Putting relationships on “hold”

I have such a visceral reaction to the phrase “put my other relationship on hold” in the poly discussion groups. It’s usually a phrase uttered when the following scenario applies:

The hinge in a “vee” has developed a solid and happy relationship with one partner that going swell, but everything in their additional relationship is falling apart. Some versions of that sentence would include “….everything in the additional relationship is falling apart because of the other one’s existence.

I’m trying desperately to stay away from calling either relationship “other” or “first” or “second” because I’m trying like hell not to imbue any of this with implied hierarchy.

My reaction is to the idea that you can put someone you say you love on “hold” because someone else you love is struggling. I don’t care where on your relationship flow chart they live.

The phone company puts me on hold. My partner does not. If you can put your relationship with me ‘on hold’ then we have no relationship. That’s how I roll.

But, I realize that this visceral reaction to this phrase stems from a past experience I had, in one of my early attempts at poly with someone who made a LOT of newbie mistakes that I see playing out again and again in the advice forums.

His relationship with me was solid. The more solid we were, the less stable she was. So when she struggled, he would “dial it back” with me in order for her to get stable again.

Guess what?

She used that. She used it regularly. Every time her jealousy would flare up, she’d have a panic attack or get herself into trouble or blatantly break one of his rules (these were both D/s relationships) and he’d dial it back with me to help her recover.

I’d complain to him and try to reason with him. “It’s like if there’s one kid who always follows the rules and another kid who’s constantly breaking them, so what you do is take away the toy from the good kid and give it to the one throwing the tantrum in order to shut them up.”

“It’s that saying that the squeaky wheel always gets the grease, but if you don’t pay attention to your other wheel you’re going to end up with a flat tire.”

He’d say he understood and things would change, but then he’d keep doing it. He’d keep rewarding her tantrums by denying me. When she felt like she’d “won” then she was fine again.

Guess what I did?

I started having panic attacks. I mean, it worked for her. Why wouldn’t it work for me? But, it backfired. I hadn’t set a precedent for having panic attacks, so when I had them I was told I was “faking” it, and to pull it together.

I wasn’t faking it. I was trying to control something I couldn’t control that I SHOULD have had some control over. The protocols and boundaries of my relationship should have been something he and I discussed and agreed upon together. Our boundaries and protocols should have been the foundation of stability upon which our unique relationship could be built independently of any other relationships he was building with anybody else.

But he kept allowing someone else to pound cracks into our foundation.

And, here’s the fun part… Usually, it’s the “primary” or the “first, and more established” partner that thinks they have a say in how their partner conducts their other affairs. In my case? I was the first one there. She came in three months after me, and it only took three months for her to completely destroy us by shedding the light how little control and integrity he really had.

So now, when I hear people wanting to put one relationship “on hold” I want to tell their seemingly dispensable partner, “RUN. RUN FAR AWAY.”

As the late Patrick Swayze declared, “Nobody puts Baby in the corner.”

Phi-ty Shades Darker (SPOILERS)

I decided to smoke some pot and document my live reactions to the film 50 Shades Darker, which is now available on HBO, BTW.

Below is the result.



There WILL be spoilers here



Oh good. She’s still stammering and timid.

I guess asserting herself with her former Dom didn’t give her any confidence after the last movie.

Boss should not be looking at his employee that way. Predatory as fuck.

Her coworker clearly agrees w/ me the way she just shot their boss that look.

Ok. She’s walking into an art show. She seems surprised that she’s the model in all the photos. does she not remember posing?

WOAH. Friend tells her that if he had asked before choosing all the photos of her she would have said no, so he just did it anyway. way to model good consent practices!

someone bought the whole collection of her overpriced images in a gallery. I WONDER WHO

OH MY FUCKING GOD.

“you bought all the very overpriced giant pictures of me? ” His response. “Yeah. I don’t like the idea of anybody gawking at you.” EX GIRLFRIEND WHO LEFT ME.

boom. she ordered her own dinner. that shows him who’s boss! So he grins and says “fine” She didn’t need your permission, asshole.

“I can’t do this if you won’t talk to me” Smartest thing Anastasia has ever said.

She seems to understand the basic tenets of good communication. It looks like after the last movie, she got herself a fetlife account, read a bunch of blogs and educated herself. Learned good practices and terminology. Too bad her Dom didn’t do that.

I don’t understand – she’s not meek or timid at all with him she so skittish with everyone else in her life. Of all people, he SHOULD make her feel jumpy.

