Saturday, December 1, 2012

You're Not Listening


To paraphrase what I read this morning:

I was so in love with this man, I let him do anything he wanted, not taking the time to realize that he was an asshole. And when shit went wrong, I blamed everyone else because they didn't warn me, or support me in my pain.


I'm really sorry honey, but you were warned. You just didn't listen. You just chose to ignore all those things that people had been telling you because you found something that resembled BDSM. You found a guy who liked to beat the hell out of you. You found an asshole who convinced you that he was some sort of god. You found a douchenozzle who took advantage of your ignorance, your naivete and your refusal to use your goddamned brain.  Did you deserve to be treated like that? Of course not. But did you listen?

 Did you listen when more experienced people who were NOT looking to play with you, fuck you or master you told you to slow down, get to know these guys before giving everything up?  Or did you listen to your desire, put blinders on, and hope for the best?

Did you listen when people told you that BDSM wasn't about losing your voice and power? Did you listen when we told you it was about FINDING your voice and power first? Or did you listen to those who said that a good submissive doesn't SAY anything?

Did you listen to the people who have done this for many years without harm? Or were your examples others who didn't listen?  Did you learn to walk by first running?

Did you listen to all those other people who wondered every goddamned day for the past three years why the hell trust seems to be given so easily to people whose last name you don't even know?

Did you listen when we said that whatever it is that you think you were doing, it isn't BDSM?

Its OK. I'm firmly under the belief that for most people, you can show them a brick wall, tell them not to run into it because it'll hurt, and they still won't believe you. They have to experience the wall first hand to know that it'll hurt.  What I find pretty annoying though is being told that we didn't tell you about that wall. We did. You just weren't listening.

So I doubt you'll listen now. But here goes.

BDSM isn't what you think you're doing.  Whatever it is you're doing, if you keep getting hurt, it's not BDSM. You're playing at sexy games, without much in the way of common sense. Your version of BDSM feels good. It alleviates your responsibility for your own dark sexy desires. It is exciting. It is dark. Dangerous.

But BDSM isn't for the foolish. It doesn't work when you aren't able to tell the difference between a "good guy" and one just looking to get into your pants (and we all have made those mistakes). It isn't about giving up everything to the first guy in leather and it certainly isn't about blaming everyone else who didn't "protect you" from harm. Look in the mirror, sweetheart. See that girl there? She is the only one who needs to stop and think before letting Mr. Domly Dom tie her up and take away her power. Nobody can think for her. And nobody will rush into save her when the shit goes wrong. So she'd better have a backup plan for her own protection. And if she can't do that, then join a fucking book club instead. But remember- paper cuts aren't fun and do try not to blame the tree for it, okay?

As a good friend said once, "this is like playing with a table saw. There are guides and safety procedures to follow, but yet- people still cut off their fingers".

But I'm guessing that whatever it is you think you're doing, you're still not listening.



Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Can We Talk?

There’s been a lot of talk lately about “what makes a good sub” or “how to be a good dom”. While reading a lot of these posts, I was struck by the thought that changing either of them to “how to be a good human being” would be more appropriate.

With the current interest in all things kinky, I’m appalled at the number of people who try to fob off their own version of what works for them off as the epitome of submission or dominance. The very nature of BDSM is that it is all about choice and the freedom to explore in any way that gets your rocks off. There's a lot more than Fifty Shades of Grey when you're talking about BDSM.

Let’s talk some basics here, okay?

First, one is not either a sub or a dom. People tend to have both traits in their personalities. I’ve met very few submissives who couldn’t find a way to walk out the door in the morning, find their own car, get to work, and kick ass as a corporate executive, police officer, shopclerk or whatever their job may be. Conversely, I’ve also met very few dominants who are totally as bad-assed as their internet personalities would have you believe when faced with an IRS audit or a traffic stop.While people tend to take on certain roles in a D/s relationship, you can't assume that a submissive is always submissive or a dominant is always dominant. And, at times, it's absolutely necessary for submissives to "pull on the big girl panties". The point is, people cannot be pigeonholed into one category. Trying to make people live up to epitomes in anything is going to set yourself up for a pre-planned disappointment.

Second, let’s make sure you understand that D/s or M/s is not S&M. I know, it gets confusing with all the letters rolling around in BDSM, but it is entirely possible to have a D/s or M/s relationship and not engage in any form whatsoever of S&M. And vice versa. D/s and M/s are relationship models. S&M is an activity. While many people DO mix the two in their relationships, let’s be perfectly clear that there is no requirement that someone getting their ass beat must be a submissive, nor is someone who identifies as a submissive required to “prove it” by getting their ass beat. Yes, I’ve even known a few dominants in my time who enjoy getting their own asses beat. The point to this is- just because someone is engaging in an activity that they may enjoy- you can’t assume relationship roles from it.

Third, the most important thing one can realize when exploring any kind of relationship- even a D/s or S&M one- is that D/s is only and solely about what works for each of us. There are no other truths. Do what works for you, what gets your rocks off, and what you enjoy. There are no rewards for putting up with bad behavior from anyone under the guise of “submissiveness”, nor is there any badge of honor from treating people badly no matter what your relationship role may be. 

Anyone telling you anything else is just someone saying what works for them. It might work for you, but odds are- you’ll be very disappointed trying to model your own relationships after theirs. You’ll do far better and have far fewer problems if you remember that.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Fill 'r Up

Once you move in with each other, the sexy has a hard time of keeping up with things. What was once planned and scheduled and anticipated, has suddenly become non-existent. While each of you may have had “life issues” to deal with separately before, somehow when they’re combined under one roof, things seem to more than double in size.

Where once you could go home to get away from calls from the ex wife, where once you could tell someone you had to “work late and needed to take the night off” for some quiet time, such escapes don’t really exist when you’re living with someone. The small untruths we tell to avoid conflict don't really work when you're living with someone. It’s also really easy to overlook bad habits, snoring partners, idiosyncratic sleep and work habits and thousands of other little details of any relationship- when you’re dealing with it only a few hours or days at a time.

But I think everyone recognizes that it’s really important in a relationship to maintain rituals you had when you were both trying so much harder to be impressive. (I’m kidding- but you know how everyone is on their best behavior while dating). To that end, we have a regularly scheduled date night. Most of you can probably figure out it is also our regularly scheduled martini night! The point is, on that night, we date each other again. We talk about all the same things as we would at home, but in a far different tone. We smile at each other more often in public. We listen more. We have that couple of hours to reconnect as people who really like each other- without worrying about kids, jobs or dirty socks.

I think that it’s just as important to schedule playtime. Especially if your play is of a S&M variety. I know it sounds rather silly, and oftentimes feels foolish to schedule a time for this (trust me, the first few times we did this I felt rather stupid for planning it). Did I really want to make this part of our lives into just another “chore” for us to get through?. Isn’t part of the attraction of kink the uncertainty? the spontaneity? When I think back to when we first started seeing each other- we didn’t plan scenes. They just sort of happened when we were together. I was a little miffed that this didn’t remain the case.

At first, I let things go too long. A large part of me said we were in a D/s relationship for fucks sake! If he didn’t “feel like beating me”, was it really all submissive-like for me to ask for it? Who am I kidding- I didn’t ask. I pouted like a stupid bitch and expected him to “know better”. Fat lot of good that does. It just made me cranky and him less likely to want to me around at all. Which started another of those evil going around in circles that always seems to clutter my life.

