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Monday, 31 October 2016

Ask Giles: Why are dommes often so hostile or dismissive of male subs?

A good proportion of male subs
aren't really psychologically
submissive even though
they might honestly identify
that way.
It's partly supply and demand.

Though the ratio of subs to dommes is something like 5:4, if you remove those who have paired (or poly'ed) off, you get more like 2:1.

This means that dommes can feel overwhelmed and also that if they chose there is no down side to being dismissive. Surrounded by needy men yelping "Pick me! Pick me!" it must be very tempting just to deliver irritated slap downs.

However, there's another thing going on as well.

A good proportion of male subs aren't really psychologically submissive even though they might honestly identify that way. (Sorry.)

These men are either "bottoms" looking for very specific kicks wrapped up in a fantasy, or masochists who therefore have an ambivalent relationship to their urge to submit (if they didn't it wouldn't ping their masochistic urges). The situation is similar to "enjoying gay sex doesn't make you gay".

To make matters worse, the high visibility of articulate and highly skilled prodommes sets all sorts of odd expectations for those men who haven't thought it through. It's the equivalent of agreeing to cook a meal with a friend but actually expecting a restaurant experience.

There's a feminist angle to this as well. Just as the 1970s sexual revolution "freed" women to behave like unpaid sex workers, the 21st century BDSM boom seems to be "freeing" dominant women to behave unpaid prodommes. (rant here)

So, dommes end up experiencing a lot of flip-flopping confusing and flaky behaviour, some of it dishonest.

Which is why many of them have come to distrust male subs.

UPDATE Over on Reddit where I posted the first draft of this, adomme who posts as "adventureismycousin" said:
You know you're there for a Domme's pleasure. But out of a call for submissive men that I sent out earlier this year, and the 35 or so men who responded, only 0 of them were really submissive.
Zero. None. Not a one.
I spent time and energy vetting these guys, apologizing for tardiness to more than half (monogamous as a Domme because I get that invested in my boy), only to find out that I was just a fetish dispenser.
 Go look at the original thread: It's illuminating.


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Saturday, 29 October 2016

Problems with the Submissive Personality type

I have a theory. I can't prove it, but I swear someday somebody will.

I've noticed, that in most
relationships, one partner
leads and one follows
I've noticed, that in most relationships, one partner leads and one follows. The followers - it's as often the male as it is the female - seem to share some broad similarities; though they are not doormats and are often leaders in the outside world, they are facilitators and champions with a tendency to orbit other people or causes. Where I know their kink preference, they are invariably submissives or service tops.

I'm pretty sure that this represents a Submissive Personality Type (link). Not all people of this type are sexual submissives, but I think a core category of what we think of as sexual submissives fit this type.

The first problem with this is that people get cross if you suggest it!

"the kinkster doth protest too much"
Really! They will jump all over your head, and not in a kinky way.

Most of the jumpers will be subs because the last thing that they want to be told is that their desire to - to take an extreme example - be peed on and called a slut or have their sexual organs insulted - has any relevance to their day-to-day life.

I share that defensiveness. Just because I will do my wife's bidding doesn't mean I'll do yours... or does it?

To me, this outright denial of any link is "the kinkster doth protest too much".

Ask somebody about any other hobby or passion and they'll cheerfully tell you how it scratches a more general itch. Nobody who likes model railways, for example, is going to say, "Oh I just like model trains. How dare you suggest I might be detail orientated or like making things with my hands."

So just because suggesting a link causes a problem, doesn't mean that the link doesn't exist!

The second problem is that there are two flavours of kinkster who seem to invalidate the type.

service tops who are really
dominating in a submissive way
There sexual submissives who are actually what used to be called bottoms or even masochists. Let's call them masochistic submissives (and bear in mind the masochism may be non-physical).

For masochistic submissives, submission is a route to BDSM thrills, or is itself a masochistic thrill. Over time, through repetition, they develop a fetish for submitting in its own right. They may also find it's a psychologically comfortable place to go to escape the stresses of work and daily life. Even so, it's not who they are, otherwise it wouldn't give them such a kick.