Aww shit. That “laters baby” thing is back

That was such a weird exchange between coworkers. I think the sexually harassing boss is gonna be the villain.

You are NOT her boyfriend. You can’t just call yourself her boyfriend.

“he want’s what’s mine” OMG. I hate everything about this guy.

If she had agreed to that dynamic, this would be a very different story. I’d be like, “good for them…that’s so awesome they found each other!” But he’s trying to force/manipulate her into thinking his brand of domination is “the way it is.”

He’s buying her employer.

now i understand why they did the scene at the beginning – the flashback to his abusive childhood. It’s to let audiences feel sorry for him – to be able to forgive him for being an utter douche once he admits he needs therapy and relinquishes the need to be controlling after the revelation. People love salvation stories.

Six and a half minutes in – first sex scene. Let’s see how they do.

I just had a massive epiphany about how i used to view sex and submission.

Oh. Okay, so the sex scene starts with him giving her oral. No lie….that’s pretty titillating. I just lose my groove every time there is dialogue.

yup. sex scene is steamy.

Ok. She just called it his “kinky fuckery.” He did not know what that meant. Supports theory that in between movies, she got a fetlife account and he thinks he invented kink.

“I make that kind of money every 5 minutes. keep it.” Re: $24K. Our heroine rips up the check. SO HE HAS HIS ASSISTANT FORWARD $24k INTO HER BANK ACCOUNT. she is asking him how he has her bank account info.

Next scene – they’re having a nice lunch and she’s dropped the topic of HOW THE FUCK HE KNEW HER BANK ACCOUNT INFO.

I prefer when foreshadowing is more of a nuance. It’s less fun when they’re beating you over the head with a clue.

Yes Anastasia. He’s bad news. Follow your instincts. WALK AWAY.

He’s straight up willing to kidnap her. carry her kicking and screaming if she doesn’t go willingly.

without that scene making you feel sorry for him at the beginning, this same movie would have been listed under “thriller” instead of “romance”

this movie just exploded codependency wide open in my brain. another epiphany.

Why are you trying to understand him, Anastasia? what other than all those traits you just called him out on has he shown you?

OK. don’t know what just happened. have to rewind and start the scene over again.

He’s having her draw a box on his chest in lipstick. and it’s hurting him way more than makes sense. and then he says “those are my boundaries.” I don’t know what the fuck he means. Her response is “i can live with that.” Does she know what he means? WHY ARE THEY FUCKING AGAIN? THEY WERE JUST HAVING A VERY IMPORTANT FIGHT.

Did I miss the scene where she consented to ANY OF THIS? ’cause i thought they were still negotiating.

He’s gonna have her wear ben wa balls to a fancy charity ball.

is he taking her to a real charity ball or is it like one of those Eyes Wide Shut parties?

okay his mother is there. i guess that means it’s not a play party.

His disdain for his sister ….it’s a disdain for all women except the ones he can control.

She bid $24000 at the charity gala on the item he donated (a week say at one of his homes) . His response “I don’t know whether to worship at your feet or spank you.”

Oh. Next sex scene now. “I want you to spank me” Let’s see how this goes.

ok. i have to pause this. They inserted a line of dialogue for him to remind her she has a safe word. Because his character has come off as non-ethical from the getgo, the only reason I could think that he would do that is to lure her into a false sense of security that she is safe with him. What I really think happened? The writers remembered that were were supposed to think this was a sexy movie, not a scary one – and that was supposed to calm us down. So they throw him a line that is not in line with his character as a form of exposition.

Wish they’d gone the other way around. If she had confirmed she still has a safe word – then she’d be supporting the “anastasia got educated on fetlife” theory AND make her a stronger woman ( who can still totally submit).

HOW ABOUT A LITTLE WARMUP, MISTER?

he took the ben wa balls out of her on camera. i wonder if parents and their offspring watch this movie together in theaters?

there are so many boundary issues in this movie

codependency epiphany, the sequel.

they’re setting it up that there’s this young woman who is the villain, but i think it’s the creepy boss. she’s not been to work since the fourth scene. They developed his character too much in order to drop it.

By my calculations they’ve fucked twice since she painted that red lipstick on them. how is this his first shower? It’s been at least a day!

No, it doesn’t mean he loves you. It means he feels abandoned by his mother and looks to control women in order to make them stay because he equates staying with love.

