February 21st, 2013
Boundary responsibility has been on my mind a lot lately. Who’s responsibility are your boundaries and agreements? On the surface, this answer is simple – you are responsible for your own boundaries. You are responsible for knowing your boundaries, for communicating your boundaries and for enforcing your boundaries. So, where does My responsibility begin?
If you hug me, is it my responsibility to ask if hugging is within your boundaries? If you kiss me, is it my responsibility to make sure your primary partner is okay with that? If we curl up to cuddle, is it my responsibility to ask you if your partner would be okay seeing us like this? If you ask me to play, is it my responsibility to check with your partners?
For me, all these answers are No. I am responsible for interacting within my own boundaries and agreements, and I expect everyone else to be as responsible for their own boundaries and agreements. But there’s trouble in those expectations and assumptions.
I’ve been blamed in the past, and seen others blamed, for ‘stealing’ a partner from a ‘friend’ because I didn’t ask said ‘friend’ if it was okay to play with their partner. I use quotes here because said partner ended up dating us both for quite some time and had another partner before either of us, so I’m not sure what was stolen, and the person was never someone I considered a friend in the first place. I’ve also seen the case where an outside partner came back and said ‘well, you should have known I wouldn’t be okay with that.’ No, I’m sorry, I don’t know you as well as your partner does, so I don’t assume I know better than your partner about your agreements and boundaries.
But this has bitten me in the ass, too. When agreements and boundaries have been shared with all involved, and then broken anyway. If I know a boundary of another relationship, if I’m told an agreement, then yes, I think it does become partially my responsibility to respect and uphold it. By this I mean, not pushing to break an agreement or bypass a boundary that I know to be set. The trouble comes when it turns into enforcing someone else’s boundaries and agreements for them. I’m not okay with being put in the position of having to remind someone of their own boundaries.
The bigger trouble comes when these discussions do not occur at all, and everyone starts acting off assumptions. ‘Well, I know this isn’t what she said the boundary was, but if she’s doing it, the boundary must have changed.’ ‘He never told me what the boundaries are, so there must not be any.’ ‘Everyone else is doing it, so it must be alright.’ ‘He never said I couldn’t do this.’ ‘Well, if she wants to, it must be okay for me to do it.’
And as much as I don’t want to have to enforce someone else’e boundaries, starting the discussion about boundaries is far safer than making assumptions. And it leads to healthier relationships, and stronger friendships. Communication and honesty are essential for all my relationships.
So, here’s the question: At what point do you start this discussion?
July 29th, 2011
It’s been a long time since I posted my reflection on the first section of The Ethical Slut, but I finally made it back to Part Two. It’s been a busy week, so I didn’t manage to get a post done on time. I’ve divided the quotes up into four sections, here is the first set. The topic is Polyamory and Boundaries.
“One of the things people get out of multiple relationships is the chance to be all of their various selves. … Being different things to different lovers, we might find ourselves having different boundaries, limits and relationship styles in different circumstances.” (123) I’ve talked about this before, how I have different relationships, boundaries and dynamics with all of my partners. Poly, for me, is a chance to explore all the different sides of myself.
“Forget about fairness.” (123) “Fairness does not mean equity.” (194) “We have to learn to give freedom to our partners if we’re going to get it for ourselves.” (174) For me, these quotes are about making agreements that work for everyone. In poly, not everyone is going to have the same boundaries or rules, things don’t have to be equal and fair, so long as everyone agrees. And it’s important to remember that sometimes, letting your partner have a little freedom will help them feel comfortable giving you a little freedom.
“You may believe that you have to take your share away from somebody else… if someone else gets something, that means there must be less of it for you.” (125) “Time is the biggest real-world limit we encounter in trying to live and love as we like.” (127) “This is not a contest, this is not a race, and no one is the prize.” (157) These quotes are around the ‘economics of starvation’ that many of us learn growing up. Dividing up time in poly is often the most difficult, it’s important to use your time wisely and well, because it is so limited just by life itself. And that goes for non-poly relationships, too. One of the easiest ways to counter starvation economics thinking, when one is being rational and not in the middle of an emotional freak out, is to remember that having more kids in a family doesn’t mean you love the first (or second, or third) less than the newest edition. Love and affection do not run out, they only grow.
