You can be your strongest self AND a power bottom

From the moment I met Casey*, it was clear that they were a powerhouse. They ran a non-profit, were involved with leather community events, managed a Facebook group for queer survivors that had thousands of members, and kept up an amazing vegetable garden. I saw them work a room at a kinky happy hour, and I was impressed. They were charming, funny, generous, and so welcoming — and it wasn’t even their event. Casey just naturally exudes confidence and ease, and it’s infectious.

I immediately thought they were a top.

“Everybody always thinks that,” Casey told me later that night, sitting next to me at the bar, both of us waiting for another drink. “I can’t tell you how many times bottoms have tried to pick me up. But I’m not. I’m submissive. But people don’t see that in me, because they expect submissives to be cowering in the corner waiting for a dominant to tell them what to do.”

Casey was so eloquent, speaking about their desires for submission. (And you know me, I’m a sucker for somebody who can use words to articulate what they want and how they work. Yum.) But still, I went away from that thinking, Casey is absolutely right … there is a huge difference between having a submissive personality and having the desire to submit to someone in bed. And I played into those social expectations, too, by assuming their outgoing behavior meant that they were a top.

(I try really hard not to assume people’s power orientation, though it’s pretty much human nature to speculate and put others into categories we understand. I try to lead with questions, rather than assumptions, and to keep any surprise to myself, as best as I can.)

I’ve heard this complaint about being assumed to have passive personalities from lots of other submissive folks, too: from leather girls who are worried that their job is too high-powered, that daddies are all scared off by it. From subs who are convinced that no one can ever tell they are submissive, because they are in charge of too many social groups. From bois who believe deeply that their masculinity will always be read as dominance, and that they will always have to explain that they’re not a top.

I call it …

The Bad-Ass/Bottom Paradox

Based on kinky stereotypes, it seems like being a bad-ass and being a bottom are contradictory. But they’re not — just like being a sweetheart and being a top are not contradictory. Having a core of concern and emotional care for someone else makes that person even better qualified to be a top, just like having a strong sense of self, direction, and desire makes someone an even better bottom.

Submissives are often seen as weak, passive little creatures who don’t have a brain of their own, and whose head gets filled with their dominant’s every whim. Or, perhaps worse, as doormats who are being taken advantage of, controlled, and manipulated.

While this might be true for some folks — toxic relationship behavior and abuse can and does happen in D/s relationships, just like any other — most submissives I know are actually bad-asses. They aren’t empty vessels; their heads are full of managing their own lives — car payments, asking for vacation time off, calendaring the next social events, keeping up with knitting trends on Pinterest (and often, parts of their dominant’s lives, too).

On the other hand, I heard from Jake*, a queer boy who took Submissive Playground, that he was pretty sure he was submissive, but he’d never done much psychological play, though he craved it, because he thought he’d have to give up parts of himself, or make himself smaller in order to be “good” at it.

No. On the contrary.

I actually think submission can help make someone even more of a bad-ass than they already are. Healthy, functional submission requires knowing oneself, holding boundaries, communication, being vulnerable about desires, having good recovery skills when things go wrong — and so many more advanced communication skills. Folks who do have submissive personalities can find themselves gaining inner strength, self-worth, and fortitude after exploring submission deeper.

Submission does not require someone to make yourself small, to turn off your desires, to cater to someone else’s every whim (you know, not unless you negotiate that — but that’s way down the line. Or, way up the power escalator**). It really is possible to be a total bad-ass, and turn your ass up to get spanked, or turn over authority to someone you trust and love. In fact, it’s not only possible — it’ll give you a leg up.

* Not their real names

** As related to the relationship escalator, I use the term “power escalator” to mean that in relationships based on authority exchange or power play that often, both parties assume that as trust builds, they will play with more and more power exchange, but that is not always what the people ultimately want. Stopping anywhere along the ‘power escalator’ is valid, and going all the way to total power exchange 24/7 M/s is not the most “real”, or better, or any more valid than any other place.

Thanks to Crash Pad Series for the image, from Episode 149 with Alani Pi and Nikki Darling


Like this? Want more? Submissive Playground registration opens Monday, September 19th. Download the free Submissive Starter Kit for a sample submissive journal prompt from the course, as well as a video and kinky desire map.

How I Became A Daddy

I came to be a Daddy in a dominance/submissive context somewhat reluctantly. For years, I’d heard about this kind of play in kinky relationships — particularly among my gay male friends. I felt a certain charge about it whenever it came up in conversation, but my charge mostly felt very negative: Why would people play with that? How was it sexy? Wasn’t it glorifying incest? How was it not about child abuse, on some level?

I remember very clearly the first direct conversations about it, which was about fifteen years ago now: my friend Greg was giving me a ride home, and somehow it came up in conversation. He was (probably still is) notoriously slutty, and always chatty about his sexcapades and adventures. In my memory, he’s the one who brought it up, but it could’ve been me — I’ve often been the one to eagerly stick my foot in my mouth around kink, asking all kinds of personal questions no matter how appropriate. But I like hanging out with other folks who like to talk about kink, and generally, they answer my questions.

“What is up with all this daddy stuff!?” I asked him. “I mean, how is it not about incest?”

Greg, level-headed and at least fifteen years older than me, answers slowly: “Well … it kind of is about incest. But it’s also about having an older male figure, in the gay boy communities. About having a positive male role model, and how so many of us lacked that as young boys, and how we still crave it.”

I sat with that answer for a good eight years, devouring all the lesbian erotica I could find, my favorites of which had daddy/girl overtones. Why do I like this so much? I’d ask myself. This isn’t something I want, it’s just something I like to read about, for whatever reason. My dirty little secret, the erotica I would never tell other people that I like. It’s wrong, I can’t justify it. But still … I must like it, I keep coming back to it.

For a while, a close friend of mine was a femme girl looking for a butch daddy. I remember those conversations with her clearly, too — and I was still pushing, asking poking questions. It seems obvious now that I was deeply drawn to the dynamic and couldn’t look away, but that I was also trying to work it out for myself.

“But what is it about the daddy/girl dynamic that makes it, you know, not incest?” I’d ask her incessantly.

“It’s just different,” she’d answer, somewhat vaguely. “It’s not about that, for me. It’s about power, and strength, and feeling taken care of, and submissive.”

That language, at least, I could grok. She’s the one who insisted I read Carol Queen’s book The Leather Daddy and the Femme, and that helped me get it even more.

Then, a conversation with a femme who identified as a babygirl I had a few brief dates with helped cement it for me. “Think of it as two different definitions,” she told me. “Like the word baby. We don’t mean literally ‘you’re a baby’ when we call our lovers ‘baby.’ But we invoke the sweet tenderness that word implies. Same with daddy. We don’t mean definition one: the man whose sperm helped conceive you, we mean definition 2: a masculine person who nurtures and cares for you, usually in the leather communities, where sex may or may not be part of the exchange.”

As a word person, it helped to parse the two definitions apart. It helped to start conceiving of this whole separate definition of what a “daddy” is, and how that relationship dynamic worked.

That babygirl femme and I didn’t date long, but our conversations around those concepts were a big turning point for me. I knew I wanted to explore them more. I finally thought, oh, I think I like that, that’s why I’ve been so drawn to slash repulsed by it all this time. Amazing how repulsion and desire can sometimes be two sides of the same coin.

So when Sarah and I got together, shared a lot of our fantasies with each other, and started to explore the realms of kink that we’d always wanted to or hadn’t yet, being a daddy came up for me early on.

“I know it’s something that I want,” I told her. I was dating other people when we got together, and I told her I was interested in exploring polyamory. “I’m not saying that it’s something we have to do together. But I am saying that it’s something I want to figure out if I like, and how I like it. I know it’s something I want in my erotic toolbox, so to speak. If that’s not something you feel willing to play with me, that’s totally okay, but I might want to do it on my own elsewhere.”

It wasn’t an ultimatum, but I did think that it might end up being a dealbreaker.

“I just don’t get it. I mean why would I want to invoke my dad during sex?!” she said.

“It’s not about that. It’s only about you and me. And, in my opinion, we already have the kind of sex and play that I’m talking about. I nurture you, I call you baby and girl and sometimes little girl. You like all that stuff.”

“Yeah. I really do,” her eyelashes fluttered. “Really a lot.”

I grinned. “Honestly I think the only difference between what we do now and what I’m asking for is that one word: daddy.”

She looked pensive. “I’ll think about it,” she said.

The next time it came up, in a different discussion about kinks and explorations, and I mentioned again that I was interested in exploring it, she said, “I’ve been thinking about that. And I think I might just … say it, during sex, sometime.”

I had thought it was never going to happen with her. She’d been pretty clear about her disinterest.

She looked at me sideways, slyly. “We’ll see.”

It was a tease, but it totally worked.

A few weeks later, she did it: just casually let it slip from her mouth into my ear while she had her arms and legs wrapped around me, fucking her slow. It tipped me over the edge and I shuddered inside her, grabbing at her hair, toes curling, coming hard.

After catching my breath, she giggled. “I guess we know what you like!”

It was almost embarrassing, so vulnerable to be known and seen like that. To be splayed wide open, even in front of someone I trusted most in the world. But her eyes were warm and I could see that she liked it, too, and that we were in this together.

The Tender Sweet Young Thing, Guest Post by Xan West

Dedicated to the members of the Church of the Movie Musical

As a heads up, this story includes descriptions of gender play, blade play, edge play, pain play, public sex, cocksucking and fisting.

Dax was raised by a second-wave feminist. Ze grew up reading books about girls who did stuff. Ze was pulled out of tap class because they were going to perform “I Love Being a Girl,” and hir mom refused to let Dax participate in something so sexist. Hir mother gave hir a gender-neutral name (to help hir get jobs) and had hir hair cut in a Buster Brown. For most of hir childhood, people were constantly asking, “Is that a boy or a girl?” They still asked that, actually. At least now ze chose hir own haircuts.

Dax didn’t change hir name when ze went on T. What was the point? Dax would work okay, and it’s not like ze wanted to pass as a man anyway. A gender-neutral name suited hir just fine. Guess mom got something right.

When Dax’s boyfriend Mikey got a ‘96 Volvo with a tape deck, Dax gave her some of hir old cassettes. They would drive around listening to tapes Dax had kept from back in the day. Their favorite was a childhood relic, Free to Be You and Me. They listened to it for probably the thousandth time on the way to a regular gathering of fat queers that involved two of Dax’s favorite things: potluck and watching musicals. That’s probably why Mikey was so quick to bring it up, when the pre-movie dinner discussion turned to early kink fantasies. (Which, let’s face it, was rather inevitable at this monthly event, which was now at Xóchi’s house because it was more accessible. No stairs meant that Dax and Mikey could be there, and that Jericho and Rusty came more often, too. Lee loved hosting, so even though it was now at Xóchi’s house and not her own, she was still in charge. Everything always went smoothly when she was in charge.)

“Want to hear one of Dax’s early kink roots?” Mikey asked, teasing.

Of course the group wanted to hear it. Dax was grateful Mikey was going to tell it, because hir migraine meds were making hir a bit loopy, and ze just wanted to watch the room and relax. It was nice to be back. Nobody did potluck like fat activist queers. The briscuit Rebecca brought was the best comfort food ever, especially with Mikey’s flan for dessert, and ze was looking forward to popcorn and Julie Andrews. Hir chair was comfy, the sun wasn’t in hir eyes, and ze was surrounded by kinky queers. Hey, who was that cute femme boy in the corner? Oh, was that Téo, the boy Mikey had been telling hir about?

“Well, I bet some of you know Free to Be You and Me?” Mikey asked.

Lee and Xóchi both nodded. Dax guessed the other folks were a bit too young to know it. Except Jericho, who looked at Rusty and shrugged, clearly having no clue what they were talking about.

Xóchi said, “Oh, wait. I bet it was that football player singing, ‘It’s Alright to Cry.’”

The whole room chuckled. Dax was well-known for being the kind of sadist that got off on tears. When Xóchi started to sing a bit of it, Lee and Mikey joined in. “It’s alright to cry. It might make you feel better!”

Dax was blushing. Ze reminded hirself that ze loved them. They were family. Family got to tease you. And, really, hadn’t ze crooned just that line to Mikey last month in the middle of a particularly brutal caning?

“No, it wasn’t that one, actually,” Mikey said, grinning at Dax. “You remember the one about the tender sweet young thing?”

Lee and Xóchi both shook their heads.

“Well, it’s about this girl who dresses impeccably, and always goes first in line, and gets basically everything she wants, and then she gets caught by a pack of lions.”

“Tigers!” Dax inserted.

“Oh, sorry, baby. Tigers. So they tie her up and sniff her a bit.” Mikey grinned.

“And she says, ‘I am a tender sweet young thing.’” Dax forgot hirself and got into it. “‘I am also a little lady.’” Dax grinned at Lee, who unconsciously began to adjust her shirt so that her considerable cleavage showed to better advantage.

“And she tells the lions to stop licking her,” Mikey inserted, watching Téo. Damn, the boy was so fucking cute. He had perked up, giving the story his full attention, a mixture of recognition and desire on his face. This confirmed it. Téo was the tender sweet young thing she’d had her eye out for.

“Tigers!” Dax insisted.

“That’s twice,” Lee said, holding up two fingers and looking sternly at Mikey over her turquoise cat eye glasses.

Dax continued, “My favorite part is when she says, ‘Untie me this instant. My dress is getting mussed!’”

The whole group cracked up. Except for Téo, who was holding his breath.

“I’ve had a fashion safe word myself,” said Lee, eyes sparkling.

“So what happens to the tender sweet young thing?” asked Téo before he could stop himself.

“The tigers eat her,” said Dax, eying Téo again. Téo did something halfway between a preen and a squirm under Dax’s gaze. It was adorable. How had ze not noticed him before tonight?

“What?” said Xóchi. “How do I not remember this? They eat her?”

“Yep,” Mikey confirmed.

“And the whole story is told by the head tiger,” Dax added, grinning at Xóchi.

Xóchi grinned back, one predator to another, and then launched into a story of her own that involved her father’s knife. Dax hoped that Téo might share one of his own kink roots, but Lee soon ushered them over to the television for the much awaited showing of Victor/Victoria.

Téo couldn’t stop thinking about the tender sweet young thing. He could barely concentrate on Victor/Victoria, which he hadn’t seen before and was totally up his alley. He’d have to get ahold of it and watch it when he could pay attention.

He let himself work it out, as the others watched. It had been a while since he’d bottomed to a white person, and the last time had been a real mistake. That’s why he had been so careful with Rebecca. Their switchy thing was working out okay. But this was a different thing altogether because he kept thinking about being tied up and surrounded by Dax and hir band of tigers. That was serious bottoming, even from a power femme place.

But he’d been thinking about Dax all night, about that gleam in hir eyes as ze looked him over and told him that the tigers ate the tender sweet young thing. Anyone who could hang in this group was probably okay. Xóchi and Mikey clearly trusted hir. Jericho had made a point of saying that they wanted Dax and Mikey at their party next month, and that was a POC-centered space. I mean, they allowed white folks who acted right, but it was different to be invited special.

It’s not like he hadn’t known Dax for a few years; they’d been in that genderqueer showcase together, after all. He’d just never noticed hir in that way before. He’d been crushed out on Mikey for a while, as their friendship had grown, and been looking for a way to let her know he was interested. And it was clear that the scene he had in mind would mean bottoming to her, too. Yeah, he thought it was worth the risk, especially because he didn’t think he’d have to worry much about disability stuff with this group. Damn, this scene hit so many of his buttons in exactly the right way. Oh, was the movie over already?

It turned out that Rebecca was going home with Jericho and Rusty (which no one was surprised by after the kink root she’d shared about being constantly cast as the prince when she ached to be the evil stepmother instead). She had been Téo’s ride. So Dax and Mikey offered to drive the boy home. He had the cutest tempting blush on those fat cheeks of his when he accepted.

Dax made Mikey put on Free to Be You and Me, and ze watched Téo’s face as he listened to the one about the tender sweet young thing. As the girl described herself, Téo couldn’t resist running his hands through his shiny curls, blue sparkles on his nails picking up the dim light in the car. Oh, he was delicious. When Dax heard him gasp at the end when the tigers ate her, ze met Mikey’s eyes with a grin. Then ze asked Téo what he thought.

“I love the part where the tiger has ‘never seen anything quite like it before,’” he said, awe in his voice.

“Me, too,” said Dax.

“And that ‘tender sweet young thing’ is, like, her gender,” Téo continued.

“Told you he was a smart cookie,” Mikey murmured to Dax. She’d been eyeing Téo for some time. He was just her type: wicked smart, great politics around race and disability, and let’s face it—she had a weakness for sassy femme trans guys. And this one had those curls …

Dax grinned at Mikey. “You called that one.” Ze turned to the blushing boy. “So, Téo … are you a tender sweet young thing?”

“Who, me?” he drawled, winking at hir.

“I thought you might be.” Dax smiled into the boy’s eyes. “I can gather up a few tigers for Jericho’s party next week.”

“I have the perfect dress!” Damn, he was lit up like the Empire State Building.

“I can’t wait to see you in it,” Dax purred.

Mikey grinned at Téo. “I can’t wait to muss it up,” she said. She was already imagining it.

“I was hoping you might,” Téo gave Mikey a wicked smile and blew her a kiss.

***

Dax took hir time gathering the tigers. Mikey, of course. It was basically her idea, after all. Jericho surprised Dax by volunteering both themself and their boy Rusty. They might not be there for the whole scene because they were hosting, but they could be there at the beginning. Lee definitely wanted in, and Téo had agreed. Rebecca grinned wickedly and said she’d love to. Xóchi finally stopped chuckling long enough to say she’d do it, and that her girl would help hold space, fetch water, and have lube and snacks ready.

Negotiations went smoothly, and with this many disabled queers, it was a fucking miracle that there were no opposing access needs. Téo had been the one to bring up race, which meant he felt comfortable enough to raise the issue. Dax knew how important that was. They’d worked out the perfect bondage safe word. It was actually going to happen. Dax couldn’t really believe it.

What a band of tigers Dax had found. Lee honored the event in her turquoise tiger-print top, resplendent with matching glasses and cane. She was gleaming with top energy, regally driving her scooter around the party, grey curls streaming. Xóchi kept it simple in black jeans and her favorite boots. She planned to sit for most of the time, so it was actually possible to wear them, and nothing made her feel more powerful than those boots. Jericho’s bald head gleamed, and they were a gorgeous genderfuck mix of cues from dark lipstick to white button-down shirt and leather bowtie over a neon orange slip. The look was finished with knee-high lineman boots, a bootlicker’s dream, reserved solely for their boy as a reward for his silent service tonight. Their boy Rusty was clean and crisp in an A-line shirt and leather pants that showed off what he was packing. He looked delicious and untouchable all at the same time, a clear indicator of stone butchness if Dax ever saw one. Rebecca had laced a white boa around the handlebars of her scooter and slid her midsized curves into the tightest shortest thing in her closet, complete with fishnets, dramatic purple eyes that matched her glasses, and flats because her fibro had been flaring all week and heels were not fucking possible. Mikey wore a classic shirt and tie, her favorite top gear that she used to draw on a bit of Daddy magic for the scene ahead.

They claimed their space. Jericho wanted to use the scene to get the party started, raise the kind of energy they knew would inspire an electric night for everyone. They wanted to do their part to keep Carter Hall solvent, and a hot group scene can make a party. Having an accessible space was so damn rare even in the Bay, and this was a dream of a space, complete with a full-size sling that was actually rated for supersize folks like Téo. That’s exactly where Dax wanted to put the boy … if he ever showed up.

