Sunday, August 14, 2016

Thom (Part 3)

The last week and a half has easily been the most difficult time of my life, very closely following the second most difficult loss I've experienced: I lost my dog who was the only constant in my life over the last 10 years, and now I have lost a partner. Even now, it took me four tries to avoid affixing a qualifier like "someone I regarded as a partner," or "someone who was more than a friend," because I have been struggling with my thoughts that much.

When I began trying to process my grief, I thought a large swath of it was unanswered questions, or rather one in particular: how he felt about me. After a lot of thought, more crying than I knew was possible, and an unfortunate level of strain on remaining relationships, I realize it actually stems mostly from shame and embarrassment. What I thought was an unanswered question is really just an answer I didn't think I could convince others of. I guess you could say it amounted to a crisis of faith.

I'll never be able to claim that Thom would be okay with me calling him a partner. I abhor labels - as did he - so the vast majority of our dynamic was unspoken; it was all gestures and sacrifices and support. The embarrassment stemmed from a fear that people would think I'm crazy to call him such, and the shame came from feeling as though calling him that without his consent is a violation of his trust. It has been a lot to juggle and as a result there are a number of situations I handled less than gracefully. Fortunately I have very patient and loving friends.

Seeking validation has always been a weak point of mine. As I wrote in my last entry, Doubt is a demon I'm constantly battling with, so I often need others to serve as a reality check. In my grief, I thought I desperately needed this validation to come from others. I knew him well enough to know he would occasionally make confessions to people he trusted, so I convinced myself this confirmation had to be out there. It did not occur to me that it is okay to simply say bluntly how I feel until yesterday. I've said it before and I'll say it again: emotions really aren't my forte.

I loved Thom like a partner, I leaned on him like a partner, I worried about him like a partner, and I longed for his embrace like a partner. We saw each other constantly and cuddled often, and towards the end he'd actually let me do things like hold his hand and snuggle up even in public at parties. I wish we'd have had more time to work things out, but I simply can't expend any more energy trying to dig through the thoughts of a dead man.

The best way I could describe how I felt about him is actually something I texted him directly one drunken, sappy night: "You're one of my default people." I went on to explain a bit better that I meant when anything good or neat happens, he was the first person I would think of or want to know. Since one of the most easily identifiable "Thom traits" was that if you pushed too hard on anything he would shut down, I tried to show him how I cared for him in ways he could digest .. but I don't know that he ever would have fully let me in. I'll never forget him or how much he meant to me, and all I can hope is that I can use this experience to better handle communicating with the next guy I start to fall for.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Thom (Part 2)

Last night I made a very selfish post (which I deleted) because, like Thom, I have a demons that I struggle with every day - one of the same demons, in fact. My biggest demon is Doubt and it whispers and screams and lies about how I am incapable of perceiving truth or reality, and often that trusting people is simply naivete. I don’t think this demon will ever grow strong enough to make me follow in Thom’s footsteps, but it has left me with enough scars that I fully understand why he couldn’t keep fighting any more, and I love him too much to be angry that he gave up.

When we fight demons that are stronger than our cognition, we hone weapons to stave them off. The most effective weapon against this particular demon that I have ever found is to treat logic and empirical evidence as dogma. The most frequent thought exercise I engage in is identifying how two perceptibly similar things are different; if you can tell two similar things apart, you can understand that each merits a different approach which can prevent unnecessary or undue judgment. It has taught me patience when I disagree with the decisions of others, it has helped me guide people to make decisions with the fewest negative repercussions, it has helped me professionally by allowing me to better discern the needs of others, and, most importantly, it has taught me to value motivation and intent as key measures of success. How a weapon turned into a positive tool is beyond me, but I am very glad to see the world through that lens.

Ire is another demon of mine, born of disappointment, confusion, and regret. Unlike Doubt, this demon is far more likely to harm others than myself and yesterday I lost this battle. The very same logic and dissecting I use to fend off Doubt often helps me keep this under wraps; when you can see how differing motivations yield different decisions, it is easier to come to peace with disagreement. As I began processing this tragedy, one of the first things I did was divide any questions I was left with into two thought-boxes: ones that could possibly be answered and ones that never could be - the latter serving as a mental trash can. As I cycled through the “why’s” and “what if’s” and “did I miss something’s” I made sure to actively ignore them should they resurface. The one question left that I could not force into the mental garbage bin is “What was I to him?”

Despite what people might think, I am actually an incredibly private person. When I was having problems with Thom or previous guys I had been interested in, I either kept it to myself or found someone so far removed that there was no risk of contamination (until VERY late in this series of events). I would never assume that his interest in me extended beyond friendship; to try and place a special value on our relationship without confirmation would be to demean the value of the very real grief of every person whose lives this amazing man touched. I never want to be the sort of person who values their own speculation over the demonstrable, palpable pain of others.

Despite my best intentions, it still leaves me with that one question for which there actually could be an answer: what was I to him? Were the situation reversed, as I stated, I would have discussed the situation with someone very far removed from him logistically. Thom had made a very concerted effort to keep his family separate from his friends, which - despite how depressing the circumstances - made me think maybe there was an answer within reach. Until, that is, even his mother had literally no idea who I was.

