Kushiel’s Dart Meets Aldonza

January 18th, 2015

A lot of things going through my head lately, and this weekend was no exception. I’m about halfway through a book called Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey. The main character, Phedre, is a masochist of exquisite talent. Raised first in the Night Court, where the brothels each had their own specialty and vied for power like any group of noble houses. Then, second, by a bard who trained her as a spy. I’m not one for political fantasy, I didn’t make it past the first Game of Thrones book, but I do like fantasy spies, bards, and rogues. And the BDSM flavor of the main character kept my interest.

The last hundred pages or so, that I’ve read thus far, is where the focus of this post lies. In the beginning of the book, she serves the clients she chooses, now she is forced to serve her captor. And, while in the Beauty trilogy (I’ve only read the first), this type of situation bothered me, it was a different situation and style of writing. Phedre is aroused by the humiliation of being his slave, and by being roughly used by him. The curse of Kushiel’s Dart, which made her such a special commodity in her previous life, now is her survival. The treatment which could have broken other women, she physically enjoys. Though, she feels betrayed by her body for her enjoyment of it. I feel that it serves to keep her alive and fighting.

I am in no such situation, but it is very interesting to me to identify with a character’s sexual identity so clearly. My best childhood friend told me I should read this book a very long time ago. Sometimes, I wonder if she really understands me, but reading this, I feel like maybe she understands far better than I realized. Or maybe she just thought it would speak to my interests. Either way, I must remember to thank her.

What does this have to do with Aldonza? The quote that comes to mind is: “Blows and abuse I can take and give back again, Tenderness I cannot bear” ~Aldonza, Man of La Mancha. It is not that I cannot bear tenderness, fortunately. I do, however, become far more shy, and awkward about the more tender and traditionally intimate side of my desires. Honestly, I’m far more okay with asking someone to beat me, because that seems a much easier yes or no question. Asking someone for more intimacy, has so much more attached to it. Phedre thinks nothing of going to a client for brutal scenes, but her love for her patron is far harder for her to deal with She is trained well as a spy, but when the woman who can arouse her with a look puts a collar around her neck, she can concentrate on no other person the rest of the night.

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Fantastical Musings

July 8th, 2013

After creating a long involved fantasy for a couple week of bedtime stories, I began to wonder why I fantasize like I do. Why, in this particular case, the Me character was a brawler, a girl who could and would fight to defend herself. And why the He character forbid her from doing so, forbid others from fighting with her, and punished her for breaking his decree. I mean, some of it is obvious, I am turned on by the power exchange that such a decree and punishment entails. But why fighting? Even as a child, I’d imagine being trained by the TMNT.

It is, as most fantasies are, the desire to be other than I am. To be physically strong and dexterous and skilled at fighting. I played soccer fairly well, was terrible at baseball, barely passable at volleyball. I was an outdoorsy kid, but never very strong. I always lost wrestling matches. Fighting in grade school wasn’t much beyond kicking shins(to this day, I cannot fathom purposefully hitting a guy in the balls*), or shoving someone to the ground. We certainly didn’t get into fist fights. Then RA hit, and I felt even weaker, even more vulnerable. I was always intrigued by martial arts, but never enough to take classes for more than a month or two (Tai Chi lasted longer, but the study I did was not focused on practical use). So, I fantasize about being a girl who not only can fight, but is particularly good at it. Enough so, that to protect others, I am banned from and punished for fighting.

What about the other main fantasy? The naughty coed fantasies. Of course there’s the school girl aspect, and the spanking, but what about the character? The Me character is always very sexually forward. She is not shy about seducing the professor, telling him exactly what she wants, or exactly what she’ll do for him. For all that I’ve grown and learned in my sexual and kinky life, I am still quite shy about my sexual desires, and expressing them verbally. I still blush and mumble and drop my eyes. So, I fantasize about the girl who can look a man straight in the eyes and tell him that if he would put her over his knee and spank her, that she would gladly have sex with him, or she would kneel under his desk and blow him. She is not embarrassed by her sexuality.

Other fantasies are similar – seduction and the willingness to be seduced, not feeling hesitant or bashful. Slave girl has been trained and is confident and skilled. Kidnap/rape fantasies – not being given the choice, being forced to do whatever I’m told or suffer worse. Action and confidence instead of hesitation, shame, doubt, and inaction.

 

(*The guys were my friends, friends don’t kick other friends in the tender bits. I was scolded the other day, when asked how I would defend myself from a guy grabbing hold of me, and I refused to ball-tag him. My answer is stomp on the top of his foot, elbow to the gut, and skull against his face. I never learned the skill of hitting a guy in the crotch. Being around the kink community, I figure it’ll either piss him off more (especially if I don’t hit square on), or he’ll like it, so why bother?)

