Thursday, November 10, 2011

Inklings of a Way Forward

My beloved is amazing. It amazes me that she has volunteered to accompany me on my twisting turning waxing waning journey around power, sex, and relationships. "Volunteered" is maybe too strong a word. But she has very good-naturedly, and sometimes enthusiastically agreed to listen, explore, and poke about in something I can't seem to help but be interested in, but which (I think) strikes her as an emotional and intellectual oddity at best and an emotional disfunction at worst.

After an insanely busy hiatus, in which only her sense of self-discipline has kept us on track, suddenly I come up for air and wonder how I want to go forward with this. (I'll ignore for a minute all the ironies of her self-discipline, my relative lack of self-discipline, and our inability to find a way to apply her discipline to me, in either metaphorical or physical form.) For go forward I must. The stream never stops. Sometimes it runs shallow, and sometimes it runs deep, but it always runs.

One of the things that frustrated me the most was that I am unable to consistently come up with service things to do for my beloved. This has led me to question my whole identity as a "service submissive." The idea of coming up with one thing each day to do that would be nice is very appealing, and I seem totally unable to do it.

One thing I realized I can do is to be submissive, rather than ask her to make me submissive. This is the way I lost my right to decide over my own orgasms over the years: I asked all the time and then finally we had the conversations where she agreed to decide. I think this model could apply to other things. The other day, I asked her if I could paint her nails - a service-submission thing that I also enjoy doing. It was very good and put us (me certainly, her I think as well) into a really good headspace.

I could do this with other things. I'm wearing my chastity device for the afternoon because I asked her if she'd hold the key "till I need it back." That doesn't do anything for her, but it does for me. Simiarly, I could/should/would like to ask to do at least one submissive or service thing every day. These are for me, not for my beloved. Her gift to me is accepting them. It's not that she makes me be as i want to be, but that she allows me to be as I am.

Overall, I think taking responsibility for what I want is helpful. It also might make her more comfortable insisting on things when my mood fluctuates because otherwise it's to inconsistent and annoying for her and thus in some sense help me be more consistently who I am, rather thank my relying on her making me be who I an, which is something she can't do anyway since in the end only we know who we really are. Isn't this a big theme in literature, with pygmalian at one end?

Tamara did a re-post and reply to a post she'd read on another blog. It's about acknowledging the reality that in many relationships (including hers with Rene, and the original poster's with her partner), that one partner is much more "in to this" than the other - in their words, that it's in one partner's soul, but not the the soul of the other. That sounds right to me.

To me, it means managing my expectations, and asking for what I want, and helping my beloved explore what things there are in this that may tickle her fancy, more or less.

And always being grateful that I have some with whom I can talk and explore.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Blog Back From The Dead?

Is this blog returning from the dead? I don't know.

Why has it been so long since I've posted? Because I've got two intense community commitments, intense job commitments, and it feels in some ways like our FLR has been hanging on by a thread.

The bigger question for me is, "What are we doing here." I've made several attempts at distinguishing between a service-oriented relationship, a submissive relationship, and sexual "bottom" relationship, none successful. Yet I have to try again, because on this short trip with one of our children, it's much of what I've been thinking about - yet another way that sexual being that isn't in tune with the rest of my life is intensely distracting, to my detriment.

Some of this is sexual frustration. It's been - I've lost count - three and a half weeks, maybe? No touching by me, a little by my beloved, but certainly no orgasm. One of my favorite parts of the blog was always the time-since counter. I remember early in the summer when we first had sex and I didn't update the counter. From there on, it seemed impossible to catch up. In once sense, it's been nice to get unhooked from the calendar. I've feared that my beloved was keeping track; for a while it seemed like she'd decided that every two weeks or so was "right." Once, I asked, because I felt that being frustrated was distracting me from the rest of my life. She didn't immediately accommodate me, for which I am grateful. I'd hate to feel like I could just ask and that would be that. I think I need to be able to ask, but I'm not even sure of that any more.

