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the journey of a Dominant as he and his submissive learn, grow and build a life together:
their love... their passion... their laughter and tears.

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Tuesday, November 30, 2004

notes to neophytes - part 2

My beloved L wrote in her weblog this evening about the mentoring relationship that we're forming with the couple I spoke of in my last post here. I did not know she was planning to do this, but it pleased me to read that we're seeing things so similarly.

One thing she mentioned was that we have given them links to several of our favorite "lifestyle-themed" weblogs. I remember our conversation with them over coffee about this. I knew that they'd already spent a good deal of time scouring several of the better "educational" BDSM web sites, and how found them interesting and informative ...but rather textbookish. I told them that it was really only this year that I'd discovered how very much there was to be learned by reading about the day to day experiences of others (couples in particular, for me) as they worked at living this lifestyle day to day. So to all of you out there who take the time to write from your life and from your heart, please know that you not only entertain, enlighten, and inspire those of us who are already involved... you're providing an invaluable form of education for those who are still in the investigative stage.

With that, here's another excerpt from a recent email, this one written by L in response to questions they had asked of her.

[L], were you in pain when you cried out?

absolutely. but not in the way of, say, stepping on a rock in bare feet, or stubbing you little toe on the wall, or smashing your finger in a door. all of that kind of pain is just pain, and it hurts me just as much as it hurts someone not in the lifestyle. the pain i receive, hell, the pain i CRAVE in a scene, is totally different. yes, it hurts, but i want it to hurt, because it enhances the pleasure. the way my body reacts is at a higher level of intensity than normal, and i love it. and the endorphins are such a wonderful reaction; it’s absolutely a natural high. and when i cry out, it’s because the pain is very intense, and i’m close to the point where i can’t imagine one more sting, but that’s when John stops a moment to let me get my breath, because he knows.

i am a sensation junkie; if it feels good, i want to do it all the time.

Were you nervous or anxious before you got restrained, knowing it was coming?

yep, but that’s all part of the turn-on, part of what makes the intensity so high, and part of why i do it.

Were you embarrassed to do that in front of others---and why or why not?

no, not embarrassed, because these people are the most accepting, tolerant people i have ever met, and it helps me accept myself when i don’t see or hear people reacting to my kink in a negative way. i still have moments where i’ll do something in a scene, and afterward i can’t quite believe i did it, but i’m no longer embarrassed by it. it just gives me more to think about, and more about me to discover.

What do you feel toward John that allows you to do that?

total trust, and total love, and unconditional love from him.

How do you put your will aside and be willing to be the submissive?

oy. that’s difficult to answer, but the short answer is, because i need and want to. and it is because of the trust and love we share, that makes me comfortable enough to be able to put my will aside. i have not always been that submissive, and i know that i will be more submissive in the future, because it is a journey, both with John, and within my self. we exchange power; i don’t give it up completely, i always have the option to safeword and stop the scene if i need to for some reason. so far, i’ve only safeworded once, and that was only to a pause, not a stop in the scene, because John and I have gotten really good at our nonverbal communication during a scene, and he’s really learned to read the signs my body gives when i can’t speak very well. and when i’m in subspace, verbal communication is pretty difficult, because i am, in fact, in an altered state. and it’s a very happy place.

Is it erotically driven or something else that is more cognitive?

both. conscious, unconscious, erotic, non-erotic; all of it.

posted by John | 9:59 PM [permalink] | |

Monday, November 29, 2004

notes to neophytes - part 1

Lately L and I have been talking with a charming, intelligent couple who are sincerely interested in the lifestyle, in exploring to see if it may be right for them. We try to offer them honest, cadid information about how we found BDSM, how we live the lifestyle, how it works for us. At the same time we try to emphasize that we don't have cut-and-dried answers, that much of what they want to know can only be answered by them.

Still, I'm new to this kind of what I suppose could be called a mentoring relationship. Below is an excerpt from an email I sent recently in which I responded to several specific questions. I'm posting this in part on the outside chance that someone new to the lifestyle might stop to read and perhaps find some value therein, but in particular in hopes that those with greater depth in the lifestyle than I possess may take a look and warn me if I'm giving someone bad advice.

"Is it possible that [we] are not cut out for this life style if I am not a masochist and he is not a sadist? What if punishment and accountability is all that I am interested in? Do we fit within those labels---since we are interested in experimenting?"

