new commenting reduxWell, I thought I had HaloScan commenting in place. So far as I can tell it's functioning properly now. Evidently their auto-install for Blogger didn't work for me at all, but I've manually added the code to my template and now things appear to be as they should be.
Please let me know via email (address in anti-spam-bot form is in the left column, just below "recent articles") if you have problems commenting.
posted by John | 8:35 AM [permalink] | |
new commenting systemHaloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this weblog, thanks to Red's suggestion. It was something I'd thought about, having seen it implemented on several blogs I try to read regularly. I suppose I simply forgot about something as simple as that during all the tinkering and tweaking I've been doing to the new template here.
posted by John | 12:42 AM [permalink] | |
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
coming to terms with some termsI've found a kindred soul... Neko, who writes Letters To An Angel.
A few days ago, he waxed eloquent about dominant and submissive stereotypes in a post titled, denial and labels.
In Neko's words:
"whenever I think of "A Dom", I get a picture in my head of someone wearing leather, carrying handcuffs, and swinging a whip or a paddle. Someone that doesn't relate to his partners, and has strict, arbitrary rules for them, which he enforces with glee. A man much more interested in taking pleasure from his partner, than in the giving of pleasure. And I don't think that's anything like me at all."My first exposure to the BDSM-slash-D/s lifestyle was some few years ago in the online world. Many of the so-called dominants I met there presented as the type he describes, or at least tried to portray themselves as such. I developed early-on an abhorence of this type of "Dom". Especially those guys who appointed to themselves the title "Sir," "Lord," or "Master," raised my hackles.
"It's funny, because most of the dominant men that I've met in this lifestyle aren't like that. But that's the image that persists in my head whenever the word Dom arises in conversation."I agree with his perception. The dominants (male and female) I've come to know since entering the "real-life" lifestyle have been unlike that stereotype. And I think of myself as far from this. He goes on to describe his image of himself, not as "a Dom," but as: "a kinky, average looking man, who likes to tease and control willing women."
Neko goes on to say what he doesn't think of his angel as "a sub.:
"You're my girl, my kinky, submissive girlfriend, my partner, and my equal. Yes, I know, many others who read this may be surprised that I think this way, but you are my equal in this relationship. [....] I want an equal partner. It makes your submission sweeter if I respect you"While I think he's entirely entitled to his own definitions, and I'm reasonably certain that he would not try to bind them on others, I am inclined to think that the emotional connotations which "Dom" and "sub" carry for him unduly restrict fair useage of the words.I've often said it's both blessing and curse that there's no universally accepted BDSM lexicon. It's a blessing in that there's no "canon" requiring a one-way-only homogeneity in the lifestyle. The opportunity for a wide range of free expression is an asset to us. But it places an onus on each individual to operationally define for himself (for themselves, in a realtionship) a whole set of terminology. And it's quite true that the connotations of words like Dom, sub, Master and slave frequently connect to emotional baggage we may have been carrying for a very long time.
In my mind, none of these terms are negative ones. Certainly there are individuals who use these terms to describe themselves who I believe engage in negative behavior, harbor negative attitudes, etc.. But I think of this more as a misappropriation of the words on their part than something which tarnishes the terms themselves.
I am a dominant man. Granted, for much of my adult life I lacked full awareness of that fact. The degree to which I suppressed my true nature doubtless has much to do with bad relationship choices I made over the years, and with the frustration and unhappiness I endured within those relationships. In the last seven years or so I have come to understand who and what I am, and I've realized that I've had enough vanilla relationships to last me a lifetime already.
During most of this period of new awareness I've thought of myself as "a domininat," rather than as "a Dom." Many will think I'm putting too fine a point on it, but here's my lexicography. As I think of things, a dominant is a male or female who has a strong desire and an enduring need to exercise control over another individual. Now I'll immediately qualify that by saying that I see this as a negative thing ONLY if that control is not consensually surrendered. Within the fairly broad area encompassed by this definition are Doms/Dommes, Tops, and Masters/Mistresses.
In my own little world, this how I think of those labels. A Top is someone who is principally interested in exercising control within S&M-type play. To pervert Shakespeare, "the play's the thing." A Dom/Domme, on the other hand, is someone who finds greatest fulfillment in exercising control within an on-going relationship with another, which may or may not (but most often does) include S&M-type play. A Master/Mistress is someone who needs that kind of relationship too, but also needs its nature to at least approach a total power exchange. These definitions may seem shallow or skewed to others, but they work for me.
The relationship I'm in now with L is without a doubt the happiest one of my life, but my role in that relationship initially was as a Top. When I met her she was already in a long-distance relationship with a man she regarded as her Dom. At first we approached each other with hopes of becoming friends and casual play partners. Very soon, though, the sparks between us lit the fire of love. Fortunately for everyone, all three of us were amenable to a poly relationship. As that relationship developed and grew I was surely happy, but I was very aware that an additional dimension which I needed was absent.
M (her Dom) and I began to communicate more, and I hoped to be able to wait for a natural progression of things, but I reached a point not long ago where the frustration of being in a relationship with L but not being able to be a Dom in that relationship was creating so much inner turmoil for me that it was affecting my happiness, which had spill-over effects on her. Eventually I was compelled to raise the issue openly so that we could all address it. There was some initial resistance, and lots of questions... for some of which I had answers, for some I didn't. Ultimately, though, we all agreed to try.
The sense of relief I felt at finally having the freedom to truly be myself defies being put into words. But one of the things I realized immediately was that our decision did not automatically make me her Dom. It did, though, remove the hobbles of being resticted to being no more than lover and Top. I can now become her Dom ...not instead of M, but in addition to him. And, yes, there's obviously the potential for conflict ahead in such a complex relationship. Communication will be our best defense against that.
