Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘relationships’

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.

Submit to FetSpank.com :: add to del.icio.us :: Digg it :: Stumble It! :: :: :: post to facebook

Read Full Post »

Ever since my alter-ego took on a new writing assignment, I’ve been having some trouble getting the advice out on Mondays. I’m considering changing the day of the week I do it. But for now, I give you Monday Advice on Tuesday.

Dear Delilah,
My partner N and I have been together for well over a decade. We’ve had ups and downs in our sex life over that time, and we’re currently working hard on getting to a place with it that makes both of us happy. We have tried various kinky activities in the past, and they were fun but never became a large part of our sexual repertoire. However, we both have other partners, and I have been exploring my kinky side with mine in a way I never have with N. I know that N is unhappy that there are things I am “sharing” with others which I am not doing with her. I know that every couple has ways in which they aren’t completely sexually compatible, but what can I do about the things that I want to do with other people but just am not interested in doing with N? I’m GGG, but there are things that just isn’t sufficient for.
– Sad in the City

Dear Sad,

This is a somewhat tricky situation, but if it weren’t, I imagine you wouldn’t have written. My first response, though, is to ask you a question: what things are you willing to do with N? It can be very difficult, in poly relationships, to feel that there are things that you and your primary partner simply don’t share – especially sexual things. But it can also be very difficult to be as kinky as you want to be with the person you share your life with, especially if you’re trying in all other ways to have a relationship of equals. When you do kinky sex with someone regularly – especially if the power only flows in one direction – the question of who does the laundry and who pays the bills becomes even more charged than it usually is. Not to mention that sometimes, you just don’t see your partner in those terms. And sometimes, especially if you’ve been with someone for a long time, you’ve discovered your kinkier side with someone else.

I can’t count how many clients I had when I was a professional domme who couldn’t ever imagine approaching their wives about their kinky desires. For the most part, these were women these men had chosen to marry before they knew about their kinks, or they were caught up in some virgin/whore dichotomy and chose these women to marry and raise kids with, and went to women like me for the other stuff. In your case, though, it sounds like you’ve given kink with your primary a fair shake, and it just hasn’t worked for you. In that brilliant way that poly people do, you’ve found appropriate outlets for your desires elsewhere.

But now your primary is unhappy. Why? Because she perceives that you’re having all the great sex with someone else, not with her. So the question becomes not what to do about those things you don’t want to do with her, but what about those things you do want to do?

It’s impossible to make a happy sex life out of things you’re not doing. But there are many, many things to do in sex. It can be a huge trap to focus on the things you’re not doing together – especially if you both are doing those things with other partners. The thing to do is focus on what you’re already doing together, what you could be doing together that you know works but aren’t doing for some reason, and what else you could try that might work.

Comparisons, as one of Shakespeare’s fools said, are odorous. Experienced polyamorous people know the dangers of comparing oneself to one’s partner’s other partners; that way lies madness. Comparing the sex you’re having is no exception – in fact, it’s probably the cardinal application of the general rule. The thing to do is address the sex you’re having in that relationship, and find the ways of having it that are good for both of you. This might involve some experimentation, and maybe bringing back some of the things you did in the past that you found “fun.” It may involve trying some new things, or falling back on old standbys that you know work well.

I’m a pretty kinky person, but I know that with one of my partners, the most profound and satisfying thing we can do is fuck in missionary position. The way we connect energetically takes care of the rest. With another partner, sometimes he gets full satisfaction just from going down on me – which I don’t enjoy all that much with anyone else. It doesn’t matter to me that I’m not swinging from the chandeliers with either of those partners, and it doesn’t seem to bother them, either. It can take time to get to the point where you’re not constantly thinking about how you must be falling short compared to your partner’s other partners, with whom your partner clearly has a much more fulfilling and exciting sex life (read sarcasm here). But it is possible.

The trick is to connect, without expectations. Undress each other. Look at each other. Get into bed together and just touch each other for a while. Revel in the feel and familiarity of each other’s skin. Even if you don’t have the most exciting sex ever, you’ll be rebuilding the closeness that brought you together in the first place.