The selfishness and pain in me wanted to talk to her and see if maybe there were some story in which he inadvertently had relayed how he felt without specifying me by name. Fortunately the less selfish part of me wanted to sit down with her and literally ask “What/how much do you want to know about your son?” since I can’t imagine how much his cutting her out must have hurt. When she declined my request to discuss things privately, the part of me that had hoped even a non-selfish conversation with her might answer some questions simply shattered. This would mark the third time this week I literally, physically ran from something I couldn’t emotionally process.

As it turns out her reluctance was only due to sitting causing her back pain, but by this point my brain had shut down and I was a sobbing mess. This was particularly jarring because he had just seen her a few weeks prior (right when he and I had started talking again) so I had incredibly high hopes for some sort of closure from anything he may have told her. Instead of answers I felt so unimportant that not only did his family not know of me in any capacity, I wasn’t even significant enough to merit private discussion.

Some of my demons fed on this like lions pouncing a gazelle, and I let them control how I framed the entire evening: that all I could feel was irrelevant, forgotten, and unworthy of consideration. I caused some people I care deeply about considerable harm in exuding such negativity over something that meant so much to so many people, and although I’ve made my apologies I have no idea who else may have been impacted by this wholly undue negativity.

What I really took from the evening was NOT how little I meant to Thom, it was how many lives he touched and that I was lucky he was ever a part of my life - in any capacity - even if only for a moment. What I took from the evening was a determination to be as understanding as I can in any situation or dispute - no matter how small or trivial - on the off chance someone might be feeling the pain I was in that moment. What I took from the evening is that it is not my place to think my love of him was more valuable than his need to end what he felt was ceaseless suffering. What I took from the evening was that his last thoughts were of making sure his loved ones knew that this was not their fault and that he simply wanted the pain to stop. What I took from the evening is to know that all I can ever do is try to make anyone I encounter’s time here better, and that I have a lot of apologizing to do because there are people with worse demons than mine and I cannot allow myself to devalue their struggle simply because I am tired.

I love you, Thom, enough to hope that there really is an afterlife.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Thom

This is not meant to be something in memory of Thom, it is something completely selfish I just needed to get out. I'm sure I'll write something else later.

One of my favorite memories about Thom is how intensely Vash loved him pretty much instantly. I’d had him for years by this point and, despite a lot of work to socialize him, he was always apprehensive of new people. Except Thom .. because, Thom. One of the first times he met Thom he just instinctively crawled across his lap like it was the most natural thing ever. A 100 lb dog who not only would not only NEVER get in a stranger’s lap, but that most strangers wouldn’t allow in their lap even if he tried. They bonded instantly and it was always clear that he was one of Vash’s favorite people, right up there with Johnny who knew him almost as long as myself.

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We met for the first time in any significant capacity at one of Brad/Greg/Jake’s infamous Superbowl parties. Jake had just begun working with some new types of rubber and had a 2mm thick strap that apparently worked as a striking implement. I thought Thom was incredibly sexy and I was feeling a little frisky, so I used it to show how effective it could be for bastinado. It was a fun interaction, and it left me with an amazingly good impression of him.

This was all right after I moved back to Chicago from Austin, so I was very fixated on catching up with old friends as opposed to deliberately making new ones. We didn’t become close over night, but we definitely did slowly start seeing more of each other through various things like Geartunes and game nights. Eventually we even had a D&D campaign that met weekly. He DM’ed it and the campaign was quirky enough to have the inn be a bathhouse (with a joke you have to roll fortitude to avoid disease), and the owner he always voied like Harvey Firestein.

About two years ago we got very close and saw each other multime times a week on most occasions. It was random times and activities, but he was a pretty consistent part of my life. At one point there was a (still) unexplained schism that happened after a Beer on the Pier with some friends. He felt like a fifth wheel which was understandable since I knew the other people more intimately, but there was an odd fixation with one person in particular and myself. He was very upset and it seemed like he was insinuating I had a romantic interest in her. We had never discussed dating or anything similar, so why this would be a concern (however absurd) was incredibly confusing to me. I did my best to calm him down and ended up just assuming I was misinterpreting his “5th wheel” feeling, but he refused to talk to me or respond to texts for almost two months. I don’t do emotions, especially face-to-face, but the first time I saw him after we patched things up I broke into tears telling him to never do that again because I had missed him so much.

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Things repaired pretty quickly from there, but I was reluctant to discuss things with him because of the risk he’d disappear again. I never knew what he was thinking in that respect, but I knew I cared for him enough that how he felt about me was completely irrelevant since I just wanted him to be as happy as he could be. We never really talked about it but when he started doing things like meeting weekly for dinner despite how adamant he was that plans be fairly spontaneous, I took it as a huge step forward. Fairly often after dinner I’d stay over and get to cuddle with him, and every time it was the highlight of my week. I tried really hard not to affix anything romantic to it, just more time that I got to spend with him.

During IML 2015 we spent a lot of time together, had some amazing misadventures, and at one point - completely out of the blue - he had mentioned collaring me, specifically saying he was worried about me. It didn’t feel like it was just thrown out in passing when he said it, but any attempts to bring it up after the fact were met with silence. I was a little crushed that he wouldn’t ever talk to me about it after that since the thought even occurring to him meant the world to me. But I let it go and kept doing what I could to be around him as often as possible.

