Take My Whip: Fantasy Date Night, Guest Post by rife

It’s Friday night and we keep this night blocked off on the calendar. 5:30 rolls around and you send me around the block to walk the dog once I wrap up my work for the day. When I come back, you’re sitting on the porch in your jeans with the leather crotch, a tight new black t shirt and the chest harness. All the deck furniture has been pushed off to the side and your Bluetooth speaker is playing a mixture of jazz and romantic pop music. You are wearing your heavy harness boots and you let your goatee grow out a little.

I giggle, suddenly feeling underdressed in my daytime pajamas and sneakers. I prance over and get up on my toes to kiss you. You let me. “Hi, Daddy! What’s all this?”

“I’m taking you dancing, boy. Go get dressed.”

“Mmmhm. I mean, yes, Sir.” I say softly and pad inside to feed the dog and put on that slinky grey dress you like and my combat boots with the soles that have worn down to slick nothing and the chain wrist cuffs that match my collar that you like to see on me. I wash the work day off my face and scrub dry until I’m pink.

You raise an eyebrow at my outfit choice but you’re smiling underneath it.

We dance for days and days on the porch as night falls and the bats come out to play. Sometimes the tempo is slow and our feet barely remember to shuffle while we kiss with lots of tongue and you run your fingers through my fresh soft buzz cut. The smell of wisteria finds its way to us across the breeze and if our neighbors see us, they pretend not to.

Sometimes the tempo is faster and you throw me across the boards in controlled chaos. It takes every ounce of concentration to just follow, to listen for the cues in your palm on my back, to remind myself of the rock step-triple-step beat, to give over to the music and your direction. There are moments when it is effortless and we are just flying, one creature.

Finally it is fully dark and you press me back against the one oak tree, breathless and sweaty on the warm summer night. Ed Sheeran or some other sensitive white guy is still crooning on but all I can feel is your dick hard against the fly of your jeans against me.

You press me hard enough that I’m sure the rough bark will leave marks, pinning my hands over my head, looping the chains around my wrists into that hook that usually holds the wind chime. I’m impressed by your forethought but the nation is quickly swept away my your hands doubled up on either side of my rib cage, stroking the length of me up and down from exposed armpits to the bottom curve of each hip. I shiver and swoon under your firm big hands that make me feel so small. You inch the bottom of the dress up teasingly slowly. I really hope the neighbors aren’t watching now.

Just when I can feel myself start to squirm and rub my thighs together anxious of the wetness I can feel coming on… you pull back. I whimper a little and sigh involuntarily, which of course is what you want.

“Not now, pet. You’re going to wait.”

“Mmmrf. I mean, yes, Sir.”

Inside, we make pizzas — yours pesto and salami with a cauliflower crust, mine sourdough and jalapeños and onion. They are delicious, but I am distracted thinking of the packer still between your legs. After dinner you tell me to ignore the kitchen mess and follow you, so I do.

You strip my dress off like someone who has done it a hundred times before and nod approvingly at what is revealed: just mounds of tight exposed flesh with no underwear. I feel you press up against me from behind and your arm wraps around my throat.

“You’re going to take my whip, boy, and then you’re going to take my dick.”

“Mmmmmm… ! I mean, yes, Sir.”

The wood of the coffee table is shockingly cold at first and my nipples flinch against it, but I relax into it as you layer gentle strokes with your big fat deerskin flogger all across my back. I moan despite myself as you ramp up in intensity and land a few solid strikes across the curve where ass meets thighs. You always were a leg person.

You pause to lean over me and grow into my ear. “Mmm, beautiful. Good boy. Ten more. Count for me.”

This time, I do not hesitate. “Yes, Sir.”

You step back but your fingers trail across my reddening back like it pains you to be separated. I can still feel the energy of you reach out to me across the room.

Until it is concentrated into a fiery pinprick of the kiss of your single tail.

“One, Sir.”

I try to remind myself it is just sensation. I try to erase pain from my vocabulary and just feel it. Easier said than done.

“Two, Sir. Three, Sir. Oh…! Four, Sir.”

Now we are both flying, drunk on your power. You push me harder to see if you can draw blood and break in this whip. Make it bound to me like i am to you.

The lash falls hot across my shoulder and i squirm hard, but the trickle raised is just sweat.

“Five, Sir..!”

You love me but you quiet that part of yourself with reserve to get what you want. No, it’s not want. You will be nice later. You need blood.

“Fuck! Six, Sir. Seven! Ah!”

I squeak out with difficulty eight and nine. You tell me a hundred times i am a good boy for taking it so nice and it lands every time.

Finally the warm droplets are pooling for you and you can feel your dick hard and straining in your jeans. You laugh aloud as i flinch hard out of habit while you barely tease me with number ten.

“Ten, Sir. Thank you, Sir.”

You run the tails and your fingertips over my back and ass, drawing in the red, savoring my flinching as you pass over the already raised welts. My breath is heaving and so is yours, in time, I think.

In a moment your fly is open and you are crammed against me, sliding in easily to the hilt of your open jeans. You pull my hips back into you with both hands and groan as you start thrusting slow and deep the length of you. You wrap your hands around my face and shove your fingers hard against my tongue. You are growling a steady stream of filthy words but my brain isn’t even processing it anymore. I am overwhelmed by you.

“Fuck, that’s so nice. That’s right. You just take it for me, you little whore. That’s Daddy’s slut. Unh, you feel so good. So tight baby. Daddy’s going to give it to you. Fuck…!!!”

I guess I came too, because the next thing I remember: I am in a puddle, dripping into the carpet and high and there is no pain anymore.

You scoop me up and guide me into the shower, lather down my dully aching back with peppermint soap and wrap me in your big soft Daddy robe.

We eat Girl Scout cookies and watch Steven Universe until I fall asleep on your shoulder.

Cartography of Control: A Map For Areas of Dominance & Submission

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:

Kink/BDSM activities
Orgasms/sex
Partners
Friends
Community
Family
Pets
Tidiness
Money
Spirituality
Gender
Emotions
Sleep
Speech
Stuff/possessions
Medical
Goals
Time Management
Media
Opinions
Education
Work/profession
Body modifications
Posture
Grooming
Dress
Politics
Hobbies
Fitness
Drugs
Therapy
Food
Alcohol

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:

  1. Areas the submissive would like the dominant to have control over
  2. Areas that the dominant could possibly have control over, depending on [certain] circumstances
  3. Areas the submissive would like to retain their own control and final decisions over
One of the things rife often says is that he can’t give over any area where he himself does not have control. For example, if he was a smoker, he couldn’t give his nicotine addiction over to me, because he isn’t in control of it. I could help him with a plan to stop smoking, but I couldn’t just say, “You are no longer addicted,” and exercise control.
This is quite simplified; you could develop more categories to sort things in to, like “areas I will give over after the permanent collar is on,” or “areas you can control

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.

Like this:

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.

Methods of Control in Your D/s Relationship: Defining Rules, Tasks, Protocol, and Ritual

Relationships with authority exchange, using dominance and submission, are usually centered around control: who makes decisions, who dictates what happens, whose standards are upheld, who tells who to do what.

For lots of us, telling someone else what to do — or being told what to do — is the core of the fetish. It’s the thing that makes us feel all tingly and yummy and taken care of and important and good.

So, D/s relationships use a lot of rules, tasks, protocol, and ritual.

These words are often used interchangeably, but have nuanced differences. In my personal relationship, we’ve spent a lot of time ironing out what the key distinctions are and how to use them.

Your mileage may vary here — please, find and use the language that works for you. Sometimes I short-hand these in my work, so hopefully it’ll be useful to have a reference point for the definitions I’m using when I do.

”Rules” Are The Big Picture Guidelines

“Rules,” as I use them, are like a moral compass, like the underlying ethical values in the relationship.

You’ve probably been in a workshop or a classroom where the instructor set some expectations at the beginning, such as “One Mic: one person talks at a time.” (I’m sure you can think of many other examples of these.) This is a way we set community agreements with each other about the values we hold collectively, so we can be clear about the kind of behavior we expect.

Same goes for a relationship — these are the overarching guidelines we are agreeing to follow as part of our foundation.

Sometimes people call these things like guidelines, principles, or philosophies, but we call them rules — sometimes we refer to them as “capital-R Rules.” They are best when simple, clear, and straightforward (though that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re easy) — I suggest between 5-10, not very many. Because these rules are often words that have multiple definitions, being very clear about what they mean is important.