Mini epiphany on the narrative how a woman “saves” a man by loving him into good mental health is just another part of a larger narrative that leads back up into patriarchy. But I won’t get into that now.

sketchy boss is back, being sketchy.

aah. he’s back to becoming unhinged because someone who never agreed to his terms isn’t following his orders.

that’s what that enabling mentor/mistress of his “helped” him with. He’d have gone full rapist if she hadn’t intervened with a “code” like Dexter’s father did. His emotional imbalance causes him to want to control women, BDSM channels it into something less illegal.

Just tell her, it’s a spreader bar. “walk before we run?” A spreader bar is “advanced?”

every time he fucks her he comes off as so cocky.

Unf. I need a spreader bar.

THIS SCENE IS HOT.

mmmm….having memories of recent evenings. I really need a spreader bar.

Pulse racing. the scene is over. i think i need to pause and get some air before i go back to trying to follow a plot.

Gonna go make some food that’s not sugar for the rest of it.

OK I’ve made a delightful tuna salad. It’s so good. Gonna smoke a little more and take on part 2 of this fascinating feature.

Yes….the difference between fights and conversations to Anastasia is that the questions she asks get resolved in conversations. In fights, questions can be answered by proxy with his penis.

Creepy boss is NEGGING her, professionally.

If this were real life, this boss would be the next one with allegations coming out about his harassing behavior.

yes. trap your female employee in your office and use threatening sexual language around her. good plan. especially since her boyfriend (if we’re calling him that now) employs you

“i can make you come like nobody else has” called creepy boss from scene one.

“he tried to touch me”
“Im gonna kill him”
“No no no please don’t go”
“OK.” [ to bodyguard ] YOU GO KILL HIM.

He changed the subject on her. He’s a master manipulator. She was talking about wanting to keep working and he’s convincing her to move in by being all awkward about asking.

I can’t see any of Christian Gray’s actions as genuine.

She made a valuable contribution at work and then apologizes for it in the next scene.

I want to believe it’s on her merit but i think he’s a manipulative jerk…..yup, she just questioned it too.

how could anybody be in a relationship with someone whose motives they can’t trust and are constantly questioning?

He’s making her take off her panties at the fancy restaurant
bet he starts fingering her in the elevator with four other people in there….

called it.e

takes notes that’s something for my fantasy rolodex

they just stole this straight out of working girl

LIKE STRAIGHT OUT OF WORKING GIRL. THE EXACT DIALOGUE.

“I expect to you to call me anna. I don’t expect you to fetch me coffee unless you’re getting some for yourself, and the rest we’ll figure out as we go.”

ok. chick with a gun. the ex submissive is the villain?

omg this is soooooooooooo fucked up.

omg

omg omg omg omg

i can’t …this scene is too layered and horrible.

he deescalates woman with gun by telling her to kneel.

bet his narcissism has a raging boner right now.

“I would have done anything to dissarm her.” except call the police and let a stalking victim know that your ex is mentally unstable and dangerous.

not disarm. SUBDUE. He used the word subdue.

“yeah, she scared me – but you scared me more.”
.
.
.
She had a gun. She should have scared you more.

“Don’t leave me” most honest thing Christian Gray has said all movie long.

OH THERE’S THE SHOE. I’M NOT A DOMINANT. I’M A SADIST.

Oh honey. There is sadism and there is sadism. What you are is fronting.

It’s Seattle at night by the water. I feel like that shirt she’s wearing is not warm enough to be outside without shivering.

I was wearing a flannel robe this morning in LA and chilled.

she’s turned on by his muscles. I guess they’re so good his character doesn’t matter.

He’s lying to her.

is his plane going down?

helicopter….. oh, now the’ll set him up to be either super heroic and cool under pressure, or faced with a life and death situation that he can’t fully control, he’ll totally have that epiphany he needs.

they had him be not totally controlling in the scene before we see the cliffhanger w/ the helicopter going down so we worry about him. if we’re worried about him then he can’t be a bad guy and this goes back to being a romance and not a thriller.

So, basically, the difference between a romance and a thriller is empathy for the antagonist.

she’s having way more of a reaction to the possibility that he died and finding out he’s alive than she did with having a loaded gun in her face.

ugh. she said yes. should have suspenseful music instead of romantic.

OOH Hot shower scene. the music tells me this will be super steamy.

Yeah. Yeah. It is. …oh wait. idiotic dialog. Never mind. BUT now we’re in his dungeon – i.e.: “the red room”

Blindfold…..check.
Leather cuffs…..check.
Oil? What’s he gonna do, give her a rough massage?

this looks a lot more sensualist than sadist, mister.

but yeah. the actual sex scene is hot. and i’m uhh….gonna need a minute.