Eventually he stopped being as receptive to things like cuddling, but wanted to keep the weekly dinners. The fact he still wanted to see me that often made me very happy even though I could feel the change. He had even been helping a lot with planning the Winter of House Parties, and at the first one (the ABC) party we randomly found ourselves needing respite from the energy which came out as a heart-to-heart discussion. The absurdity of having a deeply emotional conversation while I was covered in caution tape/cardboard and he was in an inflatable orca swim toy is not lost on me. I told him, bluntly enough, that he he knew how I feel about him and that he confused the fuck out of me with this constant shifting and previous disappearal. His response was something I’ll never forget: “Sometimes I wish it was you, that you were the problem.” I had no idea how to respond to this and still don’t, so the best I could muster was telling him I wanted him to come to a Thanksgiving dinner I had been invited to, not as a friend but as my date. I have no way of knowing if he’d have backed out or anything, because we ended up having a family dinner instead which was its own, beautiful experience.

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The day following the feast we had a number of friends who got together for a bit of bonding. A fairly sizable group of us just spent the night together doing what could only be called adventuring. It was an amazing evening that I will always remember, and we all left feeling closer to each other than we ever had. Amidst this, there were some very sad stories that came to light; about regret, about loss, about longing. One of the first discussions I ever had with Thom that was just the two of us instead of a mass of party-goers was about some things from his past that he was still struggling with. At the end of this gathering, there was an argument over something that got slightly heated, which was derailed by someone explaining a very traumatic piece of their history that they, too, were still struggling with. It was enough to bring me to tears and Thom was even more moved by the story. I don’t know what this triggered in him, but it wound up with him first sobbing, then laughing uncontrollably between sobs, and finally curling up into a ball while the laughter again collapsed to sobs. All I could think was to lay there and hold him and to just try and breathe calmly with him in my arms until he could find himself again, and then to try my best to make sure he never felt that way again.

I tried to talk to him twice about what, to me, could only be regarded as a minor breakdown. By the second time I asked it became very clear that if I pushed again he would cut me out - something he still did regardless. From then I tried to keep him as close as possible with our weekly dinners and seeing him any time something was going on weekends. Until, that is, he went AWOL. After several months of anticipated weekly dinners he simply stopped responding to any attempts to contact him. I knew things were hard at his job at the time, so I told him I understood if he wanted to cancel - even indefinitely - and that was fine, but I still couldn’t get so much of a “yeah” out of him despite hearing the was still in touch at least somewhat with a number of other people. I was sad, I was hurt, and I was angry.

Eventually he showed up to one of the Winter of House Parties events, and I was so angry I literally couldn't look at him. About an hour in, Brad keyed me in that he'd been having some issues that I had no idea about. I had no way of knowing if this was coincidence or if the fact I couldn't keep trying had played some role in worsening his condition. I almost lost it right on the spot knowing what he'd been going through, and went over to talk to him since my anger instantly dissipated. He made vague plans to hang out the following week which made me feel incredibly hopeful. I told him I loved him and how much I missed seeing him and our weekly dinner the next several times I ran into him in person, but I could never get him to talk to me again no matter how much I tried.

I never in a million years thought he would kill himself, I just figured that I had feelings for him that he couldn't reconcile so he was making other bonds he was more comfortable with. As honest as he was with most people, I never - and now WILL never - know what I was to him. Not knowing that is something that has been eating me alive for 6-8 months. When he started talking to me again and actually wanting to do dinners again, it was one of the happiest moments of the year.

The last time I saw him was the day after we had our weekly dinner. We went out to the CGHA beerbust with a pitstop at friend's house, and then he wanted me to come back to his place and cuddle. The last time I talked to him was about 4 hours before he took his own life, about what we were going to have for dinner the next day.

I wrote about knowing that none of us could have done anything more. I meant it, and I am being mindful of it myself. But what I am left with instead of guilt or blame is knowing that I will literally never know what I was to him.



Thursday, April 21, 2016

Shock Collar and Abuse Scene

This video takes place after about an hour of as intense as what is seen here. The boy has a shock collar on his nuts and was being shocked any time he lost control and grunted or yelled too loudly. What you can't tell from the angle is I still have it in hand and am periodically shocking him in response to certain behaviors. My room at the time was a little cramped so some of my positioning is odd, but I was a little too focused on making him suffer to care. At one point you can see his hand convulsing wildly, and if you understand the process he's been through this is the physical equivalent of a full-throated scream.


Partial Mummification Bastinado/CBT powered by XTube

Friday, April 1, 2016

Down the Rabbit Hole

Pup is on way to New Jersey to be its Sir’s captive pet, and has written this in advance for Sir to post once pup has boarded plane and can’t be online to take down. For whole weekend, pup will only be allowed to speak as a pup on the very rare (if any) occasions it is allowed to speak, and punished if pup tries to talk like full person. Pup never thought something like noun/speech replacement would resonate because pup thought it was silly and almost trite, but Sir has made pup get into headspace even long distance which normally pup can’t do. Pup does not like this and it embarasses pup very lots, but pup likes pleasing Sir even more so too bad for pup! Sir wants eager pup so pup will have to learn to be one.

