Threatening to Leave

The only time a threat to leave is valid, IMO, is when there is a serious problem that is or will become a deal-breaker if not dealt with.

There are threats, and then there are threats.

It’s one thing to just threaten to leave in order to fuck with someone’s head, or to threaten to leave over petty disagreements.

It’s a whole ‘nuther ball of wax when critical issues are at stake, to then tell someone specifically that if X doesn’t happen, or if Y happens again, then you will leave, that that would become a deal-breaker, and that you wouldn’t be able to stay in the relationship at that point. That’s a warning that something is seriously wrong that you haven’t been able to resolve, and an alert that if resolution is not found, you will not be able to stay.

That’s called setting boundaries – and healthy boundaries are essential things to have in life and in relationships.

It’s then just a statement of fact, of what is true for you.

It may mean you’ve got one foot already out the door, but it may also mean that you don’t really want to leave at all, but you’ll have to if whatever the problem is continues.  It’s a warning in that case, and a partner who values the relationship would do well to take it as a wake-up call that they are seriously fucking things up and attend to the issues in question if they want to keep their relationship.

Some things are just dealbreakers, and a threat to leave in the face of such is actually still offering the offender an opportunity to save things.

I Miss… I Don’t Miss

12/22/09

Every morning I still awaken with the thought of how much I miss you, how much I want to be with you again, how much I miss being in your arms.

And then my mind changes course, and I correct it with the new thought what I miss is the good parts, not the bad. And I try to remember what they all were… Continue reading

On the Use of Labels in the BDSM World

This has become more and more of a pet peeve for me over the past several years.

No one fits neatly into any of these little boxes, in my experience. Even those who most seem to always have elements that don’t fit what someone else sees as “the definition”, once you get right down to it.

The older I get, the more I realize this – and the crankier it makes me to see everyone else and their cousin still wanting to stuff everyone into the same little boxes, and to make those boxes and labels mean the same thing to everyone – or more precisely, the same as it means to them. I’ve ranted about this publically for years in a variety of locations, but I’m crankier than ever about it.

We are much too complex to be reduced to one or two word definitions as labels to fully describe who we are, whatever those labels may be – at least any of us with more than a few functioning neurons who aren’t so completely damaged that we let anyone kick us around any way they want. The more neurons, the more complex, and the less well these labels generally function as definitions or descriptions.

Even doormats have limits and issues that may often belie whatever simple label anyone might hang on them. And God knows that even the most fully M/s-identified people certainly do. It’s never, ever as simple or clear-cut as it may look from the outside.

These labels are, at best, starting points for a discussion. Shorthand, if you will. Continue reading

Protected: Breaking the Rules

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

When Dominance Crosses the Line to Just Plain Abuse

How do you tell the difference between BDSM and abuse?  The line can admittedly be rather narrow and grey sometimes, especially when you get into the area of consensual nonconsent, but there are some real differences.

While there are many possible signs, consent is the primary dividing line – along with adherence to limits, and whether or not the whole experience overall, whether in a single scene or an entire relationship, leaves the sub feeling more built up or more torn down.

A good dominant (hell, any good partner) will always seek to ensure that not only is his partner/sub well taken care of overall, but will make sure that any tearing down he may do in scene is reversed and the issues raised dealt with sensitively until the sub is put back together again.

If the experience is more of being torn down and not put back together again, then it’s abuse.

Someone said:

“When the party involved… does not enjoy an activity, can see no benefit to the activity aside from the other party’s enjoyment/amusement/benefit and is in some way injured by the activity on more than simply a bruised basis (bruised ego, bruised skin). If an activity causes non consensual damage and is continued after the damaged party has requested it to stop, it is abuse. This point of view of abuse does not have to be shared by anyone BUT the victim party…”

I think this sums it up beautifully.

I’d emphasize that “injury” doesn’t necessarily have to involve visible bruises, especially for those of us who do not mark easily. Continue reading

Can’t Get Rid of It…

Why can’t I get rid of this lust? This need?  This craving?

Despite abusive relationships and swearing I’ll never go near D/s or anything like it again on more than one occasion, I am still continually drawn back to… whatever it is about wiitwd that draws me and keeps me.  I’ve been saying that I’m going to go back to vanilla, but the thought is like death.  I’m afraid I’ll really be buried alive.

