All posts by Rant

Rant is an experienced Dominant peripherally involved in the San Francisco Bay Area BDSM scene. He is not known as Rant outside of this blog.

Rant: Safewords

When I was inducted into the BDSM world, one of the very first lessons I learned was on the use of a safeword.  For this reason, it surprised me to learn how infrequently these are actually used.  In some ways, this isn’t so bad.  Some groups/pairs have other negotiated ways to stop activities or scenes if they need to, and that is all well and good, but there is one important difference between some of those things and what I was taught a safeword was supposed to represent…

I don’t know if it was the 50 Shades books that made this popular, or if it was popular before they were released, but I hear a lot about the use of the words ‘yellow’ and ‘red’ as ‘safewords’.  While on its own, this is not a bad innovation, it seems to have come at the cost of damaging the protocol for how to treat safewords – at least, insofar as my understanding of them has gone.

The protocol I was taught is very simple:

* There is ONE and only one safeword.  It should be a word that you would not normally use in play and it should be deliberate – something that you wouldn’t utter on accident or that might be misinterpreted as another word, and not a single syllable – something you have to mean it when saying.  Anything else is intended as part of the scene.

Sometimes this can be difficult for me to accept, I’ll admit, especially in things like rape fantasy scenes… I sometimes react to ‘No’ even when I should not.  It is a limitation that I’ve been unable to completely overcome even after 15 years, but this protocol helps and without it, I would likely be unable to take part in such scenes at all.

* If your play restricts the ability to speak, another gesture/movement will be used to convey the same meaning – this gesture/movement should fall into the same category as the word above – something deliberate, something that can’t be mistaken for something else.

* Either person (or any person in scene) can use the safeword to stop the scene/play/activity at any time for any or no reason.

* Use of the safeword stops everything for everyone.  Action will be taken to immediately stop all activities, pull participants out of bondage, cutting bonds if necessary, and begin aftercare to establish a sphere of safety and comfort for all participants.

And that’s really all there is to it.

I cannot stress the importance of the concept of immediate stop here enough.  What we do can be dangerous.  Permanent nerve damage is possible, as is asphyxiation, severe physical trauma, even death.  However, much more difficult to quantify, but possibly much more lasting in terms of long term damage and the need for repair are the possible psychological trauma that can occur from what we do.  The physical nature of things requires obvious action when the safeword is called, unless you don’t know what you’re doing – in which case you should not be doing it! – you will be able to easily spot where the tension is wrong or where there is too much torque, or where the beating is in danger of causing nerve damage or things like that, but it is nearly impossible to spot the signs of psychological trauma, and the only reasonable thing to do is to always assume that is present.

I keep a set of EMT shears with me at every scene.  I would recommend that every Dom do the same, whether you are intending to enact a bondage scene or not – just have them with you.  They’re second only to condoms in importance of having nearby, in my opinion, and with a fluid bonded partner, much more important.  This is a good example of what you should have : link  – I’m not recommending these specifically, and there is no affiliate link in there, so I don’t get any kickback if you order them from that link – do your research, find a pair that you like, get those.

I actually have a full trauma kit in my home, as much for use in possible civil emergencies as for things that might go wrong in a scene (which, thank the gods, I have never needed for either case) but I don’t usually take the whole thing with me when I’m going somewhere else.  The EMT shears are non-negotiable though, even if it means I have to check a bag on a flight for which I could have otherwise avoided doing so.

I have never needed the trauma kit, but I HAVE needed the shears.  I did a bondage scene with rope once where my submissive called out the safeword that I had set for her, and I cut her out of some complicated knots as fast as I possibly could have and it still felt like too long.  I’ve used leather restraints with carabiners and hooks before, and while those do obviate some of the need to cut someone out (since releasing a carabiner is much faster than untying a knot) I would not have hesitated to cut right through the leather if I had to, and I’ve tested the shears to be certain that they can do just that.

Pulling my submissive out of that bondage scene and then holding her and telling her that she was safe and that I was there to take care of her now and that the scene was ended was an intensely emotional thing for me as well as her.  She claims that she has no lasting psychological trauma from the scene, but it could easily have gone that way.

And this brings me to the reasons why I am not fond of ‘yellow’ and ‘red’ as safeword/codes…

One – having two words adds confusion to something that can not really stand to be confusing.  

That is more colloquial English than I am used to using, but I want to make this point very clear: confusion is your enemy in a BDSM scene.  This is why I push on open communication and  negotiation hard.  Confusion will get people hurt.  If not physically, people will get hurt emotionally or psychologically.

Two – having an ‘almost safe’ word detracts from the power of the ‘safe’ word.

I am not a fan of this ‘new’ development at all.  I call it ‘new’ because there was no such concept when I first started in BDSM.

It is my duty as Dom to understand what is happening in the scene and to control it, and that includes making sure that my submissive is okay no matter whether she uses the safeword(s) or not.  I should understand that if my submissive is not comfortable that I am encroaching upon her limits and be careful.  I am more than happy to make her uncomfortable, but I never wish to injure her.  Walking that line is usually pretty clear to me, because I make an effort to understand my submissive and what her body language is like before I begin any physical or even psychological contact, but everyone makes mistakes.. and that is what the safeword is there to resolve.

Hearing ‘yellow’ and then transitioning to ‘red’ leaves the feeling that there may be yet another level above that, or invite the question, “did you really mean ‘red’ or are we still at ‘yellow’?”  In my opinion both of those scenarios are dangerous and uncalled for.

The responses that I’ve seen advocated for with ‘red’ even are to back off and reassess, which in my not-so-very-humble-opinion is not nearly enough.  When I’ve been called upon to play by those rules, I’ve tried to do so to the best of my ability, but I would really rather have heard ‘hurricane’ and dropped out of scene entirely and gone straight to aftercare.

This is where this instructional message turns into a rant.

If I am your Dominant, I do not want to injure you.

I will hurt you.

I will bring you right up to the breaking point and show you how deep your own well goes.

I will push myself every bit as hard as I push you to achieve these goals.

I crave nothing more than the trust and worship and catharsis that comes from knowing that I can push you as hard as I think you can take, as hard as I myself can take, because that safety net is there – the safeword.

