October 13th, 2011
Last night’s class was on Humiliation Play. After, toy asked me about it. Said she was alright with teasing, but not the harder stuff, and was that what I liked? I fumbled around a bit, talking about last year, what went right and what went wrong in my head. And I think I only vaguely answered her question as my mind ran through a lot of things. So, I thought I’d try to pull it all together here, and form a more coherent opinion of my relationship with Humiliation Play.
Humiliation is on my Hard Limits list. It is not something I will even consider with most people. It can be emotional, harsh and potentially damaging. At its lightest, it can simply cause an anger response that is not generally conducive to that type of scene. At its harshest, it can leave you in a puddle for days or weeks. During the class last night, some of the examples were simple, but a lot of them were harsh enough to make some of the attendees wonder what they had signed up for.
We talked about several different types of play last night. Mental humiliation. Physical humiliation. Positive, arousing experiences. Negative, tearing down experiences. It all depends on your interests, turn-ons, and goals. Personally, my interests run the gamut, but weigh more heavily to the physical and positive side. Mental, and negative humiliation interest me as well, but only in certain frames of mind, and can be very tetchy to even attempt.
I volunteered an example last night of physical humiliation. I offered up a memory of holding his flashlight in my mouth and drooling all down it, and being forced to do so and let the drool form a puddle on the floor. I have a thing about messy bodily fluids, especially my own. And not only was I being dehumanized into a lamp to serve a purpose he wanted, I was also forced to drool all over the place because the noise of me trying to prevent such was “more annoying to him than the drool.” I like being used for useful purposes. I am turned on by serving him, whether actively and mentally, or physically as a tool. My faced burned with embarrassment at being told to quick sucking in the drool, and then being teased about the pool on the floor, but I had been doing what he told me to do, following instructions, and being useful, so I was happy.
I’ve had other scenes of being used, in various different ways. Being told I’m only good for that thing, or being made to say it myself. Being degraded for my “only use” being that single purpose, or for liking what was being done. Called names that related to the activity, being forced to call myself those names. In other times, in other spaces, those things would and have bothered me, but deep in that type of headspace, it just turns me on more and more.
The other side of humiliation play, I don’t get into so much. It’s harder, harsher, and more dangerous. It gets more personal, more deeply mental, more emotional. It digs deep into your brain and your self and can leave lasting marks if not done very carefully. Even the above stuff, can do that, but, for me, this is so much touchier. There are two reasons I will go to the dark side. One, I need to work on a personal issue. I want it shoved in my face and for him to make me stare unblinkingly at it until I can really see it. Two, I want to be crushed. I want a release so deep and satisfying, that nothing else will do. I’m not entirely sure the first reason is an entirely healthy reason to do humiliation play, but it makes sense to me.
The trick with both of these, is planning. Both parties knowing what is wanted or needed, and being prepared for it, mentally, physically, and time wise. By that last I mean, neither of these are quick scenes, and both are going to require a decent amount of aftercare, most likely on both sides. As for mentally, triggers are especially important to identify, and discuss before (possibly during) and after. In the first, going after something specific, is likely to have its own triggers, you have to be prepared for them to be pulled. In the second, there might be triggers you want to avoid, or triggers that are okay to hit to get the desired result. Communication is very important, but even with the best, be aware that you might stumble across hidden triggers, and know how you are both going to handle them.
I mentioned aftercare just above, but it is important in any kind of humiliation scene, even one that was completely arousing and enjoyable. We talked last night about the importance of knowing what you need for aftercare, both top and bottom. Last year, we created a ritual that was supposed to be our aftercare. The intention was to get rid of any negativity from the scene and transition back to reality. It had all the elements we thought were needed, and we worked to remember to do it every time. But somewhere in the mix, it wasn’t always enough. There were other things going on, I’m not trying to simplify what happened, but part of it was that I was not always successfully making the transition. It wasn’t enough aftercare to get me out of that headspace and into normal. I needed more. Point here being, figure that out. If you aren’t coming fully out of the scene (the presenters pointed out last night that a warning sign of this can be hyper-focus on a negative detail of the scene), figure out why. Figure out what else you need. Make sure you get it. Don’t feel like you’re overly needy or being a burden. If you are going to play this way, you have to take care of yourself, and your partner. Broken toys are not fun to play with.