Xóchi’s girl Lina set up the space around the sling, with banquet chairs ready for folks who wanted to get off their scooters and rest or play while sitting; snacks and glucose tablets for the diabetics who needed a food break; and water, gloves, and lube for everyone. Dax took out the tools ze wanted to use and set them on the chair next to the one ze was sitting on. Ze kept it simple: the claws that an ex had made for hir out of metal guitar picks and a wicked pair of scissors to muss up the boy’s dress with. Ze was ready.

Mikey had finished laying out the electric blue rope she’d picked out to match the boy’s nails. She scanned the party. Where was Téo? He knew that Mikey had limited energy and needed to start early. Why wasn’t he here already?

Queers had started to form a circle around the sling, hoping to get a glimpse of some action, which gave Téo a perfect opportunity. He scooted through the crowd, trilling, “Ladies first! Ladies first!” at the top of his lungs. “Hand over a whole mango, please,” he quipped to Dax, turning to wink at Mikey, who chuckled, recognizing the line immediately.

He did have the perfect dress on, Dax marveled. Candy pink with a white collar that showed off his tempting neck and big white buttons down the front. He had on white knee socks and patent leather Mary Janes, and his curls were adorned with pink ribbons that matched his dress. The boy twirled on his scooter in front of them, showing off bulging white briefs, and Dax was mesmerized. Hir tender sweet young thing was packing!

Soon, Mikey had Téo bound to the sling. Could he look more fetching than when trussed up prettily in blue rope? Dax stood between his legs, hir midsize frame insistent against the boy’s cock. Rusty loomed by Téo’s head. Rebecca chose a seat where she could see his face and reach him with her cane. The rest of the tigers started up their scooters, circling slowly. Every few moments, one of them would poke him with their cane. Their grins were menacing, and the whirring of the motors combined into a purring growl that had Téo a bit more nervous than he had expected to be. He tried to watch them circle, but there were just too many of them. And Rusty seemed so damn huge at his head, standing over him, eyeing his curves. Had he actually signed up for this? What had he been thinking?

Dax waited until the boy was distracted, focused on the circling tigers, before ze pulled on hir claws. The metal gleamed, and ze knew it would make pale scratch marks on the boy’s reddish brown skin. Ze breathed into it, pushing into the floor with hir boots, settling deeper into topspace. The claws felt perfect as they traced along the boy’s neckline. He shivered, and Dax smiled down at him, feeling hir inner predator wake up. Oh, this was going to be fun. Ze gripped Téo’s throat and ground hir cock into his. He went still, trying not to move, all his attention on Dax, as Rusty gripped his hair to hold him steady and whispered in his ear. His eyes were saucers, and his lower lip trembled.

Mikey grinned as she watched Dax get things started. This was one of the best plans she’d had in a long time. She rolled up closer as Dax lifted Téo’s dress to run hir claws along the boy’s thighs. Rusty had the boy’s curls in his fist, and that position gave her a perfect opportunity. She nuzzled Téo’s neck, beckoning to Lee and gesturing to his stomach. Lee slid up to the boy and scent-marked his stomach through his dress, purring.

He was surrounded. He didn’t think it would be so easy to think of them as tigers, but they sure felt like it. Lee pressed her nose into his stomach as Mikey sniffed his neck, grazing her teeth along his skin. The ropes helped him sink into helplessness. There was no getting away from this, and that was exactly what he needed. Had Mikey just told Lee he smelled nice?

Mikey stood and met his eyes, running her hand along his curves, teasing into the collar of his dress, as her other hand held Dax’s both to steady herself and, well, because.

“I’ve never seen anything quite like it before,” she drawled, letting the awe show in her eyes. “I wonder what it is?”

Téo knew his line. He’d been waiting for it, to claim this gender that fit so right, in front of queers who actually got it. He swallowed around the fear rising in his throat. “I am a tender … ,” he whispered, then stopped. It turned out it was harder to say than he’d thought.

Mikey met his gaze, gripped his face in her paw, and said, “What was that? Old tigers like me need it a bit louder.”

Dax took the opportunity to spread his thighs with hir claws, and Lee bit down on his stomach. Damn. Rebecca came over to hold his hand. That helped. Jericho came over to their boy and laid their hand on his shoulder. Rusty still hadn’t let go of his curls, but that felt grounding now.

“Looks tender,” said Xóchi, who had pulled up on the other side of his stomach with her knife out, and was tracing it along his collarbone, up toward his face.

Fuck, okay, he said to himself. You can’t talk when you aren’t breathing. You can do this. Let it out. It came out in a whimper, which only made Xóchi grin and press the knife deeper into his skin. Lee was nuzzling his stomach again, and Mikey held him captive in her gaze. Why couldn’t he look away? Why was it so damn hard to say?

Mikey’s eyes were warm and firm all at the same time. Her gaze said, Take your time. We are here. We know it’s hard. We’ve got you.

Dax saw the tears start rolling down those gloriously fat cheeks and knew what ze wanted to do. Hell, ze’d been thinking about it ever since ze saw the boy twirl. Ze pushed up the boy’s dress and worked his cock out of his briefs. Lina had a condom ready. (Damn, that girl was good.) Dax loved to suck boys off as they cried. It was such a fabulously twisted move for a top, and nothing tasted better than the power it gave. The boy went very still as ze worked the condom onto his cock. Ze slid hir tongue along the boy’s cock, watching his face. He was so damn sexy with his mascara running like that, a knife to his throat. Dax dug the claws into his thighs and feasted on Téo’s cock as the boy let go and sunk into fear, and helplessness, and sharp recognition.

It was too much, and he couldn’t keep still anymore, couldn’t stand to have Mikey look at him anymore. Not like that. His hands clenched, and his eyes scrunched up, and he was so damn frustrated that the words emerged without any censoring. “I wish you’d stop licking me!”

They all stilled. Xóchi put away her knife. Lee sat up, pulling her face out of his stomach. Dax raised hir head to look at him and smiled. Mikey came up next to hir and rested her head against Dax’s stomach.

“I got this,” Jericho said. “Me and my boy.”

They all moved to the chairs circling the sling, except for Jericho and Rusty.

Jericho said, “All that surface sensation is just too much, isn’t it? You need something deeper to show you how tender you are. I can do that.”

How did Jericho know that? It was scary how right they were. Deeper was exactly what he needed. He nodded helplessly.

Jericho handed their boy a condom and some lube. They picked up Dax’s scissors, getting a nod from hir, and cut off Téo’s briefs before he even registered what was happening. By then, Jericho had almost finished unstrapping Téo’s cock. They gestured to Rusty and moved around Téo, unbuttoning his dress to bare his chest. Téo loved, and hated, being beaten there. It was about the only kind of touch that felt right in that area, and it was so damn intense because, really, when you’re binding so many hours a day, your skin gets fucking sensitive.

Jericho had taken out their braided cat. Téo adored this toy, and was aching to get beaten with it again. Last time, it’d felt like light was bursting out the top of his head.

It was better than he remembered, probably because he needed deep sensation so much. He closed his eyes and let it drive into him. Sublime intensity concentrated where he needed to let go. Jericho was fucking magic. When Rusty slid into his front hole, it felt so easy and solid. Rusty was holding him steady with his cock, anchoring him here in this room so he didn’t float too far.

Mikey saw the shift before it happened. Jericho signaled to their boy, and Rusty started moving, holding the sling steady, and doing all the work himself, so that Jericho would have a clear target. They drove into the boy at both ends, watching him arc and writhe, and waited for him to scream. It was beautiful. They rode the boy together, building him up in spirals, and Jericho stopped beating him just in time to catch his scream in their mouth in a sweetly vicious kiss.

“Tender yet?” Jericho asked, poking Téo’s chest and grinning when he yelped.

“Yeah,” Téo managed to get out between yelps. Jericho motioned to Mikey and Dax.

“I’ve got host duties. Your turn to muss the boy up a bit.” They smiled down at Téo and tousled his curls. “You sure are sweet,” they murmured and, squeezing his shoulder, walked off on their boy’s arm.

Dax picked up the scissors and teased them against the boy’s cheek. Ze was going to enjoy this, and had been fantasizing about it for a long time.

Mikey slid on a glove, lubing it up. She nipped at the boy’s thigh, watching him squirm. She wanted him writhing on her arm, and soon.

Rebecca got her hand in Téo’s curls, and was doing that twisting-pulling thing that felt like sex. Dax snapped the scissors close to his ear, making him jump. Mikey was doing something slithery and twisty in his front hole. Damn, her paw was big. He wanted it inside him so bad, punching into his cervix with those powerful huge arms. Why was she going so damn slow? He was all-over impatient.

That’s when Dax began to cut into his perfect dress. He started to pull at the ropes, glaring at Dax, who seemed to get even bigger and more excited the more he glared. Xóchi and Lee began to pull at the tears Dax was making, and the fabric made a wet, almost breaking sound as they ripped it. Somehow, Téo was sobbing. Rebecca was stroking his hair, gathering him to her breast, and Mikey slid deeper into him and stilled.

Dax met his eyes, and he was held in the demand and witness of someone who got it. Got how helpless he needed to be, and how much he needed to let go, and how tender and new he was inside, and how scary it was to let others know that. Dax placed the scissors on his bare stomach, holding them firmly against him. They were cold and warm at the same time. How was that possible?

Dax reached over and stroked Téo’s cheek, lifting hir fingers to suck off his tears. Ze repeated Mikey’s question. “I’ve never seen anything quite like it before. I wonder what it is?”

This time, he could say it. “I am a tender sweet young thing.”

Mikey pulsed her hand inside him, and he moaned, repeating it, and getting rewarded by more twisting-pulsing yum that made his thighs quiver.

Lee and Xóchi growled, nuzzling his side. Rebecca stroked his curls, emerging with ribbons that she put in her own hair. He was getting stiff, and he wanted to move, so he said it: “Untie me this instant. My dress is getting mussed!”

They all chuckled and began untying him. Mikey stayed where she was, writhing her fingers inside him. “So, you want to be free for this, eh? That sounds perfect,” she said.

“Oh yes,” he said and used his newly free hands to shift position. He knew if he hit the right spot, oh yes…her hand slurped in, and she grinned at him.

The rest of the tigers began to nuzzle his belly, and neck, and thighs. Mikey went to work in his hole, pulsing, then twisting, still going way too damn slow for him, and he told her so, began to work with her, thrusting on to her fist, telling her to punch him deep inside, he could take it, he wanted it, her fat fist was exactly what he needed. She caught on real fast and began slamming into him just right, and he lost control of his muscles and just let her take over. He was impaled on her huge and perfect fist, and he could feel it build in his chest. Damn…did he really need to cry again?

It seemed that he did, and as he began to sob, five tigers chose their spots and bit. Dax chose his belly, the soft part of him, the place where he was most tender. Rebecca went after his neck, sucking hard on the bite, wanting him to remember her teeth for days to come. Xóchi chose the inside of his arm, and that hurt the fucking worst. Damn, she was evil in the best way. Mikey bit down on the heel of his hand as she came because he felt so damn good spasming around her fist. Lee chose his thigh, and it mixed in with the sex to push him over into a sobbing orgasm that spiraled through him until he was spent. They all bit down and savored the sweetness of him, feeding on his tears, past his pleasure, until they were sated.

They gathered him up and found him a blanket, stroking his curls as he slurped down water, feeding him dried mango and chocolate on the huge round bed that was close by. Dax and Lee had a more substantial snack, being diabetics after all. Xóchi and Rebecca just shared his chocolate, each clutching their scrap of Téo’s dress. Lee admired the ribbons in Rebecca’s hair and stroked her neck, showing her teeth. No one was surprised that they wandered off. Xóchi’s girl was done cleaning and curled up at her feet, head on her boots. Jericho came by with his boy to claim scraps of the dress, kiss Téo’s cheek, and poke his bruises. He could tell he’d made Jericho proud and let that sink in.

After a while, Dax turned to Téo, serious. “You are brave and precious, and a delight to me. Thank you.” Ze gathered him close and twined hir fingers in his curls. Mikey nudged Dax and wrapped them both in her arms, nuzzling Téo and asking if he might like to come home with them. He had been hoping for that, and smiled sweetly, nodding. He was glad he didn’t need to put his armor back on just yet, content to have his tender spots showing for a bit longer.


This guest post is part of Xan West’s blog tour for hir new book Show Yourself To Me, available now from Go Deeper Press. Buy ebook or print copies at Go Deeper Press | Buy the ebook on Amazon

In Show Yourself to Me: Queer Kink Erotica, Xan West introduces us to pretty boys and nervous boys, vulnerable tops and dominant sadists, good girls and fierce girls and scared little girls, mean Daddies and loving Daddies and Daddies that are terrifying in delicious ways.

Submissive queers go to alleys to suck cock, get bent over the bathroom sink by a handsome stranger, choose to face their fears, have their Daddy orchestrate a gang bang in the park, and get their dream gender-play scene—tied to a sling in an accessible dungeon.

Dominants find hope and take risks, fall hard and push edges, get fucked and devour the fear and tears that their sadist hearts desire.

Within these 24 stories, you will meet queers who build community together, who are careful about how they play with power, who care deeply about consent. You will meet trans and genderqueer folks who are hot for each other, who mentor each other, who do the kind of gender play that is only possible with other trans and genderqueer folks.

This is Show Yourself to Me. Get ready for a very wild ride.

The stops on the blog tour:

October 1: Xan West https://xanwest.wordpress.com/
October 2: Book Birthday! Go Deeper Press http://godeeperpress.com/
October 3: Heather Elizabeth https://kinkopedia.wordpress.com/
October 4: Sinclair Sexsmith http://www.sugarbutch.net/
October 5: Hermia Swann http://www.cuntext.com/
October 6: Dilo Keith https://dilokeith.wordpress.com/ and Cecilia Tan http://blog.ceciliatan.com/
October 7: Kinky Brits http://thekinkybrits.com/
October 8: Stella Harris http://stellaharris.net/
October 9: F. Leonora Solomon https://fdotleonora.wordpress.com/
October 10: Tasha Harrison http://tashalharrison.com/
October 11: Benji Bright http://www.theeroticledger.com/
October 12: Tamsin Flowers http://tamsinflowers.com/ and Karida http://submissionandthecity.com/
October 13: Cassandra Perry http://cassandrajperry.com/
October 14: Peep Scoop http://www.peepscoop.com/ and Radical Access Mapping Project https://radicalaccessiblecommunities.wordpress.com/
October 15: Sugar Cunt http://www.sugarcuntwrites.com/
October 16: Emily Byrne http://writeremilylbyrne.blogspot.com/
October 17: Oleander Plume http://poisonpendirtymind.com/
October 18: K. A. Smith https://authorka.wordpress.com/
October 19: Giselle Renarde http://donutsdesires.blogspot.com/
October 20: Butchtastic Kyle http://www.butchtastic.net/
October 21: Lisabet Sarai http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com/
October 22: Syrens https://syrens.wordpress.com/
October 23: Anna Sky http://www.iamannasky.com/
October 24: Jade A. Waters http://jadeawaters.com/
October 25: Kal Cobalt http://kal-cobalt.squarespace.com/
October 26: Rebekah Weatherspoon http://www.rebekahweatherspoon.com/
October 27: Malin James http://malinjames.com/
October 28: BD Swain http://www.bdswain.com/ and Jillian Boyd http://jillianboydauthor.wordpress.com/
October 29: Kaleigh Trace http://thefuckingfacts.com/
October 30: Kiki DeLovely https://kikidelovely.wordpress.com/
October 31: Xan West https://xanwest.wordpress.com/ and Annabeth Leong http://annabetherotica.com/

DJ’s Birthday Gangbang (Kai & DJ #4)

I have always wanted to throw someone a gangbang. And by someone, I mean DJ. Maybe because they’ve thrown a few for me—it’s amazing how easy it became to orchestrate one after we’d been traveling to go to kink conferences for a few years—or maybe because I’ve never seen a gang bang where the person at the center is also the top. I’m not quite sure I can wrap my head around it, even though DJ and I have talked about it a bunch.

This year, for their birthday, I decided: fuck it. Let’s just try. Worst case scenario, all the hotties we know come and it’s an awkward good time.

I’ve invited a dozen people to meet us at the dungeon at IMsL at 8pm on Friday, and DJ thinks they and I are having a scene. I asked them to strap, and I’m bringing their favorite toys to use to fuck me up.

They’ll fuck me last. I mean, they’ll do whatever they want, but I hope to be last, even better if they let me get them off after they’ve gotten their fill of everyone else. I’m packing, for sure, and wearing a crisp white tee shirt I starched just for this. On top of that, my leather shorts, suspenders, and my tall boots. I mean it is a leather event, after all.

International Ms. Leather, IMsL, is one of my—our—favorites. It happens annually in the San Francisco Bay Area. The focus is on leather women, but all kinds of genders attend, and the vast majority is queer. There are dozens of classes with amazing presenters in the day, and evening entertainment while some folks compete for the titles of International Ms. Leather and International Ms. Bootblack. We’ve been attending for the past five years, ever since 2009 when everything blew up and we almost broke up, but it ended up being a huge transformation instead. We’d always been open and slutty, but it took a reconfiguring of our relationship to put kink play in the center of our sex lives. We’ve been going to all kinds of workshops, demos, parties, and munches since then. We really reprioritized what DJ calls ‘preserving the boners,’ and have revalued sex in our partnership (and outside of it). I mean, we didn’t want to break up—but we weren’t having sex, like at all, so something had to shift. I’ve been in relationships like that before, where sex peters out and wanes, and I’d never been able to get it back—but hey, we did! It is possible, I always believed in it, I’d just never actually seen it happen before. It sounds cheesy, but I think we really loved each other enough that we wanted to stay together, so we both made commitments to change and keep growing. Plus, therapy. That was essential.

And events like these weekends are so rejuvenating for us now. It’s like we can shut out the world, dive into the power and strength of our sexual connection, and let the rest of our lives go for the whole long weekend. So blissful. It helps that we know everyone here after going for so long—but I still love meeting the new folks. You could say I have a fetish for showing the newbies the ropes. I figure it’s part of my community service.

I show up in the dungeon at 7:30 to get the perfect spot—the corner where a sling, cross, and a massage table are all nearby. Nobody else is there for the gangbang yet, but they will be soon. I told them to be a little early. My pulse is racing already and I’m nervous but excited to get this going. How will it work? What will we do? Do I really have to sit here and wait, with nothing to do, for twenty minutes?

Thankfully, Tanner walks in carrying a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY sign and starts looking around for me. “Over here,” I projct my voice to reach them. They nod and head toward me.

“Setting up?” Tanner asks, giving me a hug.

“Yeah, not much to do though really. I mean all the equipment is already here, so. I like this corner. Lots of options.”

We hear a smack and someone yelps from the next room over, the thin hotel walls barely concealing it. But mostly the dungeon spaces are empty. Everyone is probably still in the hospitality suite having drinks.

Tanner agrees with me about the corner, and we tart talking about the details—who is coming, how will it work? I’m getting excited. It’s going to be great. Where is everyone? Where is DJ? They had a playdate a few hours ago and were going to shower and nap before joining us at 8, but it must be almost time.

A few more folks arrive—Tanner’s friend Rachel; one of my occasional playdates, Lee; DJ’s regular fuckbuddy (and sometimes boy) Ayden. We all discuss what we’re going to do, and how our IMsL has been so far. Lee has already been in two other gangbangs today.

“It’s important to have that friend you can rely on to show up for your gangbang,” I grin at Lee.

“It is my pleasure, buddy, all mine,” they respond generously, clapping me on the shoulder.

