Day 29: Do you have a BDSM title (e.g. mistress, master, slut, pig, whore, princess, goddess, ma’am, sir)?  Why do you use that title? What is your opinion of the use of titles in general?

Phoenix calls me his Lady, and he is my knight. That is currently my only title, though I have been called many things in the past: kitten, princess, little one, Miss, and Ma’am. Of all the titles I’ve resisted the most, Mistress just strikes a raw nerve with me. I can’t disassociate it from the vanilla use of the word.

As far as my current title goes, I am his Lady and he my knight, because while he is sexually submissive and generally acquiescent outside of the bedroom, he is not submissive in all things. I view him more as an equal, following medieval standards of chivalry. Our relationship is patterned after the romantic legends where a knight would swear fealty to and serve someone for life (in our case, his Lady). For some knights, this could include sexuality. The important factor, however, was the strength, protection, loyalty, and chivalry.

I used to place a lot of stock in titles; however, I am learning that a dynamic that works for the people involved is far more important than the title attached to it.

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Day 27: Do you combine vanilla life with your kinky interests, or do you keep them in separate spheres? Why?

Some elements of my relationship do not look abnormal to a vanilla observer. Phoenix and I have a Female-led relationship (FLR). As such, to a vanilla person, this may sometimes look like Phoenix is doting, “never tells me no”, and is very attentive. The only thing that I would define as kinky would be my sex life, and I do not discuss my sex life typically, in vanilla or BDSM company.

Day 26: What do you think of on-line based BDSM/kink? Would you be involved in an on-line relationship?

Personally, I think the internet plays a growing role in introducing potential couples. Therefore, I don’t think that on-line kink can be ruled out. However, I believe that a successful relationship that begins on-line must have clearly communicated benchmarks that will ultimately culminate in a real-time relationship. I am not a big supporter of relationships that are strictly on-line, as there is no definitive way to really know someone until you’ve had face-to-face, meatspace interaction with them.

Domestic Abuse – The Cycle of Violence

I normally write about kink related topics, but today I have something else on my mind. Later today I will be going to court to seek a more long term no contact order, in an attempt to deter my stalker from continuing her threatening and harassing behaviour. So what does that have to do with domestic abuse? Well, my stalker is my SO’s ex, and she is the textbook domestic abuser. Unfortunately for him every time he tried to end the abuse, he was shamed and even blamed. He was told that he “allowed it to happen”.

First, let me say that domestic abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of age, gender, sexuality, race, etc. Often times, however, it is viewed in highly gender biased terms. When someone of unknown gender writes of being abused, we often assume they are female. When a male speaks out about being abused by a woman he either “allowed it to happen” or worse, he is portrayed as being the real abuser.

Second, domestic abuse has a pattern. Recognizing that pattern may help you, or someone you know, avoid or get out of a violent situation.

Third, abuse is not always physical. There are many types of abuse.

Cycle of Abuse

1. Honeymoon – Everything seems great during this stage. Your partner will go out of their way to do nice things for you, and you have hope for the relationship.

2. Routine – Things settle into a routine. Daily life is status quo. Maybe things aren’t so romantic, but life isn’t all roses, right?

3. Tension – The eggshells are piling up now. Little things spark frustration. Didn’t take out the trash on trash day a month ago? You’ll be reminded of that now.

4.  Trigger – Something sets off the abuser. Maybe they just got too drunk or maybe they had an exceptionally bad day.

5. Abuse – If this is the first time this has happened, maybe you’ll justify it. After all, no one is perfect, right?

6. Excuses / Victim Blaming – “I wouldn’t have done that if you hadn’t made me mad”. ” I wouldn’t be so angry if you would just …”

7. Apology – In some models, this is called remorse; however, remorse prompts change. In the abusive cycle, there is no lasting change. In the apology stage, the abuser will apologize profusely in the hopes of maintaining their relationship with the victim.

At this point, the cycle reverts to the first stage, the honeymoon, and the loop begins again.

What Can We Do?

