Relationships Aren’t Simple

I’ve been learning a lot about relationships. I’m anticonfrontational, and I don’t get passive aggressive, but I am not quick to bring up something that’s bothering me, either. I’ve gotten better, but I’m still a work in progress on that end. I’m not used to someone being open to changing behavior without wanting to end things or reacting dramatically. There are few people in my life with whom I’m open about all the things I feel, because most times people don’t want that much information. Hence this blog. People don’t delve deep with one another frequently, and I’ve been burned a lot by assuming the people wanted information when they didn’t. As a result, I’m not great at being forthcoming with that type of emotional information. And, when I am forthcoming, I end up needing a lot more validation for giving it than some others would. Overall, being insecure about things like that has gotten in my way. I’m working on being more confident in who I am so that I care less about the reaction I’ll get and more about getting what I need.

The dude has been good with things, though, and has given me no reason to feel any of those above things. He has a level of admiration for me that I haven’t even grasped for myself at times, and his desire to promote my happiness is evident, which is awesome. He’s also been really open to listening and never makes a big deal of things I think are going to be big deals, which is helpful in encouraging me to open up. He needs to communicate more, at least I feel that way, because he’s a “show I care through actions” person, and I’m a “hear he cares with words” person, so we’re working that part out.

And, sexually, things are great. He’s not kinky, per se, in that he hasn’t gone to events or participated in any lifestyle things. He’s super into being dominant, though, if only in the bedroom, and we’re working on exploring that a bit. He also likes choking, is into bondage, and is stronger than me…which is good. He’s into denial in ways that I am too. We haven’t gone all that far in exploration primarily because I have roommates and he’s been out of town on weekends (making going to his place, far out in burbs, difficult). I’m hoping that in time I can bring him to some events and get him experimenting more with things.

I’ve been struggling a lot with asking for permission to get off when I’ve been alone. I’m supposed to call. I find it impossible to do, no matter how much he says he likes it when I call. I feel like I’m interrupting him, and that it’s degrading, and I don’t know why because I also find it sexy. I think it’s because there’s been a lot of travel in the last month so I haven’t seen him enough, making me feel less secure. He also doesn’t seem to notice if I’m not calling, which makes me feel like I want it more than is normal, which makes me embarrassed of my desires. I don’t know. If anyone has tips on that, do share.

Book Review: If Only by Cherise Sinclair

If Only by Cherise Sinclair

This is the eighth book in the Master of the Shadowlands series, and it was equally as awesome as the others. Synopsis from Amazon:

After the last fiasco, Sally gives up. She’ll never find a Dom of her own. Instead the computer whizz is job hunting in between bending the law–just a bit–to unearth the bastards who’d enslaved her friends. The clueless cops and Feds obviously need her help.  FBI special agents, Galen and Vance, have waited to play with Sally for a long time. When the mischievous submissive returns to the exclusive Shadowlands BDSM club after an ugly relationship, the experienced co-tops are more than pleased. Realizing she’s suppressing deep-seated emotions, the powerful Doms push her–only to find that her sassiness conceals a scarred and vulnerable heart.  Shaken by the unexpected emotional exposure, Sally flees the demanding Masters and the Shadowlands. And that should be the end of that, since both Galen and Vance have reasons not to seek a long-term relationship, especially with a submissive who doesn’t want what they can give. But when a brutal attack by her ex-Dom sends Sally into their home, the two agents are driven to protect her. To help her. To take her under command. Falling in love isn’t in the plans. But the little imp brings light into their lives, and just as they begin to want more, they discover she’s hacked into an organization that delights in burning people alive. Now more than hearts are on the line, and Sally’s submission could save her life.

I really enjoyed this book. Mystery, romance, BDSM – what’s missing? I related to the main character a good deal as well. For years, she’s played in the scene but no one ever realized she never let people see her emotions. These two Doms step up and force her to face her emotions, wants, and needs, and to vocalize them. I am much better than I used to be about that, but I still have a great deal of difficulty vocalizing my emotions or desires. Similar to the main character, I was raised in situations that trained me to never show weakness. If I expressed my pain, fear, etc., I was made to regret it pretty quickly. As such, trusting others to hear the truth and not punish me (even in a passive agressive way) is really difficult. More than that, it’s my nature now to not share, and it isn’t my consciously choosing not to, I just honestly forget to because I don’t feel like people care enough to know.

Realistically, I’ve rarely had a partner notice or seem to care that I wasn’t sharing deeper emotions, so that has kind of validated my insecure thoughts about people not caring. Someday, though, I want to be find someone who wants to be in my head. He’ll force me to vocalize and share with him, because without doing so he can’t understand me enough to know how far to push. He’ll notice if I don’t volunteer emotional responses.

