Monday, August 28, 2006

Habits, Compulsions, and Bliss (Oh My!)

Being on vacation has been a wonderful tonic for looking at the habits of my life, particularly since this vacation has had two very distinct parts. The unprecedented one was five days along together - a first since the kids were born. The second was four days at "the beach house" - my father in law's, and one to which we have been going for close to 40 years (yikes!). And I found my mind-set was very different in both places.

While we were traveling around, it was just the two of us, and we were in places we hadn't been before - one of our favorite things to do. As I mentioned earlier, I most definately was not going to make this about what I want to have happen in our relationship. We had a wonderful time punctuated by a couple of interesting and fun things. We were distressingly close to where Candace's and Chris' profiles say they are. I wish we had been in a place to say "Hello," but we're far from there yet and I can't imagine that they'd have had any interest. The Venus On Top folks have monthly "munches" (as do many "alternative lifestyle" organizations). Perhaps we could brew something like that up. But not for a while, at least for us.

The fun stuff: lazy sex on a vacation morning, ending with a lovely orgasm for her and none for me. I'll have to admit, that was my idea (the sex, that is), because once we get started, it usually unfolds in whatever way works for her. Sometimes that's intercourse because that's what she wants. But about as often, it's her climaxing other ways and our figuring out that we're done. I always find that fun, and so it was on vacation.

While we were on our own, it was (I think) relatively easy to maintain that attitude of submission and service. Even just sitting around a camp site, there were about five times when stuff needed to be gotten from the car. I just went up and did it (as opposed to that subtle dance couples do - "I went last time..." "Do you want to get..." "Do you suppose we need...") That felt good.

I laid off the shaving at the camp site, but as we were leaving, she said, "I like it better when you shave." I said, "I figured I'd wait till we got to the hotel tonight." And then I went "DUH - Hello?!?!" and got my shaving stuff out of the car and shaved in the camp facilities. Little things, but fun.

And then at the hotel had really great sex - at least by 50+ year-olds standards, and managed to be fairly late for breakfast. It's fun being this age and a little irresponsible. In fact, one of the things I'm hoping will emerge from making the FLR nature of our relationship more explicit between the two of us is a sense of shared adventure and excitement exploring something new. And there were one or two things I'm not sure I would have done otherwise that did make sex great. That ended with a rollocking climax for me (as well as for my love), which certainly changes my mind set about this stuff - often not for the better.

And then we dropped back into family life with a vengence: picked up the kids and went to my father-in-law's beach house. Wow - in-laws, friends, kids, a mob and a half and we all had a great time. But not a place to be particularly intimate, and not a place where I can find much in the opportunities in the way of "service" or "submission." Partly, I suppose, that's a good thing - life here is so relaxed that no one ends up doing much that they don't want to do. Partly, I think it probably is a result of my being so "satisfied" (so as not to say "sated") - I wonder if I'm looking for those opportunities as carefully as I might otherwise.

So what does that say about my "Bliss?" Saratoga reflected on bliss and (I think) it means rather a different thing to him than it does to me. But it's just the kind of post that I love reading his blog for - I read it, don't think I "get" it, and find myself thinking about the ideas in it a couple of days later.

Saratoga used "bliss" as a jumping off point for a contemplation of whether male submissives find the idea of the "femdom" relationship much more interesting - "blissful" - than the reality. As he so succintly put it, "that idea is, as conceived, more fetishistic and toppy than truly submissive." And I think the point is very well taken - the idea of the femdom relationship is very different from the reality. And most male submissives have much more experience with their fantasies than they do with reality (present company included, I'm afraid).

In fact, I think there are three aspects of a male submissive's (or at least this male's - I'm becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the "submissive" label - more on that later I hope) fantasy or longing: the fetishy part (leather, boots, whips, etc), the cosmological part (women are superior to men, which might also be called the self-esteem part), and the relationship part (as in wife-led marriage or female-led relationships). Unravelling the relationship among those three things will be, for me, key to figuring out what I'm looking for.

Back to Saratoga and "bliss" - in the end, he wonders "whether something as-yet unattained, such as a prospective FemDom relationship, which depends upon a compatible, uncontrolled element, one's Domina, can actually be a person's bliss." I take Campbell to mean something different by bliss. My understanding of it is that "bliss" is the place that you go that recharges you; the place that when you go there, you're more energized after doing the work that you do than you were before you got there. Put another way, it's the place that you have to go, whether you want to or not.

It's true that your bliss could (I suppose) be completely internal; an internal fantasy that doesn't involve anyone else. But "following your bliss" is, I think, a lot of what the Web is about: enabling people to conceive of what's important to them, express it, and (most importantly) interact with other people who find their bliss in the same general corner of the congnitive universe. That's what makes the Wikipedia happen, and I think it's what makes all these blogs happen.

Is this my "bliss?" Well, here I am, so I'll go with this definition for a while.

This post has been written in parts, and since I started it, several opportunities have come up for "service" - fetching things on the beach, carrying things, doing dishes. It feels good. And it makes me think that the opportunities are there, I just have to look for them.

I'm somewhat dreading the return to "real life" - too many committments and too much to do.

I got so wrapped up in writing this that I forgot where I was going: Habits. Seeing the difference in my attitude and interest in submission in three different contexts - vacation , family, and everyday life - I wonder to what extent this interest is a "habit" - part of the way I've structured my world. It goes back, in some ways, to the comment I made about a meditation experience I had in which I couldn't conceive of "every day life" without my interest in submission.

If I changed my every-day circumstances, would this interest go away? "In my younger days" I thought that. But I've come to see the wisdom of the saying "Wherever you go, there you are" - it's still you. And though all the changes that have taken place in my life, this interest still returns. So I don't think it's just the circumstances of my situation, nor just "habit". I think that habit got created (in some way) from who I am. And that's the vaunted thread that I want to weave in to my life.


whatevershesays said...

Great Post!

Coming down (pun intended:) from vacation really stinks. But I try to look at as an opportunity for a soft landing. It's my issues, primarily of wishing the vacation intensity would continue into "normal" life. Unrealistic to be sure.

I always hated it when life intruded on my sex life until I realized that this is my

Glad you had a good vacation.

Polyfetishist said...

Submissive is an overworked word.

I like to use the word surrendered for myself.

Or there are phrases like "wanting direction" or "consciously obliging" or "pleased in pleasing."

I greatly enjoy the clarity with which you write and wish you the very best.

saratoga said...

LOL. I think the term "submissive" is overused for those who don't wish to be more specific about what it means, and what it doesn't mean. Yes, if it's used for "everything," then it's overused, indeed.

For me, as for for most people engaged in examination of concepts, being more clear about terminology is necessary for any progress in organized thought about something.

Thus, limiting what something means can help prevent its improper use, and, thus, probably overuse.