October 21st, 2011
Control. I know I’ve written about control many times, in various different ways. Today, a thought occurred to me however, that I’m not sure I’ve clearly expressed before. I just reread my Power vs. Control post, and I see that I didn’t really touch on the thought I had today. I talked a lot about giving of power and control to a partner. But today, my thoughts are running along the lines of: you Always have a Choice. Meaning that both people have control.
I talk about giving up control, of just letting go. Of giving over to the sensations, the scene, the rope. Of not having to be in control for a little while. But really, it’s more about not being In Charge for a little while. I always have the most important control – control of myself. That’s not to say I can always move the way I want, do everything I want, or say everything I want. But I always have a choice. I can always say no. I can always say yes. I can choose to stop. I can choose to continue. I can control my reactions, my processing, my breathing. My partners tend to choose when I have orgasms, but I’m the one controlling myself so I that only have the ones I am allowed.
I talk about not giving control to someone who is not in control of himself. But it is equally important that I be in control of myself before, during and after playing. I’ve mentioned before, those days I just want tossed in a corner and left to brew. And then I’m not. It would be detrimental to my health, honestly. I get that way when I’m not in control. When I want a physical manifestation of control, because I’m not doing so internally. And it would be weakness to give in to that before I’ve regained control of myself. Sure, sometimes I want beaten until I cry, want a cathartic release, but when I can ask for such, I’m far more in control, and in a proper mindset for a scene.
So, in the way my brain is thinking today. I give up power to my partners, but I keep control of myself.
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.
May 6th, 2011
I’ve written about labels many times, but I have generally ignored names and titles between people. By that I mean, I ‘ve written about labeling oneself Dom or sub, but not about calling someone Master X or Slave Y. Last year, calling him Sir was a big thing, part of object space, part of the game. But I never really wrote about what using the word meant to me. Hubby is my Master, I call him that when we play, and he calls me slave or little one, but I’ve never written about that either. Words are very important to me. Names, they say, hold power. Labeling yourself something is one thing, being called that by someone else, another. We all know the power of our parent using our full name in anger, or our loved one using a pet name in joy. This week, there was a question about what I would be called on Monday nights, by toy and by him. And it sparked a lot of different thoughts in my brain. I’ll try to get them out onto this blog if I can.
A long time ago, in a country far away, I had a Daddy. But he was Daddy for nonsexual reasons, so I never called him Daddy in bed. I called him Sir. He called me a lot of things. Including a few I didn’t like. A few that upset me, made me feel like less of a human being. I did not tell him, I didn’t know how to tell him, I was afraid to tell him. So, I tried to ignore those words coming out of his mouth, but they still stung. Years later, the other used them, in the same types of situations. And I let him, and they didn’t hurt anymore. They reminded me of the time when they did, but the sting was no longer there. They were entertaining and useful and sexy when the other said them. Words can hurt, but it is all in how they are delivered and received.
My name is special to me. I like it, I like how it is spelled. I like that it came equally from both my parents. I do not use someone’s first name in casual conversation with that person. It feels strange to me, to do so. Using a first name, to me, puts significant impact into what I am saying. If I am talking to someone, they know I’m talking to them. I don’t need to say their name unless I am trying to get their attention or if I want to emphasize what I am saying. So, when someone already has my attention, and uses my name, what they are saying has more impact on me. I honestly don’t know if other people feel this way or not.
Then we come to how I refer to people I am playing with. Sir, to me, is the most natural title or name for a male I am submissive towards. It is what I call male customers at work, though I’ve had a few object to that (Don’t Sir me, I work for a living.) simply out of respect and not knowing their name. It is a term of respect, deeply ingrained in me. Last year we made it into a task I repeatedly failed at by requiring it in every sentence to him. I guess I wouldn’t do well in the military, but we already knew that. But even then, it was couched in terms of my respect for him.
We are returning to that now, with the contract. We will respectfully call him Sir. I find that when using Sir, I will say it far more often than I would have normally used his name. It holds my respect for him, but less of the power of his name. On which point, his name, during such times that we are calling him Sir, is a safeword. It does have power. The power to alter headspace. To denote something is wrong, and that we need him, not the Dominant he is being for us.
I call hubby Master, because that is what we chose to use. He likes that term and he is first in my life, above any other Dom or Top that may be part of my life. He is the one who takes care of me, day to day and the one I come home to. I am collared to him, married to him, and forever his. That is what calling him Master means to me.
I have never bottomed to a female and used any type of label or title. There are a few who I call by their chosen names: Domina or Mistress or Lady. But these are just like using their first names, not out of any sense of my respect for them, just an identifier of who they are.
Toy is the first bottom I’ve had a name for. It is her relationship to us, and a tool to help her stay in the headspace. It is a term that she enjoys hearing, and depending on inflection, can be very useful in getting a message across. I am still learning about what this means to her and to myself.
So, what about things people call me?
Toy calls me Miss. A counterpoint to Sir. But not all the way up to Mistress or Madame. I wasn’t comfortable with those. They felt too high, too strong. I’m just the little d, afterall. Miss, I like. It’s what we call young women. I am very young in this topping role, so I feel that it is still respectful, and it fits me.