Next, make a point of it. Have boring sex, once a week at the least. Make special time for it. As you go on, keep trying new things, or old things, one at a time. Really explore each other. Sometimes, poly couples can fall into the complacency trap: because all the exciting sex is coming from outside the primary relationship, it’s easy just to share the non-sexual, day-to-day life with one’s familiar, primary partner and let the sex life fizzle. Before you know it, you’re just like best friends who are roommates. Add scheduling craziness to this and the pattern becomes nigh-unbreakable.

So schedule it in. Mark the time for each other in your calendars. Keep to it, and start finding the things that make your sex together special, rather than concentrating on what’s missing.

Submit to FetSpank.comadd to del.icio.us :: Digg it :: Stumble It! :: :: :: post to facebook

Read Full Post »

A few weeks ago, I had a letter from someone who wanted her partner to top her, but she had more experience and wound up topping from below. This week, we have the flip side of that issue.

I recently declined to get involved with a close friend of mine. I’m an experienced domme, he’s just beginning to explore kink as a submissive. I would prefer that he explore with someone else — if he started with me, I think he’d end up shaping his desires to my tastes out of a desire to please me rather than finding out what he actually independently likes. He doesn’t understand my position, but respects it. I’ve seen this happen too much to want to be a part of it, even/especially with someone I like. How do you think these sorts of situations should be handled?

This is a tough one. You see, on the one hand, I’m all for subs finding out what they independently like; I think it’s generally a good thing for people to explore their own sexualities and find their ways in that fashion.

On the other hand, when I started out as a submissive, I only found out what I liked by playing with people I liked and seeing what they did that I liked.

It is sometimes a feature of being submissive that if you find someone hot and want to play with them, you will probably like what they, specifically, do to you; it’s even possible that that’s why you’re attracted to them to begin with, because you sense that they have something or are capable of something that you want. However, it’s also true that most subs like certain things especially, and some will seek out acts more than people.

For someone who’s new and isn’t sure what he likes – as opposed to someone who’s new and has been fantasizing about sock puppets since he was 7 – I think the best possible thing is for him to play with an experienced top who has range. If he’s not sure what he wants, then he should find the buffet and try a little of everything.

I’m not precisely sure what your concern is in this scenario – or even how it can be avoided. Isn’t it possible that he’ll shape his desires to the taste of whomever he plays with first, not just you? And isn’t part of discovering submission the thrill of finding someone you want to serve and please? I may be with your friend here: I don’t really understand your concern, but I respect it. If you don’t want to play with your friend, obviously you shouldn’t! What I’m reading as implicit in your question, though, is something else: if he shapes his desires to your preferences, then you’ll be responsible for him – you might even “spoil” him for other dommes – and I’m hearing that you don’t want that. I don’t know what your specific reasons are – you say you’ve seen this scenario many times – but I can think of any number of ways that a rookie sub, particularly a close friend, could become a problem for an experienced dom – especially if he gets very attached. He probably isn’t prepared for how intense kink can be, and how much it can bond together the people who engage in it.

It sounds like he needs to explore with someone who doesn’t have a lot of emotional investment in him, and vice versa, with whom he can have fun and make some discoveries about what works for him and doesn’t. The ironic thing, of course, is that he’ll likely find that he doesn’t like some things in casual play which, if he falls in love with a domme, he may endure or even enjoy for her sake. But sexuality is so flexible and fluid that he’ll probably discover that on his own, and starting slow is probably the best way to minimize harm.

Submit to FetSpank.com :: add to del.icio.us :: Digg it :: Stumble It! :: :: :: post to facebook

Read Full Post »

Good morning, perverts!

I hope everyone had a fabulous holiday weekend; I certainly did, especially since the gods decided to finally stop doing nonconsensual watersports with us. The timing of their reprieve couldn’t have been better, and I spent the weekend walking in the sun, sitting around a fire, eating far too much grilled meat and rolling around with two of the hottest people I know. No, not all at the same time. Well, except the last part. The two people were at the same time.

Anyway!

This week’s question is short and sweet, but a big issue for a lot of people. Let’s get to it!

So what do you do if you really want to be dominated by your partner but since your partner has no experience and you have read more you wind up topping from the bottom which is not satisfying for you but you appreciate his being GGG (Thank you Dan Savage)?

-GW

I’ve got good news for you, GW: you’re already halfway there. It doesn’t sound like your partner refuses to dominate you or thinks that it’s icky; he just doesn’t know what he’s doing yet and you have to give him a little guidance.

