Archive for the ‘Mistakes’ Category


Has it really been a month since I’ve last written on this blog?

I’ve been finding it really difficult to write, lately, as I suppose my absence here would suggest. I’ve been tired and stressed and exhausted all the time, worn very thin by what seems to be just “normal life” for everyone else around me. I find myself daydreaming of escape more often than is probably healthy for me. I’ve been cutting myself off from people and activities I used to enjoy, simply because it seems like too much effort to maintain the relationships or to spend my non-work hours doing anything but curling up under a blanket. Old sources of guilt and depression have been resurfacing out of nowhere. In short: the last few months have been sort of crappy.

We had a second meeting of “Anarkink,” as we’re now calling the Anarchist BDSM group, and it was great, and we had some interesting conversations, and I left feeling confused and sad, because like everything else, it now seems too difficult, too stressful, to really throw myself in and to get the most out of this group.

…but enough of that. Let me try to assemble something like a decent blog post, here.

One piece of the repressed-sexuality baggage I’m still struggling to discard has to do with rejection. In my head, if I try to initiate sex and am turned away, this is because my sexuality is bad and repulsive and I’m a horrible slut — not because my partner is tired, sick, or stressed out, which would be a more reasonable way of looking at the situation (i.e. based in fact). When I let my desire show, and he doesn’t reciprocate — when he gently tells me that he’s just not feeling it right now — my stomach turns inside-out, and it just starts a vicious circle of us making each other feel worse and worse.

The other night, that started to happen. We ended up in bed together, both of us feeling terrible. I tried to explain how it made me feel ashamed to want sex when he didn’t, and how I just didn’t know what to do in these situations, when my body was burning and he just wanted to go to sleep. Earlier that week I actually hadn’t been able to get to sleep because of it, and had ended up going to sleep in the other room instead. This time, I let him know that I was turned on enough that I wasn’t going to be able to fall asleep without coming first.

And then we had a long conversation about what he could and couldn’t do in such situations, to what extent he was willing to help me get what I needed. I could masturbate, he said, and I could do it with him in the room. But I felt too uncomfortable to do that if he was simply passively sitting next to me, or worse, turned away from me. It felt deeply shameful, no matter what he said to dissuade me from those feelings. I realized that earlier, when he’d admitted that he wasn’t feeling interested in sex that evening, I probably would have been fine if he’d done it in a more direct way, telling me that we would not be having sex — but also telling me that I would be able to come if I wanted to, if I waited and didn’t put any more pressure on him.

I also realized that his discomfort at those situations in which I start to get pushy, when it becomes really obvious that I want to play or fuck, wasn’t due to my desire but to my expectations. Expectations put pressure on him = immediate turn off.

So here’s sort of the ideal situation I’ve worked out in my head:

Me: [Passionately kisses him/kneels/puts my hands behind my back/etc.]
Him: Just so you know, we’re not going to be playing or having sex tonight.
Me: Oh. Okay.
Him: If you wait until we go to bed, I’ll allow you to come then. [OR: I want you to go into your room and have two orgasms. Come straight back here when you’re done.]

By the time we were done discussing all of this, naturally, we were both really turned on and ended up having an awesome time…

The Pressure of Dominance

Sometimes it’s easy for me to forget how stressful it can be to wield power over and take responsibility for another person.

Up until this last week or two, things had felt very different between me and my partner. We’ve been having sex much less frequently, and really playing even less. In part, this is due to conflicting and busy schedules, but can largely be chalked up to stress. There have been an increasing number of nights in which I expect we’re going to at least have sex, and he just wants to cuddle. He feels bad; I feel bad; we go to sleep feeling awkward and distant.

As is the case with most of these sort of problems, the only way to deal with it was to spend an entire evening just talking about it, crying, and talking some more.

