Am I a Pervert?

To support my habit of making naughty doll scenarios, I’ve recently made several eBay purchases. The latest was a large collection of clothes for a certain 12-inch female doll. As I took this outfit out of the bag, an image of a rattan cane sprang to mind.

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Never Say Never — Defined

nsn-0838 excerptDefinition 1: My guiding principle for most matters of sex and sexuality. I’ve been wrong more than a few times when I’ve thought I’d never do or be something.

Definition 2: A generally useful principle that doesn’t apply to some forms of BDSM play. There are many things that shouldn’t be tried, for safety and other reasons. Go quickly in the opposite direction if you encounter a “no limits” player.

Definition 3: Theme song of the movie, The Karate Kid (2010 version), performed by Justin Bieber. I stumbled upon this when searching for something else.

And, most importantly,

Definition 4: The title of Alison Tyler’s new book. The subtitle, Tips, Tricks, and Erotic Inspiration for Lovers, and the book’s awesomeness distinguishes it from other books with the title.

The publisher, Cleis Press, says: it’s a blissful blend of Tyler’s wisdom, expert advice and scintillating erotic scenarios guaranteed to liven up your bedroom. Finding the true object of your lust is only the beginning. The sizzling stories and helpful tips in Never Say Never will help you discover exactly what sets your pulse racing for a lifetime of satisfying sex.

It’s your erotic one-stop shopping: for each technique, toy and theme, Never Say Never offers advice, ideas, illustrative snippets from erotica authors, and a short work of erotic fiction — contributions from over forty authors! Snippets from my erotica appear in the chapters for blindfolds and ménage. While BDSM is well-represented, the book includes vanilla (sort of) and other flavors.

As some of my readers know, I love creating erotic scenarios with my toy action figures and stuffed animals. My models were especially excited about shooting the enactment of Never Say Never. This photo first appeared on Alison Tyler’s blog, where she had some extremely nice things to say about my “cleverosity”. Thanks, Alison!

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It’s Always Submission O’Clock

Some time ago I made a video of myself performing an obscene, degrading act and sent a brief clip to My Lady. The obscene act was one that I’d been ordered to perform, but the video was my idea. My Lady is usually satisfied with written descriptions of the things I do in response to her instructions, and in this case she’d left the method of documentation up to me. Nevertheless, ambition got the better of me and I decided that a video would be just the thing.

The video didn’t work out especially well. The big problem was that I practised a key part of the obscene act with my right hand while I was figuring out how to position the camera, but in the heat of the moment I performed the same action with my left. As a result (I’m skipping steps here, but the details aren’t important) the climax of the obscene act wasn’t fully in the camera’s field of view. I presented the botched clip to My Lady with a wry comment about not being a cinematographer.

I’m under orders to show My Lady different views of my slave quarters (that is, my little apartment) when taking photos and videos for her, and in this case there was a clock in the background as I performed the obscene act. Unlike the act, the clock was clearly visible in the video. It wasn’t – and isn’t – anything fancy, just a plain, cheap, round plastic wall clock that was there when I moved in. However, My Lady noticed it in the video, and mentioned that she felt more connected to me because she could see what time it had been when I was carrying out her instructions.

Despite being rather touched by that thought, I had to reply with a confession. The clock ran out of batteries fairly soon after I moved into my slave quarters, I explained sheepishly, and I never bothered to put new ones in. I have a wristwatch, an alarm clock next to my bed, and a clock on the laptop I’m using to type this blog post; if anything, I can hardly escape knowing what time it is, and the clock on the wall has always seemed superfluous. I was more than content to have it be right twice a day (at 12:13). This prompted a rather curt response from My Lady:

Even so, I like analog wall clocks. Get a battery for it.

Nothing could be more mundane than putting a battery in a stopped clock, but that instruction made me feel the weight of My Lady’s yoke. There was no “please” or “if you don’t mind”, no choice in the matter, just a blunt command issued in the full expectation that I would obey. My own feelings about analogue wall clocks (less than enthusiastic, as it happens) were totally irrelevant, because My Lady is the dominant and I’m the submissive. In other words, I’m the one in the collar, and I do what she says.