Again, I’m not as bad as the character in this book, and I’m better than I used to be. I do have some people I talk to now, whereas I used to not open up to anyone. I like to think I’m looking out for my own needs enough now to discuss them. It’d be nice, though, for a Dom to call me on my tendency to hide deep thoughts.

Aside from that, I loved this quote – she’s in my head!

Favorite Quote:

“Don’t you hate that? When you give them the right to command, and they don’t?” Sally shook her head. “Would you believe one man put nipple clamps on me… and the second I squawked, he took them right off. No Dom cookies for that wussy.” But her Feds… her majorly dominating Feds would earn an entire box of chocolate chip cookies. “Oh man, I think I did a scene with that wimp. Totally forgettable.” Maxie slouched back on the leather couch. “Last month, Master Sam put clamps on me. When I whimpered, his eyes lit up, and he tightened them until I was up on tiptoes.” She gave a happy sigh. “There’s no one like a Master.”

This is why I hate when Tops ask me if I like it. I want someone to react to my fear and pain by tightening/hurting me more, and I want his eyes to light up from the desire he feels at inflicting such pain on me.

All Clear

I FINALLY got caught up with my “awesomeness journal” entries. I was 5 behind, and there was so much associated stress. I didn’t feel like I could really process anything else until I did that. Now I just need to go through the crap in my room and clean it out as well as choose a google reader replacement, and all the little to-dos will disappear.

I’m out of country for work right now. Back in the warzone, basically. It’s been ok, overall. I’m getting more familiar with my supervisor, boss, and some coworkers. Work is going very well. I’ve led some meetings successfully, was told by my supervisor to apply for a promotion soon, we’re getting what we need out of our trip, and our final product is going to get major press which will look good for my career. I’m learning a lot, too, including how to play spades! Today was a rough one – 4:30am wake up call with the alarms to take shelter. I heard several explosions, apparently they were about 2 miles away. It wasn’t as scary as I expected it would be, namely because my coworkers were with me and I was in a “hardened” building. Machine gun guys were all around, which also helped me feel better. I did, however, go through 3 cups of coffee to make it through the workday, which is a VERY rare occurrence for me. I was oddly having a dream about an attack on government buildings when I awoke, so that was kind of creepy too.

One good thing about this trip is how much I’ve been in contact with folks back home. I feel like I’m getting fun emails from friends that really make me value the relationships I’ve developed. I’m lucky to have these people.

I’m missing a new roommate moving in, which is sort of comical as the other prior roommate tries to adjust. She’s introverted, and the new girl is young…apparently they both were sequestered all weekend. It’ll be interesting to see how things develop upon my return.

I’ve read a ton of books while I’m here. I think I’m at 6? I need to blog/review a few good ones I read in Vegas. I also keep meaning to write about certain other topics, but we’ll see if I get there.

That’s all for now.

8/8 Quit Playing Games With My Heart

Yes, I just quoted a Backstreet Boys song…deal with it.

Game playing in the romantic world has come up more than once in my life lately, and it kind of took me by surprise. In the universe’s (The Universe has a twitter, btw) typical fashion, it even showed up in my webcomics – see today’s Questionable Content post.

I guess on some level, you could say that all the so-called rules we follow in the dating world are playing games, because they aren’t us acting entirely on intuition. By this I mean things like waiting a few days to call someone after getting their number, not texting back immediately, not always being available during the initial time you’re asked out for, texting the morning after if you had a good time, etc. In my (potentially naïve) view, though, playing games has always been a negative thing, and has always been something that people do intentionally. It’s playing hard to get or acting uninterested in order to attract someone.

I have hidden my interest in men before, but usually because I was afraid of rejection and I wanted to judge their interest first. I realize now that is the same thing as playing a game because it isn’t being direct and forthright with your feelings. I’ve also come to realize that sometimes games aren’t all negative, but are natural. I didn’t intentionally think to play hard to get. I don’t lead people on or tease them on purpose. If I’ve ever done so, it’s been a measure of my own uncertainty or insecurity in that particular situation.

I’ve basically been a bit of a hypocrite. I make a big deal about owning how you feel and being honest, but when it comes down to it, I’m not that blunt. When asked for an opinion or asked how I feel, I will be unfailingly honest. I may even overshare and give way too much information. That said, I tend to not volunteer information. In the past, in all situations – with friends, family, romantic partners – volunteering emotional information has more often than not ended very poorly. It’s a trust thing. If someone has asked something, I trust they care about the answer and I am ok making myself vulnerable because they did so by asking. It’s rare for me to trust others enough to become vulnerable with them on my own initiative, and that is where I’ve been “playing games.”