I think it is not only a good idea to absolutely expect that your own needs are met, it is unrealistic to believe that your partner is consciously unwilling to meet them. The key is to compromise.

You see, when my own needs aren’t being met, I can be a cranky little bitch. And I really don’t care to be all that submissive. I’d just as soon drop everything to do with any part of our D/s relationship, if the alternative was to have our S&M pieces doled out to me in little dribbles. But what happens is that exactly when he most needs me to be pleasant and helpful, without regular beatings, the odds of me being anything other than a bitch aren’t in his favor.

You can think of this another way. If you own a car, it needs regular maintenance. New tires, an oil change every so often and even simple washing and waxing. Without maintenance, the car gets run down, doesn’t look it’s best, and will often quit on you when you’re late for work. Owning a submissive is like this. For some submissives, the chance to DO something is what they crave. For others it’s the “taking one for the team” in a beating. And for masochistic submissives, maintenance is more like filling up the gas tank or recharging the battery. Taking care of the needs of each other is an investment in your relationship. Go too long without filling the tank or maintaining the relationship and you might as well take public transportation.

There have been long stretches of time when he just can’t work up the energy to concentrate on my needs. It takes a lot of energy for a sadist to concentrate on doling out a significant beating for his masochistic partner. They certainly don’t want to be in the middle of beating your ass and have their mind wandering all over the ex wife, the principal of the kids’ school or the work problem that’s bugging the shit out of him. The one thing I constantly hear from sadists is that the time when they’re most angry with anything, is the time when they least want to let that part of themselves have free reign. So, understanding this, it can be difficult to work up the heart to beg for a beating, to convince him to play. Nobody likes to be another “problem” for their partner to deal with. And rarely do people really like the sadism/masochism relationship that evolves from anger.

So this is why it’s important to schedule a time- and it doesn’t have to be long- 15 minutes, a half hour- to maintain your S&M relationship with each other. That small time, regularly scheduled, seems rather aggravating and very much like another chore at first. And, at first, it probably won’t be anywhere nearly as enjoyable as all those other scenes you’ve had together. But it is an important thing. By keeping that line open, by refiling the tank, by meeting enough of your partner’s needs to keep them, if not happy, at least content, a strange thing tends to happen. That 15 minutes turns into a 1/2 hour. And that 1/2 hour turns into a full one. You forget the time when you’re doing something you’d forgotten that you really liked. The chemicals that masochists rely on for focus and clarity come back and the connection between the two of you gets stronger. You start out with intending to just wash your car, and you end up waxing it as well.

It basically comes down to reminding the person you love that there are things that only he can do for you. That you know it’s difficult to put the day’s crap out of his head. But remind him that you will be in a much better place of helping him if only he is able to fill up the tank.

But don’t expect the premium grade every time, and don’t hold him over the coals for a car wash with the fill up. Besides, we get better mileage out of repeated fill ups than with running the tank to empty.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

You've Been Proved Correct

As you can imagine, things haven't been really easy for me in the past few days. But I knew that when I wrote the post and published the follow up.

Oddly enough, I don't really care- it's something I'll deal with, or not, depending on my mood at the time. Right now, I'm in a pretty good place. I did the right thing. I made good on my promise that the NEXT time anyone came to me for any kind of help or support, I would do my best to make up for the way I handled a similar matter with someone else. I've kept my promise.

I really do hope Buddy gets the help he needs and does have support in the future. And someday, I hope to eventually be able to buy him that beer that I owe him. But that's my wish. I think the reality is that he just won't be able to forgive anyone.

I know how people in this community get their panties in a bunch when someone disagrees. I know how they "read into" things using their own filters. I know that most of the time that happens because there is no really good way for some people to disagree other than to just be disagreeable.  And I knew that by putting my neck out, I'd again be the target for the vitriol. I'm actually quite okay with that. Mostly because I felt that by speaking my mind, even if others couldn't, that people who were suffering from this entire mess could take comfort in at least knowing that  I was listening to them, that I understood, and that I tried in my own way to help. It is very easy for so many others to discuss consent theory, abuse, victimization, tone policing, etc.  But it is unlikely they will ever know or feel the fear and the self-condemnation themselves.

I've been told that I am no longer respected "in the scene" for my opinions. I giggle at the very thought of that sweeping generalization. But I didn't write this for respect. I don't really care if anyone respects me especially when it's become clear that that respect is a right reserved for those who agree with you. And as for "the scene"- well, I think I've been pretty clear about what I think of that.

The most disappointing thing about this whole thing, I think, is the reaction of so many people who have thrown around the phrase "victim blamer" so easily in the past but think that in this case, the person who caused the damage (either by willful disregard for his own needs or from collateral damage) is the only one who needs their support. While Buddy may have every right to recovery and happiness and may have medication and therapy and time to ease his problems, his collateral damage victims have no such surcease. But they certainly have had their share of bullying to deal with.

So, to those people who have bashed me- I offer my sincere apologies. I was wrong.

You may now raise joyous banners and fist bump each other, write your "vindication!!" speeches, and take comfort in the fact that you've been proved right. You're absolutely correct when you say that victim blaming is rampant. That victims are silenced,  shamed, and pushed away.

But was it really necessary to make your point by doing it yourselves?

I have truly never been more disappointed with so many people as I am today. To use this situation to settle old grudges, to foist untenable choices on friends, and to put the people who have been harmed once again in the position of being silenced is unconscionable.



Friday, May 4, 2012

Forgive, Not Forget

What I've posted below I received as an anonymous comment. Although I don't generally publish anonymous comments, I think this one says what I tried to put into words much better.


Anonymous:
===============================================================

Buddy is very, very sick.  He has quite publicly admitted that he suffers from Bipolar disorder, and that he's been in and out of the hospital since March.  This decline has been well self-documented, on twitter, audioboo, and youtube. He has also quite actively resisted help during this dark time in his life, even threatening the very people trying to help him.  He has repeatedly gone off the meds that help him get better.  He has, during the height of his mania, hypnotized at least one person, and offered hypnotism as therapy to many more.  He's also made countless threats of physical violence to a large amount of people, including myself.

The choices he's making now?  Absolutely not within his control, and absolutely a symptom of the disease (resisting help and meds is quite common).  However, he made the choice to not seek help when it was obvious that this was coming, which I personally suggested when he said he was starting to feel the start of the mania.  He made the choice to not see a doctor for a disease he's known about for over a decade, thinking he could manage it on his own.  And the first time he went into the hospital, I was hopeful.  Hopeful that he'd get better, hopeful that he'd be able to salvage his reputation.  A few long months later, I'm just hoping that he'll stay alive. 

I'm glad that people are offering support to him - he'll need it.  I'm happy that people will be there for him when he exits the mania and enters depression.  I hope he can forgive me for the things I've had to do to ensure my own safety, but I am not optimistic.  

I think the people that have been deliberately poking him online to get a rise out of him are giant assholes, especially if they knew that he's mentally ill (I'm positive a very large portion of them are aware of his condition).  Deliberately baiting him by asking if he's taken his meds or creating a "banned in Boston" fetish is childish and serves no purpose to make the situation better.

But this post - I don't understand the backlash to Silverdream's post.  When Buddy is better, and I hope that will be soon, I'm always going to be braced for the next episode.  I hope he'll accept my friendship, and I hope that he'll find places where he's loved and accepted, but I would never let him top me, or recommend that anyone else allow it either (though obviously, the choice is theirs).  I would recommend that newbies not play with him.  At the end of the day - a sociopath is suffering from a mental illness as well.  We're not going to forget about the harm they've done; why would we forget the harm that Buddy has done?  In Buddy's case, I can forgive, absolutely.  But never, ever forget.

