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Posts Tagged ‘power exchange’

All right folks, so here’s the deal:

As you know Bob, I stopped doing professional domination work some time back. I’m mostly on to other things.

However. Lately I’ve been having 1. a hankering, and 2. a bit of a financial squeeze. So I’m looking to potentially start seeing some people again.

Here’s the catch: Because this is no longer my primary source of income, I’m going to be limiting my practice to people I really want to see, who want to do the things I want to do. The flip side of this is that I’ll be lowering my tribute to well below the usual market.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know a bit about who and how I am: I’m basically a smart, sensual, empathic top who likes to play with responsive people. Which is to say: I’m less interested in your stoic ability to take a hard beating than I am in hearing you gasp, moan and squeal as you take it. I like men with easy subspace triggers, but I also like a bit of a power struggle.

I like my feet worshipped well, and my boots also.
I like using floggers, singletails, canes and crops, and other hitty things.
I use rope, but I’m not a huge rope top. I’m more interested in functional bondage.
I like contact: slapping, punching, pinching, squeezing, kicking, and some smothering.
I like menacing you with knives.
I like authentic interaction, like, a whole lot.

I don’t care for piss, enemas, or anything else that potentially makes a big smelly mess.
I still don’t want to do forced feminization scenes.
However, all gender presentations are welcome, and if you want to play with gender in a respectful way, that definitely turns my crank.

There’s plenty more, of course, but it all depends on who you are and what you bring. If you have interests I didn’t mention here, please, let me know, and it’s possible I’ll be into it.

Email me directly if this is of interest to you!

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It’s a long time since I’ve answered any advice questions here, which makes the name of the blog somewhat incoherent. But I’ve had one sitting on the back burner for some time, and I figured I’d come back and answer it.

Please, any advice questions, comment, or send me email!

Some friends of mine are considering embarking on a power exchange relationship (probably more the Master/slave kind than the dom/sub kind). They have very little experience so far. Can you recommend any websites that would be good educational resources for them?

-A Nonymous

Part of the reason it took me so long to get back to you on this, A Nonymous, is because I honestly don’t know a lot of educational resources on the web for this sort of thing. The resources that tend to be available are 1) porn, and 2) erotica. Both of these, generally speaking, present a distorted view of how these kinds of relationships work, but they tend to be where people go when they’re looking for how to structure a BDSM relationship. This, for obvious reasons, is problematic.

There is a marvelous little book, entitled Miss Abernathy’s Concise Slave Training Manual, which details a particular way to train a slave, including real-world advice on contracts and other generalities.

The best resources I know of on the web tend to be thoughtful blogs by people who are in relationships like this; I especially love Orlando’s blog, which details his incredibly loving relationship with his partner, Murre; Little Girl’s blog is also a beautiful detailing of a relationship that has evolved over time; and I think Maymay’s blog is essential reading for anyone who is interested in kink and how it is evolving.

But the best resource of all for people just starting out in this is each other. They need to do a lot of talking: about what each of them might want, what they’re afraid of, what they currently believe their hard limits to be. About what being a slave, or a master, means to each of them; about what each of them expects from such a relationship; about how the arrangement can be changed or ended once it begins. What their responsibilities are to each other. What “punishment” means.

I hope that helps.

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I had a conversation last night that wound up with me coining the title of this post. I was thinking about collars, and the many things they seem to represent for people. Naturally, a collar tends to be a symbol of ownership, or at least of control-over, whether it is for a circumscribed period or for life. But it is interesting to note the many different experiences that wearing a collar – or similar marker – evokes for people.

I know that for me and some others, a collar can often be a marker for the start and end of a scene. When used this way, a collar puts me into a certain headspace almost immediately: all of the sensations of submission, headspace, and associated arousal go along with the buckling or locking in place of the collar. I was reminded of this by reading back in Devastating Yet’s journal, about leashes and what they did for her boy. I have one lover who goes into a completely non-verbal, spaced out, almost childlike subspace when I collar him; with him I have to be especially careful, because in that state he will do anything I want, even if he would consider it a hard limit ordinarily. For him, and to a lesser extent for me, the removal of the collar denotes the end of the scene, and the ability to return to normal consciousness.

