Slowly Incorporating Submission

A couple of things have been on my mind lately, as a result of different conversations and photos and things.

First, I can’t stop thinking about chains, handcuffs, and cages. Rope is great, but it has been over a year since I’ve been bound tightly enough that I couldn’t escape. As a result, while I still love it, I think I’m comfortable with it. I still feel like I can escape. Metal bondage doesn’t allow for that, which is frightening but also appealing.

The more I think about D/s, the more I get nervous. In books, Dominants are great about sensing when a submissive is nervous or afraid and tailoring their approach. I’ve never met anyone who was that observant. I’ve never had a Dom comfort me or talk me into a submissive headspace.

If I’m going to submit to someone on a deeper level, I need to build trust. Everyone emphasizes trust, which is great, but how do you build trust other than giving it time? How does someone assert control in small ways to build that trust?

I’ve been trying to think about ways to do that. One, I think service is a great way to do this. Bitch make me a sammich isn’t really the hottest or best way to exchange power, but little requests/commands like that change focus. In the book I’ve been reading, the Dom forces his potential sub to make eye contact, to answer questions immediately and without hiding. In my mind, introducing rules early on would help. I think it’d be best to have vanilla sex before kinky sex (or at least, mostly vanilla – no toys/bondage, but power dynamics ok). That said, even before that, a couple can establish some sexual tension and D/s dynamics.

For example, when we spend time together, he can require I ensure my legs are spread a certain amount to be available to him. I can be relegated to the floor. Maybe he’d have me kneel until I ask to sit differently – ways of forcing me to ask him for something. In ways like that and others, he can force me to acknowledge my submission and the fact that with that comes communicating all my needs, comforts, etc. to him.

My inclination is to endure or suffer in silence. I don’t make a lot of noise during play, and I don’t like asking for help or depending on others. D/s is all about enabling a submissive to depend on her Dom for order. If I want a D/s dynamic to work, I need to have honesty/communication/vocalizing drilled in early on. Thankfully, those are things that can happen with less sex, so they can happen earlier on in a relationship.

Thing is, do I bring that up with a potential Dom? Do we sit down and have a conversation about how to build trust/control? I mean, really, wtf is the protocol here?

Someone I was talking to did bring up an interesting point about pride, though. I mentioned how begging is difficult for me because it makes me feel like others will view me as weak or needy (but also how it’s super hot). He asked if thinking of begging as a submissive act that shows how good a submissive I am would help. I think it would, actually. If I had a Dom who encouraged begging, who acknowledged it and praised me for doing it – even if not giving me whatever I’m begging for – I think it would be a helluva lot more doable on my end.

I’ll do a lot to please my partner. If begging pleases him, and he makes it a positive act and not a degrading one, then I think I could take pride in it. I think, too, it would help to know that asking isn’t futile. I will vocalize a lot more if I know it won’t be futile or punished, like it has been in other aspects of my life.

Code d’Odalisque and Protocol

Edited to add: This is my 500th post. Crazy! Funnier still that it revisits something discussed in one of the first blog entries I posted.

Someone I’ve been talking to mentioned the Code d’Odalisque the other day, and I’d never heard of it. It’s essentially a framework and extensive set of protocols for a male dominant/female submissive sexual slavery relationship. Read it here.

The Code was interesting to read. I was a bit surprised that someone had the time and energy to create such a document. I mean, they include things all the way down to how to address other slaves in text. That’s a bit intense. There are some things that really appealed to me, though:

  • As a whole, the framework emphasizes legality, consent, and the protection of vanilla reputation.
  • There are contract and many safety precautions.
  • There’s an emphasis on existing for the Master’s pleasure – training, service, etc. along those lines – and being tortured with pleasure.
  • There are formalities and rituals for initiating a period of intense service and for earning a collar-like necklace (only they are incredibly specific that it be tahitian black pearls…).
  • There are clauses that require honest discussion.
  • Masters aren’t permitted to cut their slaves’ hair, or beat her face, scar her, or humiliate/degrade her.
  • There are protocols for interacting within a D/s relationship that are built on a foundation of respect and care for one another.

Those things all have positive elements to them. There are larger things that bother me, though.

