Domineering vs Dominant

I am approaching my computer wearily today. I don’t know what to write about. My mind is a little foggy. The weekend was great and also a very hard one. I don’t want to talk about why, though eventually I’ll need to because what I’ve been working to help straighten out is important. I don’t have the energy to hash through all of the complicated and many faceted conversations surrounding what I’m processing to get to the meat and write about those subjects individually yet though. It’ll come. I have a lot to say. Yes it is related to #MeToo, and no, this time it wasn’t me, but #IWasThere.

So, hmmm… Where does this leave me with today’s blog? Honestly my brain feels a little burnt out talking about sex and how to keep sexuality a safe exploration. Then again, all the reasons why it’s important to keep this conversation going are fresh and heavy in my heart. I’ll talk about other matters which are related. Matters I’ve also been dealing with this very week:

Pointers for vetting a potential kinkster playmate. I found myself navigating this conversation a few days ago, and instead of successfully finding someone I felt would listen to me and build a great scene for the two of us to share, I found I had to turn down a person who was acting domineering, self serving, and rude. I don’t often get as far as meeting someone in my vetting process and then have to turn them down, but in this case it seemed the only realistic option — especially since I value my time and energy and had no interest in training this person in the art of decency to begin with.

Domineering or Dominant? This unfortunate and frequent must-ask question pops up a lot when someone is looking for a Dominant partner to play with. Bravado is a mask with which the ungrounded often cover themselves. However, domineering attitudes can not only belie an annoying person who you won’t really have a lot of fun playing with and who may not listen to your needs as articulately as you might wish, it may also indicate someone who is potentially unsafe to play with at all. Someone who is domineering is putting their own thoughts and ideas ahead of everyone else’s. By definition this is a problematic quality in a Dominant when considering the safety and boundaries of a submissive.

Some red flags:

  • When you tell someone something about yourself and they vehemently reject it rather than politely declining your offer and suggesting an alternative that might work for both of you:

Me: You can call me Sir… but I really don’t go for Ma’am or Miss

Them: You have a better chance of meeting Jesus. I will forgo the other two though

This may seem like a silly thing to pick up on, but it does indicate an unwillingness to respect my wishes, pronouns, and indications about how I like to be treated and viewed in general. It’s also needlessly insulting. Why would I want to spend time with someone who speaks to me like that? Why would I put my safety in the hands of someone this out of touch with respectful discourse?

  • Someone who refuses to discuss or negotiate a scene before playing with you (see following)
  • Someone who reframes your needs as “too much”, “unsexy”, or “not important”:

Me: What do you have in mind?

Them: Hang out, tie you up and spank you.

Me: I’m not sure I want to move that fast with you. We didn’t talk a lot about kink or your likes/dislikes or specific interests with me. I require clear negotiation if I’m going to bottom.

Them: I’m less of a talker and more of a doer. The more you talk and plan, the less spontaneity and excitement comes of the time. … this is supposed to be fun, free flowing and easy. Instead you’re asking to have everything detailed out and planned which kind of sucks the life out of all of it. I was interested in getting to know you better but there seem to be more roadblocks than exciting opportunities.

This person in minimizing my needs and putting pressure on me to change my mind and be “easier” for him to get to know. He’s basically bullying me to do things his way or feel as though what I am advocating for, in mind of my own safety and pleasure, is too much. What I need to feel safe around playing with another person, categorically, is not asking for too much. Let me impress that ideal clearly.

  • Someone who repeatedly reframes the conversation, controls the conversation, or changes the subject without answering your questions or commenting on any of your points (this happened repeatedly in our conversation)

I’m very happy to seek out another play partner, someone who wants me to feel comfortable and who accepts what I tell them about what I need to feel safe. Why would this unfold any other way? It’s really important for subs to advocate for themselves and be accommodated. The idea that “the sub is always the one actually in control” is an important tenet to be mindful of. The sub is the one who sets the pace for play, and stops everything if it isn’t going well. A Dominant should know and respect this first and foremost.

Why are all these little things important? They are important because they are important to one of the players — specifically the player who has the most to lose when it comes to the consequences of sceneing. They are important because there are a lot of people out there who aren’t off-putting and generally disrespectful. There are plenty of people who are game to try new things and who want to be respectful, safe, informed, and try things what will make both parties happy. There are plenty of people out there who are not rapists and abusers and are happy to go more than a modicum out of their way to prove to me they respect my feelings of safety over their “fun”. The person in my example is displaying the attitudes of someone who might not actually respect my body, emotions, mind, desires, limits, negotiations, and boundaries when I’m in a much more compromised or dangerous position. Why would I move forward with this person? Why would I let them tie me up? If I take the time to look, I’ll find partners to play with who don’t make me worry about my autonomy and safety. Saying “no” to this red flag covered playmate means that when I find the people who make me want to say “yes”, my yes is meaningfully given to a partner who will be a much more fun, safe, and rewarding Dominant.