Short answer: yes. More realistic answer: maybe, but I doubt it. As [L] said,

"because of all the time and interest you’ve shown, i don’t think it’s very likely"

The level of your interest, the level of your commitment to your inquiry, etc., all make me think that you'll eventually find your "niche". One thing I think you're seeing is that not everyone lives this lifestyle in the same manner.

Labels in general are highly over-rated, and particularly so in this lifestyle. There IS no universal lexicon. There are no definitions of the relevant labels which are "canon". The only definitions which truly matter are the operational definitions worked out by each couple, by and for themselves. Being able to introduce yourself to a group as a dominant or a submissive gives them a very general idea of your orientation, which is plenty. In YOUR relationship, you are free to choose, use, and define whatever labels/titles/terms YOU wish, for YOU.

Back in the days when I was first making the transition from "online BDSM" to the realworld thing, and was having my first opportunities to play, I did some wondering about myself. I knew from the *very* fist time I saw a couple play that this was something I wanted *very* much to do.

When I began to get to play on occasion... well, I *really* liked it! I enjoyed having virtually complete control of a play partner's body: pain and pleasure both mine to give or withhold. I enjoyed being found worthy of sufficient trust by the submissive to enable the surrender of that degree of control. I particularly revelled in a sense of hyper-focus, tunnel vision of a sort that I experienced when playing. Early on it was not unusual for me to play with "an audience" of a dozen or more people. But once the scene began, it was as if the size of the entire universe suddenly shrank to encompass nothing more than me and the one with whom I was playing.

In spite of the amount of pleasure I found in playing, there was something I wondered about a lot. Some of the dominants with whom I was becoming acquainted had related to me that they found play to be quite arousing ...sexually. This was not the case for me.

I wondered if maybe I was just overly focused upon my technique, or just still a little nervous about the whole thing. But I also wondered if perhaps this meant I was "not sadistic enough". And if that was true, did it mean that I really didn't belong in this lifestyle as a dominant.

I'm very happy now that I didn't become too worried, too paranoid about this possibility back then. As time passed, I did become more at ease, more confident in my skills when playing and this led me to a more "physical" enjoyment of the experience. It's still not always a distinct physical turn-on for me (in anything like the sense that play is for [L]), and it very seldom is when I'm playing in public at a party. I can honestly say, however, that during the time that [L] and I have been together, I've gone from really liking to play to absolutely loving it!

So, please, don't worry about any kind of external labels. Do continue to experiment. Read about new things. Watch new things whenever you have the chance. TRY new things. Find the things that work for you and enjoy them to the fullest.

And do not worry about reluctance to launch into S&M-type play at this point. There's a lot more to this lifestyle than flogging and bondage. As [L] wrote:

"if punishment and accountability ARE all you’re interested in, so be it. if that’s what works best for you both, and it satisfies the needs you’re looking to fulfill, then it’s good. and it’s okay. and it doesn’t mean you’re any less 'in the lifestyle' than those of us who do want the pain with the pleasure and the dominance with the submission"

The only way you're going to know what's right for you as a couple is to continue on your quest for knowledge... and never, ever stop. I think it was Woody Allen who said that a relationship is like a shark ...if it stops moving forward it dies. For right now, find the things that appeal to you most and begin working on incorporating them as frequently as possible into your life. BUT... recognize that you're not static, as a couple or as individuals. The list of things that "work" for you in your relationship is most likely going to be significantly longer two years from now than it will be six months from now. Expect that as you learn and as you experience, you are going to grow. Which again, is a very good thing.

posted by John | 10:31 PM [permalink] | |

trying it out

In an interesting post today on Randomness, B wrote about dominants testing new toys on themselves. This reminded me of something I'd found on my computer not too long ago, the text of something I had written in an early and very short-lived attempt at blogging about two and a half years ago. Here's an excerpt:

[T]here is [an] aspect [of the lifestyle] which, although it doesn't quite carry the weight of universal dogma, IS regarded by many as something of a prerequisite. This issue is phrased in a variety of ways. "You can't take a sub there if you haven't been there yourself." "The best dominants started out as submissives." "A dominant should know what a toy feels like before ever using it on a sub."