Now my orgasm happens when it pleases her, and that makes me very happy. Most of the time, orgasms are much much more intense that way. Sometimes they come and go so quickly that I hardly notice them. I feel physically satisfied, but the "frustrated" mind-set doesn't really change.

One experiment that is a little on-going in our relationship is the arrive of a CB-6000s. This has been a long-time fantasy of mine, and at some point I mentioned it to my beloved. I was among the early people to order a CB-2000 long ago. (I conclude this because our order was delayed because they were just moving from "hand crafted" to "manufactured.") My anatomy is best described as "high and tight," and the CB-2000 was not effective at all. The idea is that the testicles are "trapped" between two acrylic rings - hence the generic name for these devices: "Trapped ball devices." A very small number of trials indicated what with my anatomy, it was more like "crushed ball..." It's been languishing in a drawer for 8 years.

The "CB" folks have been busy and gone through several models, and there are others testing out related designs, including the "Bird Cage," a flexible silicone version of the same thing. The discussion board at is very metal-centric (there are trapped ball devices from Mature Metals), but are willing to condescend to plastic to the extent the CB-6000 and CB-6000s can be useful to figure out your sizing for the "real" devices. The silicone devices they dismiss out of hand. Although my beloved preferred the silicone as a concept and a look, ever the pragmatists, we decided to try the CB-6000s.

It's not clear that this thing is going to work on me. There are five ring sizes, and five post lengths, so that's 25 combinations. We've tried three or four, and either the ring is too small around the base of the balls, or the space is too big, allowing them to slip out. I have one or two ideas of additional combinations to try, but it's quite possible that it will be a fail. I've worn it overnight once, and out-and-about on a number of occasions, but most of the time the result is either too painful to continue or "the boys" slip out, which is painful in its own right. I might think about trying "the birdcage." But I wonder if the results would be different.

Now on to service, submission, and sexual-bottoming.

I don't know if I'm a service submissive. I read Axe talk about being a service submissive. I remember one remark he made about the satisfaction of bringing Sade a cup of tea on a quiet evening. I'm not sure whether or not I share that satisfaction. I think, for me, the satisfaction of doing that comes from the interaction that it implies with my beloved, and I can't figure out what I want that interaction to be: ignoring the service? taking the service for granted? acknowledging the service but at the same time making it clear that I have no choice? Much of that sounds like a lot of work for her.

The service submission things we have figured out need some kind of interaction from her: paying the bills is the biggest one, and I haven't been doing it. At the other extreme, making her coffee in the morning, even if I'm not having coffee, I love too. In the middle, I paint her toenails and shave her legs. I don't suggest these things nearly as often as I should. And when she tells me I need to do them, I do, but not, initially, with as much grace as I should. And I don't know how I'm "supposed to be" while I'm doing it - are we our "partners" selves - as we are partners in life - chatting about stuff? Am I the quite submissive studiously not disturbing the person he's serving? Should I be providing a book or magazine for her to read along with the personal service?

What visions do I have for this? What do I want? I don't know. I think we'd have to try two different extremes: In one, I ask for permission to give her this service, I make sure she is entertained while I do it - book, magazine, radio, movie, something - and I thank her for the privilege of serving. This "brackets" the experience, sets it apart from our "partner" relationship. In the other, we acknowledge that this inequality is part of of the "partner" relationship we have - that she can order me to provide these services for her whenever she wants, that it immediately becomes way more important anything else I might be thinking of doing, but it exists in the context of our whole relationship, so we interact about the rest of life while we're doing this.

Or we do both - bound the event with those rituals AND maintain the connection to the rest of our relationship that goes on at all times. THAT sounds like the most powerful idea to me.

