Sunday, April 27, 2008

Standing at the Brink

So here it is Sunday.

A week ago Saturday, I told my beloved that the "Uniquely Rika" book should be arriving any day. It did arrive, but just before I had to leave on a one-week trip, so it's been sitting on my desk unopened for the last week. The suspense has been killing me!

I do remember her first comment, which was, "You've been pretty obsessed by this stuff recently." To which I could only answer, "Yes." In fact, I think I've been more obsessed by it than she knows, and certainly more than I would like.

Perhaps the most important thing she said was that she's feeling in some way pressured by this - let me be clear - because she wants me to be happy, not because I'm running around saying "Would you like me to do this", "look, I did that that", "Oh my, I forgot to do that, what a bad boy I am..."

I'm a lot more interested in sex than she is. So when I know I can't have sex on my own, then in the mornings, I tend to get pretty cuddly. She interprets this as a request for sex, which, based on our arrangement, it isn't. It's an invitation, which she is totally welcome or encouraged to ignore, explicitly reject (which she never has), or accept. But she feels she's "supposed" to be more interested than she is.

We talked about this for a long time and I really really tried to explain how satisfying it was for me to be able to offer, or request, and for her to have no pressure as to whether she wanted to accept or not. This has worked well when we do have sex (which is mostly oral or manual) in that if she doesn't feel like intercourse, she just doesn't offer it. She knows I love that, and, though a little surprised by it, has seemed to find a way to work with that that works for her. I asked if she could give me some signal that she's satisfied and will not be wanting more. I suggested if she said "I'm done" or "None for you today" or "Thank you", I'd know what to expect and how to "wind down" and not continue thinking we were going some place we weren't. She settled on "Thank you" (not to surprising, knowing who she is...)

If we can get to the same place on "offers" in the morning, then perhaps she might feel less pressured. She likes to make other people happy, so the idea that the focus of this exercise might be on just making her happy is a part of the growth process for her - not because I want her to change, but because this is a long-running issue for her that (I believe) she agrees would make her happier if she dealt with.

Sometimes, like maybe a year or more ago, I remember having a conversation with here where all this stuff had faded away. It does that sometimes - sometimes I feel like I "go sane." But I've never been able to correlate that with anything else in my life, so I'm very skeptical of the "This will just go away" argument.

What I did say was that by exploring the way we're exploring, and talking, I'm looking for a happy medium - a way to being submissive or service-oriented that allows us to get to a place where I can be happy, without making her unhappy - without impinging so much on her life that she finds it unacceptable. I expect this will mean submission or service at times when it seems pointless to me, or even tedious (though in a weird sort of way, that's kind of attractive), and at other times controlling my needs to something kinkier than she has any desire for. But hopefully finding a happy medium where I don't have to have this interior life that she either knows nothing about or can ignore.

I think we're together on the fact that my asking for what I need is important. And we've identified those hand-ful of things that are important to her - things that say "I love you." I don't think she really believes that there are "service-oriented" things in here that could be of any use to her, just ones that she hopes won't be a nuisance, but that just my supposition.

We also talked about what the kids know - both are sexually-aware teens. We figure they've gone over the bookshelves pretty carefully, where there is a handful of Anne Rice (the Beauty series), some Robert Mapplethorpe, and The Story of O. But it falls in to that grey area of what one really does or doesn't want to know about the private life of those in the rest of one's family. Certainly nothing's happening between my beloved and I that they're going to see that's going to ring any bells.

What with yard work and the like, my beloved and I have had the chance to take a couple of showers together - something we don't do often, but which has given me the opportunity to wash her feet and help get the callouses off of them. I enjoy that a lot, and (echoing the realization I read on someone else's blog - by now I don't remember which), I ask her for what I want, which is to wash her feet and told her that I'd join her in the show at any time. My new goal is to listen for the shower and ask if I can join her and do her feet; doesn't happen often because she works and home and can shower at odd hours when I'm not around. I haven't had a chance to ask yet, so we'll see how that works out.

Some time ago, my beloved broke a bone in her foot and as a result was wearing sandals a lot. Though she's never been one to paint her nails, she suggested she might ask our daughter, the one with fashion sense, to paint her toenails. Feeling surprised and dismayed, I blurted out "Is that because you thought I'd enjoy it too much?" - not suave, but she took it in the way it was intended, which was I think, her fishing for whether there was interest. So I did for a little while, but got too wrapped up in her asking me to re-do them when they needed it, so it didn't work out in the end.