“It is impossible for anyone to predict what depth of feeling may potentially exist in any sexual relationship.” (158) “Relationships change, people grow out of them, people change.” (166) “Remember that your soon-to-be-ex-partner is still the same terrific person you used to love. (171) These quotes are about the inevitable changes of people and relationships. You cannot predict when you will fall in love, or out of love. You cannot predict how long a relationship will last, or how it could change. Some relationships last lifetimes, some a few days. Sometimes people fall in love, get married, fall out of love, get divorced and then are the best of friends. Sometimes people never speak again after a relationship is over, sometimes they become play partners or close friends. Sometimes people don’t speak for a year or more after a break up, and then get married a few years down the line. Life is crazy, people and situations change. It can get a bit quantum sometimes – things defined by the way they are observed, even though they are in an ever-changing or undefinable state.
“To be an ethical slut, you need to have very good boundaries that are clear, strong flexible, and, above all, conscious.” (117) This quote is about being clear about yourself and your boundaries. You need to know your boundaries, discuss your boundaries and make sure everyone involved is clear and accepting of them. Some think that poly people have no standards, no boundaries, they just do whatever they want. But that’s not sustainable. You have to take care of yourself and your relationships, or neither will last.
April 29th, 2011
I’ve never written a contract with a partner before. Never had things spelled out explicitly in writing. Maybe I should have done before now. Maybe that would have helped certain things go differently. Either way, we’re trying it now. He, Toy and I. To organize our Monday nights and reduce stress and have time for play. It is very interesting and exciting, but maybe that’s because I’m an OCD writer.
The beginning of the contract is our expectations. As a group, and as individuals. Things that need to happen prior to Monday evening. Things that need to happen before he gets home. Limits and boundaries that need to be respected. Time and food considerations. Toy’s been teasing me about my section being blank. The thing is, I did write things in my section, but either she or they both liked and agreed with them, so they became group expectations, or the girls’ expectations instead of just mine.
Do I have singular expectations? I don’t have many limits when it comes to playing with him, and those I have, she has, too. They’ve both asked, don’t I have limits with her? Well, certainly, if I was just playing with her, but the point of this is that I’m not. I’m playing with them both. And where he is the top of the structure, my limits follow.
What about other expectations, outside of limits? They seem to be things implicit in the agreement. I expect toy and I will share the chores. I expect to have fun and share new things with them both. I expect that sometimes I will have to help toy destress after work before he gets home. I expect this all will take work and balance and commitment from all of us. I expect to learn and grow. None of these things are requirements that need to be delineated in the contract, however.
December 30th, 2010
These last few weeks have provided many lessons in Negotiation. First as an observer and then as an active participant. I watched several new people learn their first lessons in trying to fence with him, and in trying to assist one of them, became part of the scene. Bear with me and I’ll tell you all about what I ended up agreeing to do. So, what have I learned?
No wishing for more wishes. This seems simple enough, most of us remember Robin Williams’ genie quoting this to Aladdin. But in the heat of the moment, when you don’t have any better ideas. A blank check, while dangerous, seems simple enough. You must, however, remember to stipulate, that it cannot be cashed in for more blank checks, otherwise, a single scene at his whim becomes many more.
Don’t forget your limits. Not that you might forget your limits such as they are, but always remember to include them in a negotiation. Whether it is telling a new partner what your limits are, or stipulating that the above blank check(s) cannot violate them. It is all well and good to push your limits when you want to, but make sure you want to.
Be specific. At all points of the negotiation, be clear and precise. What are you offering, what are you getting, what are the terms and the rules and the boundaries. “Test me!” might be a fun thing for an excited student to shout, but it behooves one to specify what they want to be tested on. “School girl outfit” can mean different things to different people. “Skirts” come in many different lengths and styles. “Tied together” sounds fun, but do you really want to leave the binding material up to his imagination? Stockings, hose, fishnets, knee-highs, socks all very important distinctions in how much leg is covered or uncovered.