One circle out from that, as I was explaining last night, would seem to be the “weekend collaring,” where the dominant collars the sub for an overnight date, a weekend or several days. This is still under the rubric of “special occasion” collaring, where everything the couple will be doing during the period has to do with fun, if not sex. For instance, one might get collared for a weekend playparty, or kink convention, or vacation getaway. Generally this isn’t done during mundane time, when the two will have to be separated for any real length of time, like a workday. The effect it has, though, tends to be different from the scene-only collaring, in that the headspace cannot be so deep that the sub is unable to function in normal ways like eating or interacting with people outside of scene space. The person I was talking to last night said that for her the collar was a type of safety, a confinement within which she could feel more comfortable and free. I compared it to making art with budgetary or resource constraints; much of the best theatre I’ve seen is made in this way.

The outer circle – or perhaps the inner circle? – in this concentric collar design is, of course, the “permanent” or 24/7 collaring. While the meaning of the collar is strongest in this instance and indicates intense commitment, the mental effect, because it is ongoing and constant, is much less dramatic. Even a submissive who is collared all the time isn’t going to necessarily feel submissive when working the forklift or signing papers at his office. The collar becomes like a wedding ring – a constant reminder of his relationship, and the nature thereof.

This creates an interesting dichotomy, potentially: the more serious the significance of the collar, the less, by necessity, the mental and emotional change wrought by it? Naturally, the mental and emotional change one must undergo when becoming a 24/7 collared slave must be immense, but it cannot be a change that affects their day-to-day functioning in the way that a scene-collaring might.

Just some thoughts of late. What are your experiences with collars?

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It’s been a while since I’ve been answering questions here, but I got one recently and have been stewing on it a bit. Here’s my stab at it.

Dear Delilah:

I hope you had a delightfully kinky May Day! Maybe the change in season will inspire a fever of questions ;). I know I have one for you!

In my kinky relationships, I am primarily Mistress. Sometimes that aspect of the dynamic extends to financial and practical matters, in which I pay for the majority of meals, evenings on the town, and even household bills. I didn’t ask for anything sexual or otherwise in return, but it always felt nice and different on the rare occasions when the roles were reversed, and I was treated. When that happened, I found myself even hornier than usual.

Still, I never thought that the concept of actually having an “official” Sugar Daddy or Sugar Mama would seriously intrigue me and turn me on, but as I continue to explore the wide world of fetishes, it’s the one I keep coming back to. I am turned on by the idea of having someone, preferably someone older, provide support in exchange for companionship. I’m not interested in receiving things like jewelry or cars, but I want to make sure I know how to get my value.

I have joined related communities on Fet Life and conducted Internet research, but you are the guru when it comes to exploration. How do you suggest I pursue my interest and be taken seriously? Have you encountered any reliable resources for those searching for a Sugar Daddy or Sugar Mama?

Thanks in advance, and have a great day!

M.

Oh, my dear, I do appreciate your confidence in me, but having the word “guru” bandied about makes me just a tad uncomfortable. Still – let’s look at this, shall we?

Let me start with a disclaimer. Having been a sex worker for some time, I have a particular bias when it comes to kinks around money. I quit in part because I wasn’t comfortable monetizing my sexuality, and that discomfort gives me a little bit of a blind spot when it comes to people who kink on it. However, I also recognize that money is just another way to exchange energy, and a powerful one at that. Our society is almost as sick about money as it is about sex, and it’s not all that surprising that they frequently get snarled up together. I know a dominatrix who used to make her clients kneel at her feet and count the money out to her, because she wanted to highlight the humiliation of having to pay her to make her pay attention to them. I, conversely, used to have them leave it in an envelope on a desk on the way in, as I wanted to de-emphasize the monetary part of the exchange. Call it differences in style, call it differences in kink, or call it me perpetuating the denial about what was really going on. I was never comfortable doing blackmail or financial domination, either.