Ayden and Tanner are doing that flirting dance, nervously watching each other and talking low. Rachel is pretty quiet, as usual, she’s just watching us all and playing with what’s left of her hair. I’ve never seen it this short—she must’ve cut it for IMsL. Practically a boy cut from the back, but the front comes down to her chin and frames her face. It’s very cute. Something about it makes me want to kiss her.

A few other folks arrive, and Tanner and Lee make the rounds in the dungeon to see if there are any stragglers who would want to come join our scene. They come back with a few wide-eyed new kinklings in tow, talking about negotiation skills and what we’re planning in our scene. Mostly, this gangbang will mean that DJ will have an audience for whatever play they want to do, and each of us gets to have a turn with them. I decided to set a timer: 3 minutes each. That’s not a lot of time, but I also kind of expect people to start lining up if they hear that DJ is down here flogging anyone who wants it. We’re all milling about a little, and Ayden and Tanner start making out, Tanner sitting up on the massage table and Ayden between their legs.

And then DJ comes in.

“What! Is this!” They shout, grinning ear to ear, arms held out wide as now more than a dozen queers rush over to them, grinning, offering hugs and kisses.

“Happy birthday!” We all yell. I’m still in the corner, holding a flogger in one hand and my phone in the other. DJ makes their way to me, scooping me into their arms and holding me hard for a deep kiss. I laugh and moan, melting in their arms.

“Happy birthday, Sir,” I say, quiet. “Welcome to your birthday gangbang.”

“What! Oh man, this is the best. Thank you, Kai, and thank YOU …” they raise their eyes to the group, gathered around tightly, eager to get going.

I put on my game face. “Here’s how it works: You get three minutes each, and thirty seconds to negotiate what you’re going to do. I mean, more if you need it, but most of these folks you know.”

DJ nods, eyes shining.

“Tanner is going first. From there, we’ll just keep offering ourselves to you, until you’re done. Good?”

DJ nods vigorously, eager. “Great.”

“And … can I be last?” I ask, a little quieter.

“Absolutely.”

I think their face is going to break from smiling so hard. “Ready Tanner?”

Tanner hops down from the massage table and comes over to DJ, kneeling in front of them. “Ready, Kai. Ready, sir.”

I start my timer. “Go ahead, then!”

DJ leans down and they whisper with Tanner for a moment, then Tanner gets up and pulls their leather chest harness off, and then their tank top, so they are naked from the waist up. They cover the few steps over to the St. Andrew’s cross and DJ follows. DJ selects a flogger from the variety of toys I’d laid out and starts swinging. They’ve been playing together for months now, and DJ so skillfully knows how to warm them up and take them up to the edge, but not push them too far. It’s lovely to watch. Tanner starts breathing hard, I can see their chest heaving, sometimes twisting away from the flogger and crying out when it’s a particularly rough blow. Three minutes isn’t very long, though, and Tanner’s back is just starting to pinken when my timer chimes go off.

“Time!” I declare. “Next?” Rachel is right there next to me, so I snag her by the arm. “You ready?”

Her eyes are playful, sparkling. “Fuck yeah.” DJ directs Tanner back toward me and I catch them, stroke their skin while they purr and hum, eyes open, still anticipating what’s next. Rachel goes right over to DJ and asks, “Can I suck your cock? Please?”

“I would be honored,” DJ says, and unbuckles their belt. When DJ gets it into their hands and adds a condom, Rachel works her mouth on it, kissing and sucking, using her tongue expertly, her inner lips, her fingertips. She makes little noises around it, closes her eyes, swallowing like it’s gourmet dessert. DJ is rapt. We all are.

I almost forget about the timer, so I start it for two minutes and that goes by so quickly. “Lee, want to go next?” I stage-whisper. Lee nods. “Know what you’re going to do?” Lee shakes their head.

“Time,” I call over. Rachel grins and laughs a little, sucking the spit back into her mouth and giving a couple more tugs and kisses on DJ’s dick.

DJ groans. “Fuck, thank you.”

“Lee?”

Lee shyly walks over to DJ as they help Rachel up, and Rachel joins Tanner in the post-sexy blissed out pile. “What do you want to do, DJ? Anything in particular?”

“I want to fuck you.”

“Great. Yes please.”

They navigate expertly, getting Lee up on the massage table while Ayden and I grab lube and gloves. DJ has flavored condoms in their pocket and slide a new one over their dick. Ayden pulls up their Utilikilt to reveal nothing underneath—”The way god intended!” they declare—and they start in as soon as I start the clock. They’re comfortable enough together that they just go, without much warm-up: DJ slides in slow and starts to pound. Ayden holds their legs up by the knees.

“More lube!” Someone cheers.

“Yeah, get them!” We’re all crowded around, I can’t quite tell who is talking. Voices overlap as they start cheering DJ on.

By the time it’s my turn, half of the folks have wandered away or started their own scenes nearby, but we still have a few folks still watching.

“Do I need to set a timer?” I ask.

“Not for you, baby,” DJ answers. They’ve lost their shirt by now, skin slick with sweat. I lick some of it and it tastes so good, like DJ but saltier.

“What do you want? What can I do for you?”

They think a moment and then grab my hands. “Fist me,” they say. “Did you bring the Hitachi?”

“Yes.” I go for the toy bag and find the nearest plug. It is close enough so they can be on the massage table and it still reaches.

It takes us no time to set up. DJ is swift and determined, and I am so fucking hard after watching all of that. It’s only been an hour or so, but it was a lot of people, practically every instrument of torture and pleasure that I brought, and a lot of people to wrangle. DJ takes off their boots so they can remove their pants, and leaves their dick on. Their harness is easy enough to get under, and this way they can jerk it while I am inside of them.

They’re so wet. Open. Ready to be filled already. DJ leaves their hand lazily on their dick and works the Hitachi at the base, figuring out how best to feel the intense vibration through the harness, or whether it’ll fit under. They find a good spot and settle, sighing, back into the table. It still takes me a while to work four fingers into them, but once I do, and I add even more lube, the thumb tucks easily and I start to push. They open against me, pressing back, and I slide in. A perfect fit.

They start working their dick faster, and pressing the Hitachi harder, and bucking their hips against my hand, and by the time all of that is in place they don’t last long at all, and they come in a deep grunt and a tense spasm that crunches my hand and starts to push it out, leaving only a few fingers still trailing inside. DJ is panting on the table. They pull me up on top of them, between their legs, my weight on their whole body, and they kiss me soft and sweet. Rachel brings over their water bottle, refilled again. Ayden and Tanner are doing some wrestling scene nearby, laughing and grunting at each other.

“So good, Kai,” DJ is still smiling, blissed out and high.

“I’m so glad,” I say back, hugging them hard. “I want your birthdays to be special.”

“Is there anyone left at IMsL that you haven’t fucked?” Rachel asks, holding the water bottle so DJ can sit up a bit more.

They laugh. “I think there are a few more, yeah. Hey, it’s only Friday, after all!”

I laugh, taking a swig of water. I can feel it go down my throat, cold and sweet.

Featured image from Crash Pad Series Episode #98, Micah Riot and Papi Coxxx.

Weight. Mouth. Rough Sex.

Content Warning: Force, coercion, descriptions of rough sex. Also dominance and submission, and depictions of ownership.

Sometimes I just think of the simplest of things.

Your mouth.

That look on your face, that look, when you’re giving over even more, just a little deeper, giving in to the sensation, giving in to wherever I’m moving your body, however I’m touching you.

Your skin.

The way your hands feel in mine. The way my fingers close around your wrist or throat or earlobe. The back of your head in my palm.

I think of these little flashes of your body, of us.

Other times, a more elaborate story.

What happens when I pick you up and drive you somewhere deserted and quiet, an empty kind of creepy parking lot where no one is around, no other cars, and lock the doors before I force your head into my lap. You struggle against me, but you know I will have my way, no matter what you do. You know it’s better to go easy, but not too easy, because then I’ll beat you for liking it.

I don’t really need an excuse to take you, or to hurt you, or to use you. It is so comforting, so deeply validating, to be able to have you in this way. To know that if you are in arm’s reach, I can use you for anything I may need, from fetching me a glass of water to your hands as an ashtray to your holes for my cock or fingers or tongue or whatever I might want to do with them.

Lately, I think a lot about rough sex. Pressure and strain and resistance and using my weight against gravity to hold you down. I think about going too far, pushing too hard, making you gag, spit, sputter, making you cry out and bleed, bruises under my fingers holding you so tight, making you beg and cry, making you take it anyway. There’s something about the release on that level that is different—deeper?—than most other releases for me … knowing I can just pour into someone else and they can hold it, they have to. I love how you do this for me.

You release me in so many other ways, too, though. Moments of energetic intensity come to mind, times we’ve been outside with your hand in me in some way, the earth underneath shooting up and connecting me with … everything. I miss being somewhere with places to fuck outside.

I think about what it’s like to force you, use you, disregard what you’re feeling in your body or your mind. Why is that such a fetish, such a kink of mine, when I am so obsessed with consent and permission and pleasure and connection? Maybe I’ve just answered my own question. And knowing that we are both guided by a deep craving here—me, the craving to play with taking and owning and destruction, and you, the craving of being used and coerced and owned—is what makes the play possible, of course. Without that deep craving underneath the play, it would be completely different, and unappealing.

Fuck, I am so grateful for how our wounds/gifts are attuned.

Lately, I think a lot about your sucking mouth. Maybe that is the equal and opposite of thinking about pounding into your open holes: instead, having this sweet suckling softness draw it all out of me. I think of you sucking your thumb or sucking my toes or nipples or cock, even the uncut packing cock, my current favorite. I get hard with just the thoughts. The way you can nestle in and cuddle up to my thighs, sigh, and relax.

Somehow, when I’m deep inside you, when you’re slowly drawing me hard and all of the things pent-up inside start drizzling out, that’s when I can best let go, feel the tightness in my shoulders unravel, and relax, too.

Yes, you really do need that packing cock from New York Toy Collective. Use the code SUGARBUTCH to get $5 off (free shipping!).

Turn Your Rough Fantasies into Responsible Reality

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Everyone has them: Those rough fantasies that involve some sort of thing that you aren’t sure you would ever actually do, but that really, really does it for you. And maybe, just maybe, you would like to explore some of them.

Maybe you even feel a little guilty for liking it so much.

Maybe you really have to shove aside your inner feminist that tells you that the force play and the kind of rough, degrading sex that fill up your rough fantasies are bad and wrong. But there are ways to play with these rough desires that your mind keeps circling around to, and to play with them in responsible, ethical, contained, and safe ways.

Here’s some things to keep in mind.

1. Everybody Fantasizes!

It’s true. Men, women, genderqueer folks, trans and cis folks, lesbians, gay guys, dykes, queers of all flavors and stripes—pretty much all of us have some sort of inner erotic life where we fantasize. I’m of the opinion that anyone who tells you they don’t fantasize is either lying—or, of course, asexual. And it is really, really common to fantasize about things that we might not even want to do, or might not be possible to do.

Still not convinced? Here’s your homework: Read this book—My Secret Garden by Nancy Friday came out in 1973 and details hundreds of women’s fantasies. It’s totally eye-opening, and will help you see how common rough fantasies are.

2. Fantasizing about rough, dangerous things is normal!

Why do we love rough fantasies? Because power. Because the inner wild sexy animal beast isn’t necessarily tamed, and you don’t necessarily want it to be. Because playing deep in your physical body makes us feel really alive, which is really, really sexy.

3. Comfort Your Inner Feminist With Consent & Agency

Consider these concepts: Agency is the ability to have control over your own self, and to decide what happens for yourself. Consent is usually taught as the ability to say no, but it also includes the ability to authentically say yes. And if you buy into these two feminist concepts—which I most certainly do, and which I believe are the foundation of good rough fantasy enactment—you gotta believe that when someone is authentically saying yes to something, authentically and resoundingly consenting, and you trust their agency, then the things the two of you are doing together are not wrong or anti-feminist, but are in fact deeply within a feminist framework. (See what I did there?)

4. Get Brazen & Bold

If you want to turn more of your rough fantasies into reality, it’s really important to figure out how to communicate openly about sex and desire. You gotta be able to talk about what you fantasize about in order to make it happen. If you don’t do this at all right now, start slow—go to a kinky class at your local sex toy store, or read an erotica book aloud.

5. Get Further Involved with the Kink Communities

It helps to feel like this is a normal things to crave, desire, and pursue when the people around you have similar fantasies. And let me assure you: No matter how rough or dirty or perverted or “wrong” your fantasies might be, there is somebody out there with much more rough dirty perverted and wrong fantasies. It is much more likely that you are in the middle of the bell curve, and that your rough fantasies are quite a bit like everybody else’s.

6. Sharpen Your Kick-Ass BDSM Skills

Take it from Napoleon Dynamite: “Girls like guys who have great skills.” (Substitute “people” here and that’s more what I mean cuz I am a queermo like that.)

You can actually do some damage when you’re doing dangerous rough fantastic sexytimes play. Don’t use impact toys that you don’t know how to use, don’t do dangerous play that involves breath or cutting the skin without getting some training. People out there in the kink communities are very, very skilled and experienced, and they can teach you.

If you’re a bottom, and fantasize about wanting to receive some of those dirty dangerous things: Play with trustworthy tops. Build trust slowly before doing extremely risky scenes, or play in public.

7. Don’t Forget Aftercare!

Especially when you’re playing with rough, risky (emotionally or physically), or edgy fantasies, make sure everyone feels good afterward. Check in with each other, schedule some cuddle time or chatting time or casual fun time to connect and bring things up if anything needs talked about. Talk about ways to comfort each other and how best to

Rinse, Lather, and Repeat!

Keep experimenting with your own pleasure. Follow the heat. You may not know where it leads ultimately, but you can usually figure out just the one next step. Listen to your body and your mind and that special inner place in you that knows stuff.

If you learn how to do these rough fantastic things you fantasize about, and communicate openly with folks who will be willing play partners and collaborators in your fantasies, you’ll be responsible AND have some fun hot sexytimes. It really is possible!

Photo from Unsplash


Bonus PS … I am still jerking off to Lust Cinema, my December sponsor on Sugarbutch. Did you find any good ones over there yet?

Follow your own Kinky Desire Map

This past summer, while rife and I were running the Submissive Playground ecourse (which is open for registration for the January 2015 session, btw!), we kept talking about the path that folks take to discover and enhance their kink identities. For example, what sparks the pursuit of kink? How do we go from a dabbler to a connoisseur? How do we make it a priority in our lives in order to get and keep deeply satisfying erotic relationships? Why do so many people struggle to prioritize it? What is the process that happens?

Always the visual processor, rife drew and took notes and drew some more, until he came up with this: the Kinky Desire Map. It’s a map of the process—to the best of rife’s and my ability to express, anyway—of developing a kinky identity and coming into prioritizing kinky desire. This isn’t the process everyone takes, of course, and it’s not necessarily linear, or exhaustive—but I do see a lot of common progressions with all the folks I’ve talked to about identity and kink, so we’ve tried to capture that here.

So how does it work? Let’s break it down! Start at the lower left corner, and follow along.

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[Download the big version of rife’s image here]

1. Interest! Spark!

This is where it all begins. For so many people, their way into kink is witnessing some sort of kinky act in a book, or a film, and it gets our erotic wheels turning. Sometimes it’s a partner who sparks our interest in something, by making suggestions for ways to play. Or it could be our own mind that comes up with something dirty—who knows where it came from, but it’s just always been there. This is the part where we’re saying, “I’m curious about _____.” The interest could be a secret desire that has been held for a long time, or could have just happened this morning like whoa. The interest and curiosity leads to …

2. Experiments!

This is the time where you play play play, and follow your desire. Sometimes called a “slut phase,” the newness of everything is part of the appeal, and trying even more new things can be a thrill. Experimenting can make more sparks of interest happen, and then you get to experiment with the new spark. Once you’ve done a variety of experiments in a variety of situations with a variety of people, they can lead to actually making conclusions about our desires, what we like and don’t like, and how we’re wired. So this is the phase when we start making declarations: “I like _____.”

3. Pursue your interests!

Find the right tools for the right job.
This is where you know what you like, so you start building your skills and experience. Watch porn. Go to workshops. Take an ecourse. Read erotica. Practice. Find the right tools for the right job. Find a mentor. This is when we can start saying, “I’m pretty good at ____.”

4. Become yourself!

Sometime in here (though not necessarily in this order), some of us start realizing that this isn’t just a thing I do, it could possibly be a thing that I am, and start forming some identity around it. So this is when we start telling others about it in new ways, explaining that I’m not just a weirdo who likes rough sex, I’m a dominant (for example), and I am actually part of an entire rough sex community. Figuring out how you fit into the kinky communities that are out there is part of this. Then, we also start integrating this kinky aspect of ourselves into our identity as a whole. We start saying, “I am _____.”

5. Prioritize your preferences!

This is when we start saying, to ourselves and others, “I need my partners to be ___.”
This is hard, but completely necessary if you’re going to stop dating in the general population and start filtering specifically for your kinks. You’re not nearly as likely to find a submissive girl at the gay bar, for example, as you are if you go to a kinky D/s meetup for queers. If you are prioritizing your preferences strongly, you’ll have to start making some choices about who you want to be playing with and who you’re looking for in the long run. (Of course, some of us are in open relationships, so that “long run” thing applies a little differently.)

6. Pursue it!

Life happens. We don’t stay the same. While we might have one very well-formed kink identity for a while, it might shift. Your partner’s might shift.
If you keep prioritizing your preferences, pursuing your interests, and building your skills, you will find people who can meet you. Don’t settle. You can If you’re going at this kink thing solo, ask yourself: What will I pursue? What will I say yes to? What will I turn down? If you’re in a relationship and trying to pursue more kink, ask: How do our kinks fit? How do I find the overlaps? What do I do about the places where we are incongruous? Talk to each other about what’s going on. Express and share fantasies and keep experimenting and stay open and watch for the changes. Because of course, life happens. We don’t stay the same. While we might have one very well-formed kink identity for a while, it might shift. Your partner’s might shift. Integrate change as best as you can and keep going.

7. Practice, practice, practice!

Life continues, and your Kinky Desire Map does, too. You might have a big breakup—go back to identity and prioritizing yourself and your preferences. You might spice it up with more experiments. You might reach some stagnation and have the identity, but not enough play. Add more experiments! Go back to pursuing interests and keep learning. You’ll find new sparks and start all over again, but this time with more resources, and more foundations. You might fall in love again. You might uncover a whole new slew of kinks you want to pursue. Keep practicing, and advancing your practice, and studying yourself and how you work. Only you are the expert on all of this in your own mind and body and energy, and if you continue to prioritize it and use it as a muscle and a skill, you’ll keep it healthy, and keep growing.

So … Where are you on the map?

Where do you want to be? Where have you been in the past? Maybe it’s time for you to make your own Kinky Desire Map. Figure out where you’ve been, and where you are, and that can help you get to where you want to go.

Secret PS … Thanks to Lust Cinema, my December sponsor on Sugarbutch. If you’re into beautiful feminist women-centric erotic films (cough*porn*cough), go check ’em out.

10 Tips for Tops

There are many styles of dominance, mastery, and topping, from the paternal to the viciously mean, but regardless of where you are, I believe you can be better. I believe this exploration of power dynamics can be a spiritually fulfilling path, and that it can lead us to many lessons and areas of growth.

Those of us who are on this side of the D/s slash, we who are the People In Charge, have a lot of challenges to building a healthy version of this identity, particularly when we are doing it in a context of social activism, intersectional oppression, and general awareness of institutionalized power imbalances. Here’s some of the best tips I have for folks who want to up their topping or dominance game, and be stronger, more resilient, and more compassionate while they are pursuing this work.