So, his mentor/dominatrix was mom’s good friend. mom seems oblivious. Was this known information from the first movie?

He says “please” in front of company, but it’s “Come up here a second, please” Not a question (will you come up here?), but a directive. The please was an afterthought. That’s a character flaw (in my opinion). Some people might dig that.

though i’m unclear if she said yes to a D/s relationship or just yes to marriage. cause if she said yes to his request for a full D/s relationship then the above would have been fine.

showdown between the ex mistress and the fiance….OOH AND MOM COMES IN WITH THE FIRST CORRECT MOVE ANYBODY HAS MADE IN THIS FILM: Kicked the abusive fucker to the curb.

It’s pissing me off that the kinksters are depicted like such unhealthy, unstable, unsavory people. KINKY PEOPLE ARE NORMAL PEOPLE. This is making it seem like the cure to all their emotional trauma is giving up kink.

What they need is therapy and education.

but they would need that whether or not they were kinky

I heard “Be mine. Share my life with me. Bury me.” Turns out he said “marry me” but the first way I heard it would have been interesting for an ending.

creepy ex boss is back and now he’s wearing guyliner and leather and stalking officially

OH. that was it. That’s where it ends. ROFL that’s a HORRIBLE place for an ending.

Definitely feels like one book cut into three movies. These story breaks are chapter breaks. Not book breaks.

Well, that was super fun! Now I’m going to figure out how to copy/paste all of this into a blog post 😀


EDIT::


afterthought: I don’t think his gun-wielding, homicidal former slave is in a mental health facility receiving the best care. If that had been an option, he’d have done that for her in the first place. Controlling personality that he is, he would not allow for the unreliable outlier like an uhinged ex playmate threaten what he was working toward his next conquest. No, he was too worried his big secret would get out. So instead of calling the cops and alerting Ana that she was in danger, he took it upon himself to protect her. He know he could always control the ex, by making her kneel, and feel like a fucking hero.

But now that she’s already played that card, he has to do something to control her. So, during that time he was waiting for her to strike, he bought an institution and filled it with his own doctors. She’s in a prison….probably meant to look like mental health facility, but a place where he owns the doctors and she never sees the light of day again

The Exhibit

Is there a better museum for rare and priceless experiences than words on a page?

I could try to preserve all the details – how we began, how many strikes from which implements, how he moved me about the room, how taut the rope felt on my skin, and the way my thighs ached as I squirmed in the stress position in which he’d restrained me.

Those details may convey my surrender, but won’t capture my emotion.

I could record the hearing of footfalls and whispers, soft murmurs of interest or (possibly) admiration lingering in the hallway, and my vague awareness of some shadows in the door frame as the intensity of a final powerful orgasm ripped through my soul.

Those details may convey my vulnerability, but won’t capture our connection.

It’s just three words I’ll keep in this museum of intangible artifacts. The three words I whispered when, toward the end of our scene, he leaned down for a kiss, and warm tears escaped the outside corners of my eyes:

I missed this.

Rules are Condoms: An Imperfect Metaphor

I used to love rules. Rules, when my life was very completely out of my control, helped me make sense of things. I had rules for who I’d date and what I’d do with them and when. I had rules for who could do what to me and under which circumstances. I had rules about rules, and I was really great about closing loopholes in rules so that I would know exactly what to expect from whom and when.

I clung to the fantasy of a 24/7 D/s relationship. The idea of someone else making the decisions for me and absolving me of the need to willingly take care of myself appealed to me in the wake of my husband’s unexpected death and the realization that I’d lost my entire identity in that relationship.

And you know what? I don’t fault myself for that. It was my coping mechanism, and it worked for a while.

I didn’t know who I was, or who I wanted to be. All I knew was that there was too much stuff for me to carry by myself. I felt I would never be unearthed from beneath its heavy burden. As such, I was attracted to the “fixer” types. The “daddy” types of nurturers who wanted to help me get better. The ones who would set the rules down with the intention of moving me past my hangups and phobias.

And over time, they started having results.

I stopped being afraid of making decisions for myself, and graduated to just not liking it. I started to realize that I was entrusting some pretty important (and some not so important) decisions into the hands of people who weren’t particularly good at taking care of themselves, much less others. I began to understand that our dynamics had shifted – because I’d gone from the bird with a broken wing who needed a cage to be transported safely from point A to point B, to a fully-healed bird ready to take flight – were it not for the owner who kept clipping my wings.

