Thursday, December 09, 2010

What Every Good Service Submissive Should be Thinking About All The Time

I found it thought-provoking. For as long as The New Yorker keeps it posted:

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Love, Serve, Obey

Love, Serve, Obey

That's been my manta with my beloved since we started our FLR some months ago. This morning, lying with my head in the crook of her arm, I realized a bit more about what is happening with that mantra.

I love her all the time.

When I serve her, I get to say "I love you" with my actions. A day when I don't get to serve her is NOT a good day. Though that happens, it doesn't happen very often. That's why it's important for me to know that she knows that I'm serving her. What's the point of saying "I love you" if your beloved can't hear it? (Okay, it's not completely pointless but I hope you get the idea.)

That's related to the point of Lady Grey's post on Please, Thank You, and Denial . For me, there are two big caveats in referring to this post: 1) The relationship that kicked off Lady Grey's thinking is very different from ours, and 2) Lady Grey's relationship is very different from ours. Nevertheless, I get a thrill when she says:
When I'm faced with [a gift from my submissive], I simply say "that's very nice" or something of that sort, which acknowledges the gift without having to say thank you. I'm not thankful that he's brought me a gift any more than I'm thankful that he's following my orders. It's expected. Following orders is expected. Being given gifts is expected. There's a constant expectation and assumption of service in a D/s situation ... and the only "please" or "thank you" that will be heard is when it's coming out of my sub's mouth.
I have commented before that my beloved is a hyper-considerate person. "Please" and "Thank you" are in her nature. And while I wouldn't try to change that, I felt that it was important to acknowledge where a service being performed by a submissive is different from a gift being given in a symmetrical relationship (for lack of a better term - our relationship is asymmetrical, which isn't to say un-equal, but which is probably worth its own post). Put another way, I do things for my beloved not ONLY to make her happy, but to tell her that I love her. So for us, finding a way to distinguish that might be very useful.

Obedience is something I get to do less often, which makes it more fun and more valuable. That having been said, I'd like to do it more (unlike some other pleasurable activities which I could mention...). Obedience is my way of answering her implied question: "Do you love me?" The harder obedience is, the more, to me, it says, "Yes, I love you." That's the value of her making tasks harder, or making them gratuitously hard. She sends me little "I love you"s by text or IM on some days - little silly things to do like not sitting down for a period of time or not eating something, or eating something I don't like. That way she says to me, "I want you to be thinking about me" and "You love me enough to do this, right?" I am very grateful for those, and I am grateful for the difficulty they present.

Even my nightly check-ins with her by e-mail have that value. They say, "Do you care enough about this relationship dynamic to do the inconvenient thing and e-mail me every night?" Fortunately, the answer is (almost) always "Yes." The consequence for not doing so, is the (harder) reminder, that I said it was, and forces me to contemplate the reason why it didn't happen.

Monday, November 22, 2010

How it’s going, what’s working, and what’s not

My beloved “suggested” that I write a post on “how it’s going, what’s working, and what’s not.” So here I am.

How’s it going? At the most basic level, it’s going well because I really feel like I can be all of myself with her. So in that sense, after 40 years of hiding who I am, I don’t have to do that with the person who’s most important to me. That’s pretty darn good, and it’s important to keep that perspective as I run down the rest of this post.

We had two dear friends visiting this weekend, friends who have been through at least one iteration of “going public” with my need to be submissive, an iteration that A) didn’t go anywhere, B) wasn’t very stable in my dynamic with my beloved, and C) didn’t lead us to a life style that worked. But that was a long time ago, and arguably a necessary stepping stone to get to where we are today. All that notwithstanding, it felt very awkward to me not to be able to share with these friends the most important thing going on in my life.

So why not share it? One practical reason is that my beloved was away for the week before our friends arrived, so she and I didn’t have any time to talk about it. But in another sense, it felt like too much information. As far as I know, only one person who knows who I am reads this blog (other than my beloved). And I don’t think that person actually follows it, especially given its sporadic nature of the recent past. And with the agreement and the counters, it feels a little like “too much information” to share with friends. I suppose we could have shared the reality with them without sharing the blog, but as I said, we didn’t have an opportunity to talk about it.

But perhaps more importantly, my relationship with my beloved now seems to be more about “how we are with each other” than “what we do.” I think perhaps it’s a little more “how” and less “what” than I might prefer, but in the end we’re looking for a balance that “tells” me (emotionally) what I need to hear, but is fun and satisfying for my beloved. So if that’s got more “how” and less “what” than I might prefer, maybe that’s OK.

What is the most important thing to me about the “Female Led” aspect of our relationship? (So called for lack of a better term, but I think it’s not a bad term in and of itself.) It’s her knowing that I’m happy doing her will because it’s her will. And my knowing that she knows this. Not to wander into the hall of mirrors here, but it’s the back-and-forth knowledge and communication that’s important to me. Doing something hard is, well, hard. Doing something hard but knowing that my beloved knows I’m doing something hard is very satisfying. I haven’t figured out a way of asking for that feedback and I don’t think we’ve naturally come up with one yet, so that’s something to work on.

I think it’s involved in the idea I have (never successfully implemented yet) of disparity play and the talk and acknowledgement of that play. And it’s part of the same dynamic as orgasm control by my beloved – orgasm control being a particularly potent form of disparity play: “I’m getting pleasure and you’re not because we agreed that that’s how it would be.”

So one aspect of what’s not working for me would be my beloved being annoyed at my not coming upstairs because I’m doing my evening chores (writing daily reports, managing cash in her wallet, finding her cell phone, etc). Believe me, at that point, it’s not because I don’t want to come upstairs. But if I’ve left them to the end of the evening and they have to be done….

Perhaps I need an established consequence for each of the chores left undone, so that she could just say, “Come upstairs,” and it’s my misfortune that I didn’t get things done. Perhaps she would be comfortable saying “Are all your chores done?”, that being a command to get them done immediately.

Getting back to the idea of talk and acknowledgment of disparity play, which is kind of like teasing (in a good way), I have this fantasy (not completely articulated) about a dialog we would have where I need to admit and acknowledge the privileges I’ve given up, in a conversation with her. There’s something about the power of the spoken word that this invokes: Just waiting to come to bed is less powerful than, “Do you want to come to bed?” “Yes” “You will when I invite you to.” The bratty sub answers that question, “No” and then spends an unpleasant night not in bed or cold on the floor without a covering.

In summary, what’s hard is when we’re not talking about what we’re doing. Talking about what we’re doing is, to me, almost as important as doing it because it assures me that this isn’t all in my head. I can pretend my beloved wants me to do something and then do it, but what’s the point of that? I’d rather do one tenth the “stuff” because she wants me to than ten times as much because she’s like “Yeah, I guess you could do that.” But if I do one tenth without communication, then that’s almost no different than doing the ten-times-as-much without communication, and less fun.

Now that there’s a counter on the site, I can remember how long it’s been since I had an orgasm. Being required to know that number and report it on demand would be another verbal form of disparity play: I need to know, she doesn’t.

I don’t know if this is really a summary of what’s working and what’s not, but it’s what came to mind. Often when writing prior posts I’d get all hot-and-bothered, and I was waiting for that to happen when writing this one. But I think that dynamic has changed since we’ve started doing stuff, rather than my just fantasizing about stuff. Does that mean the energy has gone out of the blog? I think not, but it has changed a bit.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Our Arrangement

It's taken much longer than I expected to put up the essence of our arrangement. Partly that's due to the fact that I wanted to think about it and give some context to the things we do and decisions we've made. On two occasions I was delayed because I made inappropriate decisions that resulted in writing a number of lines during the time that I intended to work on this.

In the course of editing, I realized that the arrangement we are working on has three parts - the context, the privileges and obligations we've taken on (or, in my case, privileges I've renounced), and the rituals we use to remind ourselves of what we're doing. The first two parts are posted here; rituals will have to wait for another evening.

My beloved and I live in a “Female Led Relationship” because I need tangible manifestations of the love and connection that we share. My beloved has agreed to provide those manifestations in contexts that are either fun or useful to her or that carry great meaning for me. Those manifestations of love and connection take form as a privileges I have surrendered and obligations I have assumed. These allow my beloved to restore those privileges at her prerogative, often linked to my performance of the obligations I have taken on.

My beloved’s awareness of my behavior, which she demonstrates by restoring privileges or requiring me to perform some action, fulfills my need to feel cared about.

