Sexual authoritarians and bdsm: Consenting inequality

Much of the puritan feminist case against bdsm involves contempt for consent. People from that faction may recognise through gritted teeth that women may consent to taking part in bdsm, but that consent isn’t really either genuine or important. These women are doing something that that feminist faction disapproves of, and that is what counts. 

But there’s something extremely dangerous about any kind of politics or “analysis” that ignores or disparages consent.

Caring about consent, rigorously enforcing it in law, and so on, is something that keeps people, especially women, safe in sex.

That includes consent to inequality. To take a non-bdsm example, when a man and woman are sitting side-by-side, maybe looking at a park, or the sea, or whatever, the man might put an arm over a woman’s shoulder and draw her to him. They sit a little closer as lovers, side-by-side.

His action emphasised their physical inequality. Being larger (probably), he can put an arm over her shoulder without discomfort, which she may not be able to do with him.

He can pull her mass towards him with relatively little effort, while she might need to haul quite hard to get him to move closer.

But assuming they’re both feeling loving and affectionate, that action will make them both feel loved, loving and comfortable, although it is founded in sexual inequality.

Consenting inequality is common, and it’s a different thing from inequality that reduces people’s choices and is imposed on them without their consent.

To conflate the two kinds of inequality, ignoring agreement, pleasure and affection, shows little concern for human emotions or human rights.

It’s also true that inequality in bdsm is different from most forms of inequality, but that will be for future posts.

(I’ve got my girl with me, and I’m not doing much writing at the moment. Sorry.) 

 

What giving a collar means to me

I’m going to collar a girl in a few weeks’ time.

Squee!

Er, in a manly, dommy, voice, of course. Ahem.

There are a few minor issues that have to be dealt with first, like her giving me enthusiastic consent. Which is half-given, but I consider that it’s still subject to conditions at present. But once those trifling formalities are over, she shall be given and wear my collar. 

So what does that collar mean, when I give it to this very specific person? 

Commitment and love

A standard slave collar. Note that the designer provided rings for three leashes! The Bible says you can’t serve two Masters. Obviously,  three’s all right though

The first thing it means is that I love her and I trust, to the state of knowledge, that she loves me. And I commit to her. I’m no longer looking. And whether she likes it or not, I consider it my duty, as a dom with a collared sub, to look after her, and to work to achieve her safety and happiness. She affirms the equivalent. We are a dominant and a submissive, and each of us is focussed on the other.

This is simple enough, and it’s the reciprocal aspect of a collar, the part that means roughly the same to the dominant and the submissive. 

Submission

The second thing it means is that she’s my submissive. But that status, “my collared submissive”, can mean a range of things, on a continuum. 

At one end of that scale it would mean she would address me as Master, and have to obey any command I give her, concerning any aspect of her life. I would have an absolute right to discipline her, for my pleasure or because she has displeased me. (The three things that I’m most likely to punish memorably for are self-destructive behaviour, which can include inaction, disobedience and disrespect other than playful cheekiness.

In that version of submission, she is my property. An owned girl. 

At the other end of the continuum, it means she retains her own decision-making, independent of me for most of her life, but she is submissive to me in and around the bedroom. Her submission is sexual, and not anything else. 

The rhetoric of lovers

These two styles aren’t in practice so different. There are some practical differences, but in reality the major difference is the intensity of the rhetoric.

All lovers use rhetoric when they speak to each other. Two people, having just fucked, may look each other in the eye and swear that they will love the other forever, till the day they die.

There are some tacky slave collars out there. This one could actually be worse than jazz…

In reality they may part within the year, because one of them eats mandarins in bed and the other wants to listen to jazz on the radio when they wake up in the morning.

Jazz would be a deal-breaker for me, by the way. I’d never swear undying love to someone who listened to jazz in the bedroom. Once I discovered that horrible jazz thing, it’d be a one-off, a one-night stand. Um, all right, this might be a digression. 

But the fact that they parted doesn’t mean they were insincere when they swore undying love. And if you understood the rhetoric, it doesn’t even make what they said untrue. They were looking for words to express how enchanted and wonderful they felt, and they used those words.

The literal meaning of their words wasn’t the point; the meaning was the emotion they expressed.

Bdsm lovers’ rhetoric

So I might say to a submissive, “I own you; you are my property, to do with as I choose.” And she might say, “Oh god yes, I am yours, Master.” Then we sign a contract to that effect.