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Image by rife of Rowdy Ferret Design & Illustration

1. Create a Palette of Permission

If it’s hard for you to figure out what to do in a scene, or if your perfect submissive looks up at you and says, “I’ll do anything you want!” and your mind goes blank, this is a good thing for you to focus on. Create a list, on your own or brainstorming together with your submissive, of things that you know you have permission to do, in general, in periods where you are both your fit and healthy selves. (They may not apply when one or either of you are having an off day, are sick or physically unwell, or in different states of consciousness—like asleep or playing with some substances. They probably also only apply in certain places, like when you two are alone or in kink-friendly events. Check in.) Make a Top Ten list of things that generally your sub really loves and could do over and over and over. Trust that you can return to each of these things hundreds of times before either of you will get bored. There are infinite variations. Bonus tip: Make a wishlist of things you want to include in your Palette, but don’t currently know how to do, and start learning!

2. An On Switch For Your Dominance

Use your favorite words or positions that make you both feel empowered, deliberate, and sexy.
Many tops and dominants who play with power exchange during scenes, but whose reach and sphere of control don’t extend into other areas of their submissive’s life, need a way to have an “on switch” for their dominance (and an “on switch” for their submissive’s submissiveness, too). Consider building a D/s ritual that will, eventually, when repeated enough times, serve like a kind of Pavlovian symbol for you two stepping into those roles, something you both have a visceral response to. This ritual can be things like: You stand and your sub kneels at your feet; Your sub picks three toys and lays them out on the bed, then gets into a “present” slave position, and you enter the room; You recite a back-and-forth agreed upon (simple) phrases or promises to each other. Use your favorite words or positions that make you both feel empowered, deliberate, and sexy.

3. Receiving as a Dominant

Sometimes it seems incongruous to receive sexual touch or services from the top or dominant position. I assure you: this is common and makes a lot of sense. It’s difficult to feel “in control” and also at the same time to relax and receive. (Sidenote: This is at times very related to one’s gender, and one’s amount of stoneness. Most cis male doms—as a stereotype—don’t seem to have a problem receiving blow jobs, for example, do they?) One of the best ways you can work on this is by being very vocal with what you want to receive, and continuing to give orders and corrections and suggestions throughout the process. You also might want to work with physical levels, where you are physically above your submissive, to remind yourself that you are still in charge, even if their fist is in your hole. And read the essay How to Top Your Master by Raven Kaldera. Though it’s directed more at submissives, there are many useful things in there for dominants.

4. Got Guilt? More Aftercare

If you feel guilty after your scenes as a dominant, check in about it. Ask yourself: Did I really want to be doing that? Was I having a good time? Was my partner having a good time? Did we all come away from the scene generally glad the scene had happened? Scenes aren’t always perfect, of course (and aren’t always full of happy smiles and sunshine and rainbows). But generally, did it go well? Did you want to be there? Because honestly, if you feel that much guilt, maybe you didn’t. Maybe you’d be better suited to less psychologically intense play. But if that’s not the case, and you really do want to be there (and your partners eagerly consent, of course), then you gotta deal with that nagging guilt from an internalized prescription of egalitarianism. It’s okay to create the relationship you want to be in. Normalize it for yourself by seeking more D/s community and sharing your experiences with others. And make sure you get enough aftercare yourself. You might need down time after, or quiet private time, or reflective time where your sub tells you all about what they liked and how all those dirty things you did made them feel. Or maybe cuddles. Experiment, and find your best aftercare methods.

5. Build Trust Slowly

Build the trust you need from your submissive to know that they are honest and they can follow through on what they agree to.
D/s and power dynamics are completely built on trust. Thats part of what I love about it: It requires so much deep knowing and intimacy. It takes work to keep it safe, protected, and intact. When the relationship is going well, the work can feel effortless. But this trust doesn’t just show up when a submissive kneels and offers themself to you. You gotta build this trust between you slowly. Most of us do this intuitively, but it’s helpful to do it consciously too. Not only are they building the trust they need from you, since they are putting their body and psyche into your hands, but also you are building the trust you need from them, which includes the ability to trust that they are honest with you if they get overwhelmed or need to stop, trusting they mean what they say, and trusting for them to reach out for support. Trust builds slowly and is earned over time. Don’t rush it.

6. Two-footing a Scene

This is a concept I learned from Xan West, which is the idea that generally, in a scene, the top is completely “in” the scene and present while still holding the boundaries of the negotiated agreement and some awareness of the surrounding space (though whether you’re at a busy dungeon or home alone would make that slightly more or less challenging)—that’s two-footing, being both in the scene and in the reality. Most of the time, it’s just a given that the top is the one who is doing this two-footing. But some activities really cause us tops to lose our footing. (Has that ever happened to you?) Make a list of activities that you think could cause you to tumble so deep into the scene that you have trouble keeping a hold on reality. Lean on your submissive for support, perhaps ask them to hold the boundaries and negotiations of the scene so you can lose yourself. Bonus: Make a list of realities that keep you so engaged that its hard to dive into the scene at all, like for example a crowded dungeon.

7. Recovering from Fuck-ups

Some of us have really strong reactions to fucking something up. We beat ourselves up about it, our confidence crumbles, and we shirk away from whatever it was we fucked up for a long time after. If you want to up your dominant game, you gotta get good at fucking up, because here’s the thing: You will fuck something up. I don’t mean something huge and irreparable (hopefully not), but more so small things that will stop or delay a scene for a while until you can get things back on the rails. The measure of someone (a dominant or partner or sub or just about everybody, I think) isn’t whether or not they fuck up, it’s what they do and how they respond to that fuck-up. So ask yourself: Do you take responsibility? Sincerely apologize? Understand what went wrong? Integrate that into your being so you will remember not to do that same thing again? And then, when the other folks involved are ready to move forward, can you let it go? Work on your ability to recover from fuck-ups and your scenes will be smoother.

8. Dive Deep into Theory

Read all the books and blogs you can get your hands on. Find your local resources and study those, too.
The power exchange subject isn’t an abundant one, but there are books out there, and really good theorists who from whom you should absolutely learn. Raven Kaldera runs Alfred Press, and they have dozens of books about cooperative power dynamics, limitations, and real scenarios for living D/s and M/s. Andrea Zanin’s writing is largely compiled at sexgeek.wordpress.com and every piece is worth reading. (She also has a fantastic list of kink resources, including many specific power dynamic books.) I highly recommend these: 1) Dear Raven and Joshua: Questions and Answers about Master/Slave Relationships by Raven Kaldera and Joshua Tenpenny, 2) Slavecraft: Roadmaps for Erotic Servitude – Principles, Skills and Tools by a grateful slave with Guy Baldwin 3) The Marketplace Series (The Marketplace, The Slave, The Trainer, The Academy, The Reunion and The Inheretor) by Laura Antoniou.

9. You Are Not An Asshole

If you—like me and like many thoughtful, feminist, and sensitive dominants—have fear that what you are doing is “bad” and “wrong” and difficult to reconcile with your moral code, here are some ideas. First, make sure you really understand the concept of agency. You fully trust someone’s no, right? You can trust their yes, too. You can trust that they, not you, know what they want. Second, remember that everyone fucks up, and work on your ability to recover; don’t expect to be perfect and never make mistakes. Third, take a good, strong look at what you think being an asshole in this context would be, and actively work toward not being that. Remember: Most people who actually are assholes do not spend much time worrying about whether or not they are assholes. That you are concerned and aware tells me that it’s 95% likely that you are not an asshole. (That other 5% is for folks who are not so self-aware. So hey, build that muscle, and follow Socrates: Know thyself.)

10. Masturbate More

Are you getting stuck building scenes, finding creative new ways to use the toys you have, or creating dirty experiments for your sexytimes with your submissives or playmates? There’s an easy place to start for that one: Masturbate more. Spend more time with porn and erotica to fuel the fires of your erotic self, but also make sure you spend some significant time letting your mind wander into erotic territory and exploring whatever may show up there. Take notes and highlight things you’d actually like to try!

The Four Stages of Topping

When I started topping, I was self-conscious, nervous, easily crushed, and full of bravado and swagger. (I’d like to think that all of that was somewhat subtle, and that I was being at least a little transparent and honest about all of it, though when I look back at my old writing I think there’s more nervousness than I’d like to think.)

Sometimes, some beautiful girl would come along and our chemistry would be so amazing and the whole evening would just … flow. Then, I felt like there was no game, it was all just authentic interaction, following my energy and hers. Those were the nights I grabbed on to and scrutinized (and often wrote up, play by play, as a way to study them), trying to learn what it was that went well and how I could harness that.

As I gained more confidence, the way that I topped shifted a bit. I started wanting to control more, to push more, to play with more edges. I started wondering why I was so drained after I’d had a scene, and realized I wasn’t getting fed energetically in a way that felt replenishing.

That was mostly my fault, for the record; I wasn’t open to receiving, I was too focused on (fueling my ego by) giving.

I’ve really opened up since then. My style is really different, and I’m a lot less delicate. I have more confidence and certainty in what I’m doing. This is at least in part because I started identifying the kind of topping I was doing, and playing with other styles of topping.

In trying to articulate my own journey from a nervous I-wanna-be-a-top to an actual top (and beyond), I’ve noticed some patterns, and come up with a list of some of the different kinds of topping that we can play with. If you want to become a better top, I’ve found that it’s really useful to identify the area you’re primarily playing in right now, and the areas you’re interested in exploring. That way, you can start to feel your way along the path from where you are to where you’d like to be, and start identifying the barriers to being where you want, the places you need to focus and explore, and the next steps to get you there.

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Please note!

I’m using the word “stages,” but they’re more like “flavors,” different kinds. The stages aren’t necessarily linear. My goal is to make the unconscious more known, so we can start actually deciding if we do want to do the topping (or dominating or daddying or mommying or parenting or mastering or whatever verb you want to use for the person-in-charge) more intentionally. This is not comprehensive.

The Stages of Topping

1. Service Topping from the Bottom’s Palette of Pleasure

In service topping, the bottom lays out the things they like (what I’m calling a “palette of pleasure”), and the top then does those things. The top is the person who is doing the action, and the bottom is receiving, but the bottom is the one basically in charge of the actions that are happening.

Sometimes the negotiations are very specific, like: “So now that you told me what you like, I’m thinking that in this scene, I’m going to spank you over my lap with my hand, then get out the cane, then start fingering you, and keep using my hand on you until you come. How’s that sound?”

Sometimes the palette is picked up through conversation, like: “I really like my hair pulled.” “I can’t wait to suck your cock.” “Please make sure to bruise me up before you get me off.”

Either way, all actions have a specific green light from the bottom for the top.

It’s not that the bottom dictates each move play-by-play: “Okay, now put your hand there. Now hit me this hard. Now flip me over and fuck me hard!” Some folks would call that “topping from the bottom,” which is often meant to be an insult. (More about that another day.)

Sometimes the palette is picked up through conversation, like: “I really like my hair pulled.” “I can’t wait to suck your cock.” “Please make sure to bruise me up before you get me off.”

It can be such a huge relief for a top to have a palette to work from. Topping can be nerve wracking as you’re getting the hang of it: we have to make split second decisions about what to do, when to change something, when to stop or when to keep going, and what else to add. Figuring out what actual things to do on top of all that other stuff can sometimes make us freeze up. Having a palette can help this!

When service topping, the top is not necessarily (and sometimes neglectfully) attending to what they are feeling or what pleasures their body would like. The bottom’s needs are being attended to and they are being played with, but sometimes, service tops crave … more. (I certainly did.)

When I work with new tops who are trying to up their game, this is most often the stage they’re stuck within.

2. Topping from the Top’s Palette of Pleasure

Shifting the focus from the bottom’s palette of pleasure to what the top specifically wants to do right in the moment can be a big mind-fuck for the top. It seems simple, but having to make decisions or be in touch with what we want while also Being In Charge can cause our minds to lock up. If you’re the kind of top who goes along just fine and then when your bottom says, “I’ll do whatever you want; what do you want?” and you draw a total blank, this one might be for you to play in.

Step one here is to start brainstorming about what’s on your “palette of pleasure.” What acts do you totally love and would be thrilled to bust out to do at any given moment—assuming, of course, that you have the permission to do so? You need more than “blow job” on the list, buddy. See if you can come up with 10 things, then see if you can come up with 10 more. These might be things you love having done to your body, or things you love doing to the bottom’s body.

The more comfortable you are with a broad list of options, the more likely you are to come up with the exact right thing to do in the moment, based on consent and what tools you might have with you and the energy between you both.

Even when pulling from all those beautiful favorite things that the top loves, you still has to practice making decisions about what to do in the moment, which can be incredibly hard when there’s a lot of pressure on us, and especially hard when all of the blood is flowing in places other than our brains.

What’s on your “palette of pleasure”? What acts do you totally love and would be thrilled to bust out to do at any given moment—assuming, of course, that you have the permission to do so?
This is still a negotiated, consensual palette of sex acts and kinky explorations, and the bottom is explicitly involved in determining what’s on the palette. But the difference is that the top generates the ideas, and the bottom gives consent (or crosses them off the list).

Of course, a top’s and the bottom’s palettes of pleasure might completely overlap. On the one hand, that’s amazing and you’re very compatible. On the other hand, it makes exploring more complicated power dynamics a little harder. Some power dynamics and authority-based play revolves around being “forced” to do something one doesn’t want to do, but will do because it’s what the top wants.

So let’s talk about playing with edges.

3. Topping the Bottom’s Edges

Once you’ve built some trust, you’ve had lots of sexytimes, you are consenting to each other, you’re both dirty kinky folks who just want to do all sorts of things together, and you’ve done all the things on the top’s palette and the bottom’s palette—twice—but you still have some domination hunger … where do you go from there?

Here’s where edges come in. Find some edges to work. Identify some places where you’re curious. Have your bottom make a list of the 10 most favorite times he ever had sex, and talk about it, see if you can make any connections. Then have the bottom you’ve been playing with make a list of 10 things he’s never tried, but is curious to try. Talk about those, too. Delve into them with your smarty brains and see what is nervous but exciting about them. Read up on those kinks. Learn how to wield a flogger or a cane or a knife or whatever object they’re curious about. Learn how to punch with a roll of quarters in your fist for a deeper hit. Find a topping mentor to show you how. Have some threesomes. Go to a play party. Go to a kink retreat conference.

Whatever those edges might be, take it upon yourself to gently push them, making it a safe experience—emotionally and physically.

This takes a lot of trust, and a lot of ability to tell each other what’s going on between you, verbally and non-verbally. Always be more aware and cautious when playing in new arenas of play that are more unfamiliar. Cultivate impeccable aftercare skills.

When I’m playing with someone else’s edges, by which I mean when they are edges that the bottom has handed to me and asked me to play with, I think about it like this: I have consent to go this far, so I slowly approach that edge, and then back off. Then I do it again. And again. Each time I approach the edge, there is an opportunity for something new to open up, for that place to become a little less edgy and for it instead to be more fun and interesting and playful. Or maybe it doesn’t ever get easier, it stays hard, but it becomes a little less scary just by actually being there with it.

Cultivate impeccable aftercare skills.
I think of that process as somewhat like making an orgasm more intense. If I get out my vibrator and start going at it, I’ll slowly raise energy and pleasure in my body until eventually, most likely, I will come. It’ll be fine, but probably won’t last very long or be particularly memorable. But if I get close to coming, but pause just before I actually do, and then get myself close to coming again—if I edge a few times before I actually let myself get off—my orgasm will be longer lasting and more intense. I’ve inflated my capacity to hold energy and pleasure just a little more, so I end up with a bigger experience.

I think of it that way around kink and top/bottom edginess, too. If I work an edge by approaching it and then letting it dissipate, I can build it up again and again, and get to a greater capacity.

pleasureovertime

Illustration by rife

4. Topping the Top’s Edges

It might be easier to work your own edges than to work your bottom’s, or it might be easier to work your bottom’s—just depends on who you are and what your style is like. For me, it was much easier to work someone else’s edges (hello, control issues plus stone identity).

Regardless of the order you’re playing with, another palette to play with when you’re enhancing your own topping skills is with your own edges. Make the same lists: make a list of the 10 most favorite times you ever had sex, and see if you can make any connections. Make a list of 10 things you’ve never tried, but would like to. Make a list of areas of topping and sex and kink that are challenging for you, but that you’d like to be better at.

This is a place where your bottom gets to hold and witness some of your vulnerability with you. It takes more trust and transparency than some of the other stages. But to quote Sini Anderson: “Ask yourself how well you really know them. If someone you know really well asks you to trust them, try to trust them.” The best way to work your own edges is to have other folks there who are willing to support you while you’re taking small or big leaps toward what you want to be doing.

Say, for example, that you want to get better at humiliative dirty talk. Your partner has been asking for it for a while, and loves it whenever you can squeak out something diminutive, but it’s so hard for you to channel that kind of talk because you’re a nice person and you don’t necessarily like to say those kinds of mean things. But, since your partner is super into it, you’ve noticed that it makes you really, really hot to play with it. And it makes your partner hot. So you want to get better at it. But … it’s so scary and hard and edgy.

Make a list of the 10 most favorite times you ever had sex, and see if you can make any connections. Make a list of 10 things you’ve never tried, but would like to.
So maybe you co-create a scene with the bottom you’re playing with and they give you a list of ten different things you could say that are dirty and humiliating. You might even keep the list by your bed or on a post-it so you can reference it if you get stuck. They know that you are trying to get better at this one skill, so they are going to give you lots of positive feedback whenever it shows up in the play. And they are going to wear just the right outfit and say just the right things to encourage you to play your part.

Then after, they cuddle you and assure you that they loved it when you said those things, and that they know you are actually really nice and didn’t mean them and are very good and loving.

Really, we should all cultivate impeccable aftercare skills, tops and bottoms alike.

That’s just one example, but bringing in the bottom’s support and aftercare and ideas is a really good way for a top’s edge to be worked.

Working with your own edges can often be a place to seek if you want more satisfaction in your topping.

There are dozens of styles of topping

Of course, and there’s no one right or wrong way. I don’t mean to say that any of these are better or worse than the others, just that they’re different, and for the most part, we call all of them “topping.” Where are you at in your topping journey? Where would you like to be? Which are really easy for you, which are really challenging? Hopefully by identifying and talking about it, we can identify some of the places where we might be stuck or unsatisfied, and get to a stronger, more conscious, and more fun place to play and explore.

Dear Tops: Say Thank You

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Dear tops,

When someone corrects your technique while fucking, set your ego aside and say thank you.

Thanks for telling me.
Thanks for making that clearer.
I like knowing your body better, thanks.

You are lucky that she* spoke up—it is a good thing. It means she is capable of communicating about what feels good for her body during sex! I assume—I hope—we can agree that that is an important foundation of good sexytimes.

It also means that she knows what feels good on her body. Believe it or not, this is not a given. Many folks have not had the trust in a relationship (or their own body, or their gender) that it takes to really be able to show up fully feeling their bodies and just play, just explore. It’s rare.

But it doesn’t always feel like a good thing at the time, does it?

It feels like you were doing something wrong. Or it feels like you were being careless or unobservant. Maybe it was your best move, and now it feels like your mad skillz don’t work on this person, so what if the rest of your mad skillz don’t work either?

Or, if you’re doing some sort of power play thing, perhaps it can feel like she is “topping from the bottom,” trying to instruct you on what to do?

Being corrected or given even a little instruction can cause us tops to spin out in our heads with fear and anxiety so easily.

But it doesn’t have to.

It used to happen to me, more often than I care to admit. And even now, when I’m touching someone and they express some request for something to change or for me to stop, sometimes I feel hurt. But I guess I kind of set that aside (and perhaps, if I need it, request some (top) aftercare later), because in the moment, I remember my rule about it: To say thank you.