This can be frustrating for a submissive, since of course the whole submissive fantasy is about wanting someone to do things to you that s/he wants, without you having much say in the matter. But if the submissive in the relationship is the one with the stronger interest in kink, then there’s going to be a learning curve.

Why not pass along some of your reading material to him? One excellent and very non-threatening book I like is The Topping Book, which has a companion book (called, predictably, The Bottoming Book) and which you could read together and start taking suggestions from.

If your parter is truly GGG, GW, then I bet s/he wouldn’t mind putting in a little extra effort to build some proficiency in domination, since it seems s/he already is happy to at least humor your fantasies. It may be awkward for a little while as s/he learns, but after some time you should be able to get to a place where s/he can do stuff to you without you having to spell out what it should be.

In addition to the reading, you might also try doing some practice sessions. It’s hard to get good at something without low-pressure practice time, and that includes knot-tying, flogging, and dirty talk. Make some time together where the pressure to satisfy you is low, and where the idea is for you to help your partner skill-build. You might make yourself the target for a flogging, for example, and play a game of hot/cold with the location of the strikes. The really fun part of this is that after a while, as your partner gets better, practice time will double as playtime.

Sitting down with a bottle of wine and talking about your fantasies together is also a great exercise. You may find out that your partner is what some derisively call a “service top:” your partner’s pleasure is really about giving you what you want. There’s nothing wrong with that, and again, with practice, your partner will be able to know what you want and give it to you the way you like it.

You might also make a game out of you telling your partner what you want: s/he might “force” you to say it out loud, to beg for it. This is a great way, novice tops, to get information out of your subs and still keep a scene going.

However you decide to proceed, GW – have fun!

Read Full Post »

Today’s question is a juicy one, which is just how I like it. Lots of issues to address – so let’s get right to it.

Dear Delilah,

Can you talk a little about psychological hang-ups around topping? (If that’s the right term–I get top & dominant mixed up.) Here’s the thing. If my partner and I are doing a dom/sub or top/bottom play, and I’m on top, I’d like to feel pleasure beyond “I’m doing this because it makes you feel good.” Likewise, when I’m being submissive, I would like it if the dominant person was getting something out of it more than just pleasing me. As wonderful as it is to know that you’re making another person feel fantastic, it’d be nice to get some more…direct?…satisfaction.

But that’s where the hang-ups show up. You see, if I’m being dominant…what if I really do like seeing my partner helpless? Getting satisfaction out of that feels icky and wrong in a way that getting pleasure out of being tied up doesn’t. And I’d be weirded out, during a bit of play-humiliation, if I thought that my partner really wanted to humiliate me. Can you suggest ways to develop a sense of enjoying dominance without this guilt? How do two submissive-inclined switches develop their dom sides? Is it about drawing the hard line between play and reality, or about accepting power, or about…

There are so many issues in this question that I don’t know where to start, but I’ll give it a shot.

First of all, let me differentiate between top/bottom and dom/sub, since it’s a question that comes up a lot. Midori addresses it really well using a kind of graph and including the sadist/masochist binary as well; I’ll try to address it here in words.

“Top and bottom” come from gay nomenclature originally, and tend to designate who is the active partner and who the passive or receptive. If you’re getting fucked, fingered, or fisted, you’re “bottoming.” If you’re fucking, fingering, or fisting, you’re “topping.” This translates into BDSM the way you would expect: the person tying the knots, holding the whip, or attaching the clamps is the “top.”

“Dominant and submissive” refers to power dynamics. The dominant is the one controlling the scene, whatever activities are going on.

“Sadism and masochism” gets into the question of who likes to give pain and who likes to receive it.

This is where things get tricky: while traditionally, the person holding the whip is certainly the top and probably the dominant as well, some people are dominant masochists – they want their submissive to whip them according to their orders and specifications. Some people are service submissives: though they are subs, they are also tops in the sense of being the active partner (performing oral sex, worshipping feet, serving tea). Their actions, however, are controlled by the dominant.

It’s worth knowing, however, that “top” and “dominant” are often used interchangeably, as are “bottom” and “sub.” And I’m willing to bet that a submissive that goes from being tied up and beaten to being released and made to suck cock doesn’t think of him- or herself as having gone, within one scene, from “submissive masochist bottom” to “submissive service top.”