L is still very much just beginning to understand and embrace her submissive nature, but she feels ready for me to become her Dom. The transition is going to be an on-going process as we each gradually become. At the munch/play-party of our local group, L wore a collar that I had bought for her. On that occasion it was basically "fetish-wear" for her. When I placed that around her neck for the get-together we attended last weekend, we both knew that it now had more meaning. It was the same leather and metal, but it was less a fashion accessory and more a symbol of the bond between us.
L is becoming my submissive, but she is already very much my best friend and the love of my life. I respect her and admire her. And as Neko said of his angel, I definitely view her as my equal partner. I revel in every opportunity I have to express my dominance in her life. I savor every time that she gives to me the gift of her submission (in any of a variety of manifestations). She is no less submissive and I am no less dominant because of this feeling of equality. As I see it, we are full partners in the project of learning each other's needs and how best to fulfill them...a project I hope will never end.
posted by John | 10:30 AM [permalink] | |
Friday, July 23, 2004
responsibility 1.1As L and I cross the threshold into a new phase of our relationship -- relating to each other as dominant and submissive, rather than as lovers who happen to be a top and a bottom -- I've been thinking a good deal about responsbilities. Specifically, the responsbilities of which I must remain ever cognizant as her Dominant.
My initial thought for this entry was to make a try at enumerating what I saw as a Dom's duties to a submissive in general. Certain things immediately came to mind: to be consistent, to be stable, to exercise self-control, to be emotionally mature, to be nuturing, to be trustworthy, etc. I smiled as I realized such a mere list of attributes would somewhat resemble the "Boy Souts Law" that I learned in my youth (a scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent). No, just a listing would not do. And to attempt a discussion of even a few of these would be beyond the scope of a single blog article.
I decided instead to focus on one thing for now. I'm not even sure what to call this one thing, so I'll circumlocute and hope that I can convey my meaning. And obviously, what I'll say here is nothing more than my humble opinion at this point in my life, and is probably worth exactly what you're paying for it.
A dominant must be willing and able to cope with resistance from a submissive. Even the most profoundly submissive partner will be resistant in some fashion at some times. For one who is only beginning to discover and embrace her submissive nature, resistance is likely to be a fairly common thing, and it's seldom as simple as her not wanting to do some particular thing.
She's venturing into uncharted, often frightening territory. She's feeling vulnerable in a way possibly never experienced before. She may easily find herself questioning the wisdom of surrendering this level of control to someone who may seem, suddenly at times, like a stranger. She may feel guilty because she senses she's "back-sliding." Some word or act of her dominant may inadvertently touch painful suppressed memories from another time and launch an emotional reaction entirely unrelated and out of proportion to what's actually happening in realtime.
Resistance is not something that can be overcome by sheer force of will, on the part of either party. For the submissive it requires a commitment to the relationship itself, faith that the ultimate rewards of this struggle will outweigh the hard times, trust that her dominant will only always ever do what he truly believes is best for her, and confidence in his level of knowledge and empathy.
For the dominant it requires an inexhausible supply of patience, an acceptance of the fact that these things are going to happen, and an unflagging willingness to help her work through them. This is where the qualities of self-control and emotional maturity are invaluable. A dominant cannot afford the luxury of becoming frustrated and/or angry with a resistant submissive to the point where he withdraws (physically or emotionally) or lashes back. He must remain in control of himself particularly during these times, and must remain focussed on her needs rather than reacting reflexively. A true dominant is capable of accepting a double measure of responsibility in exchange for every bit of control he desires to exercise within his submissive's life.
Making a D/s relationship work IS work, for both parties, but the rewards for both can be SO worth the effort.
posted by John | 12:30 PM [permalink] | |
Monday, July 19, 2004
refocusingI began this weblog initially to have a place where I could share interesting odds and ends I found elsewhere on the net (particularly in other blogs) dealing with things central to my personal life... especially things relating to BDSM, D/s relationships, polyamory, and occasionally good ol’ fashioned kinky sex. Before long, though, I was posting more about what was going on in my own life. About that time, I discovered a new-ish weblog host, Indecent Blogging, which was much smaller and seemed more "kink-friendly" than the vast Blogger/Blogspot world. I created a weblog of my own there, in which I’ve been writing regularly. It’s been fun for the most part. The little community there has been very friendly and accepting.
The longer I write there, though, and especially the more other weblogs I read there, the more I’m seeing the place as primarily a home for mostly fairly vanilla "sex blogs," and that’s not what I’m trying to do. I’ve made enough friends there, that I expect I’ll continue to be involved there. If for no other reason than to hopefully provide a reasonably decent example to those wonderfully sex-obsessed folk there of someone who’s involved in the BDSM lifestyle who’s not so terribly different from them in many ways.
I’ve decided to return to this place, to brush away the accumulated dust and do a little other "housekeeping" (maybe a new template soon). My intention is to use this venue for doing what will hopefully be a little more serious writing about D/s relationships in general and particularly about the one I’m in. As time permits I discover more and more truly excellent journals being written by other dominants, by submissives and by couples. If there was a way I could earn a living doing nothing but reading these. I know that regularly I’m going to be finding things that I will feel compelled to share.
So this blog will still be a bit of a hodgepodge: a bit of thinking out-loud, a bit of relating personal experiences, a bit of sharing things I read elsewhere that are just too good not to share. I have no idea if anyone will read here or not. I kind of hope so, but this is something I’m undertaking very much for me.
posted by John | 8:19 PM [permalink] | |