The proponents of this prerequisite make the argument that this sort of thing provides a dominant with insight that can be gained no other way. Yet I question that. Among submissives, different things *feel* differently to different people. What is pleasureable to one is excruciating to another, and may be a hard limit to someone else. It can be suggested that the knowledge of what a flogger feels like to Dom "A" may even give that dominant a false sense of security. Differences in personal tastes, pain thresholds and neurological processing (among other factors) determine how the force of an impact will be interpreted, felt. If Dom "A" has been on the receiving end of a particular cat o' nine, he does know how it feels...TO HIM -- but not necessarily how it feels to submissive "B". Losing sight of that, projecting his own expectations onto sub "B," could very well result in a hasty end to a scene. Or, for that matter, should Dom "A" have a much lower tolerance for pain (which contrary to the belief of some, is *not* a character flaw), he may be so light in his touch that the play experience does not fulfill the desires and needs of sub "B".

So, if the insight into how it feels is not a reliable resource for dominants, what else might they gain from the experience? If Dom "A" is just not *wired* to enjoy pain, if Dom "A" has no desire to submit, or even to bottom, then the experience is reduced to not much more than just proving that he or she can endure some pain in return for the respect of those in the lifestyle who are convinced that it's necessary.

My views have changed since then, though I still think there's some validity in what I tried to say there. A few months after writing this, I tried bottoming to a Domme friend to see what I could learn from such experiences. What I learned mostly was that I could tolerate a fair amount of pain if I convinced myself that I "had to," but that there was no enjoyment for me in either the pain or the restraint.

These days I never use a new toy (purchased or handmade) on someone else without trying it on myself first with a fair amount of impact... mainly trying to guage the nature of the sensation (thuddy versus stingy, etc.). I've not tried B's method of evaluation, i.e., taking a few swats with the item in question from C, but I'm thinking that this would not be a bad idea ...especially with toys of a new type. By means of a healthy amount of feedback from L, I believe I've gained a decent working understanding of how things feel to her, such that I can guess pretty well what new editions of toys we use a lot (e.g., floggers) will deliver. But the next time we expand our arsenal of implements of destruction with something altogether new, I think I'll have to give the B Technique a try.

I'm still fairly convinced that it's possible to be too confident one knows what something feels like when applying it to a new play partner. If I'm going to make a mistake re intensity, I'd want it to be too little rather than too much, so I'll always hope to err on the side of safety.

posted by John | 9:04 PM [permalink] | |

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

punishment: signal vs noise

I have three or four partially finished blog posts currently beginning to collect dust in various odd corners of my mind. I had resolved that this evening I was going to complete one of those and publish it here before any more time passed since my last writing. Before doing that I opened my beloved L's weblog to read her latest entry. I knew she'd written last night while I was occupied with another project, but by the end of the evening we were both so tired that I'd neglected to ask about her post.

I was a little surprised, but certainly pleased, to discover that she'd blogged about punishment, giving a fair accounting of a couple of our recent conversations on the subject plus some additional thinking she'd done since we last talked about it. Reading our essential consensus expressed in her words made me feel that it would be worth taking the time to do the same. So, the other works-in-progress will have to languish for at least another day while I now indulge myself with this.

I'm aware that some of the things we do (and don't do), some of the attitudes we thankfully share, may make us seem a bit different from the BDSM community as a whole ...or at least from the blogging BDSM community. But as I talked about in my last post, I'm now more than ever dedicated to the proposition that we must be true to what's right and good and appropriate for us, and not worry about how we may compare to other couples. It's not that we're trying to create some sort of "kinder, gentler" D/s relationship. We'll be the first to tell you that ours is absolutely not THE way, but it's the way for US, at where we are now in the journey. One of the areas in which I sense we may differ from "the norm" is in our approach to punishment.

L asked me a few days ago about my thoughts on punishment and I began by saying that I definitely believed punishment had a place in a real D/s relationship. A truly loving dominant simply must care enough to punish when punishment is deserved. It's the why and the how that are subject to individuals' interpretation.

To me, punishment and discipline are two very different things. In my mind discipline is about the bringing of a sense of order and focus and purpose to a submissive's life by the efforts of the dominant. Punishment, on the other hand, is more about creating an aversion within the submissive to repeating improper behaviors (sins of omission as well as commission). The techniques used to achieve that must be appropriate for both dom and sub.

