Sunday, September 10, 2017

Loving BDSM Series 4: Contracts

Today's Loving BDSM question is:

People read the word "negotiation" and imagine some sort of back and forth thing around a table in a formal way.  It can be that, sure, but mostly it's just the conversation you have to figure out what kind of D/s relationship you want for yourself.  Submissives have the right to, and should, ask why a rule/task/ritual is being put in place and both sides should have the freedom to disagree, suggest other things, and make sure their needs are being met.  Negotiations aren't a one time thing, either. You'll come back to this over and over again in your relationship. Will you have a contract? Do you need a checklist?  What exactly does a negotiation sound like?

This came topically because right now there's a Buzzfeed video going around that declared Fifty Shades of Grey's contract "Hollywood bullshit" despite being the exactly one realistic thing about that film series.

I am in a Dom/sub relationship that has a contract.  It took us days to write it, it was all ceremonial and everything, it involved a cute dog holding a collar key, and so on and so forth.  But we were together for like two years before this, so we clearly functioned without an official contract pretty well.  We did that by just talking to each other, either before or while it was happening.  I’ve introduced a lot of toys and activities right in the middle of it, with my sub’s reaction being the negotiation (either showing her typical body language of “I don’t like this, and not in a good way” or just saying “no” when it was brought up).

In fact, the contract itself more bound us to outside activities and some light protocol than it did actual sexual activities.  It codifies things that we already were doing (things like transportation, venue, etc.) as well as relationship stuff we should have been doing but weren't (for instance, we talk to each other over Skype or on the phone because we only see each other once or twice a month and needed to keep better contact with each other; that’s something we didn’t do before the contract).

The contract was also an excuse, in a way, to talk about things we wanted but didn’t have a good way to bring up, since we had sections that were like “Oh, here are toys we’re allowed to use!” and could put things on we maybe wanted to try but which are hard to bring up in a conversation, almost like a brainstorming session.

Contracts are at their most basic just a way of creating boundaries, and I think that's something vanilla relationships often sorely lack.  How many vanilla couples have a "go with the flow" way about them that just assumes that they're so compatible they will never disagree on anything so they don't need to talk about what they're into and definitely not into?

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Loving BDSM Series 3: Titles

Today's Loving BDSM question is:

Beyond the basic title of Dominant or submissive, are there other titles you prefer or are interested in exploring?  Are there any that turn you off or don't seem like a good fit for you?  Some titles for Dominants may include Master, Sir, Daddy, Mistress, Lady, etc.  Titles for submissives can be pet, babygirl, little one, boy, girl, etc.

You know, I didn’t think I’d be a fan of titles because in pornography I’ve found them really grating, but that pretty much changed the first time somebody called me "Daddy" and it turned out to be one of the fucking hottest things I'd at that time experienced.  Daddy as a title was actually the worst, grossest thing for me before that moment… I’d already kicked the association of Daddy with incest play after an excellent writing about the subject on FetLife (the gist of this was that it's no grosser than calling your partner "baby"), but didn’t think it’d be something I was into.  On the one hand, I really should have communicated that I thought it was gross terminology before he called me that, but you know, it did turn out well for me.  It’s also opened a whole new world of bad jokes to me, as I am voluntarily choosing never to be a father but am a fan of dad jokes.  I also like being called “Sir.”

Master I’m not a big fan of but nobody’s actually called me that during sex so who knows?  I associate this title with Master/slave relationships, which I have a lot of opinions about that folks in M/s relationships probably will hate.

I’m actually a big fan of being called my name in a sexual or D/s context.  This is kind of a trans thing, because it took a damn long time for me to get people to call me that name and so it makes me feel great to hear it, like it actively turns me on because it brings me right into my body... I tend to relate to my body as if I'm watching myself on a screen sometimes, so it makes me very present to hear my name.