August 18th, 2011
A friend on FetLife asked: in the context of BDSM and/or TPE relationships, what do you think is the difference between the concepts of “power” and “control”? I find this a very interesting question, and I’m going to try and wrap my brain, and my typing fingers around it today.
Let’s start with the basics of the question: power and control. Dictionary.com has this to say about power: “1. ability to do or act; capability of doing or accomplishing something. 3. great or marked ability to do or act; strength; might; force. 4. the possession of control or command over others; authority; ascendancy: power over men’s minds.” (Numbers 2 and 5 were political in nature.) And this to say about control: “6. the act or power of controlling; regulation; domination or command: Who’s in control here? 7. the situation of being under the regulation, domination, or command of another: The car is out of control. 8. check or restraint: Her anger is under control.“ To start, it lists power as the ability(normal or great) to do something. Then goes on to suggest you must have power to have control. Control, by direct definition here, seems to be more about an act than an ability, something you do, rather than something you have. The dictionary listed noun first for power, and verb first for control, though I have copied in the noun definitions for both.
How does this compare to BDSM, and in particular, my experiences with these concepts?
My first instinct is to say that power and control are the same thing. If you give someone power over you, you are giving them control over you. If you are in a power exchange, then you are giving up/receiving control. But I think this is using narrow, singular definitions of these terms.
Another way to look at control, is self-control, inner control. I would not give power to someone who is not in control. In this case, control is required to have a power exchange. I require a person to have control before they have power over me.
If we look at the first two definitions of power, we find another interesting discussion. The ability to do or accomplish something. Having the power or ability to do something would be necessary if I’m going to ask it of that person. So, from this side of things, the person would have to have the power in order for me to offer them control.
But are both things necessary and always in the same amounts? Does an offering of power always mean an offering of control or visa versa?
There are always degrees. I don’t give the same amounts or types of power and control to everyone I play with. In fact, they all get different amounts of both. The other generally got physical control, but only on rare occasions did he achieve mental control. He, on the other hand, has mental control, and physical control simply follows. Power is trickier, and I go back to my original posit that they are the same in this context, but it just doesn’t fit quite as nicely as all that. My partners have different powers, different abilities. And different powers over me, sometimes intermixed with control, and sometimes a quality of our relationship or history.
So, I agree with the dictionary. Power is something you have, whereas control is something you do. Power is your ability, learned or intrinsic, and your strength of mind and body. Control, however, for me, is actively given and received, and actively exercised.
November 4th, 2010
Today I want to talk about drop.
About a year ago, I posted about Altered States and said that Pain Space “is the one that leads to drop most often.” A month or so later, after a post specifically about Sub Drop I commented that “I rarely have sub drop anymore over purely the physical parts of scenes, which used to happen after any Really Intense scene. Now it really does take a negative emotional trigger for me to drop.”
Earlier this week, I was talking to Lover (yes, he keeps that name for now, I’ll post about labels again soon) about drop from mental scenes as opposed to physical scenes. He was baffled that a relatively painless evening could cause faster and more massive drop than a very physically taxing scene. At first, I thought maybe it had to do with being a girl, I blame girly hormones for a lot of things. But then I thought maybe it was a disconnect in understanding between people who really enjoy pain and people who don’t. Let me explore my thoughts out loud.