I told L that I've long had the feeling that using "corporal punishment" for a submissive with a strong masochistic streak would serve to implant mixed messages, even if not on a conscious level. She receives pain when she's good... when she's bad she receives more/different pain. While I have no doubt that I could create physical punishments that she could never confuse with play consciously, it's the subtle potential longterm less-than-conscious effect that causes me concern. To be fair, I do see where an argument could be made that both types of pain are an expression of love ...just as loving parents (such as mine) often physically punish errant children... but that gets into a whole other minefield beyond the scope of what I want to address here.

Mainly I worry that, for us at least, there's a real potential concern for the signal getting lost in the noise when it comes to physical punishment.

But if not physical punishment, then what? Again, that has to be unique to each couple and likely to each situation. Dominants as a rule are magnificently imaginative creatures, and I can readily conceive of a variety of things I could use. Occasionally, I'll arch an eyebrow and playfully remind her that, "bad girls DON'T get spanked," but I suspect it would be difficult for me to withhold play as a means of punishment... just as I would not want to withhold affection. It just tastes wrong to me.

What would be the ultimate punishment in our relationship? I think I know.

I am unimaginably blessed by the type of relationship that L and I share. We are passionate lovers. We are best friends. We share a vast array of interests, tastes, likes and dislikes. We communicate exceedingly well, and there is a bedrock-solid foundation of mutual respect and trust. The most painful thing I could do to her would be to violate that respect, break that trust. I pray that I never would, never could do that because it would be betraying us both. Short of that, though, about the most painful thing I can imagine for her would be to know that she had truly disappointed me. And from what she's said, I believe L agrees. She wrote: "...the punishment my own head would bring in the form of mental self-flagellation would be far far worse than anything...."

The realization that wrongfully displeasing/disappointing me would bring such anguish to her seems the best possible type of "behavior modification" ...the type that works to prevent improper words and actions, rather than punishing them after they occur. And it occurs to me that prevention may be the most effective solution to the "signal-to-noise ratio" problem.

posted by John | 9:17 PM [permalink] | |

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

what's right, right now

To say that there's been a plethora of thought-provoking writing showing up on BDSM-lifestyle-oriented weblogs of late would risk being an understatement. Even a list of the articles and their authors that have seriously caught my attention recently would make this a long post. There have been many issues I've been caused to contemplate at length. There have been many topics I've wanted to write about... not because I felt my thoughts thereon were particularly profound, but mostly because writing helps me to clarify, to crystallize my own thinking.

One of the most important (to me) things to come out of all this recent reflection is an even deeper appreciation for the fact that there's no ONE TRUE WAY to live this lifestyle.

Within the last week or so I've read accounts of things done and things said that seemed simply wrong to me, things that evoked very strong negative reactions in me despite the fact that I try to pride myself on being tolerant and accepting. Thankfully, I withheld comment initially. It was soon easy for me to see strong parallels between what I was feeling and what my beloved L recently described in a post on her blog. I'm thankful now that I refrained from commenting on some of these things initially. After allowing myself a few days to digest it all, and frequently to read commentary from both parties in many instances, I once again see with clarity that there are *things* which are not wrong, not malum en se, simply because they are not right for L and me (at least not right now).

In the early months of our relationship, L and I talked a fair amount about how the various labels (e.g., top/dominant/master, bottom/submissive/slave, etc.) applied to us and would be defined by us. In a recent post Patrick effectively summarized the gist of our mutual opinion when he wrote:

If you spank or whip someone, or tie them up and do whatever kink comes to mind, that doesn't make you a dominant, but a top. If you have these things done to you, that doesn't make you a submissive, but instead a bottom. There's nothing wrong with being a top or a bottom, by any means, but dominance and submission extends beyond the kinky stuff and out into life. Topping and bottoming is about kink and play only. Dominance and submission is about the exchange of personal power within peoples' lives.

When I first met L, she was a self-described bottom. I believed very early on that I saw within her a true submissive, and in the weeks and months that have followed she's come to realize much more of her real self. As I began my active involvement in the lifestyle, I discovered immediately that I enjoyed topping, but always felt that the greater fulfillment for me lay in the exercise of dominance beyond the time spent playing. During our time together I've surprised myself a bit by how much more pleasure I now take from play. What has especially enriched my life, however, is the exercise (sometimes subtle, sometimes less-than-subtle) of dominance in our life outside of play.

