Masculine Submission

No greater love has a man than to live his life for the one he loves

Subspace and consent

Over the last few weeks, I’ve seen online discussions pop up that centered on the shouldn’t-it-be-simple concept of consent. Quite honestly, a lot of it sickens me. There is a LOT of blame-the-victim stuff that is sadly reminiscent of what I heard when I assisted a licensed psychologist in his group therapy for sexual offenders. And by “sadly reminiscent” I mean “exactly the same.”

For the record, my discussion of BDSM matters, unless I specifically state otherwise, takes place in the framework of my monogamous relationship with Mistress Delila. I do not play casually, and never have. I don’t go to play parties and have no interest in doing so. I don’t care if there is a “scene” because I wouldn’t be part of it anyway.

So why should I care what scene-players are saying? Beyond the “no man is an island” thing, there is the fact that what public or semi-public players do and say impacts the way society will view me. I don’t want to be associated with rapists or psychotic abusive assholes. I want my love-style of BDSM FemDom/malesub to be understood and appreciated for what it is – the way Mistress Delila and I express our love and mutual arousal.

Consent, to me, is simple: It’s me giving permission for a person to engage with me in a particular action. It is not something that can be given for future acts, nor can it be revoked or altered retroactively. It is present-tense, ongoing, moment-by-moment.

My power-release to Mistress Delila is complete in that I surrender everything to Her that is possible to surrender. I worded that carefully, because I want to stress that there are some things it is not possible to surrender. For an extreme example, I could not surrender my life (meaning, offer to be killed). In a more realistic fashion, I cannot consent to abandon my parental duties to Her – I continue to be a father according to the best of my ability (though She is a valued partner and advisor). For my purpose here, I cannot surrender my ability to consent – and therefore to not consent – because it is an innate part of being a human in a free society.

There is, however, such a thing as “standing consent.” This is consent that is continually given until actively revoked. This is given with the understanding that Mistress Delila will behave as a sane person and not, for example, try to ass-fuck me in the middle of Piggly Wiggly…or any other supermarket. Our list of activities that are allowable mesh well together, and I know where the lines are drawn for Her and She knows where the lines are drawn for me. This is not the outcome of a single conversation or checklist, but the mutual understanding gained for a long-term and ongoing relationship.

I don’t like the term “enthusiastic consent,” though. In my mind, that would preclude entering any activity that I am not sure I would enjoy beforehand. Can I be enthusiastic about…I don’t know…making woodchuck sounds during orgasm? I’m not sure. Is it something I’d do if She wanted? Yes, without a doubt. But I couldn’t be enthusiastic about it, and I wouldn’t try to fake it.

One of the activities that Mistress truly enjoys is to roll a bit of ice over my skin. It makes Her giggle. It makes Her aroused. It is not something I am enthusiastic about. It makes me cringe to think about it. I hate the feeling of ice on my skin. Mistress does not have to ask for consent every single time, though, because it is part of the standing consent we maintain. For me, it’s kind of like if She wanted me to have dinner with a friend of Hers that I don’t like – I’m not going to enjoy it, but I’m going to do it because I love Her and want Her to enjoy it. Having been married twice, I can speak with some authority when I say that married couples make that sort of sacrifice for each other often.

It also neglects the power-arrangement of our relationship. I thoroughly enjoy getting a spanking and am generally enthusiastic about receiving one. However, early in our relationship, I violated a rule and received a spanking as punishment. I was not enthusiastic about getting it, and I didn’t enjoy it. I consented to it because it solidified and upheld the dynamic that both of us wanted to have.

I say all of this because I want to address the idea that it is always the responsibility of the submissive partner to use safewords and to actively withdraw consent. In short, that is a stupid idea. It totally neglects the dynamic that I want to achieve.

A big part of the ongoing consensual nature of our relationship is that She will continue to seek consent on an ongoing basis. It continues to be my responsibility to give it. But it is Her responsibility to make sure that it is given. This is not splitting hairs. It is being realistic.

I enjoy sensory deprivation and bondage. The purpose of this is two-fold. First, it allows Her complete control over what I experience and where the activities lead. Second, it takes away even modest attempts on my part to influence what She does. If I can’t even beg with my eyes; then I am truly vulnerable and She is truly in charge. It is physically impossible for me, at times, to speak or to communicate in almost any way. THAT IS THE POINT OF IT.

