would be.

So how do we fix it, and where does the fault lie?
We can blame the scene - and sometimes it is the fault of the scene as a whole, but mostly it's because the mix isn't right. The things that we want and the way that we want them cannot be provided by those around us, at this place and at this time. Which includes us. And that's good in a way, because whilst we cannot fix the entire universe and cannot make those we fancy fall madly in love with us (though I stare hard at photos of Tom Hardy every now and then, just in case) we can sort out ourselves. And if all of us agree then we might improve the scene in general.

These are my ideas, they are quite "big asks", so I've tried to expand them a little in terms of what might be eventually possible.

Communicate and listen!
The major one, really. Without which everything else will fall over. If you do not tell people things, they will not know. Some people may need telling twice (we play in noisy clubs...). This covers a lot of bases including the ability to articulate what you want, making the approach to someone for play and being receptive to those offers - as in listening to, not an assumption of agreeing to do it! We rarely listen, properly listen, to what people are saying and take it on board. Too often we hear what we want to hear, and happily filter our things that don't fit with our world view. We deceive ourselves, and those around us. And sometimes miss out on the real positives by only hearing the bad stuff.

Know what's behind your desires and feelings
. We all have days when we feel a bit tired, low or just out of sorts and that might make us more needful of certain things, or to have something done in a particular way, or not done. We also know that there are people who can inspire feelings in us. This can lead us to want things from them, which is great if they feel the same way, but difficult and painful when they do not. We need to understand what emotions are motivating our desire for play. This isn't to say that all scenes are built on this, but I from experience that if you have additional emotional involvement then scenes become more powerful - both to the good and to the bad - so if that is the case, then it needs to be understood by everyone involved.

Even if we know what we want (often a tall order) we might not know how we will react when we get it, or don't get it. Or when it comes from this person, or that, in this space. We don't think about what we really want when we ask for play - is it to experience the physical sensation, is it a sense of belonging, the thrill of exhibitionism, to be close and intimate with someone? How do our feelings about the person affect what we want, or contextualise what we think we want: is it because we have a crush on them or love them or even hate them and we want the play to act out part of a fantasy of that relationship - real or imagined?

Respect boundaries, and push to have yours respected
. D/s creates additional rules to live by. And whilst there are a lot of general guidelines they tend to be exactly that - general and guidelines. Some people are very protocol driven and like having specific rules, some people hate that. A group can seem to be operating at random, but really there are lots of things going on under the surface. As perverts, we have unconventional set ups and need to accept that people have created patterns of living that might exclude what we want. Especially if we in turn want to have that level of exclusivity for ourselves. There's a lot of quid pro quo in these suggestions, but especially in this one. If you want people to take how you live seriously, then treat them in the same way.

I know it's hard, but be honest. It's not always the best policy, but most of the time, it is. Doesn't make it easy though, does it? We struggle to say the truth. We might be ashamed of it, of our "dirty little secrets", we may worry how we come across or what other people think of us. There is rarely any kindness in lying to someone about your intentions if the end result will hurt them more. To say "I'm not interested in playing tonight" when you really mean "I don't want to play with you tonight" will be discovered. I know. I've both had this happen to me, and, to my shame, said it myself. Because I thought I was being kind, because I was embarrassed. I would say to myself that I didn't want to hurt someone's feelings, but really I didn't want to hurt mine, I didn't want to feel the sense of reflected upset you fear from refusal.

Accept the consequences of your actions, apologise if needs be
Kind of like being honest, but I wanted to be really specific about this one. Whatever we do, however we chose to behave, and you do chose your own behaviour, ultimately, it has an impact on those around us and we need to accept the consequences that come with it. It's really easy to shrug off blame, to point the finger elsewhere. But we're all just people. We will not be perfect, we will fuck up and things will go wrong. And if it does, we need to say sorry, and mean it. This is something I've always struggled with - and probably always will. I'm proud and I hate being in the wrong. I find acknowledging and apologising for something that I have done which has upset or messed around with someone else - especially if I care about them. Equally, we can accept that our decisions have amazing, wonderful consequences and we should revel in that, really taking the time to enjoy the good things we have created.