So I thank Silverdreams for this post.  She's not kicking a man when he's down - she's speaking for people like me, who once again feel like we can't speak for fear of hatred from the community.  I've agonized over the actions I've had to take to be able to feel safe.  I have felt achingly alone.  I've come dangerously close to needing to go to the hospital myself for the emotional damage caused to me directly by Buddy, and I'm not the only one.  Where is our support?  Where are the people saying "wow, it is not okay that you had to experience this"?  Because some of us really need to hear that.
===============================================================

My Thoughts:
 
I think this post shows is the feeling that, while giving Buddy all the love and support you wish to, it's not easy for the people he's hurt to have their voices ignored. Or worse, to have their concerns treated with such disdain by people who purport to know better.

I, for one, will take all the heat that anyone cares to throw my way. I'm far stronger at the moment than many of the people who are hurting so much and if you wish to tell me what a horrible person I am for not having compassion or understanding a "sick man", then do it here. Because I'm sure as hell not going to let these people suffer without having any voice at all.

For the record, I do have compassion. I do wish him well. And I do hope that there are people who will be able to support him.  You may assume what you like. You may assume that I have no experience with mental illness and seek to "educate me". You may assume that I'm just another one of those people who like to tear people down. You may have a pre-existing grudge which colors your opinions or you may just like to argue to show how much smarter and more worthy your own opinions are. You may assume that I'm a rotten person and that I just don't understand. You may wish to attack my opinions, and you may do it as passive-aggressively as you'd like. But, as they say, the proof is in the pudding, If you're going to do any of that, then please never speak to me about support for the people who have been hurt by this if all you're going to do is bitch about how unfair I'm being to Buddy.


And no, I'm not going to give the identity of the commenter, so don't send me emails asking who it is.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Belief

  

“If you feel like I've abused you in any way (or if I do so in the future), please do the community a favor and let others know.” ~DrSlashBlight


A person, well known to the local scene, has vocally and publicly created an atmosphere of fear, heavy handedness and intimidation. Has made vocal and written threats against people’s safety. Has threatened to “out” people. Has constantly violated expressed personal limits of others. His own statements about people who have done nothing except disagree or voice their own fear of him have been documented and heard by anyone who cares to listen.

People seem to be quite willing to believe that this behavior is an aberration. Mostly because their experiences with this person are quite different. People offer encouragement to the person who is now acting with such threatening behavior and creating such fear. People send wishes for this person to “get better soon”. People refuse to stop and think that what this person has done is not very much different from any “red-flagged” person everyone is warned about. His anger. His lack of self-control and judgment. His disregard for expressed personal limits. His animosity and his rage. And his blame of others for all of it.

I’ll have to admit that I find it odd that there is so much support for a person, whose unacceptable behavior is well documented, witnessed by so many, and whose own words and actions have provided the evidence. A person who has caused so much damage in recent weeks that it’s difficult to find someone who hasn’t been directly affected by his behavior.

I’ll admit that I find it odder still that people somehow think that this person deserves to be welcomed back once he is “well”. As if they’ve never considered the next time he feels thwarted in his “mission” or desires. As if this person, the one they now are seeing, isn’t the one that’s been there all along, under the guise of the “good guy, white knight, savior” persona. As if the self-induced problems he’s having, either by failure to treat an illness he knows he suffers from, or from ignoring every single person who has tried to help him, should get him a pass.

I get it. Nobody wants to kick someone when they’re down. Nobody wants to believe that the people they think they know and have in the past trusted, could actually “be like that”. Nobody wants to be the bad guy to stand up and question whether this person should ever be in a position of authority over others or ever to be trusted again to be left alone with any “poor innocent young submissive”. Nobody wants to be the first to say “why are you making excuses for someone who has done so much damage?”. Nobody wants to blame someone for a mental illness. The tendency towards forgiveness is a strong one. And forgiving someone you think you know is even stronger in its pull.

I called this person a friend at one time. I don’t like to think that my judgment was so flawed as to overlook all of those “red flags” and “behavioral warning signs” that were probably always there. I don’t want to second guess myself about someone’s behavior- whether self-induced or not. I do not want to be the one to think that someone I liked at one time could behave like this. My experiences with him in the past were much different. I rather liked him most of the time. And even when the first whispered allegations come to my attention, I discounted them because I thought I knew him. He was a good guy and if anything, suffered at times from an overabundance of enthusiasm.

But how much of any “good behavior” in the past should get a pass for his behavior now? How many times have people complained about all of these “well known scene leaders” who get a pass simply because they are “well known”, a “leader”, or haven’t had an overt history of bad behavior? Why is this one different? If one instance of bad behavior is enough to cause someone significant trauma from any of these “well-known scene leaders”, so much so that every one of us is spitting mad when it happens, what happens when someone has more? Why is this one different? What happens when an aberration becomes a pattern of abuse? And why do we turn the abuser into the victim? How much of the fear that many now feel, and many have now voiced just not count against all of his good past behavior?

There comes a time when all of the well-wishing and wishing-it-was-different has to come to an end. Now is the time to stop thinking of this person as the victim. He is not the victim. The victims are those he has harmed by his own actions and words. The victims are those he has made afraid, has intimidated, has threatened, and has sacrificed in his quest to become a hero. The victims who are remaining silent, for their own safety. And because they don’t wish to become the next target.

While I too, wish him well and sincerely wish that he is able to recover something of his past self, I have to face the reality that the Buddy I knew is gone. The one that may return will always be tainted by his behavior now, and I will always be afraid of him.

So Buddy, as you requested, here is my notification to the community. I, and others who I speak about but never speak for, am afraid of you. Please do us all the courtesy of removing yourself from the scene. When or if you’re ready to come back, you’ll have to prove that your words are not just what we want to hear, but what we can believe.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Best Kept Secret

I love the internet. Well, that’s not entirely true. I love the amount of research one can do on any subject. What I don’t very much love is that the stuff you really need to know is often difficult to find.

There are gazillions of articles on BDSM. Everything from gorean slave positions to the proper way to “do rope” to recommendations for scene negotiation and safewords can be found with just a couple of googled phrases. There is a plethora of information to be found on any subject relating to BDSM. This is the good part.

But what always comes up in many of my conversations is something that not many people talk about. It’s one of the hidden secrets of D/s, which in my opinion, happens more frequently and causes more anxiety within that relationship than any other single thing. It’s a malady that is usually talked about in hushed whispers, if it’s talked about at all. And it’s one that is almost impossible to find out how to handle from reading on the internet. In fact, this is one of those times where reading anything to do with BDSM on the internet ends up making the situation worse. Most often, people end up feeling very much alone when this happens- as if the lack of information on the internet confirms their suspicions that this thing has happened to nobody else. The symptoms of this affliction are insidious, often sneaking up on you before you even realize you’re suffering from it.

So what is this mystery malady? The one that happens so frequently, yet is hardly ever talked about?

It can be most simply stated as “I thought when we started living together, that our kinky fun times or our D/s relationship would become stronger, yet it seems like they’ve almost disappeared”.