What I hear you saying here is that since you are both submissive-leaning switches (I’d call myself the same, incidentally), you can both more easily identify with what’s hot about being tied up or otherwise “done to” than what’s hot about doing. It also sounds like it feels okay to like having power taken from you, but not okay to enjoy power over someone.

Your instincts about how to resolve this within yourselves are good: it is partially about remembering that your power dynamics are confined to playtime and aren’t about who you are to each other in everyday life. But it also is, indeed, about accepting power.

Submission is a gift. It’s a gift of trust, and of one’s body. It is a (usually) temporary and well-boundaried giving-over of control in a way that is, in the best of circumstances, about love for the dominant partner as well as about the pleasure of the submissive. And it is profound in the sense that the submissive truly puts his or her life in the dominant’s hands.

This leads to a lot of responsibility for the dominant, which can be overwhelming. But the acceptance of this responsibility, the awe of the power of the gift, is possibly the first step to allowing yourself to enjoy the power of it. Just think of it: there’s your partner in front of you, ready to do whatever you ask. You may give them pleasure or pain, allow them to orgasm or force them to hold back, make them your servant or your slave or your special toy. And it’s okay to enjoy it – because it is freely given.

You ask, what if I like seeing my partner helpless? What if my partner really enjoys humiliating me?

And I say, what’s the point of doing it if you don’t enjoy it?

That’s somewhat glib of me, of course: it can be a struggle for both dominants and submissives to accept their desires given what we’re told is culturally acceptable. And while suffering as a means to ecstasy is a time-honored tradition, being the one who inflicts that suffering is a much less respected role.

So I’d say: start with appreciating the gift of the submissive. Next, there’s what’s easy to enjoy about topping: getting off on your partner’s pleasure, and knowing that you’re the one delivering it. Dominating someone isn’t very exciting for me if the submissive doesn’t react; I can’t stand stoic submissives. Accept that part of the pleasure of being dominant is, in fact, transitive: you’re taking pleasure from the pleasure you’re causing.

The other thing to remember is that you can take direct pleasure from the submissive. What gives you pleasure? Remember that being fucked doesn’t make you automatically submissive. (There are much-more agreed-upon models for this with male doms: what male top porn scene doesn’t end with him fucking her?) Or make him go down on you in an uncomfortable position. If you can get into taking pleasure from your submissive as well as giving pleasure to him, you might begin to see what all the fuss is about with domming.

As far as going beyond that, and beginning to take pleasure in your partner’s pain, or humiliation…well, do you? You don’t have to, you know. But your question makes me think that you’re beginning to, and you’re wondering about what it might mean.

My honest answer? I wouldn’t worry about it unless you feel it’s going to affect how you behave in the rest of your life. If you start enjoying how it feels when your partner is suffering at your hands, and then you start treating your friends like shit? That’s a red flag. But I think for people who are as clearly thoughtful and self-aware about this stuff as you seem to be, given your question, I don’t think that this is a concern. Kink, for you, may provide a safe context in which to explore these feelings in a way that not only doesn’t harm anyone, but is actually good hot fun for all involved. (Major win, there.)

I will also add that when I started working as a dominatrix, I experienced an increase in confidence. I didn’t become a bitch, as I think some women do when they take on this mantle. Instead, I found I got the attention of customer service more quickly, was more able to get what I wanted in a polite way, lost my temper less often (having more power means you don’t have to get angry or mean), and generally moved in the world more easily. So you can get positive changes out of accepting erotic power as well.

One last thing about this, though, for those married couples out there who are doing kink. It is often true that people who do heavy kink have better luck exploring it outside of their primary relationships; doing it together, when there are bills to pay and dishes to wash and kids to raise, can sometimes be too weird. It’s also probably true that the two of you know each other better than anyone, and so you not only have the best access to each other’s hot buttons, you also are more vulnerable to each other than to anyone else. This makes it easier to do actual damage within scene, so while I don’t think you should worry too much about enjoying it, I would talk to each other a lot beforehand about what things might truly hurt you. In my experience and knowledge, these things are more likely to be psychological than physical, so I would negotiate a lot more beforehand about, say, a humiliation scene than I would about, oh, a spanking.

Most of all, though, have fun. Revel in each other. And hell – play with switching within the same scene! Turn the tables! If you’re both so inclined, why not mix it up?

