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Posts Tagged ‘safety’

I spent a delicious part of an afternoon last week (Independence Day, in fact; nice way to celebrate…) being sort-of practice-topped, sort of actually-dominated by a new, switchy lover. He is about to have the opportunity to play with someone he’s had his eye on for five years now, and I always like to help a brother out.

(Insert inappropriate incest fantasy remarks here…)

It turns out that he’s not lacking much at all in the hard skills department; while I have yet to show him how to work my four-foot singletail, I received a very delicious flogging. What I found myself dipping in and out of subspace to do was to give him ideas about what might be called soft skills.

Now naturally, I was working from a place of what I was wanting in the moment, what was going to make me feel more desired, sink me deeper into trance, bring me more under control. And yes, it was a very interesting and fun dance – working from my experience to instruct, while simultaneously letting myself surrender to the experience itself. When we were planning it, I joked that he’d know he was doing well if he could keep me from instructing him.

But some of the things that came up seemed to me to be fairly generalizable for newer tops or doms, especially those playing with new partners. Here’s what I came up with:

1. Keep in control. It doesn’t matter if you’re new to this and aren’t really sure what you’re doing. Faking it – in the confidence sense – can really go far. I’m not saying you should do something that you don’t know how to do – please don’t suspend someone, or cane them, or poke them with needles, if you don’t know what you’re doing! – but rather that assuming an air of control and confidence can go a long way toward making the submissive partner’s experience more fulfilling. In my case, I have a much easier time letting go if I sense that the person topping me has the situation in-hand.

Some ways of doing this, practically speaking: use occasional sudden, sharp movements (push me down, slap me harder than I expect after lulling me with sensuality, grab me by the hair); inspect/appraise me; tell me what to do without too many words; restrict my choices; correct my mistakes with calm harshness.

There are going to be moments of hesitation and doubt, of course. The trick is to have the mini-panic-attack inside your head, then find a way to either change the activity that’s causing you stress, or express your doubt in a dominant way. Which brings me to:

2. Keep in touch. The corollary to the above is that, especially with new partners, checking in frequently is important. Some subs go non-verbal (hello!), and many don’t respond well to questions in the moment, unless the answers are a simple yes or no. Even then, sometimes the sub will be in a space where he doesn’t know what he wants; some subs go into a kind of thrall in scene and get deeply into surrendering their will.

Especially for people like this, keeping in touch is key. I mean this in two ways:

-Physical. Touch them with your hand. Check the temperature of their extremities. Press your body into them, feel their reaction, then pull away again. It all performs the triple function of teasing, cherishing, and checking on them. Watch their breathing. Is it slow and deep and trancey? You’re probably okay. Is it rapid and shallow? This could mean several things – panic, extreme excitement, about to faint. This is where the second way comes in:

-Verbal. It’s sad, but true, that the last thing a sub wants to hear during a scene is “Are you okay?” But maintaining the illusion of dominance, non-consent, or whatever you’re playing with doesn’t mean there’s no way to find out what’s going on if you’re confused. Say you’ve been hitting them for a while, and it’s escalating, but you reach a point where you’re not sure if their reactions mean they’re near their limits and might safeword, or that they’re about to have an orgasm. Stop. Put your hand on them. Make them look you in the eyes, or loop your arm around their chest and growl/whisper in their ear. “You had enough? Or do I need to beat you some more?” There are a thousand variations of this, of course. Generally, you’ll know pretty quickly. If they’re in a “wanting more” space, you might even get some begging out of it. (I love both saying and hearing “please, PLEASE…”) If you’ve hit their limit, this will be a good chance for them to breathe, collect themselves, come back to earth a little, and receive some tenderness. They may still be non-verbal, but if you’re unsure, wait for an answer. Consent is a continuous process.

3. Close the scene clearly. Not knowing whether a scene is over or not, or whether the dominant’s attention is still on me, or whether I did okay, or whatever is one of the most demoralizing things that can happen to a sub. I know I’m not alone in being extra-sensitive when I’m in subspace: everything is magnified, everything the dominant does has meaning, and very small slights can make me feel completely abandoned. All of these skills I’m talking about are about maintaining clarity, but this might be the most important one. When you feel the scene is over, let the sub know. This can be done in many ways. One thing I recognized the other day is that I really like praise and tenderness afterward, especially if I endured something difficult. “Good girl,” “It’s okay, it’s over, you did soooo well,” “You pleased me very much,” and so on. Petting along with this also helps. Some subs aren’t like this at all – some prefer to be abandoned as part of their kink; some want some alone-time to process their feelings, but many will want some kind of aftercare. And regardless of aftercare needs – which you can talk about in advance of the scene – making it clear that the scene is ending is critical. Take the collar off, start untying ropes, tell the sub how well they did, that it’s time to come down, or whatever. The clearer you make it, the easier it is for the sub to return to normal headspace.