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Rape Culture Rant

October 11th, 2012

Some unusual (for me) conversations this week. It started on Monday, when I was accused of making light of rape culture and slut shaming because I was joking about my rape fantasies. Having never heard the term “slut shaming,” I gave the person opportunity to explain it to me, and after a bit of agreeing that society is full of stupid people, we let the matter drop. Tuesday there was a discussion about the differences in age of consent and what actually qualifies as statutory rape, and the double standard between men and women. Yesterday, there were conversations about gender inequality, repression of women, sexism and dressing sexy. I say unusual conversations, because I’m not a particularly politically active person. These are not the types of discussions I normally get into, I’m not a great debater of social issues. I generally think society can go fuck itself, and I stick to having friends who are not idiots. But with all the discussions, and some of the stupidity this week, I am feeling a bit ranty.

Let me start at the top and work my way down. I tend to avoid discussing rape fantasies in public. The horrible reality of rape is a dividing line for many people. Some of us have the fantasies, others find it unthinkable. For me, it took me a long time to admit to having the fantasies. It felt shameful, wrong and terribly inappropriate. But they were there, from my earliest fantasizing, they’ve always been there. To deny them, is to deny a part of myself. Coming to be a part of this community, has involved a lot of getting to know myself and getting comfortable with myself. Learning to stop denying who I am and what I like. And I still find it hard to admit at times. But Monday, I felt I was in a safe place, and was a little offended by the accusation that I didn’t take the issues of rape culture and slut shaming seriously just because I was talking about my rape fantasies. They are power exchange fantasies, not an actual desire to be violently violated by a stranger. And certainly nothing that supports sexual violence against anyone.

So, let’s move on to those things. UpsettingRapeCulture.com defines rape culture this way: In a rape culture, people are surrounded with images, language, laws, and other everyday phenomena that validate and perpetuate, rape. Rape culture includes jokes, TV, music, advertising, legal jargon, laws, words and imagery, that make violence against women and sexual coercion seem so normal that people believe that rape is inevitable. Rather than viewing the culture of rape as a problem to change, people in a rape culture think about the persistence of rape as “just the way things are.”

I take very seriously, the problem of sexual violence, and find it abhorrent that even some of our laws are written in a way that casts blame on the victims. That “she was asking for it” is ever an acceptable response to rape, is disgusting. That not only men, but some women believe that we shouldn’t wear short skirts, because that only tempts men to rape us or exploit us, is insane. That’s going down another point that I’ll catch back up to later. The point for now, being that rape is one of, if not The most horrible crimes a person can commit upon another person, and it’s terrible that society as is stands, generally accepts inappropriate sexual advances as normal. That sexual violence of any kind is acceptable, is something we seriously need to change if we ever hope to be an evolved and enlightened society.

The FinallyFeminism101 blog defines slut shaming this way: Slut-shaming, also known as slut-bashing, is the idea of shaming and/or attacking a woman or a girl for being sexual, having one or more sexual partners, acknowledging sexual feelings, and/or acting on sexual feelings.

This concept is not new to me, Americans live in a society that was founded by Puritans. Women are socialized to be chaste virgins until they marry, and then be faithful to that man forever. Naming the problem slut shaming or bashing, seems to me, to only perpetuate the problem, but then, that’s a matter of linguistics, and focus. We are socialized to be ashamed of our sexuality, I am still fighting my way past that ingrown shame. And negative comments only make it all that much harder. But it’s once again a matter of being able to say fuck society, I am strong, and healthy and my desires are natural. This is not an easy thing to do, but we in the kink community do it all the time. This is just one more step, don’t make it harder for those around you, just because you’re jealous of their confidence or partners. And if you see others doing it, stand up for each other, show them how strong, confident and sexy we really are.

So, age of consent and statutory rape. The discussion Tuesday began with a relationship between a 17 year old boy and his 27 year old teacher. Obviously, a pairing that violates the ethical code of said teacher’s contract, and all the things that go along with it. In whatever state this was, the age of consent is 16, and the parents of the boy approved of the relationship. However, the teacher was still being charged with rape, among the other counts against her. It was the general consensus that some case-by-case common sense should be shown and the rape charged left out of the legal proceedings. The conversation then moved on to a discussion of the double standard that older teenaged boys don’t need protection against older women, but girls of the same age need protection from older men.