Reading Dreamwalker’s blog started reminding me of the kind of connection I’ve always sought, that I’ve missed so very much for so long, that showed in bits and pieces with R, but too quickly turned to dust because of…  well, because.  Because as amazing a lover as he was, and as “charming” as he seemed initially, he couldn’t (or wouldn’t) control himself in a way that kept me safe in any way.  Mr. Hyde won out, once he surfaced, and I finally had to face that that was who R really is, not the wonderful guy I thought I’d found initially (at least when I was able to ignore the red flags)…

And that’s no way to have a life or a relationship.  I can’t live walking on eggshells all the time.  I’m starting to learn more about why I put up with his shit for so long, but I digress…

I no longer believe that D/s is a particularly healthy relationship paradigm, since it’s now clear to me that too many doms in particular use it as a cover for abuse – but I can’t get away from it completely either.  Continue reading

On Bad Pain

On Fetlife, DK said:

I get intensely freaked out by tops who seem indifferent to any old pain or who seem out of control of the pain or think that any kind of pain is good… is likely to get one struck off my list of potential play-partners, but this is not necessarily obvious from the outside.

I like very select, orchestrated kinds of pain, intentionally caused as part of an erotic whole. That’s it. & not even all the variety of BDSM pain is my cup of tea. Get outside of the stuff I like & the pain is likely to start triggering all kinds of survival stuff in me, including the intense desire to get the fuck away from the moronic dipshit inflicting, &/or merely threatening to inflict, it on me.”

OMG, @DemonKia, you have *soooo* hit the nail on the head!  I particularly dislike that “out of control” kind of behavior.  Even if I liked what was being done ordinarily, just knowing that it’s not in control is enough to send me running and ducking for cover.

Nothing – and I mean *nothing* – will lower my pain threshold faster than a dom out of control, wildly swinging at me in all kinds of ways, hitting me any which way, or one who absolutely will *not* heed me when I tell him that I simply cannot take X or cannot take it as hard as he’s dishing it out.  Lack of orchestration doesn’t help, either.

And worse, if they ignore an out-and-out stated hard limit – but repeatedly continuing the same thing when I tell them I can’t take it that way or that hard *is* the same as ignoring a limit, in my book.  I shouldn’t *have* to actually use the word “red” or “safeword”, or to make entire activities entirely off limits, in order to try to get them to restrain their own selves.

Why the fuck can’t some of these idiots understand the concept of warmups, and that they would actually get more of what they wanted if they’d bother to do them well?  Why can’t they make the effort to really learn how to control their implements so that they can even *tell* exactly what they are inflicting?  What part of “modulation” is so foreign to their vocabularies?

And why don’t they realize that if you are having to always keep them backed down to somewhere within your limits that it’s *not* OK to try anything remotely resembling a mindfuck?  That such “mindfucks” will *not* be experienced as such at all?  That I’ll just want to *kill* them for trying it?

Don’t even start me on the ones who think it’s OK to *lead* with a “mindfuck” as their opening gambit on the first playdate, or even before, like the asshat who thought it was funny to threaten that he would take away my inhaler if I had an asthma attack the day I first met him, and then his first order to me when we played – the one and only time – was to do something that violated one of my hardest limits.  And then he claimed that that was a mindfuck.  Hello?  What part of “ensure there’s trust first” is unclear to these guys?

I am grateful that I’ve at least had enough tops who were incredibly skillful and mindful to know that there are at least some out there (and thankfully, one who is an ongoing although intermittent partner), but there have been just enough of these “dipshits”, to use your word, to turn me right off of the whole idea of BDSM altogether.

Frankly, I would rather give it all up than put up with another one of these relationships – or even a single playdate.

And you’re *so* right – it’s not necessarily obvious from the outside.  Some of the worst offenders are even seen by everyone else as “such nice guys”.  Or if you watch them playing, it wouldn’t look like they’re doing anything wrong, at least technically.  But sometimes, what they do in public is quite different from what they do at home…

I’ve had widely differing reactions to the same sort of play depending on who was inflicting it. It turns out that there’s tons of things I don’t like, and some that I only like if a certain person does it.

Well said, @Sunshine.

What’s more, how much a given dominant will see of my submissive side tracks in direct correlation with how I am treated, and how well he manages and orchestrates things, how well he manages the pain level and type, etc. – and how well he accepts feedback and acts on it appropriately.

I personally like a whole lot of things, done by a number of different people I’ve played with.  The only times I *don’t* like almost any of it was with dominants who were either out of control, abusive, and/or who didn’t take my needs in the matter into account, only stopping their assaults when I’d run away and/or scream at them.

And any hints of ignoring safewords or other limits?  Or actually injuring me – while hitting me nonconsensually, after being told that that particular activity was a hard fucking limit?

I’d like to say I walked away from the only man who has ever assaulted me like that (and threw temper tantrums when he didn’t get his way), but sadly, I didn’t, even when he injured me fairly severely on several occasions in the process of violating hard and other limits.  Abuse is a nasty thing that rots your brain and makes you make up all kinds of stupid excuses for way too long for why you should still put up with this kind of crap.

Let’s just say that such behavior does not exactly inspire me to submit to someone, much less even try to take the pain.

Not all pain is erotic. Some of it is downright obnoxious. Not knowing or caring about the difference takes you right the fuck off my potential play list as well.

And not caring to *make* it erotic will get them bounced off of my play list as well.

That’s not BDSM at that point, IMO, when the pain is noxious and obnoxious, and when you’ve communicated that to the top.  It’s assault and battery, end of story.  Abuse.

And just because they’re well-known or well-respected or liked in the community doesn’t mean they know what they are doing, or care.  I can think of two off the top of my head who are on my “do not play” list who fall into the first two categories, and another who would fit the latter category.  The first two bored me out of my mind as well as inflicted a lot of noxious pain.  The third, I’m afraid, gained some legitimacy just by being with me and my introducing him to my large circle of friends, and being a largely quiet type.

That is the exact reason that there is such a misconception, in & out of the kink realm (but especially out, in the vanilla realm), that S/M dynamics are just blatantly abusive.

@misscaddycompson, the notion that it’s not abusive is a nice theory, and when all is working as it should, that’s true.

Unfortunately, there is a very high percentage of “dominants” out there who *are* abusive, who use BDSM as a cover for their misogyny and their anger management issues.  I’ve always known that such types existed, but it’s become more and more evident to a number of my friends and me.

What is Dominance?

This is one of the best descriptions I’ve ever come across:

“Dominance seems often to attract those that confuse dominance with power misused…its so not like that…imagine the best teacher, boss, sports captain… whom ever…did they lead by yelling?… or by bringing out your best and you WANTING to be even better for them?”

Thanks to @subzeero on Fetlife for permission to repost

Honoring Agreements and Keeping Promises

(continuing on):

If a dominant makes promises, whether it is with the DS or MS relationship, but fails to carry those out, even early on during the building stages of the relationship, but expects his submissive or his slave to keep doing so. Now where is the trust in that dynamic. There will be none, other than a restless energy to question said dominant’s morals, ethics and beliefs.

Spot on, V.  Don’t even get me started on doms expecting subs to still honor our agreements even while they blithely ignore their own, especially when theirs endanger us physically and emotionally…

And doms?  Your agreement to honor limits *is* a promise – the biggest and most important one you will ever make in a D/s relationship.  If you don’t do so, then you *have* broken promises of the very most important and fundamental sort.  And it doesn’t matter what else you do that’s wonderful in the relationship when that happens.

It’s actually even more important to respect limits scrupulously in the early stages of a relationship, because that’s where the foundation will be laid, the patterns and expectations set.  If you already have a foundation of trust laid, and an established history of respecting limits, there will be more fabric to hold the relationship together, and to maintain and if necessary rebuild the trust, if you err later.

And we do *all* make mistakes; yes, even dominants.  We submissives know that very well, and we pretty much always make allowances for them – but we can also easily tell an honest mistake or accident from blatant and deliberate violations, particularly when they are repeated.

Your own reaction to the problem, once you are aware of it, is a dead giveaway, for starters.

For that matter, there are times in which even your very awareness that there *is* a problem to start with can tell us a lot about what’s really going on, whether this really is an accident or something more deliberate, or even just uncaring.

i think the bottom line of the OP is this… Do you stay with someone who is breaking their word or not following through with what they say…to vague to answer. if it was a one shot thing…..i would have to say life got in the road, it happens. If its all the time. i’d be having doubts.

I agree, and that’s a hard one to answer sometimes.  Sometimes you don’t really recognize the pattern until somewhere down the road.  Sometimes there may be mitigating circumstances even for patterns.  Sometimes, you’re at a point where the good still outweighs the bad and you don’t want to throw away the baby with the bathwater.  Sometimes it depends upon exactly what the broken promises are, and a whole lot of other possibilities.

The more fundamental the promises are to the basic dynamic and especially to preserving your own health and safety (both emotional and physical), the more important it may be to bail sooner rather than later.  And the harder it probably will be, especially if you really care about the dom.

But ultimately, if it keeps on happening, you will probably have a choice to make that won’t be pleasant, if you value your own self.

My only regret is that there have been times that I’ve not left someone first (or stayed gone, when I have left), that I’ve stayed way too long in the end than I knew was good for either of us.  I kept hoping things would change, seeing some signs but ignoring others, believing in him much too much more than I probably should have…

One who is making an effort to improve is one I can work with, one who simply apologizes or makes excuses and those and does the same crap they did yesterday?

Exactly.

I’d add that if I were the dominant in particular, and the sub was the one making the excuses, I would take other issues into consideration, including looking at what role *I* might be playing in their repeating the same thing.

The reality is that no one is willing to always honor their agreements with someone who frequently violates his own, and I for one tend not to feel much obligation (or desire) to cater to the pleasures of someone who isn’t even looking out for my own basic safety *all* of the time.

Promises and agreements also have hierarchies, IMO, and I don’t feel that that sort of broken promise to cater to someone’s pleasure, even in a D/s context, is anywhere near as important as his obligation to honor limits and to keep his sub safe, for example.  If he’s going to violate my limits and endanger me, then as far as I’m concerned, all other bets are off, at least until that situation is *fully* rectified.

I’d also say that there are limits to my being willing to work with someone who is making the effort to improve.  It’s got to continue, for one thing – not stop at some point and have them then expect me to think they’ve done all they are obligated to do, that having made X change absolves them from having to also do Y, if that’s something I find necessary, especially if it’s in the same vein as X.

Some changes take a lot longer to happen, though, particularly with those long-ingrained behavior patterns, so I try to look at what progress they are making as well as the end result.  Are they noticing the error sooner, even if they still commit it?  Are they trying to rectify it faster, once they do realize it’s happened again? Are they apologetic about it, or just seeking excuses and to justify what they are doing?  Do they talk about ways they see that they might be able to do better next time, and actually seek out other assistance *on their own* to try to speed up the process?  Do they ask me for help and feedback if I see the issue starting to develop again, to help them learn to catch themselves faster?  And do they actually accept that input, or smack my hand away when I offer it?

I’ll work with someone I love until the end of time, go to the ends of the earth with him, if I know and believe that he’s really making an honest effort, if he’s really working *with* me, that he’s equally committed to me and to *us*.

The only sincere apology is not doing the behavior one is apologizing for again.

And that includes not doing very similar things as well, in my book.

This is where understanding both the spirit as well as the actual letter of agreements comes into play.  If you are uncertain as to whether or not the new thing you want to do will be perceived the same as the previous violation, it’s better to ask first – and to maintain a high index of awareness of the sorts of things that *might* be considered to be similar enough to cause a problem.

Negotiation is an ongoing thing in any good D/s relationship, and there is almost never anything so important to do right at a particular moment that’s worth the risk of overstepping boundaries and breaking those most fundamental relationship promises.  If it’s important to you, and worth doing, then another chance will always present itself, especially in an ongoing relationship.

One of the earliest bits of advice I was given is that if it’s worth doing, it’s worth waiting for, precisely because of the need to ensure that you don’t overstep your partner’s limits.

Sadism For the Sake of Sadism – or What is Pure Sadism?

I consider a pure sadist, in the BDSM context, to be someone who gets off in some way from hurting others, regardless of whether or not that person likes it, and even prefers it when they don’t – or at least doesn’t let the bottom’s not liking it or not being able to take what gets dished out get in the sadist’s way of doing it anyways.

As long as the bottom agrees to those parameters, everything is copacetic.

There’s nothing wrong with consensual nonconsent – and many people definitely get off on it.  But it’s *got* to be agreed upon in advance.

That consent is also the only thing that separates BDSM-type sadism from the form described in the DSM that is considered pathological.

If there is no agreement that pushing those limits to the point that the bottom really cannot take it is OK, and especially if it’s stated in advance that it’s *not* (and is therefore a hard limit), then it becomes abuse instead – or even outright assault and battery.

It can certainly take some time to learn where those limits actually are, but once established, if not respected, then deliberately exceeding them (except by obvious accident) becomes pretty much a nonconsensual act, even if the overall play is consensual.

Obviously this can also take some real technical skill to avoid stepping over those boundaries in some cases – as well as a desire and intent to respect them.  It also takes open communications with one’s partner to determine when those limits may have also changed for some reason, especially things like the time in the menstrual cycle, any health issues, etc.

A pure sadist of the BDSM type may or may not also be a dominant as well, but often is not.