Offer something of value. Different people value different things from different people. Some people value sex. Some people value service. Some people value suffering. Some value the passing of knowledge. Learn what it is that will be of value and find ways to offer it.
Be creative and then be even more creative. Don’t offer things you have already given or things he already has. Offer something new, offer something bigger, offer something more interesting. Start with new and interesting offers, and then push them one step further. And don’t be afraid to make them well rounded – paint the full picture, not just the center of it. Bootblacking is good, but bootblacking while naked and kneeling is better, and bootblacking while naked and kneeling followed by some boot worship is even more interesting.
Don’t let other people negotiate for you. Stay in control of your side of the negotiation. Keep your wits about you and keep your mouth moving. If you want to be happy with what is agreed to, stay actively engaged in the discussion. Stick up for yourself and stand your ground when you have to. You do not have to agree to everything they say, keep seeking compromises that work for both parties. Unless agreements to the contrary are already in place, you can always say no, and most times even then.
Be reasonable and trust the other people in the negotiation. If you have a real problem with something, explain it, trust that they care about you and will listen. (If you don’t trust them or they don’t care about you, well, that’s another entry entirely.) Then, negotiate to find a way to make it work for everyone. Try not to just say no, that is impossible. Look for solutions that benefit everyone. Most problems are only little bumps in the road.
Be flexible and open minded. Understand that everything is not going to go the way you want it to. Understand that your definitions may not be the same as his definitions. Accept that sometimes comfort zones are meant to be left behind, it is how you can grow. I am incredibly curious, sometimes I have to let the curiosity override the fear.
Relax and enjoy it. Negotiation is where you get to learn about the other person. You get to see how their mind works, what they like and don’t like, how they feel, what their state is. You get to know them, and get to share yourself with them. You are not going to get it all right, but you’re not going to get it all wrong,either. But if you’re both/all happy when it is over, then everyone wins. Keep talking until you’re happy.
So, I promised to let you know what I got myself into. A new friend was starting a negotiation with him, and I was offering some advice. When he was presented with that fact, he suggested that since I was trying to help out, perhaps I should join the negotiation. Her fate and mine became intertwined. We spent most of the rest of the night negotiating. When it was all said and done, we had quite the scene lined up:
Three of us, dressed as school girls (clothing was one of the largest parts of the negotiation) – Japanese, American and British, respectively (I hear there may be a chalkboard hung high up on the wall for sentence writing). We may not say no for the entire night (creativity will be flowing). The evening will start with bootblacking, and we will be available at any time for massage. At his leisure, he may put us in the dog cage (with a violet wand kit nearby), or bind us all together (quite possibly with saran wrap, followed by ice and then hot wax). And at some point during the evening, there will be a Japanese song and dance (whaddya mean I have to dance when I’m sober?) in front of an audience of undetermined size (our voluntary third musketeer is joyfully plotting choreography to the song chosen last night).
It shall be a Very interesting evening. I can hardly wait.
What are you thoughts on Negotiation? What traps have you fallen into?
December 17th, 2010
“Do you want to go a round?”
He had the jute in his hand and on his belt. He let me smell it, natural smell – not hemp, but not synthetic or horses, either. Holding it, he looked me up and down, considering. Turned me to face away and put my arms into a box tie.
“How are your shoulders?”
“Right’s a little pinchy, but much better than they have been lately.”
Tie the wrists, the bite of the natural fibers makes me happy, smiling as he warps it around me. Two lengths of eight meters around my arms and chest, wrapping, cinching down, tight, but so very comfortable.
A bit of a length left when he has me secure, and up between the legs, catching the skirt to protect the rope. Yelping as he yanks and then led around the room.
“Keep up, that’s my bad shoulder. Is it in the right place?”