Since this arrangement came in to being through my need, I have an incentive to keep my beloved engaged and interested in the arrangement. I do so by constantly seeking ways to be of service, doing things for her which she finds pleasant, which she finds it convenient not to have to worry about, or which are tedious and she would otherwise have to do.

The particulars of the arrangement between me and my beloved are things that work for us - things that fit those three categories of service, privileges that feel meaningful, and activities that are fun.

The Particulars of Our Arrangement
The most important thing in my life, after the children’s well-being, my beloved’s well-being, and my own well-being, is this Female Led Relationship with my beloved.

I have renounced the following privileges:
  1. I have no privacy in my thoughts. I have an obligation to volunteer to my beloved any thoughts regarding our arrangement. I have an obligation to answer all questions candidly and without reservation.
  2. I have no right to make commitments for myself or the family. When decisions are necessary and my beloved is not available, I will, as much as possible, make commitments conditional upon her approval.
  3. I have no right to disagree with a decision made by my beloved. I may contribute information to her decision by asking, ‘May I contribute some thoughts to this?’ This includes, but is not limited to situations where she is missing important information, or her decision would jeopardize my work or make my submission obvious to observers.
  4. I have no right to stimulate my own penis, which my beloved regards as hers. I may ask her for permission to do so, at least 24 hours after any other sexual activity, and not more than once every 24 hours.
  5. I have no right to orgasm unless invited to do so by my beloved. When stimulated, if I believe an orgasm is imminent, I will advise my beloved.
  6. I have no right to sleep other than naked. When away from home, I may ask for the privilege of sleeping not-naked.
  7. I have no right to sleep in my beloved’s bed. She may invite me to her bed when she chooses. When we are apart, I may text her with a request to get in to bed when I am ready to go to sleep. Absent a response, I may get in to bed an hour later. Unless invited into bed, I may only fall asleep on the floor beside my beloved’s side of the bed.
  8. I have no right to post to the blog. I may prepare drafts which my beloved will approve, edit, disapprove, or send back for editing.
  9. I have no right to read, write, view, or listen to submission-related material while at work.
  10. I have no right to spend any money on submission-related material (on-line or other) without asking my beloved.
I have assumed the following obligations:
  1. Keep track of my failure to perform any of my obligations, as soon as I notice them, or as soon as I am notified of them by my beloved.
  2. Report to my beloved once a day, by e-mail, reporting short-comings in my performance, listing consequences in force for previous short-comings, detailing activities I liked during the day, and providing other observations on the FLR.
  3. Review once a day with my beloved, my performance during the day.
  4. Be able to list at any time the consequences in force for prior short-comings in performance. Failure to be able to so do results in the short-coming in performance remaining unresolved.
  5. Immediately obey any request made when my beloved begins a sentence with “I want,” “I need,” or “You will,” or anything in the tone of a command.
  6. Make my beloved a double latte every workday morning when we are both at home, and other mornings on request.
  7. Keep gas in cars at all times.
  8. Keep cash in my beloved’s wallet at all times.
  9. Plug in my beloved’s cell phone every night.
  10. Be responsible for some personal-care items for my beloved.
My beloved has agreed to do the following things for me:
  1. Honestly tell me how she feels about our arrangement.
  2. Impose a consequences for obligations I did not fulfill, based on the daily report. She will tell me what consequence is a result of what unfulfilled obligation, and will try to choose consequences that feel connected to the failure.
  3. Impose consequences at her whim, and tell me that’s why she chose them.
  4. Text me when I fail to do something, or she is displeased about something.
  5. Give me feedback about how my service is working for her during the daily report.
  6. From time to time, ask me what consequences are in force, and what they’re for.
  7. Decide when and how we have sex. Tell me how she feels after each time we have sex of any kind. (If she forgets, I may ask.)
  8. Love me for who I really am.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My beloved wrote, "The idea is for our FLR to be the most important thing in his life now, and him to get validation from me." Those words have been ringing in my brain since she wrote them, and I'm a little at a loss as to how to proceed with the blog, and what to say.

My beloved is out of town, so it's a quiet night in the Unremarkable household. I thought I'd put up some miscellaneous notes.

She has been exploring sex in different ways, mostly ways that I can provide her with more pleasure. Though it started off (years ago) as a "submissive mindset" trope, the notion that her pleasure really is my pleasure has become true. The way our arrangement works now (and I really will post the whole thing some time, after the editor in me gets through with it), I only get physical sexual stimulation from her, or with her permission.

Looking back at the blog (one of the reasons to have it), I realize that since September of 2006 I haven't had an orgasm without her permission. For most of this period, she would say "Yes" if I asked her, but finding the moment was always something of a challenge, so the loss of control over my own physical orgasm was rather real.

We've changed that scheme a bit recently. I am not to touch my penis for pleasure without her permission. And while I used to be able to ask for permission to orgasm, now, we have a prescribed set of outcomes, none of which include pleasurable orgasm for me - either stimulation without orgasm, or ruined orgasms (ejaculation with no immediate stimulation - "Sarah" described it well in Male Chastity Punishment That Really Works).

Though many don't like dice games, I originally made up a little game of chance which my beloved changed in to a dice game. I think she found it convenient to see all the possible outcomes in one place, and easy to adjust the probabilities of the outcomes with only six possibilities per roll. The first time she saw me roll "Stimulate yourself without using your hands for 5 minutes, and then ruin your orgasm," I think she was surprised. I was surprised too. It was very effective, leaving me physically discharged but very submissive.

The "disparity play" aspect of her watching me thrash around was also very hot.

Since then, all of my sexual pleasure comes from her. Either she chooses to stimulate me with her hand (and then stop), or we're having intercourse and she wants me to orgasm because it feels good to her. Maybe some day she'll give me a hand-job, who knows? I know I enjoy the tease.

I find that my physical response to all this stimulation-without-sex is odd: rather than getting incredibly horny physically, I find it harder to get a hard-on. I find that the stimulation is mainly in my head, and if my penis knows it's not going to get off (and how can it "know" anything?) it doesn't seem to bother with the hydraulics of it all. But if my brain is stimulated by submission or disparity play (a concept I thank Subservient Husband for), or service, then the hard-on comes unbidden.

I say this all because we've decided to add a time-since-last-orgasm counter to the blog. Not because we're obsessed by the number. Just the opposite. One of the chastity-related bloggers I read (I forget which one) pointed out that he wasn't interested in how long it had been since his last orgasm, that it was more about the submission than the lack of spurting. I agree. So much so that we figured we'd forget if we didn't "write it down" somewhere, and a blog counter seemed like the place.

Earlier in our relationship, I've tried keeping logs in my smartphone about what kind of orgasm and when, and how many of hers for each of mine, and all that. No luck. I don't seem to care enough. So the counter may disappear at any time if we figure that we don't care or forgot to update it some long time ago. But for now, here it is.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Blogging vs. Actually Living It

Jamie's beloved here. I'm glad that Jamie has learned so much about what he wants and needs from all of you out there in cyberspace. And I'm glad he's found community and validation for who he is. On the other hand, I'm not sorry if he has less tine to blog now. The idea is for our FLR to be the most important thing in his life now, and him to get validation from me. That sounds egotistical, but that's where we're going, which necessarily puts blogging and reading blogs lower on Jamie's priorities.

We're planning to continue to post our thoughts on this blog. Jamie is going to start another blog for his daily performance reports, so we have a record of them. We'll also post our Arrangement -- the agreement about what we do each other. It's a work in progress, but we can share what we've come up with so far, along with the list of consequences that Jamie has suggested (rewards and punishments) that I impose based on how well he lives up to his part of the agreement.

I hope you find them useful!

The Morning After

I'm fairly sure I've mentioned that many years ago (probably 20), when my beloved and I were making a very early experiment in an FLR (and I'm not sure the term had been invented at the time), she asked, "So how would today have been different if we had been doing this stuff?"

At the time, and for many years after, I had no answer. I think I'm beginning to develop one.

For the past two-and-a-half weeks, my beloved and I have been exploring a different understanding of our relationship. There's been much more sex involved than I had anticipated (mostly for her, some for me), a lot of talking, and a lot of experimentation in terms of behaviors she wants from me. In short, it's been just about top-of-mind for me, and I'm guessing only slightly less for her.

For us, that couldn't last. Not for bad reasons, but because we both have lives and interests and activities. So ironically, when things were all in flux, with kid summer schedules, separate vacations, etc, it was easier for this to be the most prominent thing between us.

Today we're off doing all sorts of different things and FLR needs to become part of our existing lives, not replace them. I think we're succeeding at that, slowly, since it's early days.

