Can I allow my body nurture and reward while being submissive?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about all of the things that I ask of my body. Life, like I’m sure it is for many of you, is hectic at the moment; it’s the middle of winter, we’re on a deployment cycle, parenting a teenager, I’m in my last 2 months of collage & I’m working on establishing my own private practice. It’s like I’m jumping from busy to busy; with little in the middle to nurture and reward my body for all the things I’m asking it to do right now.

And I’ve started to notice a similar pattern in what I’m asking of my body sexually too. I ask it to settle into the intentional and very directed distress that is kink and beyond a shower and sleep I don’t do very much to nurture and reward it for the immense pleasure it affords me (and my husband).

Is it even acceptable to see your body as being deserving of nurture and reward? It’s seems so like the over used idea of ‘me time” (something I’ll admit I do indulge in) and yet so unlike the common theme of “after care” in kink spaces, it’s indulgent – like me time, but not something that I’ve ever thought about negotiating within my dynamic. On the one hand, I feel like this is something that I need to start doing – after all I’m choosing to engage with the intense sexual behaviours that we use, those which I know distress, through bruises and marks as well as exhaustion and mental “fog” while, almost immediately asking my body to perform normally and without hesitation those things I need to be adulting (as my teenager would say). But on the other I feel that this would add another layer to the erroneous idea that submission cannot coexist seamlessly alongside everything else that makes up the whole of my life. That I’d be somehow buying into the narrative that one must clearly divide their “kink” self from their “normal self.

But I think my apprehension towards this comes from one of the most prolific problems that I have with the way we depict surrender and submission. The idea that we are, inherently and by virtue of some personality architype, altruistic. Selflessly giving of our bodies and our sexual labour; without need of return or recompense. I have many “shame stories” that frame the way I experience myself and my body and I think that this “not enough because I need reward for my surrender” would be in my top three! I feel, somewhat, less than, simply because I cannot and will not abdicate my need to feel as if the surrender I offer him and the ways that I allow my body to be used in our erotic space are worth more than a pat on the head and a “good girl” and more than the just knowing that he is satisfied.

I wonder what it would be like to raise this at the submissive munch I often attend. I’m picturing the faces of those regulars; the ones who are seen as the knowledge base of submission, and I’m wondering how they would react to the idea of nurturing and rewarding their bodies for what they ask of it. And I’m not seeing anything I like! And that doesn’t surprise me.

I exist within a community that, seem to me, to have little time for anything that doesn’t foster strength in submission. It feels like anything or anyone who meanders into thoughts that force them to question the choices and needs will soon be brought back into line. That the status quo and the kumbaya singing must be preserved; at the expense of the individual; be it something self-centred as this or something with wider ramifications like speaking of the sexual violence you have experienced. The slightest hint of weakness and you are cast aside, with your ability to “play with the big kids” debated and judgment soon rendered. See, to be, confidently and consciously within the submissive space may be seen and sold as an empowered step by some, but the truth seems to be it is something quite different.

Are our bodies deserving of reward and nurture; considering what it is that we are asking of it?

Can we still claim entitlement to play with the big kids if we recognise that our bodies might need more than the satisfaction of knowing that he got what he wanted?

And are we allowed to admit that we might not all be the submissive superhero’ capable of all sorts of kink indulgences without corrupting the submission is strength message?

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I’m submissive and I say no.

There is this common trope within BDSM that, while worded in various ways, conveys the message that “no” is a down and out no-go for any submissive. That to be submissive – or obtain some kind of deeper level of submission, one must yield completely and without hesitation. And while for some this may express a genuine carte blanche statement for others, like myself it does not, in anyway represent me or my experiences of or need for submission. The word “no” nor the message it conveys to him has no power in our relationship. It is not something that is outlawed or rejected. It is, purely and simply a word. So I wanted to spend some time writing, what I guess you’d call the opposite statement and to show how the word no can become just another communication tool within a relationship.

But I want to make two points before I do.

First, keeping my ability to say no is a very personal and very political choice, that has nothing to do with him.

There are just under 50 countries throughout the world where a woman does not have the right not be raped by her husband.

20 countries do not have laws protecting women from domestic violence.

Dozens of women every year are murdered in an archaic attempt at restoring family honour.