My first year in the local community, I would have drop after big physical scenes, either just from the chemical drop after the high endorphins of the scene, or from a negative comment about how harsh the scene was, or just from being so worn out by the physically taxing nature of the scene. I did not do a lot of mental play during that first exploration, certainly not to the extent of some of the play I’ve done this year. I also was not a self-described pain slut in the beginning. I knew I liked some very specific types of pain(intense sensation), but have since discovered that while there are some types of implements I am not fond of, I will put up with them for the experience of the pain(intense sensation). Since I have come to grips with my enjoyment of pain, I have far less drop from physical scenes. If someone comments negatively on it, I am better able to laugh it off and explain how much I enjoyed it.
It is the mental side of things that I now find causes harder drop. Mental scars and bruises are a lot harder to see and are more intense than physical ones. I’m remembering a scene that I don’t think I have posted about before. There was crying from the pain during part of it, but the harder crying was caused by words. That is the case more often than not this past year. Yes, pain can trigger tears, but words and mental control strike deeper chords. While you can see the bruises and marks on the skin, sometimes you don’t know what all happened in your mind. A day later, a stray word, or a random thought, could bubble to the surface and bam, that’s it, you’re dropping from something that you did not consciously process at the time. The mind is a far trickier landscape than the body.
I think I strayed off my two theories quite a bit, let me see if I can bring it back around. On blaming it on being a girl – I’m not sure that holds any water at all. I think I had it at an angle of being more vulnerable mentally than the men I play with, but I think that is quite possibly a false basis for the claim. On being about enjoying pain versus not enjoying pain – I think this holds a bit more truth. Pain is easier for me to process now that I am more accepting of my enjoyment of it. It was not always that way, so I can understand how, for people not at ease with pain, why it would be harder to process and thus be a potential for more drop than more mental play they might be more at ease with.
What are your thoughts? What causes more drop for you? How do you deal with it?
September 30th, 2010
I have had fantasies about someone hiding under my bed and jumping me or catching me coming naked out of the shower since I hit puberty. I don’t go for the full on beat the crap out of me type of fantasy that some people may enjoy. I prefer more mental than physical taking of control. Use of fear instead of violence. The threat to keep me still and compliant, rather than being beaten into submission. I’ve never been one for violence. Yes, I like pain, but for it’s own sake, not for taking of control. It is the mind where control truly lives. When I write or imagine such scenes, the assailant usually has a gun or a knife, some physical representation of potential violence, but they never use it.
The other day Lover and I were playing and he said he was going to force me, but when we got to the bedroom, he ordered my clothes off and I complied for no reason other than he said the word Strip. Then we played and had sex. The only consensual non-consent part of the whole thing were the nipple clamps. Later that night, I was thinking about the willingness taking the power from the scene. The idea of my pants being opened and shoved out of the way, my shirt being pulled up just enough for breast access, is far more a turn on than full nudity. It feels more non-consensual that way, feels more like there is resistance, feels more like being used.
Being used. Why is that a turn on? Why on earth would I want to be used?
It is part of the overarching fantasy of giving up all will and control to someone. Being an object, a tool, a toy for their use and pleasure. The added spike of someone taking that control makes it that much hotter of a fantasy. Sex, for me, is the most intimate act, and therefore, taken without consent, the biggest violation. Therefore, it only works with someone I love and trust, it has to be consensual non-consent to turn me on in reality. It’s a fine line to walk. How do you make non-consent hot when it is consensual?
Creating the scene in the mind. Talking as though it was real. Whispered threats and hints at pushing too far. Role playing it out, creating the roles and fully stepping into them. Allowing for resistance and the taking away of control. The element of surprise can be used as well. Having agreed to the scene, but not the time and place. Choosing an unexpected place, perhaps a place with just a bit of danger of being caught, to heighten everyone’s awareness during the scene. Doing things that are unexpected. Forcing actions that are allowed, but not particularly liked. Agreeing to continue the scene until the top is done, regardless of when the bottom is done unless there is dire need to end the scene early – allowing for emergency Red, but not for Yellow.