If you followed us around for a day, the most salient thing you'd see would be our daily check-in, which right now seems to be happening right before bed, but is designed to happen any time in the evening. And our going-to-bed ritual, based on the fact that the bed has become hers, to which I am only allowed by invitation.

We're testing out a mantra for me to repeat when entering and leaving the house. I'll report to her on that on Sunday evening and she'll decide where she wants to go with it.

And I'm responsible for some personal care items for her - mostly culled from the now-defunct Ms. Rika web site - massages, cell phone maintenance, cars, wallet, etc.

What's much more important, however, is what's different between my beloved and myself:

1) I'm 100% here. Expanding on what I wrote a few posts ago, I have no privacy in my thoughts. She can (and has, once or twice, to my great delight) ask at any time what I'm thinking and get and uncensored answer. And I will ask questions and volunteer reactions and emotions, so that she knows that there's nothing going on in my head that she isn't party to.

2) My beloved is exploring this FLR or power-relationship or whatever-it-is with me. She is looking for information from me, and on-line. She is looking for what works for her in all this.

3) Because we're unequivocally in this together, she can say, "That's too much" or "I don't want to go there" and I don't take it as a rebuke; it's more communication and expectation setting. If there's something in "there" that's really important to me, it's my responsibility to unpack it and find the essence, so we can talk about it.

There's more to this, but I don't think I'm going to get it today, and would rather have this posted than wait for it to be perfect.

I have two great fears, and our communication helps keep them under control. One is that I'm doing this "alone" - that is, it's all in my head and she's just going "unhuh" enough for me to maintain the fantasy in my own head. Fortunately, I have to report to her every day on how the day is going, and once I do that, it's impossible for me to get deluded that way. Rather, I keep being stunned by how much she's doing for me.

The other is that she's engaged in this, but she's laughing at my silliness all the way along. Again, I got to ask her that directly this morning, and she cleared me up: She's amused by the power disparity, when I have to do things and she doesn't. I hadn't realized that she was noticing, and I'm tickled pink that she is, and that she finds it amusing.

There are two places I hope we get to. One, I've mentioned to my beloved, and she sees it as plausible: That she gets to the point where this style of relationship works well enough for her that she would be reluctant to "go back." The other I haven't had a chance to mention yet: that at some point during our daily review, she brings up something I should have done that I wasn't aware of. In other words, that she's expecting more of me than I realized. Not that I fell down on the expectations I knew about, but that she expects more.

Other bloggers have noted (and disappeared after noting) that once one really starts in an FLR, there's not so much time left over for blogging. That's my experience. There have been several occasions when I had something I wanted to blog, or some subject that I wanted to cover, but by the time I get a moment to do it, things have moved on. I'll attempt not to disappear, but will be interested to see how much blogging I do.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Learning by doing

Insights come in little drips. Repeatedly.

My beloved and I have a ritual in the evenings that helps us structure our conversation about my submission and her work with me on finding a place from which she can celebrate who I am.

She has been generous the past week or so with little commands - I suspect we'll want to come up with a cute name for them. But they're huge for me. I was at a concert and she was away when she texted me to "put one foot in front of the other for two minutes." I did, and marveled at how it made me feel: connected to her, content, in short, "loved." Why?

I'm currently going on the theory that people hear different things in different ways. I am perfectly able to hear "I love you" from my beloved, and internalize it in an intellectual way. But there are aspects of my life where I learn much more kinesthetically, and I'm wondering if emotional learning is one of those aspects. If my beloved tells me to do something, then the muscle memory, and attention, the time, the feeling of doing it penetrates my emotions much more deeply. In short, doing the arbitrary, sometimes uncomfortable, sometimes inconvenient things she sets for me, allows me to emotionally hear "I love you" in a way that I can't otherwise.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

What? And Why Now?

My beloved pointed out that it is interesting that we've embarked on this adventure (for the third? time) at a moment when we both have new jobs. Not only is change in the air, but my job involves managing both a (small) staff and a lot of projects - the former, a first for me.

One of my biggest issues in my work career has been self-confidence (or lack thereof). Not with regard to my skills in my field of work, but with regard to myself. With staff, it comes out as having to remind myself that demands on my staff by others is a validation of the people I selected and of the work our group is doing.

I can't have that confidence without the acceptance of myself that comes with actually being who I am in the most important relationship in my life - my marriage. My beloved's acceptance of me, not just grudging, but engaged with who I am is key to that.

So what's different this time? Or the time before that? Or the time before that? I just searched for old posts regarding "Gardening," because I recall that the last time we tried this, I ended up rototilling new garden beds, which is not my idea of a good time. But, as I recall, it was right at the beginning of another attempt at this, so I was interested to see what I had been writing in the blog.

It was the throes of starting up, a moment of passion and new love, similar to where we are now. What I am passionately committed to is that we're not going to let go of this change in our relationship. Which doesn't mean it's always going to be at the passionate level it is now - not that I would complain, mind you . But experience tells me that life seldom works that way.

In one sense, this is working when it becomes unremarkable - it is what we do. Our going-to-bed ritual is not from a "vanilla" relationship. When it's just "what we do," I'll feel we will have established this in some way. When she sees something I'm doing as being hard, and insists anyway, or provides consequences anyway, I'll feel that this has come to be the expectation, rather than a "game" we're playing (even though I suspect there will always be game-like aspects to it).

The place where we're succeeded so far with this is orgasm control symbolized by the necklace. even when nothing was going on power-wise in our relationship, I would still ask her permission to masturbate. As I've commented before, the asking was really really important. I'm hoping we come up with other behaviors like that - keeping gas in the cars, money in her wallet, and her cell phone charged are three that I can imagine. What those lack, though, that asking for permission to masturbate has is the element of communication. And the communication is key. That's what says to me (as I feel I'm saying over and over again, but I think it's a measure of how important it is to me, that my thoughts keep coming back to it, as "all roads lead to Rome") "this isn't just in your head; we're doing this; I'm engaged with you on this." So more than the routines of gas and money and cell phones, it will be something where we communicate.

That's where this "Oh, I'll 'forget' to do gas" behavior that so many submissives engage in comes from. It's the plea, "Are we still in communication?; do you care?" And the dominant notices and punishes, then the submissive gets that communication feedback. That's very very powerful, and unless there's communication in some other way, that dynamic is not going away. The submissive isn't going to get to serve, over the long term, because that behavior is a pain in the ass for the dominant. The dominant isn't going to get whatever service might be convenient to her.

So if failure-to-perform isn't about a plea for communication, and punishment isn't the communication that the submissive craves, then punishment can work as "Fern" describes in the post linked over on the side-bar.

(And while I'm OK with the term "submissive," I'm not happy with "dominant" because that's not who my beloved is, but it'll have to do for now.)

The other thing that's different is my attitude towards all this, and that I lay to reading blogs by younger people who are so much more self-accepting than I am about this. And to listening to Masocast, where people who do this kind of thing actually talk about this in matter-of-fact ways. Emotionally, I think I've finally come to understand that I am not a bad, flawed, broken, incomplete, dirty, perverted person for wanting/needing this. And I am so fortunate that my beloved has agreed to come on this journey with me.

That transformation is so fraught: "You are not the person I married; you've been hiding from me for all these years; you've been living a lie and made me live it too; you're going to make me change my life and I like the life I have now." All these are reasonable reactions. (And though this wasn't as "out of the blue" for her as it is for many couples, I'm still grateful that she has chosen not to see it in any of those ways, and to explore with me.)

I'm struck with the parallels with 12-step groups. That's not a path I have a personal experience with - I only know it from popular culture, friends, and a little reading. But the acceptance of myself seems parallel. And so does the part about surrendering my thoughts to my beloved. If I understand 12-step, one usually has a "sponsor" to whom one can be open about temptations, failures (and successes, I guess). My beloved is doing that for me, and my thoughts and actions stand naked before her.

I'm really lucky she accepts me.

Which is why I feel like the luckiest guy around.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sex as Proxy. And on Being Happy.

"Ken and Emily Addison" publish a blog and web site and book called "Around Her Finger" that recommends female led relationships, mainly through orgasm control. Every month they answer some letters on their blog. I found this one particularly affecting and really identify with it.

"My desire for sex is a proxy for my desire to achieve an intimate connection with my wife. I also know that I can achieve a higher level intimate connection without sexual intercourse. If she affords me a dominant intimate encounter, a moment of connection between us where she exerts her authority through verbal cues and allows some form of intimacy to occur, then I have received something more satisfying than intercourse.“

From the second of the "letters from men"

Each time I go back and read that I go "yup, that's mostly what it's all about." (Though I know denial and control are also really important to me.)

