Tag Archives: psychology

Hypocrite

I am a hypocrite.

Nearly everyone is a hypocrite, if you look close enough, or pay enough attention, but I have one issue on which I am a planet-sized hypocrite of the worst kind.

Forgiveness.

I preach forgiveness.

I literally proselytize the virtues of forgiveness.  I attempt to convert the unwashed masses to my own personal religion of sorts.  I tell anyone who will listen that the path to happiness can be found by forgiving others and letting go of your own expectations.  I tell people that you can walk the path to happiness by doing your best and then allowing whatever happens to happen without prejudice or expectation.  And as an example of this, I tend to point to myself.

I have all sorts of stresses in my life.  I’m a single parent, I have constant physical pain, I have a career that can be demanding at times, I live in one of the most expensive places to live in the world, and I have relationships with other people, so I am constantly affected by the things that affect them.  Compounded, it would be rather easy to allow these stresses to overwhelm me.  Each individual thing is something easy enough to cope with, but all together, the weight of this burden could crush me.  No one would fault me for wanting to wallow in it, and from time to time I have.

But that is not my hypocrisy.

I point at myself and I say, “I am happier now than I have been at any other time in my life, because I stay in the now and I don’t worry too much about tomorrow.  I plan, I am prepared to deal with eventualities, foreseeable and unforeseen, not because I worry about them, but because I have the basics covered and I believe in my own ability to deal with things as they occur.”

I give myself as an example to others, saying things like, “let go of your expectations and be present in the now and you will be happier for it.”

And yet… forgiveness…

I’ve mostly forgiven or forgotten things that affect me in life.  I’ve forgiven Simone for tossing me out.  I’ve forgiven my ex-wife for leaving me for another man.  Although I won’t ever forget it, I have forgiven the people that molested me as a teenager.  I have even forgiven my ex-wife’s boyfriend, the guy that she left me for and is still dating, though I did want to ask him for a very long time, “did you know that she was married when you fucked her?”  So… I guess there is a kernel of bitterness there still, but I’ve had a conversation with the man and I didn’t jump down his throat for it, so I think I can safely say that I’m mostly past all of that now.

But my father… him I have not forgiven.  I have not forgotten that he took advantage of me when I was most vulnerable, that he stole from me when I could least afford it, or that he has simply never been there for me except when it served his own narcissistic purposes.  That is my hypocrisy and that is the burden that I can never seem to unload.  And I would really like to…

Most of the time he won’t even admit that he has done anything wrong.  I don’t mean just as it pertains to my life, but in other aspects of his life as well.  He has done criminal things to his friends, he has manufactured issues in order to avoid other problems.  He lies, he cheats, and he steals.  And yet, he lives in total denial of it all, and perhaps that is the most galling thing.  If he would apologize to me, I would forgive him, but I should be able to forgive him without the apology, because I know it will never come.

I know, without a doubt, that the times that I get struck down, the times that I lose sight of my goals and get stuck in problems that I can’t let go, most of those things would disappear or at least be drastically diminished if I could let go of this one last thing… I know that I would be happier and I would be more capable of dealing with the setbacks and holding to my non-attachment practices, if I could just let go of this one. last. thing.

And yet…

And yet, I haven’t been able to do that yet.

I deal with my father when it is required of me.  I am civil to him, if a bit cold.  I make sure that my daughters know him and are involved in his life.  His birthday was this month, and I had them call him to wish him a Happy Birthday, nevermind the fact that he doesn’t do the same.  Without me reminding him about their birthdays, he would forget them completely, and he has, more often than not.  I got used to him forgetting mine, but the way he drifts into and out of my children’s lives bothers me.  It shouldn’t.  I should accept that is how he is, and I should just be grateful for the things that he does remember, but this bitterness will not budge.

And so, I am a hypocrite.

Perhaps someday I shall not be, but for now, I still can’t completely let go.

I am Rant, and maybe someday I will be everything I want to be, but for now, I do the best I can.

Rant off.