Read Full Post »

I’ve been loving on Trinity’s blog enough that I’ve been reading the back issues. Yesterday I took a look at this post on the commonalities she draws between some radical feminist camps’ views on BDSM, and the rhetoric of ex-gay movements. In a nutshell: while both are careful to say up-front that they’re not interested in forcing anyone to not be gay or not be kinky, both are also sure to point out that if you are either of those things you are broken and need fixing, and even if you think you’re happy you can’t possibly really be, because it was your mother/your abuse history/the patriarchy that made you that way.

She goes on to quote a previous post of hers, citing her own experience, not with either of these groups, but with standard-issue mental health professionals:

The people I relied on for mental health care told me that my fantasies came from my trauma, and that once I’d really healed, I’d not have them any more.

I spent so much time worrying about my sexuality not changing…that I didn’t allow myself for years to take pride in the actual progress I was making toward healing. I became obsessed with the idea that my sexuality wasn’t changing and therefore there was something wrong with me, even as I slowly felt better about myself, less inclined to self-harming (again, maybe to you the desire to do SM and to self-harm are the same, but in my experience they are very different), etc.

I think promoting the idea that SM fantasies are *always* scars from trauma is harmful.

I have to agree with this, and I want to go it one better: I think that even if a desire for BDSM comes from trauma scars, that BDSM may be a path to healing.

I’m not even necessarily talking about the obvious one, where someone decides to ritually relive their trauma in the safe, sane and consensual setting of a BDSM scene in order to reclaim it and heal. I think there are subtler things at work, and I’ve seen examples of it.

Trinity’s own example, of being less inclined to self-harm over time while still wanting to do BDSM, strikes me as important: I don’t know if this has been her experience of it, but it seems like it could be an example of self-harming behavior being replaced with healthy behavior that fills some of the same needs for intensity and focus. The film Secretary provides an excellent example of this as well: when under stress, Maggie Gyllenhaal’s character is prone to cutting and sometimes burning herself. Once she finds a relationship in which she can safely experience intensity of sensation as a loving act, she is able to stop. The dominant character, too, has issues: he exercises compulsively whenever he has sexual thoughts, of which he is clearly ashamed. The relationships he does engage in are short, compartmentalized, and dysfunctional. Once he’s able to embrace his desires and take responsibility for the person he engages in those desires, he is able to live fully in himself.

I had a conversation with a friend yesterday who was reveling in the bruises on her upper arms for a few days after playing with someone who loves to bite. She went to her job wearing longer sleeves to hide the bruises, and was having fun secretly enjoying them beneath her clothes. Once they faded, she joked that she’d never been more disappointed to put on a tank top.

After reading some of the material I’ve been linking to lately, she and her equally super-smart husband decided to have some fun coming up with really good arguments against BDSM. During that game, she called up her own abuse history, and found herself going, “Oh, shit.”

The abuse she received was entirely mental, and when she was a kid she wished her abuser would hit her, so she would have something to show the authorities.

So there’s a link. And yeah, finding that can be disconcerting; I had a similar experience where I realized that the games I was playing with my top weren’t as innocent and without basis as I thought. And yet, I realized in myself at the time, and as I pointed out to my friend: these things that we’re doing now are healing us from those traumas. Even if that’s why we’re doing them. It’s not that we’re unable to have normal relationships because we’re damaged. It’s that we’re repairing the damage by re-writing our histories.

In her present, she’s experiencing the joy of having bruises that she doesn’t have to show anyone. They’re there for her enjoyment and remembrance of a fun time with someone who cares for her. If she shows them to people, it’s not because of her relief that she finally has evidence that someone is hurting her. It’s because she’s proud that now, someone cares for her the right way, and the bruises she carries are her choice.

In my present, I sometimes regress to being a little girl who is held and cared for by a loving Daddy. Maybe it’s because my dad was never there when I was young, and my mother didn’t know how to show affection. But is enacting this re-traumatizing me? No. It’s allowing me to write over the parts of my brain that tell me I’m not worthy of love.