Everyone who has suffered from this malady can breathe a sigh of relief. This does happen to other people. And despite what you read about on the internet about all the sexyfun times that everyone else seems to be having non-stop, I’m going to tell the truth. Even in a 24/7 D/s relationship it is impossible for nearly everyone to maintain the same level of kinky interaction that you enjoyed before you started sharing a mailing address. Or closet space.

There are lots of reasons for this phenomena. One of the basics is that much of what kink space is concerns fantasy. It's truly easy to put on the D/s roles when you're talking a few hours or days at a time. It's much harder to maintain those boundaries when you're trying to get the kids out the door, deal with the oil man, find that permission slip and try to remember to say "yes, Sir" after every phrase. Even for those in D/s relationships- much of what goes on in our heads is about creating a “world” where the roles each have chosen are clearly defined and nothing is left to circumstance. But what we forget is that circumstance always happens. What we forget is that sometimes things just have to "give". And very often- it's the kinky part of our interactions. Who really just hasn't felt too damned tired at the end of a long day, a long commute, or a really shitty meeting to even make a serious effort to do more than sit in a chair and be left alone?

The other thing that we often forget is that the people in our kinky D/s relationships are just- people. They’re not “The Dominant” or “The Submissive”. They are people with needs, wants, emotions, and more often than not- baggage. I am not talking about luggage here. You know what baggage is- it’s the ex wife who has done a number on your guy’s self-esteem; it’s the identity that they had in their work which was shattered when they got laid off; it’s the history of really awful dates you’ve had with yet another wanker; it’s the things we grew up with; it’s the responsibilities we all have to family, work, school; it’s our personalities and moods; and it’s all of those things that we each took away from relationships with others. Dealing with each other’s baggage is perhaps one of the most unsexy things that happens when you move in together. Learning to find where your own limits are with each other’s baggage is difficult. And trying to fit in a kinky time when you're dealing with yet another interrupting annoying call from the ex; or holding on to your own submissive head space when you'd like nothing better than to bitchslap someone is an exercise in futility.

We often forget is that when exploring a kinky relationship with someone- the energy that is exchanged in the first phases of it, is really not that much different than any other new activity we take on. How many times have you picked up a new “hobby”, bought all the accouterments to do it well, read all the books about it, got so into it, and then- a few months down the road- find it rather mundane. You might still do that hobby once in a while, but you don’t really get that first thrill that you had when you were first learning about it. Kink is no different.

And finally, I think that in a D/s or S&M relationship in particular, especially in a hetero one, where the man is the dominant and the woman is the submissive, what more often than not comes into play is simply that you love each other (I’m assuming that’s the case or you may wish to rethink this whole “moving in together” thing). When that happens weird shit goes on in a D/s- S&M relationship. The guy often starts to get creeped out about actually -hurting- someone he loves (society norms are never very far from the surface for most loving sadists) . The guys often take on more of a protector role and less of a bastard role. They actually (OMG) say thank you and please! Their submissive is combined with their lover, their companion, their partner and their friend (Madonna/Whore is not just a roleplay in this case). Roles get messy and confused. When loving emotions get mixed into a D/s-S&M relationship- it gets really difficult for the dominant to put those feelings aside and make his submissive really cry. And when a submissive loves her dominant, we really do (at least I’ve made this mistake a few times) see him through a rose-colored glass. I know that I tend to overlook “undominant-like” actions as an aberration. I get so wrapped up in my own role sometimes, that it is difficult to remember that he really just can’t beat me up the same way he did when we didn’t know each other very well. It still makes his dick hard to beat my ass, but now- the flavor is much different.

So, what’s the cure for this ailment? The unfortunate thing is that there really isn’t a single foolproof cure. But there is maintenance and some tricks I’ve learned that might work for others. And in the coming days- I’ll be posting about some strategies you might want to try. Nothing can cure this malady. But between the alternatives- being in a loving relationship and learning how to “do kink” a new way within that; or giving up on long term relationships in order to constantly refill the adrenalin pool- I’m a sucker for the first one every time.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Mono MInded Curiosity

I've been curious for a while about how monogamy is treated within the kink/sex pos world. Very often the impression I get (me, completely me...you may not get the same one and it's OK) is that monogamy is what happens when one is not so much "sex positive" as "positive about how they like sex". I'm not sure I agree with that feeling and I'm curious about how others view monogamy. Whether their definitions of that concept differ from mine, and whether or not monogamy is solely about the act of having sex.

So, if you're willing (and anonymous comments will be published for this one, so feel free), would you help me out by answering the following questions?

1) Do you consider yourself monogamous?

2) What does monogamy mean to you?

3) How do you define monogamy?

4) Have you ever felt that being monogamous didn’t “fit in” with stereotypical relationship modes found in BDSM relationships?

5) Have you ever broken up with someone who purported to be monogamous, but wasn’t?

6) Have you ever had to defend your monogamy to anyone?

7) Do you consider sexual activities, play activities (BDSM without penetration), and emotional connection differently when it comes to monogamy?

8) Have you ever been in a non-monogamous relationship?

Any other comments about monogamy?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

It Was Your Privilege

I wasn’t going to post this. I’d hoped my feelings were just some sort of con drop or that the travel made me cranky. But the more I think on it, what I’m feeling is that I don’t like feeling stupid. And I certainly don’t like admitting to my friends that, despite my enthusiasm and interest in sex geekery, I think I’ve just about given up trying to make sense of anything.

I spent this past weekend at the second annual Momentumcon in DC. For those that don’t know what that is, it’s a weekend long conference of sex geeks. And by geeks, I mean educators, students, writers, industry workers, etc (for this post, I’m going to just lump them together and call them “sex geeks”). There were people who I admire speaking there like Megan Andelloux, Charlie Glickman, Logan Levkoff, and Carol Queen. And there were lots of others I’d never heard of. It’s not their fault though. I am not a sex geek.

My first impressions of this conference were much different from last years. At this one, I expected myself to be much more “sex geek” worthy. I’d had a year to read more, learn more, and question more, so I figured that I’d be able to find my place amongst the glitterati of the truly geeky. Instead, I felt even more like an outsider than I did before. It was made doubly worse by the feeling of “snobbery” that I couldn’t shake. One conversation in particular went like this:

SexGeek: So, what do you do?
Me: I'm a paralegal.
SexGeek: oh.
Me: But I'm really interested in learning, many of these subjects are difficult to understand.
SexGeek: oh. well, it was nice talking to you.

The kinder part of me gave the SexGeek a pass. It was a busy weekend, lots to see, lots to do. And I'm basically a nice person. The not-kinder part of me- well, let's just say wasn't so kind.

I was sorely disappointed that there were no “beginner” kind of classes. I think part of the problem with sex geeks is that they’re so used to talking to colleagues and people who have some background in geekery, that they often forget that there are many of us (yes, even older, white, monogomous women) who have never had the opportunity to learn. Many people are coming from places in our own lives, where in order to learn, we have to first unlearn our language, recognize our own societal and familial mores which have been unwittingly adopted, and then relearn how to think about language, mores, and sex. If I could voice one word for future conference organizers and educators it would be this: do you wish to only preach to the choir or do you really wish to increase your congregation?

I felt invisible.