My definition of myself is not related to either the toys that I can proficiently use on L, or to the names I call her. Her definition of herself arises from neither what tools she likes to be hit with, nor what she wants to be called. Our perceptions of ourselves individually, and each of the other, are based upon what feels right to us. Pretty damned subjective, yes. External observers might declare that we have it all wrong, but we don't live our life for anyone other than us.

There are things we don't do and don't say which seem to be active components of the interpersonal dynamics of other D/s couples. One day they may be for us, but not right now. A minor example: I don't call L my "slut" or my "whore," even in play. I know both of us well enough that it would not sound or feel right to either of us. But, what can I say... it definitely works for other couples, in what is the proper context for them.

I wonder, though, about couples who are just beginning to explore, who are experimenting to see what if any elements of this lifestyle will be natural and enriching to their relationship. When these people read about exchanges of this sort in the writings of obviously intelligent and experienced D/s couples, will they assume that calling one's partner a slut is an integral part of "being dominant"?? Certainly some will find that it intensifies things, takes them to a new level, etc. On the other hand, for some who go rushing down that road without sufficient communication in advance it may well be hurtful (if not harmful).

Please understand that I mean in no way to condemn what does work for others. What I'm trying to say is that I hope everyone will give thought to doing as L and I are doing. By that I don't mean emulating our style of play or manner of speaking. What I do mean is that we are trying to find ONLY what is the "one true way" for us. We do this with a whole lot of (not always easy, but honest) communication and a mutual willingness to grow and to learn new things about ourselves. And we do this upon a foundation of mutual respect and trust that is built up, layer upon layer, as we live each new day together.

What's right for us right now changes. We play in ways now that we didn't a few months ago. There are lots of times when L now finds sincere pleasure in calling me "Master," when not too terribly long ago "Sir" was a major struggle. We've expanded our horizons sexually as well. She thoroughly enjoys things now which even one month ago made her virtually shudder to think of. [Note: I'll probably be discussing some of that as soon as I'm not afraid of causing her death by some sort of blushing-induced aneurysm!] We live. We love. We learn. We grow. Sometimes it seems there's a step back with every two or three steps forward, but from where we are on the journey right now the future looks very bright.

Well, it's getting late. Work comes too early tomorrow, and I'm resigning myself to the fact that this post is "typical John" ...rather long, and rather rambling. I haven't written here in a few days in large part because there were just so many different things on my mind. I'm hoping that in the next few days more of them will find their way out of the quagmire of my mind and onto this weblog. If you've lasted this long, thanks for your perseverance.

posted by John | 11:41 PM [permalink] | |

Thursday, November 04, 2004

the hardcore and the gentle

It's late, after midnight. I'm up, trying to catch up on my reading of the various weblogs I've come to enjoy so much. L has been sound asleep for a couple of hours, in no small part due to a John-induced orgasm overload. It's a cold, rainy night, but our home's old radiators warm my old bones as I savor one last glass of Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon.

It's a night of pseudo-plagiarism, or at least of writing *inspired* by the writing of others. First it was the recipe post, now this.

On Monday, in a post titled "thoughts on gardening," cee shared the lyrics from Bjork's "Unison".

The mere mention of Bjork conjures up for me the memory of the early days in my relationship with L. Back when she was still in the process of becoming mine, I stumbled across the lyrics to Bjork's song, "Big Time Sensuality" and shared them with her. I share them again now, with you. The words were very appropriate for us at the time, and the phrase "the hardcore and the gentle" is very much about our life as we live it now day to day. The phrase, "it takes courage to enjoy it," could be considered a terse compliment to all of us in the lifestyle.

Without further preface:

Big Time Sensuality

i can sense it
something important
is about to happen
it's coming up

it takes courage to enjoy it
the hardcore and the gentle
big time sensuality

we just met
and i know i'm a bit too intimate
but something is coming up
and we're both included

it takes courage to enjoy it
the hardcore and the gentle
big time sensuality

i don't know my future after this weekend
and i don't want to

it takes courage to enjoy it
the hardcore and the gentle
big time sensuality

posted by John | 1:20 AM [permalink] | |

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

the best revenge

I've heard it said that "living well is the best revenge." Perhaps, but surely an important part of living well is eating well.