I have known couples that claim a safeword is not useful, or, even worse, say that use of a safeword is somehow not “real BDSM”.  That a slave who uses a safeword is not really a slave and that they have no place in these things.

That is an ignorant and dangerous position to take, and frankly those people scare the shit out of me, and I’m honestly not scared by much.

I need to be able to trust you to know your own limits, and I need to be able to know that I can push those in a safe, sane, and consensual manner.

If you take away my safeword, I cannot do that.

And yes, I have used a safeword as a Dominant.  I find that it provides a more complete catharsis and begins aftercare in a more distinct manner than simply pulling away and saying something like, “you’ve had enough.”  That is a condescending and unnecessarily brutal way to end a scene.

I care too much to not care about safewords.

This is my opinion.  This is not a call to action.

This is a rant…

Rant off.

Unasked Questions: Contracts

In previous entries in this series, I’ve talked about scenes and limits. In this entry, I’m going to be talking about contracts:  what they mean in the BDSM sense, where they are best used, why I feel that they are necessary, when I feel that they are necessary, and probably give some examples from my own life.

Contracts occupy one of what I would consider to be the three main pillars of a BDSM arrangement.  The others would be limits and safewords.  Limits I’ve talked about previously, but safewords I have yet to touch upon.  That will be a separate topic, and as it is something that I feel strongly about, probably more of a rant than instructional, but I will try to hold back some of my stronger feelings for the blog.

In any case, today I am here to talk about contracts.

Whenever I have taken on a new sub for more than just a single scene, I have asked for a contract.  These are not in any way legally binding, and there is often a great deal of redundant or otherwise not-terribly-useful information contained within them, but I find that it provides two very important things:  accountability and transparency.  These are two things that I think are extremely important, nay, vital, to the success of any relationship, especially when that is both kinky and poly.

The contract is only between the submissive and me, so in some ways the poly aspect of my relationships is a separate problem but it is entirely dependent on the two virtues I extol above, so it is appropriate to mention it here as well.  It is a formal, if not legally binding, document that spells out exactly what terms are expected from the perspective of both the Dominant and submissive.  It serves as yet another opportunity to negotiate and put forward your own desires and fears.

This is a good example of a template for a contract  but of course, every contract is between two people and as such must be customized for their needs.  In order to be very useful, a contract has to specify the following things:

  the contracted parties:  In each contract that I have used to date this means the submissive and me, but there is no reason that this could not include more than just two parties

 the contract duration:  How long will these expectations be in place for?  Sometimes, in the contracts of others that I have seen, this part is omitted – the supposition being that the contract is ‘never-ending’.  While I do not have any deeply held philosophical reasons for preferring to extend or reissue a contract after the expiration of the current one, that has always been my choice.   I think there is a powerful psychological aspect of ‘contract’ that is missing if you omit duration, even if that duration is something like 500 years or something slightly more nebulous like the death of one of the parties..

  the roles of each party:  This is where things like how the slave is expected to serve the Master are defined.  This is where one would spell out the behaviors that are expected or required, along with what the submissive can expect from the Dominant, be this protection, care, training, whatever.

 any options for severability:  This is where you detail under what conditions the contract becomes void.  The contracts that I have used typically state that the Dominant can close the contract at any time without reason and that the submissive can veto specific actions if they violate certain criteria (such as pushing a hard limit or breaking the law) but that they have no recourse for completely ending the contract.  Of course, since such contracts are not legally binding, either party can walk away at any time.

 any special considerations:  This will often be either a list of hard limits or a link to a document containing those limits.  It may also call out any other things that the submissive or Dominant decide require special attention.  The contract document will provide tangible reminders to both parties of their promises to each other for the duration of the contract, so this makes sense as a place to specifically call out anything that might ever need reminding about or that the parties want to make explicit.

I’ve held contracts for as short as a month and as long as 18 months.  They make for a very intense relationship though, and I’m not certain that they can be held for longer than that, though I’m beginning to change my opinion on that — at least, I’ve become hopeful that I can, despite never really wanting that in the past.

A contract is a pledge, by both the Master and the slave, to adhere to the roles that you have defined for the duration, terms, and circumstances contracted for.  It might be to formalize training of a newbie, it might be to add extra kink to an already established relationship, tipping it over into the realm of true TPE, or it might just be something fun to do with someone new to you for a month or two.

In any case, if you are seeking a TPE type of relationship, I think the contract is a vital element of that arrangement.  This may be personal preference and nothing more than how I was brought into this culture, but I find that the formalism that you gain from a contract is essential in maintaining the proper frame of mind to assume your role and KEEP it.  This is not to mean that I believe a contract will give you the ability to never slip or to never be bad at your role, but it provides rules for you both to follow and it gives you something tangible that you can look at and say, “Yes, this is what I want, this is what I signed up for, and this is what I must give to get that.”

Let me know if you have questions, I’m happy to answer.

This was meant to educate, I hope you find it useful.

This was not a rant, but I am still Rant.

Rant off.

The Zen Dom

Over the weekend I ran across this – Letting Go of Attachment – and I recognized in it a philosophy that I have been trying, not always with the greatest of success, to implement for my own life.

I have to wonder how Lori Deschene and Leo Babauta would feel about being linked to a site run by a BDSM Dom who named himself Rant and started this blog as a place to complain about what he saw as problems in a community that he had turned his back on, returned to, and found lacking… but the truth is that I find them to be inspiring, and in the very short time that I’ve been writing I’ve changed my outlook on so many things, just from putting the words out there and listening to the thoughts of others.

You may have some questions about how it’s possible that I, admittedly a Dom, possibly a control freak, could possibly hope to live without attachment.  It seems antithetical to the very mantle which I’ve just taken up, does it not?  I mean, the essence of Domination is control, and my own personal road to happiness was rocky and uncertain until I embraced that mindset for myself again and accepted my Dominant nature.  How could those two things possibly coexist in the same person?

Perhaps they are not as incompatible as they might at first seem…

Ever since I first read Leaves of Grass in high school, this has been a favorite passage of mine, from Song of Myself, by Walt Whitman.

Do I contradict myself?

Very well then, I contradict myself,

(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Even as a teenager, I understood and related to those words as part of the complex structure that makes up me and I have used them as a balm over the years to quiet my worried mind.

My personal journey to get to where I am in life now has been interesting, but I am finally and quite possibly for the first time in my life, happy.