Examples of rules:

  • Transparency — be forthcoming about what is happening in your life
  • Respect — communication expectations, how we treat each other

”Protocols” Happen Ongoing

You can have dozens, even hundreds, of protocols underneath the rules. Sometimes they are directly related to the rules, but sometimes they are not.

Protocols are the instructions that are followed on a day to day basis. They are recuring and time-specific, meaning they have some sort of trigger that makes them happen. If they can be explained by the statement “if this, then that,” then I consider it a protocol.

Sometimes people call this “procedures” or “rules” in a relationship, though D/s folks tend to really like the word “protocol.” Sometimes I use “protocol” and “rules” interchangeably — such as, “rife has a rule that he asks permission to get in bed.” Meaning, that is a protocol. Or, “Whether or not he uses furniture isn’t a rule for us.” But what I mean is, we don’t have that protocol. (Mostly I do this in speech and am more careful in writing, for clarity.)

Most of us have lots of little protocols like this for ourselves, things that dictate our style and habits. Examples are things like, I never wear a blue shirt with blue jeans; I always wash my dishes after I eat; I never go to bed without a cup of tea. (I bet you can think of at least five that you already have, off the top of your head.)

They should be fluid — especially when one person is making protocols for another. They can be added or removed as the needs or desires of the folks involve change and grow. Sometimes they become so integrated that they are invisible. rife and I call our protocol notes a “living document” — sometimes it changes organically, sometimes we need to have a formal check-in about it and assess.

When introducing new protocols in a relationship, do so slowly, and a few (one or two) at a time. It can be so tempting — for all of us! — to pile on the protocols and get hot and excited about it, but that quickly can become overwhelming, which both means it’s hard for the dominant to track what’s happening and it’s hard for the submissive to implement. Make sure to let everyone have time to integrate and practice the new protocol before adding more.

I’m not going to go in to enforcing protocol, but there are many complicated things to say about it.

How do you figure out which protocols you want to make? Well, that’s a process! I have a lot of theories through my workshops like The Protocol Game and the Discipline Unit of D/s Playground.

Examples of protocol:

  • Brush, floss, and use mouthwash immediately after you wake up
  • No screen time after 9pm
  • Always wear matching bra & panties
  • Get a manicure once every two weeks with a polish of my choice

”Procedures” Are How Things Are Done

Protocol is what I want to be done, and the procedure is how I want it done. “Do the dishes every night before bed” is a protocol; “wash the dishes with this type of soap; put them this way in the drying rack organized by size; wipe down all the counters, sink, and stove; set up the coffee pot to be ready in the morning” might be the procedures underneath that protocol.

Usually, the procedure can be taught once (and perhaps guided or corrected, as time goes on) and documented clearly, and the submissive will have a point of reference. The protocol might happen daily, but the procedure is explained and then enforced.

Procedures are slightly different than rituals because while they reinforce the dynamic through controlled behavior, they aren’t necessarily intending to generate D/s headspace or a spiritual connection. They do often have multiple steps within them, but they are usually concrete steps.

Often, people include how a protocol is done in the definition of the protocol itself. Nothing wrong with that! I’m just breaking down the two different concepts for clarity.

Examples of procedures:

  • “Make my coffee:” add creamer until the color matches this paint chip, approximately two tablespoons; add one dash of simple syrup
  • “Make the bed:” military corners, fluff the pillows, put pillows on top of the sheet and blanket

“Tasks” Are One-Time Assignments

Tasks are assignments which are done one time. Sometimes they have deadlines, sometimes they are open ended.

Tasks could evolve into protocols, particularly over time — for example, “Pick up my dry cleaning tomorrow,” is a task, but “Pick up my dry cleaning every Thursday,” is a protocol.

With tasks … the sky’s the limit! Tasks are great when starting out in a relationship, because the people involved can get a sense of what they like and don’t like, what the dominant’s style is, what works, and what doesn’t. Plus, they are great opportunities for rewards (even if the reward is a spanking).

One fun way to do task assignments is to give them a task with the instructions that they will get another one when they complete this one. That way they can take their time with it — if they have an incredibly busy schedule, or if it is very elaborate, it could take a month, but if it is simpler or they have more time, it could take a day.

Some task examples:

  • Run an errand and pick up [object] at [place]
  • Write me an email with short descriptions of five fantasies
  • Clean the kitchen and bathroom before [date]
  • Make me [this particular] piece of art

“Rituals” Remind Us of D/s Headspace

This could sometimes be known as “routines,” though I use the word “ritual” because it has a slightly different intention behind it — the word “routine” sounds a little more like being on auto-pilot. I think of the intention as being connection to the D/s dynamic, each other, and possibly a larger purpose — a spiritual path. Either way, rituals are intended to get us deeper into a D/s headspace, to bring more consciousness and intention. Toutines are generally intended to become background habits that propel us through our lives.

Routines are often used more in the day-to-day, and rituals are used for more special occasions, but using the word ritual for the day to day — hopefully — brings more consciousness to it.

Rituals are larger events that usually have multiple steps or aspects of protocol. They also have a particular trigger, such as: when we wake up together, then do the morning ritual.

Rituals might be daily or occasionally. We might have morning/evening ritual, or a New Year’s Eve ritual, or we might have a once in a lifetime ritual of a bat mitzvah upon turning 13.

Examples of rituals:

  • When your alarm goes off at 6:30am, get up from your sleeping spot and kneel on my side of the bed until I acknowledge you. I will rise and stand above you, and we will recite our morning poem. I will go to the shower and you will begin cooking
  • When someone graduates from school, we go to our favorite restaurant and invite the whole family
  • When we have been apart, before anything else, the submissive kneels and kisses their dominants boots

That’s my thoughts — how do you use these words?

Do you use them in similar ways that we do? Or different? Do you prefer to call these concepts something different? Totally cool. These are ideas to jump-start what works best for you, and have clarity in the different categories of control in D/s relationships.

Hopefully, having different categories makes it easier to create and brainstorm protocols to try out.

Announcing: D/s Playground! Summer 2019

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!)

Fundamentals of the Protocol Game

It’s a game: Try out one protocol a week for a year — keep ones you like, forget those you don’t. It’s pretty simple!

rife + I are doing a webinar at the end of April where we’ll walk you through how to actually come up with 52, making training categories, and some best practices for making protocol happen. The webinar is on April 27th for $5+ patrons — sign up here.

We’ll do most of the workbook right on the webinar, so you’ll walk away with the game set up — you won’t stick it in your desk drawer and discover it three months later thinking oh yeah, I was going to do that wasn’t I?

I highly recommend it for folks in and out of power dynamics or relationships, for dominants or subs or switches! It’s been very helpful & successful for un-owned subs in the past; it gives a sense of structure, things to practice, and ongoing reminders of D/s identity.

Some of our key learnings:

The first few times we set it up for ourselves, rife + I found that sometimes the protocol I set up for him were actually things I had to do — like: “receive a flogging every night” is actually kinda my protocol, something I had to make happen, not his. So the second year we did the game, we each had our own.

We also split the protocols into tasks vs protocols:

Protocols are “if this then that:” when you wake up, offer me sexual service. When you shower, shave your cunt. when you do the dishes, wear a butt plug.

Tasks are one time: clean the refrigerator. Get waxed. Buy new rope.

I’ve had (mostly) vanilla friends of mine use this for other things, too. Once I helped a friend set up 52 dating experiments, because she wanted to date more but was coming up against all kinds of blocks. It can work for all sorts of realms of exploration and growth and goals.

But how do you come up with 52?!

Coming up with the actual protocols can be the hardest. I asked so many dominants if they would mind sharing their list of the protocols with me

Breaking it into training categories, or, as we call it, making a training wheel, can help with that:

(PS, it’s really helpful to have a graphic designer / illustrator as my owned property, I gotta say. Reminds me of how all those singer/songwriters marry their sound techs. I get it.)

There are also more serious high-level overviews of life like this one, from the book How To Be, Do, or Have Anything (which is actually better than it sounds).

There are other life matrix-esque charts, but it’s often best to come up with the areas of your life specifically that you want to make the most progress in. They could be the ones that are holding you back, but don’t forget the ones that are sexy, fun, power-driven, exciting, juicy!

We break protocols into multiple categories:

  • Sexy for sexy’s sake — just, because
  • Making pragmatic things hot — dishes (but with a butt plug!), paperwork (but tied to a chair!)
  • Self-improvement

(But go easy on the self-improvement one, okay? We can so easily get caught up in Making Ourselves Better, and it’s important to also be accepting of where we’re at and just stay still, too. Meaning: make sure you also have a lot of sexy ones that just feel good in your dynamic & identity! Plenty more of those than the self-improvement ones.)