I've been irrationally happy all day, and I'll lay that to serving my beloved last night even though she and I are apart. She left me a garden and kitchen task which I probably wouldn't have done otherwise. It took about two hours and while each and every moment of it wasn't fun, there was a quiet sense of contentment that has lasted over into today.

My beloved also gave me a lot of attention last night for which I am also very grateful - and which may have something to do with my happy state. First, while using the computer, she told me to type only with my right hand. Then she upped the ante and told me to get naked. Finally she ordered me upstairs and to masturbate without cumming, using a little leather cock ring we have. After which she gave me permission to go to bed - something I cannot do without permission.

We worked out how our arrangement would work when we're apart, and we tweak it as needed based on what works and on reality. But I feel much closer to her than I usually do when we're apart, and house chores are getting done, so what's not to like?

I made a note to myself that I wanted to write a blog post on "Am I a Service Submissive" and I still want to do that, but I realized last night that I want to concentrate on ways to serve my beloved. She's doing an awful lot of work on this. There are a couple of personal care items she likes. Beyond that, I'm going to have to think about what I can do, and be attentive to anything that seems to work for her.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Quick Update on Many Changes

I've felt bad leaving a somewhat negative post at the top of the blog for so long.

But the quick update is that life is changing as my beloved takes control. I think we're in the process of discovering or building something that is going to work for us. I worry that all this is is "work" for my beloved, but I'm hoping either that's a misplaced worry, or we'll rearrange things so it's not true.

Right now, we're apart for a week, which makes it a little difficult to work this in to our "typical everyday life," since in every day life we're together.

I asked for permission to buy a month at House of Gord, and she allowed me to - a first for me! First time I've ever spent money on porn. Many thanks due to my beloved!

I try to stay out of her hair so she can have a good vacation with the family.

She left me a "honey do" list (which is more in the way of orders) for a few things that need to be done around the house. This helps me feel that I'm actually being useful for her. And every once in a while, she swoops in to my life with an order to do something, like "go to bed now" or "For the rest of the evening, kneel if you're using the computer." These help me feel connected to her and keep my sense of being controlled very alive.

We are very much a work in progress, and I suppose success is far from assured. But we're working together, and 35 years of experience tells me that when we do that, we get some place good.

Thank you, my beloved.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Not A Good Way to End the Day

My beloved is very smart and no-nonsense. In my performance report yesterday I reported that I had spent some of my first hour at work reading submission-related material. This was the second time I had to admit to going outside the rule she has established, and her concern went beyond the confines of our arrangement. "Either," she said, "you're trying to be bratty or you have an addiction. I don't believe you're trying to be bratty, but if you have an addiction, it calls into question this whole arrangement."

I think she's willing to explore something very different from the normative relationship in our culture, but I don't think she's willing to enable an addictive behavior.

So which is it? Being totally honest, putting at risk the most hopeful thing that I feel had happened to my psyche in 20 years, I'll say that I don't know.

I'd like to say that for sure it's just bad work habits and a reaction to a stressful week at work. And I think that.s some of it. But I can't in good conscience say that there isn't an addictive component to it.

What to do about that is another question. If there was a kink-aware or kink-friendly therapist or marriage counselor around to go to for advice that would be just the ticket, but my year of seven therapists taught me that it's silly to assume that.

I'm hoping that the strong draw of material on-line will wane as we do stuff, and that until then self discipline combined with my beloved as a support resource I can call upon when that threatens to fail will get me through.

What was much more upsetting was the look of disappointment, almost betrayal in my beloved's eyes as we had this conversation. She's working incredibly hard to create something that works for both of us, and this threatens to say that I've lured her on to an impossible task under false pretenses.

I don't want this to be so and will do everything in my power to make it not be so, and to make this easier for her rather than harder.

Which is why I'm siting in the parking lot before work writing this on my phone.

And now, to work.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Momentous Week

After reading the blog and some long and heartfelt conversation, I had to leave on a two day trip. so just when we were in a place where things could have gotten interesting, there was a hiatus. And it turns out, it was a hiatus which my beloved put to good use.

From what we talked about the other night, she put together a draft "arrangement", about which we had a great deal of conversation including a scad of texts just after I wrote my last post. By the end of writing that post I had gotten to a state of surrender where I think it would have been ok with me for my beloved to decide to start the arrangement any time she chose. In the event, she chose when I arrived home from my trip at about midnight. We'd been texting and talking and sharing Google docs all evening so the only surprise was her decision to start right then. (Not that there haven't been surprises subsequently!)

I don't know what her thinking was but we have a very busy week with family commitments and my work commitments so she may have decided just to go for it.

We are talking a lot. This to me is the most important thing. We talked about what derailed us in the past and I think it was largely not talking due to my shame and my beloved's ambivalence. For my part, I'm working very hard at radical surrender as part of my practice of this. Specifically that is the surrender of my private thoughts. As much as I as I can manage it, I have no private thoughts, especially about our arrangement. Anything I can formulate coherently is available to my beloved and if it isn't horribly out of context at the time it comes up, I tell her.

Along with that goes honesty on outing myself when I try to slack off or look for loopholes, a thing which submissives seem to be prone to. If I can't fix it in the moment, my beloved gets an email or text about it later as part of my performance report for the day. As someone who hid much of his interior life, since it was based on kink that I was ashamed of, this is huge and radical and transformative.and while I expect my beloved to do the same regarding our arrangement (at least while it's in its formative stages), I don't necessarily expect reciprocity from her on the lack of privacy on her thoughts. It's part of the asymmetry in the relationship which I find very hot, like her being able to use the bed at will while I need too wait for an invitation or her ability to have sex at will while I need to ask permission.

I could go on for a long time and hope to, but lunch hour is over and I'm prohibited from taking time at work to post, so more later.

I do believe I'm the happiest man in the whole world.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Waiting is the Hardest Part

This is the hardest part. I'm on a two day trip, in fact on my way home on the train. We've talked (well, mostly IM'ed and traded document revisions and e-mails) about what an arrangement might look like. So even our mundane interactions are colored, in my view, with the impendingness of the thing. As a result, I'm happier and more relaxed and engaged. But we haven't done anything different. So from my beloved's point of view, things are great - no uncomfortable changes on her part, happier Jamie.

On my part, I'm dying to start doing something different. But I don't want to press her; I want this to be her initiative, since it seems that she's willing to take it. But darn the waiting is hard. On the one hand, I've waited 40 years, what's another day or week or month. On the other hand, just from our conversations, I feel like I've tasted what it might be like to do what we can do. Or maybe I've just fantsized about it. Either way, the waiting is hard.

And I wonder if the waiting is part of the surrender. It certainly ups the ante for my beloved. Or maybe it doesn't. One the one hand, I will surrender and trust that in the not-indefinite future, my beloved will accept my need for her control and my submission and my service, in whatever combination those things please her or she's willing to do for me, will happen. Kind of like chastity play in a sense. On the other hand, if nothing ever happens - we start the arrangement but it's no different from what we do now - we still get to talk every week or whenever our checkins are, and I can tell her how crazy I am. Assuming I can make it that long.

By which I talk myself into just chilling out and surrendering, but it's not easy. Perhaps by the end of the evening my beloved and I will have talked and things will be different. Though I took a look at her draft notes on our arrangement, and I fear not so much. I'll post those eventually (if she approves). On the other other hand, before we start the arrangement, I'm free to ask for what I want, so I guess the lesson is that that's what I ought to do.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

What we talked about last night

My beloved described it as a two level discussion - the meta discussion about what the parameters were around our arrangement, and possible aspects of the arrangement itself.

She read the entire blog, which is a little scary to me since I really don't remember what I wrote back in the early days. But I think she got that it is a snapshot of where I am at any given moment. It's also wierd writing about her in the third person given that she's participating in the blog now.

One of my fantasies was for her to approve these blog posts. Her concern is that this might mean that I was no longer comfortable writing everything in the blog. I don't think that's a problem, given that the whole purpose of the thing is for there to be full communication between us.

In the event, she's agreed to do so, not for the reasons that have been floated in some other blogs, as to keep the content appropriate (though I guess she could do that if it's what she wanted). But more to ensure that she knows everything that's on my mind. So this is the first post that she's read and approved.