But if she feels bad in the relationship, and she no longer loves and respects me, she doesn’t really transgress that agreement if she leaves.

I could take her to Court, showing the contract in which she agreed that she was my property and my slave. “Look!” I’d say, “it’s signed in blood!” And the Court would laugh its fool ass off at me. A bdsm slave contract is worth the the paper it’s written on, in reality. Less, actually, because that sheet of paper’s got words scribbled all over it. 

So in a sense, the rhetoric of ownership, of a collared submissive, really means: “I feel this passionate urge to be your dominant, to take and enjoy your submission, and I feel it very intensely. And I want to go on feeling it intensely, with you.”

It’s emotionally real. It’s never practically or legally real; a submissive cannot really give up direction and control over her life, except voluntarily while she wants to.

Love, again

The day collar. Something that can be worn in public, with some discretion. I’ll be looking for something on these lines…

So to me, the collar mainly represents loving commitment between a dominant and submissive. Beyond that it means a subtly moving bdsm commitment, with boundaries that extend and recede from day to day and moment to moment, under which the submissive commits to a presumption towards submission when the dominant evokes the bdsm or D/s part of the relationship. 

That means, if I say, “girl, take your clothes off and kneel”, I expect to get obedience.

But if I said, “you will tell your mother about us, so she understands that you are my submissive, and that if she has any requests of you she must direct them through me,” I expect to get, at least, discussion. Or a flat, “fuck off”. 

So I see the gift and acceptance of the collar not as an end-point but at a stage in a process. A declaration of love and commitment, and presumption towards submission when I flash out my dominant side: those are good starting points.  

The collar is the outward sign of the commitment that allows us to find the right level of bdsm for us, and work our ways to the sweet level that best suits us both. 

Porn-sharing anecdote: Beware of the knife

I was once moving into a bdsm relationship with a girl who’d always been vanilla. I was in the process of perverting her. Mostly that consisted of my tying her up and spanking her, followed by fucking. We were almost vanilla, by most bdsm people’s standards. I didn’t care. I liked her, and I was perfectly happy to keep things at levels she was comfortable with. 

But as Doms do, and as I think even vanilla girls stepping slightly off the straight and narrow expect, I pushed carefully and not too insistently against those limits. I found some things.

For example, she was interested in being watched by another girl while she was being punished and fucked, and in being tied up and having to watch while I fucked the other girl. One of the reasons I thought I was probably right in reading that from her is that although those things are fine and fun to me, they aren’t central in my own dreams, fantasies and desires.

So my picking it up wasn’t just wishful thinking. 

But I only “knew” those desires of hers because when I had her tied up, and sometimes when we were fucking, I’d tell her stories. The stories were on various themes. But stories on those lines got particularly excited physical responses from her. She never said anything.

I thought it was too early to put her on the spot, and anyway I didn’t have another girl all lined up and ready to drop by into a threesome at the drop of a hat. It could be done but it’d take organising, and I couldn’t do that until she’d indicated she was okay with that. Even I wasn’t dumb enough to spring a Surprise! Threesome!! on her.

But I lent her a book of bdsm porn, and recommended Chapter 9. There was, I remembered, a hot scene with a man and two girls doing the kind of threesome she seemed to be comfortable with.

The heroine spent most of the scene tied and helpless while the other girl was free, and dominant to her. but it was emotionally safe for her: both girls fucked the hero and watched the other girl fucking the hero, but  they weren’t in the bed together at any time. So there was a kind of very close girl-on-girl emotional intimacy, but no actual girl-on-girel cunnilingus or fingering. 

Anyway, a couple of days later I asked her if she’d read it, and she said she had. But she wasn’t at all happy. I asked her what was wrong. 

“I didn’t know you were into knives. I mean, that’s not…”

“What? Knives? There’s no knives in that.”

“There is.”

“Bullshit. There can’t be.”

She passed me the book and I checked it. I must have read that section 50 times at least. And sure enough, there’s a bit where the other girl got the heroine’s attention by holding a knife to her throat.

I just hadn’t ever noticed.

The thing is, I hate knives and blades. It’s to do with a childhood accident; sharps give me the chills, and not the good kind. I’d always read that scene for pleasure, so I’d always just skipped the knife bit without it registering on me at all.

I think in sex men only see what we like, so that we like what we see. That’s me, for sure. 

