Day 30: What lessons are you learning now that you don’t want to forget?

  1. Take time for yourself. It’s okay to step back from kink if you need/want.
  2. Labels belong on soup cans, not people.
  3. Take care of yourself. You cannot be an effective dominant if you are not feeling well.
  4. Communicate your needs, but know the difference between needs and wants.
  5. Don’t worry if others don’t understand. The only one that needs to accept you is you.

Day 23: How has your sexuality evolved since you first developed an interest in kink?

I discovered kink when I was in my early 20s, and when my sexuality was still forming. I got married very young, to someone who was extremely vanilla, though I was a traditional stay-at-home wife. It seems strange to me that being a homemaker is considered a kink to some. In any case, I did not discover the more extreme kinks until after my marriage was ending.

My discovery of kink was through a friend who was initially just seeking acceptance. He told me he was into “weird” stuff, and was worried I would judge him for it. When he shared those things with me, my initial reaction was one of intellectual interest. I couldn’t really say whether I would enjoy them, but I did want to know more. I eventually became his dominant, and together we explored many kinks. Some I discarded as being “not my thing”. Other’s I became enthralled with.

My experience as a dominant lasted many years. Eventually, I wanted to experiment with being a submissive, and through my exploration of “the other side of the slash” I discovered the Daddy/little dynamic. It is one that I enjoy thoroughly, but being dominant is much more a part of who I am.

I have been fortunate to find a submissive man who accepts my little nature and revels in my dominance. He is also a wonderful service top. With him, I don’t have to worry about labels or roles. We fit together well.

Day 24: What qualities do you look for in a partner?

When I was looking for a submissive, I’d made a list of the qualities I wanted in the partner. For me, this was a list that seemed rather contradictory. For the sake of this writing, I’ll see if I can recall that list to some extent.

  • Protective
  • Alpha
  • Stable
  • Kink compatible
  • Intelligent

In short, I wanted a protective, alpha male, who was submissive in the home. He and I had to share enough kinks in common, and his hard limits could not be kinks that were important to me. It was also important to me that he be intelligent enough to hold intellectual conversations with me.

Agreeing on politics and religion were not as important to me, as I do not find these things to be indicative of an inability to be compatible as partners.

Now that I am not single, I can say that my partner meets these things.

Consent, Power, and Negotiation

A friend of mine recently wrote about the importance of negotiation prior to casual play, and the active role that submissive’s need to take in the negotiation process.

Two things stood out to me: one in his original post, and one in the comments.

In the post, he said, “The more intense the play, the clearer the boundaries need to be.” In the comments that followed someone made this statement: “I am one of those who once in that space does not really have the ability to say no. I actually don’t play lightly because of that. I have to have pretty in depth conversations before I play because I need to know in advance that the person I’m playing with understands that I can have all these conversations now but once in that space, they can’t change the rules because I won’t be able to say no.” Put these two statements together, and you have a concise summation of why detailed negotiation is so vital, and also why some opt out of casual play.

In my own experience, I love that space when my sub is no longer able to say no. My sub is fiercely independent and submission does not come easy for him. Even when he is physically submitting, his mind is still his own. That is a trait that makes him who he is, and who I love. However, when he hits that place where he can’t say no….well, words can’t fully describe how much I relish that place. To me, that is the ultimate power exchange. In that moment, I can do anything.

The balance is knowing his limits and respecting what we have negotiated. Yes, I can do anything, but if I love the place where he can’t say no, then it is up to me, as the dominant partner, to prolong that state. Pushing him too far in that state would not only bring that state crashing to an end, but would also make it harder for him to achieve that headspace in the future.

As a dominant, I have a responsibility to know the rules. We have had in-depth discussions about our mutual boundaries and limits, and when he is no longer able to say no, the onus is on me to make sure the boundaries are respected. As a submissive, he has a responsibility to know himself, and to communicate his limits with me. If we find a limit during play that he was previously unaware of, it is his responsibility to communicate that with me. If I want to try something that we have not discussed, it is my responsibility to communicate that to him when he is not in the altered state of not being able to say no.

Just because someone does not say no does not mean they have consented. When someone “does not really have the ability to say no” then they also do not have the ability to say yes.

Negotiation is vital. But timing is equally important.

The Depressed Sub

I have a sneaking suspicion this isn’t going to be very popular, but oh well. Here goes anyway.

I am a sub, not a fucking robot. I see all the time doms complaining that they are not fetish dispensers, and I agree with that. I’m not one either! Even for my partner, I am not always submissive. It’s not me being bratty, or obstinate, or any other derogatory term you wish to fashion. In reality, it is that there are times when I simply cannot be submissive.