*
What do you think? How generalizable are these? Can you think of others?

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I recently did something I should have done ages ago, which is turn on Google alerts and make it tell me whenever certain key words or phrases are mentioned in the news. Doing this for “BDSM” has garnered some interesting results, not the least of which is a continuation of the trend that Bitchy has noticed of a rift between professional dominatrices (as she likes to say) and more ordinary folks doing kink. Her main beef was that the professionals seem to be creating the world of female dominance as it is seen by most people, and it is a world that she reviles. But another question is arising from my own reading: a question of elitism, of experience versus education, and the potential de-fanging of kink.

The story starts with Lera Gavin, a young dominatrix in Miami who writes a column called “Ask a Domme.” In an August 11 article called How to Enjoy Extreme Smothering Without Fatally Suffocating Your Boyfriend, she advises a man who would like for his girlfriend to try smothering with him to “con her” if she doesn’t agree at first:

You also said you’re unsure how to approach your girlfriend. There are two ways you can handle this matter: You can ask her or con her. If she says no to your request, don’t frown, just trick her into it. But start easy. You want her to be relaxed. The best way to get a woman into smothering is by worshipping her body, especially her ass.

So next time you see your beloved chickadee naked, compliment her gorgeous bottom. Most women go gaga for praise. Call her a goddess and then ask if you can admire her hot ass. She won’t be able to say no.

No question, this is phenomenally bad advice. Not just because breathplay can be extremely dangerous and should only be done with the full knowledge and consent of everyone involved, but because dude, consent! Trick her into it? “She won’t be able to say no”? Welcome to rape culture; here’s your complementary beer bong.

Theresa Ikard of Carnal Nation responded to this moron with some dismay. The angle she took, however, struck me as a bit oblique.

Her piece is titled Why It’s Important for Dommes to Go to Dominatrix School, and while it briefly addresses the consent and safety issues, in larger part I think it misses the point and comes off as condescending. In pertinent part:

BDSM is way more a mental game than a physical one. What I mean is that “hard skills” like flogging, caning, cock and ball torture, rope bondage, etc. are easier to learn than the “soft skills” like communication, awareness and responsibility for interpersonal dynamics, and respect for the power of their craft…

The only way to master these skills is to be educated properly and practice consistently. Just like a young therapist or doctor in training, a fresh Domme needs mentoring and feedback. The author of this article has a bio online in the form of a feature article and I gather from what she has written that her training to become a Domme centered primarily around financially driven motives. Now, don’t get me wrong: the business end of sex work training is essential, but is hardly sufficient knowledge or motivation in itself and it certainly does not foster development in either soft skills or hard skills.

Now granted. Lera Gavin is 21 years old, and in said feature article she says things like, “The mistress explained the client was a sad, older man still mourning his recently deceased wife. I knew it was a difficult time for him and that seeing a mistress was a way for him to cope with pain and loss. Of course, I put all of that out of my head. Sensitivity isn’t part of the job.” [emphasis mine] I would no sooner put myself in her hands than I would let my dog use the stove.

But suggesting that because this woman has for some reason been given an column in which to propogate bad kink advice that she should have gone to “dominatrix school” is a little off the mark. Suggesting, too, that experience as a pro domme does not foster the skills needed to be a good dominatrix is simple madness. When I was going into the business, I trained by reading books, throwing whips at willing stunt bottoms, playing with people I liked and watching others play. I barely knew anything when I had my first paying client except for how not to actually damage him. I was lucky to have some natural ability in the “soft skills” and a background in theatre and in healing, but I had to learn nearly everything on the job – how to use my voice and what words to choose, how to read a client’s reactions, how to establish rhythm and pace for maximum effect, and once, how to get a guy out of standing bondage when he’s fainted.