It all goes back to Trinity’s question about “asking why.” I.e., is it ever a good idea to delve into the reasons why you like the things you like, sexually? Having thought about it a bit more, I think it’s still valuable to examine one’s own navel a bit on this one. But out of all the possible results of this venture, the results mostly seem anywhere from bleak to pointless. Here are the possibilities I see:

1. You question your kink, and discover a strong link to abuse or trauma in your past. You realize that you’re miserable in part because you keep re-enacting that abuse or trauma in your relationships, which are generally abusive and end badly. You get help, and either a) you find a way to fulfill your desires in a safe, sane and consensual manner with someone who loves you, b) you stop doing kink entirely and you’re miserable, or c) you stop doing kink entirely and you’re happy.

2. You question your kink, and discover a link to abuse or trauma in your past. But your present life is healthy and happy, and the kinky activities you do turn you on and fulfill you. But now you’re worried that your kink is not okay.

3. You question your kink, and can’t find anything from your past that links to it. But now you’re worried that maybe you have repressed memories from a childhood trauma and all your crazy kinks are about it.

4. You question your kink, and can’t come up with anything. You smile and go about your day.

In the first result, there are several possible outcomes, some good and some not. In the others, the question is either meaningless, or brings problematic meaning where previously there was none. I think it’s extremely valuable to question your patterns if you keep finding yourself in abusive relationships, not just kinky ones. Notice that even in that eventuality, a person might continue to enjoy BDSM activities (as Trinity does, as Lee in Secretary does) once they have dealt with their traumas. So in a sense, what that person is asking themselves is not “What draws me to kink” but “What draws me to people who want to harm me?”

I think it’s true that abuse can masquerade as BDSM. Just as abuse can masquerade as possessive love, just as alcoholism can masquerade as a simple fondness for drinking, just as a wolf can masquerade as a goddamn sheep. That doesn’t mean that a sheep is always a wolf.

There is value in searching for answers when your life seems out of control and you can’t figure out how to change it. There is very little value in seeking to pathologize behavior that fulfills you and others in your life.

Question yourselves, by all means, yes. But if you’re happy and not doing others true harm, stop trying to figure out what’s wrong with you that you like something that other people think is wrong. We are large. We contain multitudes, for the love of Bob. Go out there and grow.

Submit to FetSpank.com

add to del.icio.us :: Digg it :: Stumble It! :: :: post to facebook

Read Full Post »

Today I answer two letters that deal with the question: what happens when one of the partners in a desired BDSM scenario is reluctant for one reason or another? It’s a tricky one, but not unsolvable.

I have to say, you are almost a dead ringer for my fiancee. She is also six feet tall, size 12-13 shoe, shoulder length naturally curly brown hair, and with a sensually curvy athletic gorgeously feminine but strong body. I have a question for you, if you don’t mind. She is a sweet, sweet girl and I’m a huge trampling fan. I’m a little over six feet tall and weigh about 155 lbs. I’m kind of wiry and thin. Being a tall strong girl like you are, you probably know where this is going. She’s not a dominant person and I would like her to be more aggressive to help her out in life. I want so much for her to trample me, but I know she thinks she’s too heavy, her feet are too big, blah, blah, blah. What is a good way to ask or warm her up to walking on me? I asked her once about a year ago. She very, very tentatively did so and then quickly stepped off. I’ve been afraid to ask her since. I’ve told her that I’m going to drag a dominant side of her out someday, someway (Marshall Crenshaw anyone?) and have slooowwwly warmed her up to resting her feet on me while laying on the floor. She’s still a bit shy about it. But I want her to take the plunge and walk on me. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks so much for listening!

MJ

Dear MJ,

Marshall Crenshaw notwithstanding, this is a territory where you must, if you’ll forgive the pun, tread lightly. I’m hearing that you have a particular desire from your fiancee – namely, that she trample you. This seems like something that the two of you could work up to, and I’ll talk more about that below. But be careful about the other thing I’m hearing, here: trying to force your fiancee to be a dominant.

In my experience, there’s very little more annoying than a submissive male trying to talk his female partner into dominating him when she doesn’t want to and it’s not in her nature. It’s not that people cannot be taught to dominate, and there are beautiful examples of experienced submissives training “from below,” as it were. But the would-be dominant must be willing – and wheedling, offering submissive gestures in the hopes that she’ll pick up the role, or suggesting that you’re going to “drag” her dominant side out, is probably not going to help you, and will probably just make her feel anything from annoyed to inadequate.