Even if I don’t say it aloud, I say it in my head. Thank you for telling me. I can relax in the script of what I’m supposed to say and how I’m supposed to react—based on my own morals, not on some imposed social code. That one little “thank you” can sometimes be a stand in for things like: of course, you know your body the very best and only you are feeling what it’s like to feel that, so I would be honored to know more about what works best for you.

I want it to be okay in sex play situations for everyone to speak up and request some sort of change if they need it. Faster, slower, harder, deeper, shallower, not so much on the nipples, you’re pulling my hair too hard, ow your knee is digging into my thigh, ease off the slapping please—whatever it is, I want to know, and I do not want to be so blinded by my sore ego that I make it seem like they shouldn’t say those things.

So I say an enthusiastic thank you, and I mean it.

Any questions? …

But what if you have some sort of power play in place?

So, in a dom/sub situation where the sub is just supposed to “take it” and you, the dom, are doing whatever you want to them, perhaps it’s a little different. But her discomfort isn’t any less important, and it isn’t running the scene any less: The entire point is that she is going to be uncomfortable.

(Some people are into that, myself included. It’s a game of trust and body literacy and self-knowledge and communication, and I find it exhilarating and fun and sexy as fuck. Not everybody’s into this, of course. And if you’re playing with power like this, play safe—negotiate, use safewords, play with folks you trust, check in after, and make sure everyone goes away from the experience feeling good.)

Why would a sub want to just “take it”? Maybe because they want to really play the part of being a good sub, or a good boy, or slave, or pet, or girl, or fucktoy, or kitty, right? Maybe she loves to feel overwhelmed with sensation and needs that kind of push to get her there. Or maybe because she’s trying to earn jerk off rights for the week, or maybe she wants to encourage you in your own edgy dominant territory.

I’m sure there are some other reasons, too. Feel free to leave them in the comments. What’s hot and sexy about “taking it” from your perspective?

From a dominant’s point of view, especially doms who are still getting their sea legs under them, causing someone else deliberate discomfort, for one’s own pleasure, with the disregard for that other person’s feelings or, gasp, physical pain … that can be so incredibly edgy. And some submissives love to play in edgy dominant territory. Still, it is a hurdle that is so hard to reconcile for many dominants and tops. (I’m not going to go too much into reconciliation here, but it’s related.)

So your job as the top in a “take it” discomfort scene (or at least one possible job—there are dozens of ways to do this, I’m sure!), is to find that edge of discomfort and ride it. And what better way to do that than by listening? Start by finding the places where there is so much pleasure, do all those things that you know her body just adores, and then do them just a little too much, or just a little too hard. Ride that edge and play with it, go from the pleasure into the discomfort and back, see how far you can push the discomfort while still bringing them back into the pleasure.

If you enter into the discomfort slowly, each time you cross back into it, you can explore farther, and then you can both get off on how much she is “taking it” just for you.

So when she expresses some sort of discomfort or makes a request—assuming she’s not saying, “Okay stop this, I want out of this scenario now,” or red or yellow or other some such safeword, of course, because you’re not a jerk—you aren’t obligated to do the change she is requesting, but it is always good to have the information about her body and how she expresses. This is a sensitive place for a very careful, calculated move, however, and it takes a lot of confidence and trust in each other to play with this edge. If I’m in a D/s scene and they make a specific request or correction, I usually ask myself, is there still pleasure going on with what I’m doing? If I lose track of the pleasure, most of the time I have basically kinda sorta I have lost the scene. It’s not ruined, but it needs some mending.

So I’ll follow the pleasure, and possibly go back to what I know is very pleasurable for us both. Or, I might keep doing what I’m doing for a couple more blows or heartbeats, just to prove that I can, and throw some dirty talk in to make remind her that she’s mine and I get to do what I want, at least for right now. Y’know, if that’s the dynamic. But I can’t not hear what she said, still. And I do care what it was. So I often still say “thank you,” if only in my mind.

Because see, you don’t just want her to “take it” from you, you also want her to trust you. Building trust is probably the most important thing in a D/s relationship. All that power we’re playing with is based on trust.

But regardless of whether it’s D/s or a one night stand, when she is expressing discomfort or has a request to do something different … set aside your ego, and say thank you.

The Ten Sugarbutch Cock Commandments

I’ve been teaching strap-on workshops for about six years now, and I’ve been strapping on for about fifteen. I also coach people to have more cock confidence (and to find the perfect cocks & harness for what they need). With all of this experience, I have some pretty strong opinions and philosophies about strap-on cocks and strap-on sex, and I have a lot of knowledge about what works for people and what doesn’t work.

But hey, remember that these are just my best ideas for strap-on play and philosophy at the moment. I reserve the right to change my mind and evolve my opinions about them later. Your best ideas may be different, and you might disagree with some of these—that’s a-okay by me. Just take what applies to you, and let go of the rest. If by chance I missed your personal favorite Cock Commandments, I invite you to leave them in the comments!

So here they are …

The Ten Cock Commandments

1. All bodies have holes

Male, female, men, women, queers, trans grrrls, trans fags, genderqueer folks, butches, femmes, fairy boys, bears, leather daddies, lesbians, bend over boyfriends, pro doms—whoever we are, all of our bodies have holes. All of our bodies have things that can fit into those pretty little holes, too: like tongues, fingers, toes, or even factory-installed dicks (if by chance you have one of those). And, because technology is awesome, we have dozens and dozens of options of sexytimes tools that we can add to our adult play time that might possibly feel good in those holes. Playing with penetration doesn’t make you straight, it doesn’t make you gay, it doesn’t make you masculine, it doesn’t make you anything that you aren’t—it only means you like to play with penetration.

Though we all have holes, not all of us like the sensation of things in our holes, for whatever reasons. Some people like lots of big huge things shoved in all their holes at once; some people like only teeny tiny things in this hole, but big things in that hole; some people like only this one hole touched on the outside. The trick is to find what sizes and sensations are just right, for you and for your lovers, and then respect the shit outta that.

2. Use sexy words to talk about it

Just like our factory-installed genitals, we all have different words that resonate for us and that really, really turn us off. Figure out which words work for YOU, share that with your partner, and then call it what you (and they) like to call it.

Here’s some tips: I would suggest against using words like “fake,” “pretend,” “faux,” “plastic,” and “dildo.” While they might be technically the correct terms for the item, once it becomes an extension of your (or your beloved’s) body, let me assure you: it can feel very real, and using words that support that connection rather than separating it can be empowering and validating. Some people like to give it a name—I just heard a poem where a femme kept referring to her cock as “Miss Big Red,” and then later, just “Red,” which was really hot. Some keep the name that the cock came with (Vixen Creations has some awesome names, like “Outlaw” and “Buck” and “Maverick”). Talk about it with your lovers and use the words that you—and they—find sexy and exciting.

3. It is an extension of your body

This tool is more than a toy: It can become an extension of your body. My advice? When you put it on, take a few deep breaths and feel into it. Put your finger on the very tip and see if you can feel your energy all the way into the shaft and weight and length and girth of it. Wear it around the house when you are doing chores or doing homework to get used to it. Put it on and jerk off with it, play with it, include it in your solo explorations. The more you get used to having it on your body, the more easily it’ll feel like an extension of you.

4. Fake it till you make it

But what if you just don’t feel it, don’t feel connected to it? Well, for now, I suggest you just fake it. Don’t lie about it—but make up in your head what it would feel like if you could feel it, and go from there. Experiment. Channel your favorite porn star and the way they drive their beautiful tool with such grace and ease and respect. (Don’t have a favorite porn star who straps on and plays? Maybe you should do some research, and find one!) Really feel into it and see what kind of sensations you can feel, and focus on those. A lot of strapping on and playing and “feeling” a strapped-on cock is mental, so be curious and open to expanding what you thought was possible.

5. A cock can be a top OR a bottom

Just because you’re the one wearing the cock doesn’t mean that you have to be the one in charge of the fuck, or the top or the dominant. Bottoms wear cocks, too! Being tied down to the bed and watching your lover lower themself down onto your shaft, riding and thrusting away on your cock, which is all exposed and hard and ready for the taking? That can be a very submissive place to play with. And if your dominant wants you to strap on and fuck them, aggressively, hard, with fervor? Well, do your service really well and perform just how they ask. Just because you’re the one doing the penetrating doesn’t mean you’re in charge.

6. Wrap your tool

Safer sex protocol applies to playing with strap-ons, too. Know your status, get tested, and increase your awareness of STIs and how to talk to lovers and play partners about them. If you’re monogamous with your partner, you may not need to wear a condom every time, but it’s still a good idea to do a deep clean every once in a while, and make sure you do a quick soap and water wash before you use it, and preferably after, too, to keep your materials in good shape. If you’re a (self-proclaimed) slutty slut and like pick-up play, or if you play with multiple partners, wear condoms on your dick and clean them between partners. Make sure you get good silicone cocks that can be easily boiled. You might want to get harnesses that clean more easily, like rubber, or machine washable materials like spandex and cotton and nylon.

7. Get your own cock

Couples sometimes shop for sex toys together. It can be a fun, sexy outing to go visit the nearest (hopefully queer-friendly, feminist, independent—if you’re lucky enough to have one of those in your area) sex toy store and look at all the goodies. But that often means that the sex toys expire when the relationship does.

Cocks and harnesses can be a little bit different than that. Often it’s not just a cock, it’s your cock. Perhaps you want it to match your particular style, in color or decor or shape. Or you might want to get one that compliments your body frame, your weight, your size, or your skin tone. Keep in mind that making it match your body frame might actually mean that you get a much, much smaller cock than you might ideally want (which is one of the most exciting things about being able to strap on and store your dicks in a drawer—you can have more than one!). Same with harnesses: It is often best to get one that fits for your body, and what is best for your body might not be best for your partner’s body.

I know finance is sometimes a limitation to getting the exact right product for you when you’re in a partnership; of course it’s totally fine to share toys. These products are expensive! But when you do invest as a couple, be willing to have a conversation about what will happen to the dick and harness if and when your relationship ends. Whose will it be? Will you have a little ritual and recycle it through a sex toy recycling program? Will you split up the harness and the cock? Be clear about it. And if you have the means, invest in your own cock.

8. You have a dick, but don’t BE a dick*

Much of the sexual assault and violence perpetrated in this culture is about violating people’s holes. I don’t say that to be a downer and to ruin the sexytimes mood of all this strap-on fun stuff, but rather to encourage you to be mindful and sensitive about strapping on and playing.

It is a rare and intimate thing, to cross the barrier of someone’s skin and actually go inside of them. There are so few places where we do that, generally our skin is a very effective boundary. Doctors, dentists, health care, and sex play are really the only places that happens.

Keep in mind that you never, never have the right to enter another person’s body. When you are lucky enough to have the permission to do so, you better come from a place of deep respect and reverence. I don’t care if you have a 24 carat gold-plated dick, they are giving you a beautiful, intimate, vulnerable gift by letting you come inside their body, and you better respect that. Be kind, be aware, and be responsible.

* For the record, I think we should abolish using the words for genitals to insult people, because I think it tends to reinforce cultural norms that our genitals are dirty and bad. But please forgive me this one time, since I couldn’t resist the word play of that particular title!

9. Your orgasm is your responsibility

Your dick is not a magical instrument that will give people orgasms just by touching them, or just by putting it in and out of their hole. Most of us don’t have bodies who can come from penetration alone, regardless of the hole that is penetrated. Fuck yes, it can feel good, and can lead to a whopping big explosive orgasm, but most of us need some sort of other stimulation at the same time. Maybe it’s a vibrator on our clit, or a mouth on our factory-installed dick, or some dirty words whispered in our ear, or some physical restraint to struggle against. That’s the fun part: What do your lovers need in order to get them tipped over the edge? Ask them, discuss it with them, and experiment!

If you are the one strapped on, you probably won’t come just from having the base of a strap-on pounding against your pubic mound. Experiment with sensation and see if you can reproduce your favorite ways to get off. Do you need something inside you? Something in your ass? Some vibration? More direct stimulation on your clit? There are ways to make that happen and strap on at the same time. You just gotta be creative, and try some things out.

Either way, you’re the one who best knows how you get off and what feels good for your body. Ask your lover to help get you tipped over the edge, but know that your orgasm is your responsibility, and you are way more likely to get what you want if you’re able to articulate what would feel pleasurable for your body.

10. Use the right tool for the right job

Or, at least, make sure you have the right expectations. The different holes on our bodies have different capacities, and what one hole can take might not translate to what another hole can take. Same for multiple partners—some people can take a lot, some people can not take as much. Can you afford ten different cocks so you can pick and choose a long, slender one when you want to do some ass play with this person, and a different thinner, shorter one when you want to receive blow jobs, and a big giant thick one for that one lover who is a size queen? Then lucky you! But most of us can’t afford that. So get a really good, solid, average-size cock (I usually suggest something in the range of 1.25”x6.5”), and adjust your expectations: You might only get to use the tip of it in one hole, or the first half of it in another, and you might want to supplement with some fingers for the hungry holes (or start with your dick and upgrade to your fist, if they really need more).

There are dozens and dozens of cocks, harnesses, and accessories for strapping on and playing. I’ve got a huge archive of reviews here on Sugarbutch, so browse through those to get a feel of what might be the right tool for YOUR specific jobs.

Do rough sex fantasies compromise your sex-positive ethics?

This new essay is also the introduction to my new book, Sweet & Rough: Sixteen Stories of Queer Smut, available September 15th. Preorder it on Smashwords now!

I firmly believe that there is nothing wrong with my personal rough sex fantasies, nor is there anything wrong with your dirtiest fantasies. I believe that because I trust that you and I are adults who understand that fantasy is different from reality, and while we may think one thing to get ourselves off, we probably conduct our sex lives slightly differently.

Erotic stories are fantasies, yes, but they can be more than just that—they can show us a piece of the path, and encourage our erotic selves to blossom. So what’s my responsibility as an erotica writer to make the stories that I write down ethical and responsible?

I am both a sex educator and a smut writer, and sometimes those worlds seem to conflict. For example, in the BDSM and sex education worlds, educators and advanced practitioners stress consent in play scenes. And not just consent—we stress enthusiastic consent, not just an absence of “no” but a ready joyous abundance of informed and eager “yes.” We also stress safer sex practices, barriers, knowing your status, and sexual health and wellness. We stress responsible scenes, and warn about playing while intoxicated.

In some of my erotic fiction stories, these practices that are deeply held values in my personal life aren’t readily apparent. That’s because my stories are fantasies—you know, the things you close your eyes and think about when you’re getting off all by yourself, not necessarily (though perhaps sometimes!) the things you do with lovers. The characters in my stories sometimes don’t negotiate or have a conversation about safer sex, not because things like safer sex or negotiation are unimportant, but because the main purpose of the story is to turn you, the reader, on.

Frequently, in the sexuality education communities and conversations, we talk about how porn and erotica are different from sex education. I discourage people from learning how to give or receive a blow job from porn videos, for example, where deep throating and playing with ejaculate are overly common. (See Cindy Gallop’s online project Make Love, Not Porn for a variety of other examples of the difference.) Similarly, I discourage people from learning about power dynamics from Laura Antoniou’s book The Marketplace (though I happen to love the whole series), and would never suggest recreating a scene from 50 Shades of Grey (don’t even get me started). Both of these books are worlds away from the people who pursue and practice power dynamics, ownership, dominance, and submission in their personal relationships.

But the fantasies? We, as readers, love devouring them. We love the fantasies even more than we love the reality. The reality is messy, with STI scares and condoms breaking. The fantasies are escapist, sensual, and by definition not real.

I think when we start coming into our own sexually, when we start realizing that there’s more to sex than what our completely antiquated and puritanical sex education system taught us as kids, we start familiarizing ourselves with some of the most basic topics in sex positive communities. We learn about consent, agency, negotiations, communication, and safer sex. When we don’t see that reflected in the erotica or porn that we are consuming, sometimes it can seem like the erotica or porn fantasy is discouraging that kind of sex positive responsibility.

I am explaining all of this to you because I don’t want my erotic fantasies to discourage you from being responsible in reality.

I know that the educational workshops I teach encourage sex positive responsibility. But in my erotica? That issue becomes a little more nuanced and complicated, because of the aspects of art and fantasy. For example, I am aware that there are some points in the Sweet & Rough collection of stories where characters protest or resist or drink a lot of whiskey. I think there is nothing wrong with playing with resistance and force, consensually and carefully, but I also think that requires a lot of negotiation, a lot of trust, and safewords, in order to be done responsibly in the real world. That part of the story often isn’t revealed. Like the porn scene that cuts out the part where the fluffer comes on stage and someone else adds more lube, the erotic story often excludes the getting-to-know-you, the subtle body language communication, the character’s histories with each other, and what they have negotiated “off screen.”

I deeply believe that the personal is political and that being transparent about one’s life is a spiritual path. Since writing Sweet & Rough, I have shifted some of my erotica writing to be much more consciously inclusive of things like negotiations and safer sex. Most definitely because that stuff is hot, but also because I want to show more of the reality and less of the fantasy.

However, those things are frequently excluded from Sweet & Rough. And here’s why: These stories are collaborations. Most of the stories in this collection were written and published on Sugarbutch between 2007-2009. Many of them came out of the “Sugarbutch Star Contest” where readers sent in some basics about a scene (who, where, what the characters did) and I wrote up the story.

It was a huge period of growth for my writing, and I pushed myself hard to write the fantasies that were outlined for me. Sometimes, they were much more forceful than I’d usually write, although they more closely resembled my own private fantasies. I am aware of my access to privilege and unconscious entitlement as a masculine person and as a dominant, and it is important for me to stay conscious in my sex play, especially when it comes to gender or power dynamics.

Often, my early drafts of these stories included a lot of internal processing and negotiations, but the fantasies of my collaborators challenged me. I remember when writing “The Houseboy’s Rebellion” (which is a b-side story included on the USB version of Sweet & Rough), when the collaborator read the draft of it, she said, “No way. Make my character more mean. Take out all this negotiation. Just take me.”

Because of how strong the service top in me is, and because I liked it, I followed her desire. And I believe that story—and others, when I received similar feedback—are stronger for it.

The stories in Sweet & Rough are fantasies. I know fantasy erotic writing still greatly influences our real sexualities, and I don’t dismiss that connection. But these fictions are not necessarily models of sexual responsibility. Some of it is “problematic,” and I wouldn’t claim otherwise—but they still have so much value, and can jump-start our erotic engines or show us how much more can be incorporated into our erotic lives.

I encourage you to continue practicing being a responsible, ethical, sex-positive kinkster who operates from integrity. And I encourage you to read erotica stories that are edgy, full of force and lust, from authors whose ethics you trust, and to believe that the responsibilities are filled in behind the scenes, just off the page, stripped out so you can enjoy even more of the sweet sex and rough play that gets you going and gets you off.

Sweet & RoughYou have just read the introduction to my new book of erotica short stories, Sweet & Rough: Sixteen Stories of Queer Smut. It is all ready to go and will be released on Monday, September 15th! Preorder your copy on Smashwords, or if you are attending the Catalyst Conference in LA this weekend, I’ll have special pre-release copies on a USB drive (which will have a special, USB-only b-side story included!)

Is psychological kink play “healthy”?

Recently, I’ve noticed quite a few questions—both in the Submissive Playground course and in the Ask Me Anything box—concerning kink, trauma, and wellness, particularly about psychological kink play like D/s and Daddy/girl dynamics and whether or not they are “good” for you.

After my own recent experience of a D/s Daddy/girl relationship dynamic “going sour,” as I’ve been phrasing it, I have many of my own questions about the ways that these dynamics can contribute to emotional or psychological damage, can play into our past hurts or traumas, and/or can cause further harm.