It ties in to what happens when she tells me to rub her feet at night. I appreciate it a lot when she tells me to do this on the evenings when I'm tired and just want to sleep. Surrendering to her in this way is probably the most profound experience I have in this context. She's usually reading or dozing late at night. I rub her feet until she tells me I'm done. When she falls asleep, I feel like I've achieved what I really want, both psychologically and physically. Physically, it's clearly comfortable enough that it feels good. Psychologically, it means she's comfortable enough not to worry about how long I'll be there serving her; I'll be there until she happens to wake up and decide that she wants me to stop. I love that.

The part of service that I don't seem to be good enough at is seeking out things to do for her, and being attentive to her needs when service "play" is not the focus of what we're doing. Does that mean I'm not a service submissive? I think it might mean that.

Submissive. To me, that's letting my beloved take the lead and be "the decider." I'm not sure I want that. I don't know if she does or not. In some ways, I think I'm so desperate to have this dynamic in our relationship, that if she were to say, "When I want your opinion, I'll ask for it," I'd be incredibly turned on. But I'm pretty sure that's not her. We've always functioned as partners.

Sexual bottom? Totally. Sex when she wants it, how she wants it, and involving me in any way she wants to involve me. That ties with service submission in some ways, because sex becomes service to her. My frustration becomes a reminder to me of my service to her and her control over our sex life. And that all is very very satisfying.

That's why "teasing" isn't really teasing - it's a reminder that this is what sex is. And that is very satisfying too.

I thought I'd have more to say about submission, and about sex, but at this moment, I don't. I also thought I'd be writing about objectification, and how that's a bad thing, and how it manifests in a lot of contexts. Also about how wearing the CB-6000s feels - the idea that I would experience discomfort because of our sexual roles, and that I would feel okay about that trade-off, just as women who wear high heels or tight pants make that trade-off. It's not like either of those things aren't uncomfortable. But the discomfort says something about who I am (and, if my conjecture is right, who those women are), and that is a satisfying thing: that I am a sexual being, that my sex has power - in my case, power that my beloved want's to control, in the case of high-heels, power to attract men, but that that attraction will be controlled because of the social mores in our culture. It's why my favorite line in "Miss Congeniality" is when Sandra Bullock's geeky FBI agent has been transformed into a self-possessed, self-confident beauty queen, and she taunts her fellow agent with a little ditty, "You want to hold me, you want to kiss me, you want to [unintelligible - love? fuck? I'm sure that's intentional] me." And she knows he can't and won't because of their professional relationship.

But all that for another day.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Learning from Other Blogs

Some notes on a couple of blog posts.

Ms. Marie has taken a certain amount of heat (irony intended) for making her "sissy" wade around in an icy stream in order to get rights to indulge in his fishing passion. I've always been amazed at how vehement posters can be in reply to some posts. Jeez, if you don't agree with them, go rant on your own blog. The chances that someone is going to read your comment, and then have a blinding flash of insight, and say "Oh my God, I shouldn't have done that," those chances are slim-to-none. Even more so when you're "anonymous." (Ms. Marie addressed this issue in her post It's Come to This. I used to ignore those comments, but this one got me to thinking about "Why?"

Everything we do involves risk - driving in cars, skiing, hiking, walking down urban streets, taking the subway, you name it. But we accept those risks because we get some return from them; they're worth it. But if someone elses activity that you're reading about totally is not worth it to you, but the risks are obvious, then the trade off doesn't make any sense. Hence the vehement comments. But "tubeviewerFm81" (no public profile) put it pretty well,, and at much greater length, and in detail that I mostly agree with. It's when commenters (including tubeviewFm81 in this case) find it necessary to judge ("Oh my, that was too far... but the rest of the blog is hot!"), that's when I find myself puzzled.

Oddly, despite calling him "Sissy," I don't find much "Sissy" about Ms. Marie's husband. Forced cross-dressing, yes. Humiliation, maybe. Being used for her pleasure, certainly. But on Forever Hers, "Mistress" (who seems to write most/all of the posts, despite the "about" over on the right side), seems to delight in making her husband, who she refers to as "dee," act like someone's vision of a drag queen. There's similar forced feminization, but humiliation as well (which, for me, can be kind of a turn-on some times, depending on how it's done).

