A night with Mr Smith and I'm trying a new way of scene setting. I put a selection of toys on the bed, including some new ones we've yet to use.
"Lay them out on the bed. In order of what you want to have done to you."
I like creating the illusion of choice. Or rather, the dilemma of choice. I'm interested in seeing what he does. At first he hesitates, then when it becomes clear that I have no intention of helping him out he starts to lay things out in a pleasingly methodical fashion, picking up each object and placing them on a scale.
I encourage him to examine the toys, get a feel for them and to talk me through what he is doing - half of the skill in domination is in listening and paying attention to the submissive (which can often include creating situations that force their hand, such as in this case).
The objects we've played with the least go at either end. I'm pleased that he has selected some new things to try, it adds weight to my theory that part of his submission is about being encouraged and driven into new activities, especially those that he might be a little scared or intimidated by.
The knife, the inflatable anal plug with penis sheath (I was rather cheered by the acquisition of this little number) go at the "most wanted" end. The pinwheel, dental tools and chopsticks go at the "least wanted" end by the cold steel handled rubber whip and the heavy flogger.
I then tie him up and blindfold him, giving myself some time to absorb this new set of data. It would be easy to go simply for one side or another: building up through pleasant to unpleasant if I'm feeling nice or vice-versa if I'm not.
The "pain" items are all at the far end, which sits in with his judgement of himself as not a masochist. The sharp things are at the furthest point followed by floggers - this is a useful bit of information as it lets me know that he likes thuddy, stingy and sharp in descending order of preference. But there's more going on here, more to think about than just a scale of desire. It's about what drives that desire and the context for it.
The things he really enjoys have gone in the middle, so it's not as simple as "bad" and "good". As suspected these are all anal penetration toys - generally pleasurable, though sometimes a little difficult, well within understood parameters. They are those which he is familiar and comfortable with: part of the "everyday" tools of our interactions and represent the kind of fucking we often do, which I know he responds very well and positively to.
I can use these frequent flier items to judge his thoughts on the newer things. The knife is graded alongside the anal vibrator which packs rather a punch and can be difficult for him to take: he enjoys the sensation but needs a good build up and it causes him a lot of tension and pressurised orgasm build up which may or may not come to fruition. I can mirror those responses onto knives - something he wants to try but is unsure about the outcome. I'm especially interested that the knife has gone at the other end to the rest of the sharps, which makes me think there's something about knives themselves that merits exploring.