The grin as he yanks a few more times and then lets it go, finishing it off in the back. Turning me to inspect and show off the work, he stops in front of me. A hand to the throat and he pushes me quickly back into the other room and tosses me on the couch.
“Feet up, prisoner tie.”
I scoot back on the couch, cross my booted ankles, trying to balance and get comfortable for what is sure to be a long tie. The third and final piece quickly secures my ankles to each other and then around to my neck. A comfortable bend for the moment, the jute biting into my skin. So delicious.
Off he goes again, returning with a Japanese washcloth to blindfold me, covering most of my face. And a leather gag to go underneath. The gag is small and flat so my moment of panic is minimized as I adjust, digging my teeth into it.
And here I lose coherent time line. I remember sinking into the rope, into the darkness, listening to conversations around me. I remember changing positions for more comfort, for legs, for back, for neck. I don’t remember how the nipple clamps arrived, but they did. I don’t remember how the other girl came to be tied, but I think it was after the nipple clamps were handed off to another girl to tug on. There was talk of envy of my position. There was talk of requests to be made. And there was tugging and pain and squeaking from me as he tied the her beside me.
I was unbalanced on the couch, squirming to try and move back, my hips were getting strange pressure. When he got her done, he lifted and shoved me further back onto the couch. Gratitude mumbled through the gag.
The tied one wanted to help pull the chain. Something caught his attention from the outer room. He left me, I heard him walk away, his voice leaving the room, but still audible. Panic, kept in check, but bubbling, as I strained to keep his voice in my ears while the first assistant continued to torment my nipples. The one beside me wanted to help, but her hands were tied. Someone else got involved and they moved her into position, got her head in my lap, so she could pull on it with her teeth. His voice returned.
“I was only gone a couple minutes and look at this…”
Multiple people were involved now, a chain of torment starting at my nipples and ending with his amusement. Blindfolded and squealing I had no clear picture of what was going on. It was a writhing mass of energy in front of me, I could identify the players, but not the actions. I knew only that the tied girl was delighted to have the chain in her teeth.
Positions changed and people moved, and there was a slip. I caught a shoulder in the throat. Instant panic and pain, but not the pain I expected. He was there, his voice breaking through my coughing, making sure I was alright. Yes, but still coughing, still panicking, fighting for control. He grabbed it, shoved me back into my place and helped me find my control again.
Camera flashes now. Our photographer capturing the scene. Teeth on chain, both of us squirming and writhing, squeaking and squealing from me. They encourage her to pull harder. I think she was the first to pull one off. The other is yanked free, and they are reset while I whimper.
He sits beside me, landing on a joint and I cringe at the bad pain, but he drops me back into the good pain and rope once more. Her phone rings and her time is up. The first one takes back the chain as he unties.
She sets back to it, testing what sounds she can cause. Enjoying the squeals and the screams. I fall into pain space and breathing and she frowns. She wants squeals. It takes sudden yanks, but she gets what she wants. He hears where I am, and leans in close.
And he counts for me, very quietly, right in my ear. She yanks at his direction, sending me higher. Surprised by my command performance. He counts several times, and I focus and use the pain.
The clamps are yanked and twisted and ripped off and replaced a few more times. I shake and gasp when they are removed.
“Did you just orgasm from pain?”
I shake my head, my fingers spelling out “not without permission,” but no one sees. The shaking is the release of energy so as not to orgasm. She pulls and twists some more. My screams grow louder, the gag slides most of the way out at the harshest of the screams.
“Get that back in! You’re not done yet.”
He grabs me by the hair as she twists and pushes. Tears begin to form.
“Go on, cry.”
He holds tight and she presses harder. I scream and gasp and bite down on the gag, trying to keep it in and breathe and cry. The pain swells, and they push, and I tip over the edge. Tears falling freely and they let me go. Leave me to my release.
I cry myself out and then curl up on myself. He is sitting in front of me while they talk, I curl up my head on my own knee, but touching his shoulder. Spacing out again, in rope and darkness.