My first indication that I was going to be an outsider was when I consistently heard the term “BDSM” mangled. I heard “bdm” I heard “b and m” (that one made me giggle), and I heard “dsm” (although that one could have been a mistake on my part). There were a few classes with a kink focus. Unfortunately 2 out of 3 were consent based classes (if you know me, you'll know why I didn't attend). There was no presentation geared towards balancing BDSM participation with sexuality, media, or feminism. BDSM gets a bad rap in the media nearly as often as pornography, but unlike pornography, you've got a lot more people participating in it rather than watching it. With books like "50 Shades" and primetime television portraying BDSM in very unrealistic ways, I’m still trying to figure out why BDSM is still the go-to gigglefest with sex geeks who don’t participate in those activities. The meme may be “whatever makes you happy and turned on”, but they still giggle over spankings.

I have to say that I wasn’t surprised by the feminist discussion of BDSM, because well, you know, one cannot BE a feminist if one is allowing a man to slap your face and call you a whore for fun].

For some reason, I still felt a lot like BDSM was still the "dirty secret" of sexuality. I felt that BDSM was thought of as just a little "side trip", but one that really didn't have much to do with sexuality, feminism or media. Apparently "alt lifestyle" is strictly on the GLBT scale. There's still a long way to go if we have to convince sex geeks that BDSM isn't just about the actions surrounding sex, but is in fact, an alt lifestyle for many. Sex geeks will talk about the merits of pornography until they're winded, but mention Dominance and Submission, and fairly often, most are quite as lost understanding that as I am discussing quantum physics. It often comes across as "whatever kinky shit you do in bed to each other is fine, but masters? slaves? seriously?"

The second thing that I noticed was that there were a lot of words being used to make me feel like an outsider. Heteronormative, cisgendered, and most especially- "privileged". I got the distinct impression that those were all “bad things” (thank gawd I actually have friends who have helped me with understanding the secret language of sex geeks or I'd really be upset). But the irony of being thought of as "privileged" this weekend was not lost on me.

I can’t really change any of those things about myself, making me feel badly about them isn’t exactly the best way to help me learn to be an understanding advocate. I know that sounds counterintuitive- I mean- if you marginalize someone then they'll better be able to understand you, right?, But I think I was really looking to learn how everyone could fit together in this space, support each other in the struggle for fairness, and celebrate each others joy. What I ended up with is feeling that because I’m not gay, not queer, don’t watch porn (I am not opposed, I just rarely watch any sort of television), or have a degree in sex geekery, my whitebread ass doesn't have a place to fit in.

So, here's a note to sex geeks- even though I'm kinky, I'm a white, cis gendered, heterosexual woman, in a monogamous relationship who is a professional in my field, employed full time, and who is a mother and grandmother. Other than the kinky part- I'm more in your "target audience" for advocacy than you realize, or that you paid attention to this weekend.

But, as I said, I wasn't going to post these thoughts because much of it is unfair. I could have pushed to be heard. I could have stood up in classes and said "I don't understand what you mean by XYZ". I could have demanded that educators teach me the basics and explain things so that I could understand them. I did none of those things so I share the blame for my failure to fit in this weekend.

But what I thought was sex geek snobbery looks entirely different now.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Not Speaking My Language?

The past few days have been rather wearing on me. With dozens of emails discussing classes on consent, presentations on consent, policies on consent, and a few “did you see....” on consent.

Up until now, I’ve been generally pretty nice about my responses and it’s usually: “Thank you for the information, but I’m not interested. I am no longer speaking about this issue”. My friends- (you know those people- my really, honest to goddess, true and real friends)- the people who know me, who can talk to me and with me without either of us feeling like we’re assholes, who understand my own personal (dare I say it?) boundaries, limits, and newly discovered triggers with this issue, the ones who understand that I am not interested in getting into any online discussion about this issue. The ones who are perfectly happy spending time with me doing things and talking about things that have absolutely nothing to do with kink -with a few of them- I will have a quiet in-person discussions about some peripheral issues relating to “The Big Picture”, but they know that I have had enough of, and will not partake in, online rhetoric or semantics any longer.

So, it's rarely my friends I'm having issues with. I'm friends with them mostly because they understand about personal space. But I've had to take some measures with other people to maintain that personal space.

I’ve told people that I now filter my email into trash and which words are included (there’s a few). I have removed myself from Fetlife (it really does get easier after a month). I have locked my twitter account, removed some people here and there, and generally found my place again, doing what I love, saying what I want, and trying like hell to just stay away from this entire issue. That others wish to “carry on” with this argument is their choice.

Mine is to just stay the fuck out of it.

And yet, despite my being quite honest about my desires to not talk about this online, to not read about this online, to not have this intrude on my every waking moment of online interactions with people, there isn’t a day when I’ve been able to open my email or my twitter DM’s when someone wasn’t sending me something that I just “had to know/read/understand/hear”.

When I mentioned this to Septimus, saying how completely frustrated I was by people continuously, and with obvious disregard for my own personal boundaries, who kept sending this shit to me, he said that I needed to get a “stock reply” that people would hopefully understand.

So here it is:

“When I can't get my own colleagues and friends to respect my boundaries and not discuss this issue with me, is it any wonder that it's an issue in the scene? I agree that it's something that needs to be talked about. But it's not going to be talked about by me. Seriously. Back off. Red. Red. Do you need this in any other language?"

I’m really confused why so many people, who purport to abide by consent, who agree to respect boundaries...don’t understand that boundaries and consent are not concepts just for the kink world. Respect goes both ways. I respect your opinions.

I just don’t want them in my email.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Private Parts

Part of my job is digging up dirt. The dirt you probably don’t even know is there. In places you can’t imagine I’d look. I have at my disposal databases that you’ve never heard of, private investigators, and dozens of classes in methods of ferreting out secrets. But mostly I use just the plain old ordinary internet. Google to be precise.

I’m very good at what I do. With private databases and just a few bits of information, I can view your credit history, property ownership records, military or school service, get behind PO boxes to your real address, see your credit card information, court records, your banking information, and get a list of people who live with you, your relatives, your neighbors, your past addresses. With public databases and perhaps a bit or two more information, I can usually find enough dirt, or at least enough to spin in my direction, that I don’t generally have to spend a dollar or employ an investigator.

And getting a subpoena takes 20 minutes and a filed lawsuit. With that, about the only thing I can’t get without a special license from the court is counseling records and attorney’s records. Although I have to say, even both of those aren’t too hard to get when you’re in the middle of a custody battle.

And the best part? The law hasn't kept up with the internet so there's also a better than not chance that I can convince a judge (who likely knows little about the internet) of anything.


Facebook (and those sites like it) is awesome for people like me.

And don’t get me even started on Firesheep.

I’m good at my job. Sometimes too good. I’ve used what I’ve found in custody disputes, property settlements, mortgage financing, and various other types of disputes. My job is to dig up enough dirt on someone to sway the odds to the my side. I view the information dispassionately and without malice. To me, it’s just information I can use to convince a judge to award custody to one parent or another; to award a family home to someone; or to convince a jury that the person may be less than truthful because of some “questionable behavior” (read this as kink, alt sex, guns, drugs or gambling, among others). I’m so good at my job that some nights I feel like complete and utter shit.

From a Child Custody site:

"Today there are private investigators that specialize in obtaining evidence of online perversions and Internet sex addictions. These investigators can take a persons email address and locate secret online personal ads. Membership to online swinger clubs, secret Myspace pages and memberships to online communities devoted to escort services and their clients. They can even locate porn site memberships a person has."


The one thing that I hear from people all the time is “I had no idea that was online” or “I’ve no idea how you found that” or “I thought I’d deleted it”. People who use the internet to conduct their lives seldom realize just how much they share. How much is kept. And how it could be used.