The rules no longer felt like they were being set to help me. They felt like they were being set to control me, and I no longer wanted to be under that 24/7 type of control.

The rules were condoms.

The rules I put on myself and those I allowed to be put on me were an imperfect attempt to protect myself from ….whatever was out there. Just like condoms, the only way to truly be safe is abstinence; and I wasn’t willing to be kink-abstinent anymore.

Now I’m in a relationship with only one rule: Honesty. Everything else between us is more of a request. We’ve got a 24/7 love and trust dynamic. The D/s part is significantly more fluid.

I see people talk about setting “rules” for their partners to follow …especially when they’re opening up to some form of non-monogamy for the first time. Things like “My partner can sleep with whomever, but no emotions,” or “no sleepovers,” or “not in our home,” or “anything goes but kink is only with me,” or “I’m the only one they can use this term of endearment with.”

It’s a condom. These rules are meant to control your exposure to potential harm, but they’re not foolproof. Try to make a rule that your partner will never develop feelings for a sexual partner and be prepared to find yourself on the business end of a Klingon pain stick.

If you want to feel the full spectrum of sensation in your relationship once adequate trust has been established, then it might be time to assess the value of loosening up some of the rigidity of those relationship rules.

It might be time to explore the flexibility of allowing your partner to take flight, and see how they still come back to you – again, and again.

And if they don’t?

If you’d be happy with the bird in the cage whose wings you gotta keep clipping, then you do you.

I wouldn’t be, neither as owner nor bird.

Tops and Strength and Vulnerability: a post-GRUE post-mortem post

Let’s get organized…..Here’s what I want to accomplish in this essay:

1) To share my thoughts on a recent discussion in which I both observed and later participated on the subject of Tops/Dominants and vulnerability

2) To explore my own thoughts on “strength” and “weakness” as it pertains to the concept of vulnerability and/or the exposure of said vulnerability.

3) To offer suggestions on how someone on the topside might find comfortable and meaningful ways to express their vulnerabilities without losing what it is that helps define that role for them.

Here’s what I do NOT want to accomplish in this essay:

1) To share personal information about real people who participated in the discussion without their consent, or make them feel like what they shared was not done so in a safe environment where it would not come back to hurt them. To avoid this, I will speak mostly in the abstract; but if you were there and you recognize your words and you want to help clarify, you are welcome to do so publicly or privately as it suits you.

2) To make someone feel like if they cannot or will not expose their vulnerability it makes them a bad person, so if you’re reading this and you think “nope, I can’t do what she’s suggesting,” that’s okay. You don’t gotta. I’m not the boss of you or the leader of the planet. Yet.

3) To tell anybody how to live their life. See above.

And one more thing…

What I inferred from the discussion may not be what the person speaking had truly intended to convey. On a couple of points, my partner (who also sat in on a large part of the discussion), picked up different messages than I did from the same person’s comments. Therefore, I’m not saying my interpretation is the be all and end all to what was discussed, so take this for what it’s worth. An incomplete attempt to understand a concept I do not have personal experience with as a Top; but I do as a person who is very much in control of her own understanding of her wants and needs, if not those of anybody else.

On to the meat of it…

Over the weekend I attended the Los Angeles GRUE. This is my third time attending this annual event, and in many ways it was the best one yet.

I participated in more discussion sessions this time than in hard-skill types of sessions. So, while last year I spent a lot more time in rope than I did this year; this year, I spent a lot more time engaging with people than last time.

And that’s pretty cool.

One of the earlier sessions during the course of the day was a discussion of the vulnerability of dominants. At the top of the discussion the person who’d organized the session asked for people to only speak if they were doing so from the perspective of a Top/Dominant; and to hold off on offering perspectives from the bottom. I completely understood the purpose for that request and myself and may of the other “bottom only” types in the room gave the rest their space to speak.

(Thankfully, after some time had passed, the discussion leader opened up the discussion to everyone in attendance and there were some really great insights brought up by the bottoms in the room who’d remained silent up to that point).

The big takeaways I had from the Tops only portion of the discussion were as follows:

1) A significant portion of the vulnerability a top feels stems from the idea that they find it uncomfortable to express needs. I want to say it was mostly emotional needs, but i think there were physical needs as well that they did not feel comfortable addressing with their bottoms.