They return to the couch, either side of me after short while. Conversation continues, but my hips are starting to protest strongly. I get his attention and mumble through my gag until he understands the problem. He frees my legs, and it is enough. She holds and pets me while they continue to talk.
I shift positions, not ready to give up, but with my legs free, I can now lean back and this puts pressure on my arms. I lean forward and back, and into her and away. Finding comfort in different ways for a while longer.
Eventually, it is enough. My wrist is in too much pain. I lean forward and turn my head towards him, waiting. He asks if I am done. I nod. He asks if my arms are numb. I shake my head. He asks what the problem is, and I try a few times, but I really am done, so I spit out the gag and tell him my wrist hurts too much, from its own swelling combined with the pressure of the rope.
He asks me to stand and I try, but am still unsteady so he has me kneel instead. The ropes come off, then the blindfold and discarded gag. The last trappings of the scene gone, I begin to shake. I take the blanket, which was covering my legs through the scene, to wrap around my shoulders. He invites me back to the couch and I snuggle back into her until the shaking passes while he puts away the rope. It is still cold and I stay snuggled between them until he has to attend to other things, another girl takes his place andI am kept warm while I come fully awake. He returns and I thank him for the wonderful scene.
Warmer clothes and breakfast, bits of teasing and discussion. I am still high and spacy, but awake and aware, and so very happy. A great scene that kept us all entertained on a cold, slow night. I felt like his canvas again. Used for his art – for his rope art, for his sadism, his instigation, and his use of mental control. Given the gifts I enjoy – tight bondage, teethy rope, nipple clamps, intensity, pain, pushing boundaries, control, hair pulling, orgasms, and release to the point of tears. Incredibly grateful for the gift of that scene.
September 16th, 2010
I am a geek. He looked at me and asked if I get upset when my D&D character does something wrong or bad. I said of course not. He asked what is the difference? I said that was a character, a game. He pointed out that being object is just a role I choose to play, and a lightning bolt hit me in the head.
Are you submissive? Yes. Are you an object? No.
The second should not have been a hard question, nor should it have had so many wide ranging implications, but it was and therefore it did. No, I did not think I was an object, but yes, I was trying to be one. Trying really damn hard to be one, and be a perfect one, without the error and failure that is inherent to being human. We knew I have a perfectionist streak. What we did not know, is that I had gotten lost in the intoxication of the fantasy, and had forgotten that object was a role, not a goal. I enjoy thinking for myself, making my own decisions, being a smart ass, loving, living, playing and serving. Object is one way to play and serve, but it is far too limited a role to wear all the time. I am so much more than that.
What problems was this causing?
Because I was not keeping the line drawn between fantasy and reality, I was not divorcing object’s actions from self. I was carrying baggage from our scenes back into my day to day life. I was carrying guilt and blame from play into reality. Instead of using our transition ritual in the way it was intended, to shed the trappings of object, I was gathering it all up to pile on self. Self gave way under the pressure a few weeks ago, and we had been scrambling to figure out what had caused it ever since.
Viewing object as a part of self instead of as a role to put on also led to problems with the transition into object space, as well. I had trouble identifying the boundaries between submissive and object. I had trouble communicating when I was going from one to the other. I thought of object as a deeper part of my submission, so one night, even though I felt objectified, I did not identify that as a need to begin object space.
Another problem was keeping my focus in object space. If we were in public, I would give him priority, but I was also still interacting with other people fairly normally. When I would turn to address him, I would not always have my object role firmly in mind, nor his as owner. I would drop Sir, or be thinking of him as boyfriend. This loss of focus and loss of role had the potential to cause hurt to us both.
What are solutions to these problems?