So how does She maintain consent? A good part of it is that She knows what my boundaries are, She knows what Her boundaries are, and She is willing to maintain control over Her own desires. She checks on me constantly – sometimes through touch, sometimes verbally, sometimes by lifting the blindfold for a moment or two. It is one of the reasons I feel comfortable with giving blanket consent to Her – I know She is not going to abuse it. I know I am safe. I know She will deprive Her desire of going further for the sake of being safe. I know that our continued loving relationship means more to Her than ANYTHING She could possibly want to do to me.

Does “subspace” change this dynamic? Well, first, I want to say that “subspace” (as I’ve heard it described – I’ve never experienced it) sounds a lot like a dissociative fugue state. I think the term gets used incorrectly a lot. I have had a dissociative episode (relating to childhood abuse), and it is not something I would ever want to repeat. I have also been so taken away with the experience of masochistic and submissive pleasure that I was blissfully non-verbal. However, I was (in my mind) very affectionate and cuddly during that time. I didn’t want it to end, and I would love to go back there.

However, Mistress Delila was uncomfortable with it. When I sensed Her distress at my non-verbal-ness, I reassured Her that I was okay. She trusted my self-awareness enough to allow me to have my bliss. She didn’t understand it, and I don’t know exactly how to explain it to Her. What’s important for this discussion, however, is that She stopped and immediately went into care-mode when I entered unfamiliar territory.

It is conceivable that persons in this situation could find a spot where the non-verbal-ness allowed things to progress to a point where consent had not been given. In that case, it is absolutely the fault of the Dominant for pushing that far – even if the activities were things they had discussed and both of them thought were hot…even if they were things they had done at other times!

Consent cannot be given – even standing consent – if it cannot be revoked. This is what Mistress Delila understood when She shifted into care-mode. I was fully conscious of what was going on, and I wanted more – but She refused to go on until She could be sure that was actually what I wanted and WHAT I WAS CAPABLE OF CONSENTING TO. It was my responsibility as Her lover, as Her submissive, and as a human being, to shake off the non-verbal blissfulness and make sure She was in a place where She could enjoy my reaction. That meant saying that I was okay and struggling for the words to explain it, even if it wasn’t a good description.

It doesn’t mean that Mistress Delila would have been a bad person to continue with things She knew I enjoyed or things I had previously consented to do. Good people can make bad decisions. A single consent violation, under the circumstances I’ve outlined here, do not throw everything into jeopardy. BUT a good person would figure out the consent violation and try to make amends – and then figure out how to make sure that consent violation didn’t happen again. Someone who blows it off as the sub’s fault for “spacing out” or being non-verbal isn’t being a good person. They are blaming their misdeeds and mistakes on someone else’s temporary state. Even then, they aren’t a “bad person” until they laugh it off, shrug it off, and set about doing it again.

This should be simple stuff. It really should. But it is something that most people don’t stop to think about because you can’t understand fully what it’s like until you are there. Contingency plans are only as good as foresight allows. I understand that. I believe in second-chances, when warranted. But I also believe permission is better than forgiveness. I believe that, when doubt sets in, it’s okay to stop and get more information. Yeah, it may “break the scene” but the people in the scene are more important than the scene itself. Broken scenes heal faster than broken people.

Today, I ache

I miss Her in every way a man can miss a woman…

…the soft touch of Her fingers on my skin.
…the sound of Her laughter in my ears.
…the gentle kisses She peppers me with.
…the way our fingers entwine as we walk.
…the way Her collar feels as She fastens it to my throat.
…the sharp pressure of Her teeth digging into my flesh.
…the sting of Her riding crop across my bare ass, thighs, back.
…the way Her eyes twinkle and shine when She edges me.
…the soft huffing sigh of Her pleasure peaking.
…the scent of Her arousal.
…the sticky heat between Her thighs as it coats my fingers.
…the complete feeling of surrender when She takes my ass.
…the feeling of rightness when She snuggles into my arms, Her head on my chest or my chest pressed against Her back.