  • The slave is required to have no sexual desires or plans of her own. She becomes a passive vessel for her Master’s fantasies. I’m all for my Dom using me for his pleasure, and taking my submission as an opportunity to play out fantasies…but I also want my fantasies to be acknowledged. They don’t have to be included in our play, that’s my Dom’s discretion, but I have desires, and I’m not going to pretend they don’t exist.
  • The slave should not take initiative. I’m sorry, but sometimes, it’s fun to turn the tables, insomuch as I’m horny as fuck and want to jump my Dom. He’s welcome to playfully punish me for it later, or I’m happy to ask for permission to take initiative, I guess, if I had too…but too much restraint makes for no fun.
  • Similarly, the slave should be silent unless spoken to. I get this for a scene, or maybe a long scene/weekend of crazy-intense protocol, but for a regular dynamic, no thanks. I want to converse and joke with my partner. I want to be able to snark at him and have him tease me back. That’s part of who I am and what makes me happy in my relationships.
  • The code says sentimentality and vulgarity should not be in the bedroom…I beg to differ.
  • Clothing must be sacrificed – the code suggests putting them under lock and key. I can understand rules about clothing, inside and outside of the home. Selecting every item and having no access to clothing is micromanagement I’m not interested in. The point is for the captivity to be reemphasized…but to some extent, I’d rather be trusted with the choice. If you want me naked at home, fine, then  make it a rule. If I disobey it, discipline me. But wouldn’t you rather have my submission when I am faced with an option and I voluntarily choose to ignore the clothing, rather than forcefully keep it from me?
  • Service for obedience’s sake isn’t appreciated. Service should only be sexual, and all other types are sort of spoken down about. Literally, to the extent that wearing an apron indicates lesser status because odalisques shouldn’t cook, it’s beneath them. Sometimes, I want to cook for my partner because I want to serve him in that way.
  • With that, I want my submission to be valued in ways outside sexuality. If I want to clean or do something as a service to make him happy, why not do that? I want to exist for his pleasure, not just sexual pleasure, as long as my needs are being met and he’ll listen to my wants, and we can work out daily life responsibilities in a way that isn’t overwhelming to either partner.
  • Solitary confinement as punishment. Being deprived of affection and/or love, or being ignored, are dealbreakers. I’d rather use pain, or write lines, or have an activity restricted, etc.
  • There’s a lot of emphasis on sharing and how to interact with guests. I’m not sure on this. If I were going to engage in M/s in a group setting with other Dominants, I like the idea of having etiquette for that scenario. I just am not OK with a protocol that allows  my Dom to share me at his discretion.
  • Sex slavery is listed as an adjunct to marriage. My ideal is to find a Dominant that I can marry. I want to be wife and submissive, not just tertiary sex slave.
  • A series of individual protocols: referring to myself in the third person (Master’s slave thinks…), having no name or being renamed, mandatory marking/branding, chanting, a six year limit on a relationship, slaves aren’t allowed to toast at dinner, slaves must have an empty glass by their side for semen only and can’t have their own beverage cup otherwise, capitalization protocols with people other than my Dom…basically there are a bunch of nitpicky things that bother me.

Overall, I don’t think the code has a middle ground. You’re either a sex slave, or you’re not. You’re in “occlusion” or “sojourn.” What about the in-between? I want a more flexible dynamic. I think it’d work having a set of very formal rituals and protocols that can be lived out in a fantasy weekend here or there. The rest of the time, though, I wouldn’t want to be in “sojourn,” I’d just want a lesser amount of protocol. In the bedroom, there can be an element of pleasure slave, sure, but in life, sometimes protocols get in the way.

Honestly, I don’t know what level of control or protocol works for me. I’ve never been in a D/s relationship like that. I’ve been in relationships with men who Top, and I’ve dated men into D/s, but I’ve never built a power exchange relationship. When I think of having rules for clothing, greeting, speech, eye contact, sitting, and more, it overwhelms and scares me. I want some rules. I want structure, discipline, and subservience. I want to serve my Dom’s desires and please him, to feel his control over me. I just think that can be achieved in a variety of ways, both sexual and service-oriented, not all with protocol.

I also know that I can’t start out with protocols galore and such. I need to start with small gestures of submissive, and gradually escalate as trust, affection, love, and comfort grow. I need to be led into it, too, and with lots of positive reinforcement and constructive conversations so that I can learn and accept my role thoroughly. Being a submissive at all is a new thing and requires training and gentle guidance for me, being one with a high level/frequency of power exchange would require even more.

That said, protocols I think make sense would include wearing a certain type or style of clothing that fits my Dom’s preference, addressing him as Sir, keeping a journal, sitting on the floor unless alone or have his permission, asking permission to orgasm, on certain days maybe being required to do something specific with him in mind, etc.