Negotiations are all about communication, and yes, it is absolutely possible to just speak differently about things and still have the exact same values. However, everyone deserves respect. Everyone deserves to be questioned and to speak for themselves about what’s important to them. The moment someone assumes they know what is best for me and refrains from asking me about whether they are correct or check in about their intent, is the moment I am no longer safely in the hands of someone who is listening to me or considers my experience and therefore safety.

What we must do with one another first and foremost is listen. Listen to play partners and try to figure out why what they’re saying is important to them, as opposed to why it is or isn’t something you agree with. Know what your feelings on a subject are, and be able to separate them from someone else’s feelings. More often than not it’s completely reasonable to agree to disagree on certain subjects as long as you can decide how to functionally and respectfully handle the situation when it comes up.

Talk about your likes, dislikes, boundaries, interests, and needs before playing with someone for the first time. This is not just smart, it’s the MOST NORMAL THING people who engage in BDSM do. Pre-negotiation of a scene does the opposite of “sucking all the fun out”, it makes the scene more tailored to the desires of the people involved, meaning it will be more fun for everyone. It allows people to get into safer situations in a more well-informed way. It helps Dominants make sure they don’t make mistakes in play because of personal or really specific safety issues. More than once I’ve tailored a scene because I found out my partner had an injury, or really sensitive skin, or was less flexible than I previously thought, or was allergic to an ingredient in the lotion I was going to use. I’m HAPPY to make those adjustments because then I get to PLAY! All of these little considerations make my agenda as a Dominant more and more rewarding when it’s time to follow through. I get to have great consensual fun with a relaxed and trusting sub rather than rushing them to the hospital or dealing with trauma of some sort because something I didn’t realize would be a problem got triggered physically, emotionally, and/or mentally within our scene.

At the end of the day negotiations are a gift. Negotiations are vital to fun, and are groundbreaking in their ability to foster trust and generate a slow and steady path to successful scening. Negotiation is a sexy word. Don’t let anyone ever tell you your need to check in about their intentions for your body/heart/mind is overbearing, unsexy, or makes you less of a good, game, giving partner or submissive. Anyone who tells you your need to check in and establish respectful discourse on the subject of what will happen to your body is unimportant, is also someone who will not care when you “red out” of a scene or ask for a safety adjustment while you’re playing. They are telling you one thing by breezing past your preferences: “I am in this for me, and what I want is more important than what you want”. Not only is that the definition of an unsafe and potentially abusive partner, it is wrong, and it is NOT Dominant behavior. Dominants want their toys to be happy. Happy enough to come back and play with them again and again and again. Anyone that shortsighted about playing with you probably has something in mind for you that you don’t want in the first place. If they’re not willing to do work before your first scene, why would they ever start listening to you after you’ve already let them have your body in the first place?

Be safe out there. Say no when you feel nervous. Articulate what you need to feel more connected to the person you’re considering playing with. Don’t let anyone talk down to you or brush your requests aside. Don’t let anyone belittle your experience or ignore the things you are asking for. You deserve respect. You deserve fun.

What questions do you have for me, Dear Readers? Are there subjects in particular that interest you that I don’t speak about enough? Are there questions you have for me personally that I haven’t answered for you, or that you’d like updates on? Are there kinks you’d like me to try out and report on? Fill out the form on my Contact page, and I’ll get on it!

Play On My Friends,
~ Creature

Please support my work on Patreon. For one time donations click here: Support the Artist 
~Thank you.

Sex vs. Kink

I was recently asked what the difference between “kink” and “sex” are. It’s a good question, which people will vary wildly in their opinions about. Following is my take on the subject. I encourage others to disagree and to articulate for themselves differently than I do here — one of the most important things we get from talking about sexuality is an evolving and broadening scope of understanding about how things function differently for others. These varied articulations can, in turn, help us understand ourselves more deeply, or in new ways. I am all for that.