One solution to the problem of leaving object’s baggage with object, is in properly using the transitional ritual he had me create. Looking back at my post about the creation of the ritual, I was more focused on limiting drop from our scene. Limiting its effects on my other partners. He spoke of relieving girlfriend of any lingering guilt for object’s actions, but I don’t think I really understood that as well as I do now. The ritual I created worked for my needs then and it covers current needs as well. The gratitude not only serves to simply be grateful for what he gave to me in the scene, but can also serve to acknowledge it as just that, a scene. Service, which often was discussing the scene to help us both process, was intended to give me time to deal with the emotions and reactions to the scene in the immediate, so I did not carry them with me back out into the world. Connection, to reconnect with him as girlfriend and finish the transition out of the role of object, back to the reality of self.
The solution to the second problem is self awareness. Staying aware of my self even while transitioning. Being very aware of what it feels like and being able to communicate that clearly. I need to keep in mind that not only do I need to take on the role of object, but at the very same time, he needs to take on the role of owner. He can only do that if I clearly communicate with him. Owner/object does not work if both roles are not fully taken at the same time. We created verbal tools to do this, my saying Sir, and his confirming with me, or his asking the trigger question of Aren’t you under dressed? and my confirming with a Yes, Sir. If he is pushing me mentally or physically towards object space, it is up to me to let him know when I arrive. He cannot know my mind, and so I must. I must be aware and clear and able to communicate with him, before, during and after a scene.
Solving the third problem is something I have had a constant struggle with over the last seven months. I had it tackled for a while, having problems only with volume and clear speaking as opposed to staying in state. I think this is part of the same need for awareness, but in this case, not just awareness for myself, but for him as well. I have a responsibility to maintain my role as well as keeping his in mind. This is not a part I can equate to gaming, we rarely stay in character at the table, and I’ve had very little experience with LARP, but theater on the other hand works. I was in a lot of plays as a teenager, and while I never had a big part, it was always important to stay in character on stage, no matter what you were doing. You don’t address your fellow actors as your friends, but only as the character they are currently playing. Sir is the verbal tool here as well, a reminder of role in every sentence I speak. A requirement of the character I have chosen to play.
These are not the only problems, nor the only solutions, but they are a place to start.
September 10th, 2010
When you’re going to play with someone new, you talk about the scene, you talk about limits, you talk about health. When you’re going to play with someone you’ve been with for awhile, sometimes you don’t talk at all. You just do what you’ve always done. Play in the boundaries you’ve always had, or push the boundaries you know you can push. So what happens when the rules change? What happens when the boundaries get drawn differently? How do you take a step back and say, okay, that place is off limits for now?
I was writing about renegotiation of my submission yesterday, and the comment came to mind that it was incomplete submission. That without giving up all control, I was holding back, keeping something from him. Over the last six months, I had been striving to not hold back, to give him all the control he would take. So, for me to say that I cannot do that right now, that I have to put a limit back on the table, was difficult. The dream of no-limits submission is seductive, but it is not always possible. Even in the way we were doing it – in short spaces of time, not 24/7.
I find myself struggling with my sense of self – self awareness, self confidence. There is a picture on a book about the female brain that is a large mass of tangled phone cord. In one of my favorite fantasy books, the city designed by the female deity is akin to a labyrinth. Sometimes I feel that way about my own mind, it takes me a while to navigate and process and distill what is really going on for me. A friend commented she thought I had been getting better at this over the last few months, or at least at articulating it. She gets to talk to me only after I have done a lot of processing, though. I want to be better at on the spot self awareness. As well as the confidence to trust in myself and my instincts and act on them in the moment.
What does all this mean? What am I on about? Some of our more rough mental play hit harder than expected, and I had trouble dealing with it appropriately. I broke and let things spin out of control. Now I have to heal and grow, and pick up the pieces. I aim to come out of this an even stronger person than before. I have a wonderful life, and so many amazing people in it, who support and love me and help me grow.
May 20th, 2010
These last few weeks, I have not done justice to myself, my partners, or to you, my readers. Last week’s post was the best of the bunch, a description of a wonderful scene. But what has been going on? What’s been happening along my journey? What were those cryptic and scattered posts about? And what ever happened to those needles? Let me begin by acknowledging my failures and then discussing them.
