Sunday, September 25, 2011

My bdsm culture

Noah told me last night that part of the problem is, I have a lot of unstated beliefs about how bdsm "should" be done.  But he has no way of going and learning what my beliefs are, nor how to emulate them.  He can't go have a multi-year relationship with Tom to learn those expectations, and Tom is different now anyway.  The Wednesday munch has morphed beyond recognition.  The play parties I used to go to are different.  The time and space that created me is over.

Ok.  Well.  What am I?  I've been reading a lot about my friend Mo's journey towards slavery and I'll say flat out that there is a big part of me that is envious.  I liked being Tom's slave the vast majority of the time. It was a kind of belonging and safety not many other things have given me.  Being married is better, but it's the only bond that has ever felt even close to as safe as being a slave felt.  Even when I was fucking up (which happened a lot) I knew what I was supposed to be doing, saying, and thinking.  I don't have a lot of that sensation in my life.  I constantly feel wrong, bad, misaligned.  I loved having it in my intimate partnership.  I felt a freedom to relax, just go through my set patterns.  I didn't have to think all the time about what I should be doing in order to be "right" for my current environment.

It didn't fucking matter where I was.  I was always his slave.  I had an extensive list of things I was supposed to be doing at all time.  If I wanted to please him I knew how.  It wasn't mercurial.  It was dependable and safe.  It helps that Tom is very easy to please.  He had very low expectations of me and I savaged him for it occasionally.  It bothered me that he didn't want to keep upping the ante.  He wanted to have our M/s relationship and give me direction and then coast.

I don't handle that very well.  I need a lot of notice, attention, and subtle course corrections.  Or I end up on the wrong continent.  I'm not sure I would ever be able to be in an M/s relationship again.  I think about it.  The best circumstances I can imagine for it is that Noah and I will start playing with it in 20 years.  If he still has the energy.  Hell, if I still have the energy.  There are reasons that most of the "interesting" slaves are fairly young.  They also don't tend to stay slaves forever.

There is this constant balance with sustainability.  How much time do you have to devote to various things in your life?  How much energy?  Maybe we will just have weekend flings over the years.  That may be all I am actually up for.

I feel like I am trying to talk myself into what I perceive as Noah's level of interest in bdsm.  I am trying hard to grow in that direction.  My experience of bdsm was that it slowly oozed into every portion of life.  Ok, not work.  But your entire personal life becomes about fostering your "role".  I experienced that even when you switch the physical activities (I topped Tom) you still needed to have most of your soul understand that you were just taking a break.  You were still really a _______.  My experience of bdsm was that scenes take a long time, an hour is a really short scene.  My experience of bdsm is that the goal is to fill as much time as you possibly can with things to do to a person so that they have to just endure it.

Death by a thousand paper cuts.  I don't like bondage that is put on fast and sloppy.  If you only intend the rope to be on for five minutes people don't take the time to ensure that circulation is properly functioning.  It's not as comfortable.  I'm at the stage of life where five minutes of increased discomfort during sex is not a selling point.  Bondage that is put on carefully can be fairly comfortable.  It's not about the discomfort of the rope on your skin.  Here, let's use this lovely silk parachute cord.  It's not about being uncomfortable because the rope is cutting off circulation.  It's about being helpless.

What I like about bondage is for that period of time I am less able to be responsible for myself.  I am less able to be responsible for the people around me.  I love a good hog tie.  I love the gradual increase of pain over time as I fight with the need to stay tense so I can control what position I am in and increasing fatigue as my willpower wears out.  I like taking my willpower to the edge and then losing it and sagging into the rope.  Feeling my breath come shorter and shorter.  Eventually circulation starts to be a problem no matter how well the bondage is done (in most cases, not all) and there is this balance between trying to care for my needs (circulation is a fucking need) and having to trust someone else to be watching and caring for me.

When I dated Tom I was young and stupid.  I didn't know what was going on with my body due to ignorance.  I let him do anything he wanted.  I trusted him.  He broke my arm six weeks into our four year relationship and I still trusted him with absolutely all of my physical safety.  It was something that wasn't my problem.  But as you get older in the scene you discover that as a bottom your physical safety is your own damn problem.  Because other people can't know what is really going on for you.  I miss the freedom of ignorance.  I miss the sensation of not having to be responsible.

I miss the sensation of slowly squirming in rope.  Of knowing that someone wanted to tie me up so that I couldn't get away... and now they just want to sit and look at me.  What are they seeing.  What vulnerability do I have that is so tantalizing he just wants to sit and look at me so much he doesn't want me to be able to deflect his gaze.  I can't get away from being seen any more.  There is an element of pain, but the kind of bondage pain I like (minimal) is just not in the same universe as the kind of impact play (single tails and canes) that I like (intense).

I like bdsm play that is about capturing intensity.  Floggers don't capture intensity to me.  I can't handle them.  They are so much intensity spread out over such a large area that I can't process or breathe or think.  I hate them.  I like bondage because it makes me helpless.  I like playing with the idea of being unable to stop someone from touching me.  That's an intense line for me.  If the bondage is uncomfortable I am pissy about the bondage being uncomfortable.  If the bondage is comfortable I can't evade my own intense internal storm around... oh my god he is touching me.  I can't deflect anything.  I'm perfectly fine and comfortable.... I just can't move.

I'm mixing up talking about roles and actions and that is part of what bothers Noah.  It's hard to figure out which parts are important where and why.  It's hard to make general statements.  I engage in bdsm because I enjoy being helpless, I enjoy taking pain for someone else's enjoyment (this is where Noah doesn't understand why I don't like bondage that is uncomfortable--he enjoys that it is painful), and I like pleasing people.  I can be the do-er or the receiver of pretty much any activity I am comfortable with and be either submissive or dominant.  It really doesn't matter.  The actions are only kind of the point.

I care about energy exchange.  I care about having to watch my tongue because it is the appropriate way for someone in my position to behave.  I have intense negative reactions towards any and all authority.  Of course if I have issues with authority I want to play with that during sex.  I want my lover to be the authority and controlling the environment and my mind set.  Not every time, certainly.  But I like being told what I have to say, feel, and think.  I can absolutely take that and go with it.  I take on roles very well.

Being Tom's slave gave me a buffer between my anxiety of being "right" and every social situation.  I didn't have to worry about being the right Krissy for the social group.  I had to be Tom's slave and if they didn't like it they can fuck right off.  It's a certainty of place.  I go through most of my life feeling like I don't have a certain place.  Like any of my friends or relationships might disappear tomorrow.  I certainly go long enough in between talking to most people that it feels like they disappear.  I spend most of my life in an agony of cycling between why hasn't "a, b, c,....y, z" people contacted me ever again?  They must hate me.  It's personal.  We had that great meet up at a coffee shop two years ago and I haven't heard from them since?  It must be because I am a total asshole and they hate me.  I will now feel awkward and uncomfortable around them at random parties because it all feels personal and like a rejection.

When I was Tom's slave it wasn't about my comfort.  It was about pleasing Tom.  I learned a lot of fairly high functioning social skills because of that pressure.  These days it feels like I can't please anyone, least of all myself.

These days I use being a mom as my compass.  That is my constant pressure.  It's a lot less fun.  Mom is a kill joy.  I'm not pleasing people.  I'm the one who screams at everyone to clean up after themselves and I have to be constantly thinking ahead as to how to balance every crisis.  It sucks.  I am both in control and not in control of everything in my life.  So basically... no one has control.  No one is at the helm.  I don't want to steer for everyone the way Tom steered for me.  And there really isn't anyone who can steer for me.  I have too many different things I have to think about.  No one else tracks them.

If a scene is about causing me pain it is about causing me pain.  If a scene is supposed to be about struggling and helplessness, then I had better not be in pain because I won't think about anything other than being in pain.  Being in pain while I am tied up is far far harder than being in pain when I am unrestrained.  I do not enjoy combining bondage with beatings very much.  I need to be able to move around to process pain.  If bondage is uncomfortable/painful and I can't do anything to move around to adjust the pain I get increasingly frantic.  Being trapped and in pain sucks.  It triggers nasty panic attacks.

I'm as fussy about bondage as I am because most people who tie others up are pretty inconsiderate about incidental pain.  That's not their problem.  I can do bondage scenes that aren't comfortable.  By the end I am almost entirely dissociated.  It was made clear to me that what is going on is I am holding still and letting someone do things that suck to me.  I don't have to be present for that.  It's hard to stay present if someone is inflicting accidental or minor additional discomfort on me.  I feel invalidated.  I feel invisible. I feel like an accessory to the scene they want to be having with an inanimate object who happens to have a pussy.

I developed tastes in accordance with how Tom did bondage.  I have spent the last seven years dealing with the fact that Tom does bondage very differently than most people.  I don't feel safe enough to be emotionally present and vulnerable with most people.  A lot of the reason is I don't trust them.  They hurt me in unintentional ways because they aren't paying attention.  They don't know that 'x' thing will hurt me.  When I mention it in a small way they do not respond how Tom did with instant concern and adjustments.  I feel invisible and invalidated.  Ok fine, I don't need to be here any more.

I can stop feeling what is happening in my body.  When someone does something that is low level uncomfortable in a way I don't like I feel like I have no choice but to stop feeling.  This makes me less and less emotionally available over the years while playing.  It's something that I feel bitter and pissy about.  It is hard to be skilled enough with rope to play the way I want to play.  It feels like obviously it is too much effort to be tied up the way I want to be tied up.  No one does it right from my short, choppy, unhelpful hints and that means I can never have it again.  That part of me is dead.

This all sounds very melodramatic, but it only sort of is.  I know two men who can tie me up without me giving them any pissy little comments.  They have both been tying people up for many hours a week for 20+ years.  If that is what it requires for me to like bondage I need to just give it up.  I should stop taunting myself.  Or maybe I should figure out how to communicate with my husband.  I should start suggesting a lot more often that he practice tying me feet up while I read a book.  That way I'm not nit-picking at him.  He needs to practice and find out what doing it right looks like.

I learned "right" by being tied up for hours and hours every week for years.  When I started learning on Tom I made him wear a blindfold and a gag because he couldn't shut the fuck up and stop telling me what I "should" be doing.  Heh.  I am so hard on Noah.  I treat Noah as if it is a grand betrayal every time he doesn't know something I know.

Ok so there are two separate things.  There is the physical experience and the mental experience.  They really revolve on different axis.  I'm really picky about the physical experience.  At this stage of my life I have experienced enough random pain.  I am not opposed to playing with pain again but I can't deal with undirected pain.  I can't deal with, "Well I want your hands tied up and oops I cut the circulation off, oh well."  Because to me that sounds like, "I don't know what I am doing and I could fuck up your nerve sensation for the rest of your life, but oops, oh well."  I have a friend who ignored that kind of pain.  Last I heard she could barely feel her thumb six years later.  No thank you.  Bondage is taken very lightly by most people.  They only do small amounts of it and they do it for short times.  You can only get away with sloppy bondage if you want to do it for a few minutes and then immediately take it off.

I like long term bondage.  So if someone starts tying me up I immediately have the desire for the physical sensations that come with longer-term bondage.  Discordant feelings ruin the experience for me.  If I know while someone is tying me up that I am on a short timer because I'm already uncomfortable then I never relax and bother to feel anything else that is happening.  I can't focus.  My fucking arms hurt.  No I don't care that you are touching my clit.  It feels frankly fucking irritating.  It's not sexy.  I am focusing on trying not to tap out early because my arms fucking hurt.  I am not focusing on you having fun, asshole.

And part of that is... I haven't been a slave in a long time.  Tom ended our M/s contract in July of 2003.  I haven't done bdsm for someone else's pleasure in a long time.  I do it for mine.  And if it's uncomfortable, you have just lost.  This is where the roles part becomes important.  If I am your slave it is my obligation to take what you want to give and deal with it.  It is also my obligation to ensure that you do not damage me.  No one really wants to break their toys.  Something that people never understood about my relationship with Tom is, most of the snarky feedback that bothered other people was accommodating actual health issues for me.  We just didn't talk about it that way.  We had our snarky dialogue and when I told him that something needed to be adjusted he just did it.  We both knew what we were trying to create together: a bondage scene where I could suffer for as long as possible because the longer I suffered the harder his dick got.  Being in bondage gear for multiple hours was far better than sex for Tom.

We rarely combined sex and bondage.  It feels like discordant energy to me.  The sex moves me around and makes the bondage uncomfortable.  Why am I doing this again?  If all you wanted for me to do was lie in a weird position during sex you could have just told me to do that.  Instead I have to deal with my arms hurting for days.  joy.

This all makes it sound like I'm difficult to play with.  This would be why I just don't bother to do what I consider play any more.  Noah and I have a lot of rough sex.  We rarely have what I really think of as "scenes" and I don't play with anyone else.

My bdsm is an adjunct to my sex life.  It's not really part of it.  And for the last few years I've been focused on trying to meet Noah's sexual needs and he doesn't have a similar approach to play.  So we just don't play.  It's not that he doesn't want to play.  It's that the ways he plays feel weird/wrong to me and I don't know how to adjust.  It feels too rough.  Too unfocused.  Too much too fast.  Or not enough. I can never decide.

He's not Tom.  I don't know how to get over this.  I haven't ever really played with anyone over a long period other than Tom.  He is still 90% + of my bdsm experience.  I am still attuned to his playing.  I don't know how to change that.  I don't know what is my wants and what is his.  I don't know how to be in accord with Noah.

Part of the problem is that Noah is dealing with such a deficit of sex and fun energy that he can't muster much for the kinds of scenes I like.  It's just a fact.  Today is Folsom.  I won't be going.  I will stay home again this year with my kids.  I will feel left out and excluded from that community.  I will feel invisibile and unimportant.  Which is stupid.  I'm not invisible or unimportant, I'm just busy.  Folsom is not the place to take either of my kids.

A lot of why this is so hard is because I don't know how to fit into bdsm culture without a role.  I don't have one any more.  I'm not open to anything.  It's not even that I would turn down people who asked to play if anyone had the cajones.  I'd probably say yes.  If they asked on the right day in the right way and I was in the right mood.  Ha.  I kind of feel like it would be stupid to do it though.  I know before I start playing that I will be disappointed.  Because no one else plays like Tom.  I miss our play.  I miss those physical sensations.  I miss having someone be that kind of attentive to my body.

I feel terrible guilt for writing that.  It sounds so dismissive of Noah.  Noah is a better partner in every way.  He is a better lover.  But he's not my Owner.  Noah doesn't think of me as a piece of property.  I'm sure feminists everywhere rejoice.  I kind of think that is the problem though.  Noah thinks of me as an autonomous human being who should be doing everything for myself.  And while I'm at it, here's his laundry.  I did Tom's laundry too, but it was different.  I wasn't just doing the fucking laundry.  I was serving my Owner and there were consequences if I did it wrong.  My work was examined.  He cared what I was doing.  He paid attention to me, at least early on before he got sick of it.

The intensity of being a slave is hard to explain.  Any time I felt lazy or wanted to procrastinate I had the lead club of, "I am not allowed to disappoint my Owner."  And I didn't either.  I had a very clear set of expectations to meet.  If I met those then I was magically ok.  I was magically right.  I was magically pleasing.  If I didn't meet expectations on a given day there was a clear course for making amends and restitution.  I felt secure in my behavior, attitude, and words.  I was pleasing my Owner.

Noah wants me to make myself happy.  While he's standing nearby doing whatever makes him happy.  It's a lot of pressure by contrast.  I am constantly having to decide for myself what my priorities are.  I have to decide my task list.  When I make my task list it is overly hard, stressful, and shitty.  At the end of the day I feel like I didn't do enough even if I did more than three other people.  I have no standard to meet.  So I can never be done.  I never feel a relief of the pressure.  I have never done enough work.  I am always failing.  I have never found that magical combination of things I am "supposed" to do to keep Noah happy.

I believe that people who tell me they don't want me to "make" them happy are liars.  They are just making the game harder and harder.  They want to have extensive deniability around why they will abandon me later because "things just didn't work out".  People always have expectations.  They are lying pieces of shit if they claim otherwise.  Even if their expectation is, "I'd like you to only talk about 'a, b, and c' when we are in person because I get enough of 'd' from your blog."  They are never willing to say that out loud.  But they get pissy and snippy when I get to 'd'.  The secret to happiness is low expectations.  Every time Noah says that I want to beat him over the head with a baseball bat because having low expectations really just means that you like to move the target on me.

From day to day Noah is pleased by different things.  On many days what pleased him yesterday will cause him to be snippy today.  It's probably a mild version of what it is like to live with me.  (See, always with the self-denigration.)  Him telling me that he has low expectations means that from day to day I don't know what will set him off.  It's like a time bomb.  Some days he comes in and doesn't care if it looks like a bomb went off in the living room.  Other days he comes in huffy and stomping and I feel like I am a terrible pathetic person for shirking in my duties.  I must never rest again.

What I miss about M/s the most is that I knew what was expected of me at all times in all places in all ways.  I couldn't always meet it and that caused different problems.  I spend most of my time lately feeling anxious because I don't know what is expected of me.  What I should be doing.  I can never do enough to make me or anyone else happy.  I am always failing because there is no way to not-fail.  There is no alternative in my life.

Other than increasing my apathy.  If I dramatically increase my apathy then I don't care that I feel like I am failing everyone.  They can fuck off.

I'm not sure this is better.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I feel like I have a lot to say about this. If I can just remember it. Hmm.

    The thing that's occurring to me most is that I wonder how much being a slave would be effective as a work-around for the current levels of stress and responsibilities in your household. Basically, when you were with Tom you knew what you had to do, but there was probably a lot less that really had to get done. I'm guessing based on my own life, but I know that around here there is just too much work and too much stress for everyone. If James told me what to do it would either be way too much for me to possibly get done, or else he would go easier on me and when I was "finished" there would still be stressful things undone and diminishing his/our satisfaction. Not necessarily saying I don't think it would work for you, I just see that as a potential difference of circumstances that you haven't necessarily written much about.

    So, then there's the mom yardstick. For me, having that role really helped. Before I had kids, I never succeeded much at doing anything I felt was worthwhile. I value art and things, but I just could never really focus or get motivated to get much done. I feel like I've always been a fantastic partner, but I never got much positive reinforcement for that. Or, rather, my partners always really appreciated me, but they also had their own interests, and then there would be a certain point where they'd sort of be like, um, can you actually find something to do for a while? Like, something you care about? And I could never really, really find that until I became a mom. (Now it's not just that I care about my kids, strangely having no time at all and being forced to be more independent from James has really made me develop my own personal interests. But there's the mom thing, too.) But I think the weird thing about using being a mom as a measure of success is that you really can't be a perfectionist about it. I feel like if you look at your kids and they are pretty healthy and happy, you automatically win (and I see you mentioning that kind of thing on here pretty frequently). But mom work really isn't valued by other people in proportion to how hard it is, which sucks. I think even if people look at you and think you're a good parent, they often don't understand how hard that is, and also it's sort of expected. I bet when you were a slave you got a lot of reinforcement that, not only were you doing a good job, but that in some way that good job was way more extreme than what most people would normally expect of someone. You might even be devoting more time, effort and attention now to being a mom, but that effort doesn't really stand out and get noticed nearly as much, which sucks. Or maybe I'm just projecting a lot.

    But, I don't think you're failing at all, for whatever that's worth.

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