1 in 6 women in my country will encounter some form of sexualised violence in her lifetime.

To me, giving up something that is so often rejected or just non-existent in so many women’s lives feels wrong. That’s not to say that other women are wrong when they make the choice to do so, it just means that for me, doing so would feel so wrong.

Second, let me make something very clear. Nothing, and I mean nothing, happens here that has not been asked for or agreed to. Our sex life, no matter how kinky, is absolutely something that is mutually beneficial and satisfying. I want this. Not is some obscure ‘she asked for it’ kind of way. But in a genuine, this relationship is sexually satisfying for me.

When I say no to him, there is something going on for me. Something that he didn’t notice or forgot about. Usually it is a response to uncertainty – I’m confused about what he is asking of me, or it is a reaction caused through fear. Not of him, but of the process or consequence of what he is planning on doing. Sometimes for me the only response I can give him is no. Anything else would be a lie and me lying to him, hiding the truth or ignoring the reactions going on within me is going to, eventually hurts me in a way that saying no doesn’t.

Because let me be completely honest here. Saying no to him hurts. I don’t want to say it. I want to surrender – that’s why I asked for a relationship founded in dominance and submission. That’s why I agreed to the way things are here. Sometimes no to him is an obvious reaction to what he is saying or doing. He may be my master but he is one heck of a human being, and sometimes he misses something that is relevant to his choice or he just doesn’t see what I do. Other times just saying those two little letters can be an excruciating experience for me. I go through this ridiculous inner negotiation with myself, where I will try and bargain with myself to try and get out of saying the word. Even though I know I need to say it. Even though I know I am going to say it and that saying it is the right things to do, I still try and get out of it. Why? No idea! I wish I could figure it out because that conversation I have with myself has, once or twice, lead me down that negative self-talk spiral and, as I’m sure some of you know, that never ends well.

No, here, is the beginning of a conversation, one that is more often than not a very long and ongoing one. Never once has no meant yes – and if anyone ever tries to tell you otherwise give them a miss. Getting me from a no to a yes is not manipulation or coercion. It is a process that we work through, together. He has an idea and it’s up to the both of us to get me, or us, to that place. Sometimes it’s a simple as him walking through things with me so I understand what it is exactly that he wants of me. Sometimes it’s been one step, stop, talk about my reaction or what I need to get to the next one. Other times it’s taken me several, sometimes very difficult conversations, to get me to even think about giving what he wants a try.

And sometimes the no remains a no. No matter how many steps forward and backwards we take, no matter how much we talk through things, no matter how much I might want to surrender; what he wants just doesn’t happen.

And that is okay.

No doesn’t have to be the end, as it is with us, it can be the beginning of something that, more often than not, turns into something amazing. But even when it doesn’t end that way, when whatever it is he wants is and stays a no, the fact that no is my response is still okay without justification.

 

 

 

You can slut shame me all you like …

But your slut shaming tells me more about you and the culture you exist in than you could ever imagine!

Before today I hadn’t directly experienced slut shaming. I’ve encountered it through traditional and social media (I doubt there is a woman who hasn’t), but to have a man explicitly shame my sexuality wasn’t something I’d had to process before today.

This man not only chose to outwardly reject my position and shame me for it but he mansplain me into tomorrow. I’m not going to lie, it was confronting to read. I’ve received abusive messages which have been quite confronting, but this was something else. I’m not even sure I can adequately describe it. One of the things we know is that we don’t passively engage with our online spaces; they can be just as real as our face to face experiences. We are often in a very relaxed mental state – In bed drinking coffee, lazy Sunday morning and we aren’t physiologically prepared for a confrontation; so it can become quite overwhelming. As this was for me.

His words were not threatening, quite laughable actually. Chest thumping ‘me dom, you sub’ quintessential kinky mansplaining. It’s not as if I hadn’t read it (or heard it) before, you can’t get far on Fetlife without meeting it. But this time it was a direct attack on me and mine. I’m quite confident in my sexuality, it took me a long time and a lot of hard work to get to a space where I can own my self as a sexual being without hesitation or the need to defend it.

But I didn’t realise there was this point of vulnerability, this fragile edge to me self. Until today.