In her book Discipline (now out of print), Lily Lloyd set up these Three Core Rules for protocol which I really like. If a protocol goes against any of these things, don’t do it! Or, reassess it!

If all of this sounds interesting, come join me + rife on April 27th for the Protocol Game workshop!

The $5 or up levels on Patreon include the monthly webinars —— which will include D/s PLAYGROUND this summer!

Sign up at patreon.com/mrsexsmith

Whatever I Want, Whatever I Say

“I’m going to do whatever I want.”

By now, I have my hand over her mouth. My arm is pressed up against the plaster wall; the paint is scratchy and the plaster is cold. The curves of her — hips, ass, ribs — against my body are warm.

“And you’re going to do whatever I say.”

I’m not stupid. I know there are limits to what I can do with her. When I negotiated with her owner a few nights ago, we went over all kinds of things I could feasibly see myself doing, and some things that probably would never cross my mind. Although now that they have, perhaps I shall.

Her owner laughed when we started negotiating. “Honestly, I can’t imagine anything you could do that would be over the line.”

“That’s very generous,” I replied, smiling. We laid out everything we could think of, and made it all clear.

She whimpers under the palm of my hand. Her hair is caught at my wrist, probably in my watch. I might rip it if I move too quickly. She keeps arching her back and rubbing her ass into my thighs. I wonder if she even notices she’s doing that.

I reach under the loose, knee-length wrap dress to trace my way up her thighs. I savor the feeling of fishnets on my skin. The pad of my fingers fit perfectly into one of the little holes, and when I press just a little on her skin, I can feel how it dips inside of it. How easily I could hook my finger in, and pull her hole open.

She makes a sound that is half of a whimper and half of a moan, muffled by my hand. Her lips are open and she’s almost sucking. I can feel her teeth.

The straps of her garter belt are pulling at the raw top of her fishnets. I can feel the strain. They aren’t going to last much longer. My breathing gets shallow and faster. I want to tear, rip, split apart, shatter. I want that moment when the pounding against her is what forces the sound from her mouth.

I did promise I wouldn’t break her.

She isn’t wearing panties underneath anymore. She handed them to me after she walked in the door, one hand on the doorframe to steady herself while she peeled them over her delicate t-strap heels. She knows the protocol.

I promised myself I would fuck her mouth before I touched her pussy, before I made her feel good. I promised myself I would focus on my pleasure and her service. But when I think about feeling her wetness on my fingers I feel the tension ratchet up and up and up. I want it. I want to feel her stretch open. I want to shove my fingers in her mouth with her juices all over them and feel her open her throat.

Slow, I tell myself. Go slow. The faintest finger on her velvet lips.

She whines. A sweet noise, a long high note from her throat.

“Shut up,” I whisper. My lips touch her earlobe. “You’re mine tonight. Just for tonight. Aren’t you lucky, you slutty little bitch.”

She swallows whatever cry was going to come out of her next.

I feel the folds of her. She is not bare; her hair is short and thin. It feels impossibly dry, and I try not to think about sinking my finger into the slick of her.

“What am I going to do with you, hm?” I slide my lips to her neck to kiss, to suck. To taste her skin, the sweat of her, and the sweet. She arches her neck, rolling her head back on my shoulder, offering herself up.

My fingers find it, the spot I was looking for, where she is pouring, where she is waiting for me. I wonder how long I can wait. I wonder how cliche it is to want to strap on and fuck her. I let her wetness coat my fingertip, but only that. I don’t put it inside.

I pull it away, tighten my grip around her chest, and heave her toward the bed. She stumbles slightly and catches herself. I grab her ankles, one with each hand, pushing her up onto the bed and twisting her legs so she turns over onto her back. Her eyes flash a little fear, a lot of arousal. She bites her lip, unsure if she can speak yet.

In a breath, I whip my belt from my jeans, slide the end back through the buckle, and loop it around her wrists. It’ll do. I wrap the end in my fist, pull it above her head, and push between her thighs. She reaches for me. She looks at me, pleading. She wants.

I want to slide in. Her pussy is making a wet spot on my jeans. I want there to be something I can feel ready for her to take. I want the nerve endings. Instead, I have this: the color of my flesh, supple, flexible, on demand. I pull the buttons of my fly and they open, pop pop pop. It is easy to heave forward the swell of me.

She moans right away, with thick breaths and pressing hips, and turns her head to bite her upper arm. Her lip catches and turns out. The pink of her is showing.

I rub the head against her cunt. Her hole is so slick it almost slides in just by touching. She is an invitation, an open door: come inside.

“Just because I’m going to fill you with come doesn’t mean we’re done tonight,” I growl above her. She glances at me sideways, then lowers her eyes. She didn’t think this would be it, did she?

“Yes, sir,” she whispers. She steals a glance at me again to check my face and see if her words please me. “I will do whatever you say.”

A place in my core liquifies and groans, filling a void the has needed soothing. That is what I need to hear.

I let go of the belt and stand. Is she trembling? Her wrap dress is a mess, falling off of her. I reach for one end of the fabric belt of it and tug, and the bow dissolves. One side of the dress spills back, exposing the skin of her stomach, the curves of her plush body, the curl of her breast.

“Open your legs.”

Her face goes tight around her eyes, but she does. Her knees butterfly open and she slides her feet apart. My thighs are inside of hers, touching. I can feel the scrape of her tights when she moves. I want the indentation in my skin, want to feel the pinch and burn of it.

She has the expression of a woman who has readied herself to be entered. She knows she may or may not like it; she knows she may or may not come; she knows it isn’t for her. She knows who it is for. She knows what she is for, and right now, she is a plaything her owner loaned out. She is a toy her owner is showing off.

“Pull your hands free of the belt. Open your lips.” My mouth is going dry. “Show me.”

She slowly brings her arms down from over her head and reaches for her pussy, spreading her fingers to show me what’s underneath her layers. I grip her thighs with my hands. Strong. A handful. With the kind of pressure that will leave finger marks tomorrow. Gifts for my friend. She lets me push her thighs open further. I press forward with my hips. My cock is stiff in front of me and I find her hole with the tip of it, I keep my hands gripped on her thighs, the flesh of her giving under my hands. My fingertips feel the holes in the stockings again and I don’t resist, I slide my fingers through them and pull. I slide my cock into her and push. She writhes and gasps. I flex and urge forward. The cells of her stockings burst with my pressure.

I slide in and out. My eyes are closed, I don’t see her, but I do, through my touch, through the heat of her. I pull her thighs to me. I rip her stockings again. She cries out when it gives way. I feel myself close, so close.

“Please,” she whispers. She has moved her hands out of the way so I can push in deeper. “Please.”

Does she want it to end, or is she fearful of what comes next? Does she want my seed in her, or does she want me to pull out?

Doesn’t matter. What I want is to flood deep inside of her. To surprise her with the pressure. To fill her. Instead, I empty myself, thrust after thrust, and she milks me, she catches me, she holds everything I give her.

My body thrums.

Then I breathe out. “Good,” I say, righting myself again, pulling to my feet. Her dress is a piece of fabric. Her fishnets are shredded, falling off of her thighs. My lust is poured inside her and I can control myself, I can think, again. “Now that that’s out of the way, let’s start.”

I button my jeans slowly and watch as she comes back together. I take my shirt off, bare from the waist up. I kiss her mouth and she is supple and so, so soft. Then I reminder her, and I grip her throat, a little too hard. “Say it again,” I tell her.

“You’re going to do whatever you want,” she whispers. She rubs her thighs together, presses her lips tight before swallowing. “And I’m going to do whatever you say.”

I pick up the belt and fist it. I try to stop the wicked grin from spreading over my face.

“Oh,” she says. “God.”

The Outermost Bracket™: A Theory on D/s and Non-Monogamy

Both non-monogamy and power exchange relationships revolve around sets of agreements between the people involved. Sometimes, those agreements are in harmony — and ahhh, isn’t it lovely when that happens? Not just lovely: it is magic.

Sometimes, however, they conflict.

Both D/s and non-monogamous relationships often have agreements (and arguments) which center around control, ownership, and permission. The difference is, non-monogamy often emphasizes the equality of all parties, while D/s is about someone having authority over the other.