I miss Her in every way a man can miss a woman.

I ache.

The Best We Can

I don’t remember when the first time I heard about a school shooting was, but I remember the one that hurt. The Newtown shooting hit me like no other for several reasons. First, it is a place I know – not well, but I pass it on the highway often. Second, the children who were killed were the same age as the offspring I had just dropped off at school that morning. Even as I write this, my eyes burn with tears as I have to brush close to the awful reality that too many parents were forced to embrace that day. I don’t let myself think about it much, because it is a yawning chasm of pain that is just too real for me to consider. 

Two weeks ago, another event hit me in a similar way. I was watching my kids at swimming lessons when their mother turned to me and held up her smart-phone. “Robin Williams is dead,” she whispered. “Suicide.” At the time, I shrugged and shook my head, and I turned away from the chasm that yawned at my feet, submerging myself in the glee of seven-year-old boys splashing in the water. In the days since then, I’ve heard and read a lot about Robin Williams. While I never met him and have little connection to him other than loving everything I’ve seen him in, his suicide hurts in a way no other death hurts. 

Several times, to several people, I’ve said this: I’ve never considered suicide. For me, it simply isn’t an option, and it never will be. But I live with the horrifying understanding of why suicide is not only an option for some people, but why it comes to be the only course of action that makes sense at all. That still holds true. I can’t – and won’t – speak for Robin Williams. But I know what depression is. It isn’t just a companion I’ve walked with my entire life; it’s a part of what makes me recognizable to my self. I just wouldn’t be me without this dark shadow on my soul.

Perhaps a bit oddly, this post isn’t about depression, or death. It’s about my friend’s post on the subject of empathy, and insight. Too often, we believe that the two things must go hand-in-hand. Certainly, it is easier to understand someone when you have walked a mile in their shoes, so to speak. But it isn’t necessary to do so.

Many years ago, I worked in the mental health field as an addictions counselor. In that field, it is far too common to see people return to the same destructive products that sent them to jail and/or counseling in the first place. It is also far too common to hear someone say, “I guess he/she just hasn’t lost enough yet.” The idea is that a person will only “get real” about recovery when they’ve hit “rock bottom.” By definition, anyone who hasn’t been successful hasn’t really been to the bottom yet. At first, I accepted this explanation. But after I read the obituary of one of my former clients who had doused himself with vodka (probably accidentally) and burned to death trying to light a cigarette, I came up with a different explanation.

People are doing the very best they can. If Jack can’t stop drinking; then it isn’t because Jack doesn’t want to or because Jack hasn’t lost enough to make it worthwhile – it’s because Jack is doing the best he can and something is stopping him from being successful. To bring it back around to the preceding matter, Robin Williams killed himself because that was the very best he could do – and that is why he didn’t seek help or check himself into treatment or any of dozens of other less lethal options. From his perspective, the very best course of action was to end his life.

For someone without the insight that I have, that last statement must seem both horrifying and obviously false. I know that Mistress Delila has been struggling with Robin Williams’ suicide, and my statements of understanding have shocked Her and rocked Her. Her love for me gives Her a path to empathy for me, however, so the harshest thing She has ever said is that I’m not allowed to consider suicide (and I won’t). My love for Her also led me to compassion for Her, and I have tried to explain what depression is like from the inside. I don’t know if I’ve been successful…and part of me actually hopes that I haven’t been (I love Her too much for Her to understand depression too well).

Even without that personal connection, a lot of good could be done if people on all sides of this issue could stop and consider the path towards empathy without insight – through the idea that everyone is simply doing the best they can. Not only was Robin Williams doing the best he could, but everyone who has reacted with pain and anger and accusation has been doing their best as well. Some people are teachable, and can move beyond their current best to do even better; and some are not. It doesn’t matter. They are human beings who are struggling with what life has thrown in their path. We all share insight into that particular problem, and we can all offer empathy to every other human being through it.

I’m not Pollyanna. This isn’t a panacea to cure the world. It’s simply a tool I’ve found that helps ease the hurt when people do things to destroy their lives. I don’t have to fix them. I don’t have to save them. I can simply say, “I know you’re doing the best you can. It fucking sucks. I’m sorry. If you need someone; then I’m here for you.”