Pup will not be allowed to be angry or annoyed or embarrassed or self-conscious, only blindly obedient and eager. Thinking about doing things like begging for treats or rolling over for belly rubs or playing fetch makes pup very sad and embarrassed, so pup won’t know how to be eager. Sir has said that he will not accept this and pup will be corrected harshly since Sir wants eager pet not boring, thinky human.

Pups need storage when bad or when Sirs need breaks, so Sir will make pup write offline to describe weekend while stored. If pup does not write, pup gets beat. If pup tries to write as person even to just say “I’m done,” pup gets beat. If pup does anything but writing in a way that shows Sir pup was eagerly waiting for Sir like a real pet would, pup will be beat. Sir has access to pup’s accounts (w/ PW reset control), and will be posting pup’s pupthoughts after storage times are over.

For rest of weekend, any posts should be seen as honest (ly coerced) expressions and recountings. If pup tries to be full self and Sir publishes pup’s post saying “This was a mistake, I never should have agreed to this,” pup means it and pup will be getting abused severely for being too arrogant to just write “pup made mistake. pup wants to go home” instead. Don’t sympathize for pup since it has very simple out: just be good, eager pet, not stubborn!

Whether or not pup has fun throughout weekend, pup hopes anyone reading either enjoys watching pup’s will get crushed or enjoys waggy pupthought posts pup can’t delete that remind it of Sir’s control over pup. Barks!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Respect

I’ve never agreed with the idea that some individuals implicitly deserve an elevated level of respect across the board. We all have different values and their importance to us varies as staunchly as their nature; to expect a person to turn a blind eye to behavior that contradicts their more significant values is neither fair nor reasonable. Since much of kink is based on experience - with most activities demanding it to be competent - there tends to be an unfortunate conflation of being experienced and being more deserving of respect. Everyone deserves respect, and that includes respecting their dissent about an individual’s esteem - at least long enough to assess its validity.

One of the most significant pillars of the BDSM community is an emphasis on players in an active role experiencing what they will subject their passive partners to. Whether it’s a specific implement, method of inducing pain, level of restraint, etc, there is a pretty strong consensus that it is the correct way to handle training a new Dom. The idea is that you shouldn’t do something to a person that you haven’t had done to yourself, both to ensure that you understand logistically what it feels like and to instill a degree of reverence for what is being done. It’s a sentiment that comes from a very well-intentioned place, but it has some side-effects that I take serious issue with. For starters, this ideology is overwhelmingly applied exclusively to physical actions. In this way, leather got it right; you have to be a boy to become a proper Sir, not just experience a series of things being done to you. Not only does this give insight into how specific protocols could impact you mentally, it also shows the work it takes to allow yourself to enter that mentality. Unfortunately, as the fetish community has grown and the leather community has a shrinking piece of that pie, some of the nuanced reasoning behind these things is lost on people who may be less educated about kink. What this does is enables those who only engaged in the physical aspects of submission to hold themselves in the same regard as those who have experienced submission as it relates to dynamics. Needless to say this is a baseless ego boost, and it leads to a sort of entitled Dom that denigrates subs because they can’t understand the strength lifestyle-oriented submission demands. These are the same Doms that are likely to deem the experience of submissives as less valuable to the point of discounting them. While this model creates respect towards submission for those within the community that wish to become a Sir, to those not involved in the culture to the same degree it instead serves to erode the legitimacy of submission by establishing a higher standard for only one half of the dichotomy.

If we look at respect conceptually, it’s primarily based off of things like competency, experience, and accomplishments. This is a nearly universal concept regardless of community, and it’s the lens through which people see respect; when greater respect is given it is presumed that some of these qualifiers have been met and vice versa. What this means is that when someone not associated with the leather community sees this imbalanced level of respect, it is fair for them to presume that being a sub is less demanding and requires less aplomb because the role appears to garner less respect. I want to emphasise again that this is by no means their fault; it’s a fair and logical conclusion based on how respect normally functions. As the BDSM community continues to expand, this disconnect will only grow more and more prevalent due to the influx of new people unaware of how these roles function.

I have a lot of reverence for the level of tradition and protocol the leather community has to offer - and the quality of Sirs it is capable of producing - but I have always had a very averse reaction to anything that tries to dictate my identity. Similarly, I also try to be very respectful of how people identify and make deliberate efforts to never tell someone part of their identity is invalid. Naturally, staunch rules like requiring someone who identifies as dominant to undergo training as a submissive flies in the face of those efforts. Compounding these identity issues with the side-effect it has on how subs are viewed by newcomers, I can’t bring myself to participate in a system that would diminish those who don’t follow a certain path; the proof is in the pudding, not the recipe.