I will start by stating that “sexuality” is something separate from “sex”. Sexuality is a general blanket term which describes the factors surrounding how someone likes to (or does) get off, or feel turned on. Peoples sexualities can be identified (sexual identity) in multiple ways and within different categories such as: kinky, vanilla, queer, straight, gay, bi/pan/omnisexual, asexual, leather, fetishistic, Top/bottom/Versatile, D/s, switch, Sadistic, masochistic, hedonistic, primal, so on and so forth, etc… Sexualities evolve, grow, change, are discovered and rediscovered, and emerge throughout one’s life as one has new experiences, is exposed to new concepts, and generally learns more, and accepts or rejects more about what they find. One’s sexuality is influenced by one’s behaviors, though frequently sexual behavior and sexual identity do not go hand in hand (more on this later).

“Sex” is a word which encompasses a series of activities that one can engage in (or not), and which contribute to a person’s view of their sexuality. What is and is not (what “counts” for) sex is defined differently by different people. For the sake of ease I usually define sex as “anything ending in the word sex or job”. By this definition I would include sexual intercourse (PIV intercourse, genital or anal penetration with toys, all types of fingering, hand jobs, fisting, anal sex), also oral sex (cunnilingus, blow jobs, rimming), scissoring, frottage, masturbation, mutual masturbation, and generally anything which includes the rubbing, sucking, or licking of genitals for the intention of getting someone turned on and/or in an orgasmic state, to be “sex”.

Sex is not just about activities though. How we feel about the activities we engage in, and what we want to believe “counts” accounts for what people label as sex as well. “Energetic fucking” can be as much (if not moreso) sexually satisfying, sexy, and pleasurable as plain old vanilla intercourse is. So is energetic fucking sex? Some would say it is, others would say it is not. The same goes for a lot of activities including some of the ones I have labelled specifically as sex above.

Did you have sex if PIV intercourse only happened for a second with someone you wish you hadn’t hooked up with? What about if it was someone you desperately wanted to fuck? It turns out that we’ll label what counts and what doesn’t count as sex differently depending on how we felt about the situation. People often also say things to the effect of “we sorta kinda had sex not really” in situations where they feel grey about consummation. Is it sex if no one orgasms? What about if only one person involved in the equation does? I don’t believe there is any hard and fast rule to completely defining what is sex and what is not sex. There are a lot of “sexual activities” though, and some of them sometimes seem to count more than others to the general population. It is absolutely possible to believe you have had sex with someone who does not consider the time you spent together sex at all.

Moving in the direction of our next subject for definition, I personally would consider all of the activities I outlined above as examples of “vanilla sex”. I am sure a lot of people would consider at least some of them to be “kinky” though.

A “kink” is a bend or an irregularity in the system. What is kinky and what is not kinky resides entirely in the realm of speculation and personal definition too. The first question one must ask when deciphering whether an activity is “bent” must be: whose system are we evaluating for kinks? Fact: what’s kinky to you may be completely vanilla to me. Things that were defined as kinky to me in the past, may now be viewed as mainstream and vanilla as I’ve gained understanding or experience of the activity in a new way. For instance, consider activities such as spanking and oral sex. Some people consider both of these things to be kinky, some consider both of these things to be vanilla, and people also believe all the variables in between. There is no hard and fast definition about what’s kinky until a person who wants to define it for themselves does so as such. Lines in the sand, all.

What’s the point of defining something as vanilla or kinky to begin with? Well, I think like all perfectly imperfect language useage, it’s shorthand to find others who might be into what you’re into. We take a general idea (rather than our stringent personal definitions) of what’s “normal” behavior and label ourselves on one side of the divide in hopes to attract or repel people who we believe may identify similarly or differently than ourselves. The follow up questions are the important ones to anyone you wish to engage sexually or kinkliy with: ok, so you’re [vanilla/kinky], what types of things do you like to do? What feels good? What drives you wild? What should I do/not do to turn you on?

Now let’s revisit that idea from earlier about “Identity vs. Behavior”. Someone may not identify as kinky, but may also get really turned on by, let’s say… being tied up. Their behavior, when they decide to get turned on by going out and getting tied up a bunch, may be viewed by others as kinky. So is that person kinky? To much of their community, the answer may be yes. Does it matter? No. It matters to the person identifying the way they identify why they choose the identity they choose. Even if they are enjoying categorically “kinky” activities on the regular, if that person identifies as vanilla, they are vanilla. We don’t know all there is to know about that person or their reasons for choosing one identity over another. A person’s identity is their right to define as they choose for their own reasons in whatever moment they are sharing it with others. It’s important that we trust and respect people and their processes of uncovering and defining their own lives. This doesn’t mean we can’t ask questions or have a great conversation about how we view the definitions of these words differently, and we can also discuss the finer points of growing and discovering or rejecting new facets of identity over time. This also doesn’t mean we should deliberately hurt or mislead others by being opaque to the meaning of our behaviors and the expectations we set up when we use certain words exclusively to people we’re sharing our identities and sexualities with either… At the end of the day, we are all works in progress for better and for worse. We are all responsible for meaningful clarity and reasonable transparency about our interactions with others. We do not all agree about where these gray definitions land, hence the need for multiple ongoing conversations about our needs, wants, and expectations from the people we’re sexual and sensual with.