I don’t usually respond to these people. I usually don’t extend any more emotional or mental energy than what it takes to delete and block. It’s one of the consequences of being a female bodied human being who engages with and puts forward positions and opinions online. But today I had this, what I can only describe as niggling feeling that just wouldn’t go away. I’d walked away from the computer, made the decision not to engage (my positive coping strategies) and yet I couldn’t remove myself from this. Why?

So I sat down and got thinking.

And boy, was I surprised where that took me!

I began to question why something that is presented as alternative or ‘other’ is founded in this absolute appropriation of heteronormative femininity. How can “submissive” be queered if the essence of the identity is a performative, constructed armour worn to conform to a culturally constructed and prescribed set of normative behaviours? I began wondering what on earth motivates a man (a total stranger) to reject outright the proposition that centring the physical sexual pleasure from all of this is legitimate. And what made him think he has the right to demand justification and apology.

And that’s when I realised this was nothing more than slut shaming!

This man, so encased in heteronormative assumptions about female sexuality, so finite in his assumptions about acceptable and punishable female/feminie sexuality, believes he has the right to govern my sexual choices and expressions.

I get overwhelming sexual pleasure out of submitting. Dominance for me is first and foremost a kink. Bossy pants make my ladybits all hot and tingly and my orgasm wave after wave of explosive pleasure. I own this, unapologetically. I love my body and am committed to ensuring that I keep it functioning in a way that works for me and my sexual partner. I am his slave, but a slave who is a sexual being.

Since I began exploring this side of my sexuality I’ve encountered so many self and culturally imposed road blocks. I grew up being constantly conditioned that “good girls” should never expect attention, never expect too much of a man, should submit passively to her biological fate and to never ever feel sexual desire. I can’t remember how many times I’d encountered the idea of a woman’s “lot” and lectured about subjugating pleasure for permanence.  Then there is this ever existing tension between owning my autonomy and serving the greater good of women. The toing and froing between embracing choice and dismantling the oppressive patriarchal structures that police every move I make; including the ones in my bedroom.

I read a quote once (I have a feeling it could have been a Cosmo or Cleo article) that said “there is a fine line between sexy and slutty”. I can’t tell you what came next, I think it was another one of their how to please a man pieces, but this one line has stuck with me for years. This idea that there is obvious permitted relationship between women and sex; it’s so normalised and idolised (dare I say it, even a fetishised) line we women walk just as easy as we breath. It’s innate, maybe biological, and always present. It is always our fault when we cross the line and when we do we must accept punishment – slut shamming.

Dominance and submission are characterised by these oversimplified caricatures, which are often grotesque, stereotypical, common and harmful! Sure, we may laugh off ‘one true wayism”, we snark it and ridicule the ideas. But that’s just not enough anymore! We need to stand up and start challenging them, the language and the assumptions! – I mean isn’t this what feminism is all about?

But first we need to better understand where they come from.

The dominant paradigm of dominance (male) and submission (female) is sold to us as the legitimate representation. It’s ascribes performative ethics to the roles – dominant = active, submissive = passive. Please don’t dictionary definition me! Using the dictionary to present and argument is immature, it rejects the nuance and complexity of humanness. I’m not interested in definition, I’m interested in the way one experiences themselves as a submissive women.

I’m going to make some big claims here, but here goes.

Five common assumption caused by this active/passive dichotomy and why they are grotesque and harmful:

  1. It is an absolute double standard!

When a dominant steps out of the assumptions of heteronormative masculinity he is hero-worshiped! If he brings in emotions, if he is reactive and empathetically responsive to his partner or if he conceded weakness then he is respected. When I as a submissive step outside of the assumptions of heteronormative femininity I am judged and compelled to apologies! If I am displaying desire as opposed to being desirable I am shamed.

  1. It rejects women’s creative power and denigrates our sexual labour!

When one is cast as passive she is without real and present personhood. She is an object within her own sexuality rather than an autonomous being who is eligible for recompense for the physical and emotional labour she exerts

  1. She must be chaste.

To be chaste is not simply to be without sex. It is the rejection of any form of sexual nature and intention. To be passive is to be without intention and meaning. Why do have to be meaningless to be submissive?

Further it positions my sexuality as absolutely symmetrical with his; allowing no deviation. It positions his sexuality – needs and performance as the image that I need to be reactively mirroring if I want my sexuality legitimised.