As I understand it, every state sets their own age of consent, to me, this is the first problem. As I said, I’m not big on politics, but it seems to me that a national standard would serve everyone better than a different standard every few hundred miles. Some common sense wouldn’t hurt in setting it either. High-schoolers having sex with each other, in many states could lead to a rape charge and that person will be stuck on the sex offenders registry. I’m not even going to pretend I have the answer, or the perfect age, or the right rules for this, but it just seems something we ought to be consistent about. And I think, once we figure out what age we are all comfortable with, consent should matter. Charge the teacher with breach of contract, take her license, whatever, but if the 17 year old is old enough to consent to sex with her, do Not charge her with rape. And, as a woman, who honestly feels that women biologically mature faster than men, let’s not have a double standard for consent. If a 16 year old boy can consent to sex, you better believe a 16 year old girl has the same ability. But girls need protected from predatory men? Then prosecute them for rape if she’s said no and he didn’t stop. Protect them from the predators, but not from their own freedom of choice.

On to the last bit, the wearing of sexy clothing and the objectification and exploitation of women by sexist men. Dude(tte), you need to get out more. A lot of women wear sexy clothing because they want to, because it makes them feel good. Because they enjoy receiving compliments from men who appreciate their beauty. None of this means that the woman is objectifying herself, or that the men giving the compliments are objectifying her. It is about feeling good about yourself, and loving yourself, and not being afraid to be who you are, if that’s a sexy girl in skin tight latex, or a stunning woman in a business suit. If you’re only being viewed as an object, you need to get new friends, get out in the community where the delicious mind is appreciated inside every body. The enjoyment of sexy clothes does not detract from the desire for intelligent conversation. Yes, there are sexist assholes in the community, too, they’re everywhere, but we don’t put up with them for as long as the general public. Deciding that women should wear long skirts so that men aren’t tempted, is sexist in both directions – repression of a woman’s choices and sexuality, and lack of faith in men.

Part of these conversations came out of discussion of women in the media, on tv, video games, movies and the like. And some of that is a problem, when the woman is only there to be pretty and do nothing else. To be the damsel in distress who must be rescued, because only men can do things in life. Yes, this is a problem, so don’t watch those shows, don’t go to those movies, don’t support those products. Watch the ones with strong female characters, buy the DVDs with the intelligent men and women working together to save the day. Buy the products that show women as powerful. But judging a show by how a character is dressed, and not by how she acts/is presented, is just sexist. Isn’t that what you accuse men of doing?

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What I Like and Why

May 31st, 2012

So, let’s say someone new came up to me and asked, “Hey Imp, what do you like to do? And could you tell me why? What about those things interests you?” How would I respond, at this point in my life?

Hey, random person. Welcome to the community. I like to do a lot of different things, for a lot of different reasons.

Well, Imp, that’s not very helpful, could you be more specific?

Sure, random. I like bondage, sensation, deprivation, fear, pain, suspension, sexuality, dressing up, fire, electricity, corporal punishment, erotica, mind fucks, new experiences, serving, bootblacking, learning, teaching, submission, power exchange, biting, sucking, cuddling, challenges, sub space, and a whole host of other things.

Wow, Imp, that’s a lot. Could you tell me about all those different things?

Sure, random, let’s start at the top.

Bondage. I love bondage. Always have, always will. Cuffs, shackles, stocks, straitjackets, rope, saran wrap, or just mental. I love it all. But some for different reasons than others.

Cuffs, shackles and stocks. These are the stuff of erotic fantasies for me. Prisoner fantasies, slave fantasies, and the like. These are things for “bad girls” and as such, turn me on to that mindset. They are solid and secure and sometimes painful. They are a solid reminder that I am in bondage to the one who holds the key. I am at his mercy until he sets me free.

Straitjackets and saran wrap or mummification. These are the all encompassing, all enclosing, complete restriction of movement. They can be comforting, a big huge hug from the one who put me in it. A place to sink into myself with the outside kept at bay. Or they can be complete vulnerability. I am trapped, only allowed that which he gives me. Whether that’s simply air or pleasure. Only free when he allows it. And oh so helpless and available to whatever he wants to do. An excellent power exchange.

Rope. Glorious rope. I didn’t know how much I would love rope until it was used on me. I didn’t know I would fall in love until I first smelled hemp, and then he suspended me. And I was done. Forever a rope slut. Rope is a multitool. It can be used for sensation, for decoration, for bondage, for suspension, for pain, for pleasure, for service, and if you have enough, even for mummification. Rope makes me incredibly happy. The bite of the rough natural fibers on my skin. The taking of my power bit by bit as each limb is confined. The sense of freedom when I am held in its complete thrall.