  • If you know someone stuck in a cycle of violence, do not blame the victim, regardless of their gender. People stay in domestic violence situations for a number of reasons, but it is never because they enjoy being abused.
  • Be cautious about confronting the abuser, unless you know the victim is safe. Confronting an abuser can often serve as the trigger for abuse, and make the abuse worse for the victim.
  • Support the victim patiently. Offer to help them get out of the situation, and be a shoulder for them to lean on. Leaving an abuser is difficult.

 

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.

Intimate Partner Abuse With Male Victims

Sadly, domestic violence, also known as intimate partner abuse, is a problem that doesn’t get nearly enough attention. When it does receive attention, it is usually cast in the light of a male abuser and a female victim. And yes, the statistics for female victims is staggering. A 2010 study of intimate partner abuse in the U.S. estimated that 35.6% of women will suffer some form of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking from an intimate partner. That statistic is heartbreaking. What that means is that approximately 1 in 3 women has been abused by someone she loved/trusted.

But this isn’t about them. This is about the male victims. The same CDC study estimated that 28.5% of men will suffer some form of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking from an intimate partner. That means that in the U.S., approximately 32 million men are victimized by their partner. And yet the stereotype prevails that women are abused more often than men.

Yes, that is technically true. But the gender gap in domestic violence is not nearly at wide as many might think. Annually, 5.9% of women in the U.S. suffer intimate partner abuse. 5.0% of men suffer the same abuse. That is only a 1% difference.

So, how why aren’t we focused on domestic abuse as a violence problem, rather than a gender problem? Why are there 100s of domestic violence shelters for women and children, and few if any for men? Where are the advocates fighting for the protection of men?

These are questions I don’t have answers for. But what I do know is this…domestic abuse against men will not gain awareness until women start speaking out against it. No one, regardless of gender, deserves to be abused. The same rhetoric we use condemning the victimization of women, needs to condemn the victimization of men. We should be condemning domestic violence…not casting it in gendered terms.

Link to CDC study

Day 22: What do you think is important in keeping a BDSM/kink relationship healthy? What differences and similarities do you see in a kink relationship and a vanilla relationship.

There are a number of things that are vital to the maintenance of a healthy relationship. These things are also important to a vanilla relationship; however, it is my experience that a vanilla relationship failing does not have the same intense emotional impact that the end of a kink relationship does. Yes, there is pain and grief at the end of a vanilla relationship. A kink relationship, however, is one of intense extremes. There are times when you may be quite literally trusting your partner with your very life. I believe there are three things that are absolutely required for a healthy kink relationship: self-awareness, trust, and communication.

Self-awareness: Some come to a new kink relationship with years of experience under their belt. Others come with nothing kinkier than doggy style sex. It doesn’t matter how much experience you have. What matters, is knowing yourself. As you explore your sexuality, be open to your own thoughts and emotions. If you don’t like a specific kink activity, that’s okay. If something triggers a negative emotional reaction, that’s ok. What is important is being aware of the reactions and being accepting of yourself. Don’t try to force yourself into a box you don’t fit in. No matter how hard you try, the square peg won’t fit into the round hole unless you shave some of it off. Don’t shave some of yourself off just to fit into a label.

Trust: Trust yourself. Trust your partner, but first trust yourself. Self-doubt is absolutely toxic to any relationship, but perhaps more so in kink relationships. Regardless of which “side of the slash” you identify with, you must trust yourself. It is only then that you can be psychologically okay with some of the more extreme aspects of kink.

Communication: This one is the one every one talks about. In a vanilla relationship, communication typically is about things like feelings, finances, home decorating, careers, etc. A kink relationship has all of those same things, but more. Communicate your desires with your partner. Let them know if you want to try something new. Let them know if you didn’t like something done in a scene. Let them see your vulnerability. Let them see you.

An Open Letter to his Ex

Although you don’t know my name, I know many things about you. See, we used to have the same social circle. My friends were also your friends. I was the leader of a group you sought acceptance in. You joined my group claiming that you were beaten and abused, that he was a drunk, and a wife beater. You screamed it from the rooftops, desperate for someone to hear you. And I did…at first.