I’ve studied many religions, practiced several, sought wisdom in self-help books and the writings of others.  I have been through individual therapy, group therapy, couples’ therapy, and psychiatric assistance.  I have used drugs, both natural and synthetic, prescribed for me or found through illicit channels.  I have done yoga, exercise, meditation, hypnosis, and attempted to express myself in art.  I have retreated into virtual worlds and even made my own.  I have worked as a video game programmer, for a private investigator, and even as a sex worker.  I have cleaved to my family and ostracized myself from them.  I have told the fortunes of others and cast rods to divine my own future.  I have been married, twice.  I have had several intimate relationships and lots and lots of sex.  I have driven fast cars and ridden running horses.  I have tried almost everything that anyone has ever suggested to me as a way to become enlightened, to lift my dark spirit and to try to find happiness.  It does not surprise me at all, today, that none of those things worked for me.

I am a Dominant.  I am an atheist.  I am a pacifist.  I am a father and a guide and a feminist.  I am worthy of being loved and I love myself.  I am calm.

Throughout all of those experiences that I detail above I fought my inner self.  I denied my feelings and persecuted myself, borrowing the Catholic guilt that I was raised with to hold my own desires at bay… I told myself that the me who desired to Dominate was wrong.  That each person is his own individual and it was wrong for me to want to have that authority over another.  I found myself submitting to others, not in the BDSM sense, but in a very real-world sense, all of the time.  I did not have the confidence to stand up for my feelings because they were wrong.  I hated myself for these horrible thoughts that I had about what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be.

How did I resolve that with letting go?

I stepped away from myself and looked at the dynamic.

I let go of my self hatred.  I let go of the assumed societal restrictions on permitted thoughts and desires and I accepted myself and my ‘dark’ side.  I have no desire to hurt anyone, quite the opposite, actually.  I have no desire to injure anyone, I have no desire to inflict unwanted pain, but there is also the pain that reminds you that you are alive and the pain the brings with it the intense emotional release that I got when I submitted to Sonia.  There is such a thing as an embrace of pain that frees you from other pains.

I was molested as a young man.  It was no one in my family, and indeed, they still don’t know that it occurred and if this ever gets linked back to me and placed in front of them a great many uncomfortable discussions will likely result, but it happened and it turned me into a brooding, angry, anti-social young man for a long time.  Sonia’s compassionate brutality helped me to face my demons and reclaim for me the things that were taken from me.  Some of them, anyway.

I Dominate those that give themselves to me willingly.  I will not accept submission from someone who is incapable of understanding what they are doing and I will not attempt to hold anyone who does not wish to be with me any longer or even those who can no longer benefit from doing so, whether they choose to see it or not.

This is a very scary thing.

Strong is the impulse to hold on, to claim a lover as mine and mine alone, but I know that I cannot be all things to all people, and no one person can be all things to me.  To truly open my heart, I must accept that now, in this time, at this place, this person is trusting me with herself and the joy that brings me is incomprehensible.  The joy that I feel when given that trust and that submission cannot be measured, and there is nothing wrong with me for feeling that way, just as there is nothing wrong with her for wanting to give herself to me in such a way.  These are maladaptive behaviors, perhaps.  They may be remnants of a primitive psychology, or they may simply be facets of a larger gem, I don’t know, but I want to know, and I will never give up exploring, and yet for now, right now, accepting is good enough.

Yes, I get off on having a pretty girl sit at my feet and lean on my leg and look up at me through long eyelashes with doe eyes and say, “yes, Sir.”  If I believed in any gods, I would invoke them now to prove the conviction behind my thought.  Once I thought that this made me a monster.  Once I thought that this meant that there is something wrong with me, but there is not.

I am a kind Master, and a brutal lover, and a king of my own domain, and the confidence that I have to be those things, and to love myself for them comes from letting go of everything, even those lovers and that domain itself, because wherever I am, it is with me, and whoever they be, I am loved.  And I am happy.

I am Rant.

Unasked Questions: Limits

Continuing with my series on questions that newbies often have and are afraid to ask, I present the question(s): What are limits and why should I care?

I was going to post my rant on safewords today, but I realized that some people may require a bit more background before my arguments will make sense and one of the areas that needs explanation is around limits.

So – what are limits, why are there different types, what do they mean, and why should I care?

Remember how I was talking about negotiation a couple of days ago, and how everything in a BDSM context is negotiated?  Well, limits are one of those criteria that are negotiated.

Oftentimes when meeting a new sub I will ask her to fill out a form detailing her experience level, to rate her levels of desire for certain activities, and to set hard and soft limits.  The limits discussion is the most important of those pieces, but each of the others are also illuminating and will most often shape how our play begins, culminates, and ends.

I’ve used various different online resources for these lists before, but it doesn’t really matter too much what list you use, as each is merely but a beginning to a negotiation.

As an example of what this might look like, here is my limits document: Lord Rant’s Limits

This is from the very excellent Columbia Erotic Power Exchange website.  The original (not-filled-out-with-Lord-Rant’s-preferences-version) can be found here.

Quite recently I was ‘caught with my pants down’ in this area, so to speak.  I was given the opportunity to play with someone well before we’d had the opportunity to exchange lists like this.  Fortunately, she’s quite well grounded and we had discussed things informally a great deal, but I made certain that we did discuss limits, and things worked out pretty well.   However, in retrospect, I realize that things could have been much better if I had had more information at my disposal before we began.  I think I’ll make sure that we exchange lists prior to our next meeting, and hopefully anyone else that I might play with will find this document and short-circuit my ability get ahead of myself in the same way again.

Okay – back to definitions…

There are usually two limits that we talk about in the BDSM context, soft limits and hard limits.  Like most things in BDSM meanings of these terms are somewhat open to interpretation, but only somewhat.  I have known subs who claim to have ‘no limits’ and quite honestly, they scare me.  I have known Doms who refuse to play with subs that have any limits, and they scare me even more.  I think that both of these groups are mentally unstable or lazy or both.