Firstly, when I brought him the needles, I did not beg for him to put them in me. I had been told to do this, and I had agreed to do this, but I did not. Since realizing that failure, I have only begged for the needles twice in person and once on IM. Other failures and issues have come up, and I do want the needles and we have talked about them here and there, but I find myself putting aside this want while I work on other things. It is important to me, but I continue to give other issues priority.
My second failure was letting fear and uncertainty keep me from going into object space. I was not initiating it and when he tried, I was putting him off with some form of ‘not yet’ and then not going back to it myself. Since acknowledging this failure, I had two evenings when I began initiating but did not follow through, one evening when I followed through and only slipped up once, and one evening when I followed through for a majority of the evening, but then let outside influences disrupt my focus.
I also had last week’s scene where he put me into object space for the majority of the scene. I felt very grateful that he was willing to take me there again. Within the scene, it was also a very helpful anchor for processing as he had taken away my anchors of sight and touch. The focus that it created put me in a mindset of being an object for his pleasure and his use and allowed me to not just endure, but enjoy the pain, the fear, the tears and the relinquishing of control.
My third failure involved acting like a spoiled little child. I did not just question his decisions, I flat out told him no. I whined that I was learning and and that I was doing what he asked, all the while, doing the exact opposite by the very objections and fight I was putting up. I let my initial confusion turn into fear and doubt instead of being clear and accepting and communicative. I was so far into myself that I could not even see what I was doing. He took the time, once again to hold up a mirror and shine a bright light on it until I could see. He gave me back the paragraphs I had copied for him about being looking beyond imperfection, being happy, working hard, doing without question, being intelligent, helpful, serving and not letting fear and doubt get in my way. I had failed to do any of these things, and I was to keep the papers until I could actually live up to them.
The previous day we had a scene which had me kneeling for forty-five minutes, fifteen longer than I had ever previously done. It began with begging for the needles, and ended with the only thought in my head being that I could not get up until he told me I could. I had given over all my wants and needs to that one single thought, that one want – to please him at the expense of all else, by staying on my knees. It was quite a delicious scene, to let go that fully – freeing, and cathartic as I cried for the last ten minutes of it. He ended it by lifting me off the ground and onto the couch, covering me with a blanket and bringing me water. Our time was limited that day, but he made the most of it, for us both.
The next day, he had concerns that I needed time to reflect on that scene. Walls were broken down and I needed time to reflect and heal stronger. He also had concern for the number of people installing programming in my head and the possible dangers in that. Conflicting programming could lead to hesitation and doubt. Two people pushing the same button could take things further than intended if they did not know what the other was doing or thinking. This led to more communication with all my partners about wants and needs. Defining boundaries more clearly for all involved.
My fourth failure was being presumptuous and selfish and in a hurry. I tried to give back the paragraphs. I tried to play the I’m learning card again, forgetting that what he was asking of me was not just learning, but doing – putting the learning into action. And putting it into action consistently, not just for a few days. Giving the papers back was not ‘the next step’ it was four or five steps further along my path. I had only just begun putting my lessons into action, and in fact, just two days before, I let others ruin my focus and keep me from doing what I wanted.
I spent this conversation on my knees, where I had gone to offer the papers. He kept me there until I answered his questions. I stayed there because I had put myself there, offered that submission to him, and it was his until he was done with it. I did ask to get up once and accepted his denial. At the end, he set a timer for five minutes and told me to think about how not to end up there again, not on my knees, but having failed in that way again. He would burn the papers the next time, if we both did not agree I had lived up to them. I do not know how long I was on my knees that time, over thirty minutes I know, but beyond that it did not matter. I focused on what I had done and why, and on putting learning into action. When the timer went off, he asked me if I needed to get up. I said yes, and he told me to stand. I forced myself up onto completely numb feet, using the table for support. Looking into his eyes, and using my drive to do ask he asked as motivation, I was able to stay upright while circulation returned. Determination and motivation are wonderful tools.