I won't make that mistake again - I intend to ask her if I can do her toenails, and if so, it will me my responsibility to keep them looking good without her asking. At least that's my theory.

So I've been gone for the last week, "Uniquely Rika" has been sitting in the USPS box on my desk, since I was traveling with one of our children, and there was no way I was either going to read or hide the book in a hotel room.

Having gotten back, now I get to read it and then, as we discussed, precis each chapter and share it with my beloved. From that I hope we'll make a plan, or more likely, start and exploration towards creating a lifestyle that works for us.


Oh, but there I was in a hotel room finally having a chance to sleep in, and I did think about rituals and what they're for. I need something that says "We're doing this - it's not all just in my head." The necklace goes a long way towards doing that, since it's something I'm wearing all the time. But sometimes the reality creeps in that she really wouldn't care if I ignored it entirely and just satisfied myself. I should ask her to check this, but that's my impression.

Some weeks ago when we had a good conversation about this arrangement with the necklace, I suggested that I have the opportunity once a day to thank her for this arrangement and tell her how much happier I am when she controls my sexual satisfaction. All she'd have to do is listen and acknowledge - essentially it was giving me permission to talk about this with her once a day. That didn't work out well - I don't know if I didn't find the right wording or what, but it felt stilted and silly and we only did it once or twice.

But in the spirit of "Mistress Laura's Boy"'s entry on "Everyday Rules That Keep Me Focused on My Mistress", I did try to think about why reminding me was important, and I think it is that affirmation of the fact that "We are doing this." I don't imagine she's going to expect me to do a lot of stuff, that's not her style, but I was wondering if we could create an "arriving home" ritual. Some men write about kneeling naked in the entryway etc, things I might like in fantasy, but are never going to happen in my life.

But, as she's usually working in the home office when I get home, I wondered if I might have a required routine - drop all the junk that seems to need to come in to the house with me, approach her wherever she is, assume some unobtrusive position standing near her,and just wait for her to acknowledge me. I mean, I'm coming home, so I'm going to interrupt her anyway with the business of the day, so it might as well be at a moment she chooses, and I get the satisfaction of waiting, and the little ritual of it, and she gets to be bothered less. Something I may suggest soon.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Where are we going?

So I ordered a copy of Uniquely Rika. This is a little more complicated than it seems. One of the hard and fast rules my beloved and I agreed upon some time ago was that I wouldn't spend any money on "this stuff" without telling her. She does the bills, and neither of us wanted her to discover a "What's that?" charge on one of the credit cards.

So to order Ms. Rika's book from Lulu, I needed to use a credit card, and to do that, I needed to ask her if that was OK. She wasn't enthused, but was very supportive in suggesting that I try to figure out why it's so hard for me to talk about this stuff. She also said she realized, from our past approaches to dealing with my fascination with dominant women, how common this is. All in all, very reassuring. She really is terrific, which makes me wonder what my fear is about.

So now that the book is coming tomorrow, where do I want to go with that? From reading Ms. Rika's website, I know that there is terminology in there that will turn my beloved right off - anything about D/s lifestyles and dommes. If she reads past that - and I'm assuming that the book is a superset of what's on the website - then I'm pretty sure there are ideas she will like.

Do I
  1. Read the book and just try to implement it
  2. Just ask her to read it, without my reading it and see if she chooses to go anywhere with it?
  3. Read the book, do an introductory commentary on the chapters, and ask my beloved to read it?
  4. Read it and then ask her to read it and then discuss it?

I actually know the answer to these questions: #1 and #2 are just my fantasies and would be a really bad idea. Between #3 and #4, I think I'll just ask her which she would prefer. I've read enough of what Ms. Rika has written that I know it's all about communication. In fact I pitched this as a book with insight about communications between a couple with interests like this, so I hope that proves out.

What's scarier is that this starts moving all this into the realm of real possibility. I think that was what made/makes the whole necklace thing so big: it is a lever for conversation - I have to ask, and that is really big. And it has helped us change the dynamic of our sex life.

I suppose I should talk about that latter. We've had, I would say, three really good conversations about my desire to submit over the last three years. (Wow, sounds kinda pathetic, but I guess it beats none...) Somewhere between the first and the second, we established that sex would be for her pleasure. This was, I think, actually helpful for her to become comfortable with her sexual desires and feelings she might have had as to whether she was disappointing me in the frequency of her desire - another reason why my having to ask for release is important.