Part of my discomfort, though, also stems from the simple fact of how easy a monetary relationship is to abuse – from both directions. A person being given money for sexual favors can leverage his or her attentions, demanding more money for increased time, special activities, or even being nice. A person giving money is in an even greater position for abuse: just look at traditional patriarchal marriage. To many people’s minds (particularly men, unfortunately), the fact that they’re paying for something gives them carte blanche to treat it however they wish: it’s their car, they can crash it if they want.

I’m saying all of this by way of highlighting the peculiar dangers in what you’re looking for: tread carefully.

Before you go ahead and look into finding a sugar daddy or mommy, I’ll ask another question: do you need the money? It sounds like you don’t, as you have had some fun being something of a sugar mommy or “mistress” yourself. If you did need the money, I might caution you against engaging in this type of play, as you may find yourself being a sex worker when you don’t want to be.

Not that there’s anything wrong with being a sex worker. But if you’re not interested in being one, this is a slippery slope: you might wind up spending a lot of time with someone you don’t really care for because he or she is providing support that you need. If you’re not realistic about that, you can start feeling pretty icky, pretty fast. And you can start allowing someone to have power over you in ways that are uncomfortable and difficult to dislodge.

If you still feel comfortable going ahead, here’s what I’d recommend.

Start off just playing with this fetish. As with most things in kink, it’s a good idea to dip a toe in and do some role play first rather than diving in collar-first to a 24/7 arrangement. You might even try this with someone you’re already kinky with, who is willing and able to pamper you a bit financially. Go on a weekend with them, where they pay for everything, and in return, make yourself available to them in whatever ways they like (within reason).

Here’s where another caveat comes in. We all know how fun it is to play with power dynamics – that’s why we’re here. Sometimes it’s really fun and challenging to push yourself to do things you might not ordinarily do in order to please your dominant. Keep in mind that when money enters into these kinds of dynamics, it can get really blurry: women especially are burdened in this society with a lot of guilt telling them that they have to do or put up with certain things because after all, the guy is paying for everything. This goes back to my original caution: be sure you don’t need the money too much.

If you can’t find someone to experiment with, and/or if the experiment is successful and you want to dive in, you’ll need some resources – which is what you asked for to begin with. (Gods, Delilah, yap much?)

The hottest site for this right now is called Seeking Arrangement, and it puts together rich older folks with “ambitious” younger folks. It’s free to join if you’re the “sugar baby” (which term gives me the heebs, for some reason). Also, the guy in the picture on the front page of the site is smokin’. Unfortunately, the site is a bit creepy in terms of condoning extra-marital affairs and citing “human nature” and historical references about concubines. It seems much more focussed on the monetary aspect than it is on any potential fetish, and it sounds like you are more interested in playing with how “dirty” the whole sugar daddy thing is than you are with doing it seriously. Also, are you 19?

If you search for “sugar daddy” on Google, you’ll get a bunch of sites like this. A search on “sugar daddy fetish” turned up Alt Sugar Daddy, which focuses on people who are kinky but “also appreciate the finer things in life.” This might be closer to what you’re looking for, but I definitely wouldn’t discount the potential creep factor here, either. You’ll probably be a hot commodity there, though, if you’re already someone who has her freak on; this site is more likely populated with sugar daddies who have odd tastes than with kinky people with a sugar fetish, if that makes sense. My bet is that here you’ll find guys who want women who will let them piss on them or suck their toes, or who will want you to wear particular clothes, or whatever.

