Experiencing “top space” through hedonism

Prologue

I decided to give topping a try a few years ago. I had connected with a submissive male, and we’d talked a lot about what he liked and wanted, and I gave it a go.

We did it once in my home and once in public at the dungeon, and it was entertaining, but the role didn’t sing to me. There was spanking and paddling, lots of teasing, and even a bit of boot worship.

But the reality was, he was getting all of his wants met. My teasing and denial of him (which was totally what he wanted) was also denying myself…and that wasn’t much fun for me.

I’d essentially “bottomed from the top”, because I didn’t do a single thing that gratified me, personally – but he had a lovely time, and the satisfaction I derived from the experience was purely about having done a “good job.”

After this, I positively declared that there wasn’t a single toppy bone in my body, and that was the end of the experiment.


Present Day

We got a little stoned. In this deliciously altered state of mind, while waiting for the timer on our dinner to ring – I was given the direction to “do whatever I wanted with [him].”

I had just over 30 minutes.


I think I found my top space. It was really difficult to hold at times, because part of what I want IS to make him feel good based on his own desires and preferences – but there were moments when my every move stopped being about what I thought would get him excited, and became purely about what was driving my own pleasure. The pace, the angle, and the strength of each thrust were bringing me closer to orgasm, and I was greedily doing what what made me feel good without consideration of how it felt for him.

Not that it felt bad for him in the slightest, but that wasn’t top of mind, you know? It had nothing to do with spanking or paddling or teasing and denying.

It really was about my pleasure. His was a side effect. But then, whenever he’d moan with pleasure, I’d remember how much I enjoyed being the source of it and suddenly I’d revert to bottom space long enough to think about asking permission to orgasm (something I enjoy doing in my bottomy space), and then remembering that the directions were to do whatever I wanted, and back into toppy space I’d go!

It was pretty fucking amazing.

I finally understand what some people get from topping. It’s neat!


As the timer wound down, I started to notice and feel the ways he was reclaiming the top side through his sadism. I don’t know if that was intentional on his part, but that’s how it felt for me and I really enjoyed it. Going from ‘it’s all about my own pleasure’ to relinquishing control through intensifying levels pain was the most incredible fucking rush.

I don’t think I’ve ever experienced anything quite like it.


Seriously considering changing my fet role from “bottom” to “hedonist.”

Advertisements

I’m not allowed to hurt myself

Last week was rough, professionally and emotionally. For a moment, I was so ready to walk out the door and never go back to work, and I was shaking with the power and powerlessness of my position.

The choice was all mine: stay and be gainfully employed with an unbeatable benefits package that comes with an untenable work environment; or free myself from the abusive behavior of my bosses and lose all of the stability that comes with it.

There is this dichotomy of control and lack of control in these decisions that absolutely drives me bananas.

In a way, everything is under my control. If I walk away from a bad situation, I will free fall into the next phase of my life without a net. If I choose stability, I expose myself to continued abuse.

There is no win-win. There is just uncertainty and risk.

I am familiar with that bananas feeling of having all the power to make a decision in my hands and not knowing which is the right way to go. It’s that feeling that draws me to submission, and by extension: masochism.

That’s the head space where I am relieved from making any decisions at all. That’s the heed space where they are all made for me. Enduring pain is the highest level of submission I can give.

That’s the space where the risks make sense.

So, it’s no wonder that my fantasies and my dreams have taken a more deviant turn lately. I’m craving the escalation of everything. I want kisses with teeth. I want hugs with claws and texture. I don’t want to be led, I want to be thrown, forced, and taken.

I want the pain.

I told him as much, expecting to be given some sort of task to tie me over until I see him next. Something like an increasing number of clothespins or maybe even clamps to inflict pain on myself in the days until he’s there to administer it himself.

But he is a clever sadist, my love is.

“You will self inflict all the pampering and soft pleasures until I see you.”

Clever man. Took the decision right out of my hands.

Why I think you want to hurt me

This post was originally written and posted on Fetlife in 2015.  I link to it in an essay I have written and will be posting today as well, so I am republishing this one here for reference. 


I want you to understand how submission feels to me. To explain it, I have to tell you why I imagine you want to hurt me.

You want power.

It’s not enough for me to open my mouth or spread my legs for you. You know as well as I do that these things feel good to me. I want you inside me. My body betrays the lie that society or religion or our mothers want us to believe with its warmth and wetness at the thought of you.

In this, my body and mind work in tandem. Wanting. Willing.

Your power – your control over me, wouldn’t come from the penetration of my body but from the denial of it.

Do you sacrifice the pleasure of your flesh for the frisson of your power?

Sometimes you do and that’s enough.

But my body cannot lie when you strike me. It recoils. It shivers and squirms and my flesh reddens in protest.

With each strike, I’m proving my submission to you. First with mind tricks – transforming that pain into feelings of pleasure and enjoyment.

You don’t want my pleasure. That’s not power.

You want my suffering. You want undeniable proof that you are in control.

The strikes bear down harder.

My moans become grunts. Growls. My arching back becomes hunched shoulders.

My mind overrides my body’s demands. For you.

Push me to my limits if that is what it takes to fill your thirst for power. I want this for you. I want you to feel, to understand, to take this control over me.

My body isn’t the gift I give you, this power is. Your acceptance of it excites me.

So push me to my limits, but please don’t exceed them.

Please don’t make me take the gift back.

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.

Cold Water

I like warm water.

One of my favorite feelings in the world is to be submerged in or have very warm water cascading down my skin.

He knows this. I noticed that he knew this a few weeks ago during a shower together. The memory of what it was he did is fuzzy now, I just remember realizing that he’d figured out how much I like it.

The trouble with dating this sadist is that when he learns I really like something, he has gained a new tool with which he can torment me.

And when I say “trouble,” it’s with a smile.

So, yesterday morning, we were heading over to shower and I hesitated to step in, realizing it’d not yet been on long enough to be hot.

He checked the temperature with his hand and I asked, “It’s not hot yet, is it?”

His sadist face came on.

“Get in.”

I stammered and resisted. He grabbed hold of my wrist and pulled me toward the shower door. I watched as he pushed the handle away from “hot” to “cold” and held me there.

There’s this moment where I’m faced with something I don’t want to do and the option to not do it is taken away from me. I recall, as a child, standing at the edge of the diving board when I was still dry and I knew the pool would be cold. I feared the initial shock of the cold water. Yet, I knew after a few minutes acclimate I would to the temperature and it would be a welcome contrast to the hot summer day.

Eventually, I convinced myself that all I had to do was jump. Once I was in the air, the decision to land in the water was out of my hands. I found that the lack of control mid-air made me feel less anxious about what I’d face when I hit the water.

It’s that same moment, when my brain switches from “I don’t want to go in the cold shower,” to “He’s going to make me go in the cold shower,” that brings up a similar sense of tranquility.

And then he pushed me in.

The water was warm.

This is what I love about a sweetheart sadist. He knows I love warm water. He also knows I love it when he pushes me toward the things I resist (plus, he loves the pushing). Yesterday morning, he found a way to give me both.

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.