So that’s a small warning, on using media to make explicit what you want, or to encourage your partner to be explicit about what they want. You see a bit of film, or text, and you think it’s saying something sexy and charming. but there may be a knife in there. The other person doesn’t know what you want them to notice and what to ignore. Keep your eyes open.

Postscript:

The relationship didn’t suffer much damage. My failure to notice the knife was weird but obviously real. So we had fun, and lots of hot sex. 

The threesome didn’t happen, though. 

What it means, to wear a bdsm collar

What does a bdsm collar mean? Generally, the best idea is to ask the person wearing it, and the person who gave it. They can tell you what that collar means. But only that one.

I met her once. In fact, I’ve had the honor, though not the pleasure, of having been turned down by her. Bother. Very nice person, though, and every bit as pretty as the photo suggests. At the time neither of us had any idea how iconic this photo was going to become.

Their meaning won’t be the same as someone else’s. For example, if I see a woman wearing a collar in the local supermarket, I can’t guess what it means. She might be proclaiming that she’s a wild spirit and a bit arty, or she might be a Goth, buying bread, milks and eggs on her way to sack Rome.

She might be involved in bdsm, and wearing it for bdsm reasons. Even then, I can’t know what it means. She might be wearing it to express her membership of the world of bdsm. No one collared her: she bought it and put it on herself.

It doesn’t even mean she’s submissive, necessarily. Plenty of women switches and doms also wear collars for that reason.

(Guys are much, much less likely to wear a collar in public. So I’m writing “she” and “women” for this part.)

It might mean she’s submissive, and the collar helps her to feel submissive, and there’s a small sexual charge from expressing this part of her sexuality out in the open. But that doesn’t necessarily mean she has a master/mistress or a dom.

Again, she’s just quietly expressing her identity, to those who are able to read it.   

And then we have bdsm collars as most people think of them. A couple decided that they fit together well as dominant and submissive, and the dominant offers the submissive a collar. He or she accepts it, and so he or she become a “collared sub”.

Generally, if you make one image in a post black and white, you’re obliged to make the others black and white too. But I like the “just been paddled” blush on her bottom too much to fade it completely.

Even then, their understanding of what it means will be different from another dominant and submissive’s understanding.

It may mean something like, “I am my Master’s/Mistress’s property, in the same way that s/he owns his/her table and chair. My sole purpose, in every moment and aspect of my life, is to obey and please my Owner.”

Or it may mean something like: “I love it when s/he ties me up and spanks me when we’re fucking.”

I looked up “what bdsm collars mean”, and found a hell of a lot of wild claims, generalisations and pure fantasy on this topic.

The only generalisation that I think is true is that it represents some sort of bond and commitment between the couple. Accepting and wearing a collar has powerful emotional significance.

But the reality is: you ascribe the meaning to a bdsm collar. When a collar is given and accepted between a dominant-and-submissive couple, there are no terms and conditions that automatically come with it. You set those for yourself, in negotiation with the person offering or considering accepting the collar, of course.

Next!

I’ll write about what collars mean to me. 

Collars in bdsm: where did they come from?

There were what we’d recognise as bdsm clubs in the Victorian and Edwardian period. They called themselves things like “Miss Primm’s Society of Flagellants”, rather than bdsm clubs, but if we went back a hundred off years in time and visited one, we’d recognise most of what we saw. We’d know our way around.

Now take a couple from that Victorian or Edwardian bdsm club and bring them to a modern bdsm club. They’d also know most of what they see. They’d see dungeon gear, they’d see a school desk with a birch or a cane handy, and they’d know what those things are about. 

But there are also things that would puzzle them.

For example, some of them would be looking for women wearing nosegays (a small bunch of flowers) pinned to the breast of their shirt. Because that was how women in the early Victorian period signalled that they’d be very pleased to birch a naughty boy and teach him to behave.

But bdsm has fashions, and that fashion has gone.

Similarly, other people would be looking at the women and men wearing leather collars round their necks, and wondering what on earth that was about. Because in Victorian times, collars were not part of bdsm.

Historical slave collars

Maybe one reason for that lack of interest in slave collars is that the Victorians were closer to real slavery than most of us now are. So they had an idea of what slavery was like, when it’s impersonal and non-consensual.

Actual slave collars existed but they were usually made out of wood, iron or cord, and they weren’t everyday wear for slaves. Nor were they romantic, or intended as decoration. They were hard things to eroticise, and it doesn’t seem to have occurred to any Victorians to even try. 