I don’t know if how I act is really game playing, I just know that I need to be more direct. I’ve known this for a while, but I’m still working on acting on it. I’ve gotten better recently in a series of interactions in the kinky and vanilla world, in terms of play and dating, but I still have a ways to go. I was taken aback a bit this weekend, though, when someone suggested that I was playing games, when in my mind, I was just uncertain of his interest and of how far I was willing to go with him. I didn’t intend to give mixed messages, and I cleared it up right away. On a similar note, when playing a game that asked “what would make an unattractive person appealing,” one thing brought up was directness about sexual interest. I don’t think I’d fit in the unattractive persons group, but it’s interesting to hear from others how directness is admired rather than seen as off-putting.

Now to go on building myself up and forcing myself to be more direct. Putting my money where my mouth is can be hard.

6/18

I’ve now been on two dates with a vanilla guy, and it’s starting to get kind of complicated. I met him via OkCupid, and while it does say I’m “more kinky,” I’m not sure how seriously people take that. I guess I was skeptical that anything would come from the site in the first place, and was hesitant about how much kink is necessary, so I went ahead and met him for a date. Thing is, the first two dates have gone well. We have a lot of things in common, similar senses of humor, etc. That said, I didn’t realize how much my life is kinky now. A good deal of my friends and activities are centered around the kinky community.

He gave me an opportunity to talk about kink on date 2, in that he mentioned 50 Shades of Grey. I alluded about my friends who were disappointed in how the books represent kink, but I didn’t mention my own interest (basically, I’m a chicken-shit). I mean, he’s bright, maybe he can draw some conclusions, but most people wouldn’t have any idea how involved the kinky community can be. Alas, I’m confused. Do I just pre-emptively cut it off? Do I try to bring up kink? I don’t want to lead him on, but I honestly just don’t know if it’s a dealbreaker for me. Unfortunately, I’m suspecting it’s more of one than I thought it would be. Which means, for future encounters, I really should try to mention it in my profile directly or in a first message…but how to do so without threatening my professional life? Grr…

In other things, I attended a class last week on play negotiations and contracts. I really appreciated the presenters point of view, and it was a great class. One thing that stuck with me was her comment that when you’re seeing someone regularly for several weeks and attending events based on one another’s attendance, then you’re in a relationship with that person. You may not be romantically involved, but it’s definitely something more than acquaintances. She suggested some ways to bring up romance in a nonthreatening way should you want to bring play into something more. I really appreciated the class because it was the first time someone directly addressed how to deal with the messed up relationship strata that make up kink.

I was also informed by some vanilla friends this weekend that I’m really not great at showing when I’m interested in someone. It stems from a fear of rejection and of appearing too clingy, combined with my innate stubbornness and pride. Not good. I’m working on growing into my flirty self.

I started my new job today. It’s a bit of a boys club, though; I was the only female in orientation and it looks like most of the women are in HR. I really liked everyone I met today, though, which was great. The IT folks, HR people, security folks, and other new hires were all very friendly and welcoming. I still don’t know who exactly I’ll be working with, but I’m handling it. I’ve never worked in this small of an office, and it’s really nice. IT isn’t just a nameless division, but is a handful of people who I can get to know. It feels more close-knit, which is an interesting change. I also learned more about what deployment would look like, and while it sounds rough and scary, I think it could be a great thing. You get 170% of your salary while there, as well as a bunch of overtimes and such – and housing and food are free! Going for a year would be a super fast way to pay off student loans…but could also result in death. So, you know, trade offs.

Day 13, 30 Days of Kink

Day 13: Explain as best you can what the appeal of kink/BDSM is to you? Why are you drawn to what you’re drawn to?

Kink and BDSM appeal to me for multiple reasons; I’ll walk through them each briefly.

First, the community around kink, or “the scene,” is incredible. There are so many welcoming, friendly, open-minded people who are dedicated to pursuing their passions, living true to themselves, trying new things, and enjoying life to the fullest. These are all things that are paramount in how I choose to live my life, and so there is a certain kinship amongst these kinky people. I’ve never been anywhere else where I could speak so openly about such personal things without feeling judged for it. Moreover, the kinky community makes living in such a large city feel like a small town, and I enjoy that. Other “pre-built” communities such as religious groups or book clubs are great and some may be comparable, but the community aspect of kink is still a huge draw for me.