My fifth failure was lack of focus and attention. I had some trouble assisting with suspensions last weekend. I had not been keeping up my tying practice. I did not read situations as quickly and as well as I should have been able to. I did not keep my eyes moving between all the participants of the scene. I am grateful that he was able to communicate with me about these situations and explain to me more clearly his expectations. We had five good suspensions each night, and the patrons all enjoyed their flights and are eager for more. I have since practiced my ties, and have a clearer idea of my responsibilities in our scenes. I expect further insight on this topic once we have both had time to reflect and discuss.
So, where does all this put me now? I am learning and growing and doing. I am making mistakes, I am failing, but I am still moving forward, albeit sometimes with tiny steps. I am lucky to have him holding my hand and guiding me – showing me the path when I lose sight of it or get turned around. Our love and trust for each other keeps us together, and enables us to overcome challenges, failures and miscommunications. The image of a feudal system just came to mind: I serve him and he keeps me safe. Sometimes, he asks more of me than I think I can give, but his belief in me moves me to go beyond my own expectations and push harder and reach further than I thought possible. I have a wonderful life, wonderful partners and I am learning and growing and doing more than I ever imagined was possible.
January 28th, 2010
It’s that time again. A major kink event with play parties both nights. This time, I find myself in negotiations with someone I have never met for a scene I never imagined. It has been an interesting week, thus the lateness of this post (again), but I have a break in all the communication right now, so I can sit and reflect for a few minutes.
I rarely negotiate scenes. I rarely play outside my comfort zones, or with people I’m not familiar with. Most scenes I’m involved in start with: What do you want to do? How about x? Okay. And then we do x. We don’t discuss things in detail, we don’t talk about limits and safewords. I play with people who already know my boundaries, and if they push them, it’s with full knowledge and care. That isn’t to say I don’t talk about these things with my partners. With my Lover, there was much discussion about my experience and likes and dislikes before we ever played, but since that time, I would not really call anything we’ve done ‘negotiating a scene.’
So I find myself filling out a questionnaire, and asking questions and playing a little bit of semantics. I find myself having discussion with all my other partners around the proposed scene as well. This is a whole new experience for me and I find it all fascinating and incredible. I have had some very good, very important discussions because of all this, and it’s not even done yet. I will have more to say soon, I am sure.
December 16th, 2009
It starts with being clear and honest with myself. That may sound like the easy part, but really, it can often be the most challenging. I lie to myself all the time, how about you? I can handle that. I won’t get jealous over that. I just want everyone to be happy. I don’t know what I want. I don’t really want anything. I’m okay. Things are fine. It is hard to get past the knee-jerk reaction of everything is fine. It takes effort to look deeper, to examine my wants, needs and desires. It takes work to admit to myself that things are not the way I want. I am a writer, and sometimes, I find, that the only way to know what I’m really thinking, is to put pen to paper and start writing. And keep writing until it’s all there. Every last bit of anger, hurt, joy, love, need, desire, complaint and exultation.
Then comes the next step. Clear and honest communication with my partner/friend/lover/Dom/sub/family/whoever. Once I know what’s true for me, I have to share it with them. I have to tell them, via text, chat, email or Out Loud, what is going on in my head, heart and life. I also have to accept that they may not understand, and that they have just as many things going on in their hearts, heads and lives. I have to strive to be as clear as I can be, but also to listen openly to what they are saying back to me. Communication goes both ways.
An example. Scene negotiation. If I am asked what I want, and I say I don’t know, that’s not helpful. If he suggests something I don’t want, and I don’t tell him so, then the scene will go bad for us both. If the negotiation goes well, but the scene starts to go badly, I have to be able to clearly and honestly communicate that, or the scene will just get worse. If a scene went badly, clear and honest communication afterward can keep it from happening again.
Another example. Poly. I often tell people who ask, that Poly is all about clear and honest communication. Communicating what the boundaries are. Communication can reduce or resolve jealousy. Communication can keep partners from drifting apart. Communication keeps people safer when going to meet someone new.
What are ways you use to achieve clear and honest communication?