As you can imagine, when both D/s and non-monogamy are both happening within one relationship, that can be very difficult to negotiate.

rife and I were both in non-monogamous relationships when we met, and we quickly knew our play — and then our relationship — would have an ongoing authority imbalance (a.k.a. power dynamic, D/s). As our D/s relationship grew, the non-monogamous and D/s agreements became increasingly complicated. Our authority imbalance continued to strengthen, and sometimes it trumped — or we wanted it to trump — our non-monogamous agreements. That didn’t make sense to a lot of our non-monogamous friends or with the polyamoroy theory that we were reading, and we had a lot of trouble navigating that.

In trying to negotiate all of this (with a lot of trial and error and fucking up), we developed a theory we call “the outermost bracket,” that explores which identity is set within the other.

In other words, is the D/s within the non-monogamy agreements, or is the non-monogamy within the D/s agreements?

Quick disclaimer:

This theory doesn’t apply to everyone. If it makes sense in your world, great! Hope you can take it and make it your own and use it to negotiate these complex things with more ease. If it doesn’t apply, cool. Just take what makes sense and leave the rest.

I’m using the terms “D/s”, “dominant/submissive relationship,” “authority imbalance,” and “power dynamic” as somewhat interchangeable. There are dozens of other terms that folks might be using, too, but these are some of the main ones. All of them mean different things to different people with subtle nuance, but for the purposes of this theory, they are similar enough. Generally, I use them to mean all kinds of authority imbalance relationships in and out of the bedroom.

This theory might be most relevant for D/s relationship where the dominant has a lot of control, but some bedroom-only D/s dynamics might apply here, too, since often there are rules executed in the bedroom. Such as: you will only come when I give you permission, you will call me Mistress and nobody else, you will always keep your genitals shaved. As you can imagine, if someone who has those rules is playing with someone else, they might cause conflicts.

Similarly, I’m using the terms “polyam,” “polyamory,” “open relationship,” and “non-monogamy” somewhat interchangeably. We could have long conversations about the nuanced differences between them, and what applies to what, but for the sake of this essay, they’re similar enough.

The conflicts around D/s and non-monogamy are vast and complicated, and, while there might be some parallels and common concepts, the specific circumstances are unique to each polycule or set of folks involved. I don’t assume to speak for everyone or all experiences, and this might not resonate with you at all.

The Key Distinction of the Theory

Is your non-monogamy restricted by your D/s rules and agreements, or is your D/s restricted by your non-monogamy agreements?

Let’s break that down.

When Non-Monogamy is the Outermost Bracket

When non-monogamy is the outermost bracket for someone, a couple’s D/s relationships happen within their open relationship agreements.

This often looks like making relationship guidelines with a partner, or setting one’s own solo-poly or polyamorous family boundaries, and negotiating D/s within the confines of those agreements. Whatever D/s-based rules, protocols, or agreements are made, they do not extend to other partners — and the D/s might be restricted by non-monogamous arrangements.

For Example:

Let’s say that Mel has a partner they live with, Jay, and another partner, Alex, they are in a power exchange relationship with (and perhaps other partners, too).

The relationship with Jay is long-term and they consider themselves primary partners. That relationship has various agreements for how any other relationships happen — how many times per week, whether or not they sleep over, whether they only do certain things with one person and not another. Mel and Jay made these rules together from an egalitarian place, and both adhere to them.

Mel’s relationship with Alex is a power exchange relationship where Mel is the sub and Alex is the dom. Alex wants to exercise some control over Mel’s sexuality — let’s say they want to restrict the use of Mel’s ass so that only they can fuck it. But Jay doesn’t want any restrictions on what they can or can’t do with Mel.

The agreements within the D/s don’t extend to their primary partnership — at least, not without some negotiations between all three of them, and with Jay’s blessings for the restrictions.

(Sometimes, Alex and Jay might get together and conspire to make wonderfully terrible things happen for Mel. But that’s an exception, because non-monogamy is hard and sometimes Alex has lots of feelings and they have to spend lots of time sorting it all out.)

So Jay might have control over very specific things in Mel’s life — for example, what they wear when they get together for dates, or how they keep their hair. Whatever these are, they are not things that interfere with Mel’s other relationships.

But Jay’s control does not extend to whether or not Mel can have any other partners, and does not extend to any parts of their relationship with Alex.

In other words, the rules of the D/s relationship do not extend to the primary relationship, nor to the arrangements of any other non-monogamous activities.

In my experience, this is how the majority of D/s non-monogamous relationships operate.

Having non-monogamy as the outermost bracket can help the D/s boundaries be incredibly clear. Mel might want Alex’s power and control over them to be in certain realms or within certain time restrictions only, and their power dynamic might flourish that way.

When D/s is the Outermost Bracket

When D/s is the outermost bracket for someone, their non-monogamous relationships happen within their D/s agreements.

The dominant in this scenario would be in control — to whatever degree they arrange — of the kind of play the submissive would have with other people.

Let’s use another example:

Carter is Devon’s dominant. Carter is in charge of pretty much every aspect of Devon’s life. Devon occasionally wants to play with other people, but Carter gets to say how that happens, when, and within what context.

That could look like:

  • The dominant gives orders when the submissive plays with anyone else
  • The dominant is allowed to play with others, but the submissive is not
  • The submissive is allowed to do certain things but not other things
  • The submissive has to ask permission for any kind of play with others
  • The dominant gives permission for all of the sub’s new relationships, but none of their existing ones

Ultimately, the submissive conforms to the dominant’s will, and the arrangements for their non-monogamy are within the confines of the D/s. The submissive’s needs and boundaries are taken into consideration here, and the rules are consented to, but they might be guided by the controlling ideals of D/s and not the egalitarian ideals of open relationships.

This means that the other people Devon is in relationships with must, to some degree, consent to their relationship being underneath the D/s umbrella that Devon has with Carter. Not everyone wants to do that.

How far does the control go?

A dominant controlling the kinds of acts the submissive can or can’t do is one thing; controlling who the submissive is in relationship with is another thing. Vetting or giving permission for a certain relationship to happen or continue can get into tricky territory that can become controlling, unhealthy, or even abusive.

When the dominant controls the kind of non-monogamy that the submissive is allowed to have, it can be a red flag to some folks outside of the relationship. The negotiations of this should be careful and intentional. All parties are in their full agency, give explicit informed consent, and understand that they can talk about it if it becomes a problem between them.

For some folks, it works; for others, it means that the control goes too far.

And this is the key distinction of the Outermost Bracket theory.

Why Does This Matter?

If you know you are into one of these relationship styles more than the other, it can be useful to bring up early on in negotiations. If you can communicate what you’re looking for, you’re much more likely to get it. So, where do you fall? Is non-monogamy your outermost bracket? Is D/s? Or do you structure things in another way?

If you’re having trouble figuring it out, I suggest doing a thought experiment: imagine you are in the most ideal D/s relationship. Do you have control over all aspects of your submissive’s relationships? Does your dominant have complete control over you? What would it feel like if they did?

In Conclusion

For me and rife, this distinction was very helpful as we were figuring out how to navigate the theories we knew about non-monogamy and the desires we had within our D/s. We even extended it with geeky HTML references to talk about hierarchies of other relationship identities (for example, our relationship is M/s first, and Daddy/boy within that). More on this later, or come to our “Art of Ownership” class!

There are probably many other theories and best practices within the overlap of D/s and non-monogamy — no doubt this is not the only one! But honestly, there’s not much out there about it. We know of very few resources, aside from Raven Kaldera’s book Power Circuits: Polyamory in a Power Dynamic.

I’d love to hear about the different kind of theories you all know about and have come up with. Please add your resources and theories to the comments!

PS: Feel free to expand on this theory and apply it to all kinds of other identities! Please do credit us and link back here if you do.

Announcing: D/s Webinars for Patrons

I’ve reached a new goal in Patreon where I’m beginning to offer monthly D/s webinars for the folks who are pledging $5+ over on Patreon.

Fourth Saturday of the Month
10am-12noon PT / 1-3pm ET

It’s been exciting! We’ve done four so far. The one in December, 2018, was a condensed version of a workshop that rife and I have done many places called The Protocol Game, about building 52 protocol based on a “training wheel” that you make for yourself, and then you pull one random protocol each week for a year. It’s great to do for submissives who either don’t have a dominant or whose dominant doesn’t control their protocol that way, or for dominants who want to get better at self-control and discipline.

rife & I did a walk-through of how we created our first Protocol Game and explained it here, in case you’re interested in building that for yourself.

January’s webinar will be Fundamentals of Dominance

Saturday, January 26, 2019
10am-12pm PT / 1pm-3pm ET

Here’s how to join the webinars:

  • Head over to my page on Patreon, patreon.com/mrsexsmith
  • Sign up for one of the $5 or more tiers. You’ll get other gifts, too, not just the webinars!
  • You’ll receive email notifications in the days coming up to the webinar with the links on how to join!