Something you have to decide is whether you’re wanting to play with the sugar daddy/mommy idea in a kinky context, with the self-awareness and slight irony that that implies, or whether you want to enter into a real arrangement like this with someone who may or may not be kinky in other ways, or be able to see the potentially problematic nature of such an arrangement. If it’s the former, you may want to stay within the circle of people you already know; if it’s the latter, go to town, keeping all the caveats I’ve put out there in mind.

***
Got a question? Email me!

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It’s been a while, as I haven’t had a backlog of questions. (You people are obviously just too well-adjusted. Or you think my advice stinks. Or something. Anyway!) I have a new question this week that’s fairly simple, but may send me off on a tear about the topic anyway. So here goes.

My partner and I have discovered that we love it when he puts his hand around the front of my throat. Is there a way to do this that is safer than any other way, in terms of placement or pressure? We’re not trying to restrict air or bloodflow; it’s just the symbolism of it.

So, knowledgeable questioner: you obviously already know that restricting either airflow or bloodflow can be dangerous, and in fact, there’s no “safe” way to do it. Does that mean I don’t do it, or don’t think anyone should? Hell no. It just means that it’s all about managing risk, rather than believing that you’re being safe. I saw an amazing presentation on breathplay in all its permutations by Lee Harrington some years ago, and that was the main message I took away from it.

What you’re doing, though, is much less risky, though I would advise you to look more deeply into the risks as you go forward, because we all know how these things can escalate. As far as simply placing a hand around the throat, though, here’s some things to keep in mind.

First off, don’t press hard or squeeze. If the symbolism is all you’re after, there’s no reason for him risk entering into actual choking. If you’re doing this as part of vigorous sex, watch out for him being on top and putting his weight on that hand, or you on top and leaning into his hand, both of which will put more pressure than you want or may even be aware of in the heat of the moment.

Second, get the placement right. The temptation when putting a hand on someone’s throat is to place the palm over the Adam’s apple and squeeze a little with your fingers. This position very easily tips over into the two things you want to avoid: airway and bloodflow restriction. Just a little pressure on the larynx can begin to restrict airflow, not to mention that the trachea is fairly easy to crush. This type of choking is also much more unpleasant in general than the bloodflow-restricting kind, as it causes a choking feeling in the throat and can easily initiate panic – for good reason. The fingers at the sides of the throat, on the other hand, can begin to restrict carotid artery flow – the blood going to your brain. This is what causes that floaty feeling that eventually leads to fainting – a very high risk type of play.

But that position, done very gently, can feel very protective, loving, and controlling without any pressure at all. Save it for times when you’re not also engaged in anything vigorous that might distract him from how much pressure he’s applying.

A safer and still symbolically strong position goes like this: Hold your hand up in front of you with the fingers together and the thumb out (your fingers and thumb will make an “L”). Now put the crook made by your fingers and thumb against your throat, directly under your chin and above the larynx. Your fingers and thumb should point upward, lying along your jawline. From this position, you can press upward with your whole hand, creating a feeling of control and force without actually putting any pressure on dangerous points. Do not squeeze the hand together, as this will cause the same problem of putting pressure on the blood vessels at the sides of the neck. Do this to yourself, and then teach him to do it.

Remember: pretty much any type of BDSM play is going to involve a certain amount of risk. This is why I prefer the RACK (Risk-Aware Consensual Kink) system to the SSC (Safe, Sane and Consensual) system: I don’t really believe that any kink, or any sex for that matter, can be completely safe. (I prefer the term “safer sex” to “safe sex” for that reason as well.) Then again, why do we do these things if not for the thrill? Besides, skydiving, playing sports, and driving your car carry far more risks than BDSM. I often think that some people do kink – and extreme sports – because we live in a way that our ancestors never dreamed of, and that is almost entirely without physical risk. Or rather, there is risk, but not in a way that we’re consciously aware of in the moment. (You’re probably driving on the highway daily and inhaling enough pollutants to kill you in thirty years, but when was the last time you were chased down by a tiger?)