I'd expect masochistic submissives to be adventurous and tend towards the physical. However I wouldn't expect them to have a submissive personality even though they might identify as a submissive.

There are what's known as service tops who are really dominating in a submissive way. Yes, they do BDSM from a dominant posture, but they focus on playing their submissive partner like a musical instrument.

I would expect service tops to have a submissive personality type even though they identified as a dominant.

So the bottom can say, "I'm a submissive and I don't fit your type" and the service top can say, "I'm a dominant and I don't fit your type." Both can choose to feel insulted.

However, if you set these two flavours aside and focus just on what I'll diplomatically call, deep submissives - people who feel very comfortable submitting and enjoy BDSM primarily as an expression of dynamic, then you do seem to have a cluster of very similar people.

The third problem is that there are other non-kink parameters, e.g. introvert/extrovert,
 "knight" might do if only it were
not such a gendered concept
bold/timid, passionate/subdued... people have personalities!

For this reason, you can't easily sum up the submissive type with a single archetype, though "knight" might do if only it were not such a gendered concept.

Because of this, non-sexual submissive behaviour isn't always obviously submissive. You find deep submissives in top leadership roles as well as in more lowly supporting roles. In relationships, deep submissives can be doormats, or a tower of strength.

Even so, I think deep submissives exist on a spectrum of...

Champion - Facilitator - Pleaser.

The fourth and final problem is that deep submissives often fight and deny their nature, flipflopping between being too selfless and too defensive.

This muddies the waters with respect to their underlying type. It also confuses everybody, and is the reason why it would be helpful for them to be more aware of their personality type so they can embrace and manage it...

...or so goes my theory.

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Thursday, 27 October 2016

Does being a submissive make you vulnerable to abuse?

My first girlfriend used to punch me.

We were young - I won't say how young because google - and this wasn't youthful BDSM experimentation. She would fly into rages and punch me because she was angry and it hurt and I would cry.

The worst of it was it would feel right. I think it even turned me on.

Because back then I had the idea that I was different and that perhaps this kind of fucked up situation was my destiny.

Let's not blame her. She had her own issues with anger and sex. She was definitely a victim of at least emotional abuse and I doubt I helped. However, the result was that our relationship was abusive.

She was also wilfully unattractive, the more so as our relationship progressed. Her personal hygiene sucked. Her underwear... ugh. There was even an element of violation in our sexual fumblings.

So, this was as low as I have ever been, and I don't mean in a dark and kinky way. Thank God we never discovered kink together. She would have used against me.

I didn't learn either.

After that, I routinely sought out fucked up domineering rather than dominant partners.

I can also think of several real life friends - male and female - I know to be submissive, Most have similar "romantic" histories of putting themselves in the position of being treated like dirt... up until the point where they embraced their kink and worked out how to enjoy it.

The problem is that though consensual BDSM is very different from abuse, it still satisfies dark urges. Many BDSM dynamics are really nerfed, sexed up and firewalled versions of abusive vanilla relationships.

It follows that if you have a submissive orientation, it's very easy to "accidentally" drift into relationships with an abusive potential, because those are the ones that feel right - the spark is there.

If we introduce kink to the relationship, this can even make things worse because it will erode our negotiating position and, in the hands of somebody ruthless, make us feel even more insecure.

So yes, we submissives are particularly vulnerable to abuse because we have a tendency to put ourselves in harm's way.

(NB This does not justify the treatment: an unlocked door is not an invitation to burglary. Also, the moral equation changes as we get older. An adult submissive who continually seeks out and feeds dysfunctional relationships is an enabler...)

However, if we know we are submissive, if we embrace it, then we can manage it.

We can date dominant, broad minded people, bring up kink early and with pride, or get involved with the BDSM scene.

We don't need to be vulnerable. There has never ever been a better time to be a sexual submissive.