2) Another portion of the vulnerability stems from the cognitive dissonance of being a sadist, for example – of recognizing that somewhat frightening part of you that gets off on hurting someone else, and trying to reconcile that enjoyment with what you know to be “right” or “wrong.”

3) This is the part that might have been up to interpretation – what I was hearing was that some of the tops felt like they couldn’t be as open about not “having all the answers” or not “being in complete control” of every situation. They felt the need to hide their vulnerabilities because it weakened them or glaringly exposed their inability to control all things.

A while back I know I wrote something about finding the strength in exposing my vulnerabilities. I can’t find it, though I found bits and pieces in other writings that support that notion. I recall I went on a date quite a while ago, after which I received a text from him that said that something about my vulnerability making him want to jump up and protect me from anything or anybody that may want to hurt me.

He saw my vulnerability as a weakness he wanted to protect and defend. I saw it as a strength that could draw in an army of protectors. And, of course, with great power comes great responsibility; so I mitigated the temptation to take advantage of that power by attempting to solve my own problems before asking for help.

But I also am able to recognize when I do need help to solve a problem, and am quite capable of “exposing my vulnerability” by asking for that help when it’s appropriate.

I don’t believe that makes me weak. I actually thing it is a show of strength that I am capable of opening myself up to rejection by asking for help.

People have needs. Take away the labels of top or bottom or switch or whatever being a “dominant” means to you and you are a person who has needs. The people who love and care about you are invested in helping you get your needs met.

It is very likely that the people who love and care about you are not mind-readers. Some may be highly intuitive and may be able to make you feel like you’re a really good communicator; but in the end – if there is something you need that you’re not getting, one of two things have happened: 1) you are not asking for it, or 2) the person you asking it from doesn’t want to or cannot give it to you.

I feel like this is the part where a few caveats must be explained: 1) the way one interacts with a long-term or intimate partner is different than the way things go down with a play partner or someone in a one-off situation. Most of my examples and analogies are more in line with how I think long-term relationships work, over pick-up play situations. Also, 2) I have a very clear-in-my-head differentiation between a want and a need; so when I say “need” I am talking about things without which a relationship suffers.

So, let’s take the second takeaway as an example…the cognitive dissonance. That thing that makes you feel vulnerable when you admit to yourself that hurting someone else just made you wet.

I don’t experience this. What I know of this feeling is purely through having heard from many people and empathizing with the feelings they have expressed. On more than one occasion, people to whom I’ve bottomed for or submitted to have been the ones to tell me that these feelings exist.

One very specifically told me what he needed from me. He told me he needed me, as the person he just got off on hurting, to absolve him of his guilt by letting him know that I enjoyed it. That I wanted it. To tell him that he was not an evil person for wanting to do this to me nor for enjoying having done it to me.

That was a very vulnerable thing for this very domly dom person to admit to me, and it did not take away from his ability to exert his control over me (when that was our dynamic). In fact, from my point of view, it strengthened his control because he exposed his humanity to me; and I was able to trust more that there would not be unexplained passive aggressive retaliation toward me for his negative feelings because he’d been honest with me about how he processed what he does.

To be honest – what killed that relationship was when he STOPPED being honest with me about his vulnerabilities and he started behaving in passive aggressive, retaliatory, and explosive ways to our disagreements. I lost my ability to trust him with my emotions when I felt like he couldn’t trust me with his anymore.

I don’t think there’s a “solution” to cognitive dissonance. I think the best we can hope for is acceptance and coping. Similarly, I don’t think one needs to “fix” vulnerability. I think the better option is to lean in to it, expose it, and accept the consequences, whether positive or negative.

As a bottom, that’s kind of our jam. When we are hit, it hurts. But for masochists, we’ve found a way to lean into that pain and transform it into something our brains find pleasurable. By virtue of what we do, we place ourselves in vulnerable positions for fun and profit, and we get a ton of enjoyment, catharsis, and in some cases, growth from it.

As a top, you might also be able to harness the power of vulnerability by exposing yourself to the potential to be disappointed, let down, or ….wrong.

The example I gave as a concrete step to take to open oneself up to their vulnerability is something I do all the time and have written about on several occasions. When I am having a negative feeling, I dig down into it until I understand what is causing it. Until I know what it is that I want or need from someone else that I am not getting that is causing this negative reaction. And then, I tell my partner what I want or need from him.

So, I text him and say “I’m feeling kind of down. Can you please say something nice to me?”

I always get a response. The response is never no. Not with this partner. I’ve had two partners in the past that had rejected my request. They are no longer partners.