Which reminds me: if you haven’t seen David Cronenburg’s Crash, you should.

And if you have a question for me, you should comment here or email me!
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I just know I’m going to get it for this, but here goes.

The ever-erudite and thought-provoking Orlando has got me thinking again. In an ongoing series of posts, he is examining privilege, entitlement, and the concept of slumming in the context of sexual power dynamics.

I recommend reading the series (though he charmingly and inaccurately calls them “tedious”), but the short version goes something like this. “Susie,” a traditional housewife profiled in the 1970’s conservative Baptist psychology book Sexual Sanity, is having a libido mismatch with her husband that is distracting her to the point of neglecting her duties in the home. The prescription is, of course, giving up the romance novels, soap operas, and masturbation, focusing on her marital duties, reading the Bible, oh, and maybe incidentally the husband should think about paying more attention to her.

Orlando points out that while these are people whose options were limited by their culture, lifestyle, beliefs, economics, and so on, he and Murre enact a kind of reversal of that traditional dynamic deliberately – in essence, slumming in a traditional provider/housewife arrangement. One of the going critiques of BDSM is, in essence, that we are performing a parody of relationships and power dynamics in which people have no choice: Orlando is at the laundromat writing his post while doing the household laundry because it is part of an elaborately negotiated D/s agreement; his neighbor, Rosa, is doing the laundry because that’s what’s expected of her by her husband, and what is simply done.

While these musings were interesting to me, it was really his last post that got me going. In it, he brings up the above point and adds commentary that he has collected from some radical feminist blogs: to wit, Nine Deuce’s tongue in cheek but extreme comment that males into BDSM dominance should kill themselves, and FactCheckMe’s analysis of MtF transexuals as merely men slumming as women.
(Don’t read that post, by the way, unless you want your head to explode. You have been warned.)

Orlando quite rightly points out that the telling people to renounce their privilege is pointless at best, dangerous at worst, if you give them no other options:

Radicals in general (I am not just speaking of radfems)…have focused on creating an elaborate critical literature to uncover the ways that privileged classes abuse their power in concealed ways, including the “inverted” abuse of slumming. Sheila Jeffries, to take a local example, is not simply critical of male dominance and male submission, she is critical of all male sexuality. Usually these sets of critiques are deployed to make people who deny that they are privileged realize that they are. But once someone acknowledges this privilege, the analyses remain underfoot, blocking any sort of coherent suggestion for further behavior.

At least, that’s the best version. In a darker version of things, the condemnation of all options becomes the suggestion. When 9/2 suggests that kinky men should kill themselves, she is sort of joking. When FCM tells MtF transexuals to “ke[ep] your dick and STFU,” she is not joking at all. But both authors arrive at their conclusion by systematically invalidating everything that the target class might do, either as entitlement or slumming or both. Behind 9/2’s suicide hyperbole is a genuine void left by her critiques: there is no course of action left for those men that she considers acceptable, and yet it is clearly important to her that they take her advice.

And this is where my frustration really sets in with the entire discussion – not with Orlando’s continued analysis, which you should totally read. But with what we talk about when we talk about privilege.

I am a white, Western, middle class bisexual cis-female. As such, I benefit from white privilege, cis privilege and class privilege, but not from male or heterosexual privilege. Honestly, I don’t think about that lack very much – not because it’s not important, but because I largely don’t feel my lack of that privilege in my day to day life.

I do frequently feel my own privilege, though: the ways I’m able to spend my days, the people I spend them with, the things I spend money on, hell, the money I even have. My education, my freedom, my ability, in short, to make choices.

In the endless and horrific comments to that made-of-fail post by FactCheckMe, she points out that what makes privilege privilege is the ability make choices.

I want to know exactly what’s wrong with that.