Yes, I know this is ~off topic~ for a blog of this nature, but sometimes one simply must break the rules. And, besides, danae is the one who sent me off on this tangent with her post yesterday of the recipe for a very delicious sounding low-fat New York style cheesecake.

I love to cook. Ask L. I have even earned a living doing this for a few years not too terribly long ago. Anytime I see someone share a recipe, I feel compelled to do so. Therefore, below you will find a recipe for my most favorite desert in the whole world. It is, however, definitely NOT low-fat. Nor is it low-calorie. Not low-anything that I can think of. But it IS almost as good as sex. Well, almost as good as sex with anyone other than L.

After this abberation, I'll return to the regular programming here....

(serves 12, or so ...probably less, if they love chocolate!)

The inspiration for this dish was Jeff Smith's, "Chocolate Elephant" (see: _The_Frugal_Gourmet_Cooks_American_). I made that, following his recipe, for the first time about 20 years ago. During the time since, I've experimented with a lot of different variations on the theme. What you see here is probably my favorite version.

I've never given it a name previously... just said it was "like the Frugal Gourmet's Chocolate Elephant, only better." I settled on Chocolate "Surfeit" because of all the connotations that word has: excess, overabundance, intemperate indulgence, etc.

Smith wrote this about his recipe:
"This is expensive, very rich, terribly fattening, and it is not good for you. It is also disgustingly delicious. It has all the right attributes for the serious chocolate lover."

If you're anything like me, Chocolate Surfeit is all that and more.

Ingredients (main)
12 large eggs
1 teaspoon [real] vanilla extract
8 oz. unsalted butter
1/4 cup amaretto liqueur
1/4 cup creme de cacao (or other chocolate-flavored liqueur)
16 oz. "German Sweet Chocolate" [NO substitutions]
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
1 cup heavy cream
3 oz. slivered almonds
4 oz. "mini" semi-sweet chocolate chips

Ingredients (topping) [optional]
1 cup heavy cream
cocoa powder [a good brand]
confectioner's sugar


Set the butter out to soften at room temperature. When it's pliable, you're ready to begin.

Spread the slivered almonds evenly on a baking sheet and place in a 375(F) degree oven until toasted to a light brown. They'll smell wonderful, but avoid the temptation to eat them. Set aside to cool.

Separate the eggs. Beat the yolks with the vanilla and butter. When thoroughly blended, add the amaretto and chocolate liqueurs. Whip the heavy cream, gradually adding 2 tablespoons of the granulated sugar.

Melt the German Sweet Chocolate slooowly in a double boiler. Soften the gelatin in the water, then heat and stir until completely dissolved as the last of the chocolate is melting. Remove the chocolate from heat and stir in the gelatin/water mixture. Then allow to cool just a bit while you work on the egg whites.

Beat the egg whites with the remaining granulated sugar to stiff peaks. Blend the chocolate with the butter/yolk mixture, adding the chocolate to the yolks A TINY BIT AT A TIME (too fast and you'll "scramble" the yolks).

Spoon the whipped cream and the beaten egg whites into a very large mixing bowl. Toss in the toasted almonds and the chocolate chips. Finally, GENTLY fold the chocolate mixture into the other ingredients in the bowl. Don't worry about getting it perfectly homogenized, you'll deflate the whipped cream and beaten egg whites with too much mixing.

Refrigerate immediately!! You're using raw eggs here so be appropriately cautious. This should keep fine in the fridge for a couple of days. There's not much of a chance there will be any left after that amount of time anyway.

Topping [optional]:
I like to serve this in a dessert dish topped by a nice dollop of whipped cream which has been very lightly dusted with cocoa powder first and then a little more generously with confectioners sugar.

posted by John | 11:18 PM [permalink] | |

Monday, November 01, 2004

relativity and the rearview

My beloved L recently wrote in her weblog about the mixed feelings that she often has when reading the journals of others.

it doesn’t seem to matter whether dominant or submissive has written, but that i walk away feeling, well, mixed. whether a real-life account of a scene, or just musing, or a fantasy written out, i can never seem to just accept it and enjoy it.
[ . . . . ]
the truth is, there are simply tons of things that other couples in the lifestyle do or say or partake in, for which i am just not ready. and some things for which i will never be ready.
but what i don’t get is why it affects me so much to read about those things.
[ . . . . ]
i think the difficulty for me is that i start to identify with the ppl in the story, especially the love-based ones, and i think the story is headed for a familiar place, and it does go there, but then it takes what feels like 100 steps beyond what’s familiar, and all of a sudden i’m freaked.
i know that my limits will change; hell, they’ve changed already [...] but there are so many things within submission that i don’t want. there are terms doms and subs alike use in their descriptions of activities, or of themselves, that i don’t like, don’t agree with, or just plain don’t understand.