Hubby calls me slave or little one. Slave is the counterpoint to Master. It is filled with all those same feelings of love, and care and forever. Little one, is a term of endearment that has been used by several men. I am not tiny, but I am rather small in comparison to a lot of my partners. Certainly, I’ve been shorter than all of them. It makes me feel protected and cared for.
Other names I have been called(again, not labels, but names): kajira, slut, whore. These last two being the names in question in paragraph two, and most often used by the other. Slut and whore were used sexually, to heighten a moment, for dirty talking or teasing. To push emotionally and mentally. Kajira was a term of endearment, around our mutual love and use of rope in our play and sex. It held all the sensations and attachment of rope at it’s core for us. I was not just a rope slut in those moments, but a slave to the rope. And it felt good.
So, full circle, then. To what sparked this post. What, if anything, did I want him to call me during Monday playtime? I am terrible at naming characters in stories. In my erotica, I tend to write without names. I did not want to use names used by hubby or by the other. He had only ever used my name last year. Names from other venues had their own attachments. Toy had a few suggestions, but none of them felt quite right for us. In the end, he decided that for now, he would just use my name. As we have always done. As I am learning to do with Toy, he is able to do well, put the meaning behind his voice that he wants there by tone and inflection.
December 23rd, 2010
We are putting together a series of rope classes. I am very excited to be ordering another set of hemp ropes very soon. Just trying to find the right vendor. For the first class, the question all the presenters are answering is: Why even use rope? And here is my answer:
I’ve been a rope slut for two years now, thanks to him. Before him, I liked bondage, but I didn’t really care how it was done. Sure, leather smelled good, and rope seemed quite useful, but cheap canvas cuffs could get the work done, and a straitjacket was quick and secure. I still like all those things, but Rope became the bigger fetish – the preferred method. Why?
Rope, for me, is about the senses. The sense of touch, the feel of the rope on my skin, the bite of hemp or the softness of cotton. The feel of his hands putting it on me, the tug as he tightens, the burn as he pulls, the wraps biting into the skin, the vibrations traveling through every inch. The sense of smell when it comes to natural fibers. The deep, sweat earthly smell of hemp and jute. The sense of hearing – rope being tossed out on the ground, the creak of the suspension rig. The sense of sight. The look of smooth straight lines, cleanly outlining the body. Knots lined up, wraps decorating body and rigging.
I also like it for the methodicalness. A lot of people watch ties being done and state that they don’t have the patience for that kind of thing. That is what I like about rope. It takes time, it can be the entire scene. Cuffs or a jacket are put on before the scene and taken off after. Rope is laid carefully and precisely. It takes time, and during that time, you are becoming increasingly bound. You are becoming increasingly helpless. It is a buildup, bit by bit. It is the slowing giving and taking of control. It is a methodical exchange of power.
I also like it’s versatility. Cuffs and jackets are designed for one thing. Chains are hard, heavy, and not as pliable. Rope can be used in so many different ways. Tied to so many different things, in so many different formations. Different lengths, different thicknesses, different fibers. It can be used to blind, to gag, to choke, to beat, to whip, to burn, to suspend, to bind or to set free. And that was just off the top of my head.
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.
January 21st, 2010
I spilled water on him once, and he has been teasing me about it ever since. I have teased right back, implying hot water would solve the problem of cold water. He has threatened me with retribution of ice. It is all fun and games until it starts to infiltrate my life. I dreamed recently about spilling soda on him instead of water. This past weekend, I spilled someone else’s soda on a table and had a near meltdown.
I have to be careful, letting someone play in my head. I did not realize how deep he had gotten until then. I have not actually spilled anything else on him, since the first time, but I have come close. To nearly come to tears over a spilled soda, especially one that was so easily cleaned up, really showed me what power I had given him.
Giving him that much power is not a problem. I trust him with it, or he would not have it. I do need to be more careful about letting it affect the rest of my life, though. I need to talk with him to uninstall the trigger. It’s all fun and games, til someone starts crying. Then it’s just fun… oh wait…
October 14th, 2009
I have different power dynamics in my life, different relationship dynamics, and different energy dynamics. How do people manage these things in a poly lifestyle?
My answer is separation. I don’t know if it’s a good answer, and it certainly causes strain sometimes. I try to keep my interactions with my partners separate. I spend time with them apart from the others. If two or more are in the same place, at the same event, I try to make sure that one is occupied before playing with the other. I do this in reverse as well, I try not to interfere when one of my partners is playing with another of his partners. Though, this too, sometimes causes upset, if communication is not clear.
I talk about the differences in my partners often in this blog. But recently I was thinking about it very specifically, because it was the Energy mixing I was trying to avoid at a particular regular event. I was trying to figure out how to explain it to them, and this is what I came up with to describe the three different relationships.
1) Husband: Master/slave dynamic, Romantic/Forever Love energy
2)Lover: Top/bottom dynamic, High sexual energy
3)Mentor: Dom/sub dynamic, Intense playful energy
I find these different dynamics difficult to balance if my partners are in the same place, wanting attention at the same time. My husband/Master comes first in such situations, but I feel neglectful of my other relationships if he monopolizes my time. So, I choose to keep them as separate as possible, and divide my time as best as I can manage.
Poly is about time management, they tell me. I do my best, but in this busy world, sometimes I wander in the wrong direction and stumble. They love me, though, and pick me back up, and we find a new path. It’s never perfect, but we try to keep moving forward the best we can.