What’s wrong with this whip-wielding youngster is not that she didn’t go to dominatrix school – nor even that she didn’t receive mentoring. She seems to have had an older domme as a boss and guide; mentoring is no guarantee, especially in the less populated parts of the country. What’s wrong is that she never learned that the first rule of kink is consent, and without it, there can be no ethical BDSM play, or in fact sex play of any kind. What’s wrong is that she doesn’t seem to have learned that actually, sensitivity is 95% of the job; whipping and tying and torturing and having your feet worshipped is the rest.

She responded to Ms. Ikard’s article with a vicious and infantile rant full of ad hominem venom in which she calls Ikard “some humorless lipstick feminist,” refers to Carnal Nation as “an obscure online magazine about ‘sexuality,'” and derides the opinion of “a lowly bottom,” as if submissives were allowed no dignity or opinions even when they leave the dungeon. (She makes a further fool of herself by fluttering “Midori who?” when someone mentions Midori in the comments. At least do your homework.) Then she tries to back away from the criticism by suggesting that her column is meant to be humorous and the advice shouldn’t be taken seriously.

Yet later in the article she does raise an interesting point. “The true art of BDSM is all about power, fear, and suffering,” she writes, adding:

Scary? Well, it’s supposed to be. No professional dominatrix wants to seriously harm a client, but if you don’t see at least a hint of real fear in your submissive’s eyes, you’re not doing your job right. In a way, old school feminists were right, S&M does eroticize power and violence, and all the PC jargon such as “sex positive,” “personal empowerment,” and “energy exchange” are just a way of avoiding this inconvenient truth.

Don’t get me wrong; I still think she’s mostly talking out of the wrong end of her corset. Claiming that sex-positivity is simply PC jargon is wildly ignorant, and BDSM play isn’t always about fear. But what are we doing, exactly, when we seek to take the teeth out of kink by making it a subject of academic study? How are we bullshitting ourselves and our clients when we claim to be healers, priestesses or therapists rather than sex workers? I specifically took up training as a type of therapist and began seeing clients in a counseling capacity because I felt that the work I was doing was not healing work but bandaging work.

BDSM is dark – it has its ugly sides and its deranged desires. These things need to be acknowledged, not just because they are true but because our desire is so intimately linked to our freedom. Read Pat Califia’s introduction to Macho Sluts sometime, if you want an excellent breakdown of this topic, but the point is: we want what we want, and sometimes, it’s not pretty.

None of this, of course, removes from Ms. Gavin the responsibility to stop telling people to do nonconsensual BDSM with their partners. Like it or not, she is something of an authority, even at her age and level of experience, by virtue of having such a strong interest in this work and having a column in which to share her supposed expertise. Part of her ongoing education, hopefully, will be recognizing that she has a responsibility for the community she represents, and that passing off her column as humor after the fact is buck-passing of the cheapest sort.

Meanwhile, I look forward to the continuing marriage of intellect and heat that seems to be churning over at Carnal; pieces like this one on a potential parents-of-kinky-kids support group, and this thoughtful piece by Clarisse Thorn give me all kinds of hope.

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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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Sometimes I get the tough questions. Sometimes I get the easy ones. I’ll be grateful and consider today a vacation in honor of Thanksgiving week.

Dear Delilah,

Not sure if you’ve answered this or not but someone asked me the other day what kind of kinky things he can do with his gf without leaving marks (it’s a poly thing; her primary doesn’t want to see marks). Spanking is a favorite, but she bruises very easily…

Your “friend” (I’m kidding; I’m sure it’s actually your friend and not you. Really. And you’re not the girlfriend either. I mean it!) can do pah-LEN-ty of kinky things without leaving marks. You can tie someone up, down or sideways without leaving marks, though if you’re using rope, you might get some rope marks if you’re not careful. (I’m hesitant to call these “ligature marks” as some are fond of doing, since a cursory Intarwebs search indicates that that terminology refers only to strangulation.) You can interrogate someone all you want and leave no marks at all. You can collar someone, have them kneel at your feet, have them serve or service you in all kinds of ways. Hypnotizing people doesn’t leave marks, nor does peeing on them, trampling them with bare feet, dressing them up like a schoolgirl and fucking them senseless…Some of the most fun kinky stuff there is only leaves marks on the soul. πŸ™‚

But spanking? That’s an easy one, too.

First off, if she bruises very easily, as you say, she may want to get some levels checked – vitamins B12, C, or K, or folic acid seem to be the most frequent culprits. She should also make sure (again, only if there’s a real concern) that she doesn’t have a clotting disorder like von Willebrand’s disease or something more serious. Most of the time, though, easy bruising is just a characteristic, nothing harmful.