Chip in and spread the love, if you have a mind to do so.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Sex and money

Last weekend saw my first paid-for BDSM client, and it's taken me a little while to gather my thoughts on the subject. That, together with a rather hectic schedule has meant less time for the blog - admittedly part of this lack of time has been doing an awful lot of wonderful kinky things, so I can't complain.

I'm going to try to track my thoughts on what I've been loosely couching as a kind of temple prostitution, though frankly I'm unsure why I need to make that distinction. The decision on what to name things creates a framework for how they are viewed. Think of porn versus erotica, or whore versus courtesan. And so we have here, a delicacy of language covering a simple transaction. I'm not sure I'm entirely comfortable with that, even though I am using the income to pay for my own personal ritual. I don't want to be seen as deliberately, disdainfully distancing myself from other kinds of sex work, whilst at the same time I feel a little awkward about placing myself in that category. I don't want to be snobbish. I don't want to appear to be cloaking myself in a mantle of "trendy" feigned disrepute to garner some sort of kudos.

I am in a qaundary, and I still haven't resolved that. Ultimately, I have a day job, with a reasonable salary. I did not need to do this. But I chose to for my own, somewhat selfish desires. And yes, I wanted to do it to see if I could do it, to see whether my skills were valuable in the market, whether I could professionalise what I did for pleasure, and to see how it felt. I was an experiment, in many ways one of the last, great things undone in my own sexual exploration - to tick the box marked "has had sex for money."

Even that doesn't quite ring true, because what I actually did (what I may continue to do every now and then, time and clients permitting) was performing service dominance for money. There was no sex in the vanilla traditional sense, no "penis-vagina fucking" as I often put it when drawing the line in the sand. And no kissing.

I didn't do much of a fanfare - I used personal contacts, this blog and twitter to source a few people who might be interested. After a pleasingly short time I had three offers, one from a close friend, one from a (mostly) stranger who I had met at the strap on party and one from someone who had been following this blog for a very, very long time. An apt mix, I felt. After a few email exchanges back and forth I booked in one person, another decided my rates were too expensive and another booking is still to come.

I decided that I would try to tailor each session specifically to the client, essentially the service I was offering was fantasy fulfillment. We met twice for lunch, and discussed what he wanted. I spent a lot of time emailing backwards and forwards, we developed a two week long orgasm control / denial routine with detailed reports sent through to me. It was quite a power rush, aside from the intellectual thrill of control and the realisation that what I had to offer was creating such feelings and responses. It was also somewhat strange. There were clear, formal boundaries that I would not have had with my partners. Boundaries that actual became very important to me in maintaining my professional and personal self.

As the day of the session approached, I started to get nervous. Some of this was performance anxiety, after all, aside from the fact that this was not an insubstantial amount of money, I also had the responsibility of delivering to someone a very intimate, sexual fantasy. Something that clearly cut deep and was very dear to them. Money aside, I really didn't want to fuck that up for them. Finally, as I made my journey over to the wonderful Murder Mile Studios, I had a twinge of not-quite-guilt. Specifically, I wondered whether I should feel guilty, whether I should be perhaps ashamed or feel bad for doing something "wrong". The latter thought was brief, and vanished quickly - though I did wonder whether I might feel bad afterwards.

I was right to pick the space that I did. The professional and well kitted out dungeon space does wonders for any last traces of nerves, it's strange perhaps that these gothic settings, with their cages and leather straps meant to terrify actual reassure me. But then, I am going to be the one on top. I'm not going to describe the session in any particular detail, but comment briefly on my surprise by quite how into the experience I got. I had imagined that, given this was a transactional exchange, and that I really did not know or have a "relationship" with the client aside from professional that I might have been abstract, cool and removed. Far from it. Once he was stripped, naked and tied down, under my control, his flesh became mine and I developed a focused possession of it - enjoying using, abusing and discovering all the little tweaks and twists.

At the end I was tired, it was a two hour session with a fair amount of physical activity from my part, and I was pleased that I'd timed it to allow for a close embrace and space for him to come down. I handed over a little "goody bag" with some fruit and lollipops, for sugar, then let him out of the building.

Then I was done. Just like that.