Slave collars were for attaching together groups of slaves when they were made to walk from African villages to slaver ports, from which they would be taken to countries that had large-scale slavery, particularly Arabia and the United States.

These collars weren’t the stuff of erotic fantasies: more like brutal nightmares.

Slave collars in pre-Victorian, Victorian and Edwardian bdsm literature

Put simply: there weren’t any.

You can read bdsm erotica from the Victorian and Edwardian period, and you certainly had characters who were willing submissive partners in sexual slavery, because for them it was the best and hottest sex ever. But they don’t wear collars.

If their master, mistress or trainer wants them to feel powerless, they might be made to wear something super-feminine, that exposed more leg or bust than they were comfortable with and presented them sexually.

The image on the left isn’t  Victorian. It’s 1950s. But it shows humiliation by feminisation.

I can’t give an example of a girl being humiliated in this way. It’s a theme in written Victorian and Edwardian porn, but from the descriptions it sounds to a modern reader that the girl’s just wearing a summer dress. A little, flappy summer dress. Nothing, to us; deeply humiliating, to a Victorian lady.

And I should write about why looking feminine was considered to be humiliating in itself, but – the hell with it – not today.

But you’ll look in vain for any reference to collars for those who choose to obey. Collars just weren’t a thing yet. 

Slave collars in Story of O

O is collared, in the 1975 film of Story of O

The earliest reference to collars I’ve been able to find is in Histoire d’O, published in 1954. The submissive women at Roissy wear collars and sometimes blindfolds, and… well, that’s about it. 

So the inventor of collars as a bdsm symbol is probably Anne Desclos, who wrote The Sory of O under the name “Pauline Reage”. 

 One of the interesting things about Descos/Reage is that when she wrote Story of O, she had no bdsm experience and knew very little about bdsm, except that her then boyfriend admired Sade. I’m no fan of the book, and I think that lack of experience and inside knowledge helps explain why the book is so oddly sexless, unsensual (most of the time*) and disembodied.

But it also explains why Declos should have invented bdsm symbols from scratch, since she had nothing much to go on except her imagination.

  • The exception to my “unsensuous” comment is the bit at the beginning where O has to lower her stockings and panties and lift her skirt, so her bare bottom and thighs are directly against the leather of the car she’s in. That be a good sensual detail.

John Norman’s Gor books

But the person whose work brought collars into a central place in bdsm is John Norman. He gives collars enormous significance and power, which isn’t really present in Story of O.

There are all sort of thing wrong with Norman, mainly that he was a terrible writer, comically bad, and also his dodgy sexual politics. He thought women just naturally liked, or at least needed, to be slaves, so consent wasn’t really an issue. Male submissives don’t exist.

But the importance of collars, and collaring ceremonies. I have to give Norman credit for that, because it’s almost entirely his doing.

Fashion

Now collars are so popular that they’ve moved into mainstream fashion. When a Goth girl wears a choker collar, she doesn’t mean she’s a submissive, just that she likes the style. Usually: you just can’t tell.

If you want to find out, you’ll have to talk to her. Conversation is still quite a bit clearer than clothing signs, signals and symbols. Which is fortunate, for us wordy types: ie you.

(If you do do talk to her, “Hey! Is that a slave collar?” probably shouldn’t be your opening line. It may lead to a loud clash of symbols.) 

Bdsm culture

You can laugh. But we’ll all be wearing these in 2117

Bdsm culture isn’t fixed. We affect mainstream culture, and mainstream culture affects bdsm culture.

We use different symbols from the Edwardians, only 100 years ago.

In 100 years time, I have no idea what bdsm will look like.

But bdsm definitely will have a visual style, partly based on the old, and partly on new things we can’t begin to guess.

 

 

Next!

There’s a Wicked Wednesday episode of the Adventures of Maddie coming up. But after that, I want to write about collaring ceremonies.

Anal sex and bdsm

It’s sometimes assumed that anal sex is almost a sub-category within bdsm, that anal sex is inherently bdsm, and people who do bdsm necessarily have anal sex.

Of course this isn’t true. Lots of vanilla heterosexual and vanilla gay couples have anal sex without it having any bdsm resonance for them; it’s just a variation. And lots of bdsm people don’t have anal sex in their repertoire. They are different categories, bdsm sex and anal sex. Some people do both, and some people do one or the other.

Still, I’m one of the people who does both. And I find that I feel very masterly, very dominant, while taking a submissive woman anally. It doesn’t have to be a bdsm thing, but when it happens in a bdsm context, then for me it becomes very strong, very intensely bdsm.

