Dating in the District, gone Kinky.

I’ve been told by my roommate and a few friends that I date a lot. I sort of laughed, because really, I don’t think I date much at all. I guess comparatively I do, because vanilla friends don’t really date. They’re either dating someone, or they aren’t dating at all. (Sidenote – how do they get to one without the other? Does not compute.)

In the kinky community, people are more vocal about what they are seeking, and seemingly everyone is seeking something, whether it be play partners, sex partners, or primary partners. Sex and love are primary focuses, and it’s not taboo to be interested in them like it often is in the vanilla world. I get used to that culture sometimes, and forget it’s apparently weird to date a “lot.”

Anyhow, that aside, I’ve gone out with 8 distinct men in the last 7 months, the most recent of which was a 3-month long thing. There were a few other “interests” in that time, in the flirting/group dating/kinky play way, but not in a romantic way.

I’ve got entertaining stories, but I learned some important lessons.

From the casual dates, I learned the following: I need to date someone who is self-sufficient, including able to handle logistics. You need to be able to get from point A to point B in an efficient way, and not depend on me to figure that out. Cars help. Taxis and metro exist for a reason, as does Zipcar. Figure it out. Second, I’m not quite to the point where I’m willing to handle young children. Third, I’m very hesitant to get involved with recent widowers or divorcees. Fourth, jobs help… Fifth, I need someone within 15 years of my age.

From the most recent 3-monther, I learned the following: On a personality level, a willingness to try new things, honesty/bluntness, passion, decisiveness, and humor matter a lot to me. Interest in stand up comedy, board games, travel, new restaurants, and books/movies/TV (some combination thereof) will keep us compatible. A focus on long-term commitment, and solid values appeal to me.

What has really stood out wasn’t just from this time period, but is reflective of the last several years. Namely, I’ve gone out/been involved (in real time) with six “Dominant” men. It totally fucks with my worldview, for some reason. When I’m with these men, I don’t act like myself at all. I get emotionally involved way too quickly. I’m turned on at the slightest of touches, my sex drive active in ways it never normally is. I don’t speak up for myself, joke the way I normally do, or take initiative in ways I normally do. Basically, I get so freaked by the D/s potential that I don’t know how to act, and I stifle myself. The issue: when I’m myself, people like me, but I’m not myself when I like people.

Of those six men, one never had a chance since I moved right after we met. Another was poly, so that didn’t go anywhere since I’m not. Another was arrogant, young, and way too slow on initiating physical affection. The other three were bigger fuck-ups.  One involved pressured sex and edge play I didn’t consent to. One involved someone not being honest about his emotions, trying for too much control too soon, and attacking my worth. The last was my fail, in that I got so awkward about life that I forgot to be myself.

I need to learn to ignore the whole D/s thing until I agree to be in an established D/s dynamic. I get that logically, but emotionally and sexually I need to acknowledge that. The problem is, my sex drive sort of staggers along with men, but when there’s power exchange, I respond quickly. Shitty self-worth guy was shitty, but helped me realize that my interest in orgasm denial is a very real thing – I have no issues staggering along when that component is there.

Sooo I may not know how I’ll fit into a D/s relationship with my in-control self, but I do know that interest is most certainly there. The last longer dating endeavor ended more than anything from a lack of sexual chemistry on my end, and it was beyond kink. He was willing to learn kinky things. I had issues with other personality and compatibility things, but he was a great guy, bright, involved, and willing to go along with a lot. He just wasn’t very  decisive and lacked initiative. Those outside-the-bedroom traits leaked into my interpretation of bedroom things, to the point that rope wouldn’t have fixed it. It isn’t the rope, or the spanking – it’s the attitude that goes with it. I want someone to fuck with me, to tease me, to relish taking control from me. Otherwise, getting off is more work than play. The first interactions are fine, because they have an element of discovery that makes the whole attitude thing less important…but later on, it’s unfortunately necessary.

I just wish that there was a way to vocalize and apologize for the uber-awkward moments that stem from me not knowing what the fuck to do with myself with openly Dominant men. Or, you know, find someone who realizes thats what’s happening and exploits the shit out of it in a way that’s mutually hot. That would work too.

No Hiding Allowed

I’ve noticed a nervous habit of mine that has been driving me crazy as of late. First off, when I was training for some major scholarship interviews in college, I learned I have the habit of raising my voice at the end of statements. This generally would occur when I wasn’t 100% certain of what I was saying. Similarly, when posed a question that I wasn’t 100% sure of, I would sometimes say “I don’t know,” but then proceed to answer the question. Once, a mock interviewer compared me to Sarah Palin because of that habit. I no longer have those problems in the professional world – trust me, there’s nothing like comparing you to a mocked public official to shake you of a habit.