  1. It rejects a “whole body” approach to sexuality.

When I am compelled to accept that the mental is of more importance that the physical I am being asked to accept a version of me that limits, if not destroys, the intimate and social essence and expression of my self as a sexual being and instead, conform to a prescribed set of normative behaviours. You cannot disconnect the mind from the body and the emotional fulfilment I get from submission is satisfying. But it does not come at the expense of the physical pleasure I receive.

  1. The notion of a coherent submissive self rejects the fabrication of any identification of submissive woman that exists within an in-between space, outside of heteronormative assumptions.

Which brings me back to me question: How can “submissive” be queered if the essence of the identity is a performative, constructed armour worn to conform to a culturally constructed and prescribed set of normative behaviours?

When my behaviours and the core of my identity as a submissive woman are not functionally feminine must I subjugate myself to the approved cultural and linguistic codes? Present myself not as a creation of desires, physiological capacities and emotional needs but as an imitation of harmful and dominant heteronormative norms?

We cannot create identity without the culture around us. There is a deep interrelationship between the self and culture. But we must reject this oversimplified and externally ratified cultural caricature and codification of our experiences as submissive women if we are to ever be free to express ourselves as sexual beings when we do not toe this fine line between sexy and slut.

So you can slut shame me all you like – it’s not going to challenge or change anything that I know about myself. But it will cement my focus on rebelling against the status quo and my feminism every time you do.

#What is – safe word

Safe words. The always present catchphrase when kink is around.

But what is the safe word?

While most people with even the slightest understanding of BDSM would have heard of a safe word, many fail to understand the reality and relevance of how a safe word actually connects with their actions in the boudoir.

First, a safe word is just a word. While it’s called a safe word, in reality nothing about that word itself can keep you safe. It really is just a word. What keeps us safe is the message and the set of instructions that the word gives us.

It can be any word that communicates the same message. For some the use of an obscure word is necessary; this can range from an individual’s name to something quite unusual. And for others ‘stop’’ conveys the same information. The word you choose has to be something that works for you and the interactions you intend to be a part of.

A safe word in and of itself is useless until the meaning behind it is clearly agreed upon. It’s not enough to put forward a word and call it a safe word if there is nothing behind it. If the submissive/bottom is calling out ‘pineapple’ and the dominant/top has nothing to tell them what to do next the word is nothing more than a bunch of letters strung together being said.

A safe word communicates an instruction. Promptly and clearly to the other person. What that instruction is varies. For some it means the entirety of the interaction is over. For others it’s a ‘pause’ button, or a way of halting what is happening so the submissive/bottom can further communicate something that is going on for them – the need to change positions, a cramp, to catch your breath, lessen the intensity etc. Whatever the meaning is, the what that comes next after the word is said needs to be understood and agreed upon.

A safe word is just one of the ways to communicate with each other. It’s not the only tool in the kinky tool box. Some argue that a safe word is for both (all) participants, and while I can see merit in the idea I’m not going to put it forward here. Why? Because the makeup of the interactions that constitute kink creates the need for two very different communication requirements. While both (all) participants have the obligation to communicate the submissive/bottom often has elements of the play that creates a very unique set of obstacles to effective communication. Obstacles that can be situationally overcome through the use of a safe word. As I said it’s not the everything that some make it out to be, but when it’s used in a way that is realistic and used with the intention of communicating an agreed upon meaning; a safe word can be a positive tool within a healthy sex life.

In saying this I need to make something very clear. The safe word is the not the responsibility of the submissive/bottom alone. Let me say that again – THE SAFE WORD IS NOT THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE SUBMISSIVE/BOTTOM ALONE.

A submissive/bottom has the right to expect their safe word will be acted upon in the way that was agreed to.

While a safe word is a communication tool predominantly said by the submissive/bottom it is useless if it goes no further than being said. Communication is ALWAYS a two way street. What is said by one must be heard and acted upon by the other. We communicate in dozens of ways and this doesn’t stop when the kinky fun begins. Communication is the only way to great sex and satisfying kink. You cannot get to the great stuff without having the foundations present and maintained. A safe word is a part of this foundation that has to be present.