How you feel about these subjects is important. How you feel about them helps you figure out your own personal boundaries and articulate yourself more clearly than if you only thought in black and white dictionary definitions about what “should” or “shouldn’t” make you feel turned on, sexual, or sensual with another person. Also, as important as it is to respect people’s differences, community standards exist and account for some degree of safety and general information dissemination for reasons. The young person who believes oral or anal sex “isn’t sex” may be more vulnerable to STIs because they believe they are still “a virgin” and therefore invulnerable to the consequences of engaging in sexual activity. Here we see that differing community standards can contribute to education and/or potential harm through an unexamined ignorance of all the contributing factors which play into behavioral reality. Does it matter that you’re [gay/kinky/monogamous/heteroflexible…]? Only to the extent that responsible conversations with the people you are engaging with sexually/sensually/kinkily/romantically with are able to happen relatively transparently.

So go to it! It’s the most natural thing in the world to be turned on. Let’s talk about sexuality, sex, kink, behavior, and identity…

Play On My Friends,
~ Creature

Please support my work on Patreon. For one time donations click here: Support the Artist 
~Thank you.

R is for ROLE PLAY

“I thought to bring my own exam gown, as the paper robes are so scratchy. I trust you’ll let me know when it is the right time to change for you…”

“Doctor, my body feels strange and tingly all over, and I’m getting headaches. I’m distracted and can’t seem to get anything done… The source of my madness seems to be the swollen button between my legs. Let me know if you need an accompanying photograph for your files. Thank you for being on call…”

“My preliminary diagnosis is one of nervosa cliterosa… a rather extreme example of female hysteria. It will take considerable effort to treat and will most likely require the insertion of a probe deep into the genitalia… You can see what the probe looks like below. I will also send a picture of other tools that I may employ.”

Who said negotiation can’t be fun? Slipping into character is not always easy, and what feels safe, flirty, and fun over text may not carry into a face to face situation effortlessly. However, role play, for all the cheese and clumsy attempts at cleverness, mixed with the desire to turn on and be turned on, is perfectly emblematic of the “adult playground” which is kink.

What are good role play ideas? Great question! Yes.

That didn’t answer my question… Well, it did though. If all parties are voting yes to a role play idea, why not move to negotiations, scene building, and try it out in a safe, sane, and consensual risk-aware manner? The entire idea behind role play is that we can make fantasies we’d like to experience come to life. Are all fantasies come to life going to prove to be great ideas in the end? No. Just like every time you have sex it’s not the greatest sex, and every day at the office is not the best day there. Don’t be afraid to critique what worked for you and what didn’t when you’re all in a headspace which allows for it. Try again if something in there really worked. Next time keep the good parts and edit out the stuff that fell flat. Add in the stuff you forgot to do or were inspired to try but hadn’t negotiated for yet… You’ll learn a lot about yourself, and potentially one another. Maybe you didn’t know you need the aesthetics of the scene to be really vibrant to get into it, or a wig is all you need to talk filthy dirty, or the feeling of being emotionally powerless was a huge turn on, or that ankle restraints are great for setting the scene — but please make sure they’re undone before fucking because you need to move your legs around to get the best angle for pleasure, or that your partner likes being tickled as long as you’re using that voice, or that you really want to be coerced and emotionally manipulated way more deeply than your partner felt comfortable doing today… Practice makes perfect. This play is yours to write, rewrite, and evolve.

Building a scene: This happens first so a successful fantasy can play out. Building a scene can happen in a lot of different ways, but it must happen beforehand, and it requires a willingness to (probably graphically) talk about sex, talk about desire, and talk about boundaries. Building the scene is a negotiation period where the participating parties figure out what the role play will look like, who plays what character, what might/will/won’t happen in the scene, who’s responsible for what actions/props/environmental controls/costume elements/”extras” casting… and as many of the details as you can figure out to feel safe and secure enough to let go while playing with one another in imagination land.