But her most recent post, It's a Girl!! was the first kinky post I've read in a a long long time that went too far for me. Notice that I'm not over there posting, "Oh my God, how could you do that to him?" in the comments. But the idea of infantilizing him when (from the way she writes it), it's clearly not his thing, was horrifying to me. My strong reaction made me wonder two things: 1) Why? and 2) is this how my beloved felt or feels about what I need?

Why was that so horrifying to me? I still don't have a complete answer, other than that my mind and self-possession and maturity have always been deep-down fundamental to my self-image and my concept of who I am. It would be stripping away from me at the deepest level, that which I value about myself. Yet "dee" went along. Was he as horrified as I? Should I admire his submission? Should I admire "Mistress" for being willing to strip "dee" back to the very beginning ("square one") and recreate him in the image that she desires? Intellectually, it makes sense. But emotionally, that would a totally hard limit for me. If it were that, or walk out of the relationship, I'm pretty sure I'd walk.

More interestingly to me, is this how my beloved felt about my kink? I know that intellectually she can wrap her brain around it. But emotionally was it as horrifying for her as this post was for me? Even if she didn't have such a strong reaction, I think I have a better idea of how she feels. It's so easy, when you're in to kink, to look at someone else's kink and go "Well, that's not me, but I can see how that could be hot." That I can *not* do that about someone's kink, surprises me. And makes me understand, I guess, how my Beloved, with all the love and best will in the world, can *not* do that about my kink.

Which, of course, makes it all the more amazing and admirable and gratitude-inducing that she's chosen to come on this voyage with me. I don't know who's leading right now. I certainly need this much more than her. And I' still trying to figure out how to provide enough value to her that she won't want to stop. But as long as she's willing to continue, I'll be incredibly grateful and awed by her "Good, Giving, and Game" (to quote Dan Savage).

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Lines, Context, and Communication

Lilly made a comment when I posted about "Writing lines", asking "How do you feel when you are writing lines?" I seem to be rather backed up with things to say here, so rather than answer in the comment, this turned in to a post.

To start with the direct answer, if I had to sum up how I feel while writing lines, it's "very very content." It's best when I'm writing lines while something else interesting is going on - people watching a movie or something. Meanwhile I'm upstairs writing. Or my beloved is relaxing reading and I'm writing.

It's a feeling like I'm just where I'm supposed to be, doing what my beloved has set me to do, with a set of obligations and priorities and role that is different from the people watching the movie or from my beloved.

I've been thinking a lot and writing a little about "context" - what it is that makes one feel like something different is going on in what might be a very mundane situation - men who want their wives to dress them in maid's outfits or keep them naked while they clean the house. How is that different from just cleaning the house? It's how the guy feels because he is cross-dressed or naked.

I think there is an element of this same thing here. I am doing something I would not otherwise have done, that has no intrinsic value to me, because my beloved wants me to do it.

It's the difference between submission and service. Service is practical. Certainly, there is an element of submission in it - doing what she wants when she wants it, rather than when I want to do it. And the more it serves her the more submission is in it. So Service is doing the dishes and taking out the trash and doing the finances. All things that need to be done in our house, and if I don't do them, she will. But they are really service for "Us" (our household) rather than for her.

On those occasions when I get to do something for her, it's much more satisfying. For example, the other night she was at a meeting and realized that she'd forgotten her knitting. When I got her text, I didn't hesitate and stopped what I was doing to deliver that to her. That was service for her, and it was wonderful.

Writing lines is the same only more so: while bringing her knitting has practical value to her of entertaining her during her meeting, my writing lines has no practical value other than to focus me on how I should improve for her, and reenforce to me that her desires, how ever non-sensical they may seem to me, are more important than mine - an opportunity to submit. What's not to like.