And I use it without your even knowing I’m there.

Putting warnings about “not using your profile information” means nothing. If it’s on the internet I can use it in all sorts of ways and for almost any purpose that I wish. [let’s not get into a copyright discussion here, that’s another whole topic and not relevant to this post]. I can, for instance view your profile, print it out and hand it to a judge in the middle of a custody dispute (been there, done that). If your soon to be ex-spouse has done any research of their own, and started an anonymous online chat with you (and gotten you to admit cheating, drug use, or other interests) I can use that. I can save a static page of any website, copy any picture, and spin anything I find in all sorts of ways that a judge and/or jury would find distasteful or make them question your veracity.

I especially love finding pictures of people doing things that judges, guardian ad litems, and juries think of as “disgusting”. Don’t think that hiding pictures behind a “friends only” list protects them either. Especially when you don’t really know those “friends”. And it’s amazing how often people use the same exact picture in more than one place. With tin-eye or even google- facial recognition is an amazing technology that is of great value to people who do what I do.

And I really love emails, text messages and chat logs. Sharing a computer or a phone with anyone and even deleting that shit, there’s a better than not chance that if push comes to shove, a forensic computer geek can still pull up enough for me to use. But people are lazy and seldom cover their tracks enough for me to even bother with that.

So what’s the point of this? Why am I telling you what I do, the kinds of things I can find?

Because I want you to know that if you put it on the internet, it is no longer is private. If you put something on the internet, someone will have the ability, the resources, or the motivation to find it. If you put it on the internet, in an email, or even behind locked sites, there’s always someone who knows more than you and can find it. I want you to know that when you send an email to someone- what happens after that is out of your control. It can be used against you. That what happens after you hit that send key is out of your control. And that it is no longer private.

I want you to know because right now, you may think that you don’t care about any of that. But someday, you might.

Before you send another email, post another picture or do anything else online- you may want to really stop and think about whether someday, people like me, will look for people like you.




Link

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Consent or Responsibility?

For some months, I’ve been enmeshed, embroiled, embattled, immersed (choose one) in trying to bring the issue of consent more out in the open within our local kink scene. Based on the stories, emails, tweets and messages I’d received, it seemed that people just weren’t “getting” this whole consent thing. And since I’m an opinionated person, with no shortage of keyboards- I figured I’d be among the first in my area to “take the hit” and start talking about it.

I fully expected people to be pissed off.

I expected people to obscure the arguments.

I expected people to accuse me of victim blaming and slutshaming.

I hadn’t expected that I would get so angry. But when Septimus asked me last night- “why does this make you so angry?” And I had to think.

I hadn’t expected the polarity, the unwillingness to discuss different points of view, the disinclination to believe that this issue within bdsm is any different on its surface than that faced by the populace at large. The very truth of the matter is- consent makes no difference to a person who is incapable of giving it freely and rationally or to the person who doesn’t receive it and who is bent on destruction. No, Talking about consent isn’t the issue because reasonable, rational adults have a pretty basic understanding of what consent is and most men are rightfully appalled at the notion of consent violations. And those that don't, well- that's why we have prisons.

I’m angry with people rehashing the same shit over and over and over and always focusing on what we should do to change things. I'm angry with the posts about outing, naming, shaming, and blacklisting. Angry with the hundreds of people asking questions about this issue for the first time and getting their heads handed to them. Angry about the way that people seem to be a little naive about kinky people actually having something called community “leaders”. And that those leaders are willing or able to help with a particular consent issue.

But what I’m most angry about is that people still haven’t figured out that we don’t really need to be talking about consent as an ephemeral rule for correct behavior. What we really need to be talking about is responsibility.

Two quotes got my attention this morning, both by M. Scott Peck:

Whenever we seek to avoid the responsibility for our own behavior, we do so by attempting to give that responsibility to some other individual or organization or entity. But this means we then give away our power to that entity.


~and~

The difficulty we have in accepting responsibility for our behavior lies in the desire to avoid the pain of the consequences of that behavior.


I’m angry because talking about consent in the way it's being done focuses on trying to get someone else to do or not to do something. Responsibility keeps the focus on each of us for our own actions.

And really? The only person we can ever hope to control is after all- ourselves. If we focus on each of us being responsible for our own actions, consent flows naturally. While providing a safe place for people who have been harmed, let's not forget that part of the healing process for most of us is taking back the power we lost. And, at least for me, part of that was accepting responsibility for myself.

So yeah, I'm a little angry that even after almost 30 years, I'm still having the same discussions about the spider on the bed.


And because, once again I've found others that hit my point much better than I ever do- please see:

Owning My Part
and
Consent and Abuse are Orthogonal

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Lost in a Sea of Semantics

Last night, a friend said “we haven’t seen you around for a while- is everything okay”?

I didn’t really know how to answer that. And because people rarely actually want to hear how things are, I finally said that things were fine, I was just really busy, you know how the winter is, blahdeyblahdyblah. It wasn’t anywhere near the truth. The truth was that I’d become bored, annoyed, angry and frustrated with Kink, The Scene. The Lifestyle and The Community. The more time I spent interacting with those things, the less I found to like about them.

When I’d gotten home, Septimus and I were talking. A question came up about whether or not the “contemporary kink scene” was too commercial. I said that I thought it was too watered down and that I was feeling kind of “lost” within the umbrella of “All Things Kinky”.

When I first discovered s&m, I had NO idea that I was “kinky”. I thought that I was altogether “sick in the head or something”, but over time, I learned that I’m FAR from alone. I’m not even actually really sure when I first hear the words “kinky”, the “scene” “lifestyle” or the “community”. And I still don’t have a clear meaning in my own head what any of those actually MEAN. I suppose, like many words used in this area, ascribing meaning to them is for each of us alone.

I am not kinky. I don’t want to be kinky, act kinky, think kinky or be a member of any kinky club. Kinky is not a word I particularly favor when describing sexuality- especially my own. To me, my sexuality is well...normal. Kinky is still for those “other people” who do weird things with hotdogs and corkscrews. (sorry for the mental picture). I don’t “get” kinky. I understand my own desires, my own motivations and my own turn ons, but I don’t really consider them to be “outside the mainstream”. Hair pulling, face slapping, pinches and floggers are how I get my rocks off. That stuff is just normal. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea- but then I don’t get turned on by lingerie, porn or librarians either. When people tying each other to the bedposts on a Saturday night or engage in anal sex consider themselves kinky (‘cuz Cosmo says so!), I don’t really think that “kinky” has any meaning beyond “I like to fuck”. And yet- that’s what the word has become. Any kind of sex, other than heterosexual missionary in the dark is for some reason now thought of as “kinky”. If ALL sex is kinky- doesn’t that make it “normal”? If anal sex, blindfolds and vibrators are considered “kinky”....what does that make ME? I shudder to think it.