Yes, the webinars will be recorded, so patrons can watch it later if they cannot access it live. And, they can access all of the past webinars!

There will be different D/s workshop every month

rife won’t always be able to join me, and it won’t always be on the 4th Saturday of the month, but the patrons will be notified in advance of the dates. As soon as I have a schedule worked out, I’ll release a few months in advance, with the dates and topics.

Topic wise, I will do some more classes on power dynamics that rife and I have already taught, and some new ones … and I’m thinking about Submissive Playground, too.

Would you come to Submissive Playground if I broke it up over four webinars?

I’m thinking I’ll break the course down and do one unit per webinar, for four webinars, every other month. So one month will be Bondage, then Discipline, then Service, then Masochism. $5+ patrons will have access to all the course materials, and if they want individual sessions with me or for me to go over their homework, that’ll be an add-on.

It’d make the course much more affordable than it was before. (The $5 level on Patreon is per-thing, not per-month, though, remember, so it’s actually about $25/month. Still, $25 webinar is less than I have done any of these in the past.)

I’d love to know what other D/s topics or classes you’d like!

So far, I have these requests:

  • Codependence & D/s
  • Stepping up your D/s (beginner->intermediate)
  • D/s and Open Relationships
  • Dom drop tips
  • D/s when you don’t live together / long distance

The classes rife & I are working on are:

  • The Art of Ownership
  • Queer Non-Binary D/s
  • Powerful Submission, Vulnerable Dominance
  • Take, Allow, Serve, Accept
  • Doctor D/s
  • Up the D/s Escalator: Trust & Limits

If any of these are speaking to you, I’d love to know; please add your ideas in the comments.

Show Me You Want It

I want you on your knees in the dark. Waiting. Unsure when I’ll come for you but knowing that I will. Of course I will. We both trust I will.

You know you have to be ready. Your knees are sore your back is sore your wrists are enflamed from the cuffs. Loose enough to be safe, but barely. You won’t use the buzzer affixed to you, the one that alerts me if you are in danger. You know it’s there. That is enough comfort for you.

You know you have to be ready because when I open the door I will not wait. It could be a blow to the face, a swift kick, knocking you over, shoving you to the floor. It could be a tight grip, lifting you to your feet. Don’t fall over don’t get thrown off balance keep your composure.

Impress me.

Maybe I’ll let you breathe. Maybe I’ll let you look at me, touch me. Maybe I’ll let you catch your breath, ease off of your red knees, work the kink out of your elbow.

The softest fingertip touch is a tease, is a curse, is even worse because of the pounding force that will come. You don’t trust it. But you trust me, underneath, under the pink of you, inside. You know I can hold this, hold myself and you, hold all of your autonomy and authority and sense of self, and I will give them back to you in morsels you can melt on your tongue. Close your eyes. Don’t bite, just suck. Good boy.

You will be lucky if you taste me. Open your mouth, stick out your tongue. Wider, further. Don’t make me get the gag that opens you too far. I could kneel over your mouth and drip into it, I could urge you open wider and watch you strain to lick, to suck. I like when you strain. I like when you want it.

Show me you want it.

I won’t give it to you, precisely because you want it. This isn’t about you getting what you want. This is about me. This is about my want, my ownership, my craving, my retribution, my dick. It isn’t personal. It’s about the ways my life is so far out of my control, both because that no human is in control of their surroundings and also because I am wired to be passive, to let things happen to me instead of making the things happen. But this, I can control. This is my deepest lust and vulnerability, the rawness at the heart of me, both the raw power and the raw open wound. It isn’t personal, but then again it is: it is the ways that we have grown together and changed

You will take all that I can give and more than I can give. I want it raw, just you and me: I use my fists. I catch you in the jaw, in the chest. One or two in the stomach to remind you of your place. To ensure that it hurts and is too much, sometimes.

I will hit you for so long and you will take it, just take it. Will you ever cry for me? You hold out for so long. You are so tough, so brave. Not so much a masochist, but capable of dispersing the intensity and absorbing the impact with your whole self. But you won’t outlast me. You will cry. You will break down for me. You need it. Maybe we both forget how you need it, but I remember each time you curl in my arms and finally heave sobs of relief and love.

Something in me releases when you do: Relief. I can still do it. I can still break you down to particles, put your puzzle pieces back together. I still have you. You are still, and always have been, mine.

I Want To Be Brutal.

This story contains some physical force, talk of ownership and dominance, the threat of choking, and somewhat forced orgasm.

I want to be brutal, but I want to be nice.

This is a constant conflict in my mind: I want to get that fire in my throat that comes when I see you wince and cringe and cry and beg, that thing that opens through the center of me and smiles when you hurt. And I want you to feel good, I want to touch you and for you to like it, I want to watch you come and give permission for pleasure and encourage you and embrace all the sensations of being in a body.

So maybe I don’t really want to “be nice:” what I want is for you to feel good. I want to be brutal, but I want you to feel good.

Sometimes you tell me that when I’m brutal is when you feel the best. That helps. But I also know that what feels “good” isn’t always loving, caressing touch; sometimes the rough, painful touch is an ordeal to conquer, an experience to withstand, and that too is pleasure.

Tonight, that’s the phrase that keeps coming up: I want to be brutal. I want to brutalize you. I feel afraid of my own desire for this, but I feel inspired by the lines of our contract and things that you’ve said and mantras that I’ve made going around in my head: “I want you to do whatever you want to me.” “I like it when it hurts.” “I want to cry for you.” “I want you to take it out on me.”

You’re working on your computer. I tell you to tell me when you are done, that I need you for something.

You come over to where I’m reading in the leather armchair. I have my reading glasses on and a little lamp next to me.

“Sir?”

“Mmm.” I don’t look up.

“I’m ready for you.”

I glance at you quickly. “Strip. Then kneel there.” I point. And I go back to my book.

It’s not a particularly good book, but it’s easy to read and I get engrossed. You slip off your jeans and tee shirt. You hesitate at your underwear, but I am not paying attention to you, so you don’t interrupt me to ask. You take it off. You kneel, there, with your hands behind your back and your eyes down, and you wait.

I turn pages. Mostly I am reading them, too. I’m waiting for the end of the chapter, but I already know I’m hard and wet and eager and starting to tremble at the sight of you I’m drinking in through my periphery vision. I never stop wanting you. It still feels like it did when we first got together and we had such limited time, that desire, that need to be inside you, to get so deep in you, to claim you, to own you. You press yourself up against me in the mornings with sleepy hellos or in the afternoon with frustrated work stress or in the evenings after coming home from out with friends, and when you kiss me, my desire for you stirs up and rises just like it always does. You are such a good kisser. Something about the softness of your lips and the way you use the sweet part on the inside and its slick and smooth but not too wet and it makes me shiver with pleasure. I want you. I feel embarrassed at how much you turn me on. I’m glad my hard-ons don’t show through my pants because you would know all the time how I just glance at you and it happens. My mouth waters and my cunt gets wet but you can’t see that.

I close the book. It makes a sharp, definitive noise. You were in a meditative state and you jump a little, your muscles tensing as you straighten up.

I stand next to you. I take a few steps around you. I see your chest rise as you breathe in.

I want to lavish praise on you, talk about how good you are and how well you serve me, and while it is true, it is also out of guilt. I want you to know how much I appreciate it when you can take the brutality I need to give, but that can happen after. I give too much praise. It softens the blow.

Tonight, I don’t want the blow to be soft.

I grab a fist full of your hair and I twist so you fall forward to your hands and knees, and pull you so you are crawling. I have some of your weight but mostly you are on your hands and knees. I drag you to the bedroom. I pull you up by your hair and throw you onto the bed with a shove.

“Sit up.” I whip the belt out of the loops of my jeans. You move slowly. You are so quiet, you get so quiet and still when I have you in my palm like this. You will do whatever I say. The noise is gone. There is only me and my commands, demands.

I pull the belt around your right forearm and thigh, binding them together. I grab another belt and do the same on the left.

I sit at the head of the bed, the pillows sweetly behind me, and pull you to sit in between my legs. I spread your legs open, pushing your feet to the outside of my knees. I grab the Magic Wand vibrator from its proper spot between the mattress and the wall and hold it to your cunt with my right hand, gripping your jaw with my left hand, with my mouth right next to your ear.

I turn on the vibrator and it rumbles. You whimper.

“This isn’t for you,” I growl quietly. I savor every shudder as your body starts to tremble and react. You’re so sensitive. I will overwhelm you quickly. That’s the point. “This is for me.”