December 2nd, 2009
Some months ago, I wanted to cry and I was ashamed of that desire. Not just cry, I wanted to be Made to cry. I wanted to be pushed so hard that tears came bursting forth in and uncontrollable fury. But I was afraid. I was afraid that this was a ridiculous desire. That it was childish to want to cry for no particular reason. That wanting the release and cleansing of flowing tears was simply weakness. I was afraid that it would change things, too, with whoever made me cry. I had never gone there before and it looked terribly dark. I did not want that unknowable change in my marriage, and that was a difficult decision and a difficult discussion. My lover, more experienced than either myself or my husband, became the giver of those tears. It was the release I needed at the time, and nothing was changed or broken in the giving.
Since then, my edges and the darkness have been moved and pushed and shoved. Tears are no longer shameful to me, but they still have a specific place in my play. There is still darkness when I think of bringing them into my home. The tenderness and love between my husband and myself seems incompatible to a tearful scene.
My lover, more often than not, gets the tears through fear these days. Threats of freshly remembered intense pain or of heightening the current level of pain can drive me over the edge. (Nipple clamps of various varieties are usually present in these threats.) Tearfully begging for mercy or for the pain to stop. Sometimes he grants it, and sometimes not, driving me further into tears or into complete surrender where the tears stop and soft stillness comes.
My other partner has only brought out tears twice. Both were corporal scenes, but they had a heavy mental elements that had more to do with the tearful response. In both situations, expectations were set, and tears came when I failed to meet those expectations. The pain levels were high, but it was the mental game that was more costly.
In the first, I was given a task, an object that was not to be dropped. It fell twice and tears fell swiftly behind it, but were gone again when he gave me another chance after a few choice strikes for the drop. It was an incredibly intense scene, the tears just one more spice in the delicious flavor.
The second, was a flogging scene set to music, and the final song came on, and he said he would flog the whole song at the same tempo and strength. I soon began to falter under the heavy strikes, and tears welled up as I thought I would not make the entire song. As I fell down and stood back up several times, his strikes never missed. Tears were flowing freely as I fell the final time, turning slightly towards him, but my back still raised to accept his strikes. He stopped then, accepting my surrender and my tears. His acceptance washed away my tearful disappointment in myself, and I smiled when he said I would do better next time.
September 30th, 2009
Resistance play. If you’d asked me about that a year ago, I would have blinked at you in confusion. Why would I, as a submissive, resist? It’s not what you’re “supposed to do.” Now, I regularly play with four people and I have completely different attitudes around resistance for each of them. Let me quickly define here that by resistance I don’t mean fighting instead of safe wording or saying no. I mean giving in to the fight or flight response that some of the play I’m involved in triggers, thus causing the other person to have to work harder to keep control.
One, if I resist, unless he is deeply into what is happening and very enrolled in it happening, will back off immediately, possibly concerned he has done something terribly wrong. I tend to be clear with him about what I want and make sure we don’t do things that would trigger resistance in me unless he is ready and able to deal with it.
Another, if I resist, gives me The Look, and I am immediately apologetic and expect punishment to be swift. He is able to shut down my resistance completely mentally. He occasionally uses this control to end my resistance to someone other than himself.
The third I resist very specifically, usually his teeth, or tickling, and he knows and expects it, and enjoys restraining me more forcefully for those things. He also enjoys putting me in completely vulnerable positions, making me physically unable to resist. This can take me through interesting head spaces as I try to resist anyway and then realize just how futile it is.
The last, I almost always resist, most of our play is resistance play, and we both enjoy it immensely. He can, however, still crook his finger, hold out a hand or give a command and pull completely submissive behavior from me when he wants to. We both enjoy the challenge of seeing how long it takes for him to win, for I am under no illusions that he will not eventually do so. I do like to think, however, that I’m getting better at it as we go along.
Resistance play can be incredibly fun, or incredibly detrimental, as with anything, everyone in the scene needs to be clear on what is going to happen.