A lazy sub might say that he has ‘no limits’ in an effort to avoid thinking about the problem, trying to appear brave, or trying to ingratiate himself with a particular Domme or Dommes.  In this case, the sub in questions is relying on ‘common courtesy’ or ‘human decency’ or something like that to rule the actions of the Domme and acts in the hopes that she will not act to permanently injure him.  This is a very dangerous practice and I tend to find such people to be either mentally unstable or unsuitable due to lack of attention or personal responsibility.  As a Dom, I need to know where your limits are.  This is both so that I can push your soft limits or your areas of discomfort in an effort to improve your experience and also to that I can avoid your hard limits and creating an experience that would be be detrimental to the health of one or both of us.

It is unfortunately quite common for Doms to fail to share their own limits.  I think there is a misconception among some people that this is not a useful way to spend time since a good Dom is in control of every aspect of a scene and therefore able to automatically adjust things to his preference, and while this might be true, it does not provide the sub with a valuable set of information.  It is the sub’s duty and privilege to understand, anticipate, and fulfil the needs and desires of the Dom.  Without complete information on the Dom’s desires and limits, this is a needlessly arduous task that will involve a lot of missteps on the part of both of you.  I’ve known Doms that use this as an excuse to enact punishment and enjoy watching their subs flail about in trying to determine how to best serve.  If that’s your cup of tea, then I won’t fault you for that, but if it were me, I’d at least let my sub know that this was my expectation.  Personally, I prefer obedience and service.  I reserve punishment for correcting bad behavior, bratty attitudes, or to enforce my Will, not as a game to be played to watch her squirm.  I prefer to watch her squirm for another reason…

These definitions are mine, you may have a different opinion or run across differing ideas, but that’s why communication is important in this lifestyle.

A hard limit is not something that can be negotiated; it’s a wall.  It may shift at some later date, but it’s not something that you should test, whether you are a Dom trying to provide a challenging experience or a sub trying to test your Dom’s boundaries, the hard limit is something you should leave alone.  You should talk about it, you should understand the nuances, but you should not fuck with it.  A personal example – I have a lot of hard limits around ass play – my ass, not yours.. this is not because I am homophobic, and this is not because I’m grossed out by it, I’ll gladly play with your ass if it is something you enjoy, but that brings back memories for me – memories that would make it impossible for me to enjoy myself.  This is not a negotiable thing, and there is a good reason for it.

A soft limit is something that can be pushed.  According to some people, this is something that _should_ be pushed.  I’m not sure I agree with that, but whether you do or not, by designating it as a soft limit, your partner is telling you, “this is something that I am very uncomfortable with, and you will have to use extra caution around this, but it is something that I might be willing to entertain.”  Soft limits are things that evoke a response, they’re things that go well beyond grossing you out or turning you off, but they’re not things that are going to cause you physical or mental anguish to entertain.  I don’t have many soft limits, one example for me would be rape fantasies.  A lot of women (and men too) have them, and as long as everything is properly negotiated in advance, these can be accommodated in a very safe, sane, and consensual way.  Intellectually, I have no problem with them at all, but they evoke in me an emotional response.  It would require some serious self restraint to take part in one and even more self restraint to see one and not intervene.  This is something that I could do, but not something that I would feel good about.  It’s possible that I could use this as a form of taboo deconstruction and push my soft limit until I was able to engage in this behavior without issue, but I don’t really want to.

Take a look at my list.  It may be more illustrative than I’ve managed to be in my descriptions here.

Let me know if you have questions, I’m happy to answer.

This was meant to educate, I hope you find it useful.

This was not a rant, but I am still Rant.

Rant off.

Songs

I listen to music with headphones all day long because I work in an open environment with no walls and without something to drown out the conversations around me, I’d get nothing done all day.

 

So, just for fun, I was trying to put together a BDSM playlist the other day and decided that it might be worth a quick update to put some of these songs out there.  It turns out that there are a great many songs, some of them quite popular, that feature BDSM related themes or content.

 

If you have any suggestions for any that I missed or don’t know about, I’d love to hear about them in the comments.

 

I’ll update this list from time to time as well.

 

Possum Kingdom – Toadies (this is not specifically BDSM related, but it’s probably my favorite song of all time when listened to in that light…)

 

Be Aggressive – Faith No More

Master and Servant – Depeche Mode

Closer – Nine Inch Nails

Bottom – Tool

Pet – A Perfect Circle

Personal Jesus – Depeche Mode

Should I Stay or Should I Go – The Clash

Stripped – Depeche Mode

Tainted Love – Soft Cell

Stigmata – Ministry

Stripped (cover) – Rammstein

Du Hast – Rammstein

Freak on a Leash – Korn

Cry Little Sister – Gerard McMann (Lost Boys Soundtrack)

A.D.I.D.A.S. – Korn

Happiness in Slavery – Nine Inch Nails

Suite Sister Mary – Queensryche

 

Incubus – The Electric Hellfire Club

Laying Down the Law – INXS

Power Play – Eddie and the Tide

Narayan – Funker Vogt

 

Angels In Bondage – Velvet Acid Christ

Assassination – Front Line Assembly

Dollhouse – Switchblade Symphony

 

Strap Me Down – Leather Strip

Bondage Is Not a Crime – Leather Strip

 

Master, Slave, Bondage, Discipline – Gabor Sztranyovszky

 

Safe, Sane & Consensual – Plan E

Submission – Plan E

BDSM – Mashed Buddha

Harsh Drugs & BDSM – Alien Vampires

 

The Distillation of Rant.

Let us begin at the beginning, shall we?

I am firmly Dominant in my role today, and assertive in every aspect of my life, but I was not born that way.  Some people are, but I was made this way by circumstance.

Life pushed me into the crucible and burned away all of the pieces of me that were not who I am today.  I can remember them, and I cherish the memories, but I would not go back.

I’ve known Doms who never switch.  They are firmly rooted in their role and they’ve never walked outside of it; they’ve never desired to, never been so compelled, or never experimented.  Some of these men (and women) achieve the proper level of respect and care even without having ever experienced what it is like to live on the other side of the power dynamic, but I do sometimes wonder if the ‘bad’ Doms out there fail because they don’t know what it is like to surrender.

I did. Once.

I remember what it was like, and I can put myself into a sub’s shoes.

Sonia was tall, strikingly beautiful, powerful, intimidating, and brutal.  She had an olive complexion, but her hair was platinum, not from age but choice.  Her eyes were ice.. a blue/gray that pulled your soul into them the moment they locked on to you.  In her platform stilettos she was easily half a foot taller than I am, and I’m six feet tall.