 

Finding subspace

A friend recently asked me to write on two closely related topics: foreplay as it applies to a BDSM scene, and tips for training a newbie submissive from the perspective of a Dominant.

“How are those things related?” you might be tempted to ask…  Well, I’m about to tell you – as I describe the first of these topics and relate it to BDSM specifically.

In vanilla sex, foreplay is useful to ensure that both (all?) participants are physically, emotionally, and psychologically ready for the activity of sex itself.  Granted, this is more often than not given lip service and not really enacted with any vigor or skill, resulting in less than adequate experiences for everyone involved, especially the more submissive partner.  In the vanilla sense, I say ‘submissive’ here to mean the generally less active partner – the one less likely to initiate sexual contact.  For the initiator, his resolve is already firm, his libido is already activated, and foreplay probably seems like an unnecessary waste of time.

We do the same thing in the BDSM world, but we call it warm up instead, and while foreplay may be nice in the vanilla world, warm up in the BDSM world is essential.  Without it, you are putting your submissive at risk of injury in one or more of these arenas.  Nay, that is not quite strong enough… without warm up before enacting the more brutal parts of a scene, if your scene involves physical pain or torture, you will injure her.  Her bruises may heal and she may never let you know the damage to her trust that you caused, but those injuries will linger, and ultimately they will destroy your happiness.  Don’t let that happen to you, and don’t let that happen to the one you protect.

Warm up is a much more appropriate way to describe it than foreplay, even in the vanilla world,  and it may entail many of the same things, depending on the participants and scene.  BDSM scenes are not limited to sexual activities, and indeed may not even include any…  What you are trying to do is not limited to making sure that the submissive is ready for sex and turned on, but you’re also preparing her body physically for the activities at hand, her mind for the assault to her ego that is likely to occur, and her emotions for the departure from normalcy that she is about to encounter.

It has been proven that a submissive who is prepared for punishment will actually undergo changes in her body: more fluid will come to the surface of her skin, her pulse will drop (as opposed to speeding up in someone who is actually scared,) she will breathe deeper and more slowly, more oxygen will get into her blood and therefore to her brain, and often her perceptions of her environment will change, sometimes quite dramatically, sometimes even to the point of hallucinatory detachment or idealization.

This is far more than simple foreplay can possibly accomplish, and we even have a name for this: subspace.  For many submissives – this is the primary draw of submitting.  They are uninterested in the service aspects of it, they literally get high from the activity itself.

Subspace is where the submissive goes when in scene.  It is not a physical place, but it does affect her body in a physical way.  It is not an emotional space, but it does provide for emotional stability.  It is not a psychological space, but it provides for psychological compartmentalization.

There are many paths to subspace.  Warm up is not usually enough to get you there on its own.  Usually finding subspace is something that isn’t achieved until firmly in scene, but the transition can be jarring, or even missed, if you don’t ensure proper warm up has occurred.  I’ve known Doms who devote little or no time to warm up and go straight into scene.  This can work for some people, some of the time, but the one time that you miss it, you cross the line from safe, sane, and consensual and fall into abuse.  For me, it’s simply not worth the risk.

When I am training a submissive, or even when I am interacting with an experienced one, I will watch her.  I want to see her fail to meet my gaze.  I want to see her look down at my feet when I stare into her eyes.  I want to see her round her shoulders and bend her neck towards me.  I want to see her kneel or bow or even just place her forehead into my chest.  I want to hear the meekness in her voice when she addresses me as Sir.  These are not sacrosanct indicators of finding the edges of subspace, and they aren’t even inviolate indicators of submission, but they’re a step in the right direction.

These steps can take hours.  They can begin before you’re together though, and they can wind around vanilla activities.  I am a big fan of eating something, perhaps a full meal, but at least something light, before beginning a scene.  The food energy will help with the physical and mental strain, and the meal itself can provide a bonding opportunity and a place for mental interactions, witty banter, and innuendo – and as any submissive will tell you, the mind is the most important part of her that you can own, for sex or play or any other activity.  Alcohol is not a good idea here though.  It may take off the edge, but it can also lead to physical and psychological changes in both you and your submissive that you should be wary of.  I may drink with partners, but I will never engage in pain play when even the slightest bit intoxicated.