3 years of what?

WordPress recently reminded me that I’ve had this blog open for three years. It was a bit surprising to me. Time goes quickly, though, and even more so when you don’t do something regularly. It made me think about what I am trying to do here.

I guess the answer is that I’m not really trying to do anything. This blog exists because I like to write, and I occasionally have thoughts about topics that deal with erotic/romantic male submission and/or masculinity as a social topic. It’s really just that: A place to make my thoughts public.

I know that some of my readers would enjoy more frequent and regular pieces. I truly appreciate the sentiment, and I’m a gratified that you find my words worth your reading time. But I don’t want to feel obligated to write in this space. I want it to be where I get things off my chest or where I think things through. I’m willing to sacrifice quantity for quality (I hope).

I went through the blog listings and culled a few that have closed shop. Those voices will be missed. I hope that they are moving on to happier and busier things that don’t leave time for blogging.

When I have something to say that’s important enough to finish saying, I’ll put it up here. For now, I’ll just putter away.

The false dichotomy behind a “natural” dominant/submissive

I want to thank Dumb Domme for this post because it gives me a source I enjoy linking to in order to launch into a discussion that doensn’t immediately fit what she has written. Also, it is my apparent mission in life to separate good science from bad (because I consider myself a scientist and believe science is the inherently beneficial effort to improve the human experience).

When you get into the car, do you put on your seatbelt? I don’t care if you do or not, I want you to consider that the answer you give might have its foundations (but not its complete answer) in your genetic makeup. Go ahead and be skeptical, because I am generally skeptical about such claims. However, after looking at the work of Guang Guo at UNC, I’ve tried to enrich my understanding of that idea.

Prof. Guo (and his colleagues) has found a statistically significant link to whether or not a male wears a seatbelt and a specific iteration (9r/9r) of the DAT1 dopamine transporter gene. In general terms, this specific genetic iteration provides a protective effect against males developing risky patterns, even when controls for social characteristics are implemented. What this does not mean is that whether a man wears his seatbelt or not depends on having the 9r/9r DAT1 iteration. It means that having it, or not, influences whether he does – and at what age he begins to do so (potentially).

I’ll leave that hanging and look at genetics from a different point of view. I have my Grandma’s mouth – the lips and shape are unmistakably passed along from her. I have the body hair pattern of one maternal grandfather and the thinning hair of another. My voice is, at times, very much like my father’s. The point is that physical attributes are passed along genetically. This is undeniably true, and hardly needs even the introduction that I have given it.

If the structure of my hands or of my mouth can be influenced by genetics, then is it not also possible that the structures within my brain are also influenced by genetics? I don’t know if there is a definitive answer, but the answer seems likely to be affirmative. Since different brain structures control different behaviors and thought patterns, we could then infer that some preferences and behaviors could follow lines of inheritance.

For example, schizophrenia is often seen to run in families. So is depression. Is it possible that sexual submissiveness or dominance is also influenced by genetics? This is where I point out that there is a genetic link, through the 9r/9r DAT1 genotype’s protective effect against dopamine, to whether or not a man wears a seatbelt or not. If seatbelt wearing is linked to a specific gene; then why not wanting to control or be controlled in a sexual encounter?

I want to be clear that I am not arguing that there absolutely IS a genetic component to BDSM. I am saying that it is possible that there is a link. Then I am asking: So, what if there is? Does it make any difference?

Let me leave that question hanging while I talk about Michael Shanahan’s study linking genes to school dropout rates. This study is important to me because it finds two things. First, there is a specific genetic iteration that correlates to academic achievement (through disruptive behaviors – not through innate intelligence). Second, it found that the extra risk this genetic iteration poses towards academic success can be overcome with the right environmental controls. This, put simply, means that we are not slaves to our genes.

Back to the previous question: What does a (possible/probable) genetic link to F/m (because that’s what this blog focuses on) mean? It simply means that there are people for whom dominance and submission is a natural state in an intimate relationship. Shanahan’s study shows that these natural tendencies can be defeated. (What it doesn’t show is if these kids whose environment overcame their disruptive genes ever enjoyed going to school – so we can’t extrapolate as to whether a genetically disposed submissive who is pushed into a non-submissive role is happy about it. Based on my experience, the answer is no (because I believe I’m someone whose genetics orient them towards submission in intimate relationships).

