Holle Is Going to Talk about Her Fantasy Now

I’ve talked about this before, a few times. Others far more experienced in the lifestyle have talked about this as well.

And yet I still see people open their mouths and spew some of the stupidest, inane crap that I have ever read in my life.

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Power in D/s

Who has power in a Dominance/submission relationship?

This is a discussion that I’ve been getting myself involved in a lot lately, and I’ve had a chance to really examine things I learned about this a long time ago. I think it is important to be able to state the reason for your beliefs beyond just “it is what I was taught.” If you cannot give reasoning beyond that, then you have knowledge, but no wisdom.

So here are my thoughts on this. Take it for what you will, but it does play an important part in my overall philosophy of BDSM.

So, in a Dominance and submission dynamic, Continue reading

Limits, Boundaries, and Why You Don’t Just Do What I Say

I mentioned briefly in Submission and Respect the need for Dominant and submissive both to respect limits. I wanted to touch on that just a little bit more.

A great question was asked on a forum: Should an s-type do whatever the D-type wants, if pleasing the D-type makes the s-type happy?

I Said No

The reason I answered no is because the question is, to me, the D-type flip of the “I have no limits” statement from a submissive.

“Whatever” leaves a lot of space for a lot of things, and not all of them are nice. If the answer to the question is yes, does that mean, then, that I can …

  • Command my s-type to stab him/herself in the leg with a knife?
  • Tell my submissive to cut off his/her big toe and pickle it for me?
  • Go to a club and tell my submissive that he/she must go up to everyone and lick their shoes? No asking. He/she has to just do it.

But Holle, you say, those are not safe activities. That can cause real harm to the s-type. The last one – other people may not be consenting to the activity. What if someone decides to kick the submissive or harm them? What if they are arrested for harassment?

To which I say, I am a sadist. I enjoy inflicting pain on people, but even better if the person has to inflict it upon themselves. As to the last, how deliciously humiliating would it be to watch him/her so humiliated …

Now Holle, you say, you know better. We’re talking about things that would be outside of a limit and outside the realm of BDSM. Safety and Consent are cornerstones of the lifestyle. You say that all the time.

And I don’t disagree with you, hence my answer being “No”.

There is what I call a fantasy ideal – that you can look at someone and say “I want you to do whatever I say” and they will say yes. No caveats. No “buts”. Just “yes”. It’s delicious if they hesitate just ever so slightly before answering, of course. They have to feel that little twinge of doubt and wonder.

It has to scare them and excite them.

The fantasy exists for both participants, the D-type and the s-type. This is just a fantasy. If – and I use a big “if” here – if it does happen, it happens between two people who already know and understand each other in very deep and personal ways. That is the only way that something like that could work.

That is not really the fantasy, though. In the fantasy, you don’t spend many, many years getting to know the person before taking that leap of faith. You do it after a few months, a few days. Maybe a few minutes. You’re the new worshiper in the pews getting up to say Hallelujah and offer yourself up to your new goddess.

That is not – or at least should not – be reality. It is certainly not BDSM.

To declare that you have no limits is to not know yourself. You have them. You may not want to admit them. You may not know them or understand them.

Make no mistake. You have them. Otherwise, you would very likely not be alive. Limits are part of our survival instinct. They go beyond merely the “I won’t do this because it could kill me” idea of staying alive, however. They take into account how you were raised, your experiences, your preferences, and your subconscious triggers. You have limits for a reason. Even the ones you want to push and break exist because something happened to put them there. It may be something that you want to overcome.

Good.

They still exist. You still have to recognize them, and you still have to admit them to your D-type.

Why are you using D-type/s-type?

While the Dominant/submissive dynamic is a ongoing negotiation of limits and power exchange, it is not the only dynamic in BDSM that uses and recognizes limits. If you are not into power exchange, but enjoy scenes as a sadist or a masochist, giving or receiving pain in different forms – you have limits. The sadist has limits of the type of pain she will inflict. The masochist has limits to the type and level of pain he will receive.