I might kiss you, sometimes. My mouth is right there and your neck is so sweet and you moan and roll your head against me and I like that, so I might just kiss you again.

My hand covers both your mouth and nose. I take your air. I take your breath. I can have it if I want it. It’s mine.

“I take what I want.”

I let go and you inhale deep and you gasp and you moan when you exhale.

“Aren’t you lucky that you like this.”

I put my hand around your throat, but no pressure, just the touch. It makes you nervous, but there is no danger. Not yet.

“You may as well like it, I’m going to do it whether you want it or not.”

You are straining against the two leather belts. You are pressing back against me. I can feel your pulse in how you are shaking.

“I like to feel you all worked up like this.”

I kiss you again. Why not. You’ve earned it. Or you will.

“I like to remember all the things I can do to you, whenever I want to.”

Your voice is so soft I barely hear you, but you say, “Yes, Sir.”

My arms are in front of your shoulders, holding you back, holding your legs open. I put my fingers to your lips and you reach to have them in your mouth. I tease your mouth. I know how much you like to have your mouth filled, so I won’t give it to you. This torture is for me.

“I get so worked up. I just need to see you suffer. I need to remember my role, my purpose.”

You whisper yes, Sir again.

“It feels so good to see you this way.”

You whimper. You struggle and strain. I let you suck the tips of my fingers.

“It feeds me.”

My lips are on your ear, my voice quiet and low.

“You can do it for me. Go ahead and come when you’re ready. I’m just going to hold you right here and tease you and force you. You don’t have to ask. Just do it.”

You cry out and I let you have more of my fingers. They slip deep on your tongue. Your legs are shaking and you’re pulling against the leather belts, against me, kicking your feet, arching your back. I hold your jaw with my fingers in your mouth, I press the vibrator against you in pulses, softer then harder, feeling the thrust of your hips and the way you’re moving to get it to just the right spot, and I leave it there, and I wait, and I growl.

“Come for me, little toy.”

You do; you come hard, tensing everything, your stomach rippling, clenching your thighs and arms and toes and shaking until you collapse against me, still whimpering, almost crying, releasing.

I’m radiating. I’m giddy. I’m glowing. I’m so fucking deeply satisfied somewhere that I don’t know how to explain or how to touch but seems to only be sated when I force you to do hard things. And I’m so, so turned on. I will have you on your belly with my cock in your mouth next. I will fist your hair again and hold you against me until you can’t breathe. I will thrust my cunt up into you and fuck your mouth. I will come down your throat and you will drink it and swallow it and thank me for the privilege.

But first, I take the leather belts off of you, and you curl up in my arms, and I touch you with long soothing strokes, sweet and comforting, until I can be brutal again.

Lying Down, Guest Post by Kathleen Delaney-Adams

Excerpt from Dirty Dates edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel, published by Cleis Press. Reprinted with permission

She presents her back to me, unadorned and shivering in the early morning air. I know she loathes to being naked, the humility and vulnerability of it, so the fact that she’s offered it to me has moved me greatly, made me rock hard. She is spectacular, standing in the middle of the living room, her eyes blinking sleepily, her body already melting in anticipation.

I have surprised her with this, barely allowing her to finish her first cup of coffee before ordering her to take off her clothes and give me her flesh. Although this is our ritual, a Sunday morning play-date we rarely, if ever, miss, I am usually gentle with her. I allow her to wake slowly and warm up to the day, serve her coffee in bed, warm up to the day. The ways in which we arouse each other during these weekly assignations are myriad indeed, sometimes kinky, always juicy. This morning I want kink, demanded it of her. Although this is unexpected, she has scurried to please me, collecting my whips, the lube, the condoms, arranging them within easy reach on the coffee table before she stands before me and offered herself up. She is eager for my instructions, always. I run my hand down the skin of her creamy back and murmur, “That’s a good girl.”

She quivers in response and raises her eyes to mine.

“I didn’t say you could look at me, girl,” I hiss, and we are on.

She knows the drill, eyes now downcast as she slips into her submission. There is a smirk of pleasure and excitement playing about her lips. I should punish her for her sass, but her morning face is so pretty that I decide to allow it. For now.

The first licks of my galley whip are a tease, a flirt of leather on her skin. Kisses promise more to come and render her shaking with desire and a bit of fear.

I like the fear. I let it build slowly, increasing the intensity of the lashes she is receiving until she moves her body in expectation of them, a slight shifting toward the whip. I laugh and hit her pussy, not gently. She moans and spreads her legs open for me, for more.

“Ooh, you liked that, didn’t you, you whore?”

“Yes. Yes, Daddy.” Her voice is breathy.

I hit her pussy again, harder, first with the tails then the handle of the whip. She is moaning louder now, gasping. She blinks back the first sign of real tears—tears of pain or need, I’m not sure—but I give her more nonetheless.

When I stop abruptly her body jerks in response, stiffening, then softening and leaning back toward me. She sniffles, and I flick the whip gently through her hair, letting it caress her long red curls as if it were my fingers touching her.

She has told me it makes her feel cherished, when I beat and whip her flesh, when I fuck her hard and without lube, when I make demands of her. But I want to remind her she is also cherished now, in between the pain—that my whip can be both a brutal weapon and a tender one.

I reach around with my hands and squeeze her tits, rubbing my thumbs over her nipples, tugging them. I slide slowly down her belly, my fingers finding her slick wet pussy. She cries out and stumbles, losing her balance, when I shove three fingers inside her.

“Mmm, nice and wet for me, just the way I like you.”

Just as quickly I pull my hand away. My cock grows even stiffer when she cries out again and there is no mistaking her hunger.

I begin to whip her in earnest now, letting it build, slicing the whip into her skin with enough force to leave marks. That tender spot just under her ass is my favorite, the blood rising to the surface almost immediately in a sweet red welt.

She is fighting to stand still, moaning and sobbing, her entire body quaking. I land a series of intense blows on her back, and she sobs harder, in pain.

“Turn around,” I growl, and she obeys immediately.

Her teary eyes meet mine, her mouth swollen and quivering, and I want to tear into it, bite it, draw blood. I can see juice on her thighs, her pussy glistening. Her eyes are pleading. I know she wants more. She doesn’t have to beg—I’m not done yet—but I decide to make her anyway.

“Have you had enough, girl?” I ask. She starts to shake her head, than catches herself; she knows I prefer she answer me when I ask a question.

“N-no. No.”

“Do you want more then? Tell me you want more.”

“Yes. Yes, please. Please.” Her begging is not part of our play. I know she means it, and I am so stiff for her I might explode.

“Lift your arms for me.”

I demand full access to that delicate flesh. I want to devour her. Instead, I settle for my whip’s access, the ferocity of my own need barely restrained as I slice the tender skin of her breasts, her stomach, her thighs. Her nipples are hard, her breath rasping, her lips trembling. She bites her lower lip to keep from crying but she can’t stop the flow of tears, the sobs. When I lash out at her pussy, she again opens her legs for me, rocking her hips forward so I can better reach her clit, moving back and forth in time with the leather. This is a dance we have perfected over time, a dance not just of desire but of devotion.

I can’t wait a moment longer to enter that tight pussy, and I lay down the whip and grab her, pressing her against me. She collapses in my arms, simply melting, and I feel her wet cheeks buried in my neck.

Read the rest of the story in the anthology Dirty Dates edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel, published by Cleis Press. Get more information about the Dirty Dates anthology here. Thanks for letting me reprint part of it!

A toy to do with as I please.

Another excerpt from the NaNoWriMo “novel”, the draft of which I completed this morning! I wouldn’t say the novel is actually done, but it’s 50,000 words strong and ready for revision. This is the beginning of chapter 6, Master Jack Harrison’s second date with Sidra (after they’ve been texting and emailing dirty things for a week).

Sidra is sitting on the steps, shivering a little in a too-short skirt and a long wool winter coat, when I walk up to my apartment building after I park the car. Her heels are high and poised carefully on the steps below her, feet apart, while her knees are together. She’s cute. Desperately so. I can’t believe she came all this way. What a good girl, asking for what she wanted. I’m salivating already.

I walk straight past her, getting my key out and unlocking the front door. She stands. “Come,” I say, a simple, clear command. I hold the door and she walks through it. She blinks at me when she walks by me, catching my eye, but she doesn’t say anything. “Go ahead; up.” I say as we reach the stairs. She looks slightly down and sideways, giving me a flash of her coyness, before she starts up the stairs. Her skirt is so short that I can see the tops of her stockings, which stop at her thighs, and the way her ass switches. She’s not wearing any underwear. I can see everything, the pink of her exposed. That must’ve been very cold, out there, waiting for me.