Hear me out. It seems to me that the radical movements that seek the destruction of the patriarchy and the liberation of women, minorities, and other oppressed people are missing the goddamn point, which is this: privilege is good. Power, for that matter, is good. Orlando writes, “We absolutely do not want the most privileged classes of humanity to exercise their power to its full, raw, extent.” And that is where he and I part ways.

You know what I want? I want everyone to be able to exercise their power to its full, raw extent. I don’t think that the way to empower some people is to take power away from others. I agree that pointing out privilege and making people aware of it such that they gain a greater understanding of the positions of oppressed people is an essential step for breaking down the monstrous inequalities that exist.

However. There is, as Orlando points out, nothing you can do once you’ve been made aware of your privilege. All you can do is understand that you can never understand.

So what next? Am I to go through life feeling constantly guilty that I can enjoy power dynamics and physical violence in a consensual way when there are so many people in the world who are abused? Am I, like some radical feminists, to give up penetrative sex entirely, even if I love it, because some women are raped? If part of male privilege, as FactCheckMe says, is being raised to believe that whatever you want or desire, however trivial, you can have it – does that mean I must never follow my own desires, especially not the frivolous ones?

People, this is backwards. The path to addressing privilege and ending oppression is not to remove even more choice from oppressed people. It’s to work to ensure choice for everybody.

Now, it’s facile and privilege-soaked to say such a thing, I know. But seriously? The only way to make sure that the subsistence farmer really wants to be there is to give him the opportunity to go to college and do something else. The only way to know that a woman is truly choosing stay-at-home-mom-hood is to open other possibilities through education and at-work childcare.

Which brings me to my next point, which is about the values we place on various types of life work.

Looking at, say, the subsistence farmer above and saying, oh, look how much better his life would be if he could go to college – that’s class privilege talking. But turning around and telling that college-educated person that he’s not allowed to become a subsistence farmer himself because that’s slumming – that’s ridiculous.

The problem here is partly one of choice, yes: in order for equality to truly exist, the presence of choice is paramount. But it’s also partly a problem of values: as a society, we automatically place a college education, a career in business, law or medicine, and the “earning” of vast amounts of money above learning a trade, raising children, keeping house, telling stories and growing food.

Which is to say: it is deeply problematic to pity a farmer because she never got a college education and became a doctor – even if that person had every opportunity to do so. Seeing someone’s lack of choice in the world and seeking to help correct it is a good thing. Seeing someone’s deliberate choice and deciding it’s wrong because of some misguided idea of wasted potential or perceived insult to those who do not have that choice available – that’s insanity.

Of course, if everyone had privilege, we couldn’t call it “privilege” anymore, as the word implies privilege above someone else. But “power”? There’s an entire philosophy around that. To borrow a phrase from Starhawk, what is desirable in this world is to increase everyone’s power-with rather than power-over. To help others, as best we can, to come into their own power – and express it in the ways that make the most sense to them.

The way to do this is not to take power away from others – power is not a zero-sum game, any more than love is. I submit to you that it is impossible to smash the patriarchy, to destroy white power, or to crush heterosexism. These are systems that are so entrenched, and belong so much to the majority, that they cannot be destroyed using force. But they can be phased out, little by little, if we fight to increase the power and agency of all people. The more people know, the more people are aware of and have access to all the opportunities and possibilities available in the human experience – the fewer people can be recruited to the dark side, brainwashed, or swept under by the tide.

I’m not saying that people won’t make bad choices, or be manipulated, or even – dare we say it – not be smart enough or strong enough to do the right thing. But that’s not the point. If we don’t allow people to choose – if we don’t even give them the benefit of the doubt that they have agency – then we’re totally screwed. If the patriarchy or whatever cultural force that’s like the water the fish are swimming in is so pervasive that we can’t trust human beings to have free will, then it’s going to just be one paternalistic ruling class after another telling us what’s right.