We didn't decide anything last night on the "possible aspects of the arrangement", but threw out a lot of ideas. One thing she was adamant about was "no blogging at work." To the extent that I've done this (and I have), it was stupid, and she's right to insist that I not do so. Not, I guess that it matters - if she says so, that's how it goes.

She talked about how she chooses to view this - as a game, as a deal, or as an arrangement. Which just goes to show how words are loaded. She reminded me that a long time ago when she referred to this as a game, I blogged about how upset I got about that. I don't remember it, but will look for it in the blog. Her point is that people take games seriously, and I agreed - thinking of Sarah at Sarah's take on this is that it's a game she plays with her husband, but none the less serious for that. I think we agreed that this confusion over words was behind us. Because what's most important to me is that she take this seriously - that it not be "she's humoring me" or "look at the silly thing" we're doing (which is the conntation I think I gave to "game" before.)

On the other hand, part of the reason we communicated so poorly about this in the past was my perception that she really didn't want to think about this. So to the extent that we could put an arrangement in place, like kneeling before bed, if it wasn't working for me, I didn't feel like it was a good idea to bring up my reservations because I was afraid she's say, "Oh, fine. We agreed to do this thing and now you're trying to micro-manage it. Remember, I'm not the one who wants to be doing this." She agreed that this had been true back in the early early days (would you believe almost 20 years ago) that we were doing this, but that was a long time ago.

Regarding the seriousness of the thing, she compared it to the arrangement we have with orgasm control and the gold chain she gave me a long time ago. As long as I'm wearing it, I need to ask her for permission for an orgasm. This is inconvenient for me, since life and family commitments often interfere with just being able to go up to her and say "Could you take this thing off so I can toss one off?" So, often, I'm wanting relief but unable to get it. Which is just the kind of control I crave.

We talked about extending this kind of control to other areas, without getting in to any specifics. I did share my fantasy about "high protocol days" or times; times when I'd have a set of rules that are too strict to be followed realistically over the long term, but that would work for an hour, or a day, or maybe even a weekend.

I also shared how totally hot Kathy's arrangement with her husband is, in which she snaps her fingers and he has to kowtow until she releases him. What that says is, "regardless of what else we're doing or how mundane life is at the moment, you're always under my control". And that's the reenforcement that I crave most. And it doesn't have to be something as submissive as kowtowing. I joked that it could be "touch your finger to your nose until I tell you to stop." The point is the control, not the activity. She was concerned to figure out three classes of these: ones that we could do when we're alone (easiest), ones that we could do when we're around family and friends (with obvious needs for subtlty), and ones she could IM or text me anywhere. I hadn't thought about the latter two, and was thrilled that her thoughts went that way.

I mentioned my long-term fantasy about "need a cookie" - that there are times when I need an affirmation of this relationship. I've always thought of those as "I need a cookie," and my thought was that she'd have a "cookie jar" of things she could tell me to do. I think the most important part of that to me is to know that she's not laughing at me for needed that. I was pretty well reassured on that point.

We didn't talk about consequences, though we skirted around them a little. I mentioned that writing lines seems to have gotten popular in this part of the blogosphere recently. That got us in to a discusson about how this kind of relationship skirts parent/child issues, a place we totally don't want to go. But my beloved pointed out that this could be equally well framed as supervisor/worker issues. I did mention the "pressing a penny to the wall with your nose" meme, which has no erotic value for me, but that's the point.

We talked about who we might become if we were to do this. She is (rightfully) concerned that we'll become my parents - a very controlling and bitchy mother and a very sweet but down-trodden father. I suggested we go more for the model of her mother, who in the final days of her terminal illness was joyously imperious, and who we all thought was having a brief taste fo the imperious old woman she never got to be. And while my beloved pointed out that it got a little tedious after a while, I pointed out that the advantages of doing the relationship consciously as we are is that it won't get tedious - it's what I signed up for.

I also pointed out that I think she and Thumper's Belle are not dissimilar in many ways. When he talks about Belle's concern that the people around her be happy (though I can't find the link right now), that very much strikes a chord in how my beloved relates to those around her.

Just in terms of communicating, I said that the two nicest words she could say to me are "I want." (Thinking about it this morning, I realized "you will" or "you are going to" work equally well) because then I get to do things for her. This got us in to the difference between doing things because we love each other, and doing things because we're in this peculiar relationship. I wan't totally able to decode that difference, but to date, when she asks me to paint her toenails (to take one example), I do because it's something I can do for her that she doesn't enjoy doing. But in the context of the relationship, if she says, "I want you to paint my toenails" it means something very different: we're doing this peculiar thing, and you're doing this for me. As I said above, it's all about the acknowledgement of the relationship, more than the actual activities themselves. I'm sure there's mroe exploration to be done around that, but it seems like a good place to start.

Then she told me she wanted me to kiss every inch of her body, and one thing led to another....

So we didn't actually resolve anything, except that we're going to do "this", whatever "this" turns out to be. And I was incredibly appreciative that she read the blog in and saw it as a constructive thing. And she was very gracious about appreciating image of her that I painted in the blog.

Sharing This Blog with My Beloved

Last Saturday night, I found that I had so much on my mind relating to this blog, and whatever the intersection is among wife-led-marriage, female-led-relationships, dominance and submission, discipline, and whatever other labels one might care to attach, that I had to share the existance of this blog with my beloved.

We had, as I recall, a good, if brief, conversation about it, after which she asked me to remind her of the url a couple of times. She read it during her business trip earlier this week.

It feels great to have shared this. There's so much, from the profound to the trivial that I think about relating to either the blog or the things I read in other blogs linked from here, that it felt very isolating not to be able to share that.

After she got home, we talked about it. That conversation is the subject of the next post.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Getting to "The Conversation"

I mentioned this blog to my beloved for the third time recently; the first time was a couple of years ago when I wanted to share it with another member of our extended family. There was no way I was going to do that without first telling her about it, but it turned out to be in the middle of a much larger conversation about our relative and about kink and fantasy in general. I reminisced about the "Man From Uncle" episode that got me started and she described a "Star Trek" episode that was very revealing about her character. Nice to know there's still stuff to discover after 25 plus years married!

But all that stuff swamped the discussion about the blog and, as it tuned out, she forgot the url and never asked about it. I was a little disappointed but didn't want to nag about it so end of conversation.

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned it again - I don't remember if it was on our vacation (when we had another conversation that I'll try to remember to blog about) or later. But as subsequently came out in conversation, she forgot the url again. Finally last Saturday I mentioned it a third time (which was when all the revelations about the previous mentions came out) and she agreed that the fact that she couldn't remember the url probably meant something and we left it at that. Finally, on her way out of town she texted that she was looking for the blog but couldn't remember the address. (Guess it really isn't that memorable!) I texted it to her and later she remarked on the fact that there was a lot to catch up on there.

I'm so glad the blog is out in the open between us. As "she" put it on secrets are really really bad things to keep in a relationship and this one, though well within the bounds of what we had negotiated, was still corrosive, mainly because I'd read about stuff and be contemplating it and be unable to mention it. That's over now at least as far as I can tell, or at least I certainly want it to be. Some of it was trivial stuff like finding an ad for a campsite we go to beside someone's blog post and some of it was more profound, like the effects listening to Masocast has had on me.

My beloved sent me an email saying she'd read the whole blog (wow, she reads fast, but I knew that) and wondered if email might be a good way to discuss this stuff. She said some other stuff that was very very sweet and understanding as well.

So now my thought is whether this blog might be a good way of discussing this. The Forever Hers blog is such a frank and helpful discussion between a husband and wife that I might hope we could do the same and be a resource for others as well.

At least for starters I think I'd like my beloved to approve all the posts to this blog. That way she'd know there's nothing on my mind she doesn't know about and of course it's a delicious control thing for me.

I guess I'll ask her.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

What Do I Want. Redux. Also Shame.

Back in December of 2008, I wrote a post titled What Do I Want?. I find myself still asking that question. And I think it's not because I'm totally clueless. Rather I think it's for two reasons:

1) What I want changes over time, and

2) I can't really figure out what I want without engaging with my beloved.

And why can't I do that latter? Because I have this deep sense of shame about what I want, and perhaps who I am - I'm still working on unraveling those.

The shame has been thrown in to stark relief, as you may have guessed from the preceding posts, by listening to Axe and Maymay talk about themselves and talk with their partners about being a submissive man.

I want to get to the place where I can talk about myself like that.

Also thrown into stark highlight by Kathy's comment on her submissive husband as a "real" man. And while I don't feel any less like a "real" man for my proclivities, I do fear that my beloved will feel that way. That that I have one iota of evidence for that. But that's the narrative in my head.