I just watch. I could watch this all day, her legs, the way her thighs rub together, how she criss-crosses her heels just the tiniest bit. The angles. I get my smart phone out and take a couple of photos, discreetly. I adjust my dick in my jeans, getting hard already. I want to fuck this girl.

But I want to hold the line I’m trying to draw, the line of a hard, strict master, even more.

She pauses at the top of the third floor, and I slide my arm around her waist and guide her down the hallway. The walk to the end seems excruciatingly slow and has never felt this far away. She leans into me, just enough that I can feel it, and I turn to inhale the scent of her hair: clean and floral, with the faintest hint of sweetness. The purple is growing on me. Somehow, it looks so elegant on her. “It’s good to see you,” I say quietly.

The key in the lock won’t turn, and I might burst and break it down if I can’t get it open momentarily. I breathe. Concentrate. Focus. This isn’t going to get any easier; in fact, it’ll only get harder as I get more turned on. Hold the line.

I take her coat when we walk in and immediately point to the floor. “Down.”

She obeys, dropping to her knees like she’s done it a thousand times for me, like she already knows the hardness of my floors and she doesn’t have to calculate how much to let gravity take her weight and how much to resist against it. It’s beautiful, seamless. Her eyes are down, hands behind her back. Her shirt is a small, tight tee shirt, white and simple, almost school girl-ish, but a little more grown up. Her black skirt fans out around her thighs, toes of her heels tapping the floor.

“Good,” I say, and turn to hang up our coats. “Wait there.” I put our coats away, place my keys in the dish by the door, pour us both glasses of water, and fuss with a few other things on the counter before I come back to Sidra. She’s still on the floor, breathing hard, the anticipation of waiting making her even more turned on and ready. Her purple hair hangs in her face, which is still lowered, focused; she’s playing in some internal landscape of submission, focused on her inner senses, not her knees (which are probably killing her by now) or her discomfort.

I step up right next to her, my boots clicking against the hardwood. “Come with me,” I say. She looks up at me and nods, unfolding her hands. I turn toward the dungeon, not watching her rise, letting her stretch and get the kinks out without my gaze on her.

I set the glasses down on the table next to the door. The moment we are both inside, I close the door and turn to press her up against it. Hard. My hand at her throat, hips grinding against her, my other hand holding both of hers above her head in one smooth motion. My mouth close to hers. She gasps, half closing her eyes, lips pursed and almost panting. She’s caught, like prey in a trap, like a fly in a web. I smile at the familiar current of dominance and power that come over me. She melts a little against the door, against me, her hips pushing back against mine, squirming a little, but not to escape so much as to feel the resistance back against her. I hold her firm.

“What did you expect to happen tonight, girl? Did you expect to come over and get fucked, get worked over? Did you think I would spank you for touching yourself, scold you like a naughty schoolgirl? Did you think this outfit would work on me?”

She opens her mouth like she’s going to speak, but doesn’t, and closes it. My hand is still at her throat, though not pressing with any real pressure; just holding it there, reminding her that I can.

“If you want to be mine, you’re going to have to do what I say. Are you ready to show me what you can do?”

She nods.

“Are you ready to be mine?”

She swallows, I can feel it against the palm of my hand. So vulnerable, the throat. So open. She nods again. “Please,” she whispers.

“Please, what?”

“Please, do what you want with me. I will obey you. Sir.” Her eyes are still almost closed, lips pink, cheeks flushing. My feet are planted firm and I trace my hand down her sternum, past her belly, down between her legs, and I hold her cunt in my hand through her skirt.

“Looks like you are eagerly ready for me,” I say, feeling the heat even through the black fabric of the skirt.

“Yes, yes, I am. So ready,” Sidra assures me.

“This could be just for tonight, Sidra; do not misunderstand me. I’m not promising you are mine forever. Just for tonight.”

“I understand.”

I can feel each time she inhales and exhales in her throat. It’s exhilarating, intoxicating, to hold her breath in my hand, to squeeze it just a little. I lean in closer to her, inhale her scent, smell the longing and desire building in her. My shoulders relax. My mind goes so perfectly clear. “I’ve been wanting this too, you know. Someone to play with, to use. A toy to do with as I please.”

“Healing comes through sex.” Sinclair Sexsmith interviews Sophia Chang

How do I know if this kind of dirty kinky sex is *good* for me? What are the healing aspects of D/s play? What kind of biophysical basis for healing does kinky sex have? And how can the sacral chakra and cellular memory assist with healing, and give your sex life even more power and oomph?

These are the kinds of questions I asked Sophia, and we talk about all this and more in the second video in the Sugarbutch series on mental wellness and kink.

Watch it now!

Can’t get enough of Sophia Chang? Here’s more: http://facebook.com/thesophiachang | http://www.sexmoneyuniversity.com

And if THAT’S not enough, Sophia + I are doing a special Q&A version where we’ll talk about wellness, kink, mental health, liberation, feminism, queerness, straight sex, and even chakras (if you ask). Come join us!

Thursday January 8, 2015
6pm PST, 9pm EST
On Spreecast (link will be sent to you the day of the webinar)
Free! Just sign up below:

(PS: There will probably be flirting.)

10 Tips for Tops

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.

FullSizeRender
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

Use your favorite words or positions that make you both feel empowered, deliberate, and sexy.
Many tops and dominants who play with power exchange during scenes, but whose reach and sphere of control don’t extend into other areas of their submissive’s life, need a way to have an “on switch” for their dominance (and an “on switch” for their submissive’s submissiveness, too). Consider building a D/s ritual that will, eventually, when repeated enough times, serve like a kind of Pavlovian symbol for you two stepping into those roles, something you both have a visceral response to. This ritual can be things like: You stand and your sub kneels at your feet; Your sub picks three toys and lays them out on the bed, then gets into a “present” slave position, and you enter the room; You recite a back-and-forth agreed upon (simple) phrases or promises to each other. Use your favorite words or positions that make you both feel empowered, deliberate, and sexy.

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

Build the trust you need from your submissive to know that they are honest and they can follow through on what they agree to.
D/s and power dynamics are completely built on trust. Thats part of what I love about it: It requires so much deep knowing and intimacy. It takes work to keep it safe, protected, and intact. When the relationship is going well, the work can feel effortless. But this trust doesn’t just show up when a submissive kneels and offers themself to you. You gotta build this trust between you slowly. Most of us do this intuitively, but it’s helpful to do it consciously too. Not only are they building the trust they need from you, since they are putting their body and psyche into your hands, but also you are building the trust you need from them, which includes the ability to trust that they are honest with you if they get overwhelmed or need to stop, trusting they mean what they say, and trusting for them to reach out for support. Trust builds slowly and is earned over time. Don’t rush it.

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

Read all the books and blogs you can get your hands on. Find your local resources and study those, too.
The power exchange subject isn’t an abundant one, but there are books out there, and really good theorists who from whom you should absolutely learn. Raven Kaldera runs Alfred Press, and they have dozens of books about cooperative power dynamics, limitations, and real scenarios for living D/s and M/s. Andrea Zanin’s writing is largely compiled at sexgeek.wordpress.com and every piece is worth reading. (She also has a fantastic list of kink resources, including many specific power dynamic books.) I highly recommend these: 1) Dear Raven and Joshua: Questions and Answers about Master/Slave Relationships by Raven Kaldera and Joshua Tenpenny, 2) Slavecraft: Roadmaps for Erotic Servitude – Principles, Skills and Tools by a grateful slave with Guy Baldwin 3) The Marketplace Series (The Marketplace, The Slave, The Trainer, The Academy, The Reunion and The Inheretor) by Laura Antoniou.

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!

Ask Mr. Sexsmith: I’m a sub, but my partner is not a dom. What do I do?

This question comes from Marie:

“My partner and I have come to a difficult place in our relationship. I have long since had the desire and urge to be dominated, to be somebody’s submissive, and to explore the world in its entirety. My partner, however, has no wishes. I’ve sat down with her and tried to explain what it meant, what it meant to me, and what it would mean to our relationship, but she says she can’t bear to hurt me (even if I enjoy it). I’ve been the dominate one, so to say, in our relationship, and I know for a fact that she would never consider me seeking a dom or have an open relationship. I love her, but I’m unhappy. How did you first address all of this? And is there anything else I can explain to her before I have to make a decision? I really want to explore this, and I want to with her, but she really has no budge room, and I don’t want to make her uncomfortable.  All in all, I’m really confused and at ends.”