While talking about it, I mentioned that all this seems to have started with a disappointing flogging workshop we attended at the Citadel a few months ago. In this workshop, attendees were expected to try out techniques on each other: to simply split up into pairs and practice, without hands-on teaching or any real supervision. He wasn’t able to do it. He felt so nervous and intimidated by the whole thing that we ended up leaving, which of course made him feel even worse — especially because I’d been feeling fine about the whole thing and had been feeling more and more interested in that sort of public play. It was an incredibly demoralizing experience for him, he told me, one that left him very shaken and insecure about his dominance.

Since then, it’s become an underlying issue affecting our play. It’s hard to be dominant when you can’t shake the feeling that your submissive wants more than what you can or want to deliver; it’s hard to top someone when you’re feeling pressured to do so more often and harder than you yourself are comfortable with. And recently, that’s been our dynamic: I ask for a scene, I talk to him about classes and workshops we might attend, new things we might try, and all of it just makes him shrink away. When I push, when I try to direct things, when I’m pursuing him, it’s difficult for him to not feel pressured — and pressure, of course, is always a great killer of sexual desire, but especially when you’re supposed to be the one in control.

Immediately after that conversation, a few weeks ago, I was at a complete loss. I knew the appropriate response from me was to just back the fuck off, to stop bringing it up, to stop pressuring him into playing, to put ideas of further workshops and public activities out of my head completely, to give him the time and space to feel confident in his dominance and to play with me because he wants to, not because he feels like he has to. And ultimately, that’s what I agreed to do. For two weeks, I wouldn’t say a word about sex or play, and would let him take his time and initiate it when he wanted.

I hated it. Every time I wanted to play and couldn’t ask for it, all I could really think is, “Why doesn’t he want this? We have time and privacy, why isn’t he just tearing off my clothes right this second? Is this losing its appeal? Am I losing my appeal?” on top of an underlying “Goddamn I want to be beaten and hurt and fucked right now.” And then, of course, I started thinking, “How long is this going to go on? Can I really be happy if this ends up being the norm in our relationship, with sex once or twice a week and a long play session maybe once a month? Can I be happy if those play sessions involve the same few activities over and over, if he’s not interested in ever learning new things or trying new toys, in inventing new games and tortures and ways to make me squirm? Can I be happy if he’s never as interested in this stuff as I am, if he never wants to prioritize it in the way that I do?”

And of course, that’s a lot of nonsense. I realize that now that a few weeks have passed, and our d/s seems to be back in full force. He was right — all it took was a little time in which I wasn’t putting on the pressure, and his dominance came right back out. The less I push to get what I want, the more I actually get what I want. All I needed to do was trust that he wants all of this as much as I do, and I very quickly was able to see the same desire reflected in his eyes. So many times I get to this point, this not really believing that he wants me in this way, and every time I realize it’s a silly and unfounded fear. (A fear legitimately rooted in bad past experiences, but nevertheless unfounded, at least with my current partner.)

Relationships are at once so complicated and so simple, whether kinky or vanilla. Everything I’ve written here, everything I’ve learned from this experience, all boils down to the same clichéd phrases: time; space; talking; listening; trust. How is it that such simple words describe the most difficult challenges?

Trust After Mistakes

It’s taken me a long time to get over my fear that my partner will make a mistake while dominating me, unintentionally doing something that actually injures me or crosses a boundary I’m not ready to cross. In the past, it’s been really difficult for me to “come back” to a scene if anything goes wrong — and for me, all it takes for something to “go wrong” is for me to have any sense that my partner is not fully in control of the situation. All it takes is a stroke aimed at my ass to go to my lower back or my leg, and I become afraid. It doesn’t really matter whether or not the action itself hurt or disturbed me; it’s all about maintaining my trust that he’ll take care of me in a scene, that he is competent and conscious enough to handle anything that comes up. But I’ve realized that what that means, sometimes, is that I’m holding him to an impossible standard: I expect him to be the perfect dom, to never make a mistake.

(NOTE: This post contains explicit sexual imagery and descriptions of BDSM play.)

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