One of the comments my beloved may a long time ago is that she doesn't want to turn me in to a child, and is uneasy that wherever I want to take this relationship, risks going in that direction. Kathy had a comment apropos of that as well.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

There's a hole in my heart

Just to be clear, I mean that metaphorically. And I couldn't really differentiate that from saying "There's a hole in my soul." But the phrase occurred to me yesterday on my ride home from work, and I can't get it out of my head.

I'm trying to use D&S to fill that hole. I don't know why. I don't know how it's supposed to work. But it feels like that's where the drive comes from.

Last night two snakes came in my dreams. One was tied up in a knot, or injured, but was slithering along anyway. The other, much smaller one, bit me. I don't know if it was poisonous or not.

Don't know what that's all about, but it won't get out of my head, so I figured I'd put it here.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Listen to Masocast

Seriously, I seldom tell people they need to do things, but if you have any ambiguity at all about the role of kink in your life, listen to the Axe's Masocasts. You'll find people talking about the sorts of things you're interested in (if you're reading this blog), people who are funny and self-reflective, and above all, OK with themselves. Which is what motivated the following post.

Two things happen when you read a lot of blog posts: you get titilated, and you learn stuff. On the learning stuff front, I was touched by a blog post by a poly person in Vancouver who talked about being the misfit in highschool, and finding she fit in with the poly crowd. it was a link from a comment on another blog, so I may not succeed in finding it.

That was echoed by one of the Masocasts - I think it was the one on being submissive to a couple - where she talked a lot about Ren Faires, and how that is where she found herself.

That transformation - going from being "unloveable" - i think the Masocast interviewee put it: "No one's ever going to want to fuck me" - to loveable - is one that I haven't undergone, in some sense.

many many years ago, in a meditation retreat, the person directing the retreat asked, something to the effect of "what is the deepest statement that motivates you?" (I'm sure it was better put than that - but I know my answer immediately was, "Not good enough." This is all about that.

It's why the masocasts are so absolutely compelling for me. They'are about people who felt a lot of the way I used to feel, wanted a lot of the same things I want, but their inner monologue isn't "Not good enough", it's "Look what i found, look how I made a life from the desires and circumstances I was given."

I didn't do that. I made a great life - and it really is great - with a loving community, two amazing kids, a beloved who is a rock - more so than perhaps is good for herself some times, in a beautifuly place, doing a job I like a lot (well, it's early days), with health and probably enough money to put the kids through college and probably retire. Wow, who could ask for more? And I'm not asking for more. I'm asking for "different."

I'm asking for, "It's OK to be who you are." Which, just about every time we talk, my beloved says. But which I have to tease apart as well:

It's not OK to think I'm not OK. Wow, how self-referential is that! But to be submissive out of a sense that the only way I can have any worth is to be what someone else wants me to be is just never going to bring happiness. My beloved knows this, and, God bless her, refuses to go there.

is that what all submission is about? once could argue that it is, but I thank Masocast again for really opening out the definition of "kink" for me. being in to control, and in to submission, and a service submissive, and in to pain are (I suppose, arguably in the case of the first two) different things, and are only four aspects of the polymorphous perversity people label "kink" or "queer."

One of those is "I'm not good enough and I don't have any value unless you give it to me." That, I think, is a disfunctional one that will never make me happy. But when I had the first of the three pro-domme sessions I haver had, it was nothing about that. It was about "She tied me up and whipped me till her arm hurt" and That remains a peak experience in my life. Afterwards, I kissed her boots (because I asked her if I could - holy shit: asking for what I wanted! - Possible only because I was higher than a kite on endorphins at the time?), and that was, "It's OK to want to kiss someone's boots." dang - I get little emotional palpatations just writing that. Have I ever felt that OK with myself in my life? Or am I just romaticizing in hindsight. I really think not.

For a while, I did a distance-domme thing with someone I met on-line. Ignoring all the distance issues and 24/7 issues while being married to (to my beloved who knew about the whole thing), it feels to me, and I would conjecture, that that relationship was based in "not good enough", in "you suck." And that's why it felt so wrong.

So the problem of doing this with my beloved is that it's my problem that we're trying to solve. In the masocast I listend to today, the guy in the couple said there's no point being dommed by someone who's just playing a role. And it's true. The whole thing is about communication and energy going back and forth, and creatging something and having fun. I think a Pro Domme needs to either do that, or be really good at playing that she's doing that - good in an acting kind of way, where the acting is the truth in the moment - that thing that makes acting special.

Needing to be Needed - Key to MY Compulsions?

This post and the subsequent one (well, previous one if you're reading blog-style) came out in a huge rush one day while I was on the train. They're not very D&S/Femdom/FLR-ish, but they're a lot about who I am and why I am as I am, and I have no other place to put them, so here they are.

And let me just say that my definition of a compulsion is "something that you can't NOT do." And I think my interest in power-related sex qualifies. Not all compulsions are all bad, and some good has come from mine. But a compulsion it remains.

Current hypothesis: this is what is behind my need for a D&S relationship. My beloved, if she were to be dominant, would need certain things from me, because she needed/wanted them. it would be important to her that I be/do certain things. And that would make me needed, and that would feed what is, I think my deepest insecurity: not to be needed or wanted.

I always wondered how this interacted with work, and this hypothesis fits. It is a source of frustration to me that I always let my work "to do" list get out of hand. A long time ago, I figured out that I am very uneasy with an empty to-do list. Now I know why: no one would need me.

It's also why I'm a pretty good customer-centered service provider: If I do things for people, that illustrates that they need me.

Personal e-mail, same thing: if there are a ton of (non junk - I'm not totally stupid) e-mails in my box, then people need me to respond. As soon as I respond, they don't need me any more.

Same reason I don't finish things: If the thing is pending to be completed, then I'm needed to do it. If it's complete, then I'm not needed.

And it ties in with the "needing to ask for things" in a way that is just becoming clear: asking for something you need is related to need. It means I'm allowed to need and my need isn't totally irrelevant. Perhaps it's why denial play is so interesting. it would mean that my beloved would be saying to me, "I know that you need, and your need is important to me, and I want to control it." This is all not that clear, but it hooks in some how I think.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

What Means What To Whom

As I mentioned, previously, it's been a busy couple of months. Among the events were a 10 day trip I took with family, but not with my beloved. We were far enough away that communication was difficult and there was no private time, really.

When I returned, I mentioned to my beloved that abstaining from masturbation had been a real challenge during my trip. She asked me what I did about it, in a tone of voice that implied that she expected that I'd just gone ahead anyway. I said, "What choice did I have? I did nothing."

I wish I remember her response. I mostly remember what it wasn't. It wasn't, "Good," or "Thank you", or "I'm glad," or "That's as it should be," or "Well, we do have an agreement," or anything else that acknowledged this arrangement and it's importance to her. It wasn't negative, and it wasn't bemused or amused, which would have been deadly, but I don't remember what it was.

This is all on my mind because she is returning from a two week absence in about an hour and a half. And while I miss her a lot, frankly, high on my list is to make my balls stop hurting, and get some relief. Which I can't say to her in the first hour or two that she's home, or she'll think that's all I care about. Which I don't think is true, but I'd probably be hard-put to prove.

We've talked a little on a few occasions about whether this means anything to her, and it seems like it does. Though seldom at a loss for words, she's been unable/unwilling to articulate to me how important it is, and why, and whether it does anything for her. While it's been a major thing I've been thinking about in her absence, I'd bet money that it hasn't crossed her mind once while she's been away. Dealing with that imbalance is the challenge for us, I think.

While we normally communicate fairly well for a couple that's been married for 25+ years, on this subject we're only "so-so." I have mentioned on a couple of occasions to her that talking about the arrangement we have is almost more fun for me than the actual "doing" (or not doing, in this case)... But we seem to have been unsuccessful in making that conversation part of our relationship.

Even at the simple level, I remember on at least two occasions telling her how important some acknowledgment of our arrangement is to me when we have sex. When I've been working really hard to get her off - and it often takes a certain amount of care and attention and sometimes stamina - when she's done, I need some acknowledgment that she's done, that she doesn't want PIV sex (because she does about half of the time), and that I'm not getting any.

That goes against all of her "good girl"/"nurturing mother" programming, which, I suspect, is why she doesn't say anything. I offered suggestions that I thought were compatible with that, indicating that if she were to say "Thank you," or "That was nice," or "I'm done," those would be non-controlling, non-"mean" ways of telling me that I'm being denied. But she doesn't.