Next, kink/BDSM is largely about pursuit of peace and pursuit of pleasure. When I’m bottoming or submitting to someone, when I’m crying out from the pain or reveling in bondage, I get great peace. I am able to center myself, focus, and relax. I don’t have to worry about the logistics or anyone other than my partner. I don’t have to control everything. It’s hard for me trust people and surrender control, but in this scene it is such a verbalized, negotiated exchange that I am able to do so, and that surrender is astoundingly gratifying. Moreover, I get off on a lot of the things I do in the kinky world. Being dominated is hot. Pain can be hot. I also find pleasure in the “oooh toys, fun!” type of way. I have a genuinely good time when I’m doing kink stuff or hanging out with kinky people, and that appeals to me.

Kink appeals because of the ability to strengthen relationships. The amount of communication and trust needed to make all of this work in a SSC way surpasses any in my past vanilla experiences, and I like that. There is more intimacy. The focus on sex usually results in more sexual freedom, experimentation, and passion in the relationship which also appeals.

The kinky community allows me to push my limits. I love adventure, challenges, and trying new things. I like to experience as much as I can. I am relatively competitive, and kind of stubborn. I enjoy being able to test my endurance and pain tolerance, to explore unknown territories. BDSM is just one more avenue for me to let this part of my personality reign free.

The psychological and sociological influences and impact fascinate me, and that curiosity is satisfied by participating in kink. I’m kind of a nosy person (this blog has inquisitive in the title for a reason), and I like learning. I like learning about other people, their kink and their sex lives, why they do what they do, etc. I like seeing other people have fun, and in doing so learning things to make my life even fuller. I’m curious. I want to know as much as possible about kink and BDSM because of what it means to individuals, and because of what it means as part of society and our culture.

There may be more than that, but for now this is what I can think of. I’m sure I’ll edit/update later.

Now, as for why I am drawn to the things I am drawn to?

I’m a control freak (that hates being in control) who likes organized social activities, with a high sex drive and a very curious and adventurous nature…If I had to guess, I’d say all of the above stems from those parts of my personality.

I don’t have a catchy title

Last night was a whole host of interesting. Yesterday on the whole was, really.

First I got to work on my campaign finance paper. I may have mentioned one guy in our group is an expert on the topic, so I’ve been more than a little intimidated to work on the paper. He very much supports the Act, and I wasn’t as confident in it. Well, I was able to prove him wrong about some of the language in the bill, and I held my own debating it, and got im to concede. It pretty much made my day. That, and I forgot how much fun it is to be intellectually challenged when  I’ve researched the topic at hand. It almost (almost!) makes me miss mock trial.

Then, I found an apartment for next year that will cost only $2000 for 3 people – in DC! With free parking, 2 blocks to metro, and all utilities included. I pray to God that the place is as nice as it seems when we see it next week.

After that, I headed over to Macys to try to pick up another suit of some sort. Turns out, they’re having a massive sale, and this Macys was giant! I was able to get a suit, a career dress, a winter jacket, and a button down all for only $150. The coat alone is normally $280. Getting a bargain always cheers me up.

I moved on to the kinky meetup thing in my area, and got to meet a bunch of new people. I got to talk energy policy with an energy trader (always fun for me, again back to discussing things I know a lot about). I got a few good book recommendations. I got to be more myself around kinky people, which is always a challenge for me. For some reason, when I’m around people that know I’m submissive, I get way quieter/shier than I normally do. It’s like my brain thinks it’s ok to revert to that, whereas I push past it in my normal interactions out of necessity.

A few of us moved on to someone’s house for an “afterparty,” which ended up being super fun.  I got to be tied up quite a bit, and flogged. It’s kind of funny, though – I’ve never been just flogged. I’ve experienced it two times now, and both times my reactions to the pain weren’t quite enough so the Top has brought out more evil toys. I think a large part of it is that flogging over clothing is not as intense. Either way, I again freaked myself out by how much I generally get off on pain. I really need to get over that uneasiness.

I was in a super good subspacey place, then we started to play this game of sorts, and I kind of freaked out. I don’t know why, but I got sort of confused and embarrassed all at the same time. I think it was that I was afraid of saying the wrong thing with people watching me, combined with drawing even more attention to myself and being forced to come “back to reality” to think about things when I’d been on the verge of subspace. Either way, I feel really bad that I had such a strange reaction. Logically, I realize that the whole thing was a game, and done in good humor, and the people there weren’t judging or anything. I don’t know why I couldn’t get the logic to communicate to my submissive self. I also got to try a tens unit out, which was fascinating. It’s just so bizarre how you can’t control your muscles.

Now I’m in that happy submissive place I get into, and I need to push past it. I have to take an exam, study for an exam, take another exam, add to a paper, pack, print off a bunch of stuff (including resumes!),  turn in timecards late, and hopefully have some time to do laundry, all before I leave mid-afternoon tomorrow. Eep!