Even total power exchange relationships, the Master/slave dynamics, have limits. Master and slave will negotiate when the scene takes place. Is it 24/7 or a weekend servitude? What are the terms of service? A house slave? A sexual slave? Both? Perhaps the Master has a service slave to assist in SM sessions with another masochist, or in a D/s scene where the slave either assists the Dominant in disciplining a submissive or serves both the Dominant and submissive in varying capacities of equality. Whatever service you can think of, you can create a dynamic to have a slave for it. That slave, once the scene begins, gives up all power within the limits of the negotiated scene. Typically, the negotiation happens once. When a scene is to happen, it is understood what limits are in place, and that the Master’s word is law within those limits. Unless something extraordinary has taken place, there are no further negotiations between scenes. There may not even be a safe word (depending on the type of play, in my personal opinion).

So, limits happen, even in TPE dynamics. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either inexperienced, uneducated, or dangerous.

But I Really Have No Limits

Again, you do.

I harp on it because I see this every day.

A discussion will happen about limits. I will share my piece. Others will share theirs. The experienced, long-time lifestylers will chime in, typically with how yes, limits happen. Limits are important. You can negotiate within your dynamic how you want to treat them, but they are a reality. And still someone will come in and announce that they have no limits. Or yes, whatever the Dominant says goes. No caveats.

If you say that you have no limits, then I ask you, what are you giving me?

In a power exchange, you are handing power over to me. If you have no limits, then what are you handing over? If you have no limits, then why can’t I just do whatever to you, without the need for negotiation and contract? You have no limits, so I can walk up to you and begin flogging you. I found my leather strap. I could use it on you as well.

It’s not a pleasant leather strap. It is thick, stiff, and forked. It hurts. Depending on how much pain you actually like, it is not necessarily a good hurt.

But you have no limits, so what do I care? I can beat you with it.

And we’re back full circle to the discussion. You understand now, I hope, why you have limits.

You have them for your safety. You have them for your sanity. Remember, they formed for a reason, even if you are not aware of them.

You have them so that you have power. Those limits are the “no” you say to people who want to do “whatever” to you. And when you hand power to me, you tell me what of those limits I get to bypass automatically, what power you give up to me.

And then you tell me the rest of your limits. You tell me if the are hard limits, non-negotiable will-never-happen things. You tell me if you want to push them, and when.

And I graciously accept that power from you, and we begin our journey into my acceptance of your submission to me and your acceptance of my dominance over you.

What If I Don’t Know My Limits?

That is a better question that simply stating you have none.

Saying you have no limits shows that you are either reckless or you do not know yourself.

Admitting that you do not know your limits shows that you are trying to explore yourself. Not knowing your limits is okay, if you understand that you do not know them. Dominants have ways to help you explore and find them.

Safely.

Sanely.

Consensually.

I recommend two steps to exploring and finding limits if you do not know them. These are not the only things you will do. These are … the basis point for this type of dynamic:

  • Set up soft limits for yourself. These will be artificial limits, which is fine. As you push those limits, you will get insight into just how far you can go. When the limit is pushed, negotiate afterward your new limit. Do this until you find yourself close enough to your true limit to set it. This takes a lot of patience from both submissive and Dominant.
  • Use the Stop Light Safe Word System. It may be trademarked. I don’t know. The Stop Light System is simple. The Dominant checks on you throughout the session. You respond Green if all is good and you can keep on. You respond Yellow if you are close to the limit, but not yet breaching it. You call Red if you are close enough to the limit that it is in danger of being broken.

Most important of all, honor your partner’s limits. Know and recognize what limits your Dominant or submissive has, and respect them. This means that you do not ask your submissive do to something that they have stated is a hard limit. If you are a masochist, you do not ask for a type of pain play that your Sadist has told you will not happen.

And be prepared. Exploring limits is a good thing. When you find them, you may find that you and your partner are no longer compatible. How did that happen? Because not knowing your limits meant that you did not know yourself. Yes, it is good to explore and find yourself. Understand, though, that when you know yourself, you can easily find that what you want and need, does not work with the person you have been working with.

Knowing yourself, means that you know what to look for in a partner.

 

Why Can’t You Dominate Me?