In a somewhat topping-from-the-bottom move, I even couched it as, "I need to know when to stop clinging all over you," knowing that that behavior annoys her, and kept at it hoping for an "I'm done" or "Go to sleep" or some kind of reaction. I think as close as I got was she removed my hand from her breast. I'm not such a brat that I kept on after that.

I guess I'd have to say that this is the single most disappointing aspect our arrangement: she gets to ignore it, and it's all about self-control for me, with no outside acknowledgment from her of what's going on. As I said above, I need the explicit communication. The only explicit communication I get around this is when I ask for permission to masturbate. Usually that's followed by a long moment of thought on her part - and I have no idea what she's thinking, though I suspect it has to do with planning out the next couple of days to see what she thinks the chances are that she'll want sex - followed by a response - "Ask me later", "Yes", or "Not now". Seldom just "No." Which is OK with me.

Even when we have sex, as I mentioned above, it only ends in PIV about half of the time. Unfortunately (I think), PIV sex means I get to cum - especially with my reduced frequency for orgasm, I can't be in her for very long and not cum. This seems to be OK with her, but to the extent that she wants to keep me denied (and I honestly have no idea what that extent is), I think it means that her decision process is flawed. If she wants PIV sex without my having an orgasm, she ought to be telling me to masturbate if she thinks she'll want sex at all. That way if it ends up with PIV, I'll be able to control myself.

Following this logic myself, I guess she ought to be telling me to ruin those orgasms, so that the pleasure is under her control. Oh my, what a hot thought - no pleasurable orgasms except a her direction. It does bring up in my mind the question of "what do I want when I'm asking her for permission to masturbate?" Relief from sexual pressure? Or pleasure? I'm inclined to think the former.

I don't get to ask very often. The protocol is that she takes off my gold necklace, and tells me when it has to be back on. And she puts it on. I've never operated the clasp. And I've never masturbated with it on.

Our lives are crazy enough that I mostly get to ask her in the mornings before we get up for work. Though with new work schedules, I'm often out before she wakes up. And she comes to bed after I do, so those windows to ask are gone. The kids are around less, so there should be more opportunities to ask after work. It will be interesting to see how that goes.

This post has gone on waaayyy longer than I expected. But I do find it helpful to be able to go back and read over where I was at a given time.

And then I went off and read Maymay's post on what intercourse means and it felt like he'd distilled a lot of the inchoate desires I just expressed into something with much more universal value. Especially because I'm pretty sure sex is (not to mention PIV sex) is much less interesting to my beloved than it is to me.

Catching Up

I'll steal a trope from "Tom Allen" (whose writing I rather admire), and say that it's been a busy couple of months in the Unremarkable household. Which doesn't entirely explain the absence of posts. If you look at the history of this blog, you'll see that it seems to go in a two year cycle. This is something I had suspected about myself for 10 or more years, but never had a mechanism to measure. Had I been more disciplined, I suppose I could have been consciously recording my interest in - gee, what I guess I'll call "sex, sex games, power, and control" since right now I don't know exactly how to characterize it.

But the blog has served as a proxy for that, and here we are. I have no idea what to conclude from that two year cycle, however. Rather than trying to catch up en-masse, I'll just write what's in my head and trust that anything I miss will bubble up to the surface in its own due course.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Enabled Captcha for comments

... to reduce Chinese link spam, of which there has been a bunch (in case you were wondering what all those deleted comments were).

I've written a ton of stuff. While I figure out how to boil it down into some blog posts, go look at The Male Chastity Blog. So far, it's like she's reading my mind.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Paraphilias as Kink: Healthy or Unhealthy?

Will you be surprised to read that my answer is, "It depends"?

The observation stems from a conversation my beloved and I had about paraphilias. It's Dr. Kafka's preferred term, part of "Prudence"s ill-considered advice to the mother of the young man with the latex fetish.

Our conversation started from my telling her about the prior post. Elderly parents are presenting management issues around health care and it became obvious how many control issues my mom exercises over my dad. She recently decided on the timing of some surgery for him and it became apparent that after 50 years of living together, he can't decide for himself.

I commented to my beloved that I seem to be working out my control issues in a much more ritualized fashion, with my interest in submission and control in sexual relationships. This got us to talking about how things have changed for me, from "this is who I am" to "this is something I like to do in relationships.". That's a big change, about which more later, unless I've already written about it.

This got me to my shrink, who I liked, and Kafka, who I didn't like when he was my shrink, and it got us talking about paraphilias. Figuring out where thy come from seems pointless. One can imagine FMRI studies that might illustrate how they're "caused" by brain chemicals "leaking" from one are to another adjacent areas of neural activity interfering with each other, but that's entirely conjectural not so interesting.

What's more interesting is the role paraphilias can play in a relationship. It's basically the old question thatcomes up in a bunch of relationships where one person has a paraphilia: the other person asks, "are you relating to me, or to the boots, corset, latex, leather, whatever?"

The answer, I think, is that it depends on how that partner relates to the fetish item. By example: if she wears boots because they make her feel attractive or sexy, and I have a passion for boots and can't keep my eyes or hands off of her, then WE are having a relationship, and boots are part of that. If she, out of the goodness of her heart, wears boots because she knows it will make me happy, and I have the same reaction and can't keep my eyes or hands off of her, I'm not relating to her, I'm relating to the boots. It could, at the extreme, be practically anyone wearing the boots.

For it to be a functional "good" situation, there's a three way relationship happening: us to each other and each of us to the item.

To bring this full circle to the young man with the latex glove fetish, like a person with any unusual sexual interest, it may make his life more complicated, or it may limit his voice of (satisfying) partners, but it may well make his life more interesting. And as there is no "magic pill" to cure him, his process of understanding himself and his partner is more likely to make for a satisfying life, if you believe Thoreau that "an unexamined life is not worth living."

Monday, March 15, 2010

Advice About Curing a Kink

Bear with me here, the set up is a little involved....

So, over on Devastating But Inconsequential, there was a reference to a Slate Magazine Dear Prudence column, in which a concerned Mom was wondering whether or not to intervene with her teenage son over his fetish for latex gloves. "Prudence" cited Dr. Martin Kafka, a "noted expert" on treatment of fetishes. The gist of the advice was, "Save him now, or he'll destroy his life." "Abby" cited an article about Kafka in the New York Times, back from 2000.

Now, comments from ex-patients of a psychiatrist often read like rants from a jilted spouse, so I'm going to try to avoid doing that. But I was a patient of Dr. Kafka's back in the early '90s and I was supremely unimpressed. In fact, when I told the shrink with whom I ended up, about Kafka's theories and methods, I got an amused and ever-so-slightly satirical reaction - way more reaction than I expected to get from one professional about another.

But "Prudence's" comment did motivate me to read the article about Kafka. While I find the main thrust of his argument to be deeply deeply flawed, there was just enough thought-provoking substance in the article to, well, get me thinking.

First thing, Kafka's theory about treating appetite "disorders" with selective seritonen uptake inhibitors (SSRIs - Prozac and the family of drugs that followed it) is complete bullshit, at least at the level at which he promotes it. I think it would be fair to say that sexual appetites in *some* people may be related to "appetites" as we more traditionally think of them. But to say that the two are identical is facile. And then to build on top of that the conjectural notion that something about brain chemisty in those with this "appetite disorder" means that treating them with massive doses of SSRIs will "solve" the "problem" seems entirely unwarranted.

It's not like you couldn't do the study, or anything. And I'm sure big Pharma would love to make that possible. But based on a study of one (that would be me), his whole logic chain and intervention doesn't hold water.

By the time he was done with me, I was taking large doses of SSRIs - so large that I routinely fell asleep in the back seats of taxis in the developing countries where I did business. After about a month or two of that, I realized that we were on the wrong track here. And that's when I found the shrink I worked with for several years.

So, was I "cured" by Kafka? In no way, shape, or form. I don't recall my "fixations" be diminished in any significant way, and I don't know how Kafka would claim to know, since his "interviews" were limited to a small number of rapid-fire questions, and one-or-two word answers (he explicitly said he didn't want anything longer).

So was I "cured" by my more traditional "talking therapy" shrink? I'd have to say "No" and "Yes." The "No" is first for a reason: there were periods with him where all of my interests in control and domination (to use a short-hand) just seemed irrelevant. And obviously, those were simpler times to deal with with my beloved. But they didn't last, and while there were some "aha!" moments, there was never anything big that seemd to cut the Gordian knot. But "Yes" in the sense I, and my beloved, have a much much better sense of what is going on here, and who I am, and why this is important to me, than we had before.