L and I have talked about these reactions in the past, and we talked about her most recent post. What I'm going to say here is in part a reinteration of things I've said before.

First, I'll admit that I don't have all the answers by any means. I have not been able to find a nice tidy little remedy for this difficulty, no words of wisdom that have been able to dissolve this hurdle for her. What I have tried to tell her is that the only prescription for this is the same one we've used to get where we are now in all aspects of our D/s relationship: a combination of communication, trust and time.

It's my belief that even the most profoundly submissive partner is going to be subject to resistance some of the time. The stretching of limits, the pushing of boundaries that's necessary for growth by definition takes one into unfamiliar, uncharted and typically (initially) uncomfortable territory. The size of the "known world" has increased tremendously for L during our time together, in terms of her sexuality and her submission. The magnitude of these changes have pleased me greatly, and regularly astonish her when she pauses to reflect upon them.

And though I don't think she's ever felt that I was pushing her too far, too fast, I wonder if perhaps subconsciously there's a sense of, "Geez, let me catch my breath for a minute!"

I know that some of the words and some of the activities which elicit negative feelings for her are emotional triggers for painful memories. In other instances, it's a matter of perceiving things that are so outside the realm of her experience thus far as to be totally alien. What I would love to give her is a sense of "relativity" in her perspective. Without a doubt, she has vanilla friends who, if confronted with many of the things WE do, would find various of those things offensive, disgusting, degrading, or at the very least perverse. Yet these are things that we enjoy, things that work for us. L knows without question that I respect her, and she would be the first to tell those vanilla voyeurs that she never feels degraded or the object of disrespect.

It's the same with other couples, other dominants and submissives. Not everyone is going to like the same things. Not everyone is going to play with the same levels of intensity. But these preferences are not necessarily static. I know that L thoroughly enjoys some things now that only a few months ago she found quite repellant. I want her to know that I'm going to exercise the very best judgment of which I'm capable in living up to my responsibility to help her become all that she can be as a woman and as a submissive. I intend to do that with love, with nurturing, with encouragement, with discipline, and with the occasional nudge onto unfamiliar turf. I want to broaden her knowledge, her experience, and her thinking. In the process, we're going to discover that some things just aren't for us, but that won't be based on preconceived notions. [Note: There are some things which we've always agreed are HARD limits for us both such as children, animals, and scat.]

In comment to L's post, danae made some good observations:

[Y]ou have said the magic words in your post. John respects you.
With mutual respect in the relationship - you can't have distrespect even in degrading or humilating acts during your play. The respect he has for you is that that is why he can do that and why you can enjoy it.
When you read a person's post that seems like they don't have self-respect, look at other posts or other things within in the post. Do they seem happy, fulfilled or sad, unhappy?
If they are happy, then how does a person have no self-respect. I feel if a person does not have self-respect then they probably are not happy and don't know how to even feel that emotion.

I love L exactly as she is, I cherish her for all that she's become, and the vast potential that I see still within her gives me joy beyond measure. She has grown SO much in her submission during the time we've been together, and I am confident that she'll continue to do so. The rapid pace of this development has not been the result of extraordinary efforts on my part. It's been merely because I was able to ultimately show her, allow her to feel, each step of the way that she was ready for that next step ...that she actually could do it.

Sometimes maybe she looks over her shoulder, she glances in the rearview mirror so to speak, and seeing how far she's come finds it a little daunting. Maybe more than a little. Though to an external observer the increments might seem modest, she has redefined her comfort zone again and again and again during the last few months. Six months of awakening and discovery, however, do not erase a lifetime of inculcation about what's nice and proper and appropriate and respectful.

We both will continue to learn and to grow, and we will do it together. You're not going to lose yourself in your submission, sweetheart. You're going to become more yourself. You often tell me that you belong to me, and it's true. You are my most precious possession, the most priceless treasure in the world.

posted by John | 11:57 AM [permalink] | |


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