I ran into a very interesting submissive online, and I had to share it here because – well because it ended up being a very good lesson for me to learn.

Primarily, what to watch out for.

The Set Up

So, another Dominant asks her fellow female Dominants what specific challenges they face with submissives. I’m interested in this, since I have not chosen a submissive yet (I’m still in the learning stage, after all). It would be good to know the expectations a submissive will have of me as a female Dominant and what things can go wrong so that I can prepare.

The Bait

A submissive came in and declared the female Dominant to be a fairy tale because she had never met one who could effectively dominate her.

Hook, Line and Stinker

So, my first thought was that this was a submissive who just had a bad experience. It can happen. I had an okay exchange with her, doing my best to be even and respectful. Others were not so lucky. She maintained a belligerent attitude throughout the entire discussion until she was finally banned for breaking forum rules.

Respect. Always respect. Even if you dislike something or have had a bad experience.

And she just could not seem to take that rule to heart.

As I continued to read her posts, something else became apparent: she had poor expectations of what she expected power exchange to be or what a Dominant is actually supposed to do. While she may have had one or two legitimate bad experiences, that she maintained the incorrect expectations of a D/s exchange means that she will be destined to never have the type of power exchange relationship she is wanting.

Mostly because what she is wanting is something no good Dominant will do. In essence, she expected to have a Dominant just tell her what was going to happen in the scene, and do it. No real discussion of limits and expectations. No getting to know the Dominant before a scene. The Dominant, in her mind, is just supposed to go and magically know how to not break limits.

The irony in this is that she did not like to scene with male Dominants because in her experience, male Dominants always pushed limits.

If you’re sitting here silently scratching your head, imagine it from my point of view. The expression of not liking male Dominants was pretty early on in the conversation, before she actually laid out how she expected scenes to go from a submissive point of view.

The Take Away

Communication.

We talk about how you should sit down and discuss scenes, but what I saw in that exchange just really drove home how important it is to not take answers like “I have no limits” or “I’ll safe word if you go too far” or “I’m sure you can figure it out” as answers when discussing limits and boundaries.

And please, submissives, don’t try to offer up those answers to a potential Dominant. If you have found a good Dom, one who wants to understand your limits, then be courteous enough to offer them up. If you don’t know them, figure them out. If you’re not sure how far you can go, it is okay to set up soft limits for yourself, as long as you make sure that you let the Dominant know. Something like “We’ll, I’m into temperature play, but I’ve not really had a chance to see just how much heat and cold I can take. I’ve set myself a limit of medium heat wax for candles and brief contact with ice. It’s a soft limit because I would like to see what I can take beyond it.”

That is perfectly acceptable. It gives the Dominant an idea of a starting point for you. It also sets the expectation immediately for the potential Dominant that you will want to push the limit. In that one way of limiting your “limitless” self, you have set up a structured guideline that your Dominant will be able to use to help you reach the limits you want to find.

No unknowingly breaking limits.

No frustration.

You see, your Dominant’s job is to guide you through a scene. Your Dominant’s job is to take hold of the power you give over.

Your Dominant’s job is not to tell you what power you will give up. Your Dominant’s job is not to tell you your limits and what you will take. When you sit down with your potential Dominant to discuss, you have to know what power you will hand over. Yes, it can be tedious. BDSM is not the way it is in fiction. It is not even the way it is in my fiction all the time.

In Heather in Haven, Heather and Mistress Victoria have a very quick discussion of limits. In a real, healthy BDSM dynamic, nothing would have occurred the way it does in the book. Heather would have been introduced to Victoria in a more Vanilla setting. The two would have talked about limits, desires, and needs well before Victoria even touched Heather. They most likely would have had several meetings to socialize and talk before ever having a scene together.

But – Heather in Haven is a fantasy. It is fun in the fantasy to have that sudden meet up, the arrangement of submissive being led to her perfect Dominant. It is not how it works in life, and if that is what you expect, then you will never find yourself fulfilled in a real D/s exchange.

Submission and Respect

Time to continue my discussion about Submission.

This is a tough subject for me because I hold respect to be one of the most important things to have and show in both the BDSM community and within a dynamic.