She has become more comfortable initiating sex when she wants it, declining my advances when she doesn't want them, and (most fun for me), deciding herself whether penetration is something that would enhance this sexual episode for her or not. She tells me when (and if) she wants me to enter her. I don't think she really believes that I enjoy sex without penetration (or physical climax), but I do. Somehow the "all about her-ness" of it I find really really exciting. I'd say I go without maybe 20% of the time when we have sex. I'd like more that to be more often, and penetration to be more of a special event, but I've figured out that it's all about her, stupid, so I'm happy to have her call the shots.

Prefiguring some of Ms. Rika's book (from the website), I did mention that I thought a lovely birthday present would be to do without for a couple of weeks, followed by an opportunity for intercourse, but pitched that as a present for me. In general, the whole talking about this and asking for what I want is really big. (Have I mentioned that before? Only three or four times in this post alone...)

In one of our recent good conversations, I mentioned that I enjoy doing things for her - it's a physical way of saying "I love you" and "I'm feeling connected to you." Right now, it's a pathetically small number of things - coffee in the morning, laying out her nightgown so it's easy to put on, finding her cell phone and plugging it in in the evenings (Thank you, Ms. Rika) but sometimes she gets to it first, which makes me sad. When I asked her about what else might go on that list, she suggested making sure the light is on at her side of the bed if I go to bed first (which doesn't come up much, but I do remember when it does). To which I've added cleaning the cat box.

Somewhere back in previous posts, I mentioned a guy who decided he was going to do an FLR right away, and posted some ridiculous to-do lists for himself - day 1, day 2, etc. I'm not going there, especially because it's my nature to jump in to things too fast. But adding things one at a time, at a pace that I think I can sustain will be fun.

So Ms. Rika's book arrives and then what? I guess I read it. I caveat the parts that I think will put her off, and then I ask her to read it. And then we talk about it. Since I'm going to be away for four days, maybe we put it on the shelf until I get back, so we can read, talk, and implement, all of which can't happen if I'm away.

Actually, one of the reasons I like writing the blog is because, upon reflection like this, I find things are going much better than I might have thought.

If anyone reads this marathon post, I'll be amazed, especially since it's pretty low on pictures. But it does me good to write it I think. There's much more to say; feels as if the dam has burst by starting the writing, but gotta go.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Year!

Amazing that it's been a year since my last post. Thanks to Mistress Laura's boy for pointing that out to me. I can wonder why, but suffice it to say that it's been a very busy year, mostly in ways that have nothing to do with this blog.

That did get me thinking, however, about why I haven't been posting and why I continue to be interested in... in... whatever it is that we call this ... TTW(wanna)D ... And why blog at all.

Surprisingly enough, I have some answers (at least for myself).

Since my beloved and I started our little arrangement with the necklace that in some way "took the edge off" my need. I am very grateful to her for this arrangement. The old demon raises its head in the form of "I'm pretty sure this doesn't mean anything to her" - a quick refresher as to how this works for us: it's a "virtual chastity belt" i.e. I'm not allowed sexual release while I'm wearing it, and I'm not allowed to take it off. So I need to ask her to take it off, and she'll tell me when I have to give it to her to put back on.

Well, one time, in the chaos that was some time over the last year, I forgot to bring it to her to put on, and she didn't mention anything. The original forgetting was completely inadvertent. The not bringing it up later was "pushy bottom" - did she really care? Well some days later (this was long enough ago that I don't remember how many), she said "Hey, what ever happened to the necklace?", and I found it and put it on.

But something very profound happened in that interaction: I realized how important the talking about all this is to me. Intellectually, I know that this woman really loves me, but her willingness to talk about my compulsions around this sex thing reminds me emotionally that it's really true: here she is willing to do something that I know she doesn't particularly enjoy, because it's important to me. Wow.

It reinforced to me that how important those conversations are to me. We thought we'd try a little thing where I thank her each day for doing this thing for me - a way of having a little conversation about it, but it doesn't seem to have worked, I'm not sure why. I haven't done it and she hasn't mentioned it - more "pushy bottom"? I don't think so.

I mean, we have a real understanding here that this is about me, not her.

Why blog? I'm not happy with the amount of time I spend thinking about this stuff and reading other blogs about it. I'm hoping that having a place to actually talk about what I'm thinking will help me just acknowledge it and get on with the rest of my life. Remains to be seen how effective that is.

But also because "talking" about this will, I hope, help me figure out what I want, and how by beloved and I can come up with something that works for us.

Lest the best be enemy to the good, up this goes, with blog housekeeping and some reflections written over the last several month to follow.