Despite how much I appreciate the sentiment behind leather’s approach to cultivating Doms, I think it is based on an overestimation of how relatable or translatable experiences are. When you over-emphasize the value of how you experienced something, it downplays how unique every person’s experiences are; nothing in your history will help you understand what a boy is feeling as you accidentally dig up a buried childhood memory, or the fear a boy feels as you stumble upon a phobia even he was unaware of. The ability to understand what someone else is going through does not come from having experienced it yourself, but rather respecting that you couldn’t possibly understand it yourself. To put it more productively, the first thing on a Dom’s mind should not be looking to his own experiences, it should be making 100% sure he is being receptive to everything his boy is communicating.

As we consider ensuring the healthy growth of the community and empowering a new wave of both Doms and subs, our focus should instead be on encouraging a universal standard of respect: identity, experiences, preferences, and negotiated consent should all be honored, immutably. When we have a paradigm that enables discrediting one’s experiences based on their methodology, we’ve already torn down one of these pillars and replaced it with an emphasis on esteem. The reason these particular pillars should be immutable is that they relate to an individual’s dynamics with specific individuals, which is no one’s business but those involved. No one should be obligated to bow to a part of someone’s identity that is irrelevant to them, and adults should be mature enough to understand that a person’s dynamics with others does not necessarily impact their own. Two play partners should be able to switch as they see fit without it altering their dynamic and, inversely, a sub locked into an exclusively submissive dynamic should be able to feel the Dom’s control even if someone has him in layers of rope and hoods. Let people hash out their own dynamics and they will continually strengthen them in whatever ways they feel are healthy for those involved

If we can encourage respecting others’ dynamics as described above, we reduce things like kink-shaming and end up creating an environment that is conducive to exploration. It empowers people not only to trust their own experiences, but to feel that they are in control of what happens between them instead of feeling obligated to proceed a certain way. What’s more is it doesn’t preclude people having very rigid dynamics, it simply empowers everyone involved to make their own decisions free of judgment.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

CBT Burst


Just a quick CBT vid. Started the scene with a regular Dom by restraining myself in an 8-point spread eagle, hooded, and with pulleys running rope from my head to my balls so that if I lifted my head it'd pull on my balls. Unfortunately he had to let my balls down before this part d/t them getting rubbed raw. :-(


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Monday, February 29, 2016

Expectation vs. Reality

This ended up being a bit longer than intended, and I want to take a second to clarify that the experience described herein is as close to factual as I could make it. It touches base on some very severe abuse I endured, and I want anyone who feels concern for those events to rest assured they’re presently of no consequence to me. I’ve had a hell of a lot of fun since - some of which was directly a result of what I learned during that weekend - and just wanted to show that it’s possible to come back from scenes that go awry. Moreover, I wanted to discuss how to try and prevent things from going awry.

Everyone has sexual fantasies: some may be incredibly detailed and involved, some may be as simple as wanting to feel a certain way in the moment, and some may be a specific goal or idea we want to incorporate into a larger scene. Most of the time it’s fantasies which drive us to seek a new level of play that helps prevent stagnation and keeps things fresh. They’re a perfectly natural part of sexual development - even when aberrant activities are involved - but there is a very real risk of literally losing yourself in a fantasy. As we focus on details that get us more and more aroused, it becomes easier to forget our thoughts and feelings at the time are also a part of the equation. When this happens you’re very apt to have a rude awakening when you actually find yourself in the fantasy.

One of the most recurring themes of this blog is helplessness. I’ve written stories - both fantasy and real - about it, and I’ve tried to deconstruct and detail how it can be accomplished. My approach to this kind of play has always been that when one agrees to waive the right to revoke consent, one must accept responsibility for misjudging the severity of one’s response to a situation. There will always be times where the Dom may be at fault, but only when ignorance, dishonesty, or incompetence is the cause; if a Dom does precisely as discussed in scene negotiations the end result is not necessarily his fault. It can take a lot to swallow your pride and admit you really shouldn’t have been so adamant about your request, but stubbornly insisting you didn’t make a mistake does absolutely nothing productive. Learn from it: incorporate how you felt at the time into sculpting your fantasies and be more careful when you negotiate your next scene. The main thing here is that refusing to accept responsibility is denying yourself the opportunity to recalibrate and improve future scenes.

For several years now, I’ve sought a loss of control that is as close to absolute as possible - the helplessness that is such a recurrent theme here. Whether it’s needing to know I can still be controlled even if I break headspace or deliberately putting myself in scenarios where resistance is nearly impossible, it all hinges on being unable to change my mind based on circumstance. From seeing first-hand how these changes of opinion can arise mid-scene, I’ve gotten pretty decent at limiting variables in scenes with unfamiliar or inexperienced Doms. Limiting variables results in reducing confusion as to what is an acceptable level of duress as well as helping establish what level of responses can be ignored. I’ve also learned that negotiating scenes is a walk in the park compared to finding someone with the ability and drive to wholly disregard your plight. With this in mind, I decided some time ago I place more value in a scene in which I ask for too much and am given it than one where I feel like I can walk all over the guy, even bound and gagged.

There was a particular scene a few years ago that was exceptionally difficult for me to get over; not because of how much I regretted it in the moment, but rather because it felt like a tremendous failure to communicate (or interpret) the desired “tone” of the scene. Based on my understanding of the discussions we’d had, I thought it was clear that it was supposed to be centered around a level of degradation akin to the treatment of a POW. To be precise, I thought this was mutually agreed upon as opposed to just a request or demand on my part. I’d even recommended some specific fantasies that would be so horrible while happening I knew they’d break me out of headspace and solidify my inability to deter him even in the worst of circumstances. I’d given him plenty of ammunition and he had a rather sizeable playspace in the basement, so it definitely seemed like a weekend of uninterrupted dehumanization was possible.