I reached out to you, offered a kind ear. You ignored me. You preferred to be as loud as you could, telling all who would listen what a victim you were. Yet, you’d only make these claims in public, never in private to someone trying to help. Rather than blame you, I watched you. The more you talked, the more I grew suspicious.

Your recounting of the events of that fateful night, the one where he went to jail, changed multiple times. First you said he’d choked you. Then you said you’d broken ribs. Then you said you’d broken your ankle. And to heap horror upon horror, you said he beat you over a broken jewelry box. A shocking story. And one, if true, that deserves my sympathy. Better yet, my empathy.

For I too was abused. For 7 years, I was married to a man who slammed me against the wall with his hand around my throat. A man who said he could kill me within seconds. A man who threatened to kidnap our children and take them to another country. A man who believed it was his right to keep me in line, and it was my duty to make him happy.

But here’s where the rubber meets the road.

Your story was a lie.

The night you claimed you had multiple broken bones, you were taken to the ER. The ER found no injuries. The jewelry box that you broke…you know the one that started the fight…it was his dead mother’s. And he wasn’t mad that it was broken. After you stormed out of the house that night, he sat and picked up it’s pieces, saving what he could. You returned home and mocked him, and his pain. You said you couldn’t believe he would cry over a box, since he didn’t even like the “bitch” anyway.

And then you assaulted him. When he refused to run from you, or to let you bully him, you tried to push him around. He stood his ground. And then, as you had done so many times before, you called 911.

The officer that arrested him that night was the same officer that had offered him the opportunity to file charges against you previously for filing a false police report. But, because he didn’t want his children to lose a mother, he declined. Maybe that was his mistake.

He was released on bond, and you were waiting. You ran up to him to give him a hug, and he turned you away. It wasn’t his choice. Part of his bond was to have no contact with you, and you knew that. Yet, you repeatedly sought him out. You showed up at his residence. You sent him a number of messages saying it was all your fault, and could he please come home.

And I watched it all unfold. I watched you go from begging him to take you back to raging at him and verbally abusing him…in the matter of two hours. Two hours…that’s your cycle. You seek out an interaction, and you appear happy and conciliatory. When you don’t get your way immediately, you change into an angry, hostile, and abusive monster.

See, the problem with your kind of abuse is that you manipulate people. You took a man who sought to serve you, and you abused his natural servility. You would volunteer him to help your friends, and then you would blame him for helping them, rather than spending time with you. You would get drunk, and then blame him for buying the alcohol. You would physically assault him, then blame him for standing his ground.

Once he bought you roses. You were grateful for less than a minute. Then you launched into a tirade, accusing him of being unfaithful, and using the roses to cover up an affair. You accused him of desiring any woman he spoke to, even if it was just in casual small talk at the grocery store.

But, all that is in the past now. The charges you filed against him have been dismissed. The courts decided that you had zero evidence to support your claims of injury. They refused to find him guilty. I know, because I was there.

I was there to support him. And yet, my very presence angered you. You said it was disrespectful of him to bring me. How dare he bring someone to support him in a matter that was all about you.

And there’s the crux of it. You believe that everything is about you. After the court refused to find him guilty, you sent him sent another message. You wanted to be his friend. You said that you’d once been best friends and that you missed him. Could he please be your friend again?

No. Absolutely not.

He has every right to walk away from you. To cut the toxicity out of his life.

Unfortunately, he has to deal with you, for the next 14 years, and since he has to deal with you, so do I.

But, I have boundaries, and you will not trample my boundaries. You will not push me around the way you push others in your life.

You will no longer be allowed to send messages to him at all hours of the day and night. Obviously, if there is an emergency, he will respond. But the petty messages, designed to maintain your grip on him, will stop. You see, you’ve pushed him so far, that he no longer wishes to read any of your messages. I screen those for him, and alert him to any that he needs to address.

Your rage falls on deaf ears. Not totally, as I see it, and hear it. But the thing is, you can’t control me. You can’t bully me.

You’re in my world now.

Good luck!

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!