I mostly use pretty typical pet names for submissives, things like “baby” or “honey,” “sweetie,” "pumpkin."  I’m open to other terms that are more specific to kink if I’m with a sub that likes them, but generally am not super into them and I still have a lot of the same discomfort I had with Daddy before I learned it was super hot

Friday, September 8, 2017

Loving BDSM Series 2: Submission

Today's Loving BDSM question is:

Does a submissive have certain behaviors?  Do submissives do specific tasks?  When you think of a submissive and submission, what thoughts come to mind?

The thing about submission and what I think makes a person submissive is that there are really two categories here… things I like in a sub and things that I think make a sub.

What I think makes a sub is a need or at least willingness to be directed.  And here’s where I talk about myself specifically… because I like a lot of things associated with submission, but am generally not a super submissive person, so in many cases I wind up basically directing what is being done, but from the bottom.

So I’m a switch, and have a submissive side that isn't fully explored, but for the most part even when I’m subbing I’m still ultimately Domming because I’m exercising a lot of control and basically directing the whole scene; I'm giving my sub commands that direct her to behave temporarily like a Dom.  It's hard to explain, but you know, it works great for us.

As far as responsibilities, well, subs have the extremely important responsibility of communication.  I remember once reading a work on FetLife that was called something like “Don’t Make Me An Abuser.”  It was poorly titled, but the point was that a non-abusive Dom really hates the idea of having put somebody through something they didn’t ultimately want, which is something that can happen if a sub doesn’t safeword when they want to or doesn’t say “this is triggering me” or “this is hurting too much.”  And a Dom who has worked with a sub for a long time may be able to tell without words when that sub needs them to stop (my own sub’s body language is essentially her safeword), but what if it’s a new relationship or a sub has a history of really enjoying looking like they need you to stop?  That sub has a responsibility to be very clear when things need to stop.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Loving BDSM Series 1: Dominance

Today I'm starting a series where I answer some BDSM related questions that my submissive is sending me from something called "Loving BDSM."  Today's question is:

What does dominance in a relationship mean to you? What traits will a Dominant have?  How should a Dominant behave?

I'm a switchy Dom who is super annoyed by the behavior of other Doms, not because I think I'm some awesome Dom but because there's a lot of sketchy behaviors out there, things like insisting everybody "in the lifestyle" treat them like their Dom or believing weird and gross things about their role.

Dominance is at its most basic about direction with the illusion of control.  I initially wanted to just say “control,” and I don’t think that that’s inaccurate, but the thing is, a submissive also has control in the form of safewords and other things like that.  As a Dom, you are directing a mutual fantasy to be beneficial to both of you and you are taking the responsibility to make it as safe as you can while still keeping the fantasy immersive.

Dominance is about responsibility.  Not that a sub has no responsibility (they definitely do), but the base responsibility is the Dom’s because they’re the one who is most likely to be doing the dangerous stuff.  So we’re in charge of maintaining the level of safety relevant to the activities being done and also being the kind of person who a sub can trust to listen to them.

Because of this, I’d say the number one important trait a Dom needs to have is responsibility, with honesty being a close second but related item.  A good Dom needs to be able to take responsibility when we mess up and be honest about things like experience levels, a thing I mention because I used to be really bad at that (there was a whole part of my life where my whole sexual history outside of like 5-10% was totally fabricated, although thankfully I had already stopped lying about that by the time I ever tried actually Dominating somebody.).  You need to be the kind of person your sub can trust is not going to do things like lie about what you’re actually experienced in to make yourself look like a good fuck... not just because it's disappointing, but because it takes away the informed part of informed consent.

As far as what traits a Dom should have… outside of the honesty and responsibility, that’s really up to the relationship.  The stereotype that we all need to be these harsh and stern individuals is really incorrect (I’m a cuddly Dom who likes to gush over my partners and give them cookies).  It's not that there's anything inherently wrong with being the stern, cold, disciplinarian Dom who acts like they loathe their subs (I'm sure lots of subs like that sort of thing) but it's just not my character.