But if environment has the power to overwhelm genetic tendencies; then it surely has the power to shape them. The sum of my life experience has led me to express my submissiveness towards Mistress Delila in specific ways – for example, kneeling in supplication or putting my head in Her lap. What’s more, I am, to some extent, in control of my environment. I can expose myself to various stimuli or cut them out of my life entirely (with limitations, of course). This means I am constantly becoming submissive, even while I am now, and always have been, a submissive man.

This is a sort of reasoning way to get to what Carl Rogers deduced in the 1960s:
This process of the good life is not, I am convinced, a life for the faint-hearted. It involves the stretching and growing of becoming more and more of one’s potentialities. It involves the courage to be. It means launching oneself fully into the stream of life.

Okay, not I’m pulling yet another string into this tangled mess. This comes from something I wrote a while back. As a summary, I’ll say that the point is that we (men) are immersed in social pressure to be “manly.” (Women face their own set of social pressures.) It begins before we are born and it hits us from nearly all directions at nearly all times. We cannot say that it has no impact. We can only recognize the impact and act to counter-balance it when we believe it is wrong. As I said just up the page a bit, we can have (limited) power over our environment and how it influences us.

Now, I’ve said all of this so I can address DD’s central question: Are Dominants born or made? Then answer, I believe is: The evidence is inconclusive. There is probably a genetic predisposition. However, a person’s life will decide whether that genetic predisposition is activated or not. Just like you may have a genetic predisposition to lung cancer, but if you never smoke it never gets activated. What exact environmental factors activate, promote, and influence sexual domination are unclear, and likely will vary widely across a very large population. More to the point of the question: IT DOESN’T MATTER.

People talk about “natural” dominance and submission, inferring a genetic component, as if it were somehow better than dominance or submission learned through social interaction. It isn’t! In fact, given the fact that humans are inherently social creatures, and immediately set up societies everywhere they go, social influences are just as natural as genetic influences! This is especially true when you consider the multi-generational arch where gene influence behavior which in turn influences gene which influences other behaviors, etc., etc.

Even if someone “has always known” their sensual power orientation (did I just invent a term?) their memory doesn’t include some portion of their life. I have a very good memory, and can vaguely remember some big and scary events that happened when I was three years old, but I can’t remember a lot more than I can. Just because you remember always being one way doesn’t mean that it is because of genetic predisposition. You, too, were subjected to a world’s worth of socialization before you knew what it was.

To me, if we strip it down to its bare essence, sensual power orientation is about control or be controlled. Other kinks may be involved, but the heart of it would appear to be who is in charge. That is best understood, in my mind, as an orientation. As DD says, it is not immutable – it is flowing, changing direction, evolving. For some, it may even switch directions. But for a large number of us, it points in a single direction – though not as deeply in that direction for any two people.

We are all captains of our own life-ship. Our parents laid the basic hull structure of that ship with their own biological material. Then life added rooms and knocked down walls. We floated aimlessly for a while. We went the direction we were told we should go. But the nose of the ship kept turning a certain way. Is it nature or nurture? Who cares? I doubt any thinking individual can swear that it is entirely one way or the other.

Just like the captain of a ship is responsible for its actions, we are responsible for what we do. I don’t care how deeply you’ve sailed into the Sea of Dominance, you better damn well know your ropes if you expect to come alongside my ship – because this ship is the only thing between me and the deep, blue sea and I’m not going under for anyone! The responsibility of knowing what you are doing only deepens if you represent yourself as an old salt when your partner is still green around the gills.

In other words, it’s a damned sight more important that a dominant knows the skills necessary to pull off what they are attempting than it is to know if she has specific genes or just a kinky life. F/m covers a lot of territory, so learn the specific risks and safety precautions you need so that it is rewarding for everyone involved. If you aren’t an expert, start slow and build slow. You can always come back to push a little further – unless you are dead, in which case it doesn’t matter.