Rules I think make sense would deal with how to maintain communication, how to behave in his presence, pet peeves to avoid, habits I want to instill that he’s reinforcing, etc. For example, if I am trying to exercise more, we can talk and have him make it a rule or provide some form of accountability so that I can reach the goal that I want. Note that the emphasis is on his guidance to accomplishing goals that I set and we mutually discussed, not on him trying to change me outside my will or without my acknowledgement. (Manipulation should be acknowledged and consented to.)

But really, the dynamic I foresee is similar to a “normal” (non-kinky) couple. We’ll live our lives, and when it’s just us, I’ll refer to him differently, defer to his decision-making – but be allowed to debate and joke, try to do things that please him when I can, and be sexually available to him. He would provide opportunities for me to please him (i.e. it would make me happy if you did x,y,z), or directly ask (sternly so I know it’s really a command) me to serve him in some way. If I have a problem with something, I voice my concern. If I have needs not being met, I voice them. If I have wants, I voice them but he can determine whether or not they’re satisfied. My choices are to obey, to disobey and be punished, or to end the dynamic.

Why do I like being hit?

Someone asked me this today, and it made me think a lot on why I enjoy pain. I hadn’t visited the subject in a while, so it took some processing. Here’s my general thoughts on the matter.

I have sort of a love/hate relationship with pain, and it definitely depends on the purpose/context. Where did it come from? Probably, like my desire for submission, from some combination of things in my past that involved me having to maintain strict control over myself, my emotions, — too deep and not pertinent. The real question here is – Why do I choose to engage in behaviors that involve me receiving pain? A variety of reasons:

  1. Emotional release. I find it difficult to let go and cry sometimes, even when I really need to. Pain can provide an excuse to cry without feeling like I’m being irrational. It’s a catalyst, of sorts. I’ve found stingy pain gets me to this point much more quickly, but isn’t always as satisfying.
  2. Focus. I find it hard sometimes to stop thinking and just feel. Pain makes me think of only it, the person administering it, and what’s happening in the moment between us. That, in turn, allows me to just feel and enjoy things instead of over-thinking them. Additionally, if I’m really stressed or anxious about something, pain is something else I can’t help but focus on instead. (So is submitting in general, with or without pain.)
  3. Challenge. I like pushing myself, and seeing what my body can do.
  4. Fun (ie sexy) endorphins. Pain in certain places, from certain implements, with certain people can get me off in and of itself. Namely, thuddy pain in the ass region with someone I am attracted to, or any type of pain to the nipples with someone I’m attracted to, or rough body play/biting with someone I’m attracted to (notice the trend there?).
  5. Control. Pain is a physical manifestation of power exchange. Every spank can reemphasize that I am submitting to this person, that I am letting them have control over me, that I trust them not to harm me and to stop if need be. It hurts, but I’m letting them do so because it pleases them, which satisfies a deeper mental submissive desire on my end. If they enjoy hurting me, then I’ll get off on it all the more.

I am not an exhibitionist at all. I will go to public events when I know many people going in order to hang out with friends, to take a class, to play with specific equipment, or for the safety element with a newer partner. When I first got involved in the DC scene, I was much more open to casual/pick-up play, so I went out a lot. I learned quickly though that most of my motivations for play stem from deeper desires – D/s, personal expression, sexual – and I’m not very comfortable doing those things with strangers or in public. Because of that, I think 2 and 3 above are the only motivations that ever really came out in the public-playspace type setting. Maybe 4, in rarer instances.

Since that realization, I’ve only played with S&m things a handful of times. (This is also because things like 1 and 5 require much deeper trust and people who are willing to take care of what they break down, which is harder to find and do in shorter instances or with people you’re not in an ongoing relationship with.) All of the above still applies, I’ve just been much choosier in how I engage in those activities.

Submissive Shortcoming

I’ve wondered a lot about why my dating interactions with “Dominant” men always seem to fail. On the surface, it’s been obvious (distance, one of us is less into the other, etc). I’ve always wondered, though, if it was just that I got so nervous that I wasn’t really being myself. Maybe, had I been my normal, slightly snarky, bubbly self instead of shy, quiet, and totally acquiesing, they would’ve been more into it. A conversation with a friend tonight is leading me to believe that in fact, maybe it hasn’t worked because of who my normal self is.

It’s frustrating. I’ve always been nervous and afraid that more dominant men will rule me out as an option because I’m very type A and generally have my shit together in day-to-day life. I’m shy with new people, but otherwise, I’m outgoing and energetic. I have a lot of energy, am not afraid to ask questions, and I lack much of a filter. Dominant men frequently just have this flirtatiously commanding persona they embody around submissive females (usually the quiet, more timid types), and they almost never act like that with me. Really, the ones that do tend to be the very experienced men or women, oftentimes “old guard” folks or those over 35/40. (Random, but part of why black rose appeals to me a lot is that most of the people I’ve met in that group tend to be of that “old guard” mindset, and don’t immediately disregard my submissive potential.)