Now before I become the next ‘kink shamer’ or meeting point for those whom a safe word cannot be present in their world STOP. The safe word is an idea that allows us to convey and discuss a complex need, it a means of communication that is present in kink interactions. By all means tell me how you don’t need a safe word but please understand that I’m not interested! I find the argument a backdoor way to try to recreate what already is. When you deconstruct the argument of no safe word, what you are left with is an agreement that communication is essential and a part of all healthy, functioning relationships.

Check ins.

A check in is another way to use the idea of a safe word. Most often it’s a ‘traffic light’ system of colours: red, yellow and green. Again the meaning behind each word (or number, which is another system of check in) needs to be clearly communicated and agreed upon. It needs to be clearly understood what comes next after the word is said.

As a quick guide

RED– I need you to stop immediately. I have something that you need to know right now.

YELLOW– I need you to alter what you are doing. Stop so I can tell you what it is I need from you to keep this going.

GREEN– I am okay with everything that is occurring and I don’t have anything you need to know.

 Safe word when unable to verbalise a word.

Some elements of kink are used with the intention of removing the ability of the submissive/bottom to speak. It’s one of the obstacles that are present and need to be overcome. If you choose to put an obstacle in the way you need to put something in place to work around it if/when the need to communicate arises.

Again, this is something that must be decided upon before the bedroom door. If the intention is to remove the ability for the submissive/bottom to speak their safe word you need another way to communicate the meaning and instruction.

Some ideas –

Using an open/closed fist to communicate a stop/go message.

A bell or buzzer which the submissive/bottom can ring when they need to get the attention of their dominant/top.

Giving the submissive/bottom something to hold onto and drop when needed.

A tapping signal.

One thing that must be considered when implementing a non verbal safe word is the environment you are in. If you have loud music on or are in a public play space where there is significant background noise that could inhibit your ability to hear the bell or tapping you might want to consider something else. If you are going to give the submissive/bottom something to drop, make sure it’s something that is going to be obvious. A black scarf being dropped onto black flooring could be easily missed.

Safe words seem simplistic and are often presented as such. But they are a part of the complexity that is communication. We must acknowledge that having a safe word is not a magic word that protects us from harm. The best intentions may be present and honourable but if the integrity of what a safe word is – a means of communication, is violated the interaction can very quickly move from kink to abuse. Implementing a safe word that communicates a clearly understood and easy to understand and acted on message is the only way to make a safe word work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dating d/s.

So many times I’ve read women asking how to do this d/s thing so I thought I’d write down a few of the things that I feel are important to know. I’m not going to include the mechanics of or how to personalise a d/s relationship and I’m not going to write a piece as a how to if you want to be considered submissive and seen as doing it right. Rather I’m going to write this with you (you the reader) in mind; the you that is a woman, a woman looking for a relationship.

 I’m going to use this to address some to the basics that I think are important to understand when first stepping out to explore kink; six really simple (to me) rules, a how to guide if you like. Things that I think should be considered when in those early phases of exploration and connection.

I had always thought there was something missing when I discovered all things kink, like there was some step that I missed when I applied for my visa into the world of strange things sexy. Then I started to realise that no matter what label I gave myself or how many letters I added to the sex I wanted it I had to bring everything that I knew about myself as a woman and dating to the kink equation.

First and foremost d/s is a relationship; the coming together of two (or more) people to create a healthy, manageable and functioning space. If you see d/s as anything other than this than these tips aren’t going to (probably) make any sense to you.
Rule 1

IF IT FEELS WRONG TO YOU

Then it is probably wrong for you!

There are a million different ways to do a billion different things but that doesn’t mean you have to do any of them. You don’t have to send naked pictures. You don’t have to call anyone anything if you don’t want to. You do not have to change the way you think of something, restrict your actions, make excuses for who you are, believe the first thing you read (including what you are reading right now) if it doesn’t feel right to you!

Maybe 99 girls out of 100 would do it no questions asked but that one who doesn’t isn’t doing anything wrong. All she is doing is what is right for her and you have to do what is right for you.

Setting boundaries is an adult thing to do. It is not a dominant thing nor does it make you less submissive. Saying upfront that something is not okay with you is okay. (See rule 5)

Rule2

IF YOU WOULDN’T THINK ABOUT DOING IT BEFORE…

Don’t do it now!