I want to revise and extend a specific statement from DD as way to close by way of example: DD wrote: The idea that ‘you have it or you don’t’ doesn’t support a culture where dominants are encouraged to ask questions, admit mistakes, or use caution — and that’s dangerous. It doesn’t promote honesty — I suspect that’s why many dominants lie about their experience — out of fear of not being ‘true’ enough or ‘natural’ enough to be a ‘real dominant.’

My example:
In the history of the NFL, there are few running backs who had more impact that Walter Payton. I heard an interview with him after he had retired a bit and he was asked why he remained at the top of his game for so long. His answer went something along the lines of this:
When I began, I didn’t care about technique. I went out there and I ran. I was fast enough and big enough to do the job. But I made myself a student of my position, and as my physical talents leveled off, I was able to improve my technique. I became a better running back because I worked at being a better running back.

New Book Teaser – Emily Watson

I’ve been working on a book length work of fiction – my first. It is now done with editing and I’m starting the writing part of my second. But I wanted to provide just a glimpse of what is coming along, as soon as I get a publisher’s green light.

Click through to read a teaser.

Read more…

Male submission is not a Greek fraternity

I have been seeing a lot of kerfluffle in certain places lately concerning the “alpha male” in regards to male submission – i.e., can an alpha male be submissive? It is something that grates on my nerves. Sometimes I just roll my eyes, but sometimes I get upset. It’s a stupid trope, and I’d love to see it die. I don’t think it will, though, for several reasons – or because it has several usages.

The first thing to start with is to try and nail down what is meant by “alpha male.” The place to start with that is to break it down even further. “Male” is simply a biological designation of sex. By itself, it has no connotative value. All the stuff that we tie to it is not about being male, but about being men, and “man” is about gender, which means its about gender roles and how society tells us who we should be based on whether we have a vagina or penis.

The designation of “alpha” is from the field of ethology, which purports to study “natural” animal behavior. It is perfectly fine to study the natural behavior of, for example, white-tailed deer – because they can and do live (somewhat) independent of human beings. However, it is impossible to do the same with human beings. I would think it would be self-evident why that is impossible, but I will get back to that later.

For now, let’s look at what “alpha” means in relation to animal behavior. Simply put, it is the animal, male or female, that holds the highest social station. Other animals show deference – chimpanzees bow to the alpha, most birds perch lower than the alpha – each species shows deference in its own way. If one rule is generalizable – and it is dubious to generalize across the entire animal kingdom – it would be that the alpha gets preferential access to food. There is absolutely NO generalizable rule for sexual activity with alphas – even if we limit ourselves only to primates.

I don’t have data to show this, but I’m willing to be that most people who talk about “alpha males” are talking about the outdated understanding of wolves that was gained by observing captive packs. In an unnatural setting, unnatural behaviors evolved.

In nature, a wolf pack consists of a mated pair and their offspring. When the young wolves approach sexual maturity, they leave and find a mate of their own to start a new pack. The lack of non-alpha males breeding isn’t due to dominance, but because they are likely not yet sexually mature. Oh, and by the way, homosexual behavior is fairly common in wolves when the alpha female comes into heat. I don’t know enough to say that every wolf takes a turn in the barrel, so to speak, but it isn’t as easy and cut-and-dried as the BDSM’ers who spout alpha-nonsense would have us believe.

This is where I say that all the stuff that comes before doesn’t matter. It only matters that those who defend the alpha-nonsense want to use the animal kingdom as defense of their nonsense. But the biology-in-comparison argument simply fails due to overwhelming facts to the contrary.

But it doesn’t matter because humans are not chimpanzees or lions or ants or any other social animal. We are humans. If the alpha-nonsense breaks down in comparison to other animals, it could still be true for humans. So if we are going to look at humans, specifically, then we are talking “alpha man.”

An alpha man, if the meaning is preserved, is a guy who is at the peak of society. I don’t know who that is, but it isn’t the vast majority of guys who bandy the term about. Let’s argue that there is a class of alpha males – they would be contained in what C. Wright Mills refers to as “the power elite.” Again, we are excluding the vast majority of men, manly or not.