The Scene is another word I just don’t really get. I have had scenes. I’ve caused scenes. I’ve even taken long walks and watched the scenery. But I don’t understand what people mean when they say “are you part of The Scene?” or “I’m a long-time member of The Scene”. What does it mean to people to be part of “The Scene”? Because I’ve been getting the bejeezus beat outta me for as long as I care to remember but only recently have I suddenly become a “member of The Scene”. To me, scenery is a background for something. It doesn’t merit the focus of one’s gaze. I have friends- but I don’t think that simply having friends that you talk about sex with makes “The Scene”. Does seeing your friends or acquaintances naked make “The Scene”? Or does it, as it often feels to me, the secrecy, the drama, the shame and confusion that more often that not accompany WIITWD that creates “The Scene”. Is it someplace where people, wanting to believe that others similarly situated behave with some sort of commonality, can find a place where they don’t consider themselves different? But if The Scene is just a bunch of people seeing their friends naked and doing things to each other that they wouldn’t ordinarily DO (consent issues anyone?) outside of The Scene- is that really such a good place to be?

Lifestyle is another of those words that I just don’t get when it comes to describing sexuality. Sex (and all the accouterments of my particular method of enjoying said sex) isn’t a “lifestyle” to me. Any more than breathing or eating is a lifestyle. Lifestyle is a way to describe a social class using clothing, recreation or wealth and consumerism which hardly seems appropriate in context of how the word is typically used. And given that those purporting to be “in the lifestyle” have very different views of what that means to them. Living a “master/slave lifestyle”, I’ve been involved “in the lifestyle”, “I’m a lifestyle submissive” all have absolutely NO meaning to me. When you say these things, you might as well be speaking in Gaelic. So, yes, you’re a lifestyle submissive. Am I to understand that you have some sort of “class definitive” of what makes a lifestyle? What exactly does one MEAN when they’re “living a lifestyle”. Or do they really mean that those “in the lifestyle” have the same attitudes and habits therefore creating a class? I don’t really know. But if merely having the same attitude and habit creates the class, then is it really a lifestyle? Or is it just life? Because I gotta say- I’ve never found it common that two masters, two slaves or two of any other identified labels ever agree on much of anything when it comes to comparing their own relationship with others.

Each of us lives life. Some with style and some with substance. But if it’s a choice, I’ll have to choose a substantive life over a stylish one (except for shoes!) every time and forgo the label “lifestyle”.

And Finally, we come to The Community.

Now this is a word that Septimus and I have discussed several times. We both know what a community is. After all, we’re not hermits (well, he sometimes is, but that’s another blog post). We have lived in various communities all our lives. Sometimes our communities overlap and we’re members of several all at the same time.

But what do we really mean when we say “The Community”.

I’m guessing it’s more along the “shared participation of a common interest” kind of community rather than anything else. But when The Community regularly eats its own and blindly accepts those who do harm, I’m not really sure if that’s a common interest I really want to engage in.

So yeah, I’m doing okay. I’m just stepping from the insanity for a while. I really can’t handle being a Kinky Scene Lifestyle Member of the Community right now.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Good, Great and Lousy

What Do We Learn?

In case you’re not as interested in the “rope scene” as other people are, or if you’ve never experienced what it’s like to be hurt (and not in a good way) during a scene, you might be interested in reading about an incident involving Midori and Mistress Tokyo. Both sides have now “come forward” to explain what happened. Many people who weren’t at the event during the incident have put their two cents in. Some people have accused others of being judgmental and unforgiving assholes. A few have used this to look at how THEY view rope and how they are going to plan for the inevitable fuck up. And one, who WAS there, and who has the knowledge to back up his points, made it perfectly clear to me, that there was a serious issue with Midori's skills and the aftermath.

Whichever side you’re taking on this issue (and I don’t recommend taking any side), I hope you’ll at least agree on three things:

a. Something went wrong.
b. Someone got horribly hurt.
c. The divergent reactions of how things were or should have been handled in the aftermath shows that merely being a well-known rope top isn’t good enough.


We all say “rope is dangerous. We all generally get the “pooh-pooh, I don’t put a NOOSE around my bottom’s neck!” But when we say rope is dangerous, we mean it. Ropes break, rigs break, shit happens.

And bottoms break.

While everyone is arguing about the mechanics of what should have been done, what wasn’t done correctly, what they would do in a similar situation- they’re all forgetting that the bottom involved placed an ENORMOUS amount of trust that Midori could do this correctly. The fact that it wasn’t within a scene, but a performance; and the fact that both bottom and top were adept at their craft, doesn’t negate the fact that the bottom got hurt and that it seems to me there was a genuine failure on the part of Midori's handling of the immediate concerns of her bottom.

But what makes this particular instance more troubling than simply an accident or inattention to detail or a top going beyond their knowledge base, is the allegations made that Midori for all intents and purposes- bailed out on her bottom. Yes, she “got her help” after she realized the extent of the injuries and yes, she paid for the medical bills, but the initial reaction of Midori seemed to be to “save face” in front of the audience, rather than cut to the chase and get her bottom the immediate attention she needed. “Dancing off the stage”, whether a few, or several minutes, after such an injury is unforgivable.

If this were the FIRST time, I'd heard about such a well-known top freaking out over a disastrous mistake in which a bottom had gotten hurt, I'd put it up to "it happens so infrequently, it's HARD to plan". But the fact of the matter is, it's NOT the first time. Or the first "rope rockstar" to fall to pieces like this. And what makes it even worse, is that unless someone is wiling to talk (and risk being ostracized in the rope community or called a judgmental asshole) then NOBODY can LEARN from their horrible mistakes. Nobody. Not good tops, not other rockstars, and not bottoms who put their trust in them.

Let me be perfectly clear about my own thoughts: ANY top who CANNOT deal with such a crisis, cannot put the needs of the bottom before trying to “save the scene/performance/their reputation” is a bad top. Any top who instead of making sure that another human being whose trust they’ve broken and whose body they’ve harmed, pretends that "it wasn't their fault" needs to re-examine their motivations for topping. Any top who falls to pieces is not one that is safe to play with, regardless of their “time in the scene” or their “reputation”.

Say what you like, but the bottom line is - a top is responsible for everything- good and bad- that goes on in a scene. If you don't LIKE that responsibility- then don't top. And if you've got a bottom who in fact causes problems or doesn't listen to instruction- then you're still responsible for the aftermath if you choose to continue topping that particular bottom. (and let me clarify here- the top is responsible for everything that goes on during the scene- think of the top as the "commander" of the army. It doesn't in any way negate that a bottom does have an equal responsibility- for the things they're able to control. But it's also unrealistic to think that a bottom "controls" the top's actions, inactions, inattentiveness or self-awareness).

People fuck up. Shit happens. But what differentiates a “great top” from one who is merely fooling themselves, is the ability to foresee potential problems, mitigate as many as they can, face the fuck ups with humanity and decisiveness, and not to foist the blame onto others. A great top puts their reputation on the line every time they top.

A lousy one puts their reputation in front of everything else.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Internet BlackOut Day: January 18, 2012


End Piracy, Not Liberty
Websites Joining the Strike
EFF Blog
Where Your Representatives Stand

"████ ██ ██-██ ██ ██████ ██

████ ██ ██ ████ ██ ████ ██ ██████ ██ ████ ██ ████ ██ ██████ ██"

Friday, January 6, 2012

Trash Talking Squirrels


When I moved in with Septimus a couple of years ago, we negoitated division of tasks. I explained that I would be happy to do the dishes, the laundry, the shopping, and almost anything else that needed to get done. But I told him that the one thing I didn’t do was taking out the trash to the curb on trashday. Usually I’m dressed in my work clothes and getting dirty at 6 am isn’t my idea of fun. We do have a woman who comes in to do the floors and bathrooms- as Septimus fondly puts it “nothing kills a relationship faster than arguing over who cleans the toilets”.