While I don’t always have those tells, I’m still less than terrific about being persuasive when I’m not 100% sure of my argument. If I’ve done the proper research and analysis, then I’m confident that I can withstand any argument (legal training for the win). If I haven’t done the research, while I may know more about a subject than those debating it, I don’t know enough to stand up to my own standard, so I get uncertain and self-doubting. It’s a very female problem, and it’s obnoxious. I’m working on acknowledging my own expertise (and I have been for quite some time), and I’m excited to read the book On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You’re Not by Robert Burton.

So while I’ve noticed, acknowledged, and been working on improving my tells regarding certainty in those realms, I haven’t really done a lot with it in the dating world. In my defense, it’s rare that a guy makes me nervous enough to fall into those habits. It may sound heartless, but while I date a lot of men, my level of interest is usually only moderate. I might get nervous about being awkward on a date, but I don’t get that “squee” feeling frequently. Notably, when I date people who are Dominant in nature – from date 1 – the problem is more noticeable  Essentially, the rules surrounding dating are altered, I’m less familiar with that type of dynamic, and as a result I’m uncertain. Part of the D/s dynamic involves keeping the submissive a bit out of her element, nervous, anticipatory, etc., and having less power – not having control – pushes me out of my comfort zone. I like it, but I fall into these stupid traits.

Basically, when someone asks me a question about feelings or thoughts, I may say “I don’t know.” I generally do this whenever I’m uncertain or doubtful of a response to something I’d say. It sort of gives me an out for whatever I say. By saying I don’t know, it looks like I’m just sort of pulling something together, so I’m asking someone to take it as a less certain truth. This goes against so much of what I believe, though, and I piss myself off when I do it. I’m all about owning your emotions and statements. If I have an answer, than I DO know. I’m saying it, so people should take it however they want, and saying I don’t know is a cop out. It’s an excuse and a placation, and it is me hiding.

I want a relationship where I’m not allowed to hide. I want my partner to force me to answer the difficult questions…I actually want him to enjoy my discomfort. (There’s a great line in an erotic story I read recently that captures this dynamic: see here, in the fifth section.) I want my partner to make me awkward, uncertain, flustered, and visibly enjoy that slight humiliation. I want him to either make it clear he enjoys my emotional predicament, or to command/sooth the awkward away, but it’d be delightful for it to be intentionally exploited.  When I get strangely uncertain and nervous, and I have these tells, it’s a prime opportunity for a partner to dominate me, should he share my interest in power exchange. It’s in these sorts of ways  that the power dynamic can be established gradually over the course of time, in unassuming ways.

March Dawns

Off with the book reviews, on to the personal things.

I regularly follow Dan Savage, and one of his truisms is the “campsite rule,” which states:

In relationships with a large age disparity, at the end of the relationship, the elder partner should leave the younger in “better shape than they found them”. This includes no diseases, no fertilized eggs, no undue emotional trauma, and whatever education that can be provided.

I was wondering if this same theory could be applied to D/s relationships of all types (perchance minus the fertilized eggs, should that be so desired of both partners). Basically, that all Dominants should take that same guardian type of attitude about their submissive. Thoughts to ponder.

I’m so blessed to have amazing friends. I’ve been pondering power exchange again, and really wanted to talk it through with someone. Unfortunately, while I have many kinky friends, I still feel uncomfortable talking about D/s with them. Honestly, I think part of it is that I put forth such effort to be seen as strong and in control around other people, even friends, that even discussing my submissive self makes me uneasy.

Thankfully, I have friends who understand even that, and it is incredibly helpful. It’s almost providential how someone will pop in with exactly what I need to hear, out of nowhere, no prompting from me. This time, a friend brought up going to the local MAsT (Masters and slaves together) meeting. She mentioned how good Dominants get their submissive to be their best and achieve their own goals, and was discussing how much strength goes into submission. Incredibly well-timed truth.

In other, less awesome things, was accidentally outed to my roommates today. It’s my own fault. I gave my phone to their friend to use to get our carry out, and I forgot to close out fetlife mobile. He was like – why does it say “what’s on your kinky mind?” … There was a three minute conversation about how furries, adult baby, and watersports are extreme, and I referenced 50 shades and handcuffs as being that’s it for me…then we all moved on. I’m uber paranoid they’re secretly judging me, though. Fail.