She was my first and only Domme, and I was devoted to her.  She was titanic; she was superciliousness personified; and she scared the shit out of me.

I was but a young buck, and she was twice my age and infinitely more experienced than I was in love, life, and limerence.  She introduced that term to me.  I had no idea how smitten I was, but she showed me what it means to belong to someone completely.

Limerence is an uncommon term, so rather than make you go look it up I’ll tell you what it means to me.  It is something like infatuation on steroids.  It is the feeling you get when you can’t imagine being apart from someone, when you believe that you love them and you want them to love you back so badly that you can’t imagine life without them.  It is devotion to a degree that is almost incomprehensible.  It does not imply any reflexivity in feeling; it only describes this – often unrequited – love and devotion from the perspective of the afflicted.  It’s probably close the feeling that a sub has for her first Dom, and ‘afflicted’ is a good word to describe it.

Limerence was definitely what I felt for Sonia and she knew it.  I was a puppy and she was Empress.  She saw something in me though, and I don’t know how or why, but she knew that despite my groveling and my desire to please her, I was not a submissive at heart.  She saw the pieces of me that I was showing her as weakness and she saw my inner strength and she quite literally beat the weakness out of me, or perhaps she forced me to beat it out of myself…

I had belonged to Sonia for a few months.  She had trained me to Dominate other women, and I became quite good at it, from a very surface level, at least.  She used me to Dominate others through her influence, but I could never imagine using those same skills and roles with her.

I was devoted to her.  I tried to anticipate her desires and I would try to fulfill them before she even knew she had them.  I considered myself a success when she didn’t notice the things that I was doing for her.  As time went on, I took it upon myself to do more and more for her, to make life easier for her in any way that I could.  Eventually, I overstepped and the dynamic changed.

Sonia ran a modeling and talent agency.  She was a Harvard Business School graduate and has a large class ring that she usually kept on a chain around her neck.  She had been slightly larger when she was in school, and it was loose on her finger now.  She had a large office with glossy black floors and glass walls and floor to ceiling windows on the ninth floor.  She had a large glass and steel desk and there was only the one chair – her chair.  When she met clients, she would use a conference room, but when she met employees, we would have to stand while she sat.  There was a chaise lounge on an animal skin rug under some bookshelves in the corner and a small wet bar near there, but no other furnishings in the room, and it was not a small room.

She summoned me to her office just before sunset.  Her window faced the ocean, and at this time of day the sun was positioned almost directly behind her as I walked into the office and approached her desk.  She often chose that time of day to meet employees and people who she wanted to intimidate.  Even in the conference rooms she would sit with her back to the window and let people sit opposite her so that the sun shined in their eyes.

I walked into her office as I had many times before.  She was still sitting when I walked in, which was not common, but not unheard of either.  I could not see the expression on her face because of the sun behind her.  I walked up to a position a few feet from the center of her desk and stood at parade rest as I was expected to do.

“You have been busy, toy.”

“Mistress?”

“Pura tells me that you have been managing things behind the scenes for me.  She says that when Stark canceled her shoot while I was in St. Kitts that you handled the equipment rental, rescheduled the shoot, collected the cancellation fee, and even negotiated a higher rate for the re-shoot based on the short term for rescheduling.”

I couldn’t help myself, I swelled a bit with pride.  I think I even stood straighter and puffed my chest out a bit.

“Yes, Mistress.”

She got out of her chair and stood.  I still couldn’t make out any details of her expression or tell exactly what she was wearing because while she blocked the sun as she stood, she was still silhouetted against the bright background.  I could, however, tell that she was wearing a filmy robe or gown, as the sun was now shining through the sheer fabric and showing the amazing curves of her body.  I couldn’t help myself, I got hard.

She walked around the side of her desk to stand just in front of it, to the side – at my left, but I kept my face forward and did not track her as she walked, as I knew would be expected of me.

“Front.”

I pivoted on my heel and faced her, took two steps forward so that I was within two feet of her and stood there, still rigidly facing forward, but from this position I could see how she was attired.

She wore an ankle-length sheer black robe, open in the front, sheer thigh high stockings with a garter belt, black with seams up the back and folded at the top, the garter belt of black satin and lace with a bright purple bow right in front.  She also had on a matching bra, and the chain with her ring hung from her neck.  She wore no panties and had on no other jewelry.  Her makeup had run, as if she had been crying.

When I saw the evidence of tears I immediately felt sympathetic, and it was everything I could to to remain silent.

She raised her right arm, palm down and I knelt before her and looked at her shoes as that gesture indicated I should.  They were platform stilettos, at least seven inches high, glossy, black, with buckles on the straps around her ankles.

“Take off your shirt.”

I did not look up or say a word as I began unbuttoning my shirt.  I could tell that she was doing something with her hands, but I could not see what.  Once I’d finished unbuttoning my shirt, I removed it, folded it and set it on the ground beside me to my right, between my body and her desk.

I didn’t see it coming.

The back of her right hand, with her ring now on her middle finger, connected with my temple HARD.  I knew that she had broken skin with the blow, and I staggered a bit, my left hand coming down on the floor to keep myself from going fully prostrate.  I righted myself quickly and went back to kneeling with my head down, and a single drop of blood hit the floor under me.  I could feel the blood starting to clot already.  It was a shallow cut, but I was definitely cut. Mistress Sonia had never drawn blood before that I had seen, with myself or anyone that I had witnessed. She lifted her right leg and put the point of her stiletto into my chest, just below my collarbone on the left side, opposite to the cut on my head, and pushed, lightly at first, and then with more force.

I had not been commanded to move, so I resisted the pressure, the tip of her heel digging into my skin, near the point of breaking skin.

“I wanted you to fall, toy.”

As soon as I heard that, I stopped resisting the pressure and fell back on top of my own legs.  A small spot of blood had developed on my chest.  Her heels were sharp!

“Prostrate yourself, slave.”

I did as commanded, turned over on to my belly and lay flat on the floor with my face down, head pointed towards her and my arms wide out at my sides.

She walked to my left side and then stepped onto the back of my left hand with her heel.  She did not allow her full body weight to crush the bones in my hand, but the pain was exquisite.  As she increased the pressure and I could start to feel the skin tear, I could not help but let out a forceful breath.  There was no vocalization, but she was aware that the pain was affecting me.