I'm describing this all from the point of view of "before" - before my beloved pointed out that she'd much rather have me doing something practical than writing lines. So my conjecture that the "writing lines" task meant that she wanted me concentrated on how to improve and how to please and how serve. When in fact it was some kind of compromise on consequences for my failing in my commitments.

And that's why shared context is important: doing the dishes means getting the housework done. Doing the dishes naked, or doing the dishes after a little "tease" that says "I'm going to sit and relax while you do the dishes" means "You are doing the dishes because you serve me." Doing the dishes in a mundane context means doing the dishes. And doing the dishes, after the context of the relationship is firmly established, even if there is no outside indication of the context (no "naked", no "tease"), is submission, because the submission suffuses the relationship, once both people really belive that it is the context of the relationship.

It's related to the Zen aphorism: "What do you do before enlightment: chop wood, carry water. What do you do after enlightenment: chop wood, carry water."

If you're not an asshole, what do you do before you're in an FLR: like the good relationship advice says, give 110%. What do you do after you're in an FLR: give 110%. Only it feels different.

Which leads me to believe that those external markers, whatever they are for the couple, that exstablish the context, are really important as the relationship is changing. After the relationship has changed, they're less important.

So doing the finances nude with a butt-plug means that I'm definitely doing them from a point of view of submission and service. But once that's established, the nudity and butt-plug aren't necessary. What is necessary is that both people accept that the context of the relationship is different, and that both people feel certain, comfortable, that their partner feels that the context is different. In the line-writing case for us, I felt the context was one thing, and my beloved felt that it was another.

For a submissive male like me, with a beloved wife who's figuring out how she wants to relate to leading our relationship, there is always the fear that, once the external markers of the submission are removed (the nudity and the butt-plug for example), my beloved is breathing a huge sigh of relief, thinking "Thank goodness that's over..." Because the external behavior is the same (chop wood, carry water, do dishes, do finances).

That's why communication is important in our relationship.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My brief career line writing, and observations on gender roles.

Once again I was musing on the metaphor of preparing a lovely barbecue for a vegetarian. The short version is that I was, as you may have gathered from my previous post, all enamored of writing lines. By not fulfilling my commitment to keep our financial records in order, I ended up with the writing assignment I listed in my previous post. As B?, the expert, pointed out, that was a significantly large assignment, larger than I had anticipated.

The idea emerged from the fact that in our lives, time is the most valuable thing that we have. I took that to the conclusion that by forfeiting my time as a consequence for not fulfilling my obligations, I would establish a big incentive to stay current on them. So when my beloved was seriously annoyed by encountering some unupdated records, I thought I needed a consequence of similar magnitude.

So I was all happy with the thought that every waking moment not otherwise commited was going to be spent writing lines. I was content. Why? I don't know, but I must speculate a little. I was losing the ability to do what I wanted, because I had created a situation that displeased my beloved. I was incurring inconvenience because she had become upset. In essence, all the time I spent writing (2.5 hours more or less) was time I spent expressing my desire to please her. All of the things I gave up doing (watching movies, reading, web surfing, doing e-mail) were things I couldn't do because I hadn't fulfilled my commitment. It was a sacrifice and a form of communication, I felt, with my beloved.

She, perhaps not surprisingly, took this to a completely different conclusion. "All that time you're spending writing lines? You could be spending it doing what I really want done: getting the financial records in order." It's really hard to argue with logic like that, since it's so self-evidently true.

(In my own defense, I wasn't completely oblivious to this fact. Another part of the consequence for the state of the financial records was my obligation to work on them for a half and hour each and every day without fail until release from that obligation by her. But the fact remains that all the time I spent writing I could have spent working on the records.)

So she's given me what seems to me to be a more-or-less symbolic additional number of lines to do, while taking lines off of the menu of consequences. Perhaps they'll reemerge as a reward, I don't know.