With that out of the way, let’s talk about how your friend can get a spanking with minimal marking.

The things that tend to cause marks most easily are 1) heavy items like batons, metal toys, and fists, which can cause deep bruising, and 2) thin, light items like canes and singletails, which invariably leave red welts if you strike with any force at all and bruise awfully if used with a lot of force. The best way, then, to avoid marks is to use lighter items with a larger surface area: open palm, light paddles, and softer floggers.

Unless you are freakishly strong (like some Daddys I know whom I won’t name here, ahem), it’s difficult to get marks that last for more than a few minutes with a bare hand – it just hurts the hand too much. So sticking to hand-spanking is one way to go. Build up slowly to bring the blood to the surface of the skin (it looks great when it’s all pink anyway, doesn’t it?), and you can keep better track of how much damage you’re doing.

If you use paddles, again, start lightly. Flexible leather paddles are good for this, as are wooden paddles without too much heft – particularly round ones. Avoid straps and fraternity style paddles that have squared-off edges.

Spanking scenes can have a very high mental component, too, so your friend might try using a lot of verbal play in addition to the strikes, to intensify the experience.

With floggers, make sure the tails aren’t braided, and go for something softer like deerskin or conditioned suede (be aware that suede can be really rough!). Again, build up slowly. I bruise very easily myself, but the marks I’ve gotten from my hardest floggings went away within a couple hours.

After a spanking, ice her bum. You can do this with her still across your lap, which has a sweet aftercareish thing about it, or you can have her sit on a bowl of ice, which can be humiliating in that good way. Icing will help reduce the incidence of bruising.

Some people like to use arnica cream to heal bruises more quickly. I have heard only anecdotal evidence of its effectiveness; Miss Calico’s description of her experiment is entertaining but isn’t much of a vote of confidence for the stuff.

Most important, though, is that she Not Panic. If she ends up with a bruise or two, well, she bruises easily, right? I have bruises with some frequency where I have no idea where they came from. I currently have a bite-shaped bruise on my thigh that I remember vividly, but sometimes I get bruises – usually on my hips, or butt, or thigh – that are inexplicable except that perhaps I ran lightly into the wall when I was stumbling to the bathroom at 3 am. Point is, there are steps you can take to avoid marks, but if you’re playing with striking, there’s no guarantees. If she doesn’t get panicky over some marks and doesn’t flaunt them to her partner, either, hopefully she won’t run into trouble. If her partner’s going to freak out about it regardless, then they may want to consider that there’s some other control issue going on aside from whether she’s allowed to have marks or not.

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Dear Delilah,

I had an ex girlfriend in a quad relationship that we parted ways with because while she identified as submissive, you could not get her to reveal any of her desires. She didn’t know what they were. Tied down, being rubbed with fur and pricked with a Wartenberg wheel, flushed with pleasure, and you’d still get no answer to the question, and very little response other than involuntary physical indicators.

I didn’t understand the behavior, and there’s so many bad places you can take a sub’s head when you don’t know what’s going on. And that behavior carried over into other parts of the relationship, too. We wound up splitting up over her self-avoidance and our unwillingness to screw up.

How do you get around this kind of lack of self-knowledge for sex/play purposes? What do you do to get important information from someone who avoids themselves?

I don’t want to be glib, but in this situation I have to say: you did the right thing in breaking up with her.

It seems like what you’re talking about is different from the simple (and very common) problem of a new submissive not knowing what they like yet.
Rather, it seems like this was someone who was completely out of touch with her own body’s responses, and was unable to communicate the most basic of feelings. The old adage that you can’t love someone else until you love yourself – well, I think it has exceptions. But it’s very difficult to know someone else until you know yourself.

Now naturally, none of us knows ourselves completely – maybe not ever. But the basic information of What I Like or What I’m Into or just What Feels Good is essential for any sexual relationship to be at all successful. If someone doesn’t have access to that information about herself, then it’s really tough to engage in any type of sexuality with her.

What do you do to get information from a person who avoids themselves? Well, you did manage to gather some data from her physiological responses – flushing and other involuntary indicators – but those aren’t any good if the person experiencing them is completely unplugged from the experience – and may even decide later that what you did was not okay.