She took her foot off of my hand and disappeared behind me where I could not see her any longer.

“You have thoughts, slave?”

“Yes, Mistress.  Did this slave do something to offend You, Mistress?”

“Do not answer to that title, you are no slave!”  Her voice was hoarse, emotional, something I’d not heard from her before.

I was frankly shocked by this.  I had no idea how to react, so I did the best I could come up with at the time.

“This slave wants only to serve his Mistress…”

SILENCE!”

I almost heard, rather than felt, the whip across the top of my shoulder-blades.  This was the bullwhip, and it did not crack above my skin, but rather it slapped me in a very inexpert strike across the shoulders.  Mistress Sonia never used the full-length bullwhip to strike people, but she was a master at its use. This fact, combined with the blood that was now leaking from my body in three places told me that something was very wrong.

“Pura! Come in here now!”

Pura, one of Mistress Sonia’s models and a friend of mine had apparently been waiting just outside the door, because she hurried in on short, quick steps when Mistress Sonia summoned her.  I was still facing the floor, so I could not see to tell for certain that it was her, but I had no reason to believe otherwise.

“Yes, Mistress.”  Pura was clearly scared out of her mind, and upon hearing her voice, I now was sure that it was her who was in the room with us.

“On your knees, Pura.”  There was kindness in Mistress’s voice now, and I heard Pura’s feet shuffle as she assumed the required position.

“Sit on your heels, Rant.”  All the kindness that had been there was gone now.

I pulled my arms in, did a push-up to raise my body from the sleek black floor and then sat back onto my heels, so that I was nearly kneeling as I had been before, but a few feet further back and down from where I had been.

“Are you an obedient slave, Rant?”

“Mistress, I do not know how to answer that.”

“It was not a trick question, Rant.”

“Mistress, with all due respect, you ordered me to not answer to the title ‘slave’ just now and told me that I was not one.  With this information, I do not know how to answer Mistress’s question.”

“Now is not the time to be a brat, Rant.”

“Mistress…”

The crack of the whip in the air right beside my ear was almost deafening, and silenced me immediately.

SILENCE!  You will disregard what I said previously and you will answer the question now.  Are you an obedient slave, Rant?”

“I live to serve, Mistress.”

I…” she said, mocking me.  “where is this ‘I’ that you are speaking of?”

“Forgive this slave, Mistress.  This slave momentarily forgot”  the crack of the whip beside my ear once more silenced me.

“That’s right!  You forgot!  Now be silent until I give you the right to speak again.”

I almost said, “Yes, Mistress” but caught myself.  I was feeling very off balance.

“Pura, are you an obedient slave?”

“Yes, Mistress.”

“To whom are you obedient, slave Pura?”

“To you and no other, Mistress.”

“Then why did you follow slave Rant’s direction while I was away?!”

“I… this slave does not know, Mistress.”

Mistress Sonia walked around to stand behind Pura.

“Rant.  Stand.”  I stood.

She pointed to the ground at her right foot.  “Heel.”

I walked to stand where she pointed.

“Pura, disrobe.”

Pura removed her top, exposing an opaque lilac bra with black polka dots and started to stand so that she could remove her skirt.

“No, I’ve changed my mind.  Kneel and remove your bra.”

Pura took off her bra as she was kneeling, and placed her bra on top of her top, which she had folded and placed to her side.

Mistress Sonia put the whip into my hand and stepped away from me.

“Pura, you have obeyed the commands of another Master without my permission and for this you must be punished,” Mistress Sonia stated, coldly and without any trace of emotion.

“Rant, strike her.”

I looked at her, questions in my eyes.  I didn’t know what to do.  This was all very uncomfortable and foreign.  Never had we done something so cold, so brutal.

“Do you know how to use the bullwhip, slave?” she asked me.

“This slave is well versed in the use of the bullwhip, Mistress, but never has this slave turned one on a human before.”

“Well, there is no time like the present.  Hit her with the fucking whip!”

Pura was crying now, sobbing openly and only through the strongest of will had she not collapsed.

I was raised on a horse ranch, and we also raised steers for beef from time to time, so I did actually know how to use the whip.  I thought that I might be able to feather the strike so that it wouldn’t hurt Pura too badly, so I gave it an attempt.

My strike was too soft.  There was virtually no sound from the impact, and it did not strike hard enough to welt, but Pura still screamed when it struck her and doubled over.  I felt horrible… beyond horrible.

Mistress Sonia walked over next to me to examine the angle and my strike.  Pura had recovered and was kneeling again, tears streaming down her face, but she made no more audible sobs.

“Again.  Properly this time.”

“Mistress…”  I didn’t see it coming this time either.  Again, she backhanded me across the face with her ring.  This time I did fall to my knee.  Mistress Sonia glared at me silently as I stood back up and squared my stance, letting the end of the whip drop to my side.

“Again.”

I looked into her eyes.  They were colder than I had ever seen them, but I could feel the fire building in my own as I met her stare and started my wind-up.

Hurricane,” I said, and I dropped the whip, crossing my arms in front of my chest and wincing just a bit as the skin around my cut pulled.

“Pura, you’re dismissed.” Sonia said in a softer voice.

Pura jumped to her feet, bowed to Sonia, and walked out as quickly as she could manage in her heels, leaving her bra and top behind on the floor.

“Took you long enough,” Sonia said once Pura was out the door.

“What?” I managed to get out with all of the eloquence of a newborn yak before Sonia grabbed the sides of my head and kissed me more passionately than I had ever been kissed to that point in my life.  I just let it happen, and then began to return it as my body started reacting to the urgency she put forth.  She grasped as my hard cock through my slacks, pulling on it, and eventually using one hand to pull on my waistband while shoving the other down my pants to grasp my cock directly, low on the shaft, just above my scrotum.  She squeezed hard, all the while I was kissing her, and I hadn’t even realized that I had moved my own hands up to cup her right breast in my left hand and firmly grasp her hair right at the base of her neck with my right.

She thrust a finger down under my scrotum and then pulled back, squeezing my balls painfully.  I disengaged from my kiss, dropped my hands and undid my belt and waistband, letting my pants drop and slipping off my shoes while trying, unsuccessfully thanks to the body of my Domme pressed up against me, to step out of my pants as well.