And I think that is directly a result of all the talking I did with my shrink. He (and I) didn't "solve" a "problem", but we built structures around which inquiry could take place so that my "problem" is less of a "problem" and more of something that fits in to my (and our) life.

Is that to say that there is nothing about Kafka's formulation that makes sense? Not at all. The metaphors of "addiction" and "appetite" are compelling in some ways, and there have been many times in my life when I am not in control of my interests in pornography (definition of that later) and what I choose to call "outre" sexuality.

But to cut back to the chase, "Prudence's" advice to the parent borders on the criminal, especially when she gets to the part about refering him to counselors who specialize in treating abusers. But is going to a shrink a bad idea? Certainly not. A skim of most of the self-identified "kinky" respondants to "Prudence's" post would seem to find them sympathetic to the notion of inquring as to what part this fetish will play in this 13-year-old's life, and helping him come to terms with it - "Know theyself" as the old saying goes. Where he chooses to go with that knowledge is his decision.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Figuring out what's not working, or an emo whine

What's not working about our sex life? Just the fact that I can put it that way says a lot about where we've come to. I've been listening to unspeakable axe's masocasts recently and am amazed by what it sounds like to hear intelligent articulate not-fucked-up people talk about kinky sex. While I talk a good line about being sex positive, I don't think I'm very good at it.

Until I can talk to my beloved about Mistress Matisse's blog and about the Masocasts (to name two), I'm not really as comfortable with this as I'd like to believe.

I think there are two problems: 1) I do have a sexual addiction. By this I mean that I'm not totally on control of when I seek out sexual material and I think about it way more than I would like to. I don't think the latter would be a problem I it weren't for the former. But on the "you are what you think about" premise, if I'm not going to be a sexuality advocate then I need to be thinking about this less. (Forever In Her Service talks about this more positively than I have been in "My Inner Addict".)

2) I'm not going to be a sexuality advocate (better get around to defining that soon) because my beloved simply isn't very interested in sex. I mean she likes it well enough, but if that particular dish wasn't on the menu more than once in a blue moon, I don't think she'd miss it.

And I don't think this is because sex is physically unsatisfying. After having lived together for about 30 years, she's having more orgasms than she used to because we've set up sexual intercourse so that it's all about her pleasure. But in that perverse way that people joke about a reluctant wife dominating her husband - "you want me to do things to you only at my whim? Well, I choose not to dominate you; serve me by being vanilla" - she enjoys the sex we have but doesn't do much for me. Even something as simple as asking her to pinch my nipples is something that happens very rarely. And if it's very rarity were a part of some other dynamic - "this is a reward for you" - I could deal with that.

Instead, it's all only about her pleasure whenever we have sex - not even an acknowledgment by her that "you're no getting off because I don't feel like it" which itself would be very hot.

In truth, I have to cut the woman a lot of slack because I've said it's all about her. I think we need to re-talk over the dynamic so that it's about us both being fulfilled. That's why the comment from the Masocast episode that I referred to in a previous post from struck me so deeply - learning what we want is, for some of us, an iterative process. So while saying "I truly deeply believe that I am happiest serving you" may be true at the time I said it, it may equally and honestly not be true after six months of trying it out. It's a lot to expect someone to accompany that journey when she doesn't really care about the subject matter.

I suppose this sounds a lot lime whining about my beloved, and it's true that I'd love to wave a magic wand and have her know exactly what kind of relationship I'd like to have, particularly as I don't know that myself. But failing that, I would like to have her put some energy into the journey with me, beyond the (admirable) "what would you like me to do next?". I know (because I've asked) that if I say "could you read this or that of to get a sense of what's going on inside my head?" the answer is a very honest "I don't care that much about this stuff and I have too much else to do." I can't make her care about this, so I have to accept the honesty of that answer.

But it surprises me that she hasn't even read this blog. I told her about it last fall, when I wanted to share it with a relative. That worked out well (I think). And I wasn't going to do that without sharing it with my beloved first. Which I did, and we had a wonderful discussion that gave me insight into her, and in which she was, as ever, very understanding of me. But it didn't lead to her reading this, which surprised and disappointed me. Which means, I suppose, that I ought to ask her to read it. But I fear she'll ask me "why?" and say, with justification, "can't you just tell me what you want to say to me" and "I'm not that interested in the subject."

The true answer is that I can't tell her what I want to say, not because I can't speak it, but because often I don't know what it is until I write it here.

Which leads me to the conclusion that maybe I need to let all this go, not because it's wrong, but because it just may be not one of those things that I'm going to get in this life. And that's potentially ok , even though it's not my preference. I don't know if that's true, however, and I don't know if I can do it. I do know that what's most important in this life is to be in relationship with people, and if my kink gets in the way of that in marriage, then it's something I should let go of if I can. I don't know if I can.

I didn't mean for this post to get all emo but I'm hoping that writing will get me out of this emotionally stuck place and clear the decks for the many other things I need to be thinking about.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Another thing about that conversation on Masocast...

I forgot to mention one of the other comments made by one of the women on the Masocast roundtable. I think the subject was whether she would top her boyfriend. Her response was that she had been through so many changes around dominance and submission in her mind and through her time as a dominatrix that she didn't feel it would be fair to drag someone whom she was emotionally involved with through those changes.

This felt very familiar. And the idea that one doesn't have to feel bad about that, that this is all part of an exploration, was very powerful to me. Because I have, of course, dragged my beloved through just these kind of changes - from "Women are superior" to "I want to serve" to "Punish me", from "this is who I am" to "this is what I love to do" to "this is something I don't seem to be able not to be interested in", from "I need to be totally out and in public about this" to "This is just something we do between us" to "I can do these activities with someone but not have an emotional connection with them" - and I'm not sure I even remember what-all else.

She has been patient and supportive, even though some very large percentage of this leaves her cold. The idea that this journey is not an indicator of my screwed-up-ness, but a set of realizations that can't happen without the journey is a very revealing one.

Don't know why I forgot to mention that in the other post.

Coming soon (I hope) - What happened in March and where we are now.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Not Feeling Guilty

I find it so hard not to feel guilty about my interest in... interest in... what exactly am I interested in, anyway. TTWD? Sex? Power dynamics?

Anyway, I've found that for me, a really good tonic regarding that is
Masocast put together by Unspeakable Axe, particularly his recent "Dominant's Roundtable". OK, I loved the fact that a bunch of women who are into ... into ... whatever it is we call this thing ... would sit around and talk about it. And I was particularly touched by some of their observations on the men who see them professionally - compassion basically - a realization of how hard this is for some people (moi, say for instance) to come to terms with, but how persistent people can be about it. And while there were the requisite jokes about thinking with "the little head," there was also a fair amount of insight and sympathy.

But most powerful for me was the sense of comfort with the whole subject, not only on the part of the women talking, but on Unspeakable Axe's questions, and (in some of his other podcasts) on on the part of some of the "audience."

This has been helpful. To wit: I was telling a story the other night and my beloved snapped, "Why do you tell that this way?" She later apologized and we had a good talk about how we disagree with each other. Some how it came around to her saying that she concerned (rightly, I might add) that some of my interest in submission comes from not feeling that good about myself. It was directly as a result of listening to those podcasts that I could say (in jest, but seriously), "Beat me with a stick, but don't beat me with words." We laughed and I'm not sure anything came of it, but being able just to name how I feel is still huge.

The world is helping many things change in my life right now ("It's the economy, stupid..."), but I'm hoping reorienting my relation to ... whatever this is ... is part of that change: Not regarding it just as an addiction that must be gotten over, but as an interest that can have a balanced place in my life (or around which I can build a balanced life).

I rather admire the way Tom Allen presents this. Along with liking his writing....

Saturday, January 02, 2010

...And don't forget about...

Tom Allen on why orgasm control is fun: Rat in a Cage

And on my fantasy about how orgasm control might happen in our relationship: Coming Together

but not unless we start talking a whole lot more.

And why am I updating this blog after basically 9 months of inactivity?

I don't know. But I do know that my obsession with sex comes and goes, and here it comes again. I also know that it comes back in different ways every time, and that every time it comes back, the more I talk about it with my beloved, the more progress I make on this. And that this blog is my way of not ignoring it, feeling guilty about it, or pretending that my interest does not exist.

So I don't know if I'll be posting a whole lot; I'll be interested to find out.