It’s possible that this person has some neurological issues around sensory integration, and I certainly don’t want to deny such people the opportunity for sexual pleasure with a partner. But if this is the case, she needed to get help around it. Even if it’s not the case, and she experienced continual avoidance around all these aspects of her life as you say she did – psychological and/or physiological help should have been sought.

If you had decided to stay with her and help her on the road to self-discovery, I would have recommended something like this in addition to whatever therapy was appropriate: don’t do BDSM-type play until she gets in better touch with herself. Even gentle, loving sexuality of the vanilla variety seems like it could be risky with someone like this, but entering into roleplay, where self-expression is ritualized and restricted, would be much more of a minefield.

The thing to do is work up to it. Talk a lot. Ask how it feels when you’re touching a particular place. If you see her getting all up in her head, tell her to breathe into the place you’re touching, to bring her attention and awareness to it. Tell her she doesn’t have to use words if it’s too difficult. If you can elicit genuine sexual response that reaches her face (smiles, moans, joyful eye contact, etc.), then that’s progress.

On the other hand, if someone does have sensory integration issues, it’s possible that nothing will get through but rough touch. I know people who experience anything lighter than what most would consider painful as tickling, and BDSM has allowed them to experience their sexuality more fully. So going for harder contact might be the answer, especially if the person already identifies as submissive.

But in this case it sounds like she was more out of touch with what she was experiencing – not just in bed but in general – than like she was having trouble integrating feeling. In which case I again recommend therapy, and patience.

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Today’s questioner brings up the very valid question of what happens when we start getting all meta on ourselves – or as I like to think of it, human.

I’m a switch, so I enjoy both domming and subbing. I’m also a scatterbrain and an overthinker, which means it’s hard for me to stay in the mindset of either. I can deal with this fine when I’m subbing – when I get distracted, I can hide it until I get back into it. I am not the one managing the scene and the other person.

However, when I am the one who does-to, it’s harder to hide that I am distracted or out of the “zone”. I start thinking that it’s all very silly, or I start thinking about any of a zillion other things, and suddenly I’m not into it. This then triggers the usual nervousness that I look silly, or am saying silly things, and then I can’t do much of anything.

What do I do?

First of all, I want to acknowledge that what you’re experiencing is common. None of us can be an uber-dom or an uber-sub all the time. Sometimes scenes go, as Midori is fond of saying, “beige,” and we zone out thinking about what color to paint the ceiling. Sometimes we start thinking about our shopping lists. Sometimes we even freeze up, especially in the dominant role, and don’t know what we should do next. Or we step outside ourselves and lose focus.

A couple years ago, in the long process of introspection about pro-domming, I wrote the following:

Most days, when I’ve just spent the bulk of an hour with a grown man over my knee bruising his ass with a hairbrush, and am sitting disdainfully on his head, fully clothed, while he whacks off, I tend to step just outside of myself for a moment, look down, and think, Damn, I have a weird job.

Sometimes, it’s just weird, what we do. Or as you say here, “silly.” And we get self-conscious, which is really the curse of being people.

As far as what to do. First off, good on you for going easy on yourself when you’re in the sub role; it can be very painful for a dominant if the sub reveals, during scene, that he or she is bored or distracted, and sometimes it’s better to just fake it until you come back to yourself. You may talk to your dominant afterwards, too, about making the intensity level higher if this happens to you frequently: a great way to stay in the moment is to have something that is insisting on your attention, like, say, a knife at your throat.

Drifting off during domming, though, can be quite a can of worms. Not only is there the danger of losing sight of the sub’s physical safety in some cases, but subs are often in a heightened state of emotional vulnerability as well, and can be devastated if they realize that you’re not really with them.

So here are some ideas.

1. Blindfold the sub. While you’re practicing other ways to stay in the moment while you’re controlling a scene, keep your submissive blindfolded. This is a great way both to conceal from them that you might be distracted or screwing up, and to increase their sense of helplessness. Blindfolding can also induce a deeper sense of “subspace,” and the trancier your sub gets, the less he or she will notice if you, say, need to trim a hangnail all of a sudden.

2. Center yourself beforehand. What kinds of things center you, make you feel present and capable? Sometimes, I’ll do a brief meditation before a scene. Some people find that having a cigarette, some caffeine, or a small amount of alcohol (like, half a glass of wine – no more!) will bring their minds into focus. Sometimes, physical exercise works this way. Figure out what gives you focus and do it before you meet up for your scene. You’re more likely to be able to stay present throughout it.