Admittedly, setting aside time for food and drink is not always possible, but there are other ways to encourage the path to subspace.

I watch my submissive, identify her specific submissive behaviors, and then I encourage these things.  I stroke my submissive’s hair.  I talk softly to her.  I remind her of my protection and her safety.  I pet her head and body.   As I can feel her trust building in me, I will be more and more physical.  I will grab her hair.  I will bite her neck, her ear, her shoulder.  I’ll fondle her tits and ass through her clothes, or reach underneath them.  I’ll kiss her, or I’ll grab the sides of her face and force her to meet my eyes, to see the burning desire that lies just underneath.  But these actions, like all actions taken in scene, must adhere to the limits established beforehand.  For some, kissing is out, for others, biting might be, but no matter what the limits, there should be something that you can do here.  If there is not, you probably need to find a different play partner.

I ease her into a place of trust and devotion and when I have that devotion, I am a veritable god.

From this point forward, I am in complete control and we are in scene.  I may grab her by the throat and force her down, I may slap her ass with my hand or a flogger or a crop or a cane.  But I will usually make it explicit through word or action or both that we’re about to begin.  Just that simple vocal recognition is often enough to cause a seasoned submissive to drop into subspace for me.  A newbie could require more care.

If I am not absolutely sure that we are ready, I might ask “are you ready?” and even when I get, “Yes, Sir,” in response, I know that is not quite sufficient. The cue has to be a command – at least for me it does.  Any command here will do: “take off your clothes,” “kneel for me,” “we’re going to begin now,” are all appropriate and can all serve well here.

Excepting the striking, I tend to use most, if not all of the above for foreplay as well as warm up.  In fact, much to my shock and glee, I was recently engaged in simple kinky sex with a submissive and she went rather deep into subspace without any pain of any kind at all.

That is the exception, however, and from this point forward it can still vary widely as to when, how, how deep, or even if a submissive will drop into subspace.

I should probably pause here to note that this is most definitely not the same thing as sub-drop.  Sub-drop is something else entirely, and not at all positive.  I’ll probably devote another entry to it at some point, but just don’t confuse the terms or people will look at you cross-eyed.  Dropping into subspace is good, sub-drop is bad.  Okay then…

Even when beginning your scene, especially if it is with someone new, it behooves one to start out slow.  This slow roll into the scene is what is going to help a new partner or a BDSM newbie ease herself into subspace.  In fact, this is what some Doms refer to when they talk about warm up.  They ignore all of the pre-activity nonsense that I am so keen on and just go straight to the main event, thinking that because their first strike is only at half strength that they are engaging in good warm up practices.

While I agree that this is important, I do not agree that it is sufficient.

My goal as Dominant is to create the best experience possible for all participants.  To some, this marks me a service Top and they think me weak.  I don’t really care.  I do what I do because it suits me, and because it gives me what I need.  I get off on devotion and subservience, not delivering pain.

As I begin to enact the scene, I watch my sub carefully.  I look for the signs of her being in subspace.  I slowly increase the stimulation as I see her move further and further into subspace until I’m sure that she is there.

I look for the altered breathing, the flushed skin, the glazed eyes, changes to the inflection of her voice or the tenor of her movements and moaning.

It takes some practice to recognize, but once I know she’s there, I know that I can do literally anything and it will be experienced in a positive light, so it is well worth pursuing.

Not everyone will agree with me on these points.  Not everyone finds it important to guide his submissive into subspace, and even I don’t find it necessary all of the time, but if you’re going to enact a scene, especially a brutal scene where pain is the primary intoxicant, it really is essential that you understand what you’re doing and how to help her get to where she needs to be in order to take the pain for you.

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 Simone.  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.  Simone’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.