Sensation and pain. So many different types of sensation. Floggers, whips, paddles, canes, drumsticks, clamps, clips, clothespins, slapping, spanking, body punching, kicking, biting, pinching, pressure points, scratching, knives, violet wands, stun guns, TENs, massage, wax. I’m sure I’m forgetting some.

Corporal punishment. Spanking, floggers, whips, paddles, canes, punching, kicking and drumming, all excellent examples. Let’s start with rhythmic fun. Floggers, canes, and drumming can all be used to beat someone to music, to a rhythm. This can take us both into space. Feeling connected as one as we flow and move with the same beat. Relaxing and soothing, it can also send me into the most incredible high. Spanking and paddles, also belts, are in the fantasy category for me. They send me into that “bad girl” headspace that I find so arousing. Pain space. This is where whips, body punching and kicking come in. They don’t fit in the first two categories for me, but if I want intense sensation for the purpose of going into pain space, they are added to the list of all these other tools. Pain space, for me, is a place where I fall into the pain, and enjoy both the pain and connection to the one causing it. Catharsis is another part of corporal for me. All these tools can be used to cause me such intense sensation that I am pushed through pain space into an emotional release.

Body manipulation. While I’m talking about spaces, and body punching and kicking. Let me go quickly to pressure points, biting, pinching and massage. These, for me, are direct, personal intense sensations. Biting goes into arousing fantasy, vampires and the like. Pressure points and pinching and focused intensity. He is close up, exploring my body and reactions. Some of them are painful, some of them are pleasurable. But they all make me want to kiss his hands afterward. I like the closeness, I like the personal intensity. The direct energy exchange. Massage has this, too. The closeness, the energy. It also has the element of service that I enjoy when I’m giving it. Or when I’m receiving, it makes me feel cared for and appreciated.

Sexuality. We are sexual beings. And we all express our sexuality in different ways with different people. Depending on my mood and my partner, I enjoy kissing, hugging, cuddling, nibbling, licking, orgasm control, masturbation, oral and sex. Physical connection, intimate connection, can be soothing, energizing, or just plain crazy fun.

Deprivation. On the opposite end of the physical, is the lack of input. Sensory deprivation. Sensory deprivation makes me depend on whatever I’m left with. I sink into my body away from the senses that were taken away and if I have anything left, all focus goes to that. If it has all ben removed or reduced, I’m often able to just float away deep inside. It’s incredibly relaxing. And can also be used to intensify whatever sense is left. Touch becomes so much more intense when you cannot see, hear, or smell. You are focused on the only thing you have left to sense the world around you. Pain in such a state is so much more intense for me.

Clips, clamps and clothespins. I’m not even sure how to categorize those. Pinchy things, I guess. These can be great fun and are usually a test in endurance. Last night, he showed up with two bags. One of 50 teeny tiny clothespins, and one of 24 two inch long clothespins. He decided our faces were his canvas, and went back and forth between all three of us, putting clothespins all over. It was crazy and intense and fun. I had to walk in place and keep touching him to ground, so I would keep breathing properly. These are an interesting category. They are intense sensation, and it just ramps up as you go along, without even having to do anything. And when you’re done, the fun isn’t over. You still have to take all those little things off. Which hurts a heck of a lot more in an instant than they have the whole time they’ve been on. This is why zippers are such great fun. Taking a whole line of them all off at once, can send me into such a great pain space high. This is one time when orgasms are especially appreciated for me, as a way to channel the energy created.

Electricity. Ah, electrical energy. In this category we have TENs, violet wands, electric flyswatters, and stun guns. TENs is a lot of fun. It can be therapeutic to tense or sore muscles. It can be silly giving over of control. It can be used to make Jenga a hilarious game. And it can be used to cause intense sensations and pain. Violet wands are one of the few things I top, for the crew. Anywhere for gentle vibrations of a massage, to sharp jolts of pain. Happy tickling sensations, to skin burning zaps. So versatile and fun. Electric flyswatters and stun guns are the next step up. Sharp, painful sparks when there’s a gap. Muscle jolting when held tight to the skin. For me, just the noise of these sends fear shooting through my body. Sends adrenaline racing, and depending on what he’s threatening, can drive me straight to tears. Delicious.

Fire is another of those adrenaline rushes. Someone is lighting you on fire FFS. It’s a nice warming sensation, which can also be slightly painful, but the fire is generally gone before the pain really starts. I’m not into burning/branding of the skin. But the fear. The primal fear response to being light on fire, is intoxicating. It brings my focus in to just that. Nothing else matters when you’re on fire. Then there’s sparks. Not electrical sparks, those don’t bother me. Fire sparks. A lighter, a sparkler, a log popping in the fire. Terror. Pure terror for me. This will bring me to tears faster than a stun gun, if I’m forced to be close for more than a couple sparks.