I had a strange light-headed feeling, the kind I sometimes get after a rather intense session, a feeling of invulnerability, of having overcome and pride in my achievements. I swaggered on my walk back home. Later there was also had this sense of benevolence - I'm not quite sure what else to call it. I had given him something no-one else ever had. I've received a couple of very beautifully worded and positive feedback, which make me smile when I read them, another powerful head rush to see the impact I have had in someone else's life.

Monday, 11 July 2011

The first time

One of life's privileges, to give someone an experience that they have never had before, to turn the key in a lock and show them rooms within themselves that they only imagined, or hoped for. We are sometimes critical of newbies to the scene, forgetting that we were once new ourselves. I was very lucky in the people I met when I first arrived, they took me under their wing, introduced me to many wonderful experiences and were never patronising, never took advantage.

That's part of the reason why I enjoy playing with new people. But I'm not a natural altruist. I also like it because of the power trip, the knowledge that no matter what else I will always be the first. The one who did that. I'm also selfish - I select partners, regardless of their experience on the scene, based on attractiveness, intelligence and sexual outlook. The last part is important. And often it has nothing to do with experience, it's about a shared feel for BDSM which some people, no matter how many times they swing a flogger, will never have - not all kinksters are compatible with all other kinksters, regardless of perversions in common.

What this also means is that it takes more than a coffee and a chat to work out whether someone is a good match. I can certainly tell whether I find someone smart and hot once I've got them close enough to smell their pheromones, but matching up play styles is a practical problem. Or rather, an opportunity.

We set a date. Dinner then play. I do my homework, we exchange emails and I prepare a scene or five in my head that incorporate some of his desires and fantasies that interest me.
The toys in my bag are a whistle stop tour of the kinds of kinks I think he might like. Tip of the iceberg. Taster platter. Rope, cuffs, ball gag, pinwheel, small dildo, little flogger, lube.

The "dinner" part of the evening is important, because it allows him to relax, normalising and contextualising the evening into something familiar. I want him to feel a certain kind of predatory seduction, and to be just on the edge of his comfort zone: familiar settings but with a twist. There is a balance to be struck. I make an impact in a form fitting cocktail dress and heels, the sort of thing I rarely wear and it throws him off-guard. Everything in the setting looks like a "normal" date: a boy, a girl, dinner, drinks. But certain things are decided - we will go back to his house, there will be sex (of sorts). This knowledge is a double edged sword for him, the certainty is a cause of anxiety. Other things are decided and he does not know about them, these also create nervousness. The veil of a dinner date helps calm these nerves somewhat, but not entirely dispel them.

When I get him back I make him strip slowly, in his front room. I play on his desire for service, putting him in kneeling positions, on all fours, inspecting his body, moving my hands slowly over it and testing for the delicate points that make him quiver or moan. His flesh and scent is new to me, uncharted territory, virgin snow for my explorations. I'm watching him intently for the little poker tells that let me know whether I've hit the spot. Biting lips, curling fingers, gasps, flushes of skin. Some things play according to plan, the ease and desire for submission, readiness to follow commands. Others are unexpected, pleasingly so - he responds well to pain, enunciating "ow" which makes me smile.

I prefer playing in non-bedroom spaces. The oddness of it, slight surreal nature and the humiliation too - here, amidst all of your things, I make you mine for a few hours. Bedrooms make it more intimate, private and safe. The bed is the "usual" place for sex, so I like to avoid them as much as I can. Especially other people's beds that smell of them and their sleep - too much animal comfort, too much natural anticipation of soft, warm pleasure.

The move to the bedroom is an interesting difference in our dynamics. For me, it signals the end of the night, I'm tired, done and ready to sleep. Playing with new people is more tiring than existing partners because you have to be more wary, more thoughtful - especially if they are new to BDSM and cannot give indicators in advance of things they like and don't like and how they might respond. As well as the physical aspect there is a lot of intellectual energy that goes into creating a scene, especially when you are attempting to make it look entirely natural and fluid.

For him, the move to be bedroom increased his desire and he became more energetic - he's used to fucking in bed, so the bed makes him think of fucking. Consequently, he doesn't sleep all night. Which is fine by me because it means he's awake and ready to give me head in the morning. Then make the coffee.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Towards masculine submission

"It's not your fault. You are not the patron saint of submissive males."