For the most part, he’s done an admirable job at keeping that end of the bargain (and yes, he has done dishes and laundry too). But as to the trash- sometimes he’ll ask me for help if it’s a particularly heavy recycling week, and sometimes I just stick around and help him because it’ll get done faster (not to mention that I always get a really awesome kiss and snuggle before getting into the car to drive to work). Sometimes though, I let him sleep and just do it myself. Especially if he’s had a late night. Especially more if he’s sleeping soundly and peacefully (he really is adorable when he’s sleeping).

What does this have to do with D/s? Nothing really. Except that not everything in a relationship (even one BASED on D/s) is written in stone. And nothing except that sometimes, taking out the garbage once in a while, dressed in work clothes, and letting your boyfriend sleep, even though it’s “his job” is just one small thing I do to show him that I really do want to make his life easier.

A partnership isn’t always about clear divisions. One based on a power exchange relationship even more so. Lines get fuzzy, things have to get done, people have personalities, needs, desires and responsibilities. Not everything in a D/s relationship fits neatly into the box. Being flexible and having a relationship outside of that box is absolutely necessary. It never has to be an all or nothing proposition in D/s. As long as you have a connection to it, it’s existence can be subtle and therefore seamlessly merged into a relationship.

When I think about taking out the trash and how that fairly mundane chore, which I dislike doing enormously, is a metaphor for the give and take that can happen even when He Is The Dom, it makes me laugh. It’s the little things, those mundane tasks, those private jokes, and those small thoughts that we have about each other, that connect us so that when we do have to spend time living outside of that box, we remember that it’s always a place we can go back to.

This morning, while I got ready for work, and he took the trash to the curb, I got my own reminder that he also thinks of the small things and does silly things to make me smile. My windshield was obviously defaced by a deranged squirrel with an odd symmetry fetish. Good thing I love deranged squirrels who take out the trash for me, huh?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Do Not Run with Twitterers


I REALLY (seriously really) wanted to write a nice upbeat New Years post about something fabulously insightful. Instead, I decided to get something off my chest that has been bugging me for a while.

I’ve long wanted to write a post about a few of the things that make me (as one good friend says) “BATSHIT CRAZY” about Twitter. I love Twitter generally, but there are a few things that I'm not so keen on, and in fact, will drive me away from it for days (or longer). In this case, I've been relatively absent from Twitter for the past couple of weeks because of a large amount of the following behaviors.

Twitter Peeve #1: Begging is Totally Non-Consensual

Look. I get it. People run into hard times. Medical emergencies, family emergencies, getting arrested for flashing a cop you thought was just a really cute girl...but setting up funds, tweeting about fundraisers and begging for money (especially for yourself) on twitter is, well...lame. I understand that giving to charity and things that are special to your life is cool, and I completely understand about needing help if stuck in a strange place without Yelp or a map, but coming on twitter and begging for money to help you in your “Run for Mr. Universe”, or to help you fund your next “Trip to Visit my Sick Grandmother” that just happens to coincide with, and in the same location as, say...Shibaricon isn’t fooling anyone. And in fact, it detracts from real, ACTUAL people who need legitimate help. I’d like to visit MY sick grandmother every year on Memorial Day weekend in Chicago, but it’s not realistic. I have to settle for visiting my crazy aunt in Providence at Valentine’s Day instead.

Twitter Peeve #2: Blocking and Cutting; or “Do Not Run with Twitters”

Threatening to “cull my twitter list” or “remove some of my followers”. If you want to remove people or followers, just do it. Warning people that the price for finding you entertaining or relevant is removal and/or blocking is rather like inviting them to confirm that you’re a jerk. Trust me, most people really don’t care one way or the other if you remove them or block them. Twitter especially has enough variety and action that it’s probably going to be months before anyone notices (if they ever do). But tweeting about doing it just makes people wonder why you’re so full of yourself that your PRONOUNCEMENT will be taken with anything other than a ho-hum, seeyalater, buh-bye.

And on the same note, asking people to tell you WHY you should continue following them before blocking them should they not provide an answer to your satisfaction. I look at those tweets and always wonder if my life would be better off without following you (or you following me) if that’s the way you really feel. Don’t follow me back. Block me. I’m ok with either. For the most part, I don’t even notice. For the other most part, did you ever stop and think that I might have LIKED what you posted but really had no desire to participate in your online conversations? Online voyeurism is part and parcel of living your life online. If you don’t like it don’t do it.


Twitter Peeve #3: Once (maybe Twice) is Enough; More is Always Too Much

Posting and reposting and reposting and posting some more your daily blog activity. People blog. I get it. Heck I do it myself. But posting multiple times about your latest blog post is not going to get people reading it any more than they already do. And really? Whining that people “aren’t showing you any love” on your blog? If you blog, do it for yourself and not because you want to be stroked by people telling you what a perfect absolutely marvelous person you are to have written such an insightful and well drafted post. If it IS those things, and you ARE an absolutely marvelous person, people will post blog comments. Stamping your foot (or the equivalent- blasting dozens of times on twitter) about it is more likely to get you dropped from my blog roll.

Twitter Peeve #4: Don’t Shit Where You Eat.

Whining about being paid for presenting at cons, classes, events or whatever. Bitching about how unfairly you were treated by organizers. For most people, we’ve never heard of you. Having Lee Harrington presenting holds about the same weight as having Joe Schmuckatelly presenting. While more experienced kinksters get to know the “superstar names” (a few who are actually a draw and can put butts into chairs) most people coming into these events for the first time don’t have a clue who most of the presenters are. And while you may make your living as a professional kinkster teaching other kinksters how to do things in the one twue way, and while you expect to be paid for your insight, please be aware that complaining about the lack of compensation on social media is a major faux pas and makes you look ungrateful that there are actually people who might want to hear you, but will now likely look at that event as “defective” because YOU’RE complaining about it. For most presenters, no matter how great they may be (and there are a ton of great ones out there); they’re still a very small fish in a very large pond.

Twitter Peeve #5 Sometimes There IS such a Thing as Too Much Information
(and What That Is Varies)


I can't truly be more specific with this one without calling out specific examples- which I'm not going to do. Suffice to say that I find few things more distasteful than totally disrespecting other people's boundaries or privacy. Thinly veiled references and passive aggressive tweets should come with a warning. And even more specifically- photographs of your cunt rash du jour should NEVER be tweeted without appropriately warning people that what you're about to tweet might be considered "TMI".

There's more, but I just can't think straight right now. But not to worry- I'm gonna break one of my own peeves even as I finish this post. I've dumped most of the worst offenders from my stream this week.

Sorry about that- But on the bright side- I'm sure it'll be a while before you even notice.




PS: This is solely my own opinion and not necessarily shared with "The Management" ie. Septimus- if you have a snit- talk to me, not to him.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year

Dee Dennis and I were talking a few weeks ago about how many shoes I actually owned. Frankly, I stopped counting because I was deathly afraid I was becoming one of those hoarder people and that someday, I'd be found buried beneath a mountain (Everest??) of shoes, boots, and sandals. For the few people who have been privileged to peek in my closet- they have no doubt I'm a shoe whore. For the rest of you- I'm beginning my year in pictures for 2012. Every day I'll be posting a picture of me wearing one pair of my shoes. I'm curious if I can do it, and frankly- I'm even more curious to know if I've reached over 365 pairs.

So, here's to my shoe whore life in pictures for 2012. Happy New Year!