What does respect mean to me?

On one hand, it is what you earn. You behave in a way that engenders respect from other people. That may be those people listening to you and valuing your opinion. It may be that person seeking you out as a mentor/Dominant/submissive/etc. It may be receiving a title from your peers because of the knowledge and skill you show. What all of these things mean, however, is that you have lived in a way that brings that respect to you.

On the other, it is what we all show. We do not have to genuflect to people to respect them. We do, however, have to remember, even when we disagree with them, that they are human beings. It does not mean that we don’t call out people when we see something wrong, or bad. It does mean that we speak to them like we are both adults. We don’t get petty. We don’t get back-stabby.

We don’t go behind their backs, or do other things that would anger us if they were done to us.

In a way, do unto others is the ultimate lesson of respect. Continue reading

It Is Not My Place

Oh yes it is.

I have seen quite a bit recently where a slave or submissive will answer a question about their dynamic or the lifestyle in general with “well, it’s not my place to say anything/ask for anything”. I find this to be extremely disturbing, especially since I also see in these same places submissives talk about withholding their safe word as a kind of badge of honor and the sentiment that the only responsibility an s-type has once play begins is to obey.

I feel like there is so much to discuss in this that I really do not know where to begin.

I suppose I will begin with where I am coming from.

I am a Dominant. I do switch with my life partner. In the grand scheme of things, however, the path that I am taking in the lifestyle and what I am seeking I see as a Dominant, however, not as a switch or submissive. So when I talk about the attitudes that submissives have I am discussing first and foremost the things that I am concerned about as a Dominant who will in the near future seek out a submissive of my own. I am also discussing it from my own past experience of having been the one to submit and my submissive time in switch play.

I had considered doing one single post where I stand on a soap box and just let loose all of my ideas about submission and what responsibilities that a submissive or s-type has in an M/s or D/s dynamic.

Instead, I am going to break it up into multiple posts where I talk in a little more detail about each aspect that I want.

So, I shall return with my thoughts of Submission and Respect.

A Badge of Pride

A few days ago, I talked about how disturbing it is when the scene becomes judgmental of those who do not play the way others think they should play. Specifically, I was talking about Doms or subs who will ostracize, criticize, and belittle Switches merely because they choose to switch roles, depending on partner or need.

Like a good Dom or a good sub, a good Switch understands the dynamic roles in BDSM and when it is appropriate to switch.

Things like taking on a Switch role rather than strict D/s or M/s is about the finer nuances of play. Choosing to switch may come from being new and wanting to experience all sides of play, but not having access to or being comfortable with a more Old Guard mentor relationship. It may come from having experienced one, liking it, but finding someone that you desire the other with (and still wanting to be Dom/Domme to someone else). Those who do not engage in play with you may find it confusing or not understand, but it is their responsibility to discuss that with you – assuming of course that it is their business to do so, for example their own sub/slave expresses concern about their dynamic because they see you switch and the Dom/Master needs to understand, or someone simply wants to learn what a Switch is.

I did mention, however, that there are caveats to the inclusiveness of BDSM. Hard lines exist and stating and responding to those hard lines is not a bad thing at all. I mentioned a couple of obvious ones before. I recently found another, and I think it is worthy of a little more discussion.

The Safe Word Continue reading

Some Gals Just Like to Be Tied Up

For some disclosure … in my early adult life, I flitted from job to job, not really sure what I wanted to do. During this time, I found myself out of work and desperate. A close friend of mine had an interesting proposal. She needed a personal secretary, someone to answer phones and help keep her books. I would get some valuable experience and she would have the help she needed. It just happened to be this friend was a professional Dominatrix. From her, I was introduced into the BDSM sub-culture (or the Scene) of the 1990′s, not as an active participant, but an inside observer. I developed an interest in it that remains to this day.

BDSM has a wide interpretation. At its most basic, it is Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/Submission, and Sadism/Masochism. Each pairing has its own meanings and its own connotations. These connotations are not always good. We tend to think of sadism as cruelty or submission as weakness. While these images and meanings may play their part in the Scene, they do not define it or its different aspects.

Continue reading