This is true. I would be a terrible patron saint, starting with the facts that I am neither catholic or dead. Though the iconography and worship is pleasing. But my beatification aside, there is still something rotten in the heart of Kinksville. Submissive men are not getting a good deal, possibly through the reasons I've outlined before, but I also think there is more going on.

Several young men of my acquaintance have recently commented on their struggles to get a suitable dominant - go here for a beautifully articulated, and personal, online starter for ten. To be clear, I know people on all sides of the wobbly, variable kink / gender lines who struggle to find partners and as yet I have not found my knight in shining latex, but I'm (very) happy to enjoy the ride.

Submissive men do get play. The recent strap-on party was well attended by many male submissives who all (I believe) got a good fucking. Public clubs, such as Pedestal also caters to those tastes, but sporadic public play is not the same as finding a compatible partner, especially to a submissive, and I use the word specifically to mean "not a bottom". Submission means D/s and that needs a relationship of trust with an ongoing, supportive power-exchange, these are not easy things.

I think that male submissives struggle to find partners partly because of the conflation within our society of masculine/dominant and feminine/submissive. The structures in which we live encourages these behaviours. Worse, depictions of the alternative are often crass, stereotyped and deeply unflattering. Dominant women are Cruella de Ville, submissive men simpering curs. Power is exciting, so our Cruellas are still somewhat sexy, although evil, the submissive less so unless they are female because under these rules submission = feminine and feminine women are more attractive, right?

So much, so fucked up. So how do we unfuck it: how do we as a community of kinksters and as participants in human sexual explorations move beyond these problems?

As a lover (and fighter) of submissive males - canonisation pending - I'm going to propose a few ideas, please feel free to add your own. Note that these are not things that I think only women should do, but rather everyone - it's very easy to blame either the female dominants or the male submissives for this situation, when it is in fact the scene as a whole that creates and supports certain behaviours which limit the scope of male submission.

Male submission is masculine: This is the stuff that I find particularly hot, so this is a personal one. It's also the one I don't understand anyone not finding gobsmackingly attractive. I love hyper-masculine submissives. Alpha male is a known weakness of mine, those sets of muscles bowing to me and me alone. But that's not the only sort of masculinity I enjoy and there are all kinds of masculinities. Male submission does not begin and end with forced feminisation (we're getting into the "feminine is submission" area here). I'm working with Mr Smith at the moment on his anxieties over being seen as "weak" for submitting in public, especially seen as weak by other men. Literally emasculated. Which is a crying shame because I find nothing quite so manly as the ability to hand over that strength of body and mind to someone else. Me, in this case. So here's the deal - don't call male subs feeble and I won't set my army of buff, combat trained male minions to show you exactly how strong male submission is.

Support the sexy: Men generally don't get as many compliments on how they look. This can lead to generally feeling a bit uncomfortable about presenting as sexual or available, it can also lead to a failure to recognise themselves as visually attractive sexual objects. There is an assumption amongst certain corners that submission itself should be the attraction, regardless of such facile things as looks. Other, "twuer" dominants might subscribe to this purist attitude, my tastes are more superficial and firmly in the gutter. I like sexy men to look sexy, anything that increases the amount of sexy submissive men is good.

Recognise your prejudices, try something different: We all have our own predilictions, things that we think we like. Often we don't try new things because we assume that we won't like them. Assumptions are prejudices, and they can be wrong. They can hamper and curtail us. We are all prejudiced by the dichotomies outlined above. I'm not saying that everyone should do things they don't want to do, merely that preconceptions are a poor basis for selecting sexual partners. Give it a go.

Boy on boy bonus points: Women play with women. We develop skills, relationships and much more, from that play. It's how Mannequin and I got started. Public play is the availability advertisement, like it or not, and from the looks of things, women are much more available. In my social group, women play with women a lot. I do not see as many men playing with other men and given we are roughly 50/50 that's a lot of chaps on the sidelines.
I feel like a sleaze (I am a sleaze) for suggesting it, but the fact is that if there was more boy-on-boy the world would be a better place.