I do deeply believe that D/s and other psychological kink play can be healthy, but like any relationship, can also be profoundly unhealthy. It’s not the dynamic that determines that health or damage so much as it’s the relationship—and a thousand other factors.

(Even categorizing relationships as “healthy” or “unhealthy” is oversimplified, since I think no relationship is entirely “healthy” or “unhealthy” all the time.)

I realized I needed some other expert opinions on kink and wellness, so I have been reaching out to some of the mental health practitioners that I know who are kink-friendly and knowledgeable.

This is my first interview so far, with Dr. Matt Goldenberg in Seattle. He and I have been friends for more than 10 years, and I am really grateful to know him and have access to his smart brain!

A couple of the resources we mention in the interview:

As I’ve been pondering, and through this interview, this is what I’ve been thinking:

  • I don’t believe any particular act is inherently healthy or unhealthy (except perhaps illegal ones, or ones deemed “morally wrong” by the community at large, which are generally things like non-consent)
  • The same act can be “healthy” and feel great for some people and be “unhealthy” and feel bad for other people, and the same act for the same people at different times could feel healthy or unhealthy depending on the circumstances.
  • The biggest indicators of “unhealthy” scenes or moments in kink are feelings. If things aren’t feeling right, they probably aren’t.

But I still have a lot of questions, like:

  • It is my belief that no fantasy is inherently wrong, and that playing with deep psychological triggers can sometimes be incredibly healing. What to you is the relationship between mental wellness and the practice of kink?
  • How do you know if the kind of kink you’re practicing is contributing to your compulsions or damage, rather than healing it?
  • What are the signs that one should watch for that may indicate someone is in a “danger zone”, playing with things they perhaps shouldn’t be?

As I delve deeper into psychological kink play, the nuances of it are increasingly interesting for me … This may be the beginning of a larger project.

I have a few more psychologists and therapists to conduct interviews with already. Do you have any suggestions for mental health practitioners who are knowledgeable about kink (they don’t have to be kinky themselves, but some knowledge is important), and who may want to talk to me? Have them get in touch, or send an email introducing us: [email protected]

Do you have other psychological kink and wellness questions? Ask me here in the comments, and who knows, I may ask your question in the next interview.

Bored Kinkster Blues

You’ve been an out and proud kinkster—a submissive, let’s say—for years and years. You’ve done all the things. You’ve tried everything. You’ve done all the events. You’ve been done at all the events. You’re bored. Or jaded.

Or both.

But … you still love kink. You still love playing. You wish you could get that thrilling high from scenes like you used to. But you have so many things to do, a job, a life, hobbies, kids maybe, a demanding cockatoo. How can you prioritize your submission now, with all of that? Especially when you’re basically done going to the play spaces and you teach workshops dammit (or used to) so you don’t really want to attend them and “the scene” sucks anyway and is full of people young enough to be your children or jailbait or you just run into all your exes that you have no bad blood with but you’d just rather not.

What do you do? How do you get back to it?

Well, if you want my opinion—and you do, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this—that’s it, exactly. You get back to it. You re-prioritize your kink identity. You go back to basics. You schedule time (if that is the only way!) to fuck or play, and you make it happen.

You cultivate what the buddhists call a “beginner’s mind,” a place of newness and neutrality where your pride in your well-developed kink identity can be set aside for you to discover what’s real and new and true right here, right now.

At one point, this kink identity was a seriously important part of you. You grew it from a tiny seed in a culture that does not support alternative sexuality identities. You built a little cage around it for it to grow safely and not get smushed. You tended to it. You fed it with nutrients and leather contests and safety classes and play partners and safer sex supplies and yummy-smelling gear. You plucked the fruits and ate them hot from the vine. You paved the way for others. You made an impact.

Maybe you found a Big Love, maybe it didn’t last. Maybe it did. Maybe you’re broken hearted and single and miss your submission like a friend. Maybe you miss it and you’re still with a Big Love lover, but the world has you both pulled in all kinds of directions and when did you decide a mortgage was more important than new floggers? But yeah that happened.

Here’s my advice: Keep going. Start where you are, which is not some new baby-green sprout but a sturdy tree, something with glory and wood and shade. Something with shelter and structure. But each spring you still have to figure out how to leaf again, how to flower, how to dance with the bees and spin seed down down until it finds a divet of soil in which to nestle.

Start where you are, start over. Start again. Go back to basics. What’s it like to kiss for hours? How much can you feel your body when you are touched, when you touch? What nerves have fried from overuse, what nerves need a jolt to be awakened? What’s it like to be deprived of senses and have every hair follicle on every patch of your skin lovingly caressed, tickled, suckled?

What do you need to awaken that submissive desire that used to course through you like spring runoff as the winter thawed? What needs to heat up? What needs to aliven, envigorate?

Sit down and ask yourself. Take the time to interview that part of yourself that is sleepy-tired and now small: how would you like to grow? Use a guide (this is what people like me are for, this is why I take appointments with people, I have ideas, I can support you). Use a buddy. Give it a go with your Big Love and rediscover those parts of you that are different now, are no longer fresh and unknowing, but are wise and kind. Be kind. Especially to yourself. Ease your toes in the water, ease your ankles in the water, ease your whole self down into the water and rest. Submerge for a rebirth.

What really matters now? This is where you are. You are anew, you are invigorated with the knowing of life and of self, you are eagerly ready for your playful submission to come up and out in new ways. Now is not before. You are not who you were. You are better, more full. You are years and hundreds of sleeps and hands worn down and skin gone long unbruised. You are ready for something new. You have all the answers already, I don’t need to tell you what to do, I don’t need to give you advice.

You just need to act.

Submissive Playground’s summer session is almost sold out, and today is the last day to register! There are limited spots left—sign up now and reserve your spot: submissiveplayground.com

PS: The image is from rife’s “Prioritize Your Preference” kinkster roadmap. Download the full image in the Submissive Starter Kit.

Free download: Submissive Starter Kit

Since I know some of you aren’t the type to make the first move, I’m going to be bold.

Here’s a taste, a little tease, just for you.

What’s in the Submissive Starter Kit?

Okay, so maybe you’ve completed these first five steps and you’re still pretty damn sure that you’re submissive or want to play that way sometimes, and you are still looking for more.

But now, you’re asking yourself:

  • How do I get more kinky play?
  • What kind of skills do I need to have or bring as a bottom?
  • How do I flirt with tops?
  • What are my next steps as a submissive?
  • … and more.

So I’ve put together a video (from the Submissive Playground Bondage unit) and submissive journal prompts to support it.

Hey wait! What’s a submissive journal?

It’s the place where you keep all your reflections on being submissive, on service, on scenes, on aftercare, on what things worked and didn’t work, on what to try next time. If you’re in service to a specific person or people, you could keep lists of their preferences in it. I suggest you also bring it to classes or conferences and take notes in it, to keep them all in one place.

You might also keep a list of resources in the back, like books or websites to check out, or people to contact on Fetlife. You can easily tuck some of your cards (if you have them) into it to carry around at events, or tear out a little corner of a piece of paper to write your name and Fetlife profile or contact info on if you meet someone interesting.

Or, in this day & age, you might just designate a page in it to be your “digital business card” with your contact info and name, and invite people to take a photo of it with their phone (assuming they have one that takes photos).

Sometimes, if you’re really lucky, your current or future dominant may give you writing assignments or art tasks, and your journal will come in handy for those things, too.

Oh yeah—I highly, highly recommend dominant/top/D-types have journals, too, where they record pretty much the same things. This isn’t something unique to submissives. I just happen to be focused on submissives at the moment and in this kit.

Start here: Watch the video

Time to get out submissive journal and take some notes of the things in rife’s talk that speak to you.

Here’s your Submissive Journal Prompts for this video:

This is box title

PROMPT #1:
Rife detailed these four tips for getting more kinky play. Write your notes on each- Have you tried this already? How can you use this in the future more? Which is your favorite and least favorite?

  1. Go to classes and workshops
  2. Buy your own toys
  3. Approach tops you’re interested in
  4. Consider switching

PROMPT #2:
Write your own 4 best flirting tips in your submissive journal, and share your favorites in the comments.

This is only one example piece of the homework for the Bondage unit. In the course, there are a variety of questions about the erotica assigned, the other guest videos for the module, and the experiment that players are conducting.

Here’s a little ZIP package of two PDFs & an image:

  • The transcript of rife’s video
  • Select submissive journal prompts for the Bondage unit, including some of your history with bondage and rife’s video above (three pages of prompts!)
  • The full image of rife’s illustrated “Prioritize Your Kink” identity development roadmap
DOWNLOAD NOW

You’re welcome! Hope you enjoy.

There are FOUR days left to register for Submissive Playground’s summer session, and there are limited spaces left! Sign up today and reserve your spot: submissiveplayground.com

“I know I’m submissive. But where do I start?” aka “I just read Fifty Shades of Grey and I want THAT.”

1. Read a fucking book

Read fiction, sure—Carrie’s Story, The Marketplace series, Mr. Benson, The Leather Daddy and the Femme (these are some of my personal favorites)—hell, even Fifty Shades of Grey—read the fiction, but know that it is designed for one thing: Arousal. The reality of it is both much, much sexier, erotic, and mind-blowing and also sometimes very different, full of realistic mundane problems that aren’t sexy at all.

Read non-fiction. There are many good ones: ask a bookseller at your favorite local bookstore for recommendations on where to start if you’re exploring kink (I know, it’s old fashioned, but do it anyway.) Go in to your local feminist queer sex-positive sex toy shop (is there not a good directory for those online yet!?) and ask them for their book recommendations. Go to your favorite queer sex blogger’s list of recommended BDSM books on Amazon and browse around. Go intellectual-butt-sniffing (aka, look over their bookshelves) at your bibliophile friend’s place.

All of those recommendations are worth reading, but these are essential. Consider them assigned to you as homework.

You can do this step while you also do the other steps, but do not skip it.

2. Find a buddy

It doesn’t really matter where you find your buddy, but you gotta have that person you can talk to about this thing that is growing and that you are beginning to voice and give weight and value to. It’s great if that person has lots more information about kink than you do, if they can guide you on the path, if they can be your mentor, but that’s not the most important thing.

They must:

  • Feel safe to talk to
  • Listen to what you’re curious about
  • Be supportive and not judgmental, not shaming of your interests
  • Ask interesting questions

And, most importantly:

When you leave the conversations with this friend, you feel invigorated, empowered, stronger, braver. <— Pay attention to this, to how you feel after visiting with your friends and relations in general. You don’t need anyone else stomping on this new baby-green identity that is just starting to sprout and grow. It needs some scaffolding, a tomato cage of strength and nurturance around it, one that won’t disrupt it’s growth but is there if it needs something to hold on to, some guidance of how to get to the sun, some support if the fruits get too heavy.

Find those tomato-cage friends and lovers and confidants and beloveds. Identify them. They are out there. You probably already know a few of them.

3. Brave up and go to a Thing

BDSM, kink, and fetish events abound. You may not find “your people” or “your community” or your next mind-blowing fuck at the first, second, third, fifth, or even twentieth event you attend—but then again, you might.

Depending on where you live, this might be harder than it sounds. Your Thing might have to be on another coast, in another city, while visiting that one friend from college who is always posts “interesting” things on Facebook.

Look up whatever might be happening in your local kink community on Fetlife. (I wish I knew of another good source for you, but that’s the best I’ve got. And hey, I’ll be your friend!) Yes, you might have to wade through unsolicited solicitations. Yes, you might not have the exact right orientation or gender or fetish event that you’d really most want, in your heart-of-hearts, to attend. But that’s okay. You don’t have to go to the only very most perfect events. Go to the events that kind of weird you out, that you don’t get, that you are totally “meh” about.

Regardless of the Thing, you’ll learn. Pay attention. Put your phone away and really listen. Think about it as if you’re a scientist studying what these kinksters do. Why do they like it? What’s amazing about it? What makes them squirm, in good ways or bad ways? Even if it isn’t for you, you can still observe and learn.

The more brave you are, the more you’ll feel strong and capable and badass, and the more you’ll be able to do.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be in person, though I do encourage you to make sure to attend at least one kinky event every two months. But if socializing is too too hard, if your schedule just doesn’t work, it could be online. Lots of kinksters host online events. I’m just about to launch Submissive Playground for the second time, which is a more in-depth study for anybody who knows they’re submissive (of some kind) and wants to explore more submissive headspace. It’s great for folks who are beginners, for folks who have done so much kinky bottoming that they are practically bored and stagnant, for people without much kink community around them geographically, and for people wanting to dip their toes back in after something hard happened (be it a breakup or a bad scene).

Regardless, the point is to prioritize your kink. Prioritize your submission. It’s important, and nothing to be ashamed of.

4. Brave up and ask a top to play

Step 0: Go to a kink/bdsm/fetish Thing.

Step 1: Identify the hottest person in the room. If you’re trying to develop your submissive self, then filter for whether or not that person is a top. (Hint: You might not know until you talk to them!)

Step 2: Dare yourself to find a reason to talk to them, and say hi. Maybe it’s to give a compliment (people like compliments!) or ask a question (it’s flattering for someone to be curious!).

Step 3: Find common ground, and elevate the discussion. (This is something my mom taught me and I think about it all the time.)

Step 4: If you’ve talked for 2-5 minutes at the event and are still curious and have more compliments to give, offer your phone number. Ask if they’re on Fetlife and give them your user name. Say that you’d love to be in touch and talk more.

Step 5: If you’re really bold, ask them on a date. If you are less bold, ask them on a date via whatever contact information they give you or when they find you on social media or email you later.

One more note about asking tops to play:

They are not better than you are, they are not (inherently) sexier than you are, they are not more entitled to play than you are, just because they are a top and you are/might be a bottom. Tops sometimes act like they own the scene, but they don’t. They need you just as much as you need them, and they are just as nervous/excited/lonely/wishing for the right person to come along as you are.

Sometimes s-types are nervous about asking for dates or being forward, because that is seen as a trait that dominants or tops have. I say, fuck that. There are absolutely ways to hit on someone from a submissive or bottomy or masochistic perspective. The more you hit on people and the more trial and error you do, the more play you’ll get and the more you’ll be able to read the signs better and better.

Rife has some great tips for how to get more kinky play from a submissive’s perspective—Watch for his video on that later this week!

5. One last tip to help you open up your submissive world:

Recognize that no matter what you consume about submission, there’s no one right way to do it, and your way is just as good as anyone elses. You don’t have to love service, or being hit, or playing in public, or being naked, or having your orgasms controlled, or body fluids, or blood, or ANY thing at all really. Your kinks are okay and your icks are just fine too.

Whatever you learn through any sources you take in, people or meetings or mentors or books or events or lovers—you get to remix everything into your own identity, and who you are, wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, is exactly right.

PS: AMAZING illustration by rife, who drew an infographic for the stages of kink and power dynamic identity development and formation. (I helped with some words and theories.) Watch for the full thing to be posted in a few days!

What you should know about privacy, secret identities, and kink communities

Welcome to the kink worlds of BDSM and reclaimed sluttiness and sex toys!

I see you there in the wings, lurking a little bit, shy and nervous, and possibly fearful of revealing too much and putting yourself or your life in some sort of “danger.” Danger is of course what you are coming here looking for, in a safe and risk-aware context: more edge, more bite in your sex life, more intensity of feeling, more cracking yourself open and seeing what’s inside.

But taking the first steps into the kink communities are a challenge, and you’re almost immediately faced with the question of anonymity. Should you stay anonymous, or be transparent? Create an alter ego, or use your legal name? And what about … pictures?

There are a lot of fears about being “out” as kinky in a world that sees all kinky things as deviant, dangerous, and out of control. Kink is in the mainstream more than ever these days, from Fifty Shades of Grey back to “The Secretary,” but there still can be real consequences to working in sexually explicit fields, or being out as kinky.

Here’s a few examples from my own version of struggling with being out—Just last week, I put up a sale for enrollment into the Submissive Playground ecourse, and after about five hours of it being live, I got an email saying that it had been pulled and I wasn’t allowed to use Gumroad for this project because it violates their terms of service, which excludes any adult content. Fuck. Cue sad trombone.

I was also turned down for a Twitter business ad recently because my business is sex related, and denied entry into the Audible.com affiliate program because my work is too explicit (got some leads on resolving that one, but no guarantees).

Sometimes, this is Just The Way It Is and I can kinda let it go, but other times, it feels like I’m being shamed for being explicit about sex and I get all righteous and pissed about it. I get mad, and then I write furiously, and then I try to formulate these writing furies into actual useful pieces of writing that you get to read, too!

Of course I’m the only one this happens to professionally—there have been a bunch of headlines recently about Chase bank closing porn actors’ bank accounts. It’s not just Chase: Paypal has been making headlines lately too as freezing funds and strong-arming businesses into flagging any “adult” content. My friend Andre Shakti recently crowdfundraised over $500 to travel to the Feminist Porn Awards, but the bank processor Wepay wouldn’t let her collect what she’d raised.

You might be see these headlines around, on your usual Internet wanderings, or on the Facebook feed of that one friend who always shares kinky shit. (Hey, maybe you’ll see this from them, too!) And it makes you wonder … so what about me?

Is it risky to be out as kinky?

Maybe. It’s generally agreed upon that you’re going to have a much, much harder time being any sort of elected official if you’re an out kinkster, so most folks who want to go into politics are really careful about any sort of identity in the kink communities. Some people who have kids are very strict about their kink identities, particularly if they are adopting or going through legal battles—but I’ve also heard that it’s becoming more common for kink to be disregarded in court as related to the safety of children or the capabilities of the kinkster as a parent. But I am not a lawyer! Nor do I work in law—I’m just a kinkster who likes to stay informed. This is just what I’ve heard.

There’s no easy answer here for what to do and how to deal with your new budding kink identity, but there are many, many kinksters who have come before you, grasshopper, who have deliciously happy lives and who do dirty things in consensual privacy. Kink producers—folks who actively work to produce spaces for kinksters to learn and gather and play—work with you to keep you safe and disclose the level of identity that you want to disclose.

Here’s some strategies for you to think about.

Most commonly, people do one of three things to keep themselves as safe as possible and not in a position to be threatened or “outed” as being kinky. They either 1. retain anonymity, using no identifying information about themselves in places that could be used against them, or2. create an alter ego, using a different name and separating their kinky communities from the rest of their life, or 3. go for complete transparency.

Let’s look at each of ’em and see what might fit you best:

1. Stay Anonymous

If you are extra nervous about consequences from being out as kinky, you might want to consider remaining completely anonymous in the kink communities. This usually means taking some sort of non-identifiable name when you are involved in kink events or on Fetlife, but not necessarily building a whole persona behind it—just using it as a screen in front of the “real you.”

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Pros:

  • Most protective of your legal identity and any identifiable characteristics
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Cons:

  • The more you hide, the more you have to hide
  • Some folks end up craving the validation and community that comes with sharing more, and this anonymity isn’t enough to build those deeper connections that are possible
  • Many people won’t recognize your Fetlife avatar, photos, or name if you introduce yourself at an event as one thing and then use a different name as your smokescreen
  • Often there is a big risk of being outed as kinky, which can cause anxiety and stress
  • Sometimes you might really want to a) take photos of you doing kinky amazing things and b) share them, but this option shuts that down
[/columns]

2. The Alter Ego

This is super common in the kinky worlds—for people to basically have two names, one that they use outside of kink spaces and one that they use for kink. They often use this name as their Fetlife profile, on their badge at kink events, or introduce themselves as that at the local munch or BDSM workshop.