So, I thought, how come? What are the connections between anal sex and bdsm? 

The obvious and wrong answer is that the submissive receives and the dominant penetrates: they take the “active” role. But that isn’t necessarily how anal works in bdsm works. Aleister Crowley, for example, used to flog his male submissives, and then make them bugger him. He’d give instructions on how fast or how deep, and they knew they were in trouble if they didn’t please their master. 

It’s never what you do, in bdsm: it’s what it means.

I think the thing that’s common to both anal sex and bdsm is that they have a kind of hard intimacy. I think of the Nine-Inch Nails song, “I want to fuck you like an animal; I want to feel you from the inside.” Which isn’t necessarily a song about anal sex. Still, it’s that urge that I’m thinking about; to be truly inside one’s submissive’s body, to feel her.

The vagina is in a sense part of the outside of the body. (Germaine Greer got in trouble for pointing this out, a few years back; but for once the mad old bat was right). It’s not a hole; more like a fold, or an indentation, in the body, a thick-skinned one, evolved to deal with the outside world and with intrusions.

The anus is different. It’s thin-skinned. That’s one reason why anal sex is more risky, in terms of contact injuries and viral transmission.

In a strict medical sense the anus can also be said to be outside the body, the same sense in which the whole system involving the mouth, the throat, stomach and entire alimentary canal, is outside the body. Think of it was the inner part of a tube; the interior curve of a tube is still part of the exterior surface of the tube. Or, if you like, think of a tea-cup. You put tea “in” the cup, but the tea-receptacle part of a cup is still outside of the cup itself. Inside the cup, it’s porcelain.

But still, the hell with science and medicine.

The experience is that anal penetration is intimate. You are closer; you have to take greater care because of that; there’s great intimacy, of sensitive male flesh and skin inside sensitive female flesh and skin, moving together, carefully, body to body. (Leaving pegging out if it, for the moment: the dildo doesn’t feel anything. It’s the symbolism, not the sensation, that counts.) 

Dominants and submissives need to know each other, to be in something close to telepathic contact. Sometimes that very close contact can be experienced in anal sex.

There are other connections between anal sex and bdsm, but intimacy seems to me to be the most powerful. 

Bdsm guilt, and doing good works

Being into bdsm means knowing that you’re different from most of the people around you. I learned that early. I was with my older brothers and sisters – who didn’t want a 4-year old’s company, but my parents hadn’t given them any choice – and they went to an abandoned forest workers’ hut, that happened to be in the neighbourhood.

For generations, children and adolescents had been going there to play sex games.

Bottles got spun and boys kissed girls, girls cuddled boys, and the penalty for losing a round of any game they played was taking off an item of clothing. And so on.

Anyway, I was much younger so I didn’t take part. I mostly climbed up the shelves on the wall, and found a place where I could look down if I wanted to. A lot of the time I just day-dreamed. But one day they played a game of “school”, where, at the end of each round, someone got spanked. A girl called Donna getting spanked caught my attention, very strongly.

With my little four-year-old hard-on. 

That’s not “why” I’m into bdsm, of course. I was already into bdsm before I entered that shed; I just didn’t know about it. Rather, it was the first time I realised that this was something I was into. It was going to be important to me. And it wasn’t important, it seemed, to anyone else who’d been in that shed. 

But it didn’t take very long to find out some other things. The first is that this is a minority sexuality. My friends weren’t interested. It was just me.

The second thing I learned was even less welcome: people who had this sexual interest weren’t admired and respected, to put it mildly. 

People like me were the villains in movies and TV shows. We were evil. We were sick. I was a priggish little bastard when I was a kid, so I wasn’t happy about being evil. I wanted a moral pass-mark, at least.  

So I devoted most of my life to Good Works. My first job was as a psychiatric nurse. Then I did a social work degree. I helped set up the first domestic violence women’s refuge in my part of the world. I set up the first union for unemployed people that’d existed, in my part of the world, since the 1930s. I helped set up Shelter in my part of the world.

I campaigned for, and won, changes to landlord-tenant laws that meant landlords couldn’t just go round to tenants and throw them out of the property and change the locks any more.

I went on anti-racism events and got clubbed by cops. Though ridiculously straight, I’d put on my pink triangle and go on gay rights marches and vigils. You get the picture. 

One thing that strikes me, looking back on this period, is that I hardly ever hung round with political people when I wasn’t doing politics. I didn’t actually like them very much.

I didn’t like their jockeying for power, and I didn’t want power for myself. The social changes I worked for all had the effect of sharing out power, not concentrating it. Especially not into my hands.

(The people I hung round with were more drug-oriented artist types. Much more fun, and much sexier.)

You can’t get more evil than Frank Thring. The thing simply can’t be done.

My point is that I wouldn’t have done all this, I don’t think, if I hadn’t felt guilty about being into bdsm. I wanted to be a good person. You know, not a saint, but at least not as floridly evil as a James Bond villain. Or Frank Thring.

They were all good causes, and I’m still proud of the work I did. But in part it was compensation.

It meant that in the self-critical darkness of the night I could argue to myself that I couldn’t be all bad. I might be one sick fuck, but at least I was a useful one.

Has anyone else had their life course shaped in this way, by social attitudes to bdsm?

What is this “hard, rough and unprotected” thing in women’s bdsm porn?

I’ve got a novel that I expect to have finished and on the market by the end of this month. One of my beta readers said it was “like Ben Elton, but with explicit sex”. I’m happy with that as a genre.

I don’t want it to be marketed as “erotica with comedy elements”. I’d rather it was “an extremely sexy comic novel”.

Though, of course, I want it published, and once I have a publisher I don’t care if they market it as “the best thing since Nigella in the Kitchen“, so long as they give me money. 

But I was looking through Kindle, checking out bdsm books, for the marketing and the prices. There are writers out there asking for $6.99 for a semi-literate 15-page wank fantasy, and I have to say that I think they’re dreaming. For all that I think writers should be paid in diamonds, rubies, oysters, champagne and free sex, I still think asking for about $1.50 a page, for 15 pages, is eye-wateringly lazy and greedy.

On the other hand, I expect that no one buys that stuff, so perhaps it doesn’t matter. Nice try, is all.

Anyway, the other thing that struck me was the amount of anti-condom messaging, where one of the hot bits for the intended reader (the target audience seems to be women) is the bit where the male lust object tells the heroine that he’s going to fuck her hard, without a condom. 

I wondered what the hell that was about. Here are my three guesses.

  1. Maybe it’s some kind of cultural side-effect of the resurgence of the religious right. Anti-birth control measures are not just getting into US laws, they’re also getting into the porn. 
  2. Most people who use condoms probably don’t actually like them. I use condoms. But where we’re being sexually exclusive, been tested, and so on, skin to skin is far more intimate, more sensual, and, in the Erica Jong sense, more zipless. But the “hard, rough and unprotected” porn usually won’t even mention condoms, or the advantages of bareback. Still, maybe for once they’re being subtle.
  3. A fair proportion of the books end with the heroine in advanced, blissful pregnancy. Her sexual rival – often her mother – has gone, and now she’s happy being looked after by the step-father. She didn’t get a billionaire, but at least she got a guy who owns his own home and has a job. So, like the billionaire porn, it’s partly sexual and partly an economic fantasy.

The truth is, I don’t really understand “hard, rough and unprotected” porn. When I read a sex scene in this genre, I tend to see it as something like this:

“He pushed her down and as her legs sprawled apart, helpless from her own wanton desires, with one powerful, masculine lunge he exposed her to STDs and unwanted pregnancy.”

This is not hot, to me. But obviously it is for a lot of people. I’m not being a snob and I’m not mocking. I genuinely want to understand this genre. 

Can anybody help?

 

Julian “I’m Wearing You” Assange

One other point, since we’re talking about condoms.

If you get sexual consent by agreeing to use a condom, and then don’t use a condom without informing your partner, the law on obtaining consent by deception is clear in pretty much all jurisdictions in the world.

If you do that, you’re a rapist.

What can doms say about submission?

The legendary and wonderful Molly was a bit irritated by my saying that, in one sense, submission is simple. See  here.

This isn’t another instalment in an argument. Peace has broken out. I love and admire Molly, and she thinks I’m sort of ok.

I meant that obeying an order is usually simple physically (psychologically is a whole different question). Therefore a dom may say his or her order is “simple” to obey. While deliberately ignoring how far from simple it is, in psychological or political terms, or in any way other than physically.

That is, a submissive doesn’t need to be an Olympic athlete to bend over a desk. But there are many other reasons why that may be difficult for the submissive. When the dom says it’s “simple”, he or she is deliberately ignoring a lot of complicated things,

What’s worse, the dom is ignoring those psychological truths for fun and sexual pleasure.

But doms, even twoo-doms, often don’t tell the absolute truth, in a scene. For example, a dom might say the submissive is a silly girl, or silly boy, when the dom knows perfectly well that the submissive is anything but silly.

But being put down a little can make the scene hotter for some submissives, so things like “you silly girl” get said. Sometimes what a dom says, in the heat of the moment, is intended to create a scene and make it sexier. When we’re doing that, we are not on oath.

 

Anyway, I want to explain why the stories in this blog are written the way they are. 

The first issue is that almost all of what I write in this blog is based on things that actually happened. I’m only one of the people who took part in that experience, so there’s a whole story or side of a story that isn’t told.

There’s always at least one woman involved in the story. Sometimes there might be two or three perspectives on my actions as a male dom. But I can only write as me, and what I did and what I saw, heard and felt.

An observant dom learns a lot by paying attention in a scene, but it’s still not telepathy. The submissive is another person, with their own thoughts and feelings. 

When I write about a woman (or women if it was a threesome or some other complicated arrangement), I think I have three duties. 

1 I have to preserve their privacy. She (or they) shouldn’t be identifiable, not even by people who know who I am. I change things, cunningly, to make sure that people, sexual partners in particular, preserve their anonymity. I can’t give an example of what I do, for obvious reasons, but sometimes I’m pretty damn clever about that. 

2 I should write about the information the woman or the women gave me about what she/they thought and felt about what was going on.

In writing that, I should always respect those women as people, sexual human beings, and never write about them as male fantasy figures. Though I should write about how sexy they were/are, and the pleasure they gave me and (though it sounds immodest even to mention it) the pleasure I gave them.

3 I should not presume to speak for them. If a woman came, I can say that she came. If she said something nice to me, or critical, I can tell you that. But I can’t presume to get into her mind and tell you what she thought.

I can report responses, actions, things said by the submissive. i try to do that in a way that gives a real sense of both her and me, and makes it reasonably clear what she thought, in general terms. That includes when she was thinking I’m being an idiot, which i try to be honest about.

So I’ll write about her words and sounds and movements of her body, which say a lot, but I ain’t no ventriloquist. And she ain’t no sock puppet.  

So in this blog you get bits of my inner monologue, but not of hers. To me, that silence is an act, or omission, of respect. 

What do you mean, ‘submission is simple’?

On Sinful Sunday I wrote the words, “submission is simple”. 

Those words aren’t entirely true, to put it mildly. I put them in the post because they are, or can be, part of the dialogue between dominant and submissive. The dom may say, “It’s simple. You just have to do as you’re told. I’ll look after the rest.” 

It’s only a limited sense in which submission is simple. If you are the submissive, and your session is going well, and the dom and sub are in synch with each other, then the submissive’s choices are indeed simple. If the dom says, “bend over the table”, or “onto your knees,” or simply, “stay there, don’t speak and don’t move”, the submissive knows what he or she has to do, and does it. 

Simples! 

But the process of acknowledging one’s own submissive desires, as you become sexually active, or at least thinking and desiring sexually, is not simple. That can be a long and hard process, as my acknowledging my own domness was.

The process of going from ordinary head space to a submissive head space, in the interaction between dominant and submissive: that’s not simple at all.

Doms do things that they think will help the submissive make that transition, which vary from person to person. Currently, I give lots of hugs and cuddles and the occasional smack on the bottom, and lots of praise and reassurance, slowly heading to the first use of the command voice. That’s with my lovely girl. If it were a different submissive the approach would be different. 

Like any dom, I can only provide an atmosphere in which it might feel both safe and sexy to submit. The mental work of shutting off the usual rush of thoughts, focussing on the moment and then “dropping”: that’s done by the submissive. 

As a non-switch I don’t have direct, personal access to what moving into the submissive headspace is like.

But just as submissives know things that help bring out the domness in their lover, doms know a certain amount about how submission works and even (imaginatively) what it feels like to enter it.

All lovers work out as much as they can about how and what their partner is feeling, drawing on lovers’ intuition, observation, sand listening.  

So when I said, “submission is simple”, I meant it as a piece of dom rhetoric, the sort of thing that I might (and do) say to the woman in that photo, at about that moment. It focusses only on the part of submission (being told what to do, and doing it) that is – in one sense – simple. 

After that it gets philosophical: nothing is simple, and yet everything is simple.