I’m not submissive with everyone, but that doesn’t make me any less submissive. I have opinions, and I’m a planner and taking charge doesn’t frighten me. I’m capable of managing, both myself and others, but that doesn’t make me any less obedient to those with authority above me. I’m not totally new and inexperienced, but there’s a lot I have to learn and I’m very willing to be taught.

I’m strong, but I’m willing, able, and in fact sometimes near desperately desire to submit to someone else’s will. People never seem to see it. My closest friends see it, but potential partners never do. I’m a people pleaser. I will go out of my way to make sure those around me succeed, are happy, and have what they need. I will use all of my passion, energy, and enthusiasm to effectively serve my partner. It just takes me a bit longer to get there.

I can’t act like that with anyone. For me, it takes a great deal of trust. We have to have fun together, get along as friends, and have physical chemistry. I have to respect you, your actions, and the decisions you make. If you start taking a stronger/more commanding tone with me, I’ll respond to it. You’ll notice my starting to look out for your desires more and more.

And really, if you take that commanding, flirtatiously dominant persona with me from the beginning and you’ve establish some quick initial respect, you’ll generally be able to see the change in my reactions to you.

I guess I just wish men would see the potential behind the day-to-day self, and would be willing to take on someone who is maybe a bit more of a challenge, or at least is more teasing in nature. I want men to take on a more commanding air in my presence.

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.

Story Idea and Thoughts on Play

I was fantasizing before bed last night, and I think I finally have some good inspiration for a story. On top of that, of course, it got me thinking about past experiences.

The basic premise of my to-be story is a focus on power exchange, pushing limits, and voluntarily suffering. Basically, instead of utilizing bondage to make someone helpless as in most of my writing, it would be using someone’s submission to her partner’s authority. Instead of being tied down, she must hold herself still. She must offer herself up for the things that are tormenting her – ask for them – even when she is crying from wanting them to stop.

As normally happens when I’m pondering a story idea, I started thinking about logistics, this time in the way of safewords and limits. How could the submissive character’s limits be pushed? How have my limits been pushed? Well, in truth, they’ve only been pushed a few times…I could count on one hand and precisely recall each time.

This came up a bit at Winter Fire, and I think the person I was playing with and trying to explain myself to didn’t get it at all. I’ve since tried explaining it to someone else who did seem to get it, so I’m not sure if it was me or him the first time. I could have just been too awkward to explain myself well. Anyhow, both times, I was trying a toy on my nipples that was excruciatingly painful. My nipples are very sensitive, but I do really like pain in that area. Thing is, there is pain that is pleasurable in and of itself, and then there is pain that just freaking hurts. I have a high tolerance, and I can endure the latter, but I do not desire to of my own free will. I will, however, gladly endure such pain if it pleases my partner. I will find extreme pleasure in suffering so deeply for my partner’s pleasure, mostly because of the strong sense of subjugation and power exchange. That difference – enduring for someone else versus for myself – is enough for my mind to switch all the sensations into this torturous pleasure.

So basically – put the little toy(s) on and ask me if I want it off – yes, I do. Don’t ask me and instead smile or get turned on by my pain – I’ll keep them on a little longer and won’t safeword. Should I be about to absolutely pass out from pain, I’ll safeword…but if you ask me if I want them off, of course I’m going to say yes!  Not too complicated, eh?

I guess my limits aren’t pushed usually because often, people ask me if I’m ready to stop. Usually, that’s a social cue that they’re ready to stop (or at least that’s how I take it). Most people at events have several shorter scenes, and I don’t want to monopolize anyone’s time. As a result, I’ll say sure, I’m ready to stop, even if I could go for much longer. By pushing limits, I mean I want to be pushed to the point where I want to stop, where I would beg for it to stop, and I want my partner to push just a bit farther. I want to scream and cry and plead, and have my partner revel in that power and choose when to stop as he so pleases.

At the end of the day, I don’t want to decide when clamps come off or a scene stops. I want my partner to trust that if it’s truly too much, I’ll safeword, and the rest of the time, do as he will and enjoy the hell out of it, and I’ll enjoy it equally as much in response. You are in control – stop the scene when you’re ready to be done, and I’ll stop it with a safeword if I need to. Don’t ask me when to do it or that puts me in control of everything!

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.