In other words, the phrase CANNOT be used as it is intended, and that is my point. Stripped of its intended meaning, it has come to be a lazy crutch for people to prop themselves up with when it comes to justifying outdated gender roles. The meaning has been perverted to become a defense for a caricature of manhood. It is an amalgamation of bad stereotypes twisted in the defense of an image of manhood that never truly existed. It is the demon of “real man” that our society has created to keep men captive inside a box.

In a way, the term “alpha male” is fitting because it refers to all of the misbehaviors and bad attitudes that have become linked to Greek fraternities in American colleges. It also bears as little resemblance to reality as those institutions manage to do at their worst.

It’s time to expose this vacuous trope for what it is – a mockery of manhood created by people who were afraid of what they would find if they looked inside of themselves. Can a guy be an “alpha man” and be submissive? Hell, I’m not sure a guy can be an “alpha man” and be an adult.

What I know is this – because of the whole “alpha man” bullshit, too many men are scared of their submissive desires. And far too many (but far from all) dominant men are assholes because they believe they are the only “real” men out there. Beyond that, I told someone else earlier tonight that “When private things are used to shame and shackle men, it’s time for men to speak up.”

An elephant is eaten one bite at a time. A damaging trope is killed one voice at a time. This is my bite.

New story for sale

Ravenous Romance has graciously included my story “Her Dirty Valentine” in the new anthology: My Kinky Valentine. Many thanks to everyone there, and especially F. Leonora Solomon, for being a delight to work with.

Shaving

For a while now I have been trying to figure out what I want to say about shaving. On the one hand, it seems to be a rather odd topic because (I would guess that) the vast majority of adults in America shave one part of their body or another. So why would they want to hear anything about what I have to say on the matter? On the other hand, I’ve learned a lot about shaving because I shave more than one part of my body on a regular basis. Not all shaving is the same, but there are some (I think) interesting things that can make a chore easier or get it done better.

Beyond that, most of the shaving I do is stuff that has nothing to do with BDSM. It is either for purposes of hygiene or appearance. At a point, however, both hygiene and appearance become part of making myself appealing to Mistress Delila – so they become part of my submissive…routine(?). So mostly it is beyond the topic of this blog, and where it touches, it is only tangential. But I guess it is enough because here we are – or at least, I am.

The first thing I’m going to say about shaving is that not everything I say about my experiences with shaving will be true for you. You have different hair and skin combinations than I do. So if something I say doesn’t sound right to you; then feel free to disregard it. Skip along to something that makes more sense.
Read more…

Is there an ideal scene?

One of my favorite kinky bloggers, Stabbity, has a post describing the perfect kinky scene. While I generally like the suggested improvements, it made me realize something. I really don’t care what “the scene” looks like, I don’t want to be part of it.

What would be perfect for me would be a world where no one cares about FemDom/malesub dynamics or specifics. It would be a world where my relationship with Mistress Delila would be as uninteresting and uninspiring as any random “traditional” form of relationship. At very least, it would be common and accepted enough that no one thought we should try to forge friendships around things that we have no intention of ever sharing with someone else.

I’m not anti-social, but I have relatively low social needs. I’m generally happy spending time with my immediate family and a very small circle of friends (I’m talking fewer than ten people, and maybe actually half that number or less).* Even when I do belong to larger social groups, I tend to separate out of them. For example, I belong to a church – but it is a small church, and if the attendance grew much; then I’d be uncomfortable (and I avoid the services where attendance is overflowing). Even when a normal attendance of two dozen (or fewer) are there, I only interact with maybe half a dozen at any level, and only two or three with any level of closeness.

This is perfectly normal for me and trying to interact with more people than that is immensely exhausting for me and not very satisfying. It also explains why the whole “go to a munch” thing bothers me so deeply. It assumes things that I know to be completely false.

First, it assumes that the only place I can possibly meet someone who shares my particular kink is to schlep into some amorphous group of strangers whose membership includes anyone and everyone who identifies in some way as “kinky.” I serve as a glaring reminder that it is possible to be involved in a kinky relationship without ever going to a kinky event. Consider this myth busted because attendance at kinky events is simply not necessary. Beyond that, the membership of every single kinky group out there would have to be infinite to ensure that every kinky person could find someone compatible. It just isn’t true.