The good news is that you have a specific desire, and having your woman trample you does not sign her up for becoming your full-time Mistress. It doesn’t even have to mean that she’s being dominant – there is a difference between being a “top” (i.e. the “active” partner in a sexualized activity) and being “dominant” (i.e. the one holding the power in a power-exchange roleplay dynamic). You may find that she has a dominant streak eventually, but the first thing for you to do is guide her, safely and consensually, toward the activity you desire, without pushing for the whole enchilada.

As far as asking: you say this is something that really turns you on. If you’re not shy about that fact, she may be more able to get into it if she’s interested in your pleasure. You say that she’s shy about her size; she may be afraid of hurting you. Try setting up a safeword with her, and let her know that you will definitely say the word if she is truly hurting you. Try starting, as you said you have, with you lying on the floor while she puts her feet on you, and work your way up to her fully standing. She can start by just pressing you with her feet while sitting, then resting part of her weight on you with one foot from standing. Make sure she has something, like a wall, to hold onto for balance, and make sure she’s only stepping on safe places on your body: upper back, chest, butt, and thighs. Hopefully, she’ll find that she enjoys it for its own sake, and if you’re really lucky, she may eventually find that dominant streak in herself. If not – then at least you have a new piece in your sexual repertoire.

And don’t forget to keep telling her how incredibly sexy she is. I appreciate the compliments, MJ – but it sounds like your foxy fiancee needs them more.

My boyfriend is a self-proclaimed Dominant. Okay. I’m not what I’d call a naturally submissive person, but I’m really, really ready to give it a go with him. Really. Very much so. BUT – in my trying to explain that it was going to be quite a step for someone like me to engage in that side of the “play” I somehow managed to convince him I’d not truly like it. He doesn’t believe in “switches” he says, and any attempt by me to try to engage provokes comments like “But I know you don’t really like that” from him. DO I HAVE TO TIE MYSELF UP MYSELF! WTF?!?

I don’t understand the “no switches” rule; the idea that he doesn’t want to do anything I don’t truly WANT is… well… nothing short of sweet but I don’t know how to convince him I want to when I do want him to take the “this is hard for me, but in a good way” part seriously. And plain old “how to get it started” advice. A guy acquaintance suggested handcuffing myself to the bed, but… that seems hamfisted, pardon the pun.

Here’s what I’m hearing, and I’m sorry if it sounds harsh to your “self-proclaimed Dominant:” he’s insecure, and he’s misinformed.

First, the misinformed part: switches exist. In fact, if he’s been paying attention, he might notice that a large part of the overall BDSM culture grew originally out of the gay leather scene, in which, in olden days, every dominant was a submissive first. That was the way you came up in the ranks. So by the very nature of old school leather, every dominant is also a submissive. Even laying history aside, you can let your boyfriend know that I and many of my kinkiest friends are personally insulted by his assertion that we switches simply don’t exist. It’s like negating the existence of bisexuals. So: Dear Boyfriend: come join reality! It’s fun over here. We have cookies. And lots of sex.

Laying aside my own pet peeves, though, is the larger point that will probably be of more use to you: he’s scared. He probably wants to do things to you that he finds really hot, but he’s still afraid that that means there’s something wrong with him. BDSM dynamics require boatloads of trust, and it tends to be the dominant’s job to hold a lot of that trust. It is very, very easy to make a mistake and break trust in this type of dynamic, and so sometimes dominants are reluctant to play with people they’re not sure about. What if he hurts you and you hate it? What if you laugh at him? What if you find out something he’s into and freak?

Clearly, your words aren’t enough in this scenario to convince him that this is what you want. Tying yourself to the bed is a little hamfisted, indeed. But you might try something similar. Different triggers, when you’re being sexual with him, might open that headspace for him and indicate your availability. Some classics include kneeling at his feet, crossing your arms over your head when he’s on top of you, or undressing in front of him while he’s still clothed and watching. Try one of these if any of them turn you on, or something else simple. And keep talking: if you care deeply for him – and it sounds like you do – let him know that you’re not going to think less of him for wanting some nonstandard things. Have him introduce some of the things he’d like to do to you in dirty talk before actually doing them. Tell him to write you a letter or email with a fantasy scenario he has in mind, and pledge to yourself not to react badly to it, even if it’s not totally your cup of tea.

It may seem ironic, with him being the dominant and all, but you need to draw him out and make him feel safe.

Let me know how it goes, folks! I’m always reachable here at the blog, or at delilah@dommedelilah.com!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »