When it comes to control in D/s dynamics, there are a lot of questions to ponder and theorize about.
How do you give over even more to your dominant? How do you take more from your submissive?
How do you work out what your limits are?
How do you take or give more control?
How do I start making rules and protocols outside of the bedroom?
Or maybe you’re just in a D/s dynamic that is excellent, but you both want a little … more? So perhaps the question is simply, How do you step up your D/s dynamic?
This theory can help address all of these.
The Cartography of Control is a Map
The cartography of control maps out areas of someone’s (generally the s-type) life, and codes them into categories to share which areas they would like to have under someone else’s control and which areas they would like to keep for themself.
The first step is to brainstorm different life areas. These are probably endless, but there are some broad umbrella categories that applies to most folks. Here are some areas to start with:
It’s always possible to think of more things, or to get a lot more specific about things within the categories — grooming, for example, could be divided into how someone keeps their hair, shaving, what products they use in the shower, makeup, their skincare routine — all sorts of things. But for now, we’ll keep the categories broad and divide it into specifics later.
Sort the Categories Into Yes, No, or Maybe
Now that you have a somewhat robust list — it doesn’t have to be exhaustive, but at least is a complete enough list for you to start — sort them into three different categories:
- Areas the submissive would like the dominant to have control over
- Areas that the dominant could possibly have control over, depending on [certain] circumstances
- Areas the submissive would like to retain their own control and final decisions over
For now, don’t worry about whether or not the dominant wants to control these categories. That’s a separate step. Just think about the submissive’s part in it, and whether they could or are willing to give up control.
One way to sort these is to write all your categories out on paper, then use different colors to denote which ones are which. Red could mean “no, I will keep control,” yellow/orange could mean, “maybe, depending on circumstances,” and green could mean, “yes, I would like my dominant to have control over these.”
Yes, you can change your mind — fine tune it, think through it, do thought experiments and make educated guesses about how future you would feel if certain areas were under someone else’s control.
After you have the areas sorted, it’s time for the dominant’s part.
Next, make a separate chart of areas the dominant would like to have control over, could maybe take control over depending on circumstances, and would not like control over.
Now you should have two sets of lists. Time to compare them
Start with the yeses — those are the low-hanging fruit, the control that is easily on the table! Find the areas where you are both a yes — that’s your sweet spot. There are probably months of explorations inside just those areas alone!
But if you want to keep digging in, find the areas where one of you is a yes and one of you is a maybe, and discuss. Maybe you’ll discover some places where you want to grow more trust, or some parameters for the relationship that you hadn’t previously discussed.
When you’re ready to start exploring a particular area, brainstorm all kinds of things within that category that you could control, and start experimenting with protocol.
But first, a quick word about protocol:
Remember — only add one or two protocols at a time into a dynamic. It sets up the submissive to actually succeed at remembering what the protocols are, and doing them. Plus, it helps the dominant to remember and recognize when the protocol is or isn’t being done, and to act if it does not happen — which is another key piece of managing protocol.
You’re also perfectly set up to start playing with the Protocol Game, if that appeals to you! The cartography of control is a perfect way to figure out some of your training areas, and build the game from there.
Hopefully, figuring out your cartography of control will help identify areas where you can dive deeper into your dominance and submission.
D/s Playground is a course for dominants, switches, submissives, folks who are curious, folks who aren’t sure where they fall, and anyone in between.
You only have to want to study consensual authority exchange — dominance and submission — in depth from a trauma-informed, queer, nonbinary, intersectional perspective.
Here are the details!
What is D/s Playground?
D/s Playground is an online course. It doesn’t teach you how to be a dominant or a submissive, but rather offers tools, resources, texts, and experiments to explore your own relationship to dominance, submission, and authority exchange, so you can articulate your interests and explore your edges. After these explorations you will be able to better communicate what you’re looking for and desire — which greatly increases your chances of having it!
There is an introduction video & article for the basic agreements and concepts of the course, and then there are four units — Bondage, Discipline, Service, and SadoMasochism (that spells the acronym BDSM).
Each unit has some or all of the following:
- How-to videos by sex & BDSM educators
- Dirty stories to read
- Nonfiction how-to articles to read
- Additional fun, like quizzes & checklists
- Journal prompts to reflect on each of the materials
- An experiment — something for you to do, in person, alone or with someone else, to try out the concepts of the unit
When is this happening?
Each unit will be available LIVE and included with $5+ patrons benefits through Patreon:
- May 25, 2019 – Unit 1: Bondage
- July 20, 2019 – Unit 2: Discipline
- September 20, 2019 – Unit 3: Service
- November 25, 2019 – Unit 4: SadoMasochism
The units on Patreon will be recorded, but only the parts with rife and myself will be made public; none of the parts from other participants will be included later.
Yes, it will be available for everyone — not just through Patreon!
Each unit will be available for everybody the following month. (This will give us some time to edit videos, set up the payment systems, etc.)
- June 30, 2019 – Unit 1: Bondage
- August 30, 2019 – Unit 2: Discipline
- October 30, 2019 – Unit 3: Service
- December 30, 2019 – Unit 4: SadoMasochism
How much will it be?
Each unit will be $69, and all four units can be downloaded for $200. You can preorder them this summer, or wait until the end of the year when they are all available.
A few more questions … ?
Do I have to be in a partnership? Can I do this solo?
Absolutely, you can do this solo, in partnership, with play partners, long distance — in any kind of structure of a relationship. The experiments are all built to be adapted to any scenario.
I’ve taken Submissive Playground before, should I do this one too?
Sure! You will recognize some of the materials, but some of them are new. We had many people take Submissive Playground more than once, and because we are always growing and changing, our relationship to D/s is always growing and changing, so they found new things in the activities. Plus, there are many ways to adapt the experiments and do it differently the next time.
What’s the difference between doing it through Patreon or paying for it later? Is it the same material?
Yes — mostly. All the materials are the same. The difference is that through the Patreon, you will have a community of folks going through it with you, and downloading it later will be more of a solo experience.
Signing up through Patreon also gives you access to a private Discord server, which is like a chatroom. The only people in there are signed up through Patreon, so it’s a small, intimate group of people I trust. There are ongoing conversations in there about dominance and submission, and we’ll have a dedicated space to talk about the materials in the course, have accountability buddies, and share the homework.
How do I sign up?
Go over to patreon.com/mrsexsmith and sign up as a $5+ patron, and you’ll automatically get access to the live webinars starting in May.
If you want to download them after and not through Patreon, sign up for the mailing list and you’ll get notifications when they are available. (Keep an eye on my social media, too!)
Submissives don’t have to wait for a dominant to give them structure, plans, and training! There is a lot you can do on your own to keep yourself connected to your submission.
A training plan involves protocol, goals, rules to follow, and, ideally, rewards. A lot of protocol and training in relationships revolve around sexy kinky things, but sometimes people use it as tools for self-growth and self-improvement.
Even if you don’t currently have a dominant, you can create a training plan for yourself to keep you motivated, connected to your submissive, and striving. These are excellent skills to hone, both for yourself and for your future dominant.
So what is a ‘training plan,’ anyway?
A training plan is a breakdown of the small steps needed to reach a goal. For example, if the goal is to run a marathon, the training plan breaks down the different steps to get mentally and physically prepared in order to do it. For example, a triathlon training plan might include identifying one’s current level of swim, bike, run; increasing capacity for each; targeting biggest improvement potential; and setting a date to do the triathlon in order to dole out the milestone goals between then and now.
Making a goal and working to achieve it combats boredom & complacency, because there’s something challenging to strive for — pushing oneself is not usually boring, and inherently not complacent.
Within the context of D/s, there are dozens of skills that submissives can hone in order to be of greater service to the dominant. Setting a goal to learn or master some of those skills can serve the D/s in the long run, as well as the submissive themself.
Step 1: Identify What Kind of Training to Pursue
Depending on what you want to improve, or what your dominant/household would want you to improve, your training will be different.
Here’s some examples of skills you’d like to increase or parts of your life that you’d like to improve:
- Providing sexual service
- Domestic service: cooking, housekeeping chores, bookkeeping, assistance, gardening
- “Trophy” attributes like dress, grooming, mannerisms
- Entertainment: music, dance, storytelling, producing/hosting events
- Expressions of devotion
Step 2: Vision What You’d Like the Goal to Be
Here’s some examples that (roughly) correspond to the examples above:
- Receive double penetration
- Perfect your favorite Thai food dish
- Do 100 push-ups
- Play guitar well enough to share sing-alongs at a campfire
- Make a photo album (actually print out some of your Instagram photos!)
Step 3: Break the Goal Into Small Tasks
Continuing with the examples above, here’s some of the tasks and experiments that could happen in order to perfect your favorite Thai food dish.
- Go visit your favorite Thai restaurants to order the dish and see how you most like it
- Research Thai cooking classes in your area
- Ask that friend who is a really good cook for some help
- Look up recipes for that thai dish
- Gather the ingredients needed
- Cook the dish for your friends at least 5x to experiment with getting the flavors right
Step 4: Set a Timeline
When do you want to have this task or goal complete? A timeline is essential to a training plan — otherwise, it’s just a someday-dream.
Make your timeline as realistic as possible. You might even check in with friends about the timeline and see if they find it realistic — sometimes it’s hard to tell how long something will actually take.
Step 5: Set Aside Time To Do These Different Tasks
That might mean saying no to things you want to do, or canceling things, or pausing a project or hobby you love in order to make time. You can come back to all those things later. You won’t miss out on that much, I promise. (This is a good time to practice noticing your FOMO — fear of missing out — and not letting that fear overpower your goals and training.)
Put your tasks on your calendar! You could even make a date with a friend to keep yourself accountable.
Step 6: Practice
Anything new needs practice. For a while, it will be a thing to try out (and probably fail, sometimes). The only way to see the progress is with more practice, more diligence, and more trying.
Find different ways to practice. Put your skill in different situations to adjust and practice with different variables. Tell your friends that you’re practicing and ask for their help in supporting you. For example, cook at a friend’s house, cook in a very limited prep time, cook using only what you have in the house and make a range of substitutions.
Step 7: Present! Show Off Your New Skills!
Once you feel confident that you have practiced a lot, show off your skills! Share what you’ve been doing with friends. Offer your new cooking skills by bringing dishes to a leather community event. Or find different ways to share what you’ve been learning, and tell people about your journey.
- Make the Thai dish for dinner for your partners + friends
- Dress up for no good reason, just to look good
- Write down a fantasy about your new DP skill
- Set up a campfire sing-along
This is part of how to reward yourself for a job well done!
Step 8: Celebrate Meeting Your Goal!
You get to decide how to celebrate — you could bribe yourself, you could create a star chart and cross things off, you could high-five your bestie and congratulate yourself.
Set another new goal, break it down, and get it done!
Miss Piggy was a player in Submissive Playground in 2014, and is signed up to join us again. She is the Social Activities Director of the Society of Janus in San Francisco.
What did you like about the course? What parts of it stand out?
There were a lot of things I liked about the course, but the first that stands out for me is that I felt like Mr. Sexsmith led me through a lot of pondering that I hadn’t done yet, about a variety of topics. I was still/am still very new, and it gave me an organized, thoughtful approach to my own kinks and interests. The quality of the materials was very high – the videos were very informative and entertaining, and I haven’t seen that caliber elsewhere. Mr. Sexsmith and rife are also “informative and entertaining” – you can really see how beautiful and thought-out their relationship is and how that shapes their perspectives.
The other aspect that was very special was the camaraderie with subs from all over the world. Everyone was so different in terms of their dynamics, orientation and interests, but each person was more fascinating that the last! Having people video chat and tell their stories was so cool. I might pay to do the class again just so I can learn from all the next group’s stories.
What drew you to Submissive Playground? Where were you before you took the course?
I was a fairly new submissive when I found out about the Playground. I was reading everything I could get my hands on, taking classes, and getting involved in the local scene. But I needed more, and everything I read pointed me to the Submissive Playground (especially the idea of homework).
What was your favorite part of the experience?
Hearing from submissives of every gender and orientation from all over the world. Having someone share a deep, dark scary secret and several of us all piping in “ME TOO!”
What did you learn?
I learned that I am ok as the submissive I am, and I can strive to become the submissive I want to be. It’s not about the end game, it’s about the journey. The Playground was an important part of that journey.
What kind of skills did you build?
Discovering what kinds of service are important to each of my partners and following through on those things, instead of making myself crazy trying to be perfect with things they couldn’t care less about. And flirting with Tops and Sadists and Dominants (oh my!) while still feeling submissive.
What changed with your relationship to submission?
Realizing it was mine (and my partners) to define for ourselves – there isn’t a right answer.
What changed with your relationship to your dominant?
Watching the assigned videos with Him, or sharing specific readings, was the best part. Further opening lines of communication – me finding my voice to say that something wasn’t working for me (bad pain versus good pain, suffering for His pleasure versus being miserable). Even for a strong, alpha submissive like myself, those are hard things to say aloud to a partner.
What in you feels stronger now than it did before the course?
My trust in my own gut to know when a relationship or scene isn’t right for me. My confidence that as a fat, middle-aged masochist submissive cis-woman, I am a hot catch for the right people and anyone who earns my service or submission better be damn worth it.
How & why would you recommend this to other submissives?
While I got lots of answers to my unresolved questions from this class, I felt more focused on the wonderful questions it brought to my attention. I found myself wandering my neighborhood caught up in a question that came up on a phone call or in one of the videos.
If you are intelligent, thoughtful, submissive (or might be), curious and ideally witty, I think you’ll get a lot out of it, even if it’s not what you think you’ll get out of it. It’s really a bit of a journey – I’m glad I took it seriously.
registration is open!
One of the most common questions I get asked from submissives is, “How do I flirt with dominants!?” And while learning some basic flirting tips (like: be curious and ask questions, give compliments, be honest) can be helpful, when you add D/s into the equation sometimes the rules are a little bit different.
Part of the confusion is that we associate flirtation with assertion—someone comes along, declares interest, and asks for what they want. Those can be seen as dominant traits. But it is absolutely possible for a submissive to do them, and to still come across as submissive and respect the dominant’s authority as a dom.
So, assuming that you’ve already established that you are submissive and the person you’re flirting with is a dominant, here’s some tips. (These are some of the things that would work for me.)
1. Establish whether or not they want to be flirted with.
This might seem obvious, but it’s multi-faceted. You gotta figure out if they are available or not—if their relationship allow for flirtation with other people. It might be as simple as figuring out whether or not they are single, but being partnered doesn’t necessarily mean that they can’t flirt—it just depends on whether their relationship allows for flirtation or not. And you might also see whether their relationship only allows flirting, and not going any farther than that—which may change your opinion on whether or not you want to flirt, depending on what the goal of your flirting is.
Secondly, you have to figure out if they are available or not right now, meaning if the timing is right. If I’m about to teach a workshop, for example, I am way less likely to respond well to flirtation than if I’ve just ended a workshop. How do you know if the timing is okay? Well, you can always ask—”So, is this a good time to flirt with you?” “Got a minute to flirt with me?” “Hey, if this isn’t a good time, could we set aside some time later and flirt maybe?”
2. If they have a submissive already, befriend them.
While you’re asking around about whether they’re available, also ask whether or not they already have a submissive—then, make friends with the sub. Ask if there’s any service you can do, if there’s some interesting talent or skill you can offer, or what other expression of interest would be welcome. If you establish yourself as aware of the hierarchy in the relationship that already exists, you’ll be a lot less threatening to the submissive, and they are way more likely to hook you up with tips and tricks to get the dominant’s attention.
3. Offer to be of service.
As a friend of mine put it, “May I ____ for you?” This is where your keen observational skills can give you big points: if you notice some of the things they always do and offer to do it for them, you put yourself in the position of being very helpful. If being observational isn’t your strong point, offer some of your own impressive skills or talents: May I black your boots, may I gift you some peanut butter cookies that I made.
4. Use their title.
Using words that remind you both of the hierarchies that you like to play with can be a big turn-on, which is always a bonus when you’re trying to be flirtatious. Do some observation, and ask around, and see what kind of titles this person likes to use.
But, don’t use their relational titles. Some people have titles that they only use with a particular person, and those can be way too personal and intimate to use with a new person. Then again, some folks have “Daddy” or “Mistress” right there on their name tag or in their Fetlife user name, and everybody refers to them as such.
There’s no hard and clear rule about which titles are relational and which are respectful, so you kind of have to feel it out for yourself. In general, I’d say “Sir” and “Ma’am” are the most widely acceptable, but those are not universally liked by everyone. You can always slip it into a sentence and then ask permission: “I’d love to get your drink, ma’am—may I call you ma’am?” Hopefully, they’ll respond with the thing they would like to be called, if you guess incorrectly.
5. Be willing to be wrong.
Be willing to hear no. Be willing to be corrected if you make assumptions or mistakes. You might call them by a title and they might correct you—that’s okay. Say, “Sorry about that; thank you for the permission to call you sir.” Being corrected means you are worthy of correction, and it’s a good sign.
Putting yourself out there means taking risks, and when you’re the person who is initiating the flirtatious interaction, it’s kind of up to you to put yourself in a vulnerable position first.
6. Ask for what you want.
And be honest! Don’t ask to black their boots if that’s not your thing, don’t ask for them to beat you if you’re not into receiving sensation. Ask for what you actually want.
It’s always okay to ask for something, but it’s important that you are willing to hear any possible answer to your ask. Of course, we want the answer to be an emphatic “yes,” but it isn’t always. If you’re going to get a little crushed if they say no, perhaps pre-plan the ask to have a friend around after who is willing to comfort you or perk you up.
Use your keen powers of observation and assess what kind of person this dominant is: Do they have public scenes at parties, or are they mostly private? Do they flirt and socialize a lot, or do they tend to keep to themself and their close people? Tailoring your asks to what you notice about the dominant makes it more likely for them to say yes.
7. Offer your contact information.
Assuming you are flirting now with the intention of following up for even more later, offer your info: Your Fetlife account, your cell number, your email address—however you want them to get in touch with you. Giving them your contact information gives them the power to follow up or not. Plus, it puts your vulnerability into a sexy framework: the potential to continue the flirtation, and possibly even more.
registration is open!
Featured image from Crash Pad Series Episode #188, Valentine & Ember.
Shiris was a “player” in the first round of Submissive Playground, and after that she participated she came back to do an interview about masochism which is now part of the course. We sat down recently to talk about what her experience was like.
What drew you to Submissive Playground? Where were you before you took the course?
I had been an owned and collared submissive for 16 years before starting Submissive Playground. However, I was at a place in my journey where I felt like participating in the program would benefit not only my personal journey, but my dynamic with my Ma’am as well. I wrote out a long diagram for Ma’am explaining the different ways that Submissive Playground would benefit me and us, then I presented it to her and asked to join the course.
What was your favorite part of the experience?
The homework! I just adore tasks! I loved being given homework to read or watch, and in addition to the journal writing I was doing for Ma’am, I needed to be sure to post online in Submissive Playground as well. I loved having a list of things to accomplish. I’m a very busy person in my day-to-day life, so Submissive Playground was a way for me to be required to slow down and read, write, think, explore. It came along at just the right time for me, a time when I was yearning to slow down and reflect and focus on my submission and my D/s dynamic with my Ma’am.
What did you learn?
In addition to learning a basic two-column tie (which I’ve used COUNTLESS times since), I had a wonderful personal discovery about my own D/s path thus far, a lot of pieces came together for me. I wrote about it in the Submissive Playground and then expanded on it for my Ma’am later. It was probably my biggest take-away.
What kind of skills did you build?
I definitely picked up some basic bondage skills!
What changed with your relationship to submission?
Nothing changed with my relationship to submission, exactly. But coming to the course as a seasoned submissive, I did find a sense of clarity about my path, some personal understanding about where I have come and where I want to go. I also felt energized and filled up to continue exploring on my own.
What changed with your relationship to your dominant?
My Ma’am enjoyed checking my homework and reading my writing. We would talk each week about how it was going, it was a lovely reason for us to slow down and connect in our dynamic during a time when we had both been busy for a long while – this is one of the reasons I used to talk Ma’am into letting my take the course – that it would strengthen our dynamic. I said, when I reflect on my submission it is a reflection of Ma’am because that submission belongs to her. Submissive Playground brought us closer together.
How & why would you recommend this to other submissives?
This is a wonderful course for new and seasoned submissives. It’s tailored to allow each person to have the experience they want. You can connect with other submissives and have it be very interactive, or you can be a little more introverted and introspective. It’s a wonderful journey and I found I got out of it what I put into it.
registration is open!
“May I sit?” morgan’s voice surprised Elise; she hadn’t seen him approach. She looked up from her book and blinked, then composed her face and her answer at once.
“Are your chores complete?”
“Tell me.” This was their ritual every night, the way they loved to come back together. Elise’s eyes sparkle as she fights the urge to reach out and grab him, pull him into her lap. Rituals are important, she reminds herself. Not only to display her authority, though yes that too, but also to reminder her of all that he does, the many ways he is devoted. She stays more present in gratitude and strives more successfully to be worthy when she pays attention to their rituals.
He begins the list. “Your tea service is complete; the dishes are done and put away; your clothes and jewels are put away, and tomorrow’s are laid out for you. Sir Elvis Purrmeister has been fed.”
Elise feels a smile pull on the corners of her mouth, starts to suppress it, and lets it come. Her cat’s name is just Elvis, but morgan has taken to adding the honorific and surname, and Elise is too amused to have him change it. It is clear who is above whom in the hierarchy, anyway, so the proper respect is just one more thing to admire about morgan.
“Tomorrow’s schedules, both yours and mine, are next to the bed and the morning alarms are set. The bed is turned down. And, I have picked tonight’s implement, it is in the usual place on the nightstand,” morgan doesn’t look smug or tired, just pleased to be useful and grateful to be serving.
Elise sighs a little, with relief and relaxation, with the pleasure of being taken care of precisely as she likes it. “Good job, boy; you may sit.” She pats the side of her elegant thick leather reading chair and he takes his seat at her feet, leaning against her bare legs and cuddling into her with happy sighs, the tension from the day leaving his shoulders.
She takes another sip of her tea and goes back to her book—one of those classic English novels that she likes. This one is Pride and Prejudice, a favorite she re-reads once a year or so. This is the second time morgan has seen it in her hands.
Most nights, this is how it goes. Sometimes morgan has a book, or something to study, or some lines to write for training or task. Usually, Elise has a novel, something that feels indulgent but keeps her mind steady and her heart thrumming. She likes to be as far into the adult-land in the evenings as possible—spending all day with pre-schoolers and kindergarteners for her job is exhausting, and can take such a toll.
She fingers the hair on the back of his head absently, as if fingering a blanket on the chair or her own sweater. His presence is comforting, reassuring. The warm mint tea and honey soothes her and flows golden down her tongue. Everything is just right.
After a few more chapters, when Lydia elopes with Mr. Wickham, Elise closes the book with a small snap and stands. morgan blinks and quickly rises to his ready position—hands behind his back, eyes down—he does not stay seated when she is standing. She pulls him close, nuzzles her cheek against his forehead, and he wraps his arms around her waist. How well they fit together, their bodies’ contours so complimentary. She holds him there for a moment until she says, “Okay; bedtime, boy,” and they separate. She turns to the hall to go into the bathroom for some of her evening self-care, and he goes to the bedroom to strip. She takes her time—brushing and braiding her hair, applying cleansers and creams to her skin, brushing her teeth. He waits. The waiting is like meditation, but cleaner for him, as it is totally beyond his control and thus much easier for him to let go. (This is the kinds of things he tells his Mistress in his journal, which she reads weekly.)
He has picked out the thick wooden paddle, taller than her hand’s widest spread. One side is soft suede, the other is hard wood. The handle is wrapped so her hand is protected.
This paddle makes beautiful, deep bruises.
When she enters, he has taken off his tee shirt and boy short-shorts, the ones that almost show the bottoms of the cheeks of his ass. He’s down to a jock strap, the white one, on his knees, hands behind his back in his submissive meditation position next to the bed. He knows to wait there until he is released by her. He breathes in the smell of her evening lotions, now so familiar to him and so related to their evening beatings that he flinches when the sweet tangy scent reaches his nose, and his mouth salivates. He is a trained pet. She can see his arousal in the flushing of his nearly naked skin, the slight hardening of his nipples. She is nearly bare now, too, down to one thin cream-colored slip with nothing beneath it. Her feet are bare. She keeps her bedroom warm.
“Here.” She points to the bed. She is not cruel, not really—just direct, specific. She eliminates superfluousness. She does not believe in coddling in D/s; she believes in trust, agency, consent. She believes morgan’s deep desire to serve and to please, and she is grateful, yes, but she also feeds off of it. She consumes it like cotton candy, leaving her mouth pink around the edges and her fingers sticky. She needs it, just as he does. Her clipped tone is only for simplicity, and for intimacy, as she trust him not to need hand-holding. Not anymore.
Mistress Elise Winter is deft with a paddle. It was always one of her favorites when she was domming professionally, delivering such a satisfying smack and leaving such good bruises. Plus, it can be a key prop in any age-play scene: just a few words and it is suddenly a cutting board the bottom’s mom grabbed from the kitchen, or a sorority girl who stole a fraternity paddle or a headmistress’s prized discipline tool. Even more than obedience, Elise likes her subs small and little, with feigned (preferably not real) innocence. Something about the corruption just works with the way she is wired.
She whispers in her boy’s ear before she begins—something soothing, something that makes him relax, arch his ass in the air a little higher, and lean in to her just a fraction of an inch more. She rubs herself against his ass and thighs, her hand stroking the fine muscles of his back. When he whimpers a little, she knows he is ready.
Starting with her hands, she warms up his ass and thighs and upper back. He is chest-down, his face kissed by her burgundy 1000-count sheets, his feet just touching the floor of her raised bed. When she moves from the quick light swats to the deeper fist-thuds, he asks her if it is time.
“Yes; go ahead and start,” she replies.
He begins counting aloud. She’ll do twenty or thirty more with her hands beofre bringing in the paddle to finish the hundred strokes.
They don’t say much. It’s just one of those quiet nights. Elise tries to let her job fall away, the stresses of her vaninlla life out of sync with her kinky self, the projects for the non-profit board she sits on, the pressure of her mother’s struggling health battle with emphysema. Nothing precisely fills Elise’s mind, but she finds her inner world quite full when she quiets and focuses. The relief of a target, a victim, is almost enough to make her start crying, the release feels so huge, like a dam beginning to leak and ready to smash apart with the weight of what is held back.
morgan is counting. “32 … 33 … 34.” He is diligent, and taking it for her. He is deconstructing and reassembling in front of her eyes in that way that power and sensation can inspire. She slides the paddle into her grip and opens a rain of blows on his tender flesh, already pink and warm to the touch. His breathing gets heavier and his voice gets more strained. She doesn’t care; they are only just barely to 50. She winds up like a baseball batter and swings. He screams into the sheets. Drops of sweat form and trickle at his neck, at the small of his back. His ass is a round handful and she takes her grip as it pleases her, kneading like dough. She leans down to bite his ass. He yells out, “Mistress, please, oh god, please, it hurts!” He squirms away, but her hands hold his hips. She leaves a dark ring mark from her teeth; that one will bruise up nicely.
She licks her lips, and swats with the paddle again.
“This is for me, not you,” she whispers, mostly to herself. “I need it, I don’t know why I need it, but I need it, need your ass like this, need my marks on you, need your ache to show in your face tomorrow when you sit down.”
“68 … 69 … 70.” He is panting between the numbers. She is taking her time, savoring each one. His ass is already purple—he won’t be able to sit. She focuses on his thighs. He is trying so hard not to squirm. She slips a finger between his ass cheeks to check on his hole: it flexes against her finger pad like a kiss, open and eager. “Hungry boy,” she murmurs, swatting again with her right hand. He whimpers, pushing back against her just a little, not wanting to be too eager or demanding, but showing he wants it.
His knees are getting weak. The bed holds him up. Elise strokes his hair and he turns so one cheek is on the bed and he can see her, just a little. Her thick braid is flying behind her like the tail of a kite, her hands moving quickly, opening his tight back hole as the paddle slams in to him. He tries with all his concentration to keep count. He misses a few, but she lets it go; he is doing so well. “So good, boy,” she coos. “You’re so good.”
He’s in the nineties now and they are both climbing. Her two fingers have dipped into the Boy Butter on the nightstand and opens his hole just enough to feel the pressure distracting him from the wicked paddle. She might let him get off. Will she? She can’t decide. She likes it when he does.
“98 … 99 … 100,” morgan is whimpering each number, tears down his beautiful cheeks, body shuddering in waves of release. Elise steps back and breathes, separates herself from him for a moment so they can both catch their breath. Her wrists throb, shoulders buzz with aliveness. A few hairs have strayed and she tucks them back into her braid.
“Morgan,” she says softly. “Get on the bed and turn over.”
He does, slowly, testing out how his muscles have been changed, wincing at the rawness. She slides her slip up her thighs and kneels on the bed, swinging her leg over him and sliding up his body.
“Oh god,” he says, muffled, before she has even lowered her cunt onto his mouth to feed it to him. Hers is a hungry mouth, too, swollen and wet, dripping. She never lets him enter her, but she uses his mouth when she wants. His stamina is impressive.
She lifts her slip just enough to it is out of the way, not restricting the openness of her thighs. Its hem kisses his forehead. He laps with his tongue, sucks with his lips and throat. Her clit is huge and bursting with need, angry and red like the palms of her hands, like his ass. She needs it, this release, maybe even more than he does—though how can they compare? But her want is monstrous, never-ending. She almost feels like herself again. She rocks her hips over his mouth and steadies herself on the headboard, arms outstretched. She barely remembers there is a person under her right now, she just grinds down and against this beautiful boy, this toy who always does it just right, just right there.
“Come when I do,” she orders, low and fast, not giving much warning—but he won’t need it. He’s been ready to come since she fingered his ass. And he knows what she sounds like, what it means when she starts clawing at his hair and suffocating him with her hole.
“Fuck, that’s it, there, god oh god oh GOD!” Elise is sitting on a volcano and erupts through her mouth with words and grunts and screams when she comes, heavy, filling his mouth with liquid, pushing it into his throat. He opens wide and takes it, shuddering under her and swallowing.
“Thank you, Mistress, thank you,” he repeats, breathless, still only breathing small sips of air. She moves off of him and collapses onto the pillows, he curls up in her arms.
“Stay in my bed tonight,” she says, stroking his hair.
“Yes, Ma’am,” he sighs, happy, pulling the covers up over them both as they drift off to sleep.
Content Warning: Force, coercion, descriptions of rough sex. Also dominance and submission, and depictions of ownership.
Sometimes I just think of the simplest of things.
That look on your face, that look, when you’re giving over even more, just a little deeper, giving in to the sensation, giving in to wherever I’m moving your body, however I’m touching you.
The way your hands feel in mine. The way my fingers close around your wrist or throat or earlobe. The back of your head in my palm.
I think of these little flashes of your body, of us.
Other times, a more elaborate story.
What happens when I pick you up and drive you somewhere deserted and quiet, an empty kind of creepy parking lot where no one is around, no other cars, and lock the doors before I force your head into my lap. You struggle against me, but you know I will have my way, no matter what you do. You know it’s better to go easy, but not too easy, because then I’ll beat you for liking it.
I don’t really need an excuse to take you, or to hurt you, or to use you. It is so comforting, so deeply validating, to be able to have you in this way. To know that if you are in arm’s reach, I can use you for anything I may need, from fetching me a glass of water to your hands as an ashtray to your holes for my cock or fingers or tongue or whatever I might want to do with them.
Lately, I think a lot about rough sex. Pressure and strain and resistance and using my weight against gravity to hold you down. I think about going too far, pushing too hard, making you gag, spit, sputter, making you cry out and bleed, bruises under my fingers holding you so tight, making you beg and cry, making you take it anyway. There’s something about the release on that level that is different—deeper?—than most other releases for me … knowing I can just pour into someone else and they can hold it, they have to. I love how you do this for me.
You release me in so many other ways, too, though. Moments of energetic intensity come to mind, times we’ve been outside with your hand in me in some way, the earth underneath shooting up and connecting me with … everything. I miss being somewhere with places to fuck outside.
I think about what it’s like to force you, use you, disregard what you’re feeling in your body or your mind. Why is that such a fetish, such a kink of mine, when I am so obsessed with consent and permission and pleasure and connection? Maybe I’ve just answered my own question. And knowing that we are both guided by a deep craving here—me, the craving to play with taking and owning and destruction, and you, the craving of being used and coerced and owned—is what makes the play possible, of course. Without that deep craving underneath the play, it would be completely different, and unappealing.
Fuck, I am so grateful for how our wounds/gifts are attuned.
Lately, I think a lot about your sucking mouth. Maybe that is the equal and opposite of thinking about pounding into your open holes: instead, having this sweet suckling softness draw it all out of me. I think of you sucking your thumb or sucking my toes or nipples or cock, even the uncut packing cock, my current favorite. I get hard with just the thoughts. The way you can nestle in and cuddle up to my thighs, sigh, and relax.
Somehow, when I’m deep inside you, when you’re slowly drawing me hard and all of the things pent-up inside start drizzling out, that’s when I can best let go, feel the tightness in my shoulders unravel, and relax, too.
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Everyone has them: Those rough fantasies that involve some sort of thing that you aren’t sure you would ever actually do, but that really, really does it for you. And maybe, just maybe, you would like to explore some of them.
Maybe you even feel a little guilty for liking it so much.
Maybe you really have to shove aside your inner feminist that tells you that the force play and the kind of rough, degrading sex that fill up your rough fantasies are bad and wrong. But there are ways to play with these rough desires that your mind keeps circling around to, and to play with them in responsible, ethical, contained, and safe ways.
Here’s some things to keep in mind.
1. Everybody Fantasizes!
It’s true. Men, women, genderqueer folks, trans and cis folks, lesbians, gay guys, dykes, queers of all flavors and stripes—pretty much all of us have some sort of inner erotic life where we fantasize. I’m of the opinion that anyone who tells you they don’t fantasize is either lying—or, of course, asexual. And it is really, really common to fantasize about things that we might not even want to do, or might not be possible to do.
Still not convinced? Here’s your homework: Read this book—My Secret Garden by Nancy Friday came out in 1973 and details hundreds of women’s fantasies. It’s totally eye-opening, and will help you see how common rough fantasies are.
2. Fantasizing about rough, dangerous things is normal!
Why do we love rough fantasies? Because power. Because the inner wild sexy animal beast isn’t necessarily tamed, and you don’t necessarily want it to be. Because playing deep in your physical body makes us feel really alive, which is really, really sexy.
3. Comfort Your Inner Feminist With Consent & Agency
Consider these concepts: Agency is the ability to have control over your own self, and to decide what happens for yourself. Consent is usually taught as the ability to say no, but it also includes the ability to authentically say yes. And if you buy into these two feminist concepts—which I most certainly do, and which I believe are the foundation of good rough fantasy enactment—you gotta believe that when someone is authentically saying yes to something, authentically and resoundingly consenting, and you trust their agency, then the things the two of you are doing together are not wrong or anti-feminist, but are in fact deeply within a feminist framework. (See what I did there?)
4. Get Brazen & Bold
If you want to turn more of your rough fantasies into reality, it’s really important to figure out how to communicate openly about sex and desire. You gotta be able to talk about what you fantasize about in order to make it happen. If you don’t do this at all right now, start slow—go to a kinky class at your local sex toy store, or read an erotica book aloud.
5. Get Further Involved with the Kink Communities
It helps to feel like this is a normal things to crave, desire, and pursue when the people around you have similar fantasies. And let me assure you: No matter how rough or dirty or perverted or “wrong” your fantasies might be, there is somebody out there with much more rough dirty perverted and wrong fantasies. It is much more likely that you are in the middle of the bell curve, and that your rough fantasies are quite a bit like everybody else’s.
6. Sharpen Your Kick-Ass BDSM Skills
Take it from Napoleon Dynamite: “Girls like guys who have great skills.” (Substitute “people” here and that’s more what I mean cuz I am a queermo like that.)
You can actually do some damage when you’re doing dangerous rough fantastic sexytimes play. Don’t use impact toys that you don’t know how to use, don’t do dangerous play that involves breath or cutting the skin without getting some training. People out there in the kink communities are very, very skilled and experienced, and they can teach you.
If you’re a bottom, and fantasize about wanting to receive some of those dirty dangerous things: Play with trustworthy tops. Build trust slowly before doing extremely risky scenes, or play in public.
7. Don’t Forget Aftercare!
Especially when you’re playing with rough, risky (emotionally or physically), or edgy fantasies, make sure everyone feels good afterward. Check in with each other, schedule some cuddle time or chatting time or casual fun time to connect and bring things up if anything needs talked about. Talk about ways to comfort each other and how best to
Rinse, Lather, and Repeat!
Keep experimenting with your own pleasure. Follow the heat. You may not know where it leads ultimately, but you can usually figure out just the one next step. Listen to your body and your mind and that special inner place in you that knows stuff.
If you learn how to do these rough fantastic things you fantasize about, and communicate openly with folks who will be willing play partners and collaborators in your fantasies, you’ll be responsible AND have some fun hot sexytimes. It really is possible!
Photo from Unsplash
Bonus PS … I am still jerking off to Lust Cinema, my December sponsor on Sugarbutch. Did you find any good ones over there yet?
There are many styles of dominance, mastery, and topping, from the paternal to the viciously mean, but regardless of where you are, I believe you can be better. I believe this exploration of power dynamics can be a spiritually fulfilling path, and that it can lead us to many lessons and areas of growth.
Those of us who are on this side of the D/s slash, we who are the People In Charge, have a lot of challenges to building a healthy version of this identity, particularly when we are doing it in a context of social activism, intersectional oppression, and general awareness of institutionalized power imbalances. Here’s some of the best tips I have for folks who want to up their topping or dominance game, and be stronger, more resilient, and more compassionate while they are pursuing this work.
Image by rife of Rowdy Ferret Design & Illustration
1. Create a Palette of Permission
If it’s hard for you to figure out what to do in a scene, or if your perfect submissive looks up at you and says, “I’ll do anything you want!” and your mind goes blank, this is a good thing for you to focus on. Create a list, on your own or brainstorming together with your submissive, of things that you know you have permission to do, in general, in periods where you are both your fit and healthy selves. (They may not apply when one or either of you are having an off day, are sick or physically unwell, or in different states of consciousness—like asleep or playing with some substances. They probably also only apply in certain places, like when you two are alone or in kink-friendly events. Check in.) Make a Top Ten list of things that generally your sub really loves and could do over and over and over. Trust that you can return to each of these things hundreds of times before either of you will get bored. There are infinite variations. Bonus tip: Make a wishlist of things you want to include in your Palette, but don’t currently know how to do, and start learning!
2. An On Switch For Your Dominance
3. Receiving as a Dominant
Sometimes it seems incongruous to receive sexual touch or services from the top or dominant position. I assure you: this is common and makes a lot of sense. It’s difficult to feel “in control” and also at the same time to relax and receive. (Sidenote: This is at times very related to one’s gender, and one’s amount of stoneness. Most cis male doms—as a stereotype—don’t seem to have a problem receiving blow jobs, for example, do they?) One of the best ways you can work on this is by being very vocal with what you want to receive, and continuing to give orders and corrections and suggestions throughout the process. You also might want to work with physical levels, where you are physically above your submissive, to remind yourself that you are still in charge, even if their fist is in your hole. And read the essay How to Top Your Master by Raven Kaldera. Though it’s directed more at submissives, there are many useful things in there for dominants.
4. Got Guilt? More Aftercare
If you feel guilty after your scenes as a dominant, check in about it. Ask yourself: Did I really want to be doing that? Was I having a good time? Was my partner having a good time? Did we all come away from the scene generally glad the scene had happened? Scenes aren’t always perfect, of course (and aren’t always full of happy smiles and sunshine and rainbows). But generally, did it go well? Did you want to be there? Because honestly, if you feel that much guilt, maybe you didn’t. Maybe you’d be better suited to less psychologically intense play. But if that’s not the case, and you really do want to be there (and your partners eagerly consent, of course), then you gotta deal with that nagging guilt from an internalized prescription of egalitarianism. It’s okay to create the relationship you want to be in. Normalize it for yourself by seeking more D/s community and sharing your experiences with others. And make sure you get enough aftercare yourself. You might need down time after, or quiet private time, or reflective time where your sub tells you all about what they liked and how all those dirty things you did made them feel. Or maybe cuddles. Experiment, and find your best aftercare methods.
5. Build Trust Slowly
6. Two-footing a Scene
This is a concept I learned from Xan West, which is the idea that generally, in a scene, the top is completely “in” the scene and present while still holding the boundaries of the negotiated agreement and some awareness of the surrounding space (though whether you’re at a busy dungeon or home alone would make that slightly more or less challenging)—that’s two-footing, being both in the scene and in the reality. Most of the time, it’s just a given that the top is the one who is doing this two-footing. But some activities really cause us tops to lose our footing. (Has that ever happened to you?) Make a list of activities that you think could cause you to tumble so deep into the scene that you have trouble keeping a hold on reality. Lean on your submissive for support, perhaps ask them to hold the boundaries and negotiations of the scene so you can lose yourself. Bonus: Make a list of realities that keep you so engaged that its hard to dive into the scene at all, like for example a crowded dungeon.
7. Recovering from Fuck-ups
Some of us have really strong reactions to fucking something up. We beat ourselves up about it, our confidence crumbles, and we shirk away from whatever it was we fucked up for a long time after. If you want to up your dominant game, you gotta get good at fucking up, because here’s the thing: You will fuck something up. I don’t mean something huge and irreparable (hopefully not), but more so small things that will stop or delay a scene for a while until you can get things back on the rails. The measure of someone (a dominant or partner or sub or just about everybody, I think) isn’t whether or not they fuck up, it’s what they do and how they respond to that fuck-up. So ask yourself: Do you take responsibility? Sincerely apologize? Understand what went wrong? Integrate that into your being so you will remember not to do that same thing again? And then, when the other folks involved are ready to move forward, can you let it go? Work on your ability to recover from fuck-ups and your scenes will be smoother.
8. Dive Deep into Theory
9. You Are Not An Asshole
If you—like me and like many thoughtful, feminist, and sensitive dominants—have fear that what you are doing is “bad” and “wrong” and difficult to reconcile with your moral code, here are some ideas. First, make sure you really understand the concept of agency. You fully trust someone’s no, right? You can trust their yes, too. You can trust that they, not you, know what they want. Second, remember that everyone fucks up, and work on your ability to recover; don’t expect to be perfect and never make mistakes. Third, take a good, strong look at what you think being an asshole in this context would be, and actively work toward not being that. Remember: Most people who actually are assholes do not spend much time worrying about whether or not they are assholes. That you are concerned and aware tells me that it’s 95% likely that you are not an asshole. (That other 5% is for folks who are not so self-aware. So hey, build that muscle, and follow Socrates: Know thyself.)
10. Masturbate More
Are you getting stuck building scenes, finding creative new ways to use the toys you have, or creating dirty experiments for your sexytimes with your submissives or playmates? There’s an easy place to start for that one: Masturbate more. Spend more time with porn and erotica to fuel the fires of your erotic self, but also make sure you spend some significant time letting your mind wander into erotic territory and exploring whatever may show up there. Take notes and highlight things you’d actually like to try!
A few years ago, a girl I dated wanted me to slap her. To hit her face. She asked for it specifically, I still remember the conversation on the subway and the precise way that she looked over at me and said, I want you to hit me. Something big swelled in me and I wanted to, I wanted to feel the sting of impact on my palm and see her recoil, to do it again before she was ready, to push something so sensational onto her experience that she was jolted to the edges of her skin and had to feel, to feel herself, to feel me, to be fully present.
This girl and I had already done some other light percussion play, using my hand, or even a paddle, me hitting her ass and thighs, the fleshy parts that I couldn’t possibly do damage to beyond some light bruising. She liked it, we both did. It made sense to escalate, at the time, to something new; we were deepening both our romantic relationship – our trust in each other – and our power dynamic, and it was time to push a little, to see where we could go.
I was terrified. After she asked, after we talked about it extensively, I even tried, a few times, when we were in bed and she said, hit me, now, please, and I couldn’t, I’d bring my hand up and chicken out.
I was terrified of what it would mean for me, as a masculine person, as a butch, to be more dominating in bed. To like it. To like to cause someone pain. To like to cause a woman pain. To hit someone in the face. To hit a woman in the face, to sexualize that act and that power dynamic specifically.
I was paralyzed by that terror – I wanted to do it, the idea, the very thought of it, the discussions with her, turned me on, the girl I was dating wanted me to do it, but I couldn’t.
Beyond wanting to do it, this was the kind of sex act that was in the sex life I was dreaming of having. This was what haunted my fantasies and what I looked for in porn that I watched and erotica that I read. And I was on a very serious quest to figure out how to have the sex that I wanted. I’d just gotten out of a bed-death relationship. I was committed to studying sex hard, to figuring out: what I wanted, how to get what I wanted, how to build a relationship with that as an element, how to maintain something sane and hot over a long period of time. That’s precisely why I started Sugarbutch.
I now know that I’m a sadist, and a top. That means I like to dominate. And already there are conclusions being drawn by some of you out there who think well of course you like to dominate, you’re masculine, and that’s prescribed for you or in other words you misogynistic asshole, I already knew you were one of “those” butches who needs to make up for your inadequacies by dominating women. Because that’s what we think, isn’t it? Maybe not consciously, but a little bit, somewhere in our brains, we associate these particular identity alignments – butch equals masculine equals top equals dominating equals men’s prescribed gender role. We’re relieved when they line up how we think they will, or maybe we are challenged and uncomfortable – though perhaps in a stimulated way – when they misalign.
There’s something supposedly anti-feminist about wanting to dominate. There’s something in the feminist rhetoric which says we are all equal especially in bed, so that means I-do-you-you-do-me, or that means we have sex neither above nor below each other, and with no reproduced heteronormative misogynistic patriarchal power dynamic.
But I didn’t want that. I’d had that, with other girlfriends, but it didn’t keep things hot enough to sustain a relationship. And secretly, I wanted to top and control and hit and demean and humiliate and restrain and force and take.
Power dynamic theory—stick with me for just a paragraph here—has many similarities to gender theory. Like the gender identities of butch and femme are not reproductions but pastiche copies at best of prescribed societal gender roles, putting on and taking off power roles in power sex play is a pastiche reproduction of power in our lives, of which there are thousands of examples of interaction on a daily basis. And when we can put on and take off these roles intentionally, the act of adopting becomes further proof that the power positioning in our lives is not inherent, or “real,” or immobile, or prescribed, or “normal,” but part of a hierarchical society of social power that can be deconstructed. In that, we can more easily have more power and control in the beneficial ways, and less power and control in destructive ways, as we play with it and engage with it.
As in my experience with coming to a butch gender identity, when I finally came to a power identity that really deeply aligned with something inside me that just clicked and make sense, I felt like I was coming home to myself in a way I hadn’t experienced previously. Through my personality and tendencies and psychology I have my own set of quirks and workings and functions, and for whatever reason, it makes a lot of sense to me to let out some of my power and control issues in the bedroom by being dominating. It is deeply satisfying the way a glorious meal or a delicious book is satisfying, one of my life’s greatest pleasures. I’m not sure I understand why I like what I like, but what I like does not harm others, and is consensual, and I know myself well enough to accept what I like as what I like – and to let that be a simple truth.
How did this change for me? What happened between the time when I was terrified to slap a girl in the face and today, now, where I am fairly comfortable in my identity as a top, and even as a sadist, as someone who enjoys causing extreme sensation (aka hurting) someone else?
Little by little, I had lovers who pushed me, lovers who were more experienced as bottoms than I was as a top, lovers who wanted more from me and who could take more than I was able to give who made enough space for me to walk into a bigger version of myself and occupy it, try it on.
I did come to a reconciliation with my feminist self and my top self. Phrases like men should not hurt women or rather masculine people should not hurt feminine people, or even more broadly that people should not hit each other and violence is bad bad bad … I had accepted those phrases as Ultimate Truths, and I started to understand deeper the ways that sensation was not violence, and hitting was a way to be sparked into the present moment, to release whatever our musculature was holding onto, and to deepen trust between people and in a relationship.
I didn’t realize how little trust I had in others until I started playing deeper with BDSM. Because I would tell myself, it’s okay, she wants to do it, but then I would think, does she really? Maybe she wants to because I want to. Maybe she wants to because society tells her she should want to. Maybe she wants to for fucked-up reasons, like she thinks it’s okay for her to feel humiliated and less than me because of her own internalized misogyny … but that was me not trusting that what she said was true. That she wanted me to hit her face. And that was me, further controlling both myself, her, and our relationship, in unhealthy ways, because I didn’t trust her.
This was an issue of agency, in feminist terms – my not trusting my lover to communicate with me what she wanted, to explain to me how far I could go, and my not trusting that she would let me know if I was going too far or too hard, either with her physical communication or her words or both, was me not trusting in the agency of my lover. I have to trust that she will tell me, she will let me know, if I am going too far. And I have to listen, apologize, understand what I did, and trust that she will accept that it was an accident, a mistake, and that I’ll do whatever she needs to feel safe again.
When I started playing out my control issues in BDSM, in the bedroom, in sex play, the control issues I had in my relationships began to heal.
In learning my way into being a top, I had many, many conversations about consent and intention and communication, I talked to my lovers when things broke down or didn’t seem to work and I learned more about my own tendencies when things went well. I figured out that sometimes, it was really hard for me to be with someone who bottomed so well, and who I trusted so deeply, that I did harder, scarier, bigger things with them that took me even deeper into my topping and dominance and sadism and power, and sometimes that meant I needed to be comforted afterward, to be told I liked that, and that wasn’t too much, and you didn’t hurt me, and that was what I wanted and thank you. Hearing those things is always a relief.
(I give good aftercare too, of course. But top aftercare is less common in the BDSM world – we don’t frequently talk about the toll it takes for the dominant to dominate.)
I practiced, a lot, to be bold and trusting through my topping. I tried scary things and it turned out they weren’t so scary, they were in fact incredibly hot. I got to know myself, and I learned more about the things I wanted to play with, and I talked to smart people whose experiences were similar to what I was going through and who assured me it was possible to come out the other side of it a masculine, queer, butch, sadistic, feminist top.
Notes on this piece
Queer Memoir: Butch/Stud Through the Years was fucking EPIC on Friday night, and I’m so honored and thrilled to have been there and to be a part of it. There was the story of the kid’s game “hide and go get it” in Kentucky! There was the revelation of belonging somewhere and that “here take a sticker” moment—”because even though you’re in New York City, you might still be isolated.” There were discussions about feminist topping! There was deep appreciation for butch friends and community and support! There was a fucking marriage proposal!
This is the piece I read, slightly updated from the December 2009 version, about reconciling the identities of feminist and butch top, and what it means to be a masculine person who is also dominant. It is relevant as ever and I still struggle with the intersection of these identities. I have a lot more to say about it, and reading this piece again made me think about what I’d add and what more there is to say, so I’m working on it. Meanwhile, here’s the text of what I read.
My question: How do you relate or not relate to stone identity? To what extent do you ID/not ID as stone and how do you feel about that? Maybe you’ve written about this here before and I missed it … I’ve had a big process going from not stone to stone-ish to stone, and I’m curious about how other butches feel. —Bond
I haven’t written much about this, I don’t think. I don’t identify as stone, but I do identify as stone-ish. I’ve never been all the way stone, but I do remember on my first date with Kristen I said, “I’m basically stone,” as I was trying to describe the ways that I was a top and wanted to be in charge perhaps ninety percent of the time. I’d told this to other lovers on other first dates, but it didn’t always make sense to the other person, and I was trying to put it out there stronger and more specifically this time, lay everything out clearly as early as possible in hopes that she’d get it.
(She did, she does.)
But that is really new in my history—I’ve dated girls even in the past four years that I’ve been running Sugarbutch that were tops, or toppy, and to whom I bottomed. My first long-term relationship with my ex-boyfriend of five years was kinky, in a kind of entry-level kink way (light bondage, light percussion) and we experimented with some switching, but mostly I was bottoming to him. As our relationship drew on, we started taking some classes on kinky sex (at places like Babeland) and I started learning more and more about topping. It wasn’t until I got out of that relationship entirely and had a series of revelations that I started realizing I was more of a top than bottom, and that perhaps I’d never really been submissive as much as bottoming.
I’m mentioning all this because stone is tied to topping, for me, because I’m not stone so much as I’m a top. I’m not opposed to being touched or penetrated, and I don’t have strong emotional reactions to those things, as I know some other stone folks that I’ve talked to do. (I don’t think that’s the only way to be stone, but in my experience stone often goes along with a gender dysphoria and a disagreement of gender between body and mind.) As I’ve been dating (and chronicling my dating here), I started getting more and more specific about who it was I wanted to date, especially in terms of identity keywords like bottom and submissive, and I did start describing myself as stone or stone-ish to girls I was flirting with or on first dates. I wanted to see what their reaction was, what their relationship to stone was, and whether or not they knew what to do with that. More than one girl seemed to understand and then behaved differently in bed, which was not what I wanted.
There is a relief that comes along with not being touched (very much), though. It means I don’t have to try so hard, I don’t have to worry about whether or not I’m going to get off ‘that way’, whatever way she’s touching me, it means I don’t have to be in that particular position of surrender when I often (at least nine times out of ten) do not want to be. I much prefer getting off while strapped on and fucking … and yes, I suppose that does have something to do with gender, that I prefer my orgasms to be related to my cock and not necessarily while being penetrated.
I don’t always prefer to get off that way—I was just writing about masturbation and My Ultimate Masturbation Toys, one of which is that genius Pure Wand, which is just the right size and shape for me. And sometimes, especially it seems right before I start my period, I crave getting fucked, sometimes hard. That tends to be when I ask to be fisted. I don’t do that often, maybe three times in the last year and a half relationship with Kristen, but when I have, I think they have all been around that time of my cycle.
But generally, when I’m with someone else, when I’m with Kristen, I want to get off through fucking, through my cock. I want to be dominant, in some way, using some sort of physical strength that tightens my muscles and makes the getting off all the more intense. I want to be using my gender fetish, which I don’t ever fuck without, anymore. I want there to be a gender component and a power component, with me in particular places on those spectrums, and usually, that involves me strapped on, on top.
That doesn’t quite make me stone, at least not the way I understand it. But there’s something useful in the language of stone that helps get across that top identity, that dominant identity, and that butch identity, so I have relied on stone in the past to help me make all those identities come together.
What about you? Do you identify as stone? Stone-ish? Not stone? Why or why not? What’s your relationship to the identity of stone? What do you define it as, what do you think it means?
Since we got together about nine months ago, Kristen and I have kept a verbal running list of Sex Stuff To Explore (okay, not always verbal, we have a shared Google doc, too).
Up pretty high on my list, and one thing that I have mentioned quite a few times, is that I’d like to fuck her ass.
I’ve never actually strapped on and fucked a girl up the ass (how come it’s up the ass but in the pussy? Does one say “up the pussy”? No, that’s awkward. Weird). (I have actually fucked a guy that way, but perhaps that’s different. Or perhaps that’s too much for a lesbian sex blogger to disclose in parenthesis without going farther in depth. Carry on.) I want to. The idea is really hot. I don’t know why exactly – not that the why matters terribly, but perhaps if I could articulate it better she’d be more inclined to try it. Maybe because it’s taboo, maybe because it’s tight and I expect the sensation to be a little different, maybe because I have fantasies of sharing her with another butch (or two) as we all fill her and use her, so she needs the practice. Maybe because DP feels good. Maybe because I know it changes and enhances my own orgasms. Maybe because I know it makes her nervous.
I guess the real hangup is that it makes me a bit nervous too. I don’t have trouble pushing her to do things I want that are things I’ve done in the past, even when she’s nervous, but for some reason we still haven’t done much ass play. Sure, a finger here and there, a small butt plug a few times – but I want it to be my cock, and I want to be wearing it.
I’ll admit, too, that since I started keeping a tumblr log and going through my dashboard as another daily inbox, I’ve thought about it more often. There is no shortage of cock-in-ass shots on that site, the sights of which makes my own imagined cock strain against my slacks every time.
Sidenote: why the fascination with girls assholes, guys? Same reasons for mine, I imagine …
Kristen mention Tristan Taormino’s book The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex For Women the other day, asking if I had it. I don’t. I may attempt to hunt down a copy though, and maybe a DVD or two of hers too. She does, after all, have a butt plug named after her.
I may be getting a Fun Wand from Babeland in the near future (crossing my fingers), which I think will be great to play with. I’m tempted by the Njoy Plug also – I have the Pfun Plug, perhaps I should get that out. (I am a bit obsessed with these stainless steel Njoy toys these days, thanks to my Pure Wand.) I have plenty of other butt toys, though – goodness knows I have no shortage of toys. Slim cocks I anticipate working up to, butt plugs in small-medium-large, thicker, wetter lubes. No problem.
Something still makes me a little nervous, though. It isn’t the shit part, at least not for me – I don’t particularly like it, but it is just part of the reality of things up the ass, and whatever, things happen that are sometimes awkward. I can deal. I know how to clean it up, know how to prep with towels nearby and condoms and wipes and whatever other supplies. I’m not sure what Kristen’s hesitations are exactly – inexperience? pain? shit? – but perhaps it’s time to ask her again.
Fucking up the ass strapped on seems like something that is done for her pleasure, not mine. It’s her body that has to get used to some new invasion, some new and violating way of being taken. The top in me – and the use of a dick with no nerve endings – makes me hesitant to pressure something that is all about her.
But then again: this is a frequent topic for our sex life, actually, and a place in which we have some snags. Nothing big; a few tiny things. We have a complex power dynamic (aren’t they all) in that while I am a top, I am sometimes more of a “service top,” doing things to my bottom because I know she wants them, I know how she likes it, I know what she wants. (I could say much more about this – it is, in fact, the reason the Sugarbutch Star stories were born, and often the way I write smut too. That feels like a tangent, I’ll cut myself off.) Sometimes, as you can imagine, this extends out to me being so focused and attentive to her needs and reactions that I ignore my own. I think this is why (at least sometimes) I have trouble getting off. Likewise, it is challenging sometimes for Kristen to contain, to hold – not to let in or open, those are a bit different (I have an article on these concepts in the works) – and we’d both like her to be better at it. Playing with that concept sexually would be a good way to do so, we’ve discussed this, since it is one place where I can practice being completely focused on me with disregard to her feelings, and where she likes being submissive and bottoming to that kind of degrading, using power energy.
But why have I not connected this with fucking her up the ass before? I want to; I am hesitant because I feel like it’s “for her pleasure” and not for mine. But it is for mine, maybe not physically, but in other ways. Obviously! Weird to think I still have a small hangup there. This particular act it is a great symbol of this issue of me taking, selfishly, something for me and not necessarily for her (with, hopefully, the side effect of her liking it). I have pages more to say about this issue, really; I feel like I’m only scratching the surface, but perhaps I’ve written around it enough in the past that you know what I’m talking about.
Kristen, baby, that means you’re going to give me that sweet ass of yours, and soon. You’ll do that for me, right? I thought so.
Folks, Kristen reads the comments – leave some support, wouldja? Tell her being fucked up the ass is not that scary. Tell her it is hard at first but you get used to it. Tell her why you LOVE it, tell her why it’s fun and hot, tell her it makes your orgasms better, tell her your story of when you first tried it. Tell her it’s worth the work. Tell her your story of learning and practicing ass fucking. Lend her some support. Share some resources.
You know I’ll certainly appreciate it.
Unspeakable Axe interviewed me for his podcast Masochast a few weeks ago (I’ll let you know when the interview goes up), and one of the questions he asked really got me thinking, and I still don’t have a very good answer, so I’d like to pose it here to see what you think.
Most of us tops know that there are certain things you can do to get someone to be more submissive, to surrender, to let go, to move into that bottomy headspace. Like pull someone’s hair, for example, or slap their face, or bind their hands, or giving them orders, or having them kneel. Everybody’s a little different, but there are certain themes and similarities that I bet many of you submissives would agree upon get you into that space faster and easily.
But, Axe asked, what can one do to get a dominant to dominate? So I was thinking about it, specifically: what kind of action or look entices dominance in me?
I have some ideas, but nothing that really makes me think, yes, that, exactly. It’s a hard question – there definitely isn’t one simple thing that always does it.
Things like closely-shaved legs, straps on her shoes that lace up her ankles, short skirts or flowy skirts that go down to her knees, hourglass dresses with pinched waists, hair up and off her neck (just begging to be pulled down), definitely give me that growl in my stomach. Looking up at me or sideways at me under her eyelashes, yes. Sometimes (I said this on the podcast) having her be a little resistant of me gives me the cue that I should take her a little more forcefully, a little stronger – but it’s not about bratty resistance, it’s about keeping the tension strong between us.
Yes, that’s it: tension. She can do things that increase the tension, and that builds the dominance in me. It’s the ways that she gives me her power, then takes it back, then gives it over to me, then takes it back. I think I’ve heard Dylan Ryan call what she does “active bottoming,” which of course implies that bottoming is sometimes “inactive,” which is probably where we get the same stereotype of “pillow princess” – which is a little problematic.
I don’t exactly have a cultural history of submission at my fingertips, but I feel like this is a rather new idea. Or maybe it’s just an unthought known – something that has been around for a long time, but that sexology and kinksters are just starting to observe and name in a theoretical, observed kind of way.
But, back to “active bottoming.” That’s the kind of thing I look for – someone who will push back against me. Not necessarily in an attempt to resist what I’m doing or break out of my restraints, but someone who knows how to keep the friction alive between us, someone who heightens the tension as we give-and-take the energy we’re raising and dispersing. That’s what gets me feeling more powerful, that’s what makes me more dominant.
Though I’m not sure I’m hitting on everything here. Still feels like there’s something else at play. I’ll keep thinking.
What about you? What are the ways that someone can entice dominance – or submission – in you? A look, a glance, a bit of clothing, a particular gesture, the flash of a body part?
Two weeks ago:
I arrived at her place late – I was delayed, but I won’t go into that – but still in time for dinner.
I don’t remember what she wore, what I wore. I remember what she made for dinner: caramelized onion and gruyere tart with roasted broccoli, and peanut butter & chocolate pudding for dessert. (And she made scones in the morning.) I remember her lived-in kitchen, the way she looked at me with passion and want, the way her body felt under my hands again. I remember I brought wine.
She gave me the quick tour of her apartment.
“I want you in every room before the weekend is through,” I said.
“Even the bathroom?”
“… There are ways.”
I started with the kitchen, before dinner was even ready.
The next morning:
On her bed, after hours of fucking, in the bright light of midday because her room has no curtains. I study every inch of her.
Inside her, on top of her. Riding the waves of energy between us, sometimes strong and steady, sometimes collapsing to kiss her neck and whisper sweet nothings. Not so much “oh you’re beautiful, you feel so good” as much as “you little slut, you feel my hard cock in you like that?” – though the former is sprinkled into the mix, too.
We come down together from a peak, panting, I’m shivering from my body’s own heat and sweat in contrast to the cool air, and rest against her, still inside.
Her legs around me.
Her arms around my neck.
And she shifted, and suddenly I was coming, right then. Don’t mind the tantric-hippie moment here, but it was all energy, her pelvic bowl opening to catch me, pull me deep inside her. I can still feel how the contractions shook me, eyes rolling back, so sudden – and it started from stillness! – so sweet. Gasping in her ear and shuddering.
We lay wrapped in each other for a while after. Talking touching, fucking more, her insatiable body able to take more, more, more.
And then: “I’d like your fingers in me. Would you do that?”
She nearly froze, as to not disturb whatever was aligned for this delicate moment. “Now?”
We shifted, I took my cock off, she got on her side next to me, hand on my thighs, between my legs. Gentle and sweet and slick.
“I know you said inside,” she whispers, mouth close to mine, “but I want to feel you.”
“Feels good. Don’t stop.” I whisper back.
Slowly: her fingers in me, pressing deep and stretching full, my hand on my clit, calling it my dick in my mind, and keeping my eyes open, watching her, as long as I can, until I come, screaming, hard and big, a release a year in the making, and pull her close against me.
At the dining room table in her living room. She sits on my lap, kisses me. I pull her hair and move my mouth to her neck.
“Ohh yes, yes,” she breathes.
“Mmm, I like it when you say that. Say yes again,” I demand softly, next to her ear. She hears me, and says nothing. She bites her lip and looks right at me, which tells me she’s refusing to say it. Am I pushing her too far? Does she know – she must know – that saying yes is playing with consent, that I am warming her up for saying no. Does she feel pressed? Pressured? I study her face, wait for her to say it for what seems like minutes. “Say it,” I say again, low, with a grip on her hair, desire and dominance building in me. I pull back a little to get enough distance between us so I can hit her. I wonder how fast I’ll have to do it for her to not see it coming. I want her to be surprised.
Underneath her resistance, she’s got that tiny self-satisfied smirk on her face.
She is surprised. A quick, hard smack against her cheek. Then five, six, softer, in rapid succession, warming her up. And another, stronger. Another. Her whole head turns on impact. I don’t stop. Harder. I vary the rhythm and let her have a breath, a quiet moment in between, when she straightens her body and feels the sting.
This is the hardest I’ve slapped her, but I can feel the way she can take it, now, differently. She’s not scared or wincing but open and accepting, drinking in the sensation.
I stop. Pull back a little and watch her recover.
When she can, she whispers, “yes,” hand to her stinging cheek, eyes dark and smoky and submissive, that look, that look, that strong and active giving over that makes my knees weak (and oh I’m glad I’m sitting down).
I kiss her. Smooth her cheek with my fingertips, feel the warmth with my lips. “Good,” I say between kisses. “Good girl.”
“Yes,” she says again with her breathe out, chest shuddering.
I want more.
“Get off me.” I say quickly, pulling away and pushing on her body. “Down. On your knees. Now.”
She does. Slides onto the floor and I unbuckle, unzip, pull my cock out. “That’s right, suck my cock. Oh that’s good. Yeah, that’s so good.”
And she is so good at this. Lips pursed, tongue flicking softly, eyes looking up at me, hand gripping the base of it and sucking hard into her mouth. I take hold of her hair. Pull her up by it and shove my fingers in her mouth. I like how her tongue gets wide and flat. I like the gulping noise she makes when she swallows.
“Up,” I say, and stand, pulling her to her feet. “Take these off.” I tear at her clothes and so does she, pull her shirt over her head and her jeans, socks, undies off, then embrace her briefly for kisses on her swollen mouth. I bend her at the waist, swift, over the dining room table.
I start spanking her, hard. Harder than I usually would without warm-up but she’s warm, the blood rushing through her, veins dilated already, I can see it in the flush of her skin and in the response each time my palm makes contact, landing with a satisfying smack. She’s moaning and squirming off the table, wants her pussy touched. I haven’t even felt how wet she is yet, how have I resisted this long? She’s pushing back against me so hard, her torso is nearly off the table. She lifts herself up and stands, presses back into me, reaches back for me.
“Who said you could get up,” I growl in her ear and bend her over quickly, her palms landing hard on the table to catch her. “Stay there.”
She likes direction. And oh do I like to give it to her. I like it even more when she does what I say.
She stays put. Breathes. I pause, run my hands down her back and thighs, tease her cunt only slightly with my fingers on her soft hair, then bring my arm back and down in a smack right to her cunt and she gasps, winces, sighs. I go slow with taps more than slaps and build up to a couple sweet ones, hand landing just right, her body responding, so smooth and open.
I keep my tongue unlocked throughout. I wish I could recall better now what I was saying. [Kristen, if you remember any particular good phrases, perhaps you could leave a comment, or tell me?] I know she wanted to be called names, so I began a narrative about how much she loves sex, look how wet you are, you like it when I hit you don’t you, slut. Bad girl. You like this, look how wet you are, feel that?
… And by time I got about to there in the talking I couldn’t wait, I had to have her, I was practically growling with lust.
Still unzipped and unbuckled, I pulled my cock out, only to realize: I left the condoms in the bedroom. I try to keep one in my back pocket so I have it at the ready, but I think I hadn’t replaced the one we used earlier.
Mouth next to her ear, bent over her: “I want to fuck you, but you’re going to have to wait,” I sneer a little. Then … yes. Let’s make her wait.
I pull her up from the table and cradle her close, her naked body against me, still fully clothed. Kiss her tender and run my hands along her skin.
“Now: down.” I command. “On your knees.”
She didn’t quite respond quickly enough, still looking at me heavy-lidded and getting her brain to catch up with the sensations in her body. I push on her shoulders. “Down.”
And she slides to her knees. I take a fistful of her hair. “Put your hands behind your back.” She does, eyes shining, blinking.
“Wait for me. Be right back.”
I walk the ten or so paces to her bedroom slowly, deliberately. Pick up two condoms from the nightstand. I hear her cry out softly. Can feel the desire rising between us, even from the next room. I pause a moment. Feel the dominance rushing through my body like a drug. Quickening my blood pressure, the pump of my heart. I can see her so distinctly in my mind, kneeling. I breathe, put my hand on the wall for support, to gather myself.
I have no idea what I’ll do when I get back to her. Fuck her, eventually. But I want to play first.
She’s waiting so nicely for me. Knees apart, head down. When I approach she looks up at me with such fierce submission my knees go weak: eyes heavy, smoky, dark; mouth and tongue swollen.
Cock at the ready, I press it right to her mouth. “Suck my cock, again, while you’re down there,” I say, and touch her cheek, her forehead as a sweep her hair back, palm the back of her head.
She does. Takes it deep and long with the first stroke in. I start groaning, moaning, pressing into her farther, down her throat. “That’s right, so nice, feels so good,” I’m babbling but I don’t care. I have her tipped backward and she’s left her hands behind her back, I’m throwing her off balance. My hips start thrusting – she gags a little with the depth and breathes hard with her mouth full. I don’t let up, but keep shoving my cock in, down her throat.
I nearly come. Can feel how her mouth and throat would tighten as I pulse and shoot. But I can’t, I can’t quite get there, just not quite enough, so frustrating. I pull out fast and shove my fingers in her mouth before she can notice her mouth is empty, kneel down between her legs and push her back onto the floor, lower my mouth onto and cock into her beautiful body.
I slide in easy. Easy, slick. God I love the way she takes me in. Deep, deeper, I keep her pressed open all the way, laying back, legs spread wide, hands grabbing at my shoulders until I grab her forearms and hold them above her head. Perfect leverage. And I thrust, fuck her hard, burn my knees against the hard dark wood of her living room floor.
Damn, the floor is hard. No give whatsoever. I haven’t fucked her lying on a floor ever – I’ve forgotten how it feels. She can’t squirm as much, she doesn’t slide as much, stays where I put her and the impact is harder, I do like that. But there’s less give-and-take, less sensuous connection, and goddamn my knees are going to be wrecked after this, probably it’s the sheet burn from earlier more than the floor itself, but I’ve got to change positions.
I lose myself in the hard impact of cock against cunt for as many strokes as I can muster before I lift myself up, sit back on my heels, and breathe. She’s vibrating, head lolling side to side.
“Get up,” I say. “Bedroom.”
I change cocks when we get to her bed, and pull the two lengths of rope from my bag. She sits near the pillows and reaches for me as I sit on the edge of the side, and I kiss her but don’t move.
“Look at you, all ready. You really are insatiable, aren’t you. Slut. You can’t get enough cock, can you.”
She moans, drops her head. I bring one hand between her legs and the other keeps stroking my cock. “So wet. What, you want me to fuck you? You want it? look at you, can’t think of anything but sex, but getting filled. Can you.”
I slide two fingers in and watch her face. “You want it, don’t you.”
“Yes,” comes out in a small breath.
I know she does, I can feel it. I want to hear her say it. It turns her (and me) on to hear her talk and I want her to do it more. “Tell me.”
“I want it.”
“You want what?”
“Your cock. I want your cock, please, fuck me, please.”
I lean in to kiss her and take my hand away. “No.”
I pull out the rope. She hands me her wrists, I secure one, then the other, to the bed frame, fuss about the tightness and my poor knots (I really need some better techniques.) She is writhing. I could fuck through steel, I’m so hard. I can’t make either of us wait any longer and I position myself between her legs, slap her inner thighs to get her to open up. We’re both so smooth and slick and desperate for it, we can’t wait, I can’t stop myself from plunging in, hard as I can, hard as I dare, and fucking, thrusting, pounding into her, kissing her face and neck, hands in her hair, on her chest, pulling her nipples and sliding my arm underneath her to grab at her waist and shoulders.
I’m babbling again. Her name, dirty things, take my cock, slut, you’re so tight, I love to split you open like this, and she comes, twice, three times, I loose track and she doesn’t collapse yet so I keep going, reach between us and slide my fingers along her clit and she gasps, bucks under me, I feel her tighten so hard around my cock that she nearly shoves me out of her and I work to stay inside. She’s holding her breath so I keep my hand and hips steady, hard, and then she shudders, body quaking, and I feel her squirt while I’m still inside, clit quivering under my fingers as she pushes my cock all the way out and lets out the breath she’s been holding, a gasp in for desperate air, and comes hard, shaking.
I watch. Witness. Feel her body quiet, tender and open. Holy, holy. (Holy shit.) Feel her breath as I lay my body against hers, holding tight, touching everywhere.
“Hey,” I say after a minute, lifting my face to see hers.
She sighs and opens her eyes, fingers trailing along my shoulders, on the back of my head. “Hey.”
And we nap the afternoon away, sunlight streaming through the window, though it’s cold outside we’re warm in her room, satiated, spent.