….. I have one more thing to add that I didn’t say when I recorded the video yesterday, that is whispering to me now that I’m re-reading your question.

Marie, you wrote: “I really want to explore this, and I want to with her, but she really has no budge room, and I don’t want to make her uncomfortable.”

And here’s the thing. You want to explore this with her, but she doesn’t want to explore it. You want to push her a little, because you are very attached to doing this with her specifically and not opening your relationship to some sort of non-monogamy (which is totally understandable!), but you don’t want to make her “uncomfortable.”

But: let me remind you, sweet pea, for a moment, of your own discomfort. You are uncomfortable by not having the kind of D/s relationship dynamic that your secret heart-of-hearts craves. And there is no reason for her discomfort to be more important than yours. Yes, of course, her discomfort is important and consent is important—I’m not trying to say that she should do it anyway and you “win.” But what I’m trying to say is that you have a clashing of needs here, and you two are going to have to figure that out.

You want something. She doesn’t want it.

There’s so many ways to sugar-coat that, but that’s the simplest core of truth.

It’s totally okay to have different wants or needs in a partnership—that happens all the time. What is important is that you two come up with a way to talk about these different needs, be they around sex, or D/s, or monogamy, or what you make for dinner that night, or whether your parents come stay for a weekend, or where you go on vacation.

It’s extra scary to talk about, because it’s sex and extra dirty kinky stuff that you may still have some internal shame or guilt about. Do you have that? Ask yourself, for a brief quiet soft gentle moment: Do you think you should be able to have this deep want? Or are there things in place between you and that want that make it even harder to ask for, to advocate for yourself around?

I mean, if it was … a new car that you wanted, or a puppy, what would you do then? Would you think of those as “legitimate” wants, whereas this is a scary, shadow, selfish want? (I’m just guessing—maybe that’s not how it feels for you.)

I guess what I’m really trying to say is, YOU DESERVE TO HAVE THIS. And it sucks that she doesn’t want to do it with you. That really sucks. I’m sorry. There’s nothing wrong with you for wanting this, but you two might have come to an irreconcilable difference, if she a) won’t allow you to explore it with anyone else and b) won’t explore it with you.

So now comes a very difficult decision on your part, which is precisely why you’re asking me this question: Is your desire for this greater than your desire to be in this intimate, monogamous partnership with her?

Ask yourself that gently, with kindness, as if you are your best friend asking yourself this. It’s okay if the answer is no. It’s okay if the answer is yes. It’s okay if the answer is “I don’t know.”

I know for me, no partnership felt right until I had that D/s dynamic. It just didn’t. As much as I loved them, as much as I wanted it to work, it didn’t, until I had a power dynamic in place. I don’t really know why. For whatever reason, that’s my fetish, that’s how I’m wired. That’s what really makes me pleased and happy and satiated. Sometimes, for me, the love itself—though it was good love and beautiful love and important love and growing love—was not enough.

It sucks that sometimes love wasn’t enough. But it’s true. I needed more. Maybe you do, too.

Got a (different) question?

I’ve got a full inbox, but I love hearing your gender and identity and sexuality puzzles. What’s on your mind? Ask it here! And I’ll do my best to email you when I answer it.

Remember, Sinclair does one-on-one coaching!

I hope my thoughts give you some places to start. If you’re still stuck, remember, I do one-on-one coaching sessions, and I would be very happy to help you with resources, experiments, ideas, support, or just talking in depth through this process. Contact me for more information and pricing.

Comment Zen …

Readers, do you relate to Marie’s question?

If you do, would you share your own story about being in a relationship and not getting the kind of power dynamic that you wanted? What kind of resources helped you on your journey? Books? Anything to recommend for others who are going through this?

Leave your story anonymously if you like; your email address will not be published, and if you don’t want your usual “gravitar” picture of you to show up, just type “+sugarbutch” in your email address (like [email protected]) and I’ll know you want to be anonymous.

And there’s more …

If you want to explore your submissive identity even more, sign up for the Submissive Playground summer school! Registration closes June 30th.

Dominance & Power with Responsibility

As I’ve been exploring deeper into power theory, like D/s and M/s, and as I’ve been trying to understand how my relationship with Kristen went wrong and in what ways power played into that, I’ve been thinking more and more about responsibility.

I’ve been meditating on the basics: What is it? How does it work? How does one “take responsibility”? What kind of responsibilities does one have—as a partner, as a lover, as a Daddy, as a dominant, as a friend? How does responsibility shift and changes when circumstances are not ideal, such as when someone is grieving (you know, hypothetically)?

Raven Kaldera and Joshua Tenpenny, whose books on M/s I have been recently devouring and whose theories I astutely agree with, mention in one of their books that a dominant’s hunger for responsibility must be equal to or greater than their hunger and lust for power. That resonated deeply with me, so I have been chewing on how to act from a responsible place, how to behave responsibly, how to hunger for responsibility, how to be responsible with my power.

We commonly use “responsibility” to mean our obligations—the things we have agreed to do, or the things other people have put on us to do that we may or may not have agreed to—and how we cope with those obligations. It is my responsibility as a cat owner to make sure my cat is fed, for example.

But when it comes to interpersonal relationships, what our responsibilities are vary greatly from person to person, and from culture to culture. My responsibilities to my parents might mean, to me, calling them on their birthdays and going to visit once a year, but to another person, their responsibilities to their parents might be visiting them every day, or might be sending one holiday card annually. Same with lovers and partners: I might think my responsibility is to respond to texts or emails from lovers is to respond when I can get to it, but my lover might think it rude and irresponsible of me not to reply right away (especially when now, with iMessage, you can see when your texts have been read). I suspect some of the expectations in relationships are built on our love languages (quality time, acts of service, gifts, physical touch, words of affirmation).

The expectations we place upon responsibilities of those around us are often unspoken and unconscious, and therefore difficult to make clear. Making those clear is a key piece of good communication, I believe.

But that’s just one piece. We also use the word “responsibility” to talk about one’s behavior in any given situation, such as, “They’re not being very responsible,” or, “they’re not acting very responsibly.”

I started breaking down the word responsibility into its two parts: response and ability. Response-ability. And that led me to my first conclusion about it: responsibility is your ability to respond to any given situation. But how does one “respond”?

Most of the time, I think we are reacting, not responding. Reacting is the knee-jerk impulse our combination of body, mind, experiences, emotions, and self tells us to have. We get an email from a boss with some critique, we feel insulted. Our lover asks something taxing of us, we feel put out. Not everybody has the same reaction, of course—depending on our unique histories, unique bodies, unique patternings, we react in different ways; many of us have different reactions to the same emotions, too. Some people feel insulted and fight back, some people feel insulted and become paralyzed, some people feel insulted and run away.

I think that responsibility is your ability to take the reaction you have, process it through your thoughtful higher self who wants the best for everyone involved and can see many perspectives, and choose your response and your next actions intentionally.

Let me put that another way. My ability to respond well to a situation, to be responsible in my role or job or relationship, depends upon my ability to notice my knee-jerk reaction and use that as one piece of the data that I gather before I decide what to do next. Other pieces of data you could use as you analyze the situation include:

  • What would the high wise imaginary counsel inside your head, made up of all of your mentors and favorite people, advise you to do?
  • What would your counsel of very favorite people advise you to do? (Perhaps you should call them to ask?)
  • What would the best possible outcome for all people be?
  • What would you say if you were really telling the truth about this situation?
  • How do your ethics ascribe you to behave?
  • What would yourself in ten years say about this situation?
  • How do your spiritual or religious beliefs guide you in this quandary?
  • Where are the places where your ego, pride, or stoicism are getting in the way?
  • Where can you use your great strength to be more vulnerable in this situation?
  • Where do you feel this pain, sorrow, longing, anger, or frustration in your body?
  • What does your bodywork or therapy point you toward?

I’ve been chewing on this difference, between reaction and response-ability, for at least a year now, trying to figure out how to be sure I am exploring what it means to be responsible with the privilege and power that I hold. Because, as the cliche saying goes, “with great power comes great responsibility,” and as I’ve been seeking more and more great power, I want to make sure I have the great responsibility part down as well. I don’t think “responsibility” dictates a code of behavior specifically so much as it dictates an intentional response, and that is a comfort to me, as I try to continue to sort our my own wounds, heal my own heartache, and continue to pursue my lust for power.

Reconciling the Identities of Feminist & Butch Top

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.

How do you get a dominant to dominate?

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?