There I stood, socks on my feet, pants around my ankles, shoes to the side of me, my erection fully engorged and out in front of me.  Sonia took a step back, away from me, and then swatted my erect cock with her hand as she turned around and walked towards her desk, dropping the robe she had been wearing as she did, exposing her naked ass in all of its glory.  When she arrived there, she spread her legs out just beyond shoulder width, placed her forearms on her desk and raised her ass at me, looking back over her shoulder at me with a smile that touched her eyes as well as her lips.

No command had been given, but I’d used the safeword and we were in uncharted territory here.  According to protocol, we should be physically apart or at best touching non-sexually and discussing what went wrong, but the urgency in her eyes and in my groin was more powerful than protocol and I was clearly not in distress aside from my throbbing erection that demanded satisfaction.

I stepped out of my pants, took a step forward, raised my left foot to remove my sock, repeated the same maneuver for the right and squared myself behind Sonia, placing my left hand on her left hip and using my right to guide my cock into her very wet pussy from behind her.  She moaned with delight, letting her voice rise in a way that almost seemed submissive, and in a tone that I’d never heard from her before.

In her heels, she was slightly too tall for me to be able to easily pull off fucking her from that position, but once I’d slid my cock as deeply as I could and grasped her right hip with my right hand, I forgot about logistics entirely and let my mind go completely.

I plunged deeply into her then pulled back, trying to get a feel for the length of stroke that this position was going to allow for me and then began increasing the force with which I was hitting her as I thrust back in for each stroke.  Eventually, as I made the rhythm, I realized that we were both crying out each time I would thrust, and without thinking I let go with my right hand, brought it back and smacked her on the ass with the next thrust, leaving a harsh red handprint on her olive skin and I couldn’t contain myself any longer.

I started to reflexively query, “May I..” but I only got that far before I began to ejaculate, and I grabbed her hips hard, pulling her onto my throbbing cock as I ejaculated into her pussy.

Immediately following my orgasm, I stood down onto my soles from the balls of my feet as I had been, and I released her hips, letting her down as well.

“Mistress, I’m…” she turned and silenced me by placing her index finger on my lips.

“Stop, Rant.  I haven’t cum that many times and with such force in all my life.  But you are a miserable slave.”

“I’m…”

“No more… did you spill your seed inside of me, Rant?”

“Yes, Mistress.”

“Well, you’re going to lap it up now then,” she said as she walked over to the chaise and laid back.

“With pleasure, Mistress,” I said as I moved over and knelt between her legs to comply.

Once again, I let my mind go and before I realized what had happened, I had two of my fingers deep inside her while I was working over her clitoris with my tongue and she was shuddering and moaning as she squirted all over my chin and chest.

“Jesus, Rant,” she said as she caught her breath, “I think you may be better at that than anyone in the world.”

“Thank you, Mistress.”

“Now go wipe yourself off with your clothes and then come up here so that I can lay my head on your chest.”

I did as she commanded, and she positioned her body against mine, tracing shapes on my chest with her fingers as she lay there.

“You need to stop calling me Mistress when we’re in private, Rant.  You’re a terrible slave.”

“Yes, Mistr… Sonia.”

“I appreciate what you did while I was away, but you understand that I can’t have the others believing that you can usurp my authority when I’m away.”

“I wasn’t trying…”

“Hush, I know.  You just don’t have a helpless compliant slave in you anywhere, Rant.  You’re obviously a Top.  Why did you do it?”

“I’m not…”

“Stop denying it.  You know it as well as I do, and I’ve known it for a long time.  Long before this.  But I still don’t know why you did it.”

“Because I love you.”

She got very serious, very suddenly.

“No you don’t, Rant.  And this is very important for you to understand.  I don’t love you either.”

“But… I…”

“No!”  She sat up so that she could look me directly in the eyes.  “You have never experienced anything this intense before, I get that.  You tried very hard to give me everything that you are, and you couldn’t and that’s not because you love me or because of any emotional connection at all.  This is a shared fantasy.  You used the safeword so we are not in scene right now, and it’s very important that you believe me on this.  You are not my slave anymore in the way that you were, but you are still my employee and my property and I’m going to task you.  Look up the word ‘limerence’ and write me a 500 word essay on what it means to you and have it on my desk by 9:00am tomorrow.”

“Okay, but I really do…”

“Shut up, Rant.  You don’t know what you’re talking about, and you nearly fucked up my whole enterprise as a result.  I like you, and if I didn’t, I’d have Brand beat you and put you out on your ass, but you’re going to do as I say and you’re going to have to make this up to Pura somehow.”

“Okay… Yes, I feel horrible.”

“Don’t, she loves that shit, but you’re going to be docked a week’s vacation and it’s going to go to her.  And you’ll still call me Mistress in front of the others, but when we’re alone, you may call me Sonia.”

“Yes, Mistr.. Sonia.”

She moved with blinding agility and threw her leg over me, coming to rest straddling my chest and rested her hands on my shoulders so that her breasts hung just over my head.

“Now… Do you think you could Top me, Rant?” she said with a mischievous smile that positively cause her eyes to glow.

“You know… I think perhaps I could… Sonia.”

 

Unasked Questions: What is a scene?

This is the first in a series of posts that I intend to write about BDSM questions that are common but that people seem afraid to ask.

Firstly – you’ve all heard the old adage, “there are no stupid questions,” and that is true. One thing that I demand in my subs, and even in my friends, both in the vanilla and BDSM worlds, is curiosity. I find that people who never ask questions and I tend to not get along.

I’m a curious person myself, and I can’t tell you the number of hours I’ve spent following hyperlinks in wikipedia pages.

But this is about BDSM scenes.

One of the first things that a newbie to BDSM will take note of is the lexicon of new terms, of words that have shifted meaning, and of acronyms.

One of these overloaded words in the BDSM lexicon is ‘scene’.

It’s a particularly tough one, because it has two different meanings, depending on the context in which it is used. Possibly more – I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know everything.