I am fully aware this is a choice that I am making. But, believe me, I make it with both my partner and myself in mind. The times I cannot be submissive are almost entirely driven by my depression. I have to make the choice to not submit, or find alternative means of pleasing my partner, in order to ensure my own mental well-being as well as the well-being of the relationship. It’s not an easy thing to do when the only thing my brain wants to do is dig itself deeper into whatever dark cavern triggered the bout of depression.

Everyone gets depressed. It is a quite normal emotional state. The difference is that the vast majority of people can change what they are doing, temporarily change their environment, or simply “pick themselves up by their bootstraps” and break the mental cycle. Those of us with depression, are unable to do any of the above. We end up digging ourselves such a deep mental hole, bouncing from one depressant thought to the next, that eventually we don’t know which way is up much less how to break the vicious cycle of our own thoughts. Often, the entire mental cycle is accompanied with thoughts of severe self loathing, general unworthiness, and self doubt.

Now, imagine just for a moment, someone in this emotional state submitting to a beating, being humiliated and degraded, or submitting to any number of socially unacceptable sex acts. Trust me, it is not a pretty picture. The simple act of submitting, and the resulting thought patterns, in many ways mimics the symptoms of depression. For anyone already in the grip of depression, it can often intensify them to a completely intolerable point. The damage to be caused to a person in this state is very real and long lasting. The damage to the relationship is also very real and most likely permanent.

So, if your sub is suddenly not so subby, or acting completely out of character, you may do well to think back over the past couple of days. Did something happen with work, family, a night out? Or, {insert shocked gasp here}, how about try talking to your sub beyond demands, requests and to-do lists. Your relationship will thank you for it!

Headspace – My Perspective

Phoenix recently posted about headspace, which you can read here. This prompted an interesting discussion between the two of us, where he asked about my headspace and I struggled to explain it. I regularly inhabit multiple headspaces, and they are all distinctly different. As Phoenix stated, these posts are our attempts to explain what our own headspace looks like. They are by no means an effort to tell anyone else what their space should be.

Dom Space – In my dom space, there is no one but me and my submissive. The reactions I elicit from him fuel my arousal. At the same time, my senses are heightened. Every muscle twitch, sigh, and hitch of the breath becomes a signal. Do I continue pushing? Do I take a break? Do I soothe the burning pain, or do I stoke the fires more? These are decisions that I make in the moment, based on the reactions I perceive.

In addition to the heightened awareness making me a more attentive dominant, it also serves as an opportunity to become more attuned to my partner. I am pleased that my partner and I communicate as much as we do, but there are things that words cannot convey. These little signals become beacons of insight given enough attention and time. The more I learn my partners small cues, the better I understand him, his desires, his needs, and his emotions. It is this understanding that allows me to be the partner that he needs.

Primal Bottom Space: As a primal, I am almost always a bottom. I love being pinned down, having my neck bitten (within reason), scratches, and being flipped over and fucked until I scream. In my primal space, there are no extra thoughts. It is raw hedonism. While I am a bottom in this space, I do not stop being dominant. When I want more, I demand it. When I want my partner to do something different, I get it. It is in this place that “passion” becomes apparent. The raw energy of this place, when fully tapped, leaves me drained, exhausted, and sated.

Little Space: This space, in varying degrees, is my default. This is the place where I find happiness. This is the place that normalizes the sadism of dom space and the hedonism of primal space. After an intense evening (I hesitate to call it a scene, as my dynamic does not function on a scene by scene basis) my little space is what bring me back to reality. After Phoenix has gotten aftercare, and I have gotten aftercare, my little space is where I go to bring the laughter back. This is a place of innocence and trust. A place where my partner is my safe place and my light. In this place, love is shown in the form of nose boops and raspberries. My partner responds to this with a tender affection.

Note: There are many more aspects to my little space, that would require a post all of its own. I’ve included it here briefly just to provide a more complete picture of the layers that make up my headspace.

Combine the three head spaces and you start to get somewhat of an idea of why I do the things I do. Again, this is just what headspace is like for me. These descriptions may resonate with you, or they may not. Hopefully, these posts can serve as an inspiration for self-exploration and reflection, and maybe some talking points with your partner if you have one.