Prior to arriving at his house I received instructions to enter through the side of his garage. Upon entering I was to strip, hood, and handcuff myself, then wait for him on my knees without my ass touching my feet. My memory is a little hazy of this part, but I remember that the garage was not fully closed off. I couldn’t see any people, but what areas I could see felt like places you would be apt to see people, and where people could easily see me. It made me a little uneasy since I had no idea how long he’d keep me waiting, but I kind of liked that the weekend was starting off with a bit of a mindfuck. I’d read a number of fantasies when I was younger where someone happens upon a helpless boy and proceeds to take the reigns, and the memory made my dick twitch. So for a while I waited there, silent, vulnerable, and nervous, with old fantasies swimming at the back of my mind and swelling at base of my cock.

Eventually he came to grab me, and I was lead into his house. The uneasy fear of walking too fast or missing a step was something I was used to from previous scenes but, after waiting as vulnerably as I had been, every step still drove me deeper and deeper into headspace. He dragged me along to his St Andrew’s cross where he tied me securely enough I was confident things would continue to go well. The cross had never much been my thing, but I felt pretty immobile and contented. After I was secured he explained to me that his boy had moved my car, so even if I somehow managed to get my belongings I’d still be fucked. It made me feel even more helpless, and my dick jumped again.

One of the “shoot myself in the foot” things I had given him was that face-slapping infuriates me. Like, full-on rage within half a dozen light slaps. What happened next was not one of the light or moderate slaps I’d grown accustomed to in rougher scenes, but what felt like being backhanded, full-force. Stars exploded in my hindered vision, and instead of rage a wave of panic washed over me. This wasn’t a “no warmup, start out intense” kind of scene, this was turning out to be a “get a black eye literally within the first 30 seconds of abuse” kind of scene. Apparently he had taken much of what I had said about pain play to heart, and it didn’t stop there. Unfortunately for me I had also mentioned to him that slapping my dick elicits a similar response to face-slapping, and at this point he proceeded to use a harsh enough impliment to do so that my cock and balls were bruised for about a week after the scene. Before this I didn’t even know you could bruise a cock.

I have no idea how long it lasted; I’ve had scenes less than half as intense produce a time dilation effect so significant it caught me off-guard after the fact. What I do know is that at one point I remember sobbing and then screaming for help, literally, and meaning it. But the St Andrews cross held firm and the assault eventually diminished in intensity at some point after I instinctively realized screaming for help was futile. By this point I had fought so hard that my wrist hurt like hell from the struggling against a slightly misplaced rope, and I was pretty sure I had drawn blood. The crying didn’t stop, but now it was because of the issue with my wrist as opposed to the deliberate pain; it wasn’t that the pain was too severe, but rather that I felt so overwhelmingly helpless to correct it.

Had things continued along the same vein of being so dehumanized that screaming at the top of my lungs for help didn’t even phase him, it might have actually been really hot come the end of the scene. Instead I was met with conversation after this barrage, bringing me back into being myself and making me a whole person again. I felt empowered, and it largely undid the impact of what had just transpired. As a continuation of intensity, we had discussed me sleeping restrained, nude, and without a blanket, but with the conversation in between and being re-humanized it was more like being tucked in for the night. By then, the handcuffs and leg irons couldn’t rob me of feeling like myself again and any concern about waking him had dissipated.

Suffice it to say this made for an incredibly long night without a single sexualization of the situation. I hadn’t anticipated he’d have hardwood floors and my belongings were also left a few feet away from me, so things were pretty substantially different than I’d imagined. With freedom within reach, at several points in the night I contemplated using the handcuff key that was surely still in my pocket. If the intensity had been consistent I likely would have been afraid to even try; in that scenario I’d have had no way to predict how intense the punishment would be for such a serious infraction. Eventually I settled for using my clothes as a pillow (something else I should have been afraid to do), and managed to sleep for around an hour or two collectively.

The next morning the sense of normalcy continued and, instead of the desired POW-level degradation, I was treated as a boy and given enough freedom to serve him breakfast. I’m not opposed to that sort of service in a different setting or as a part of a more long-term dynamic, but after the abuse from the night prior it felt very out of place. Even more out of place was alternating from having the freedom to move around only to be “forced” to eat out of a bowl on the floor while still feeling as though I could look up, free to continue our conversation. After breakfast there were a few things that blurred together fairly uneventfully: a flogging scene during which I also broke down and cried, an easy/nice scene in a sleepsack, and some very eager foot worship. Even after being disappointed that I hadn’t been adequately subjugated, I was still elated to get a chance to service his feet. In contrast to the abuse it was more than enough for me to stay hard pretty much the entire time, and almost enough to get me begging for more.