Fear. Oh yeah, fear. Sparks, needles, snakes. Fire, stun guns, flyswatters, gags, being in pain and helpless and abandoned. Fear is delicious. Adrenaline rushes are great. Phobias will bring me to tears and panic and breaking points. So they are dangerous to play with, but so far, have all gone well. Being brought to the point of panic, and then pulled right back to keep going can be an amazing power exchange, as well.

Power exchange. Submission, serving, mind fucks. All the mental stuff. To take me out of my head, to give up control. To take care of him and his boots. To dress up for him. To just simply be for him. To challenge myself. To be forced to think and use my brain. To be turned around so hard and fast that I don’t know where I am. To be scared and aroused and dropped all through the power of his voice. So many different head spaces and power exchanges. It can be absolutely amazing.

New experiences. Learning something new. Teaching someone something new. Trying something new. Helping someone else try something for the first time. There’s nothing like it. The joy, the excitement, the energy of new is unique and incredible.

And then there’s this. There’s writing about it. I love writing about it. Writing erotica about it, blog posts about it, journal entries about it. Sharing, processing, explaining. Teaching, learning. Writing it down gets it out of my head and into a place where I can look at it. Where I can share it with others. Where I can learn about myself and really see my own thoughts and reactions. Down on paper or screen, it’s not all jumbled up anymore. It’s clear and it’s wonderful. I hope you all think so, too.

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BDSM Is Not Abuse

January 27th, 2011

One of the things on my mind when I was doing the Thirty Days of Kink meme was openness. There were two questions I linked to the same post about being open with my friends, but not with my family. Then the post about misconceptions – BDSM is not abuse. And my brain wandered off – wondering, is this why I don’t tell my family? Is this what I’m afraid to explain to them, afraid they just won’t understand? Afraid they’ll think I’m broken or, worse yet, that they did something wrong in raising me?

I make excuses – it’s my sex life, why would I talk to my family about the kind of sex I have? We don’t talk about such things. It’s where all my ideas about what’s “proper” or “appropriate” come from. Those words that The Ethical Slut talks about as social programming that limits us and makes us ashamed of ourselves. But what about poly? That’s my love life, that’s people who mean a lot to me. And it still falls into “inappropriate” and “improper” behavior. But people I care about is a topic of family discussion.

I think I’m wandering here. Reel it back in.

BDSM is not abuse. I posted that simply and without comment on the misconceptions day. There are so many ways that discussion can go. From how BDSM is about love and respect, to how to recognize abuse, to how to prevent abuse, to how some people just don’t understand other people’s needs and desires. To how some people’s kink is just not other people’s kink, to how some people’s kink is too extreme for other people. And on and on.

But the point in my head, when I started this post, was, is that what I’m afraid of? Is that what I don’t think I can explain to my god-fearing, bible-carrying family? You betcha. My dad once commented that a girl in college wanted him to spank her and he thought it was very odd of her and he sent her packing. I don’t know why he told me (and Hubby) that story, other than for something to say while we were traveling cross country on a family vacation, but I worried even then that I could never tell him the truth about myself.

I’ve seen a friend’s parents react very badly to the idea of their daughter being kinky. The dad did read a book on rope bondage and come to accept it as a sexual expression. But what about pain, how do you get vanilla folk to understand, or at least accept, that pain is a healthy expression of sexuality? There are kinky people who don’t fully understand the levels of pain I enjoy, but at least they’re accepting. Usually along the lines of, well, if it makes you happy.

Isn’t that what our parents want for us? That we be happy? Yes. But generally the want us to be happy within social norms, or whatever Their social norms are. Would my parents really deny me because my expressions of pleasure are different from theirs? Would they stop speaking to me because controlled pain in a life when uncontrolled pain in typical makes me feel better? Would they try and have me committed because I like a bit of electricity running through my body even when I’m not at a chiropractor? Probably not. But I still shrink from those conversations, afraid of disappointing them, or confusing them. Or that I am wrong about their capacity for acceptance.

Honestly, it’s my brother who I think would try to understand the least. And it’s poly that I think that my parents would be most upset with. I promised to my father and before my mother to be monogamous until death. I think extramarital relations would be the harder sell. I love my Hubby, and he loves me, but to forsake all others would not be true to ourselves. Love grows when it is shared.

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