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Pros:

  • Nobody who googles your name will find your connections to kink
  • Generally very safe to show up at events, wear a “no photos” marker, and go by your other name—no one will ever know you were there
  • Easy to erase all trace of your alter ego, just by deleting your alter ego’s accounts
  • Relative ease to keeping your other self separate from your kink self
  • Can still put up a variety of identifying things (photos of your face, photos of your tattoos) and be relatively sure that your name is not attached to them. If someone you know is at a kink event or on Fetlife and sees you, well, then in order to out you, they’d have to out themselves, so you are relatively safe.
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Cons:

  • It can be lots of work to maintain two selves. You have to be very diligent about what you post where, who sees it, and where (if ever) you cross post.
  • The lines start to get blurry. Sometimes your alter ego becomes more you than the rest of your life (see: Sinclair Sexsmith, myself, for example), or sometimes you become your alter ego.
  • It might sometimes feel like fragmenting your Self, if people know you as many names, and can lead to a lack of integrity or a lack of intimacy for friends because they only know parts of you
  • Being “exposed” as this alter ego is a real risk that can sometimes be incredibly scary
[/columns]

Full Transparency

This is where you end up either merging your legal identity and your alter ego, if you started there, or you just always used your own name (or a variation thereof) and used your personal accounts to connect with the kinky communities. Very few people start from here in the kink scene, but it can be liberating and empowering to

I heard a story just recently from a man who used to work at a high-up government office, and as he came into the kink community, he realized that was a potential spot for blackmail. Rather than cease his kink engagement, he called a meeting with his boss and his boss’s boss, and came out as kinky. “I want you to know that I’m a gay man, and I participate in BDSM activities—” he started. They cut him off. “We don’t need to know that!” “But you do,” he persisted. “Because if you know, then there’s nothing for anyone else to blackmail me with.” “Fair enough. Great. Thanks for telling us. Now go back to work.”

(I’m paraphrasing, but you get the idea.)

I’ve been pretty shocked at how few issues being almost completely out as kinky has been in my own life. I began publishing erotica under my legal first and middle names when I was 27, in 2006, and because my legal name is very specific, it’s easily findable via Google.

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Pros:

  • Integrity! Being who you are!
  • Making your own unique way in the world without apology
  • Significantly reduced shame (Potential for, not guaranteed)
  • Reduced potential for someone to attempt to use something against you as a threat
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Cons:

  • It’s really, really hard and scary and challenging, and you may sacrifice some relationships, professional contacts, your job, your standing in the community, your career ladder, or other things. It’s more and more rare, but it is still possible.
  • It’s not for everybody! It isn’t always possible (because of perceived/feared consequences or known consequences) to be out as kinky
[/columns]

Most of the folks I know in the community do some sort of combination of these things. I’d say I have an alter ego (“Sinclair Sexsmith” isn’t the name my parents named me at birth, if you didn’t already figure that out), but that I am completely out in my life in general. Pretty much everyone who knows me via my birth name knows that I am Sinclair, and it isn’t hard to find out my legal name if you know my work through Sugarbutch (there’s even a post in the archives for “coming out day” from a few years ago where I come out as my legal name).

When my boy rife and I were talking about this article, he said, “My alter ego is pretty transparent.” Which I think is a very accurate way to describe what both he and I do with our kink worlds.

As a producer of kinky events and a facilitator of kink education in general, I am always interested in and concerned with people’s privacy. I don’t take photos of my classes (unless I get permission from the audience, which I sometimes do). I don’t use anyone’s names or identify anybody who was in attendance (unless I either get permission or know their level of out-ness and transparency). Note—just because I have my own policies that I follow around this doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes fuck up. I have posted photos on Sugarbutch of people I didn’t have permission to post before (and subsequently apologized and taken them down). I have messed up. It happens. I do my best to apologize, reflect, and fix it, if possible.

Take the Submissive Playground course, as an example—many people have had challenges attending because they are not particularly out as kinky. Some folks don’t want to use any sort of credit card or payment linked to their name in order to pay. Some folks have been very concerned with their name and email, worried that their identity would be revealed to the group.

But let me reassure you: We can work around that.

Payment challenges? No problem. You can send me a check—or, even more anonyously, a money order! You can use an anonymous email address. You don’t have to give me your address.

Any information you give me will be protected and for my use to make the course better, and will never be released.

In this particular course, you can be whatever level of anonymous that you feel comfortable being. You can use a pseudonym and an alternative picture for your avatar, no problem. You don’t have to ever go on record and say where you live or what you do. You do have the option to share photos, to go on video to chat with me with the group, or to speak up on our live calls, but you don’t have to.

You might not know about the variety of options that are available to you to keep your identities from being outed as kinky if you are new to the BDSM and fetish and sex toy and slutty delicious worlds, but there are quite a few. Producers of kink events work hard to make the spaces as safe as possible, and for many people to attend, regardless of their anonymity, alter egos, or transparency.

None of these options are better or worse than the others, they are all weighing risks and mitigating the circumstances as best as possible, and everyone has different risks. You are the best gauge of what is right for you—nobody else can make the decision for you.

Think about which of these options feels best for you, and remember—at any time, you can change it. Problem is, it’s much harder to change to more anonymity than it is to change to more openness about your identities. And certain things (like publishing erotica in a Best Lesbian Erotica 2006 anthology under your legal name when you’re 27) don’t really go away, though they do have the potential to lead you to an integrated, kink-forward and well-lived life.

Ask Mr. Sexsmith: I’m a sub, but my partner is not a dom. What do I do?

This question comes from Marie:

“My partner and I have come to a difficult place in our relationship. I have long since had the desire and urge to be dominated, to be somebody’s submissive, and to explore the world in its entirety. My partner, however, has no wishes. I’ve sat down with her and tried to explain what it meant, what it meant to me, and what it would mean to our relationship, but she says she can’t bear to hurt me (even if I enjoy it). I’ve been the dominate one, so to say, in our relationship, and I know for a fact that she would never consider me seeking a dom or have an open relationship. I love her, but I’m unhappy. How did you first address all of this? And is there anything else I can explain to her before I have to make a decision? I really want to explore this, and I want to with her, but she really has no budge room, and I don’t want to make her uncomfortable.  All in all, I’m really confused and at ends.”

….. I have one more thing to add that I didn’t say when I recorded the video yesterday, that is whispering to me now that I’m re-reading your question.

Marie, you wrote: “I really want to explore this, and I want to with her, but she really has no budge room, and I don’t want to make her uncomfortable.”

And here’s the thing. You want to explore this with her, but she doesn’t want to explore it. You want to push her a little, because you are very attached to doing this with her specifically and not opening your relationship to some sort of non-monogamy (which is totally understandable!), but you don’t want to make her “uncomfortable.”

But: let me remind you, sweet pea, for a moment, of your own discomfort. You are uncomfortable by not having the kind of D/s relationship dynamic that your secret heart-of-hearts craves. And there is no reason for her discomfort to be more important than yours. Yes, of course, her discomfort is important and consent is important—I’m not trying to say that she should do it anyway and you “win.” But what I’m trying to say is that you have a clashing of needs here, and you two are going to have to figure that out.

You want something. She doesn’t want it.

There’s so many ways to sugar-coat that, but that’s the simplest core of truth.

It’s totally okay to have different wants or needs in a partnership—that happens all the time. What is important is that you two come up with a way to talk about these different needs, be they around sex, or D/s, or monogamy, or what you make for dinner that night, or whether your parents come stay for a weekend, or where you go on vacation.

It’s extra scary to talk about, because it’s sex and extra dirty kinky stuff that you may still have some internal shame or guilt about. Do you have that? Ask yourself, for a brief quiet soft gentle moment: Do you think you should be able to have this deep want? Or are there things in place between you and that want that make it even harder to ask for, to advocate for yourself around?

I mean, if it was … a new car that you wanted, or a puppy, what would you do then? Would you think of those as “legitimate” wants, whereas this is a scary, shadow, selfish want? (I’m just guessing—maybe that’s not how it feels for you.)

I guess what I’m really trying to say is, YOU DESERVE TO HAVE THIS. And it sucks that she doesn’t want to do it with you. That really sucks. I’m sorry. There’s nothing wrong with you for wanting this, but you two might have come to an irreconcilable difference, if she a) won’t allow you to explore it with anyone else and b) won’t explore it with you.

So now comes a very difficult decision on your part, which is precisely why you’re asking me this question: Is your desire for this greater than your desire to be in this intimate, monogamous partnership with her?

Ask yourself that gently, with kindness, as if you are your best friend asking yourself this. It’s okay if the answer is no. It’s okay if the answer is yes. It’s okay if the answer is “I don’t know.”

I know for me, no partnership felt right until I had that D/s dynamic. It just didn’t. As much as I loved them, as much as I wanted it to work, it didn’t, until I had a power dynamic in place. I don’t really know why. For whatever reason, that’s my fetish, that’s how I’m wired. That’s what really makes me pleased and happy and satiated. Sometimes, for me, the love itself—though it was good love and beautiful love and important love and growing love—was not enough.

It sucks that sometimes love wasn’t enough. But it’s true. I needed more. Maybe you do, too.

Got a (different) question?

I’ve got a full inbox, but I love hearing your gender and identity and sexuality puzzles. What’s on your mind? Ask it here! And I’ll do my best to email you when I answer it.

Remember, Sinclair does one-on-one coaching!

I hope my thoughts give you some places to start. If you’re still stuck, remember, I do one-on-one coaching sessions, and I would be very happy to help you with resources, experiments, ideas, support, or just talking in depth through this process. Contact me for more information and pricing.

Comment Zen …

Readers, do you relate to Marie’s question?

If you do, would you share your own story about being in a relationship and not getting the kind of power dynamic that you wanted? What kind of resources helped you on your journey? Books? Anything to recommend for others who are going through this?

Leave your story anonymously if you like; your email address will not be published, and if you don’t want your usual “gravitar” picture of you to show up, just type “+sugarbutch” in your email address (like [email protected]) and I’ll know you want to be anonymous.

And there’s more …

If you want to explore your submissive identity even more, sign up for the Submissive Playground summer school! Registration closes June 30th.

Everything You Want To Know About Sex & Kink at New College in Florida

photo (4)

I’m at New College in Sarasota, Florida this week. I just spent an hour in a hammock (they are peppered throughout the college campus) reading a book in the sun with a cool breeze … it was hard to get up, but I’m trying to get some work done.

I’m still planning some trips to Madison, WI on March 14, to the Catalyst Conference March 15-17, and then to Oh My in Northampton, MA on March 27 and The CSPH in Pawtucket, RI on March 30th. I’m still hoping to visit a couple other places up there (Hello Hampshire! Smith! Wellesley! UMass! Harvard!) … but after that, I won’t be doing as many events this summer. I’m hoping to kind of take the summer off and try to get my life working again, as I’m financially strapped and pretty unsettled. So, so much change is going on in my world and I need to settle into the new things and let go of the old things.

Meanwhile, I have one more workshop tonight, in Sarasota. It’s a Everything You Want To Know About Sex & Kink workshop, and I’ll be covering all sorts of topics, as dictated by the students here and what they want to know.

They conducted a pretty elaborate survey (50 people responded—which, at a school of 800, is quite a huge percentage of the student body responding!) and gave me the results:

Ranking of Topics (winner D_S)

Rating of Sample Workshops

You naughty kinksters!

Looks like D/s, gender roles, and bondage/toys/kink are the most desirable topics, so we’ll go with that. We’ll also go over the basics of kink, playing safely, some deconstructions of topping and bottoming, and how to flirt. That might be a little ambitious, but we’ll just go with it and get as far as we can!

I’m excited to have this conversation tonight, and ever interested in what people want to talk about and what kind of interesting things we’ll uncover. I so love doing this work and I’m ever surprised that people want to hear what I have to say … thanks for bringing me, New College! I’ve been having a blast so far and I’m excited about tonight.

Kink-Centered Photo Shoot by Bill Wadman

Photographer Bill Wadman has taken numerous shots of me in the last few years. Most recently and notably, he took the photo of me against the brick wall with the black and red flogger that I’ve been using as my avatar on most sites. He also took the shot of me shaving Kristen’s legs with a pink razor in the claw-foot bathtub with my sleeves rolled up.

He came over yesterday to take some more shots of me, partly for my upcoming fall and spring 2012-2013 travel promotions, and he wanted to take some Avedon-inspired shots up on my roof against a white backdrop. These are the best of the best results, and I think they are amazing. There are a few more of me in front of my gender/queer bookshelves; those will be in the PDFs that go out to colleges next week.

Thank you, Bill!

   

Kristen & Sinclair Answer Your Questions, Episode 3: “How Can I Be More Open About Kink?”

Kristen & I answered Laura’s question on video this morning from Seattle … hopefully our colds don’t make us sound too weird.

Laura asks: “I am a kinky queer femme bottom/sub and have read your blog for a long time. The thing that strikes me most is how open you, and also Kristen, are about your explorations and your celebration of your gender and sexuality. I am only 23 but have known I was queer and a submissive since pre-adolescent years, and it feels like I will never be comfortable fully expressing myself or finding my voice except with my partners, because I still get ashamed/embarrassed about all of it sometimes, especially when I think about my family or straight and/or vanilla friends finding out. How did you overcome those feelings to be more open, if you ever had them?”

The Boy at Summer Camp

It started with an email with the subject line “butch at your service,” and an offer for a blow job. And I thought, hm. Well, you know, I do like those. But I’m not usually attracted to boys. So, we’ll see.

Then at Summer Camp, rife made a point to say hello. We chatted a bit, attended similar workshops. I was surprisingly affected by his energy, his tender sweetness, the way he was clear about what he wanted and owned his desires but still bashful and shy, submissive. I watched him blush and bruise and cringe, and take it, when the person he was serving for the weekend gave him some punches on the arm, and I felt the urge come from down low to see if I could make him respond to me that way.

I’m not usually attracted to boys, but I was attracted to this boy.

The next day, chatting, he said shyly, “What’s your schedule like? I would love the opportunity to play with you.” He wasn’t looking at me when he asked that, and had trouble sometimes maintaining eye contact when we spoke. When I came near him, his voice dropped, quieter, and so did his eyes. His mouth curled at the corner with the slightest little lines of dimples.

I said, “I don’t know my schedule yet, and I need to check with my girl, but I would like that.” Kristen and I had agreed that I could do things to practice skills before she came down and joined me at Summer Camp for the weekend, but that if I was going to be doing any fucking, I would wait until she arrived, and she could be there to witness.

I could tell he was experienced as I watched him get hit for fun, make dates, talk about his adventures at the dining table, and play. I kept my eye on him as I continued teaching and attending classes, and later picked up Kristen at the train station, telling her that I thought I would be interested in playing with him. “He’s really cute,” she said after they met. “I can see why. I don’t have to be involved, but it’s fine with me if you play. I’d like to be there.”

I kept seeing rife all day, but hadn’t quite figured when we could play. In the morning we circled each other and didn’t talk, but I saw him looking at me, and he saw me looking back. The quiet attention got me hard. I made a point to go up to him and grip his upper arm, and whisper in his ear, “Good morning.” Later, I found him at dinner the next night and asked about his evening plans. “See me at the Cigars & Chocolate event,” I said, “and we’ll go do something after.”

He came in after I did, with his crew of folks, and I saw him scan the room looking for me. I got my boots done by a talented bootblacker, smoked a cigar, learned about ashtrays. When the place started thinning out, he came over to me. He and Kristen and I headed up to the barn, which was empty: one big room with a concrete floor, some platform bleachers on one side, and a mat and bondage trestle of sorts in one corner. Kristen sat herself on the bleachers. rife picked up a few unlubricated condoms from the bins laid out on the safer sex table.

I took hold of his unsnapped black shirt lapels, his binder and the skin of his stomach exposed underneath. He inhaled. I pushed with my fists to move him around a little, feeling our legs move together in a dance, feeling how he followed. Immediately he fell in to my direction.

“Anything I should know?”

He didn’t look at me, keeping his chin low and shoulders in a little bit of a shrug, letting me move his body around the room. “Bruises are fine. I like barriers. I’d like to suck your cock.” We said a few more things in negotiation that I can’t quite remember. He was direct and clear, but quiet, keeping his head curled down. I think this is when we kissed. Perhaps I asked if kissing was okay first. Then he asked, “Can I call you sir?”

I grinned. “Yes.”

He shifted his weight and started backing me up, moving me. I followed. “Where are you taking me?”

He stopped at the mat and trestle. “I’m a masochist, but not for concrete floors.” I found the pole of the trestle and leaned against it, pulling him to me and opening his knees a little with mine, finding his mouth again. He shuddered, body pliable, giving in easily and smoothly. There wasn’t a lot of kissing—so intimate with someone I don’t know—but we kept our heads close, him curled into my shoulder while I kept a grip on his body.

“Will you call me a faggot?” he asked quietly into my neck. I didn’t hear, asked him to repeat it.

“That’s what you like, huh, dirty boy.”

“Yes, sir,” he breathed out.

“Unh, god you’re so sweet,” my hands went to my belt, zipper, untucking from my harness. “Are you ready to suck my cock now?”

“Yes,” he didn’t move. I didn’t ask him to do it, but if he was ready.

I fingered the back of his head, his short and soft hair. “Do it,” I growled in his ear, and he dropped to his knees, in a flash had a condom in his hand, rolled it onto the tip and pushed it down the shaft with his mouth. I felt a surge of power and pleasure roll through me, up my legs into my core, as he sucked me in. I fumbled to tighten my harness, moved my hands back to his head.

He took the length of it down easily, his tongue gentle and persistent as he sucked. I leaned into the trestle, aware that Kristen was getting a show, that she doesn’t usually get to watch me receive from afar. I fingered his neck, cupped his jaw, touched his lips with my fingers and he sucked them into his mouth.

After a moment I broke away and leaned down to kiss him, his mouth wet. “You like that, faggot? Sucking my cock?”

“Yes, yes sir,” he managed, gasping a little.

“You’re good at it. Do it again,” and I slid back onto his tongue. “Mm,” I groaned. His hair was almost shaved all around except a wide mohawk patch on top, which I grabbed hold of to work in and out of his mouth, gently. Kind of.

“That is so good,” I leaned down to kiss him again. My cock was throbbing and hard. “You got me all hard, sweet little faggot.”

He swallowed and whispered up to me, “I want you to throw me down.”

“You do huh.” He was on his knees, thrown off balance with not very far to fall when I gripped his upper arms and pushed him to the floor. No fighting at all, just letting my weight take him, grounding him down into the mat. His eyes closed, he bit his lip, curled his small sweet body as he rearranged himself, getting his legs out from under him, and I worked a knee between his thighs. I held his shoulders down and reached between his legs, a little surprised he wasn’t packing, finding the heat and feeling my own cock harden in response, jutting out from my hips.

illustration by rife

Small sounds from his mouth as he groaned and pushed against me, testing the feeling of being trapped. I gripped his sports bra and ace bandage binder in one hand over his chest and worked the other hand between his legs, over his jeans, and could feel him bucking forward, wanting more. “That feel good on your dick, huh? Getting hard for me?” I asked. He panted. I realized I didn’t have a glove.

“Stay right here,” I said next to his ear, pushing my body on top of his, my arms holding me up on the mat. “I’m going to get a glove. Put your arms over your head.” He did. “Stay like that. I’ll be right back. You alright?”

He nodded, quickly. I didn’t want to get up but wanted a hand down his pants, wanted to feel him, and trusted that staying in this position I’d ordered him in would only deepen his submission. I stood and took the ten or so steps to the supply table, picked up a glove and some lube packets. I looked at Kristen as I went across the room, but in the dark shadows it was hard to decipher her expression. Upset? Okay? Turned on? All three? I trusted she would tell me if she needed anything.