3. Plan what you’re going to do beforehand. If you have an order of events in mind (e.g., First I’ll tie him up by his wrists and put a spreader bar between his ankles. Then I’ll run this vampire glove over his body for a while. Then I’ll spank him with the following tools. Then I stick on the nipple clamps while I let him fuck me), it’s easier to not get sidetracked and wonder what you should be doing. If you blindfold him, you can even have this written down. Or, if you want to do a roleplay, you can have a list of tortures that you check off right in front of him.

4. Do something else. You mention that sometimes when you start thinking it’s silly, you’re no longer into it. If this happens and you feel you can’t get back into the swing of what you’re doing, start doing something else. You might even comment on it honestly: “Well, isn’t this just ridiculous. I can’t have you all twisted up into a hogtie when what I really want to do is fuck you in the ass, now can I?” Of course, it all depends on what you’ve negotiated beforehand, but one of the nice things about being the dom is that you are in charge. This can be a burden at times, but it can be very freeing at others, when you realize that you don’t have to keep doing whatever you’re doing when it ceases to interest you. If you can think of something to do in the moment that you would find super-hot, that’s even better, as it’s much more likely to keep you engaged.

Sometimes you might lose interest in the scene entirely: what then? Do be mindful of the sub, and don’t just stop a scene cold when this happens. Think of some graceful way to end the scene, and make sure that you include extra of whatever kind of aftercare – for both of you! – that you like.

5. Be gentle with yourself. When you get distracted – because in spite of all this you still will – stop, recognize it to yourself, and take a deep breath, remembering especially to let that breath out again. It can help to come up with a symbol – like a word and a gesture, or a mental image – to anchor your centeredness to. When you find yourself drifting, call up that image or word to return you to yourself. If you simply can’t and find yourself stuck – again, find a way to end the scene that’s not too hard on either of you.

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It has not escaped my notice that I have a hot spot for interrogation scenes. Okay, maybe a wet spot would be more accurate. But there’s a mystery to it for me. While I admit to enjoying the rush of power that comes from hurting someone until they break, the place I more often imagine myself in is the role of the break-ee.

I read this post and its follow-up from Miss Calico and found myself alternately disturbed and aroused. (I sense a new title for this blog coming.) I sent the links to my go-to man for such things, knowing he would get off on it, even as I squirmed with it, even as her words kept rising in my throat like a sickness.

I was not having fun…this was a big mistake…I would rather be somewhere (oh god, anywhere) else – I knew these feelings, and knew, too, the anticipation and memory that bookend and feed those experiences. The amount of pain described sounded horrible to me; I was turned off by what seemed to be the top’s total insensitivity to where she was in her pain, even as I could feel that tension in her words, the place where this was exactly what she wanted even while she was hating it. There is a place of terror for me in all of this: that place where I’m silenced by my pain, and by my pride: where I’ll do anything for my top except surrender. That level of sadism – and masochism – is somewhat frightening to me, even as I somewhat understand it.

Yet I can’t stop looking at the posts, can’t stop picking that scab today. What fascinates me so about this type of play, this place where I’m tied down and begging, and nothing I say will make him stop?

This part moved me in particular:

“I clung to the paternalism in his address. I wanted to be his good little girl. If he was getting off on using his little girl, it wasn’t meaningless torture: he wasn’t going to kill me and dump my body behind the woodshed. Probably.”

I’ve been turned on before by someone telling me how easily he could kill me. Hell, I’ve turned it around and used it to make someone else come. The idea of someone having that kind of power over me, the intimacy of death, so close to sex, his body pinning mine, huge hands crushing my throat as he pierces me with his eyes, his cock…yeah, it gets me hot, the idea.

But there’s a line here, and I’m struggling to figure out where it is. Something to do with the lack of intimacy, the pulling back from it. The coldness in the torturer, who begins to make me believe that he no longer cares, that I’m just another victim to him. Some people fantasize about being tortured, raped and abandoned on the side of the road. I am not one of those people. No, I fantasize about being tortured, raped, and then rocked back to regular consciousness with cuddling and soothing words.

Maybe that makes me some kind of kink wimp, I don’t know.

A commenter on the post had this question: “Do you ever fear that you will go to that β€˜it was a long way back’ place and not return? Or return but be changed?”

I like to think that I have a strong mind; I think that’s part of what perversely (how else) attracts me to this type of scene. I want to know how much I can take. I want to know how far I can go. But to what end?

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