Character Development: This is an important, and often overlooked part of role play. Character development asks you to look at who your character is, what they want, and how they’re going to get it in the scene. It is entirely one thing to say “I want to do a Doctor/patient scene”, and entirely another when the patient shows up expecting a sexy pornographic gynecological exam, but ends up behind the curtain with a mad scientist Doctor wielding fists full of scalpels and needles, or a MD type who is newly researched and emphatically prepared to give an actual pelvic exam and who would never be comfortable breaking their patient’s trust… When I say “Doctor”, to which flavor of Doctor are we referring? When you say “exam”, what style of exam are we prepping for?

Set, Props, Location, Costume: You can enter role play as instantaneously and fluidly as you can change your voice. You can also spend weeks creating the perfect costume pieces, acquiring props, and revelling in the details of every moment you have planned out. Frequently our scenes fall somewhere in between. What do you want for this role play to feel fun and sexy (or dirty and evil, or exhilarating and uncomfortable, or…)? Maybe all you need are the right shoes or wig to really feel into it, maybe the prevalent image in your head for this scene is the moment someone’s naked body is draped over a furniture piece waiting for you, maybe you just want to feel a wrestling of wills until someone loses and suffers the consequences, maybe as long as “X” happens your partner can flesh out the rest of the night how they please and you’re happy to just be along for the ride, maybe you really don’t want to do this scene at home you need the fresh energy of a foreign room, or… Whatever little details you see or feel or want from a scene are things you should be up front about and plan to include. These details or events will act as triggering forces helping you appreciate the actual situation you are in.

It’s all fun and games, but what if I start feeling feelings? This totally happens. You are in a heightened state employing your psychological and intellectual endowments as well as physical, environmental, and sensual experiences. It’s easy to have your heartstrings pulled when you relax enough to buy into your imagination. To feel yourself empathize with a character, or to suddenly connect more deeply on a personal level with what’s happening in the room, to “feel” the fantasy, and sometimes be triggered by it, are all potential experiences which role play can bring on. We are no different than we were as kids who might have gotten their feelings hurt when they didn’t get what they wanted out of playing house with our friends… Our minds are powerful fuel for behavioral experiments. Know  that. Think about potential triggers when you plan your scene. Play honestly with people you trust. Talk in depth about what you want and what you don’t want in a scene, and be prepared before you start. The first aid kit of fantasy role play may be filled with bandaids, toys, and prophylactics, but it should also have an agreed upon script about what to do when someone [starts crying, gets angry, seems out of it, isn’t responding “normally” within the scene, gets agitated…], and of course, safe words and agreed upon aftercare and/or after scene check-ins are important in this type of play too. It might take a little longer than normal to process experiences which are not predominantly physical in nature. Concerning healthy expectations: the more risky the fantasy content (physically, emotionally, psychologically), the more you need to prepare ahead of time, and the more trust you need to have between play partners.

“I’m stepping out of character for a minute”, is a great check-in phrase if you need a reality check, and there is no reason not to take brief time outs when anyone feels the need for one. Sometimes taking 30 seconds out of character helps alleviate a situation more efficiently than searching for a way to say what you need “in character”, or in “code” which might not be interpreted correctly by your scene partner. In that vein, I find calling out discomfort to be the easiest way to get over feelings of inadequacy, nerves, and actual discomfort. If you’re engaging in role play of some kind, chances are that you are someone (and/or with someone) who has a creative mind who wants to use it. Stumbling blocks are often a fear of getting tripped up somehow and falling ungracefully on your face, or offending or hurting someone inadvertently. Repeatedly I’ve found that the surest way to get back to the sensuality and ease with a partner I’m feeling friction around is to call out what’s happening when it isn’t working so we can both take a moment to recalibrate and decide to get back to what works. It also gives opportunity to address the friction if it’s symptomatic of a bigger issue going on between us. Adjustments don’t have to be boner killers, and when they are, well, there was probably a good reason to kill that one — rest assured boners can be built back up. “Back in character now”.

Have fun and laugh at yourself and with one another. Don’t be afraid of catharsis if it’s healthy and everyone around is prepared. Let yourself learn new tricks, let go a little deeper when you feel safe doing so, and lose yourself for a moment in play. Isn’t that why we love this playground in the first place?

Play On My Friends,
~ Creature

Please support my work on Patreon. For one time donations click here: Support the Artist 
~Thank you.

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