The first, but less frequently misunderstood meaning is from when it is used to describe “the BDSM scene” in a general sense. In this context, most people understand it to mean the shared construct that we, as BDSM … enthusiasts? practitioners? … subscribe to. “The BDSM scene” is just whatever the people who are into BDSM in your vicinity do – this often means events and clubs, and by extension, the people who partake in such things, but it could also mean websites, chat rooms, or munches.

Munch is another odd BDSM term, but it has only one meaning that I’m aware of, and that is a gathering of kinky fuckers in a vanilla place for a vanilla reason – like meeting up with a bunch of kinksters in street clothes at IHOP for breakfast.

However, “a BDSM scene” is a very different thing. Articles are important – “the BDSM scene” means something very different from “a BDSM scene.” But “a BDSM scene” is a much more confusing thing.

I would like to blame popular culture references for making this such a confusing thing, but in reality, it was a confusing thing 15 years ago before BDSM was as mainstream as it is today. The description that I am about to give is based on my understanding and is not sacrosanct. That’s one of the beautiful things about the BDSM scene, it’s a very personal thing, and tolerance is generally very high for beginners. It’s not likely that people will judge you if your definitions differ from theirs.

At the most basic level, a BDSM scene is any time you are doing something that you think of as BDSM. It’s a very subjective thing. If you feel like what you are doing is a BDSM scene, then it is.

This is something that newbies often struggle with.. BDSM is a very rules-focused culture by necessity. Some of the things that we do are dangerous. Many of the people that we play with come from a background of physical, emotional, or sexual trauma. For them, BDSM can be a release – a way to _safely_ give up control or a way to exert control in what otherwise feels to them like an uncontrollable situation.  Because BDSM is so rules-focused, practitioners, especially newbies, often feel like there must be some minimum set of criteria that must be satisfied before you can properly apply the label of ‘a BDSM scene.’  This is true of other labels that we put on things in the BDSM world as well. Often I’ve been asked, “What do you have to do to become a Master?” but I’ll save that discussion for another day…

There is some merit in extending this definition just a tad though… while I fully endorse the opinion above (it is _my_ opinion, after all) I can see where expanding upon it makes sense. That expansion would be to define it something like this: “A BDSM scene is any negotiated transaction where the participants take on different power roles.

This rather succinctly, in my not-so-humble opinion, states the basic tenets of what we believe. Power roles, be they Top/bottom, Dom/sub, Master/slave or some other label to convey who has the authority for the scene are important. Without them, things become squishy and might be viewed as ‘vanilla sex’ (which is still fantastic, in my opinion), but these roles can be somewhat fluid… switching _during_ a scene is rare, but it can happen.

The more important bit though is the bit about ‘negotiation.’

Everything in BDSM is a negotiation.

Let that sink in for a moment.

Everything in BDSM is a negotiation.

Whether you write out a contract or not, whether you believe in safe words or not (rant coming on this topic soon), whether you give up all of your power or just a portion of it.. these things are all negotiated, and they MUST be understood by all participants.  Failure to understand these things is dangerous and opens the doors for abuse or neglect.

A BDSM scene is where you are free to be who you want, where you are free to get what you need, but it only works if everyone involved is free to do the same.

This was meant to educate, I hope you find it useful.

This was not a rant, but I am still Rant.

Rant off.

 

Living the lifestyle

I’ve been around the block once or twice.

I’m not old, but I’m no spring chicken, that’s for sure.

BDSM today is a lot more complicated than it was when I was first putting my toes into the water, so to speak.

Firstly, there seems to be this conceptual gap that people can’t seem to see past that I don’t think was ever present before, at least not in the circles that I swam in.  “The lifestyle” is all there is to some people, and anyone who is not living in a 24/7 Total Power Exchange is not ‘real BDSM’.

One of the things that first attracted me to BDSM was the acceptance that followed with being with a group of like minded people who were unafraid to express who they were and what they liked.

What happened to that?

When did it become okay to order around someone else’s submissive without permission?  I saw that happen recently and I was shocked.  Never in a million years would I be so disrespectful.

I don’t recall so many alpha contests happening in my youth.  Perhaps I wasn’t interested in playing, but then, I’m not all that interested in it now.

My pack is not your pack is not the pack at large, and I don’t have to challenge every other Dom to know where I fit.   I can be respectful and even deferential to an equal, especially when I am in His house.   And I have a right to expect the same respect when you are in mine, and there is no violation of hierarchy or protocol involved.

There are no absolutes in BDSM, and that is its strength.

BDSM uses contracts, but more than that, BDSM is a contract.  No matter who you are or what your role is, your place in the shared construct is determined by everyone’s willingness to play.  If you don’t play fair, you can go home.

Just because I claim to be Master Rant, does that give me the right to assume that any submissive must bend to my will?  Where I was raised and inducted into this method of expression – because never forget, that is what BDSM is, it’s a shared fantasy, it’s a choice – where I was raised and brought into this way of life that would never fly.

Not every D/s pair likes to share.  And that is their right.

Not every unclaimed sub is looking for some random Master to come pull him off of his feet and drag him away to be beaten.

There seem to be a great many un-Dom-like Doms out there today, and I’m not sure where they came from or where they got their sense of entitlement and lack of morals.

If I saw a sub kneeling beside her Dom at a club or event, never in a million years would I approach her without first approaching him and seeking his permission and approval.

If I saw an apparently unclaimed sub, never would I just walk up and give her orders, or attempt to punish her for failing to refer to me as Sir.

Honor.  Respect.  These are concepts and ideals that are eternal, or at least they should be.  The strength of any society is in the willingness of its members to remain a part of it, the moment that we break the implicit social contract that comes with this lifestyle we place the whole edifice in danger of collapse.

Being a good Dom does not mean wearing arrogance like a badge and demanding that others see you as you want them to, because anyone with any experience sees right through that.

I am a Dom, and I have no difficulty at all in navigating the currents of this shared fantasy we live in because I know who I am and I do not need you to tell me.

That is the weakness that masquerades as strength.

When you insist that I call you Lord Thunderbottom or that my slave refers to you as Sir whenever you address her, you are showing me your fear.

If you would like to converse with my slave you will ask me and I may even consult her before I give you permission.  That makes me strong, because I understand the bond that we have, and if you call me weak for allowing her to have an opinion, you are showing me that you are afraid of your own shadow and I call you not-Dom.

 

This is my opinion. This is not a call to action. This is a rant…

Rant off.