Headspace: The ins and outs for me

I have heard more versions of what headspace is, whether or not it is a good thing, whether it is dangerous or not, etc, than probably the weeks than I have been alive on the planet.  Everyone has their own version.  There is a good reason for this phenomenon:  headspace is intensely personal, and everyone deals with it in their own way.  What I am writing now is NOT to be taken as “This is how headspace should be and what you should do” but rather just me relating my thoughts on it.

With my Lady, I reach many different levels of subspace.  Anywhere from not at all, to gone to the world for an hour or more.  Regardless of the deepness level, I do tend to have a ritual of “self-aftercare” involving a beer and a cigarette.  This in no way means that my Lady does not provide aftercare, or that I do not want it.  She comforts, soothes, does all the things I require during this time, regardless of the level of subspace she has taken me to.

There are times that I get so damn deep into subspace that I would literally be incapable of giving directions to the gas station across the street.  I am completely coherent, I know what is going on, but it all seems far away and frankly the connection between thought and words seems to get disconnected.  I could no more tell my Lady what I need than I could walk outside and jump to the moon.  This is definitely where she shines.  She is attentive, patient, guiding me not out of subspace, but back into the safety of her arms. She gets me to a physically safe place, and then holds and cuddles me until I swim my way back out of subspace into reality.

Yes, coming out of subspace feels like swimming up from a deep lake or pond, for me at least.  All my thoughts are there, but the mental perception of drowning in emotion should I open my mouth is all too real.  All the emotions are good ones, but they are entirely overwhelming when they hit all at once with no filter on them.  Raw love, admiration, respect, gratitude…  I may not have words for all of them, actually.  It is not a case that I do not want these emotions expressed, but I have to have the time to process them myself, which happens in subspace as I am swimming back to reality.

As far as whether or not it is healthy, I’m not a mental health professional.  However, I do know that for me it largely depends on my partner.  If, as with my Lady, I have a caring and understanding partner, I do believe it is an entirely healthy experience.  I get the time to recoup my senses, work through all the thoughts and emotions, and most often our night continues.  I have been with partners who were not at all caring or understanding.  They viewed subspace as taking me away from them and having their accolades sung by me for the job they did, which I suppose in a certain sense it does. With them, I actively did everything I could to avoid losing myself to the experience, and thus to subspace, because the outcome was invariably unhealthily filled with guilt, shame and pressure.  The only answer I can truly give is the overall feeling I have the next day, good or bad, of the experience in total is what determines its health for me.

So, in closing, should everyone strive to find their own headspace?  I believe so, but I strongly caution for you to allow your own relationship, and your own mind, dictate what it looks and feels like.  To me, my subspace is in invaluable tool in determining if I liked, loved, or hated the activities that happened to send me there.  During the actual scene, and immediately afterward, I am too involved in my own physical feelings to recognize any mental sides to it.  It is the process of subspace that gives me clarity to the overall situation.  Not immediately after I come back to earth, certainly, but after reflection with a clear head the next day.

I know I have written this almost exclusively from a subspace perspective.  That is the headspace I have the most experience with personally.  However, I do recognize there are others, such as domspace and little space, which require elements of care from the partner not in them.  But as my experience with them is extremely limited or non-existent, I will leave it for someone else to expound on them.  All states of altered perception require a caring, understanding hand from the other partner to be healthy in my opinion.

Day 11: What are your views on the ethics of kink? (I.E: SSC, RACK, morality, etc)

Just a small bit of 101 here:

SSC: Safe, Sane, and Consensual – A philosophy of engaging in BDSM activity that emphasizes safety, and the mental state of participants prior to starting a scene.

RACK: Risk Aware Consensual Kink – A philosophy of engaging in BDSM activity that emphasizes the inherent risk to many of the activities involved in BDSM scenes

Okay, that aside…

I, personally, practice RACK. Even for activities that do not typically fall under the category of “edge play”, there is some level of risk. I can bind someone’s wrists 100 times and have nothing go wrong. But the possibility that something could is ever present. Shit happens. Panic attacks, asthma attacks, sudden gastrointestinal distress….those are extremes, but they do happen. More commonly with bondage you get extremities going numb, the potential for nerve damage if the rope gets pulled to tight, etc. The bottom line is this…no matter how many times you engage in an activity, there is always a risk.

In RACK, it is important that both parties provide informed consent. This means the bottom needs to know what the risks are. The top needs to know if the bottom has any mental or physical conditions that might add to the inherent risk. Even with the best of preparation, sometimes unforeseen things happen. Risk is a part of what we do.

As far as the morality question, the short answer is, in my opinion, morality is relative. I will provide a more detailed explanation of the “morality of kink” in a later post.