Randomness.

Life is mostly going quite well, minus work today. It’s ironic, because my friend just mentioned an insight I had forever ago about how it’s much easier and more liberating to submit to one person since then you don’t have to submit to everyone. I kind of forgot I’d written about that. Thing is, that’s really at the root of my cravings for some power exchange, I think, especially relating to work.

Specifically, I’m trying so hard to do my best and please people, but my manager doesn’t give me any rules or boundaries to do so. As a result, now all these other people that I should be pleasing aren’t all happy, but I don’t know what to do to fix it, it isn’t my fault when I had no way of knowing how to do so, and yet I still feel guilty and upset that I’m not what they want me to be (or arguably what I should be). Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t massively screw things up or anything, but there are little things that I could have done better and didn’t know until it was too late. I want to be the best at what I do, but I can’t do that without guidance. Anyhow, I really want to just focus on pleasing one person, on obeying and submitting to his will, and knowing clearly what boundaries exist and whether or not I’ve crossed them.  Someday.

On to all the positives!

First, I know many people aren’t religious at all, but I do believe in a higher power. Getting that out there. Over the holidays and in the new year, I’ve put a huge focus on getting my finances in shape. It isn’t that they were out of shape before, so much as I want to budget better, save more, put more away for retirement, and eliminate any debt I have control over. (In that I don’t have control over student loan debt because it’s large and I’m working on public service repayment, but car loans, credit card bills, etc. I control.) I had this nagging stress because of my stupid credit card bill and no immediate or quick way to pay it down. Then, I did my taxes…and POOF! My return is almost EXACTLY what I need to pay them off! It’s amazing! To me, it feels something like a miracle for the level of relief it provides. I feel like my prayers were answered, and it’s awesome.

Second, Rapture was this past weekend and it was fabulous. I didn’t do many scenes, which fit my mood, but I did get to play with two of my very good friends. I feel like lately playing with folks has been more ridden with anxiety, stress, and worry than with pleasure, and it’s amazing what playing with friends changes. Namely, there’s no anxiety, worry, or stress, just pleasure. I can relax. I trust them, and I can just enjoy it. Plus, both people are great at the whole shit-eating-grin-sadist thing, making it all the better. Actually, in one scene, some random guy from the party popped in and interrupted us with “I just bust a nut!” taking me completely off guard and making me crack up, then later another friend made all of us dissolve into hysterical laughter. So much fun. I really just do better only playing with people I know very, very well. Not a surprise, per se, but annoying when I’d love to be the type of person who could play with anyone at will.

Another Rapture-related thing – I’m now training to be a DM. It means more work at parties, but I don’t mind. I learned during our first training session that I know a lot more about rope and safety than the average kinkster. I’m going to be compiling a list of safety points to share with the other monitors.

I’ve been having a lot of fun with new experiences lately too. I went to an Indian cooking class with a friend, which was fun and informative. Raw meat is disgusting, lentils are amazing, and I need to master spices. I also had Korean food for the first time and did karaoke with a group of mostly new friends. I always forget how much I love singing until I do it for a while. I’m also working on slowly building my spice tolerance so I can enjoy spicy food; hopefully one of these days I can avoid being the one to order mild everything.

Other random thoughts of the week:

  • It is really important to recognize and acknowledge the importance of your friendships with others. Moreover, knowing whether or not your love for another person makes it worth changing behaviors for them is vital but extremely difficult.
  • Yes, I’m type A. The satisfaction I get from planning things and executing them well, looking at a full calendar, crossing things off lists, and organizing my junk is unmatched. I hate how easy it is to be ashamed of these habits. When I embrace them, I’m much happier.
  • Being Type A doesn’t mean you can’t be submissive…it just means there’s more benefits there for the Dominant partner, should he choose to make use of them. It also often makes me that much more inclined to submit.
  • It’s wrong of me to stereotype groups of people by assuming they are going to stereotype me. Assume = ass out of u and me.
  • Despite all the progress and growth of the past few years, I still frequently fail at flirting. Unfortunate, that.

Surprises

I was a little surprised by some things this past weekend. I’m at a point where there are so many options that I’m a bit paralyzed. I guess more than anything, there’s just a variety of situations that I’m open to now.