Second, it assumes that if you put two people with similar interests in close proximity that they will: 1) recognize each other; 2) feel comfortable discussing said interests; and 3) hit it off enough to make the whole thing worthwhile. In the absence of some sort of mystical vibe that allows people to magically identify each other, then the only way to identify another person’s interest is to talk to them. If there are ten people in the group and it takes three minutes to discover that any two are incompatible; then it would take twenty-seven minutes for a person to check in with all nine potential partners. This is, of course, assuming that everyone is perfectly willing to tell a stranger things like, “I enjoy having Icy-Hot rubbed on my genitalia while balancing on a strap-on dildo that is mounted on a yoga ball and inserted into my rectum while reciting classical Romanesque poetry as boiling hot coffee is dribbled over the nipple clamps that are driving a needle through my flesh.” Good luck with that.

Third, it assumes that there is no one out there like myself who simply doesn’t want to be involved in any group of people larger than half a dozen or so. At the very least, it assumes that people like myself are really fundamentally wrong about how we understand our selves and how we relate to the world. Or maybe we will be willing to pretend to be something and someone we are not in order to dupe a partner into entering a relationship with us under false pretenses – and that relationship will be rewarding and happy even though it was entered into under false pretenses and one partner may have vastly different social needs than the other and will not feel betrayed by the fact that they were misled.

Fourth, it assumes that if I do happen to meet someone who shares an interest in a particular kink, that I will like them. Here’s my reality: I don’t honestly like many people (for the record, I don’t dislike people – I’m just ambivalent towards most people…I’ll be friendly with them, but they aren’t my friends). Even people who share a lot of common ground in interests with me are often not people I’d like to spend time with.

As an example, I like to watch professional football on television – but I don’t like to watch college football at all. I don’t want to watch pro football with anyone who has a favorite team, because they tend to get upset when “their team” loses, and that’s just stupid to me. I also don’t like to hear people yell at the players, the refs, the announcers, or anyone else who is so far away they can only be viewed through an electronic device. I also don’t like to hear people talk about the game itself, other than to occasionally (maybe three times per game) remark on how exceptional a play was. (In other words, if you like to watch football; then I am sure I wouldn’t enjoy watching the game with you. Unless you like to turn the sound down, talk about literature, and eat some non-salty snacks…in which case, I’m only merely suspicious that I wouldn’t like to watch football with you.)

There are a few people I know of who are interested in F/m that I wouldn’t mind spending some time with – but that is because I find them to be interesting people without any regard to the F/m dynamics in their lives. In general, I interact with these people on Twitter and we usually talk about things like our health regiment and/or medical issues, recipes, our families, what we last read, and other such things. While I read their blogs (the ones that blog), and find their thoughts on F/m interesting (and sometimes worthy of comment – and, in fact, linked to one at the beginning of this piece), our collective friendliness isn’t about F/m. In some ways, it is the least interesting thing that we share and even though the “F/m umbrella” covers us all, there are very few similarities around which we could build actual friendships on that aspect of our lives…if any of us were actually looking to do that (which we aren’t, as far as I can tell).

In my perfect world, the scene exists for people who are interested in hanging out at clubs or restaurants or wherever and doing whatever it is they do there without anyone being violated or threatened or excluded for anything other than behavior. But in that world, I could wear a collar instead of a wedding band when I walk around town and never worry about some small minded individual saying something hurtful to the people I love because of it. I wouldn’t have to time the more painful sessions of love-making around visits to the doctor because I don’t want the office to suspect spousal abuse. I wouldn’t have to be pressured to be in a closet or to come out of it. I would be free to live an open and transparent life about those things I want to share and no one would give a damn about those things I don’t share.

Perfect isn’t going to happen, though. So I will settle for a world where my boys can grow up to be men who find their sexuality to be fulfilling and affirming. No one would ever challenge them and they would never feel any shame for whatever leads them into a lifelong loving relationship. At very least, I will settle for a world where that is the message they receive from their father, and when they run into problems, they will know that there is always someone they can turn to who will love them for exactly the persons they are, and who they are always becoming.

*This doesn’t include family reunion type events like holidays where a ton of people may show up. Those are fine for three or four times per year – you know, special occasions.

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