One of the primary features of the weekend was that there was to be no “out;” no safeword, no ending the scene, no breaks. If I got too enraged or collapsed into a sobbing ball of putty, too bad for me: the scene must go on. By this point it was pretty apparent I wasn’t going anywhere despite my malcontent with the tone, and I was getting frustrated. One of the specific countermeasures to tantrums I had suggested centered around how sensitive I am about my neck. I saw a video a long time ago where, as punishment, a boy had a chain padlocked around his neck and was then aggressively led down into a basement by it; you could see him panicking as he realized he couldn’t prevent himself from being taken down. Once downstairs, the end was attached to the ceiling and pulled taut enough to make him stand on his toes, his hands clawing at the chain digging into his throat. As the Dom pulled his hands away to be restrained behind his back you could see him fighting, for real, to keep his fingers under the chain in order to protect his neck. Once his hands were secured his thighs and ass were belted and otherwise beat brutally, and he was too focused on minimizing the pressure on his throat to move even an inch. There is not a single aspect of this I would enjoy in the moment, and constriction on my neck is very likely to cause me to panic - something which seemed appropriate for punishing a particularly grievous slight. Rather than this situation being used for punishment or to exude further control over me, I was simply walked down and strung up as though it were a casual scene. More importantly, this made me feel as though he believed it was something I’d actually enjoy to some extent.

By this point I had reached the maximum level of disappointment that I could force myself to tolerate. Casually approaching the most severe punishment I could think of proved too much to handle, and within less than a minute of abuse I lost it and yelled, “Oh, yippe! You’re going to fucking break me AGAIN!” Apparently the sarcasm and rage rang clear enough to show there was no coming back because immediately after this he ended the onslaught. My hands were instead locked in front of me with a set of allen-wrench irons shaped like an ‘8,’ and the chain was removed. Still blindfolded, he led me into a standing cage and locked me in, heading upstairs without so much as a word. There was no way I was getting out of those irons, there was no way I was getting out of the cage, and there was especially no way I was getting out of his house without him letting me ... and I was done.

While I was unattended I used the time to pull myself as far out of whatever level of headspace was left, and to channel every ounce of willpower I had. Part of this included sitting down in the cage and taking off the blindfold, more or less as an act of defiance. Apparently gathering my will worked because when he walked down the stairs and I looked him in the eye saying “I think we need to call it quits,” he agreed and proceeded to let me out. As I was leaving his house I apologized to him and his boy for how my attitude had soured - truly meaning it - and set off for the road trip home, bruised and battered. I never harbored any resentment for the severity of my treatment, but I was incredibly bitter for quite some time about the purported miscommunications surrounding how the weekend should have been structured.

The important thing to keep in mind here is that the issue with the scene was not the intensity of the abuse, but rather dissatisfaction with how the weekend played out. When there is a conflict between expectation and reality, it can stem from a number of different aspects of a scene. It’s easy to understand that being beat too hard can ruin an experience, but it’s less intuitive to understand that sometimes things we view as an afterthought in fantasies can have a significant impact in practice.

There’s a difference between …
… beating a boy and training a boy,
… humiliation and degradation,
… your play partner making a mistake and regretting your own informed decision,
… service-oriented servility and dehumanization,
… a sub requesting something because they enjoy it and requesting something they dislike because they believe it could benefit the dynamic.

In fantasies, the ways these situations manifest are nearly identical without further context. A boy crying from being beat in an of itself will always be a boy crying; how that relates to the scene or dynamic is a different story. Does he receive less abuse when compliant? Is the purpose for pushing him to increase his pain tolerance? Is the Dom sadistic and expressing control through making the boy miserable? In this single instance, these are at least three different approaches that could drastically change how the sub experiences the same event; this is why in prolonged or weekend scenes observance of these subtle differences can be especially important. When we read or develop our own fantasies, it tends to just be the “highlight reels” of the interaction - the contextual nature of what is happening in the fantasy is not always apparent because what’s happening is hot and we don’t give a shit while we’re stroking. Variables like these different approaches can not only make or break the highlights, but also the times inbetween where things can be, to be frank, dull. What about bathroom breaks? Eating? Stretching? Sleeping? No scene spanning more than a few hours - and even few of that duration - will be free of monotony, but with the right chemistry and dynamic it can be manageable. Knowing how you will react in given situations may help preempt this by enabling conversations about the scene’s momentum, but simply realizing that lulls need to be discussed, pointedly, is half the battle.

Expecting your scene to be perfect or that your weekend will result in you feeling completely helpless 100% of the time can still lead to a lot of disappointment - something I surely still have issues with. While a perfect scene may not be possible, learning to actively identify differences between fantasy and reality is the best way to minimize the impact of this eventuality. The better you understand these distinctions, the more it allows you to guide discussions and make changes to yield a more positive outcome. Above all else, it is paramount to make sure you know yourself and your play partner well enough to ensure you’re both actually a part of your fantasies. Generalities might give you something more fun to fantasize about, but extensive (and often grueling) attention to detail is what will help you live your fantasies.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Identity and Humiliation

There’s a huge difference between identity and experience, but it can still be difficult to reconcile emotionally. What happens a lot is that people assume individual experiences are going to instantly change their identity. Look at “100% straight” homophobia: the thought is that their identity has very strict requirements and anything contrary to those guidelines invalidates that part of their identity. When dealing with more specific sexual interests, this is still true; a “100% Dom” guy may neglect to disclose he subs for specific guys for fear of diminishing his image as a Dom, but that doesn’t invalidate the dynamics in which he is a sub. A good litmus test as to whether an activity is a part of someone’s identity or solely experiential might be “Would they flag that color regularly?” Claiming something in that way has certain implications, stigmas, expectations, and assumptions that come with it which is why some are hesitant to do so. I’ve been participating in kink for over a decade and still have issues with letting my concepts of identity interfere with play, so I wanted to share how some of these conflicts can manifest.