When I returned, I let myself look at rife a moment before bringing myself back down to the floor. His body quivered a little, waiting for me, arms still extended over his head, one hand in the other. “Hi,” I said as I knelt next to him, my eyes scanning over his black button down shirt open, his tight stomach, smooth skin. I ran my hand along the skin that was exposed and pushed at his body again, felt him groan and shudder in response.

I unbuckled, unzipped his jeans, fast, eager, and pulled them down on his thighs, not past his knees, left them high to give some restriction to his legs and thighs, and then pulled on his hips. “Turn,” I said, impatient. “Over.” He did, flat until I pulled his ass up to kneeling, his elbows out in front of him to catch his body weight as I pushed him down into the mat. My gloved fingers easily found his hole and slid in, one then two, then out again and along the whole length of him, feeling how smooth and supple, testing his responses. He was sensitive, back arching at the slightest change in pressure or speed. I slid my fingers back inside, turned my hand over and worked his g-spot, massaging, and he moaned.

Tearing open a lube packet for my cock, I smeared it onto the length and pressed myself behind him, sliding in awkwardly but fully. My jeans and his jeans were in the way, mine not pushed down any farther than his, our legs tangled, the angle wasn’t quite right. I couldn’t get that good drive, all the way in and out, but I wanted him to feel me behind him for a while, taking hold of his hips and pulling him back onto me. His back and neck arched, spine curled. I managed a building rhythm for four, five, six strokes, pushed my hips hard into him, held him to me, shuddering a little as I felt myself diving into him.

He kept breathing hard, mouth open and drooling on the dirty mat. I gripped his hair again, pushed his shoulders down. “That’s it, good boy,” I murmured, thrusting still, opening him up, my hips pulsing. “Fuck.”

I switched to my hand again so I could better feel his muscles, his responses. Fingered his clit and his back rippled. Thrust in hard and he smashed his cheek into the floor.

“You’re dripping wet,” I growled into his ear. I slid my arm under his chest and pulled him up to his knees. There was a puddle on the mat beneath him, another damp place where his mouth had been on the mat. We knelt next to each other, his knees apart, jeans bunched under his calves.

He nodded in response.

“What?”

“Yes sir, I’m wet, sir.”

“You didn’t tell me you do that.”

“I’m sorry, sir.”

“No, I like it. I just didn’t know.” The sleeve of my sweater was damp, but I couldn’t tell if it was from him or from sweating. I kissed him again, his mouth open and chest heaving, lips swollen as I ran my tongue on them. I brought my left hand up to his jaw and held him there as we kissed deeper, then slid two fingers into his mouth. He sighed and moaned, swallowed them deeper, bent his head back to open his throat, kept them deep, then slid them in and out.

“Oh, that’s good, faggot. Sweet boy, that is so good.” My own muscles shuddered in response throughout my body, thighs contracting, and for a second I thought I’d fall over. I kept my mouth next to his ear. “Touch your clit with your other hand. Come for me again. Will you?”

He nodded, eyes lidded and mostly closed, and he slowly brought his hand between his legs. I could barely see what he was doing but could feel his body respond, tightening, his stomach crunching in as his hips tightened and thrust, just a little.

“Is that good? Does that feel good?” I teased in his ear. He swallowed and I felt his throat contract around my fingers. “I like being deep in your throat like this. You suck cock really well, little fag. Does it feel good to touch down there? Are you going to come for me again?” I kept going, pushing a little with my voice and my fingers, until his body convulsed and he squirted again, falling against me. “Oh that’s nice, good boy,” I murmured, running my hands along his body as he quieted.

“Is that enough, or do you want some more?”

He straightened up and looked at me, a little sly. “I could … take a little more.”

“Oh, you could, huh.” I could hit him, I thought, but I loved how sensitive he is to touch. Loved how he curls in response, gives in, takes it. I loved watching him come. I pushed him down again, on his back this time, pushed his jeans a little further down, and slid my fingers down his cunt again, still dripping and wet everywhere. I slid two fingers in easily and held his chest down with my forearm, then gripped his binder again, pulling at it, leaning my weight into him.

He held my wrist, groaned. “More,” he managed to say, and I slid another finger in, pushed harder in and out, twisted my hand so my thumb was up on his clit and pinky finger was below his hole, and thrust in. I anchored my hand above his shoulder so I could go in harder. He twisted under me but couldn’t move away from my grip, my knees holding his thighs apart.

“Is that what you wanted? More?”

“Yes sir.”

“Say thank you.”

“Thank you, sir,” he whispered, just barely audible, in my ear.

“Louder.”

“Thank you, sir!”

“Again,” as I thrust harder inside, fingering his g-spot, felt him tightening.

“Thank you, sir! Thank you, sir thank you … ” He trailed off, coming again, pushing my fingers out, and I didn’t let up, flicked his clit as he continued shuddering, mouth open so I slid my fingers back in, working them in and out, fucking his mouth and feeling his tongue swollen on my knuckles. I cupped my hand around him for a moment, then tapped and started slapping, which got a moan from his mouth and more convulsing from his stomach and hips, so I kept going, slapping, and I felt him squirt again, wetness dripping from my hand. Probably I was saying other dirty things while I touched him, I don’t remember. This time I got to watch more directly, and that’s what I wanted. I watched his muscles ripple and settle, ran my hands up under his shirt, clamored up next to him to feel his body along mine.

“You smell like a boy,” I said, his musky scent so different than what I’m used to. He laughed, and had this smile on his face by then, a grin, ecstatic and giddy, and I wanted to kiss him, slap his face, get him back on his knees. The hunger was still palpable, I wanted more. I also figured he had other plans, didn’t want to take up his whole night, and knew I should check in with Kristen. He sat up, pulled his shirt and tangled binder off. I tugged my jeans up, took my sweater off, my button down shirt underneath totally soaked through with sweat. I gathered the condom and glove, ripped lube packets, brought them over to the other side of the room, and grabbed some wet wipes for the mat. He took them from my hand, “Let me, I made the mess,” with that shy little side smile with the lines, dimples, at the corners of his mouth, and we composed ourselves to go back out into the dark night.

He walked Kristen and I back up to our room and went off to find trouble. It’s been an interesting experiment, for Kristen and I to play with other people, and we have been talking about it openly and being interested and careful with each other about it. That’s kind of another post I have brewing, how we are dealing with our particular version of monogamish openness. And don’t worry, Kristen wasn’t left out—she had her own adventures during Summer Camp weekend.

Come to KinkForAll on Sunday!

KinkForAll, a new unconference, is coming up this Sunday, March 8th, at the LGBT Community Center in NYC. I’ve been really looking forward to this and I think it’s going to be incredible.

kinkforall-banner

Here’s the first description from the KinkForAll webpage:

KinkForAll is an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people of the kink, queer, sex-positive and related communities to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, presentations, and interaction from all participants. It is inspired by and based upon the BarCamp community.

I don’t know if or what I’ll be presenting on exactly. When I signed up I wrote that I might give a presentation about “gender theory, identity development, butch/femme identity, presentation, and dynamics, strapping on & sucking butch cock, how to fall in love without losing yourself … and probably a bunch of other things …” but it’s also really possible that I’ll just be there as a participant. I mean, look at all the other amazing people who have great ideas about what they can present on?

Vitals
======

What: A no-limits sex-positive gender and sexuality unconference.
Why: To inspire a creative, interactive and open environment where everyone feels comfortable talking, learning, and being inspired by all kinds of sexuality.
When: March 8, 2009, Sunday, 10AM to 5:30PM
Where: LGBT Community Center, Room 310 at 208 West 13th Street, New York City
Who: Everyone
How much: Free (as in beer as well as freedom)

Details
=======

KinkForAll is an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people of the kink, queer, sex-positive and related communities to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, presentations, and interaction from all participants. (It is inspired by the BarCamp community.)

ANYONE WITH SOMETHING TO CONTRIBUTE OR WITH THE DESIRE TO LEARN IS WELCOME AND INVITED TO JOIN. When you attend, be prepared to share with others. When you leave, be prepared to share it with the world.

A KinkForAll is a special kind of gathering because there are no spectators, only participants. Attendees must give a talk or a presentation, help with one, or otherwise volunteer/contribute in some way to support the event. This is called sharing and we like it. All presentations are scheduled the day they happen—there are no pre-scheduled presentations or keynote addresses. The people present at the event will select the presentations they want to see.

Anyone can present, on any topic related to sexuality. You do not necessarily have to teach a new skill or idea. You might share an experience, review a product, or read a poem. The goal is to start a discussion, make connections, and exchange knowledge. Presentations promoting specific commercial products or companies are discouraged.

Learn more about what to expect at http://kinkforall.pbwiki.com/WhatToExpect

Learn more about the event guidelines at http://kinkforall.pbwiki.com/TheRulesOfKinkForAll

Get Involved
============

We need your help in spreading the word. Please help by participating. Here’s how:

1. Get excited by reading the ideas on http://kinkforall.pbwiki.com/KinkForAllNewYorkCity
2. Add your name or handle to the list of participants
3. Join the mailing list and introduce yourself by emailing [email protected]

Still have questions? Read the Frequently Asked Questions at http://kinkforall.pbwiki.com/FrequentlyAskedQuestions

or email [email protected] for more details.

Perhaps I’ll see you there!

Telling Her What to Wear

I have in the past thought it kind of funny that girls would ask me to tell them what to wear. My feminist/analytical brain would pipe in with interpretations of beauty, insecurity, self-worth – but I really don’t see it that way anymore.

I see it as part of the larger conversation of gender as a fetish, as a performance, as a subversive display of sexualized gender presentation. And I see it as a very specific toppy/bottomy play, more specifically butchtop/femmebottom play.

It has also at times made me uncomfortable when girls wear things – or buy things – specifically for my tastes. I do have a couple particular enjoyments when it comes to femme clothes & shoes, and it is quite a gift when girls work to dress up for me.

I’m not sure why it’s hard to accept. Possibly because it’s hard for me to accept gifts in general, that giving is easier for me than receiving (I am resisting the connection here to my top identity, though I’m sure you already went there). Possibly also it is hard for my desires, and for me, to really be seen, heard, witnessed, acknowledged, because if I never let you know what I really want, you can never withhold it from me.

But my heart is more open than that old wound and lesson, generally. I like to practice revealing myself. I like to practice being vulnerable, I do find great strength and connection there.

And lately, I’ve had much better language, palette, for my particular desires. This website has helped that tremendously, as has playing with multiple girls over the past two years. I’ve been actually trying to notice and articulate when I find myself aroused into a state of desire; to be mindful of when my internal butch cock stirs and to ask why, to take note of the answer.

So when a girl asks me what kind of femininity display I like, I try to tell her. I explain – without pressure or expectation – what really does it for me, what gets me going, turns my crank. Underlying this conversation is also both of our acknowledgment that femininity – and indeed masculinity – is performed for the purpose of attracting and turning on your partner/lover/date.

And taking it a step farther by telling her what to wear is a step saying, this is how to turn me on. This is how to drive me wild all night. This is how our clothes are tools for flirting, this is how gender is subtle cues and clues and a language for sexuality.

It is a top/bottom game, if looked at this way, and I see it as very empowering to a bottom (you know, assuming being told what to wear is a game she likes playing, and doesn’t feel like it is controlling or patronizing or condescending behavior).

So, where is a bottom’s power? At least in these two places: 1) in enticing desire, and 2) to (actively) giving her power over to her top. In enticing desire, she turns on her top to the point of excruciation, to the point of bottomless desire and power. And when she gives over of her power, she places her power on a silver platter and presents it to her lover on her knees.

(This is why power play is deliberate: the bottom gives her power to the top, the top does not take it without permission. Unless, you know, that’s part of the scene, in which case there is still some sort of underlying permission, some level of giving freely.)

So: I (as a butch top) tell you (as a femme bottom) what to wear on our date (a short skirt, bare legs, strappy sandals, something white). You give power to me by giving up your own choice in what you wear, by obeying a request of mine (something that always turns me on), and by wearing something enticing that follows an aesthetic I particularly enjoy.

This is perhaps where power and surrender for the top and/or bottom gets blurred. Who has the power here? She does – the bottom – because all night I am uncomfortable and turned on because I got what I wanted, writhing at the sight of her in those lovely clothes, turned on by our gender and power foreplay. And then comes a turning point in the night where I stop feeling so reactive and (have to) surrender to the power she’s giving me, to the power and sexual energy I feel building. I give over to it, let it flow through me, let this be a way to tap into my particular well of it.

I love these kinds of power exchanges. I love the push-pull, giving in, giving back, empowering each other to feel sexy, desired, wanted, powerful, beautiful.

[ What I’m really trying to say here is: I have a blind date with a girl who sent me a wonderful photo of her in strappy sandals, and this was my complicated reaction. ]

I top on the third date

Oh, yeah, I had a date last Tuesday. A week ago now.I showed up, six-pack in hand, at her apartment on Tuesday night. She answered the door in a black tanktop and tiny skirt, very short, kind of an army-green color, which was quite lovely for her light blonde hair and fair skin. Bare legs, bare feet. Have I mentioned this girl is beautiful? Fantastic legs. Wonderfully curvy body, still toned and slender but not very angular. Soft, still strong.

She made chili, and cornbread, which was more savory than sweet, and delicious. We ate, chatted on the couch about our days, drank a few beers. I said a few stupid things and noticed myself getting more & more flustered and un-suave. She tucked her feet up onto the couch and fingered the hair on her neck. Sexy.

We were talking about our days at work, and I said a couple things (that I won’t relay here) that made me sound kinda like an idiot, which I immediately regretted. I attempted to shift the conversation to something better, namely, sex, dating, and being picked up by her.

She said something about being silly or bold or drunk enough to pick someone (me) up in a bar and make them take her home with them, at which point I said, “well, clearly, I wasn’t going to do it,” which … uh, oops … as soon as it came out of my mouth, I realized it sounds not at all as I meant. What I meant was, I didn’t have the guts to attempt to fuck her. It barely even occurred to me that it was a possibility, she seems out of my league.

And it was supposed to be funny, like, god, it was so clear and exasperating to her that I wasn’t going to be The Butch in the situation and make a move toward the physical, so she had to do it, but that’s not at all how it sounded. It sounded like, pshaw, I wasn’t going to pick you up, so you were gonna have to throw yourself at me. Guh.

But in this moment, my head just prickled and tied itself in knots and I realized what I’d said and tried to cover my face and my embarrassment with my hand while grinning like an idiot, stupid me, god, what the fuck. She says, “Oh, yeah, well, that cute smile is buying you some time, but you better come up with somethin’ good to say,” at which point I stumbled, said something about her being out of my league, until she was nodding, saying “uh-huh, sure,” and I gave up trying to explain and shifted my body wait above her, and said, “Alright, shit. I’m going to kiss you now.”

“About time,” she muttered, and we kissed. She is a good at kissing. Soft, smooth, slow, sensual. Simple, even, though not in a way where anything’s missing. Just – clear.

It didn’t take long for us to both realize it was clear we wanted to, and were going to, fuck. We moved to the bed. She altered the lighting and the music to set the mood. I tore her shirt off. Tore her skirt off to find a dark pink satin thong.

She doesn’t let me stay clothed. As soon as her clothes start coming off, she starts on mine. It’s okay, but I’m not used to it. With previous lovers, unless I took my clothes off, often they didn’t even come off. (This is, perhaps, an indication of topping tendencies?) I don’t mind being naked, really, though, so it’s not a big deal. It just puts me in a slightly more vulnerable position than I am used to, from the beginning.

Clothes get strewn. I’m touching her, fingers inside her, kissing, holding her down on the bed, taking more control than I have in our past encounters. Perhaps I need a lot of explicit permission to let my toppiness come out. “Don’t hold my wrists,” she whispers. “Hold my hands instead.” No problem.

Eventually, we break apart, she goes to the bathroom, I get up to get my cock out of my bag. “The good news is,” I say when she gets back, “I brought my bigger cock. The bad news is, I brought the wrong harness, so I can’t strap it on.”

She shrugs, eyes my cock, slides her slender fingers around it. “I have a harness.”

She opens the bottom drawer of her bureau and rustles around. Toys and equipment go flying as she searches for her harness: vibrators, attachments, little bundles of rope, cocks, feather ticklers.

I laugh. “I guess that answers the kink question.”

“What kink question?”

“You know. The Kink Question.”

“Ah. Yes.”

She found the harness. I strapped on. It’s still a little uncomfortable to have something that large dangling from my clit & hips. I get shy, embarrassed at the way I love its weight between my legs.

Lube and fingers and she was wanting, took that big cock all the way. I loved the way she gasped under me, the way her legs gripped my waist. Scratched at my shoulder blades and gasped in my ear.

I fucked her, hard, like this, for a while. Quite close to coming, myself, when we paused again, caught our breath, heads together on the pillow.

I said, “So tell me about sex, Joy,” and we talked. I asked her about kink. Likes, dislikes? At the top of my list, which I relayed, are spanking, rope bondage, and flogging. She got shy.

I said, “My sister would laugh so hard at me right now. Look, I’ve got this gorgeous girl, in bed, naked, next to me, and I’m saying ‘let’s talk.’ Sometimes I am such a capital-L Lesbian.”

She got more comfortable. Said she has four hard no’s: bestiality, children, human waste, and extreme pain/humiliation. She’s willing to explore most everything else. I am pretty much with her there, although there is a bit of a blurry line there for me with some age role-play (dangerous, to me, but can be cathartic and hot), and pain. I like pain. I would like to play with that more. So, we talked about that a bit.

Later, we talked about kink again. What’s the difference between kink and preference? I’m not sure I have an answer to that, I’m still kicking that idea around.

She brought up topping & bottoming, or maybe I did, to say I was sorry to have decided she was a top so vehemently. “It bugged me for a couple days,” she admitted, “but then I realized that I didn’t really even know what you meant, and if I didn’t really know what it was, but somebody else recognized me as such, that meant I could be doing it wrong.”

Ahh yes, I do understand that feeling. But certainly I shouldn’t impose my judgments about identity on anyone else, & I said so. I tried my best to describe what I mean using the terms “topping” and “bottoming,” but they’re really hard to define. (Post on that to come.)

These conversations interspersed in our sex play were quite short, really, generally during which I would keep my hand on her body somewhere, or she would keep her hand on mine, and when she gave me a bit more of a reaction with her body I would increase pressure, frequency, and build the energy again until starting to fuck her again.

I like the way she comes. On her back, fingers flicking over her clit for a while, swirling, she likes the figure 8s, increasing pressure, until she gasps, eyes roll back, hands grip my arm and her body contracts and releases until she opens her eyes and demands fuck me, now, hard and I do, fingers inside her, more, more fingers, two, three, harder, and that ring of PC muscles grip my fingers hard and she groans, cries out, whimpers into quietness. After, I hold her. Sometimes we find I’ve opened something gaping in her and she gets tender, sore, exposed, and I cover her body with mine, sew it up with my fingers on her skin, until she’s contained again.

I like her in these moments. This is perhaps why I am a top. I adore seeing women – especially powerful, put-together, coiffed, impenetratable femmes – in this state. I love creating it, causing it, contributing to it, holding her through it. I love the breakdown behind her eyes, the way her voice changes, softens. I love when she cries after she comes.

I cut her off twice after that, times when she began touching my hips or stomach, making moves to get me off again. I was satisfied. I didn’t want more. It was hard to ask her not to, but it’s what I wanted. I could’ve kept fucking her, though; that, I am not tired of.

Joy asked me to stay the night, I declined. She walked me to the subway, said it was hard to see me go. It was sweet, but I was – and am – worried that she wants more than sex from me. We haven’t quite had that conversation yet, it is definitely on the agenda for our date on Saturday.