Let’s say, (and this is another real example), that I’m starting to feel a little down because my partner doesn’t hit the love button on my fet photos very often. I notice he does with his other partners, but not mine and it makes me sad.

What is that really about, because the comparison to his other partners isn’t fair. The reality is that I know he finds me attractive and I don’t need him to hit a button on a photo on social media to know this to be the case. And yet, I’ve gotten into a situation where I’m feeling down because he’s not doing it, and to further the feedback loop, I want him to do it without my having to tell him to.

That’s where you get into that mind-reading thing. If you’re not getting something you want or need out of someone else, the two reasons are that they either don’t know you want it, or don’t want to give it to you.

So, what am I doing by not telling him what I want? I’m trying to hide from him that something hurts because I want him to intuitively know that it hurts and fix it without my having to tell him. He doesn’t, ’cause he’s not a mind reader, and I just keep on being butthurt because there’s no resolution to this problem through the power of magic.

There is, however, a resolution through the power of communication.

Now, if you think that it’s easy to tell your partner you want public validation of his attraction to you, believe me, it’s not. I processed this shit in the poly chat group for days before I felt comfortable bringing it up with him directly. It was really hard to admit that I wanted this from him; but there was no solution to the problem that didn’t involve my directly telling him so.

Guess what he did?

He loved a couple of my pictures.

And every once in a while, when he does do this without my having to remind him that I want it, it feels really good.

Does that mean I’ve never had to bring it up again? Naah. This comes up. It is what it is. It never means he doesn’t love me or that I don’t make his dick hard. It means that there’s a part of me that wants the public validation of that fact once in a while. By exposing that truth, I took away its power to make me sad.

That’s not a top/bottom thing. This could easily have gone the other way. I might be a top who wants her bottom to like my pictures once in a while and not want to have to order them to do it. I might let it make me feel sad, or become passive aggressive in my behavior toward them because I think that by saying “I want your feedback when I post sexy pictures” means that the feedback isn’t genuine.

At the root of this example is the knowledge that my fear doesn’t stem from any ideation that he’s not attracted to me; but from a place of feeling like he doesn’t want to publicly acknowledge my place in his life. Again – that’s not a top/bottom thing. That’s a relationship thing, and more specifically, that’s a phi thing.

So, something to think about – if you struggle with exposing your vulnerability; start small. Start by not expecting your partner to read your mind when something is nagging at you. Start by figuring out what behavior you want from them, and ask them for it.

Another, much less exposing example is the difference between saying “Brrr….I’m cold.” and “Darling, can I borrow your sweater?” If you’re not getting what you want from your partner by announcing that you feel cold; then follow up with the direct ask. And if your partner says no, then …well, now you know what kind of person they are.

I think that’s all I have for now. I mean, there is so much more but those were the main points of what I wanted to accomplish with this writing. I welcome any continued discussion that comes out of this, though I can’t promise to be very participatory in it until I get home in a few hours.

If you ever have an opportunity and the means to attend a GRUE in your local area…

I highly recommend it. For reals, yo.

Oh, and one last thing. In my search for whatever writing I’d done in the past that had to do with vulnerability, I came across this bit of erotica I’d written a while back. I think it’s a subtle portrayal of how the Top/Sadist/Dominant’s attempts to hide or mitigate his vulnerabilities served only to delay the gratification of a truly deep and personal connection with a potential partner.

November Dribbles: Perfect Circle

Someone over on FetLife created a November Dribble/Drabble challenge.  A drabble is a story made up of exactly 100 words (title not included in this version of the challenge).  A dribble is exactly half that – a story set in 50 words.

The challenge is to complete either one drabble a day or one dribble every two days (as telling stories in fewer words can be more challenging).

I didn’t catch on to the challenge until November 7th, so in order to catch up, I posted three dribbles in the morning, and a drabble later at night.

Here are the dribbles.  Next post is the drabble.

#NovemberDribbleDrabble


Perfect Circle (Part 1)

It had been a stressful week, but not unexpectedly so. “Will you have the energy to do anything later?” he’d asked. She replied confidently that she would. “I want you to fuck me so hard I forget my name.”

“Oh, I’ll remind you your name, whore.” he replied.


Perfect Circle (Part 2)

They sat in the theatre, exactly 1127 seats, most filled. Comedians traipsed across the stage in measured order. The music began; he ran his warm hand gently up her bare arm. The music, crowd, and stress dropped away. For the first time in weeks, she felt still and silent again.