First off, I’m thrown by my interest in topping. I still have no interest in being the dominant partner in a D/s relationship, but I do enjoy messing with someone. I like pleasing people, I like swatting things, and I like having fun – if someone has fun and gets off on being swatted, then why not top? I shouldn’t be surprised, since I used to hit my friends with branches/newspapers jokingly all the time when I was younger, but I am. Mainly, I don’t get off on having control, but I do get off on my partner getting off. It’s a tricky combo.

On the exact opposite side, I really do want to pursue a D/s relationship. I’ve played more with some people who exude power, and it not only turns me on but makes me feel safe and happy. I like pleasing people, and being given opportunities to serve or please my partner. I like being forced to stay within certain boundaries. I’m rarely faced with true authority. I’m not manipulative, per se, but I’m persuasive and analytical, and even at work where I should be the subordinate, I usually get my way. Since I’m single and only responsible for myself, I have autonomy over my life and my decisions. I’m heavily influenced by friends and family, but at the end of the day, no one has authority over me outside of the law. I do things well, but it is so relaxing and amazing to be able to trust someone else to get shit done. It’s great to have someone else’s opinion to defer to. No matter how good I am at being in control and leading, I will always find more satisfaction in yielding that control to someone else, so long as that other person is qualified. It’s really just a matter of finding someone I respect and trust is that qualified person.

With that, I didn’t realize fear would turn me on so much. I tend to stay in my head quite a bit. I’m open with my reactions, but not with my emotions (at least not outside of this blog). If someone can get in my head and make me afraid, and is confident enough to fuck with me, well, that’s incredibly hot. Fear is an expression of vulnerability, and while I do everything possible to minimize vulnerability in my vanilla life, I really enjoy it in my romantic and sexual relationships. I’m craving that vulnerability now. I want someone to command me and get in my head.

Lastly, I’m slightly less put off by sexual play with women. I’m still not really comfortable with certain sexual things, but I do find some females and queer folk attractive. Who knows where that will go.

Love Languages and D/s Languages

The 5 Love Languages came up in a BR class on communication I attended this summer, and I bought the book soon after. Though I haven’t finished it, I did learn a bit from it. I attended another class last week on D/s and the love languages of D/s, and it brought the whole thing back to mind. Hence, blog post.

Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages: Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, Gifts, and Acts of Service.

My receiving love language is (1) quality time, followed closely by (2) physical touch, with (3) words of affirmation in third. Without the first two, I won’t believe the third, but without the third I won’t be entirely fulfilled.

My giving love languages are quality time and acts of service, followed somewhat more distantly by physical touch. I stay really busy and highly value my time, so when I make time for you it shows I’m prioritizing you; the more time with you, the bigger the priority you are to me. On the service side, call it my midwestern upbringing or blame my submissive side, but I like to take care of my partner and do what I can to serve their overall happiness.

UndergroundSea’s Class on D/s Love Languages:

As for D/s love languages, the first note from this class was an organic power comment. In order to have a good D/s dynamic, you need to have an equal balance of organic power to begin, or the Dominant party needs to have higher organic power. Otherwise, if the submissive party has more organic power they must surrender more power as part of the D/s dynamic in order for there to be a power exchange. Organic power’s contributors include desire, confidence, comfort with conflict, and mental tenacity/wit/resolve. For me, I equate this to generally having your shit together. If I have my shit together more than my partner, than it’s harder for me to surrender enough power for there to be a D/s dynamic. Another way of looking at is Type-A or Alpha – I’m generally pretty Alpha, but if there’s someone more Alpha than me present I naturally step aside to them. That type of feeling is an organic power thing.

There are many more than 5 D/s love languages, and many that may not be on this list, but examples: verbal, physical, service, deferring for priority, privilege differences, exaltation/reverence, omitting social courtesies, physical subjugation, restraint and bondage, violation of space and dignity, infliction of physical/mental discomfort, obedience/capitulation, decision making, control of resources, supervision, and discipline/behavior modification.

Several things became apparent to me in this class, including my preferences and some ideas surrounding service, protocol, behavior modification, independence/pride, and brattiness.  Continue reading

Subjugation

As it’s probably been obvious, I’ve been thinking a lot about submission, D/s, and power exchange over the last few weeks. It’s something that, despite my extensive involvement in kink, I haven’t explored much. I’ve been afraid, and I may delve into that in a moment, but as I’ve experimented I’m seeing just how much it fulfills a need in me.

Most people – women especially – enjoy and need to feel protected by and safe with their partners. Respect, desire, trust – all those things play a role in most relationships, kinky or otherwise. Something about my history and my personality have combined and make it so that for me, I feel most safe when I trust and respect my partner enough to surrender control to him. I’ve built my life around maintaining control and doing so quite well, and for me to give that up indicates you’ve won me over entirely, heart mind body and soul.

That right there, that last bit – that’s the clincher. True submission comes with great trust, and the latter doesn’t come easily. To trust someone enough to submit to them means I need to trust them not to judge me negatively for the emotions I experience, to trust that they are committed enough to discipline or correct me for infractions rather than break up with me, to trust that honesty is encouraged and not too much information. I need to trust that they desire me and want to possess me. This is reciprocal – I obviously also need to desire this person, trust them to be honest and communicate with me, and be committed to them; if I was submitting, the presence of those things would be implicit in my submission.

So many people I know can have casual play situations that explore and delve into power exchange. I wish so much I could do so. I want to kneel at someone’s feet, wear his collar, crawl for him, stand in a corner, restrict my eye contact, use proper forms of address, worship his body, suffer for him, please, obey, and serve him. I want to be possessed, to be someone’s pet or plaything, to be mildly embarrassed and objectified. I crave that type of submission – the stern, knowing look, the command, the firm hand on my shoulder/in the small of my back, the caress of my hair, the slightly paternal condescension/arrogance. Thing is, the thought of most people doing this horrifies me, and I can’t be like this casually.

I have had to be independent since a very young age. If I didn’t take care of myself – from my basic needs to my professional/academic success to my happiness – no one would. I stopped relying on my parents to fulfill these things in middle school; I still let them influence me beyond that, but I could not trust them to make sure that I was ok. I had to rely on myself, and I strengthened and did so. Being weak was never an option in my household, and only invited further difficulties. When I trust someone to be my superior at something, I respect their authority wholeheartedly and I will have no problems asking them for guidance. Outside of that, asking for help is very difficult for me. I am stubborn and prideful.

I have built my life around this strict code of pride and independence, and it’s worked for me. I’ve gotten better at letting people in over the past few years, but it’s a challenge for me. I want people to see me as strong, to respect me – even if they’re Dominant and I’m submissive. I don’t defer right away. I don’t usually treat Dominant men any differently than any other men. I’m always a bit shy when I’m flirting with someone new, and I cater my manner to the person I’m talking with, but it isn’t the batting of eyelashes – oh Master please don’t hurt me – type of thing. I have purposefully kept myself from becoming the type of woman someone needs to pity or rescue, but most men go for the obviously deferential.

Basically, when I interact with men, even in the scene, they tend to see me as an equal right away. They see me like this because that’s what I want, and what I’ve spent my life trying to project. They may try to play; in fact, I was told recently I’m getting a reputation for being a good bottom, so cool beans on that. Men rarely try to get me to submit, however. It’s like they dismiss it immediately because I’m a bit type-A. They rarely get stern and commanding, slightly paternal or teasing. Yes, if you’re an arrogant ass, it’s annoying if you act like that. Thing is, my tendency to slip into an alpha role fades immediately when there’s another alpha present. I do react to “Domly mannerisms,” and my inner deferential submissive will show itself. If people don’t act like that with me, then they usually don’t see that side of myself. I lead when no-one else leads, I maintain control when no-one else is around who does it better…when someone who does it better steps up, I more than happily step down.

Essentially though, my issue is that the image I’m projecting isn’t attracting the type of man I’m interested in, but I don’t really know how to alter my mannerisms to change that. I don’t know that I want to, either, because I want to be true to myself and the strong, independent person is a big part of my life, just not necessarily my romantic/sexual life. It’s complicated, because to attract a Dominant, I need to show my submissive side, but to show my submissive side, I need to have this really high level of trust and respect that only comes with time, which happens after someone decides to get to know me.

To clarify, people that have known me a long time and are Dominant in nature don’t question my submissiveness. It’s like with everything in my personality. I guess I’m a bit complex, and I’m the type of person that reveals her personality slowly. Different questions, activities, interactions show different facets. People who know me really well love me for all these things that don’t really show up in a one-off happy hour or on a first date. It’s the same here, I just need to find a Dominant man who sees the underlying natural submissive urges and is willing to invest the energy and time to draw that side of me out from under the hard shell it’s been shoved under for so many years.

Lastly, I will add that I still worry that a fully D/s relationship would become stifling in time. I’m hesitant because I do enjoy elements of my independence. My level of submission does still entirely depend on the person I’m with and our interactions, personalities, etc.