Submission has always been difficult for me because I’m a very strong-willed person. A lot of what enables me to feel confident enough to be so strong-willed is my affinity for words. Words are powerful. Words, to me, are a source of power: I’ve changed minds with words, I’ve consoled with words, I’ve repaired relationships with words, and I’ve undoubtedly crushed some spirits with words. One might argue that it’s really the ideas behind words that have power, but an idea that can’t be communicated is powerless when measured by its potential to impact others. As such it’s words that give ideas power, not the inverse. This is part of why one of the most significant contributors to being in a sub headspace for me is having my words taken from me. Even when I’m in a social setting and not expressly in a scene, if someone elicits so much as a slight submissive response from me I’m apt to go silent. Not “less chatty,” silent, and almost compulsively. When this began to appeal to me it came from a place of genuinely wanting to lose control to the fullest extent possible: by essentially losing any ability to vocalize objection. What I’ve noticed recently is that it’s easy for silence to become an excuse to keep my sub experiences and my identity separate. Instead of enhancing submission, silence has served to compartmentalize identity and experience; after all, I wasn’t doing or requesting these humiliating things at the time, they were just being done to me. How can your unwilling or coerced action possibly impact your identity?

It took me a very long time to notice but silence had degraded from a tool aiding submission to a copout that enabled avoiding humiliation. Some time ago there was a party at Johnny Gear’s in which he somehow wound up having me hooked up to a shock collar - not that I objected in the slightest. Naturally this made me pretty malleable, to the tune of having to worship someone’s feet despite almost never doing so in public (even to this day). Eventually what broke me out of headspace was being instructed to ask permission to continue licking the same feet I had just been enjoying lapping at. From my viewpoint at the time the only reason I had interest in feet was how degrading servicing them was; having to ask for something I expressly felt was degrading was humiliating and I couldn’t process it quickly enough. I knew why I was frustrated at the time, but it still took me a while to unravel what that meant for my growth (or lack thereof) as a sub.

For a little over a year, I’ve been chatting extensively with someone who is very interested in forced puppification. By no means have I been discreet about this dynamic, but there are aspects of it that I’ve kept fairly private; I posted a handful of photos, but never quite detailed how it went. The whole scene was a huge mindfuck since I have/had no direct interest in being pupped out, only in seeing how far He could push the limits of what I was willing or able to do. In this scene, I happened upon another crutch: eye contact aversion. I definitely think deliberate, forced eye contact aversion can be degrading and hot but, as with speech, I tend to see eye contact as something that is too linked to my identity instead of the experience I am involved in. Making eye contact is difficult since it feels like someone is seeing me when I’m in that state instead of just the submissive aspect of myself. Based on the extensive discussions we’d had and His innate ability to predict my response to things, He knew this would be too much for me to handle and, of course, capitalized on it. Having to stare at Him in the eye while taking on the pup postures He demanded was easily one of the most humiliating things I’ve ever had to endure. I would never demean what it is to be a pup for those who identify as one, but I don’t which means instead of expressing my identity I was having it erased, meticulously, piece by piece.

Over the course of our discussions, I’ve progressively been broken down to the point where I value pleasing Him more than being myself in any particular moment. This has manifested in some interesting ways as it relates to pup play - some of which I’ll likely write about later - but most recently it was His assertion that next time He trains me He’ll be requiring me to bark .. with enthusiasm. That I bark, and mean it. Barking is by all accounts the final nail in the coffin for me and the cherry on top of the cake for Him. Because of how silence empowers me to avoid humiliation, I couldn’t really call it “speech bondage;” it’s not so much limiting my speech as letting me try to be a distinctly different person. Exclusively barking, however? Not only does it require communicating very real emotions like excitement or apprehension, it can be used as a command to demand an eagerness which can be punished if found lacking. One hell of a mindfuck if you ask me.

I realize that these specific internal conflicts may only pertain to me, but I wanted to write this as someone who has had exposure to pup play for nearly a decade and only recently understood its appeal, regardless of context. Keep in mind as you consider experimenting with certain ideas, that they may come back to you in unanticipated ways (in this case, pup play as a means of humiliation instead of as a willing headspace). Additionally, I really hope that some of the examples here will demonstrate how paramount it is to constantly assess the real reasons and motivations for your interests. As you grow and develop as a sub, the things that helped you take that first step towards expressing submission may end up being something that can hold you back from a new level of play. Who knows, you might just end up being forced to bark eagerly for your Sir while your cheeks are beet red from embarrassment and your cock is throbbing in its chastity both confusing and humiliating you further.