It turned out that the clock only needed a single AA battery, and I happened to have one on hand. It’s been running fine ever since. When my slave quarters are otherwise silent I can hear a very faint electronic ticking, which I could live without, but it doesn’t bother me much and is completely inaudible when the air conditioning is on. When I want to know the time, I still look at my computer, my wristwatch or my alarm clock, depending on exactly where I am. But the wall clock is there, implacably ticking off the seconds, minutes and hours, reminding me who’s boss. Around here it’s always submission o’clock.

BDSM Vignette: Danielle and Martin

The following vignette is meant to illustrate a certain kind of hypothetical BDSM relationship, regarding which I’ll have more to say at the very end of this post.

***

“I wondered how long it would take you to come crawling back for another ass-kicking,” Danielle said, washing down the thought with a swig of her beer. She hadn’t bothered to offer him a drink, or a chair, but it wasn’t like he’d been expecting either.

“I’m not exactly crawling,” Martin protested mildly. “Just showing up for something I think we both need. I’ve been distracted with my job, and a new girlfriend.”

“Another one?” Danielle sniffed. “What’s she, the third this year? Anyway, you’re going to be crawling pretty soon, if you’re serious about needing it.” Danielle had never been much for small talk. She knocked back more beer and rose to her feet, a hard-looking woman in jeans and a shapeless black sweatshirt.

Martin didn’t much like Danielle’s coarse, abrasive ways, or her apparently unrelenting disdain for humanity in general and him in particular. The two of them had almost nothing in common: not their politics, not their hopes and fears, not even their taste in food or movies or music. They had both, oddly enough, been raised in Pentecostal congregations before rebelling as teenagers, but that really was more or less the only significant thing they shared. But God, he needed what she could offer on these long Saturday nights, the pain and degradation that she inflicted without the slightest apology or hesitation. For her part, Martin knew she thought he was a pompous, overeducated weakling, an overgrown boy who put on airs (though Danielle would never have phrased it like that) and needed to be slapped around for his own good. Nevertheless, some quality in him also appealed to her predatory side and made her see tormenting him as a pleasure and privilege. It wasn’t, she had told him in a moment of candour, just that he could take what she liked to call “a good ass-kicking” – there was something about the way he responded to her canes and paddles that delighted her and made her ravenous.

“So, what’ll it be?” Danielle asked bluntly.

Martin lowered his head. “I think we both know what I’m here for,” he murmured.

“Okay, then. You ready to get started?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Good.” She gulped down the rest of her beer, then slapped him fairly hard across the face. “That’s for making me wait so long,” she announced, and her voice held an undertone of something like tenderness.

“I’m sorry, ma’am,” he gasped, resisting the urge to put a hand to his stinging cheek.

“Don’t worry, I’ll find ways to make you pay.” Danielle plucked at his shirt, now all business again. “Hurry up and strip.”

He shed his clothes efficiently, well aware that Danielle had seen it all before. When he peeled off his boxer shorts, revealing his full erection, she glanced pointedly at his crotch, then up at his face. Then down at the floor.

“Hands and knees,” she told him curtly. “Go straight to the studio.”

She followed closely, kicking him now and then to hold him to a pace that hurt his knees and shins as he crawled across the bare hardwood. Once she leaned down and slapped his right buttock, her heavy hand descending with enough force to make him whimper in pain. Martin heard Danielle laugh as she drove him, slippered foot prodding relentlessly at his intermittently exposed scrotum, to the spartan little room where she did her woodcarving. Her small figures of people and animals were uninspired and kitschy, as far as Martin could see, but they apparently sold well enough to make the difference when rent came due each month. The studio was also where Danielle did her boys.

When he was roughly in the middle of the floor, she grabbed him by the hair and pulled him to a kneeling position. The familiar leather cuffs were already dangling from the ceiling on their long chain, waiting for him. She buckled them quickly around his wrists, then surprised him by hobbling his legs with another pair of shackles whose connecting chain passed through a ring in the floor. Usually she trusted him not to kick or jump around, and the sensation of leather firmly enclosing his ankles unnerved him. What exactly was Danielle planning to do to him? It was already too late to back out, too late to resist.

Martin knew that the long chain that dangled from the ceiling was attached to a winch, which Danielle had once told him rather gleefully had been installed by a friend of hers in exchange for a couple of blow jobs. She seemed interested in his own genitals only to the extent that they were more sensitive to pain than most other parts of his body. Martin could not, in fact, remember a time when Danielle had touched him except to hurt him, restrain him or push him around. Even when they had first met, after a few weeks of correspondence that had begun on a kinky website, there had been no hug or handshake – just a firm instruction to take off his shirt and get down on his knees if he wanted to stay.

Now the winch was pulling him inexorably to his feet, and finally to his toes. Danielle locked the apparatus in place and then came over to him, grinning and clearly in no hurry. She grabbed his chin.

“You little shit,” Danielle said amiably enough. “Time for you to find out what happens when you let my urges build up for too long.” Her hand dropped to his scrotum and clamped down, nails digging in hard. Martin moaned and writhed, which made her grip all the more painful. He sighed in relief when she let go, only to whimper in consternation when she took down the longest and cruellest flogger from the studio wall and swung it viciously through the empty air.

“You’re going to scream, boy,” Danielle promised as she moved in on him, flogger raised and ready.

***

I’m fortunate enough to be the plaything of a woman that I can like and respect, in addition to appreciating her sadistic and dominant streak. After all, My Lady and I were internet friends and fellow writers well before I started taking orders from her. However, I can’t help being intrigued by the idea of submitting to someone whom I genuinely disliked apart from her qualities as a dominant, and who disliked almost everything about me apart from my submissive side. Our mutual antipathy would only make me feel more helpless and subservient, and might inspire on her side a certain harsh, businesslike domination style that I would probably respond well to. The whole thing may be one of those scenarios that works better in the realm of fantasy than in reality, especially for any arrangement involving more than occasional sessions, but I have nothing against indulging in a good fantasy now and then.

My Orientation Is Heterosexual – And Submissive

These days I think of submissiveness as a component of my sexual orientation that’s at least as important as my basic heterosexuality. The two elements are like circles on a Venn diagram (see below) that overlap but nevertheless aren’t completely superimposed on each other. The area of overlap corresponds to submission to female authority and is the sexual territory that I find most exciting and fulfilling to explore, the garden of cruel delights where I serve and suffer in My Lady’s collar. There’s a neighbouring crescent of heterosexuality with no component of submission, which I perceive as sweet and enticing but inevitably slightly bland. I can enjoy vanilla sex and flirting with women, but I know from experience that I can only subsist on a strictly vanilla-flavoured diet for so long before my need to be taken in hand and given some harsh instructions starts to feel overwhelming.

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There’s also an opposite crescent, scary and forbidding but undeniably intriguing, of submission with no component of heterosexuality. For me that area is essentially terra incognita, but I’m pretty sure that I could find submission to a dominant, sadistic man highly erotic under the right circumstances. I wouldn’t be attracted to him sexually, but I would certainly be drawn to his authority, his ability to exert control and inflict suffering. I know that My Lady is not exactly averse to the idea of watching me writhe under another man’s riding crop, so it’s possible that I’ll eventually get a taste of homoerotic submission under her direction. Perhaps I’ll even be allowed to tell you about it.

Nevertheless, the combination of submission and heterosexuality defines my natural erotic habitat, and bleeds in small ways into my worldview and social life. I’ve known men and women who are heterosexual but seem to prefer to associate with their own sex and perceive the opposite one as alien and difficult, but for me it feels natural to be heterosocial as well as heterosexual. I like women, and I can enjoy their conversation and company even when there’s no prospect of sex or kink. It’s also not uncommon for my eyes to drift discreetly to an attractive female stranger in a subway car, or out on the street, appreciating a woman I’ll never speak to and probably never see again.

Apart from giving me a soft spot for feminine leadership, as I mentioned in my last post, my submissive side does sharpen my inclination to listen to my female friends and try to make myself useful to them. It’s a subtle influence on my behaviour, and it’s not as if I’m constantly throwing myself at the feet of women and begging to serve them, but I’m sure that it’s perfectly real, a slight and constant pull like the gravitation of the moon. My submissiveness also ensures that I notice certain specific attributes in the female of the species, perhaps not ones that stereotypically attract male attention. The women who catch my eye on the subway are usually my age or older, and carry themselves with an air of decisiveness and self-possession. If they look big and strong enough that I could imagine them physically pushing me around, so much the better. A well-worn leather jacket helps a little, as does a tattoo or a pair of glossy black boots. Skinny, coquettish little nymphets can be lovely, but really aren’t my cup of tea.

When it comes to women who are actually in my life, as friends or something more, physique and dress count for very little. I find myself wanting to spend time around women who are assertive, capable, imaginative, and ideally a bit wicked, no matter what they might look like. Muscles and black leather might add a bit of extra spice, but they’re far from critical. My Lady, after all, is no Amazon, but I bow to her whims because she’s smart, sadistic and commanding – a woman to be reckoned with, and that’s really what makes all the difference.

Female Supremacy Might Be A Nice Place To Visit

French filmmaker Eléonore Pourriat has been getting a lot of attention for her short movie Oppressed Majority, about the travails of a man in a matriarchal society.

 But something is different in Pierre’s world. Women are in charge. They run around barechested – hey, it’s hot! – piss in an alley, and offer sexual favours to Pierre when he is stuck at a red light. (He’s riding a bike, so his lack of physical barriers provides an opportunity if not a provocation.) Events culminate when Pierre is sexually assaulted at knifepoint. Inevitably, the police officer who takes Pierre’s statement is female. She raises an eyebrow, but only to check for accuracy: “She pinched my testicles … then she took my penis in her mouth and bit it”?

The movie is undoubtedly intended as feminist satire, and I suppose it works at that level even if it’s a bit heavy-handed and obvious. However, watching Pierre’s misadventures also appealed to my submissive side and left me thinking that his “world” might be an interesting one to explore, if only to solve the mystery of how the ladies maintained their power over the hapless menfolk. When my thoughts drift to daydreams of being an oppressed male in a country ruled by women, there’s generally at least a vague explanation for the power imbalance woven into the fantasy – a goddessy religion that even the men take seriously, a particularly capable female politician who worked her way into a position of near-absolute power and then began deliberately appointing other women to all the high-level posts, even a reversal of normal human sexual dimorphism.

In such a country there would still be women who were impoverished or otherwise down on their luck, just as some men are stuck in that position in even the most patriarchal cultures, but all or almost all of the most prestigious and influential jobs would be occupied by members of the female half of the species. Outside office hours, men would be expected to defer to their mothers, sisters and girlfriends until they were given away as blushing grooms, after which time they would begin deferring to their wives. A responsible wife, for her part, would provide her husband with direction and loving but firm discipline. Men who worked outside the home would expect to have a female boss, or perhaps a male boss who in turn answered to a female boss. Male athletes and entertainers might attract a following, but would still end up beholden to the female executives who owned the sports teams, record companies and movie studios. Nearly all police and customs officers would be female, and men who failed to show them sufficient respect would be given a hard time as a matter of course.

On a practical level, this might not be the best way to organise society, given that a lot of male talent would go to waste. If the sexes are more or less equal in their cognitive abilities and leadership potential, which seems more likely than not, then excluding either of them from positions of power and responsibility is counterproductive as well as simply unfair. In contrast to what card-carrying female supremacists like Saharah Eve and (to some extent) Elise Sutton might say, I don’t think that men in general should be subordinate to women in general, or that institutionalising this kind of arrangement would make the world a better or happier place.

However, I’m pretty sure that I would enjoy living under matriarchal rule, at least for a while. I submit to My Lady partly because I’m strongly drawn to female authority, so a society in which authority and femaleness were joined at the hip would suit me just fine. There’s also something intensely compelling about the idea of being automatically reduced to second-class citizenship, inescapably assigned to an inferior caste, because I happen to have a penis. I have no plans to help usher in the day when the world bows down before a cabal of Supreme Overladies, but I can’t help thinking that female supremacy would be a nice place to visit. Closer to home, I tend to be just a little more naturally supportive of businesses, political parties and other organisations that are run by women. Believing that men and women are about equally likely to make good leaders doesn’t mean, after all, that I can’t choose to lavish a bit of extra appreciation on good leaders who happen to be female.

S & M (Semantics & Meanings) – Limits

The issue of limits is one of those things that tends to separate BDSM fantasies from the practical realities of submitting to another human being. However hot the idea of sinking to one’s knees and murmuring “do anything to me” might be in principle, we submissives generally have at least some minimal sense of self-preservation. Taken literally, anything could extend to cosmetic amputations, literal starvation diets, or worse (24 hours of high-volume Justin Bieber?). Hence, the need to set some boundaries. One widely recommended way to do this is to come up with a list of hard and soft limits.

“There are two types of limits – hard limits and soft limits. A hard limit is something you will not do under any circumstance. For me that would include scat play, age play, or being turned upside down or spun when tied. Many limits are established by the submissive due to a value objection – either something that you feel is against your moral code or that you are squicked by (“ewwwwww”). Other limits are due to health objectives – spin me around and I will barf. I promise to aim for my Dom’s shoes if He makes me.

“A soft limit is something that at this time you do not think you want to do, but perhaps your Dom/me can convince you. Or it may be something you will only do with a specific Dom/me, or in a specific play situation. For me that might be interrogation. Interrogation squicked me from the beginning, but I have since done a private scene with my Master. It is extreme edge play for me, and not only takes a lot out of me but it has lasting effects, and so it remains a soft limit.”

One of the nice things about being under the thumb of a woman I know and trust is that I don’t feel the need to spell things out quite so explicitly. The only limit in my relationship with her is a mutual understanding that she won’t use her authority to wreck my life. She’s not going to kill me, mutilate me, infect me with horrible diseases, destroy my career, or shatter my relationships with my loved ones. Cosmetic amputations and starvation diets should be off the table, although to my chagrin I’m not so sure about prolonged Justin Bieber sessions. Within those broad margins, she’s more than welcome to make me suffer, even in ways that “squick” me or make me genuinely miserable. That’s part of what I signed up for, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

If I were single and in the habit of submitting to near-strangers, I probably would have a list of hard limits, but I’m not sure I’d go in for soft limits – or at least, I’m not I’d use that phrase. Soft limits are just things that a submissive finds difficult to endure, and I’d probably describe them in exactly those terms. A dominant could steer clear of them if she wanted to go easy on me, or make use of them if she was feeling especially cruel. I suppose there might be activities that I would be willing to accept from some pairs of hands but not from others, but I’d think of those less as soft limits than as hard ones that happened to be selectively applied.

I’m even more dubious about what seems to be a widespread opinion that dominants, as well as submissives, should have limits.

“What some submissives do not realize is that Dominants have limits too. They aren’t as formally laid out like a submissives limits should be, but they still have them. I have things I will not do. I find that these things are universal to me. As a Dominant there are places I do not wish to go and when I am a submissive, those limits hold true, as well.”

In my opinion, using the word “limits” for boundaries set by dominants as opposed to submissives has the disadvantage of blurring an important distinction based on power. I’m sure all dominants have places they “do not wish to go”, but that’s not exactly the same thing as submissives having places they are unwilling to be taken. My Lady probably has at least a vague list of things she would never consider doing to a submissive, but I don’t worry too much about what activities might be on that list or whether My Lady finds them repugnant, impractical or merely uninteresting. She’s the one who sets the agenda in our relationship, so it goes without saying that anything she prefers to avoid won’t be happening on her watch. For my part, I can and do talk to her about the contours of my erotic landscape, the peaks of longing and valleys of revulsion and wide dusty plains of indifference, but I’m under no illusions that she’ll necessarily head for the peaks or stay out of the plains and valleys. Conversely, she can steer clear of even the most treacherous valleys in her own landscape without declaring them to be limits, because she’s the one who decides where we’re going in the first place.

Every relationship and casual BDSM fling is different, and I can certainly see how some dominants might feel emotional pressure from their submissives to engage in activities they’d prefer to avoid. In the case of professionals who need to satisfy their clients, of course, the pressure is financial. But to the extent that a dominant’s power over a submissive is genuine, the distinction between her limits and her preferences is surely academic at best.