Monday, 17 October 2016

So submissive you give up your submission? Why meta submission is horseshit

Does the fantasy
of submitting to a
life of only
vanilla sex get you
hard and/or drippy?
Call it "meta submission".

It's a glib little meme, but all the more toxic for it. Subrugbylad articulates it beautifully:
...they said, “it could be the ultimate submission, giving up your kinky side to please your partner”.
The kink world variant is:
If they are truly submissive, then they will obey when you order them to dominate you.
There's a hole in this logic - a category mistake, I think.

However the real problem is that it comes from too much clever reasoning and not enough reality, so let's start with the reality instead:

Would you actually masturbate 
over submissive fantasies of submissively 
giving up your submission? 

Do you jerk (or jill) off over 
binning your chastity device, burning your 
whips, recycling your chains? 

Does the fantasy of submitting 
to a life of only vanilla sex get 
you hard and/or drippy?

No?

Then, no matter how clever the spin, meta submission isn't going to make you feel very fulfilled as a person, so probably don't want to do it.

If that's not convinced you that meta submission his horseshit, then read on...

Thursday, 13 October 2016

23 days locked in a custom Custom Chastity "Ghost"

Day 23 of 24/7 locked chastity!
Day 23 of 24/7 locked chastity!

That's 23 days with no apparent problems... though I've yet to be allowed to unlock and inspect. (If you want to see what it looks installed on, click here.)

And yes, I really mean 24/7. No breaks for showering or exercise. I've been wearing it so long that that it's hard to remember being without it.

And the Custom Chastity "Ghost" still feels like a miracle.

When I - we - first got into chastity, a couple of days in a Chinese device was an achievement. I remember, more bloody minded than erotic, coaxing the package - steel and flesh - through a whole week with the help of anti-chafing cream and spray on skin, God help me.

The Holy Trainer 2 was a heck of an improvement. However, being a closed tube design it wasn't really any good for more than 48 hours. Sure there were ways of showering and drying, but usually when I unlocked there was bad chafing or a suspicious rash.

The Ghost, in contrast, is so practical that I once wore it for a week straight without really realising.

I've already talked about the upsides: It's surgical nylon, weighs nothing much, is almost indestructible,  fine for showering and drying in, and invisible under clothes. It stays put - I can do naked star jumps in mine, and the lack of a rear projection means it doesn't lever itself off when I change from, say, kneeling to standing. I've worn it comfortably and invisibly for sport and socialising, even to the pub.

The downsides are mostly just things you have to bear in mind.

For a start, you have to keep an eye on your skin health - this is probably true of all devices. You have to keep your caged parts clean and dry, shower nightly, use a hairdryer to dry, and above all avoid the build up of sweat and dead skin. (Though don't use lots of lotion either.)

"Careful what you wish for!"
If you do chafe, you can treat it with Sudocrem, and the problem generally goes away - unless you've cocked up on the measurement, that is.

Because, the material and the design are very unforgiving.

If you get the wrong gap, you will chafe.

If you get the wrong length, it will be hard to pee without making a mess, and the result will irritate your skin.

And if you get the fit wrong, then the extra movement will make the gripping eggshell texture feel more like sandpaper. (Some people hate the texture too, so if you are uber sensitive this may not be for you).

That means you have to measure carefully before buying one of their off-the-shelf devices. It's also an argument for going for true custom, like the one I cheekily secured as a review copy.

The snag with the custom devices is that they are underpriced and there's only one Lady Fox!

She's just not Amazon! (Though
you can imagine her 
as an Amazon if you want...)
As I understand it, she contracts out the manufacturer to a specialist in medical appliances, but does all the design and admin herself and the whole business presumably grinds to a halt if she catches flu, or gets caught by a life event. No surprise then that there are complaints on the various forums about slow or poor communication.

She's just not Amazon! (Though you can imagine her as an Amazon if you want...)

Personally, I don't think she's worse than any of the other small manufacturers. Holy Trainer, for example, take a while to answer emails, and even longer to sort out issues.

My prediction is that she'll bump up the prices until the workload is manageable.

So if you are considering ordering a Custom Chastity device, you'll need to balance budget against your desire for responsive customer service. If you wait until everybody's singing her praises, you may not be able to afford one of her devices.

In the meantime, I'm very happy with mine. We've become almost inseparable. Xena - my wife, not the TV Amazon - is also happy. She just likes having me locked. However, that's another blog entry.

Careful what you wish for...

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Monday, 3 October 2016

Is Domination and Submission like sugar (but better for you)?

The urges to dominate and to submit -
those have to be natural. They're part
of our inner monkey. 
Humans are born addicted to sugar:
Many scientists suggest that we are primed to desire sugar at an instinctive level as it plays such a vital role in our survival.... The problem now is that refined sugar is too readily available (BBC)
So the urge to eat sugar is natural, but its ready availability is not. The end result, some people just can't stop eating sweet things because, thanks to modern civilisation, the sweet things don't just run out.

Now think about D/s.

The urges to dominate and to submit - those have to be natural. They're part of our inner monkey. 

Our brain pumps out happy chemicals to reward us for being dominant, but also for being submissive - we can't reproduce if we're killed in a pointless fight, or if our band of proto-humans is so busy with in-fighting that a sabre tooth tiger eats everybody! 

Somehow domination and submission are also sexy. Perhaps they once equipped our ancestors to breed with both high and low status partners? 

Whatever the cause, domination, submission, and eroticism are hopelessly tangled, so much so that vanilla power dynamics have featured in romantic fiction as far back as the old King Arthur stories, and still feature in human courtship and relationships.

In primal times, just like sugary foods, domination and submission must have been self limiting. 

Yes you could dominate another human, but they didn't stay dominated. You could wrestle them to prove your dominance, but sooner or later you have to let them stand up. You could cow them into taking a submissive posture while you mate with them, but sooner or later you'll all have to go and look for food. 

If you both like that kind of thing, you can
string out the experience for hours or even days.
And, sure, in your routine interactions, everybody will remember who's alpha monkey, but if you push things too far, the others will gang up on you or just wander off.

Modern human civilisation is still a bit like that. You can be alpha in bed or in the night club, but moments of intense dynamic fade into a blander routine. 

Even if the structure of their life reflects a practical power differential, nobody vanilla is dominant or submissive when they are asleep. 

Vanilla D/s doesn't really stick (unless bad things are happening).

Kink changes all that. It makes power exchange sticky.

If you are dominant, you can, for example, tie somebody up. You don't have to keep them in a wrestling hold - or continuously fuck them in a dominant way - to keep the dynamic going. Instead, you can apply bondage gear, or put them in a cage, and fix them in their moment of submission. Safety permitting, you can even wander off to find some food, come back and they'll still be there. If you both like that kind of thing, you can string out the experience for hours or even days.

...you can be dominant or
submissive even
while you sleep.
If you are submissive, for example, you don't have to ever stop being submissive, even when you aren't thinking about it. You can wear a collar or a chastity device, or a piercing, day-to-day. You can agree protocol and power exchange in your relationship.

So I think these are still the same primal urges at work but, thanks to modern kink, there are no longer natural limits on how far or how long we can go.

Depending on who's wearing a collar and what it's attached to, you can be dominant or submissive even while you sleep.

Great, isn't it?


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Sunday, 2 October 2016

If the kink is for real, so are the ethical problems of submission: The Multiple Orgasmic Virgin

A British Catholic girl - still a very particular sexual type -
she had a simmering intensity that
promised fire behind the icy exterior.
A well-groomed British Catholic girl - still a very particular sexual type - she had a simmering intensity that promised fire behind the icy exterior of her conservative blouse and skirt.

She even wore a little silver crucifix.

Think Vanessa from Penny Dreadful, but a virginal Vanessa brimming with a rage directed against the patriarchy of the sub culture to which she belonged but could not bring herself to reject.

The promise of erotic fire coiled with anger! She only had to sweep into the room to ping all my 20-something Femdom fantasies.

For just the same reason, she seemed so utterly out my league that I relaxed around her enough to make a connection. It turned out we had lots of shared interests and passions.

And so we fell into a relationship and thus in love.

There really was fire behind the ice.

There really was fire behind the ice. 
Behind the layers, she was wildly sensual, multiple orgasmic, and addicted to my tongue. The only snag - from the point of view of trying-to-be-normal-young-Giles - was that penetrative sex did nothing for her other than scare her and threaten her identity.

She came to me a virgin - "deflowering" is overrated as a sexual experience - and always felt that on some level she was letting the side down to "surrender" not just to a non-Catholic, but to a man. She was also - I think - terrified of getting pregnant, and thus penetrative sex made her tense. There could be no relaxing with experience, no slow seduction into the pleasures of the penis.

And, there was so much wrong with the relationship!

She was naturally dominant, but I was cast in the roll of bedroom educator, and also felt the need to push back. I introduced her to BDSM - naturally - but to the wrong BDSM: bondage with me tied up when she was never going to be much of a service top! I got her off so easily with my tongue, but was obsessed with doing it "properly" with my dick (and of course most women can't come by vaginal stimulation alone).

And so it was messy and stormy, and we were young and I was crap, and we broke up. I imagine - hope - she has forgotten me, or has vague memories of the intense but immature young man who was her first lover.  

Looking back up at what I've written I feel like an idiot and a pig. But this was a long long time ago.

So ethics.

...her fantasies of being served orally
by a young man trained for
just that purpose
.
What would have happened if (a) I had truly listened to her, and (b) male chastity devices had been readily available?

Had I listened properly, I would have taken note when she shared her fantasies of being served orally by a young man trained for just that purpose. I would also have understood that my penis wasn't going to get her off any time soon, and that the more she loved me the more I irritated her.

At first, at least, she was happy to experiment with Femdom.

I could have put on a collar and served her as a slave, told her I was fine with jerking off as a finale and that was how I wanted it. I could even have invited her to discipline me for the real things I did that annoyed her - which would have made much more sense than the fantasy context I wrapped around it.

I wouldn't actually have needed a device, but suppose I'd had one? Something practical like the one I'm wearing right now.

....a really unambiguous way of
taking the penis out of play. 
Male chastity devices are a really unambiguous way of taking the penis out of play.

"Just ignore my dick," is all very well, but it's still there, standing to attention, both mutely demanding sex and acting as visible a performance indicator. A chastity device hides the intrusive member and demonstrates seriousness about penis-free sex. And, if you leave the key elsewhere, then the penis really is out of play, at least when hard....

So, I think she would have loved that: Me acting mostly normal, an ardent lover, but no penis, just a tongue. From time to time, I would have gone into deeper submission so she could be pampered and vent her anger on me.

She would have been magnificent.

Now the ethics.

Attracted to men, but angry with them.

In need of a relationship, but defensive of her autonomy.

Would my submission have offered her
the only possible true homecoming? 
Sensual, but nervous of sex.

She dated before me, and after me. I think she was on a heroic journey to shed her baggage and be herself; to lose her hostility to men, to trade autonomy for intimacy, to unravel her inhibitions and learn to like sexual intercourse.

And there I would have been saying, "Don't bother with all that personal growth. Your baggage turns me on."

Her issues were real issues, and my flavour of Femdom would have let her really square the circle without resolving them: she was free to vent her hostility with a whip; she could be in charge of the relationship and therefor autonomous; she didn't need to have actual sex, ever, but could have as much oral as she could take.

What if that had worked and we'd settled down into a stable Female Led Relationship involving a lot of male chastity? Would it have been a good thing?

Would my submission have offered her the only possible true homecoming? Or would it have derailed her journey, stopped her from reaching her full potential?

How much should a sub consider the effect of offering their submission?

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