Tag Archives: rant

FinDommes

The nature of Dominance is not always an obvious thing – even to me.

Preface: This is a post that I started and didn’t finish from about two months ago.  The information is still valid, but the email that I reference is pretty old at this point.  Caveat lector.

I recently received an email from a very intelligent reader who did not specify his gender, so I apologize if my use of male pronouns is inappropriate, but I’m going to continue to refer to this reader as ‘him’ for expediency’s sake.

He asks me, “Is this FinDomme for real? I’m really thinking about this and I don’t know how to stop myself.  Is this for real?  What should I do?”

I’m not really sure how to respond to such a request.  I can’t claim that I didn’t know that financial Domination was a kink for some people, but I’m not sure that I can bring myself to endorse it.

I know that “your kink is not my kink but your kink is okay” is a huge part of the open philosophy that I love about the kink community so much, but this may be one case where I have to reserve my views.

I’m not sure that I think that financial Dominance – especially in the form being peddled by the young lady in the link that I won’t echo here – is okay.  I don’t judge her.  She is extremely honest about what she intends to do.  She explicitly states that she wants someone – very clearly intended to be a wealthy older male figure – to give her total financial control of his life, and that once she has this, she intends to completely ruin him.  There is a great deal of camouflaged language that follows which seems to indicate that this financial control would also entitle one to sexual favors, but even that is very clearly secondary to the stated and intended purpose of financial ruin and humiliation.

I have been involved at some level in the kink world for almost two decades and learned that there is quite literally a kink for everything and that there is always, always, someone who will subscribe enthusiastically to that kink, and yet, even after all of the things I have experienced or seen, I have a really hard time believing that there is someone out there who wants to be financially ruined like this person is advertising, and like one of my readers is considering.

My problem – and it may just be a personal problem for me – is that I can’t see how this is a good thing for the person being Dominated.

D/s relationships are, by their very nature, stilted.  They’re not equitable.  They’re not equal partnerships, and they’re not intended to be, but there is still some level of balance.

One can, and probably should, argue that every true TPE relationship is a financial Domination, and that might be true. but there is a huge difference between controlling something and destroying something.

My own personal philosophy, and I know I’m not alone in this, is that I always try to leave every interaction I have with people such that they are in some way better than they were when I first found them.  I’m human, and I don’t always succeed in this.  I’m sure some of my former friends and exes would probably start fuming if they were to read this, but I actually do try to do the best I can in this regard.  I value friendship highly, and I try to always help and support my friends, but D/s takes this even further.

I regret to say that I cannot, with absolute certainty, claim that every submissive that has been under my thumb left our interactions in a better state than she began them, but I do know that I’ve done more good than harm, and I’ve tried to ameliorate any issues of which I am aware and able.

I do have remain friends with some of my exes and some of my former subs, so I know that I’ve managed to keep things positive at least most of the time.

So – with that in mind – I cannot see how this could possibly be a good thing for at least one of the participants in this arrangement.

If you go over things with a fine enough resolution, you can probably find something that is being satisfied by such a relationship, and if you have an itch that needs scratching, you could say that finding someone to scratch it for you is a good thing, but again, I have to think about the relative magnitudes of these things.  While my reader may be getting some deep seated psychological need fulfilled – temporarily – by this sort of arrangement, the implied consequences are far from temporary.

Bankruptcy is a horrible thing.

Fortunately for me, I haven’t had to go through it, but I have been destitute at one time, and while I do not necessarily believe that it is required for us to have material possessions to be happy, I do believe that having our primary survival needs met is absolutely critical to our wellbeing, physically, emotionally, and psychologically.   In the society that I live in, not having access to any money at all would be a severe impediment to at least two of these needs – food and shelter.

I can see how a relationship where the Dominant partner controls all aspects of the submissive partner’s finances would be appealing.  In fact, I’ve been in such relationships myself, on both sides of that particular coin, and I don’t believe that the experience was damaging to any party involved, but this particular situation differs a bit.  The FinDomme in question is not offering to take ownership of this person and care for him – as I have done and had done for me in the past – but instead is explicitly stating that she will financially ruin and embarrass this person, leaving them completely on their own with no resources and no recourse.

I cannot recommend such a thing.

D/s is a journey.  I believe that more strongly now than ever.  It is, however, a journey that one must undertake with much forethought and preparedness.  It is not a thing to engage in lightly and there are no shortcuts.

Sure, you can do a short scene or incorporate elements of D/s into your kinky fuckery and leave off with a lot of the more profound considerations, but in so doing you are only scratching the surface of the possible.  To get the profound D/s experience that it seems most of my readers are seeking, you have to commit yourself, body and mind, time and energy, and give it real attention.

I suspect that the reader who wrote me is trying to shortcut some of these things – by signing over his assets, he is creating an instant and binding relationship that goes far beyond the ordinary.  Most vanilla marriages include at least some aspect of separate finances, or at least some kind of equitable scheme through which both partners are able to make purchases of necessary and everyday items.  Under the sort of scheme this young lady is trying to proffer, her finsub would not even have the ability to purchase food or pay rent.

And then again, maybe there is just a kink element to it that I can’t understand…

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.