To the vegetarian metaphor, if knowing that I am being denied something that I'd like to be doing (reading, hanging out, etc) does not give my beloved any frisson, I got to contemplating what value this whole dynamic might have for her. Frankly, the only non-contrived one I can see so far is the sex, which I think has improved dramatically for her. Sex is all about her pleasure now, and my desire for her. As a result, she has it when she wants, which can be three days in a row, and then not for two weeks. But there's no pressure.

That got me to thinking that my most effective course of action was to become as sexually desirable and stimulating for her as possible. Which is, of course, a complete reversal of our societal sexual roles. Given who we are, this is perhaps not surprising. For most of my adolescence, I harbored strong thoughts of being transgendered, and this was 40 years ago, when the concept was quite exotic. Christine Jorgenson and Jane Morris were my hero(ine)s. My beloved, on the other hand, was one of the first women to graduate from her university with a technical degree. So we've been wandering around those sex role lines for a long time.

I did ask her if the idea of sexual allure or suggestiveness, by behavior, dress, etc had any attraction for her, and she didn't dismiss the idea out of hand. Given that women and men get aroused by different things, I'm thinking that the kinds of displays women to do attract men are not going to be the ticket. Even so, based on her attraction to my anatomy, I was wondering if sexier underwear was in order. Perhaps. Or perhaps this is just another misguided idea on my part. But a cheap one to test out.

So the evolution continues, sometimes at a dizzying pace.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Update, and perhaps return to blogging

If you notice the pattern of posting on the blog, you'll realize that winter seems to be a difficult time for me to post. My desire for an FLR, and for sex generally, seems to wane and return with the sunlight. It wouldn't stun me if it were something like seasonal affective disorder, but I've never investigate. I self-medicate with St. John's Wort and that seems to help. But mostly I wait for spring.

This can make growing an FLR pretty difficult, especially when the impetus comes from me, and then suddenly goes away as it does in the winter. This winter, though, my beloved has given me the wonderful gift of being steady when I can't, and has maintained the basic structure of our FLR, even when I would have let it go (only to know that the desire would return again, as it has).

Every night, we check in before bed time. Often, the only thing I've done for her that day is to make her coffee. I've missed a few of my nightly e-mail performance reports, but only a few. But many of them have been very brief, when it's felt like not much had happened that day.

Occasionally, I've missed on my responsibilities doing something around the house. Back in the late fall, we settled on writing lines as a method of reinforcing my awareness of what I need to be doing. I find it very effective.

Recently I discovered the Line Writing blog, which has given me a whole new perspective on lines. And for failing at one of my household tasks, I now have a dauntingly large number of lines to write:

"Keeping faith with my beloved is important. If I am unsure whether I am fulfilling my commitments, I will ask for guidance." 500 times by Thursday evening. In a new journal she gave me for the purpose. It's daunting, but satisfying. Which is why this won't be a long post - I have lines to do.

Also, from some blog or other I discovered the idea of standing against a wall holding a coin with my nose. To which I added repeating a phrase related to the failure that earned me the consequence.

I know these possibly sound outlandish, but in both cases, the intent is to get me to focus on what needs to be done, and what I need to be mindful of. Because, although I'm very enthusiastic about FLR, I'm often not very steady or diligent about it. These things help that.

It also helps me to know that my beloved cares whether I'm diligent or not, and her consequences enforce this - they help me know what's important to her. The down-side is that she is very deliberate and conscientious, which means that coming up with a consequence for something takes her more thought and time than she'd like to put in to the project.

We've addressed this by coming up with "Make a consequence" - something she can say when she notices a failure, or "MAC" if we're in public (which hasn't happened yet). I then submit the consequence for her approval in my nightly reports.

I've also read the "The Marketplace" - first book in the series by Laura Antoniou. I'm thrilled that my beloved is reading it as well.

Thanks to all those bloggers who blog more steadily than I do. You're a lifeline.