I don’t know about you, but that’s not the world I want to live in, however imperfect my current world is. Here’s what I’m working on: being the change I want to see in the world. I’ll skip the post-patriarchy and take a world where a poor man can choose to be a doctor, an orphan girl can grow up to be president, a university-educated person can choose to become a dairy farmer without ridicule or judgment, people across the gender spectrum can choose to play with power dynamics in intimate relationship to another person if that’s what turns them on, and in short – anyone can pursue their kind of happiness in peace, so long as it harms no one. (And by “harm” I mean “non-consensual harm,” not some goddamn cane marks.)

Maybe I’m just an idealist. Or soaking in privilege. I don’t know. Have at.

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All right folks, it’s looking official: Monday Advice is moving to Tuesdays, due to my need to deliver a different article on Mondays. I apologize for missing last week; please have patience as I adjust to changes!

All of that said: please, send me questions! I’m running a bit low again. I’ll have one for next week, but after that I’ll need some more. Seriously, folks – don’t you have problems??

This week’s question asks: what happens when you’re kinky, but not like that?

My partner is into something I am not. I need help finding a way to be responsive in it. To be clear, this is not an issue of boundaries, or feeling safe, or anything like that. It simply doesn’t turn me on, and as a result, in the moment often strikes me as stagey, silly, or absurd (as kink to the non-invested often appears), and so I do struggle with inappropriate reactions (i.e., laughter, although I have not been so insensitive as to do so out loud.) Sex is not merely an exchange of “I’ll do this thing I don’t dig if you’ll do X,” I know, but as we are talking about something that neither harms nor bothers me, I’d rather find a way to make this satisfying than to toss it out of our repertoire.

First of all, gentle reader, I’m happy to see that you’re GGG – as Dan Savage would have it, Good (as in good in bed), Giving (generous to your partner), and Game (up for anything – within reason). You’re already most of the way to making this okay, since you know that you’re willing to do this for your partner since s/he likes it so much and it isn’t really bothering you. One of the realities of good sex is that sometimes, we agree to do something that we might not be that into because our partner loves it, and in exchange, they do something for us. One hopes that this is not the totality of a sex life – if it is, then you’re probably sexually incompatible – but as people are, well, different from one another, sometimes you’re going to have to make allowances.

That said, if the activity in question not only isn’t working for you but puts you at risk for laughing at your partner, that could go poorly. So how do you make something seem hot to you when objectively, it isn’t?

There are a few answers to this. The first is about the power of submission. Are you submissively inclined toward your partner, or would you like to be? If the two of you are playing with power dynamics in addition to whatever sensation play you might be doing, it may be worthwhile to experiment with putting you in a submissive headspace before you begin this activity. Often, an attitude of submission in a scene can make it easier – and much more enjoyable – to take something the dominant is doing that’s not your favorite. This phenomenon can take many forms: you may feel that you’re doing this in service to the dominant, which gives some people a thrill; you may feel silly and embarrassed (which you already seem to) and let that be sexy. Or you can think of this act as another way that your partner “owns” and uses you – in that good way.

If that stuff doesn’t do it for you, you can talk to your partner about letting the inherent silliness of whatever it is you’re doing come out: have a scene where you laugh together, where you brat him a bit and he puts you back in line. One day when you’re not in the middle of a scene, let him know that you find whatever-this-is kind of silly, but that you want to make it fun for both of you. Stagey-ness can be a lot of fun: if it feels over the top, take it all the way over.

The other option, which may not be the best but can work, is to simply transform the experience in your head. It’s not quite “lie back and think of England,” but when he starts doing this thing that doesn’t get you off, think about something that does. Focus on the hotness of your partner, or think about something else you two do that really turns your crank. People often feel guilty about fantasizing about something – or someone – else during sex, but the fact is that everybody does it, and so long as you’re not always thinking about something else while your partner’s banging away at you in whatever way, there’s no harm in it.

In general, though, I recommend that you make it about the thread between the two of you and not just about the act. It’ll be a lot more fun for both of you – and you may even find a new piece of the sexual repertoire that works for you.

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