Would you let someone ignore you for three days and then come back pretending that everything was okay?
Would you let someone you were dating just stand you up with no communication at all and not ask him why?
Are you okay with not being able to ask questions when you believe the answers are important?
Is there a boundary that you believe should not be crossed when you are getting to know someone?
Is talking about sex in the first message okay with you?

All of the things that you needed and/or expected when you have dated in the past are still there. The context of your needs may have changed but you are the same person you have always been.

Rule3

HONESTY

This is a HUGE one for me. Being honest with yourself about what you are looking for is one of the most important things that we need to do.

Be honest about what you are expecting. Do you want a NSA casual sexual relationship or are you looking for a long term commitment. Do you want absolute monogamy or are you open to the idea of non-monogamy.

Be honest about your experiences and desires, your boundaries and your concerns.

Be honest about safe sex! If you cannot talk about doing it safe you shouldn’t be doing it!

Expect and demand that the person you are speaking with will do the same!

Rule 4

SEXUAL HEALTH &SAFETY

Keep yourself safe!

Your sexual health is your responsibility! STI’s and pregnancy happen to kinky people too! Even slaves have to go for their regular gyno exams. It is your responsibility to take your pill. It’s your responsibility to demand a condom. It’s your responsibility to get tested. No adult would ask you to endanger your physical health, or mental health for that matter!

Rule 5

CONSENT AND COMPATIBILITY

Consent is just so damn sexy don’t you think?

What we do is consensual. It’s all about two (or more) adults having mutually satisfying intimate and/or sexual relationships. Relationships that are NEGOTIATED. If anal is something that you can’t get your head around then say so. If you don’t want him/her to access your emails, control your money, tell you to do things to your body while you are at work, use punishments in the dynamic then bloody well say no & demand that your answer is accepted. Of course boundaries change but if what you want now is A then A is what you want

Make sure that you can clearly identify a point of consent. If you are unsure ASK.

Again if you can’t talk about it you shouldn’t be doing it!

This also comes down to compatibility! You have to want the same (similar) things in order to create and maintain a functioning and fulfilling relationship. If the person you are getting to know loves anal and it is a limit for you then you may not be compatible with each other. The sub is not a fake because she doesn’t like anal penetration and the dom is not a predator because anal is his thing and wants it. Those two people are just not what each other needs!

There seems to be this idea that because A is a dom and B is a sub they are automatically meant to be. We are all unique individuals who like things differently in the bedroom. Some people are going to want us and others won’t. It’s not the end of the world and PLEASE please DO NOT compromise on things that are really important!

If you want a long term emotionally invested relationship then don’t settle for a NSA. It cannot satisfy you, it will not satisfy you.

If you are monogamous then you are monogamous and that dom who has 7 other subs is really not going to do it for you.

If you only want d/s in the bedroom then don’t feel you have to go 24/7.

There are an infinite number of ways to do d/s & have kinky sex so do it your way.

Rule 6.

ASK ASK ASK

Ask yourself and ask the other person everything that you can think of. If you are unsure of something ask. If the person you are talking to mentions something that he/she wants in a relationship and you are not 100% sure what they are meaning; ask them to clarify.

This includes reading! But reading with an open mind and an understanding that not everything you read is safe or right for you. If you are Googling anything to get a better understand of what something is then please don’t just take the first answer you find as gospel! Anyone can write anything and upload it. So please just use caution.

When you read something don’t take it as gospel; even if the author is marketed as some kind of expert or ‘community’ icon. Here’s the thing the author may have a great knowledge base about a particular topic but he/she knows absolutely nothing about you! How your body/mind works is going to be different to anyone else’s and so yes, Mr mcdomlyone may be an expert in whatever it is but his expertise are significantly limited when it comes to applying them to you.

Use common sense; sure there are those who argue that common sense isn’t so common anymore, but don’t step outside of the real world & who you are as a person when you start exploring all of this. It’s unrealistic to think that there is some alternative reality here.

Kink is still sex. It needs to be consensual and mutually satisfying. It needs to be healthy and it needs to be realistic. But most of all it needs to be what you really want, kink needs to give you something that will bring a positive to your life; be it purely physical interactions of S&M that give you physical release and/or satisfaction or a relationship that has D/S as it’s foundation. There is a spectrum of consensual kink that is really limited by your imagination and confidence to go get it but it has to be something that you want.