Perfect Circle (Part 3)

“Please, please, please!” Her cries were muffled by the palm of his hand, else echoing through hotel room walls. He’d pounded her into orgasm after orgasm earlier, but now forced her tortured restraint. As her pleas reached critical mass, he growled, “What’s your name?”

Whore,” she responded breathlessly.

Permission granted.

Watching a “bad” Dom in action

Warning: This post is about Dancing With the Stars, and while it does not include spoilers on who was eliminated this week, it does describe the dynamics between two of the couples on the show through this week’s performance.

Derek was my favorite. I was glad when he was back because I love his choreography, and I love the way he moves, and I love the way he always wins.

But this time, Derek didn’t get paired with the same kind of partner. He’s frequently paired with partners you might consider a challenge, like the heavier ones, or the ones with a disability you’d think would make it impossible for them to dance; but then their confidence and tenacity and drive are amazing and they make it far in the competition.

But this time he got paired with someone who is challenging in her own way.

She doesn’t believe in herself.

They’re doing something new this season; or at least, something I don’t remember them doing in past seasons. During the results shows, they’re showing more of the behind-the-scenes stuff, including stuff said that didn’t make the show edit – like the stuff caught on live mics during the dances or right after that are usually muted out during the live shows.

And I’m seeing a side of Derek with Marilu that is making me think that he’s a bad Dom.

He blames her when things go wrong. She’s a 64 year-old actress who has trained all of SEVEN WEEKS to work with a highly-acclaimed, award-winning professional dancer who’s been training his whole life.

In these last few episodes, they’re showing him being a bit of a douchebag to her, like losing his patience and outright blaming her for a low score. Last week, she had a fall and when you watch the footage, it looks like he pushed her pretty hard. Then in this week’s package, she says she felt like she was pushed.

It almost seemed like he’s trying to sabotage their scores because he wants out of the losing team, as though dancing with someone who isn’t showing improvement is going to ruin his reputation.

But here’s the thing – the way he keeps undermining her confidence is the REASON she’s not improving. What really struck me this week is how they showed him talking about his plan to build her confidence up. All he did was tell her that none of her mistakes mattered.

That’s not how to help someone improve! When someone you’re collaborating with makes mistakes, you find constructive ways on working with them to improve their performance. Telling them their mistakes don’t matter anymore is a signal that you’ve let your frustration build up to the point where you’ve given up on them. That their improvement is no longer a priority for you.

This week another pro, Val, got emotional when he expressed his pride over his partner Laurie’s pure joy, passion, and olympian-level drive to soak up the knowledge of dance he’s spent his own life learning. To see the big, bad-ass Russian cry the way he did came off very much with a sense of the deep, paternal-like love he seems to have developed for his young partner.

A week or two ago, they had a moment where he was pushing her really hard and she pushed back. He was getting frustrated and she called him out, reminded him that she’s doing her best and yelling at her when she doesn’t get something right away doesn’t help her learn it faster. He calmed down, apologized and they went on to nail their performance.

So this week, when he hides his face with a hat for a while while the cameras are on him and he’s really breaking into the cry, there’s no question that he feels exposed in showing his own vulnerability within this relationship. I think it’s beautiful. Their performance brought tears to my eyes, as it did the judges.

I know it’s just a silly dancing show and it has nothing to do with kink. But very frequently as I’ve been watching this season, I’ve noticed parallels to BDSM with these two couples. Derek and Marilu’s relationship seems toxic and unfulfilling. She’s trying so hard to please him, and his displeasure is palpable; whereas Val and Laurie’s relationship seems very much like the “daddy” types here (non-sexually speaking) in the way that he shows vulnerability, emotion, and pride and even awe in her progress.

But here’s the thing – in seasons past, when Derek has been with the winning type and Val has been with the challenging member of the cast, their attitudes were reversed. I always thought Val was the asshole and Derek was the shining star.

Which just goes to show that the problem in some relationships may not be the individuals within them, but the pairing itself.

Two final thoughts:

In googling Marilu Henner to ensure I was spelling her name correctly, i saw an article in which Derek defends himself by saying that the editing has been doing him a disservice this season; that in fact, he and his partner had a deep heart-to-heart talk where they aired out some things and hugged it out, but that wasn’t shown. I know that editing plays a big role in perceptions of things, so all of this is really based on what I’ve seen on the show and not what the reality probably is.

And secondly: this was my favorite dance of the night, and it’s sexy – so even if you don’t watch the show, watch this: