The Case For Not Being A Good Submissive

Pretty much all the books (not that there are very many) about the theories of submission, and pretty much all the writings of various bloggers and folks on various message boards throughout the internet, say similar things, usually starting with: obey your dominant. Put your wants and desires after those of your dominant. That’s what submitting is. Don’t you want to be a “good” submissive?

But there are a couple of essential steps missing in that formula.

Obedience is, of course, important. Open defiance is often enough to get a submissive released from service entirely. I’ve known a Master who had a slave for ten years, and one day, the slave acted up, and the Master ended it, just like that. While Masters and dominants will have a variety of different reactions to that particular scenario (I probably would have sent them away for 24 hours with some assignments to cool off, for example), the point remains: obedience is important.

Don’t get me wrong— minor disobedience, in play kinds of ways, can be fun, and make more friction between folks. It can instigate more sadism in a dominant, and it can be used as “funishment”—faux-punishments which are more for pleasure than because someone actually did something wrong, like, “Oh look how wet your cunt is, you slut, I’m going to beat you now.” Yep, that is good fun stuff. Sometimes folks call this brattiness, though being a ‘brat’ is a debated hot topic in the D/s worlds, with many dominants saying they would never want a brat. Brattiness can be a really good tool — especially if dominant likes it, or if it creates more excuses for play. That kind of “disobedience” is more about obediently playing the game that’s been set up, and it’s legit.

But that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about the importance of a submissive doing what they are told to the best of their ability in the D/s context.

The submissive has to be able to mess up without serious blows to their self-esteem, value, and submissive identity.
But what about those times when an order is given, and the submissive thinks they completely understand it, and they go along steps one-two-thee and present the completed task to the dominant, and that was not at all what the dominant had in mind? What about those times when the dominant is completely unclear about the orders, but just doesn’t have time to explain themself thoroughly, and expects the submissive to fill in the gaps themself? What about when a submissive thinks they are doing precisely the thing the dominant would want, since they have wanted that thing before, but is not taking into account these new factors in this particular scenario?

It’s not open defiance, intentionally being disobedient, but it isn’t perfect obedience. Regardless of who is at fault (and finding the ways that both the dominant and the submissive can make sure this doesn’t happen again is perhaps more useful than finding the fault), the dominant often responds with disappointment, and the submissive often responds with deep sadness that they didn’t get it right.

Because that is most often what submissives want, right—to get it right, to be good.

When we find ourselves in that scenario—and we will, if we play with power dynamics, eventually be in that scenario—we have to allow the submissive some wiggle room with being “good.” The submissive has to be able to mess up without serious blows to their self-esteem, value, and submissive identity. Now, I’m not saying that the submissive shouldn’t be punished, or there shouldn’t be an increased amount of discipline next time, but hopefully those things can be done in ways that build up the submissive’s self-value and self-worth, and don’t tear it down.

No matter how much humiliation fetish we may have, having a submissive with no self-worth is bad for everyone. A submissive with no self-worth can stop trying, can stop expecting amazing things of themself, and can stop believing in their value to their dominant. At the core, it is best to have submissives who believe themselves to be strong, capable people.

Submissives who are strong, capable people also tend to have needs, wants, and desires. We all do, of course—dominants are expected to constantly mine their needs, wants, and desires, and find ways to use the submissive to meet those. But submissives are often expected to override their own needs, wants, and desires in deference to their dominant’s. This is often called being a “good” submissive.

For example, there might be some orgasm control rules in place, where the submissive can only have so many orgasms, or none at all. It can be really hot to deny them what they want: “Oh, I see you writhing around, trying to rub your dick on the sheets. Are you trying to come? You know you’re not allowed, little pet; you will get in so much trouble if you do that.” The need for sexual satisfaction is of course valid, but part of sexual satisfaction, for this particular submissive, is being denied and teased with what they want.

There can be other, less sexual, examples of denial, too; if the dominant doesn’t like a particular food, perhaps the submissive never has it at home (there are never mushrooms or cilantro in my household, for example). This is, generally, not a big deal, especially not at first. But denial of something pleasurable, even something the submissive just desires, and doesn’t “need,” can wear them down over time.

When we’re talking about 24/7 relationships, especially authority exchanges which are also primary partnerships, the submissive does have needs, wants, and desires. That’s just a part of reality, a part of being human. The submissive does have core values and core kinks which, if they don’t get met, at least sometimes, they may start feeling unfulfilled, unsatisfied, and even unloved.

The dominant role has many components, but one of them is to monitor and support the submissive’s fulfillment and satisfaction. Many submissives are fulfilled and satisfied by being controlled and denied, but long term denial can break down a relationship. A dominant must pay attention to the submissive’s needs, wants, and desires in order to bolster the longevity of the relationship.

The submissive does have core values and core kinks which, if they don’t get met, at least sometimes, they may start feeling unfulfilled, unsatisfied, and even unloved.
This means that the submissive must communicate their needs, wants, and desires—which means the submissive must know what their needs, wants, and desires are. Instead of shoving them aside when they come up, pushing them away, tamping them down like a “good” submissive is “supposed to,” pay attention. Put a little highlighter mark over them in your brain when it comes up randomly throughout the day, and make a list in your submissive journal. Perhaps you’ll notice some patterns. Perhaps you’ll identify something deep in you that is vying to get out.

Depending on the D/s arrangements that you have, it may be up to your dominant what they do with this information, or it might be your responsibility to assert your needs and boundaries, or to get them met outside of your relationship. My wish for you is that you can both figure out a way to honor your humanity, to acknowledge that submissives (and dominants!) make mistakes, have miscommunications, and differences in styles, and that everyone has needs, wants, and desires that are core to our long-term fulfillment and happiness. Hopefully, the dominant can fold a submissive’s needs into their own, and make them part of the power dynamic—another thing for the submissive to, enthusiastically, obey.


Psst …. Submissive Playground is happening again in October 2016. Registration opens soon!

Unapologetic Need

This is an excerpt from the story/novel I’ve been working on all month, still untitled, which is an M/s novel following Master Jack Harrison as he’s searching for the woman submissive/slave of his dreams, and begins dating two women. This is the first scene with one of them, Addie.

I come in my pants despite myself. Sticky against the seam of my jeans, I try to collect myself before Addie notices, before she asks questions, before she thinks herself responsible for such an anomaly. I pause, on guard as if I’m unsure if a predator is waiting around the corner, frozen, but she doesn’t seem to notice. My orgasms often arrive without much fanfare or demand for acknowledgment, so I suppose I have learned to make them gently small and inconspicuous. I breathe with the clarity of someone recently wrung out, recently spent, recently thrilled by the capacity of my own body, and I turn my attention back to Addie. She’s still sucking away at my nipple, her hand against the thin, wispy hairs of my chest, coming through it with her fingers as her cunt throbs under my hand. I continue working my fingers inside her, three now and we’re getting to the thick of my hand, I wonder if she can take any more.

She seems to read my mind. “More,” she whispers, moving her mouth just far enough from my chest that she can form the word. The way she sucks is sweet, so sweet, and I relax into the curl of her spine around my chest, my left arm curved against her back as my right hand works inside her.

I didn’t mean to come. I don’t usually. But her mouth is expert, working against my nipple like she’s pulling milk from it, like she’s suckling me dry, and though I have rare interest in my nipples being touched, let alone sucked, she gets to me and my dick gets hard, I rub myself against my jeans at just the right angle such that it barely takes anything, I come easily, I make a wet spot on the crotch of my jeans and have to compose myself.

“Addie … goddamn, girl,” I mutter as her cunt swallows another finger of mine, the fourth now, pushing up against her hole where the wide of my hand is too much, unsure if I’ll ever be able to get more than this exactly right here inside, but very glad to be feeling every inch of her that I am currently. She is stocky and square and not full of a lot of curve, but her body is solid and sweet and I cannot get enough of her. I feel ravenous, my mouth waters, I want to swallow her, I ache to be inside her. That shouldn’t happen so quickly, but what can I say, it does, it is. It has barely been hours. I want … something. I want, I ache, I crave. How glorious it is to have such desires, to have such an appetite.

I like being hungry even more than I like being satisfied.

It isn’t the way she is working what we usually think of as one’s lips—the pillowy, slightly redder color of skin precisely around the mouth—so much as how she is working the soft, soft inner tissues of her mouth, those just above and below her lips. She isn’t pursuing so much as devouring my chest, and I can feel her hunger, too, her sense of ravenousness, her desire becoming an aching need. I want to fulfill it. I want something even bigger that will produce even more that I can shove in to her mouth. Perhaps that is precisely the appeal of a blow job to the point of choking: passing the point of ravenous desire and moving on to the point of being so over fed that they literally can’t take any more. I crave rough blow jobs the same way I crave mascara running down a girl’s face and telling her what she can or cannot eat. Not because I care about what she eats (honestly I kind of don’t) but because I want to control every single thing that gets inserted into her body. I want that level of decision. I want her to give herself over to me, and I want her to want to.

This time, she does not choke. She suckles gently and sweetly and more vulnerably than I would have otherwise let someone do, but she asked. She begged, really. Requested nicely as she simultaneously toyed with the hair on my chest and I could not say no. No, that is not true—I could say no, but I suddenly didn’t want to. I have known Addie for such a short time, and yet I am already breaking my own rules to feel her tongue, to feel her suck. This is not going to go well.

“Please, something in my mouth, please can I suck, please.”

I crave the way she begs as much as I crave anything else. Something about the unapologetic need. Something about the ways that I wish I could have that need of my own so openly, so purely, so exposed. I admire my submissives. I wish I could receive, could beg, could strip myself bare, as often as they do.

Four fingers might be as much as I get inside her. She is wet, lube pouring from my hand as she tightens and squeezes it out of her hole, hand working in and out of her as slowly as I can. I’m in no rush. I would have her stay here for a long, long time, if I had my way. Her cunt is tight but open, sometimes the muscles balloon and open even wider, a request for more, for my hand, for another date when we can relax again, differently, and maybe she will really be able to take it. All the way. In to the wrist, up the forearm, to the elbow. I don’t want to plow past the resistance of her muscles, but I do, I want to force myself in, to push her too far, for her to be sore tomorrow. I don’t. I can’t, not yet. Maybe someday.

I think she was surprised when I offered my nipple. Perhaps she was expecting my finger, my dick—something less vulnerable, less feminine. But I wanted to feel her mouth. I wanted to feel her mouth, and truthfully that was the best way to do it. The sweetness of having her curled up against my chest is something I would not have expected to desire or permit, but somehow it all came together and now I can’t get enough.

“Is it okay, can I ….” Suddenly, Addie is shy. Reaching her hand down toward her cunt, she looks up at me with big brown eyes, mouth still poised, talking despite her lips and tongue being full of me.

“Do it.” More of a command than permission. I thrill at the shudder that goes through her body at my words. She starts rubbing her clit in pretty little circles and it doesn’t take long before she’s pulsing, I can feel it from the inside. I work my fingers deeper, a little harder against her upper wall, in small circles around her cervix. She contracts, releases, tenses and holds; I can tell she’s close. She’s sucking a little harder, holding her mouth open, tongue working against my nipple. I won’t come again, I tell myself, I won’t, I won’t. But honestly, she could make me. If I just permitted myself, I’m certain it could happen easily.

I want inside her. I want to feel it when she comes. I don’t just mean my hands, I mean my dick, my hips thrusting against her, feeling us moving in rhythm, maybe we could even come together.

She starts whimpering. Convulsing. I can’t wait to feel her come.

She’s so tight, tightening to the point of bursting open, and that’s when I know she is coming, right now, right as my fingers work against the ringed muscles of her cunt and her mouth opens hungrily and she pushes her legs apart, thighs shaking.

“Mmmmmm,” she moans, humming low and long against my chest, eyes fluttering closed as she collapses in that post-orgasm release. I let my hand slowly go still and hold it against her cunt, running my other palm against the fine, sweet skin of her back and shoulders, everything I can reach as she curls and rubs against me.

She stays quiet and soft against me for a few long minutes, breathing and twirling her fingers through the hair on my chest, tracing the curves of my muscles, writing secret messages with one fingertip.

When she stirs, finally raising her eyes to my face and smiling, I drop my chin down to get my lips against hers and kiss her deeply. “Okay?” I ask.

She nods, kissing me back gently, her mouth supple and sweet. “Yes … thank you.”

I smile back. She feels so easy, so comfortable here in my arms, like she’s been here for a long time and my body has conformed to her shape. She sighs happily, snuggling against me a little more before she slides out of my embrace and off of the bed.

“Master Harrison, sir,” Addie drops to her knees, averting her eyes, though stealing glances up at me to punctuate her words. Her hands are folded neatly in her lap. “Please, would you permit me, sir … could I please lick your boots, to express my appreciation?”

I shiver, a thrill of dominance and devotion and lust down my spine. It makes me breathless, leaves my chest constricted and a little confused, unsure if I deserve this, unsure if she is playing, unsure if she is really feeling what she is expressing. I’m not sure what to do with my hands, my arms, my body, even now, as she’s kneeling and looking down, and it makes me feel unprepared, like I am not ready for a ‘real’ submissive, whatever that is. But the thrill of her below me is addictive, and at the same time clicks into a piece of me that has been aching to be satisfied.

“You may,” I say, sitting up on the bed, then perching myself on the edge of it, boots firmly planted on the floor. I hadn’t meant to leave them on, really, but it just happened when we got going and I didn’t want to stop to remove them.

She poises herself precisely and bends at the hips, knees widening as she bends, opening her mouth to stretch her tongue as far as it will go. She licks with wide, broad strokes, eager, as if she hadn’t just been sucking for an hour but instead was famished and only the leather of my boot would satiate her. I don’t usually permit my boots to be licked. I’m too particular. Too picky about precisely how someone does it. They never quite get all the right places, but instead focus on the toe or whatever is easy for them to reach. Me, I want the insole, the heel, the top of the foot, the toes, all to be paid attention to. To neglect any of those is to neglect to do a thorough job, or perhaps worse—that attention is not being paid.

There is something so vulnerable about having my boots licked. I’m not sure what it is. Perhaps it’s that this part of me that is so important and integral is finally getting some attention, this part that is usually just for working, for walking and running, the part of me that is the first line of defense against the ground. It feels like it is finally being acknowledged, finally being recognized as some valuable, sensual part, and that much spotlight is uncomfortable. Maybe it’s because my feet just happen to be an incredibly strong erogenous zone for me; for whatever reason, I’m just wired that way. Receiving touch and that much pleasure always feels vulnerable to me, especially with a woman I’ve just met. It catches me off-guard, makes me wonder what other things about her will catch me off-guard. I comfort myself through control and precision and predictability … perhaps that is why I like power exchange relationships so much, though they are not a guarantee for those things, as much as I would like them to be. Like any relationships, life is complex and interesting and ever-changing, and nothing is certain, even when you agree it will be. Perhaps that too is why I like power exchange, because the intimacy and vulnerability makes things even more loaded and intense, and the ability to hold control and precision and predictability in this particular configuration will be revealed quickly.

Plus, I get to see her on her knees, bending, opening her mouth, working her jaw around something too-big and watching her struggle.

Addie keeps her hands behind her back as if they are tied, which makes her struggle just a little more with control, her abs and back working hard to keep her body in the place she wants it. In the place I want it.

Whatever the reason, boot licking makes me high, and hard. It sends electric shivers up my legs, up my spine, shooting out my fingertips, out of every hair on my head. Intense and sudden and full of zaps of energy. Even through the leather—perhaps especially through the leather—the sensation is clear, honed, focused.

I close my eyes for a moment and everything else falls away, all I feel is the way her tongue and lips work against the leather against my foot. She moves her hands to rub my ankle and calf with her palms, working even more tension out of my muscles. It’s almost more than I can bear. I want to kick her, to topple her over, to press my boot into her chest. Patience, patience. We’ll get there.

The sensation washes over me, the tension drains from me, and my dick gets harder. This girl, goddamn. I drink in everything I can, every kiss from her lips, every touch of her tongue to my leather. She sinks into me, in through the skin of the leather boots, in through the skin of my feet. I feel spent, wrung out, when she gently retracts her mouth and puts both of her hands on my boots, looking up at me to grin.

“Girl, get up here,” I reach forward for her hair, her honey-colored hair just past her shoulders, thin and wispy and straight, but more than enough to get my fist around and pull. She inhales and rises, teetering to her feet and falling against me as I pull her. She is small, curvy, light-skinned, even whiter than I am. Shorter than me by more than a few inches. Master X would laugh at me; I have such a body type, this plump round body on a compact frame. I don’t rule people out based on their frame, but somehow the chemistry I feel is very much related to a particular type. I have dated people with all kinds of body types—tall, slender, model types with the longest legs; heavyset girls whose weight it feels even more amazing to move around when they are bigger than me; even a few athletes, with ropy muscles and hardened bodies. It’s not intentional, on my part, but I’ve never had a long term partnership with somebody other than this petite and plump kind of body. Something satisfies me about the curviness of Addie’s body, the compactness; she’s in shape, pays attention to how her body feels to her, and does physical things, but that isn’t her singular focus in life, and she likes to eat, too. Or at least, that’s my guess about her body. My projections, I suppose. I don’t actually know her body like that yet.

She giggles as I pull her on to me and kiss her deeply, her mouth all warm from working over the leather. She settles her head on the nook of my chest and neck and sighs. “Thank you, sir,” she says. “For letting me kiss your boots.”

“You don’t have to thank me. But, uh, you’re welcome. You did a good job.” I stroke her hair. She straddles my hips, naked, her cunt hot against my zipper. “Are you hungry? How about I make us a snack.”

She nods. “Sir, if you don’t mind, may I … would it be alright if I showered?”

I consider. Not a usual request exactly, but she is sweaty and covered in come, so I can understand how she’d be more comfortable. “Sure, I don’t mind. I don’t mind you dirty and smelling like sex, either.”

Addie giggles. We stir, sitting up together, and she gives me one more sweet look of submission, her hair falling into her face, before she kisses me one more time and hops up out of my lap. I stand, catching my balance for a moment before walking to the hallway linen closet and fetching a washcloth and big, fluffy towel—both dark grey—for her to use. She is fussing in her bag and pulls out a brush, starts running it through her hair. “It gets so tangled,” she says, and I can see how there’s a mat at the back of her head. “With hair this fine.”

I nod, watching her. I set the towel down on the dresser next to her and nod to the door that connects the two bedrooms. “That’s the bathroom there. I’m going to make a snack. Is there anything you don’t or can’t eat?”

She shakes her head. “No sir, I eat everything. I don’t eat much meat, but I do eat it sometimes.”

I nod. “Take your time, please. Feel free to use any of the soaps or things that are in there, if you like. Not that you probably want to smell like me. But there’s some plain things in there, too.”

She smiles at the thought of using boy shampoo, coming out of the shower smelling like musk and forest or whatever it is girls think that boys smell like. I head to the kitchen and make up a cheese plate, pulling things out of the fridge and cupboards: some gluten-free crackers that are mostly made of seeds and nuts; a granny smith apple, which I cut into small slivers; and two different cheeses, a manchego and some plain old cheddar that I brought back from a trip to a local dairy last week when I was up in the north bay. Classic and delicious. I arrange it all on a bamboo cutting board haphazardly and grab a cheese knife and two small plates, a couple of napkins. No need to be fancy about it. I open a bottle of a big, bold Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley and pour myself a taste in a glass. That feels indulgent—the bottle was more than $40 and not one of my everyday drinking wines, but this isn’t just every day. Plus, a glass of really good wine is I suppose my replacement for a cigarette, which is perhaps what I really want, though I no longer partake. I bring the bottle of wine, the cheese board, and the dishes, and go back for the glass of wine. I swallow the taste of wine and it blooms in my mouth like fruit bursting, with hints of chocolate and ash. Bringing my glass, empty, and another empty glass into the living room, I go back again for two glasses of water, and finally collapse on the couch.

It’s a little bit chilly in here, fall in San Francisco being what it is, and I button a few of my shirt buttons back up. It is tight against my belly, and the buttons pull at the fabric just a little, though the shirt fit perfectly this morning. Seems like I always get a little more relaxed by the end of the day. I hear the shower going still and ponder stepping in there with her, soaping up her skin, washing her hair for her. But I can’t, not yet. Maybe someday.

I wonder what her passions are, what she wants to change about her life, what she loves about her life. Who has she been in love with? What kind of birthday cake is her favorite? What does she eat for comfort food? Which authors does she read—because of course she must be a reader, I hope; what’s that John Waters quote: “If you go home with someone and they don’t have books, don’t fuck them.” But what does she like to read? What does she read for fun, where are her favorite sections of a bookstore or a library to get lost in, what books were formative for her? I want to know so many things about her. I have barely begun to know her. I know she likes whiskey flights, since that’s what she was drinking when I saw her at the bar tonight. I know she can dance—at least the kind of random exciting movements to the hip hop and top 40 that were playing in the bar—and that when songs she likes come on, she urgently feels the need to move. I know at least two of her friends seem nice, who was it who was there with her? Vivian, if I remember right, who was the one who said, “Yeah, she’s available,” with that sparkle in her eyes, when I went up to talk to her as she was ordering another round of drinks. I ordered the same whiskey flight she had and sipped through it, watching her out of the corner of my eye while Dawn and Michael held up the conversation about the latest politics in the Pleasure Society. They want me to get more involved. I’m not sure I want to bother. But meanwhile, the bar had a fundraiser for the current Mr. SF Bootblack, and we figured we would go lend our support. Or at least our drinking money.

When we got to talking, the chemistry was immediate. She was bold and flirtatious and touched my arm and averted her eyes and told silly jokes that made me laugh despite myself, but she got serious when she asked what I was doing later tonight, and when she could see me again.

“I’m not sure that’s a good idea,” I said. “I’m a … I tend toward the dominant side of things. I’m not sure we’d be a match.”

She looked at me a little puzzled. “Oh I know, Harrison. I know who you are. What makes you think I’m not submissive? Am I being too bold for a proper submissive?” She rolls her eyes, but places her hand on my arm and strokes, just a little. “Your misperceptions about me aren’t actually my problem.”

I’m taken aback. “Oh, is that how it is,” I tease, trying to buy myself some time.

“Indeed it is, sir,” Addie says softly, but also seriously.

“I suppose my misperceptions are your problem, if they get in the way of what you want.” I move a little closer to her and her body responds brilliantly, opening.

“Who says they’re in the way?” she challenges.

I try to backtrack. “So you’re submissive.”

She nods. “I think I know what you’ve been looking for,” she whispers, before she leans in to offer her mouth for a kiss. I take it. It would be rude not to. And besides, I want to. I have had this craving to kiss her since I saw her swirling her hips on the other side of the bar.

It’s not that I thought we wouldn’t be compatible, exactly, I just didn’t want to get my hopes up. At least, I figured it would be a fun one-night stand with a beautiful girl. Maybe we’d find some things in common. Maybe she’d be interested in a few of the things I’m interested in. I’m not sure what she meant when she said she knows what I’ve been looking for, but it was intriguing, I’ll admit. We talked a little more, and when I was ready to pull her into the men’s room for some play, I decided to take her home. Unexpected, even unprecedented. But hey. Maybe it’s the new me. Maybe it’s time for me to make some bolder, more impulsive choices.

By the time Addie gets out of the shower and joins me, I have an idea of at least twenty questions I want to ask. She is wearing my robe, probably the one that was on the back of the bathroom door. “This is so sweet!” she says, piling cheese and crackers and a few slices of apple into one hand and picking up the water glass with the other, then sitting down on the couch eagerly, pulling her legs up underneath her.

“Um, that’s what plates are for,” I say, handing one to her. “Do you want wine?”

“Ohh, yes please,” she answers, setting down her water and popping a slice of apple into her mouth. “Mmm this is heavenly. So perfect.”

I hand her the glass of Cabernet and sit down on the couch next to her, our knees touching.

She grins at me and chews. “So, Harrison,” she says, swallowing. “What do you do, anyway? What’s your story?”

“My story?”

“Yes, that’s right. I mean, what makes you tick. And how’d you get this great apartment? Did you grow up here? What are you passionate about, I mean really passionate?” She waits, chewing crackers and cheese, clearly expecting me to answer.

I swallow more wine and ponder how to answer her, fingering the rim of the glass. I don’t want to say too much, and I want to ask her these kinds of things. But I want to open up. Maybe she’ll be more open with me, if I do. “The apartment, I inherited from a friend. Took over his lease when he left for grad school on the east coast. I guess technically he still rents it, his name is on the lease, but I’ve been here for about five years. Rent controlled; I mean, what can you do? I had to take it.”

Addie nods, taking sips of the wine.

“I went to UC Berkeley, that’s what brought me here. I grew up in Oregon, near Portland, but pretty much out in the woods. I miss the evergreen forests sometimes, but I like it here. I have roots down now, it’d be so hard to move.” I chew an apple slice and keep going, not elaborating too much on the answers but still answering her questions, trying to satisfy her curiosity. “I’m … between jobs right now. I’ve been working in the tech world for a while, I was most recently at a start-up that was sold and my stock options have … bought me a little bit of time to figure out what I want to do next. I’ve been thinking, maybe something with wine.” I swirl the cabernet in the glass. It’s one of my favorites. Addie is taking big mouthfuls of it at a time, clearly thirsty and enjoying it, but not exactly savoring it. I wonder what she knows about wine, what kind of wine she likes. She might not exactly be impressed with this one, even though she kind of should be. If she liked big Napa cabs, anyway. “I’m not sure exactly, but I want to learn more about it. I’m not sure I want to go back to sitting at a computer all day. I was always better at schmoozing with people, in the tech world, anyway—selling them on a project, convincing them they needed to go in on it, to give us money. That was mostly my role.”

She nods, eyes sparkling, following along with my story. I uncross my legs and shift, self-conscious under her gaze.

“What am I passionate about … that’s a good question. Food, maybe. I love cooking, love entertaining. Love making something new or discovering a new way to enjoy something. I really get a lot out of something being deeply pleasurable. It feels a little indulgent, so I suppose it’s not always healthy. But in general, I like indulgence. I like going to the Kabuki spa in Japantown, have you been there?” Addie shakes her head, but stays quiet, encouraging me to continue. “It’s pretty stunning. There’s an all-men’s night, I like to go to that one; it’s clothing optional. The co-ed nights are clothed. It feels indulgent,” I continue, “But I find such deep relaxation and rest in things like that. Maybe that’s what I’m really passionate about: indulgence. Hedonism. Getting … what I want.”

“Maybe,” she says, raising an eyebrow. “Do you always get what you want?”

I consider this. “I kind of do, yeah. I guess that has to do with … privilege. I can expect that I can have what I’m after, that there aren’t a lot of barriers in the way, denying me access. Plus, I can … get away with things. I’m not necessarily proud of that, but I can. I always was a good kid, so that helped.”

“And now, is it your pretty face?” Addie asks, probing.

“Yeah, I suppose so.” I take another sip of wine and savor the flavor, and eat a bit more of the cheese and apple. I don’t want to talk about this. What if she asks me what I’ve gotten away with? I don’t want to reveal so much. I don’t have to tell her, just because she asks. I can stop talking. How did she get me talking so much? I look over to her, and she’s smiling and sipping wine, as if it’s totally normal for her to be asking probing questions to someone she’s just met. And fucked.

I shift on the couch, adjusting to angle my body toward hers a little more. I lower my hand to touch her arm gently. She smiles, tilts her head toward me. I sip more wine. The silence grows between us, but it’s not uncomfortable exactly. It’s just a breath, a small break, a moment of quietude, in and out.

“What about you?” I ask finally.

“What about me?”

“I mean, what are you passionate about? What do you do, what’s your work in the world? What’s your story? What makes you tick?” I could keep going, but I wait for her to answer.

She smiles, considering her response, a mischievous smile on her lips that spreads to her eyes and makes them sparkle. “Oh no, I think that’s enough about me for one night.” She drains the rest of her wine and sets her wine glass down on the coffee table. “I’m going to go get dressed. Will you drive me home?”

She’s not staying? No. Of course not. She has things to do, a job, a life to get back to. Maybe this was just a one-night stand for her. Maybe there won’t even be a next time. “Of course,” I say, and stand.

Image via Javier Kohen on Flickr, used with a Creative Commons license.

A peek inside Submissive Playground! The syllabus and Subplay “tracks”

So how come I, as a dominant, am running a course for submissives?
What are the goals of the Submissive Playground course?
What is on the syllabus of the course?

Let’s explore some of these questions that are asked frequently.

As a Dominant, I believe my job is not to teach you how to submit—other submissives and your own inner wisdom holds techniques and tips for that. (That’s why the course has sixteen guest educators who are mostly switches and submissives.)

My job as a Dominant is:

  1. To create a space for your submission to walk into and feel held, safe, and able to deeply explore.
  2. To set you up with rules to follow, protocol to practice, and goals to meet that are reasonable, clear, and manageable. I want you to go away from encounters feeling awesome, strong, bad-ass, energized, well-used, respected, and maybe, if we’re lucky, we’ll both feel a little bit transformed.
  3. To keep checking in to the Big Picture of our mutual goals, and keep tweaking our rules and protocol so that we are doing the best we can to move closer to them.

In Submissive Playground specifically, my goals for the submissive “players” who participate in the course are:

  1. To have fun! To identify and suspend some of the judgment we’ve accidentally absorbed about what “real” submission is and what it means to submit well, and to instead dive into myriad ways to do it, and figure out what works best for us right now.
  2. To do experiments with our bodies (and hearts and minds), to “collect the data” from the experiments, and to keep moving forward.
  3. To connect with community and witness the many ways a D/s path is possible, and to support each other in the different ways that we pursue these arts.
  4. To support you in identifying your “growth edges,” the places you’d like to transform and learn and grow, and to offer resources on your journey. (And to identify some of my own growth edges, too!)

These goals, and this premise, is what the whole Submissive Playground ecourse is built on.

The content in Submissive Playground keeps growing. This is the fourth time rife & I will be doing the course and we fine-tune it every time.

So let’s go over the Submissive Playground syllabus, so you know just what is going on in the course.

Each unit has two weeks between it to consume as many of the materials as possible, do the experiment, and fill out the homework worksheet.

Unit 0: PRE-COURSE MATERIALS

  • Read the Protocol document
  • Fill out the Foreplay & Negotiations questionnaire
  • Introduce yourself in the Sandbox (the course message board)
  • Sign up for the webinar service
  • Determine your course folder
  • Determine your course object
  • Take the What Kind of S-Type Are You? Quiz

Unit 1: BONDAGE

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  • Attend the live webinar introducing the course and opening the Bondage unit
  • Read “Tart Cherry” erotica by Kathleen Delaney-Adams
  • Read “Self Bondage” by david stein
  • Watch Lee Harrington’s video, “10 Things I Wish I Knew as a Bondage Bottom”
  • Watch Madison Young’s tips for bondage and the fetish of rope
  • Watch the guest video from Axe, about being more attractive to your dominant
  • Watch the guest video from Maisha Najuma Aza on submissive stereotypes
  • Watch Mx. Sexsmith’s demo of a simple bondage tie
  • Do the experiment!

  • Do your submissive journal homework
  • BONUS: Fill out the BDSM Checklist
  • BONUS: video by rife about getting more kinky play

Unit 2: DISCIPLINE

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  • Attend the live webinar wrapping up Bondage and opening the Discipline unit
  • Watch the guest video from International Master 2011, Liza, on the types of punishments
  • Watch the guest video from International slave 2011, Jody, on what motivates us to submit
  • Watch the guest video from Princess Kali on punishment and “funishment”
  • Listen to an interview with Raven Kaldera about discipline and punishment
  • Watch a short video of SkinDiamond practicing the Kink.com slave positions
  • Watch an erotic video with Nina Hartley incorporating some discipline play and positions
  • Read a document describing all the 12 kink.com slave positions
  • Read the queer erotica story “Call Me Sir” by BB Rydell
  • Do your experiment!

  • Do your submissive journal homework
  • BONUS: A worksheet from the (out of print) book Discipline by Lily Lloyd about making new rules & protocol
  • BONUS: Integrated Life Matrix infographic

Unit 3: SERVICE

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  • Attend the live webinar wrapping up Discipline and opening the Service unit
  • Watch the guest video from Sejay Chu, professional service sub and experienced switch
  • Watch the guest video from rife on cultivating a service mindset for more joy and less resentment
  • Watch the guest video from feminist queer master Andrea Zanin on receiving service
  • Watch the guest video from International Ms Bootblack 2009 kd diamond on bootblacking and other service skills
  • Read an excerpt from “Real Service” by Joshua Tenpenny on motivations
  • Do your experiment!

  • Do your submissive journal homework
  • BONUS: Take the Lust Languages quiz and ponder the ways you express and best receive lust
  • BONUS: A porn poker scene from Tristan Taormino’s Rough Sex 2

Unit 4: MASOCHISM

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  • Attend the live webinar wrapping up Service and opening the Masochism unit
  • Watch the guest video from Tina Horn, queer porn star, about spanking
  • Watch the guest video from Tillie King, switch and BDSM educator, on pain processing
  • Watch the guest video from Midori, on masochism
  • Listen to the interview with shiris about masochism and pain processing
  • Watch the short video “Impact” by Mollena Williams for fun
  • Read an erotic story with a cathartic pain scene called “Lost River” by Jeff Mann
  • Do your experiment!

  • Do your submissive journal homework
  • BONUS: Theory article, “Pleasure Not Panic: The Art of Processing Pain” by Joseph W. Bean

Unit 5: POST-COURSE

  • Attend the live webinar wrapping up Masochism and closing the entire course
  • Fill out the Aftercare worksheet
  • Say thank you to a course guest contributor
  • Book any remaining sessions you’d like to have
  • Further reading & resources PDF
  • BONUS: Wrap up any threads in the Sandbox
  • BONUS: Download any course materials you’d like for further study
  • BONUS: Join our Fetlife group for graduates
  • Update your submissive resume with your new training and anything else you’ve learned
 And that is pretty much covers the course!  

Ready to join us? Click here and sign up for Submissive Playground!

Of course, it’s a little bit different when we’re doing it live … a LOT of things can come up when we dig around in your relationship to submission! And there’s the community aspects, too.

Sound like a lot of materials? It is. But hey—I don’t want to add to your endless to do list! You’re busy! And you should be out making money and getting laid and changing the world for the better, I don’t want to get in the way of that kind of important stuff.

Remember: All the materials are optional.

Plus, many subs are the A+ student type.
You don’t need to put that kind of pressure on yourself on my behalf. You can still get TONS out of this course even if you don’t do half of it. And, you can always download the materials after the course if you want to keep them and do them later!

Check out the various contents, decide which one or two or three you are going to prioritize, and leave the rest behind. Sure, you can dig in to them if you find yourself inspired, but you will know you are totally on top of your commitment to the course when you finish up the work for your Track, and you don’t have to feel guilty about not doing more.

Maybe your work or home schedule is such that you just can’t make the webinars, for example. That’s okay! You can watch them later, or you can skip them altogether and dive into the materials yourself. (Sometimes I give a context or some content in those video sessions that I am encouraging us to explore during that unit, but you can do it on your own.)

Does that all make sense? I want this experience to be exciting, fun, and energizing for you, not a drain or an extra obligation. And rather than dropping off mid-course because you aren’t caught up, what if you set lower expectations on yourself and then felt AWESOME when you completed them? This is recreational, for your growth and pleasure.

Because remember: as a dominant, I want to set you up to succeed, and to thrive.

So here’s the different Submissive Playground “tracks” you can focus on

1. The Materials

That would be the dirty stories, how-to articles, and porn that I’ve already mentioned. It’s all the things to read and watch and interact with, the graphics rife has made, a custom-made Lust Language quiz, plus some BONUS materials when rife and I had too many good materials not to include.

2. The Experiment

This is the “go do this activity” part. There’s one per module (and four modules total—Bondage, Discipline, Service, and Masochism) and it’s the thing that you go try out in your life—there are ways to do it with a partner or by yourself.

3. Submissive Journals Homework

The journals part of the homework is thoughtful written responses to #1, The Materials, and #2, The Experiment. It is kind of like discussion questions in a class, a series of questions to get you thinking about and interacting with the materials and your experiment in a deeper way. This has been a big hit for journallers, folks who are into self-reflection and self-examination, and who like writing.

Doing #3 kind of requires that you keep up with #1 and #2, at least in part.

4. Webinars for each unit

This is the “live” part of the course. All the participants, plus me and rife, meet up every other week throughout the course to talk about all the #1 Materials, #2 Experiment, and #3 Homework, and to share our stories of discovery with one another. This happens in Spreecast, so there’s a chat function and you can come on video (but only if you want to) and talk to me and everybody in the course. These have been so very fun! They have set dates & times:

  • BONDAGE: Thursday, September 24, 6-7:30pm PST / 9-10:30pm EST / 1-2:30am GMT
  • DISCIPLINE: Saturday, October 10, 10-11:30am PST / 1-2:30pm EST / 5-6:30pm GMT
  • SERVICE: Thursday, October 22, 6-7:30pm PST / 9-10:30pm EST / 1-2:30am GMT
  • MASOCHISM: Saturday, November 7, 10-11:30am PST / 1-2:30pm EST / 5-6:30pm GMT
  • WRAP-UP: Saturday, November 21, 10-11:30am PST / 1-2:30pm EST / 5-6:30pm GMT

And they are all recorded so you can go back to them and watch them later if you aren’t able to miss the live calls.

Oh wait! Let me tell you about The Star Chart!
Throughout the course, Star & Mentor Players have access to the Star Chart, which is a place to keep track of the different pieces of the course and what you’re consuming. It’s like having your own sticker chart on the wall where everybody can see how you are doing your chores.

5. Submissive Community

This is the part, more than any of the others, that participants have said was really life-changing. Making connections to folks on a similar submissive path from around the world has been amazing! Friendships have been born and connections have been made. I firmly believe that identity explorations are easier when there’s a community context, because you have not only support but also many representations of how this particular identity manifests. In the course, we have a chat during the live video sessions, there is a message board available for your perusal and in-depth conversations, and you’re hooked up with a “subby buddy” with whom you can dive in and converse more deeply about the course.

6. One on One Sessions

Last but not least, the individual sessions track of the Submissive Playground course is where you and I get to dive deeper into your particular journey with submission and offer some support around whatever your growth edge is. One session is included with the Star Package, and FOUR sessions are included with the Mentor Package (which is why it’s called the Mentor Package, cuz you get some significant mentorship for your D/s path over eight weeks). Anybody in the course can add on additional sessions for a reduced rate, though, so just contact me if you want one. (Note: I’m not really doing 1-1 work with clients this year, instead I’m focusing on teaching and ecourses. So this is a great way to have some 1-1 time with me!)

Oh yeah, and rife is also limitedly available for sessions. After watching his videos in the course and hearing him speak about submission, you might really want some support directly from him and his brilliant submissive theory.

And that covers the entire course!

Come on and join us! It’s been an incredible journey so far and I learn so much every time I run it. I love talking to submissives from around the WORLD about what their D/s relationships are like, where they could use some support, and what they’ve learned. It’s taught me so, so much about D/s and power dynamics and how I want to build my own D/s relationship.

Click here and sign up for Submissive Playground!

“Submission is mine to define for myself.” Interview with Miss Piggy

Miss Piggy was a player in Submissive Playground in 2014, and is signed up to join us again. She is the Social Activities Director of the Society of Janus in San Francisco.

What did you like about the course? What parts of it stand out?

There were a lot of things I liked about the course, but the first that stands out for me is that I felt like Mr. Sexsmith led me through a lot of pondering that I hadn’t done yet, about a variety of topics. I was still/am still very new, and it gave me an organized, thoughtful approach to my own kinks and interests. The quality of the materials was very high – the videos were very informative and entertaining, and I haven’t seen that caliber elsewhere. Mr. Sexsmith and rife are also “informative and entertaining” – you can really see how beautiful and thought-out their relationship is and how that shapes their perspectives.

The other aspect that was very special was the camaraderie with subs from all over the world. Everyone was so different in terms of their dynamics, orientation and interests, but each person was more fascinating that the last! Having people video chat and tell their stories was so cool. I might pay to do the class again just so I can learn from all the next group’s stories.

What drew you to Submissive Playground? Where were you before you took the course?
I was a fairly new submissive when I found out about the Playground. I was reading everything I could get my hands on, taking classes, and getting involved in the local scene. But I needed more, and everything I read pointed me to the Submissive Playground (especially the idea of homework).

What was your favorite part of the experience?
Hearing from submissives of every gender and orientation from all over the world. Having someone share a deep, dark scary secret and several of us all piping in “ME TOO!”

What did you learn?
I learned that I am ok as the submissive I am, and I can strive to become the submissive I want to be. It’s not about the end game, it’s about the journey. The Playground was an important part of that journey.

What kind of skills did you build?
Discovering what kinds of service are important to each of my partners and following through on those things, instead of making myself crazy trying to be perfect with things they couldn’t care less about. And flirting with Tops and Sadists and Dominants (oh my!) while still feeling submissive.

What changed with your relationship to submission?
Realizing it was mine (and my partners) to define for ourselves – there isn’t a right answer.

What changed with your relationship to your dominant?
Watching the assigned videos with Him, or sharing specific readings, was the best part. Further opening lines of communication – me finding my voice to say that something wasn’t working for me (bad pain versus good pain, suffering for His pleasure versus being miserable). Even for a strong, alpha submissive like myself, those are hard things to say aloud to a partner.

What in you feels stronger now than it did before the course?
My trust in my own gut to know when a relationship or scene isn’t right for me. My confidence that as a fat, middle-aged masochist submissive cis-woman, I am a hot catch for the right people and anyone who earns my service or submission better be damn worth it.

How & why would you recommend this to other submissives?
While I got lots of answers to my unresolved questions from this class, I felt more focused on the wonderful questions it brought to my attention. I found myself wandering my neighborhood caught up in a question that came up on a phone call or in one of the videos.

If you are intelligent, thoughtful, submissive (or might be), curious and ideally witty, I think you’ll get a lot out of it, even if it’s not what you think you’ll get out of it. It’s really a bit of a journey – I’m glad I took it seriously.


january-subplay

Submissive Playground
registration is open!

There are only 4 Star Package spots left! Registration is open until September 18; course begins September 24.

Click here to reserve your spot now!

7 Tips For Flirting As A Submissive

One of the most common questions I get asked from submissives is, “How do I flirt with dominants!?” And while learning some basic flirting tips (like: be curious and ask questions, give compliments, be honest) can be helpful, when you add D/s into the equation sometimes the rules are a little bit different.

Part of the confusion is that we associate flirtation with assertion—someone comes along, declares interest, and asks for what they want. Those can be seen as dominant traits. But it is absolutely possible for a submissive to do them, and to still come across as submissive and respect the dominant’s authority as a dom.

So, assuming that you’ve already established that you are submissive and the person you’re flirting with is a dominant, here’s some tips. (These are some of the things that would work for me.)

1. Establish whether or not they want to be flirted with.

This might seem obvious, but it’s multi-faceted. You gotta figure out if they are available or not—if their relationship allow for flirtation with other people. It might be as simple as figuring out whether or not they are single, but being partnered doesn’t necessarily mean that they can’t flirt—it just depends on whether their relationship allows for flirtation or not. And you might also see whether their relationship only allows flirting, and not going any farther than that—which may change your opinion on whether or not you want to flirt, depending on what the goal of your flirting is.

Secondly, you have to figure out if they are available or not right now, meaning if the timing is right. If I’m about to teach a workshop, for example, I am way less likely to respond well to flirtation than if I’ve just ended a workshop. How do you know if the timing is okay? Well, you can always ask—”So, is this a good time to flirt with you?” “Got a minute to flirt with me?” “Hey, if this isn’t a good time, could we set aside some time later and flirt maybe?”

2. If they have a submissive already, befriend them.

While you’re asking around about whether they’re available, also ask whether or not they already have a submissive—then, make friends with the sub. Ask if there’s any service you can do, if there’s some interesting talent or skill you can offer, or what other expression of interest would be welcome. If you establish yourself as aware of the hierarchy in the relationship that already exists, you’ll be a lot less threatening to the submissive, and they are way more likely to hook you up with tips and tricks to get the dominant’s attention.

3. Offer to be of service.

“May I ____ for you?”
As a friend of mine put it, “May I ____ for you?” This is where your keen observational skills can give you big points: if you notice some of the things they always do and offer to do it for them, you put yourself in the position of being very helpful. If being observational isn’t your strong point, offer some of your own impressive skills or talents: May I black your boots, may I gift you some peanut butter cookies that I made.

4. Use their title.

Using words that remind you both of the hierarchies that you like to play with can be a big turn-on, which is always a bonus when you’re trying to be flirtatious. Do some observation, and ask around, and see what kind of titles this person likes to use.

But, don’t use their relational titles. Some people have titles that they only use with a particular person, and those can be way too personal and intimate to use with a new person. Then again, some folks have “Daddy” or “Mistress” right there on their name tag or in their Fetlife user name, and everybody refers to them as such.

There’s no hard and clear rule about which titles are relational and which are respectful, so you kind of have to feel it out for yourself. In general, I’d say “Sir” and “Ma’am” are the most widely acceptable, but those are not universally liked by everyone. You can always slip it into a sentence and then ask permission: “I’d love to get your drink, ma’am—may I call you ma’am?” Hopefully, they’ll respond with the thing they would like to be called, if you guess incorrectly.

5. Be willing to be wrong.

Be willing to hear no. Be willing to be corrected if you make assumptions or mistakes. You might call them by a title and they might correct you—that’s okay. Say, “Sorry about that; thank you for the permission to call you sir.” Being corrected means you are worthy of correction, and it’s a good sign.

Putting yourself out there means taking risks, and when you’re the person who is initiating the flirtatious interaction, it’s kind of up to you to put yourself in a vulnerable position first.

6. Ask for what you want.

And be honest! Don’t ask to black their boots if that’s not your thing, don’t ask for them to beat you if you’re not into receiving sensation. Ask for what you actually want.

It’s always okay to ask for something, but it’s important that you are willing to hear any possible answer to your ask.
The context of your ask is important. If you can do that thing right there and then and it’s appropriate, it’s appropriate to offer it or to ask for it. So if you’re at a kink retreat, it is probably appropriate to offer a blow job or request to receive a spanking, but it wouldn’t be appropriate to ask for those things if you’re out at a bar (unless, you know, being crass and direct is one of your tactics—in which case, it could work! But know that it’s higher risk.)

It’s always okay to ask for something, but it’s important that you are willing to hear any possible answer to your ask. Of course, we want the answer to be an emphatic “yes,” but it isn’t always. If you’re going to get a little crushed if they say no, perhaps pre-plan the ask to have a friend around after who is willing to comfort you or perk you up.

Use your keen powers of observation and assess what kind of person this dominant is: Do they have public scenes at parties, or are they mostly private? Do they flirt and socialize a lot, or do they tend to keep to themself and their close people? Tailoring your asks to what you notice about the dominant makes it more likely for them to say yes.

7. Offer your contact information.

Assuming you are flirting now with the intention of following up for even more later, offer your info: Your Fetlife account, your cell number, your email address—however you want them to get in touch with you. Giving them your contact information gives them the power to follow up or not. Plus, it puts your vulnerability into a sexy framework: the potential to continue the flirtation, and possibly even more.


january-subplay

Submissive Playground
registration is open!

There are only 4 Star Package spots left! Registration is open until September 18; course begins September 24.

Click here to reserve your spot now!

Featured image from Crash Pad Series Episode #188, Valentine & Ember.

100 Bedtime Strokes (Mistress Elise Winter & morgan #2)

“May I sit?” morgan’s voice surprised Elise; she hadn’t seen him approach. She looked up from her book and blinked, then composed her face and her answer at once.

“Are your chores complete?”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

“Tell me.” This was their ritual every night, the way they loved to come back together. Elise’s eyes sparkle as she fights the urge to reach out and grab him, pull him into her lap. Rituals are important, she reminds herself. Not only to display her authority, though yes that too, but also to reminder her of all that he does, the many ways he is devoted. She stays more present in gratitude and strives more successfully to be worthy when she pays attention to their rituals.

He begins the list. “Your tea service is complete; the dishes are done and put away; your clothes and jewels are put away, and tomorrow’s are laid out for you. Sir Elvis Purrmeister has been fed.”

Elise feels a smile pull on the corners of her mouth, starts to suppress it, and lets it come. Her cat’s name is just Elvis, but morgan has taken to adding the honorific and surname, and Elise is too amused to have him change it. It is clear who is above whom in the hierarchy, anyway, so the proper respect is just one more thing to admire about morgan.

“Tomorrow’s schedules, both yours and mine, are next to the bed and the morning alarms are set. The bed is turned down. And, I have picked tonight’s implement, it is in the usual place on the nightstand,” morgan doesn’t look smug or tired, just pleased to be useful and grateful to be serving.

Elise sighs a little, with relief and relaxation, with the pleasure of being taken care of precisely as she likes it. “Good job, boy; you may sit.” She pats the side of her elegant thick leather reading chair and he takes his seat at her feet, leaning against her bare legs and cuddling into her with happy sighs, the tension from the day leaving his shoulders.

She takes another sip of her tea and goes back to her book—one of those classic English novels that she likes. This one is Pride and Prejudice, a favorite she re-reads once a year or so. This is the second time morgan has seen it in her hands.

Most nights, this is how it goes. Sometimes morgan has a book, or something to study, or some lines to write for training or task. Usually, Elise has a novel, something that feels indulgent but keeps her mind steady and her heart thrumming. She likes to be as far into the adult-land in the evenings as possible—spending all day with pre-schoolers and kindergarteners for her job is exhausting, and can take such a toll.

She fingers the hair on the back of his head absently, as if fingering a blanket on the chair or her own sweater. His presence is comforting, reassuring. The warm mint tea and honey soothes her and flows golden down her tongue. Everything is just right.

After a few more chapters, when Lydia elopes with Mr. Wickham, Elise closes the book with a small snap and stands. morgan blinks and quickly rises to his ready position—hands behind his back, eyes down—he does not stay seated when she is standing. She pulls him close, nuzzles her cheek against his forehead, and he wraps his arms around her waist. How well they fit together, their bodies’ contours so complimentary. She holds him there for a moment until she says, “Okay; bedtime, boy,” and they separate. She turns to the hall to go into the bathroom for some of her evening self-care, and he goes to the bedroom to strip. She takes her time—brushing and braiding her hair, applying cleansers and creams to her skin, brushing her teeth. He waits. The waiting is like meditation, but cleaner for him, as it is totally beyond his control and thus much easier for him to let go. (This is the kinds of things he tells his Mistress in his journal, which she reads weekly.)

He has picked out the thick wooden paddle, taller than her hand’s widest spread. One side is soft suede, the other is hard wood. The handle is wrapped so her hand is protected.

This paddle makes beautiful, deep bruises.

When she enters, he has taken off his tee shirt and boy short-shorts, the ones that almost show the bottoms of the cheeks of his ass. He’s down to a jock strap, the white one, on his knees, hands behind his back in his submissive meditation position next to the bed. He knows to wait there until he is released by her. He breathes in the smell of her evening lotions, now so familiar to him and so related to their evening beatings that he flinches when the sweet tangy scent reaches his nose, and his mouth salivates. He is a trained pet. She can see his arousal in the flushing of his nearly naked skin, the slight hardening of his nipples. She is nearly bare now, too, down to one thin cream-colored slip with nothing beneath it. Her feet are bare. She keeps her bedroom warm.

“Here.” She points to the bed. She is not cruel, not really—just direct, specific. She eliminates superfluousness. She does not believe in coddling in D/s; she believes in trust, agency, consent. She believes morgan’s deep desire to serve and to please, and she is grateful, yes, but she also feeds off of it. She consumes it like cotton candy, leaving her mouth pink around the edges and her fingers sticky. She needs it, just as he does. Her clipped tone is only for simplicity, and for intimacy, as she trust him not to need hand-holding. Not anymore.

Mistress Elise Winter is deft with a paddle. It was always one of her favorites when she was domming professionally, delivering such a satisfying smack and leaving such good bruises. Plus, it can be a key prop in any age-play scene: just a few words and it is suddenly a cutting board the bottom’s mom grabbed from the kitchen, or a sorority girl who stole a fraternity paddle or a headmistress’s prized discipline tool. Even more than obedience, Elise likes her subs small and little, with feigned (preferably not real) innocence. Something about the corruption just works with the way she is wired.

She whispers in her boy’s ear before she begins—something soothing, something that makes him relax, arch his ass in the air a little higher, and lean in to her just a fraction of an inch more. She rubs herself against his ass and thighs, her hand stroking the fine muscles of his back. When he whimpers a little, she knows he is ready. 

Starting with her hands, she warms up his ass and thighs and upper back. He is chest-down, his face kissed by her burgundy 1000-count sheets, his feet just touching the floor of her raised bed. When she moves from the quick light swats to the deeper fist-thuds, he asks her if it is time. 

“Yes; go ahead and start,” she replies. 

He begins counting aloud. She’ll do twenty or thirty more with her hands beofre bringing in the paddle to finish the hundred strokes. 

They don’t say much. It’s just one of those quiet nights. Elise tries to let her job fall away, the stresses of her vaninlla life out of sync with her kinky self, the projects for the non-profit board she sits on, the pressure of her mother’s struggling health battle with emphysema. Nothing precisely fills Elise’s mind, but she finds her inner world quite full when she quiets and focuses. The relief of a target, a victim, is almost enough to make her start crying, the release feels so huge, like a dam beginning to leak and ready to smash apart with the weight of what is held back. 

morgan is counting. “32 … 33 … 34.” He is diligent, and taking it for her. He is deconstructing and reassembling in front of her eyes in that way that power and sensation can inspire. She slides the paddle into her grip and opens a rain of blows on his tender flesh, already pink and warm to the touch. His breathing gets heavier and his voice gets more strained. She doesn’t care; they are only just barely to 50. She winds up like a baseball batter and swings. He screams into the sheets. Drops of sweat form and trickle at his neck, at the small of his back. His ass is a round handful and she takes her grip as it pleases her, kneading like dough. She leans down to bite his ass. He yells out, “Mistress, please, oh god, please, it hurts!” He squirms away, but her hands hold his hips. She leaves a dark ring mark from her teeth; that one will bruise up nicely.

She licks her lips, and swats with the paddle again.

“This is for me, not you,” she whispers, mostly to herself. “I need it, I don’t know why I need it, but I need it, need your ass like this, need my marks on you, need your ache to show in your face tomorrow when you sit down.”

“68 … 69 … 70.” He is panting between the numbers. She is taking her time, savoring each one. His ass is already purple—he won’t be able to sit. She focuses on his thighs. He is trying so hard not to squirm. She slips a finger between his ass cheeks to check on his hole: it flexes against her finger pad like a kiss, open and eager. “Hungry boy,” she murmurs, swatting again with her right hand. He whimpers, pushing back against her just a little, not wanting to be too eager or demanding, but showing he wants it.

His knees are getting weak. The bed holds him up. Elise strokes his hair and he turns so one cheek is on the bed and he can see her, just a little. Her thick braid is flying behind her like the tail of a kite, her hands moving quickly, opening his tight back hole as the paddle slams in to him. He tries with all his concentration to keep count. He misses a few, but she lets it go; he is doing so well. “So good, boy,” she coos. “You’re so good.”

He’s in the nineties now and they are both climbing. Her two fingers have dipped into the Boy Butter on the nightstand and opens his hole just enough to feel the pressure distracting him from the wicked paddle. She might let him get off. Will she? She can’t decide. She likes it when he does.

“98 … 99 … 100,” morgan is whimpering each number, tears down his beautiful cheeks, body shuddering in waves of release. Elise steps back and breathes, separates herself from him for a moment so they can both catch their breath. Her wrists throb, shoulders buzz with aliveness. A few hairs have strayed and she tucks them back into her braid.

“Morgan,” she says softly. “Get on the bed and turn over.”

He does, slowly, testing out how his muscles have been changed, wincing at the rawness. She slides her slip up her thighs and kneels on the bed, swinging her leg over him and sliding up his body.

“Oh god,” he says, muffled, before she has even lowered her cunt onto his mouth to feed it to him. Hers is a hungry mouth, too, swollen and wet, dripping. She never lets him enter her, but she uses his mouth when she wants. His stamina is impressive.

She lifts her slip just enough to it is out of the way, not restricting the openness of her thighs. Its hem kisses his forehead. He laps with his tongue, sucks with his lips and throat. Her clit is huge and bursting with need, angry and red like the palms of her hands, like his ass. She needs it, this release, maybe even more than he does—though how can they compare? But her want is monstrous, never-ending. She almost feels like herself again. She rocks her hips over his mouth and steadies herself on the headboard, arms outstretched. She barely remembers there is a person under her right now, she just grinds down and against this beautiful boy, this toy who always does it just right, just right there.

“Come when I do,” she orders, low and fast, not giving much warning—but he won’t need it. He’s been ready to come since she fingered his ass. And he knows what she sounds like, what it means when she starts clawing at his hair and suffocating him with her hole.

“Fuck, that’s it, there, god oh god oh GOD!” Elise is sitting on a volcano and erupts through her mouth with words and grunts and screams when she comes, heavy, filling his mouth with liquid, pushing it into his throat. He opens wide and takes it, shuddering under her and swallowing.

“Thank you, Mistress, thank you,” he repeats, breathless, still only breathing small sips of air. She moves off of him and collapses onto the pillows, he curls up in her arms.

“Stay in my bed tonight,” she says, stroking his hair.

“Yes, Ma’am,” he sighs, happy, pulling the covers up over them both as they drift off to sleep.

I Want You to Thrive: How to Use the Submissive Playground “Tracks”

january-subplayAs a Dominant, my job is not to teach you how to submit—other submissives and your own inner wisdom holds techniques and tips for that. (That’s why the course has fourteen guest educators who are mostly switches and submissives.)

My job as a Dominant is:

  1. To create a space for your submission to walk into and feel held, safe, and able to deeply explore.
  2. To set you up with rules to follow, protocol to practice, and goals to meet that are reasonable, clear, and manageable. I want you to go away from encounters feeling awesome, strong, bad-ass, energized, well-used, respected, and maybe, if we’re lucky, we’ll both feel a little bit transformed.
  3. To keep checking in to the Big Picture of our mutual goals, and keep tweaking our rules and protocol so that we are doing the best we can to move closer to them.

In Submissive Playground specifically, my goals for the submissive “players” who participate in the course are:

  1. To have fun! To identify and suspend some of the judgment we’ve accidentally absorbed about what “real” submission is and what it means to submit well, and to instead dive into myriad ways to do it, and figure out what works best for us right now.
  2. To do experiments with our bodies (and hearts and minds), to “collect the data” from the experiments, and to keep moving forward.
  3. To connect with community and witness the many ways a D/s path is possible, and to support each other in the different ways that we pursue these arts.
  4. To support you in identifying your “growth edges,” the places you’d like to transform and learn and grow, and to offer resources on your journey. (And to identify some of my own growth edges, too!)

These goals, and this premise, is what the whole Submissive Playground ecourse is built on.

The content in Submissive Playground keeps growing. This is the third time rife & I will be doing the course, and this time I’m adding Maisha Aza and Axe from the Masocast as guest speakers. The guest speakers who have said yes and provided videos so far are primarily white and cis women or genderqueer folks, so I have some particular perspectives I want to make sure to seek out and include. It’s great to have the full course and now be able to hand pick more contributors who have different identity backgrounds.

(I am still specifically looking for submissive-identified folks who are people of color, of any gender, though I do particularly need more perspectives from cis men and trans women. If you are this or know someone you recommend please let me know!)

So the material is vast. We have guest videos from FOURTEEN PEOPLE, we have porn to watch, erotica to read by Jeff Mann from the Daddies anthology and by BB Rydell from Say Please and Kathleen Delaney-Adams from Best Bondage Erotica, we have technique articles by slave david stein, we have an audio interview with Raven Kaldera.

But that’s just the beginning!

In the course, there are also many other ways to interact and get value.

1. The Materials

That would be the dirty stories, how-to articles, and porn that I’ve already mentioned. It’s all the things to read and watch and interact with, the graphics rife has made, a custom-made Lust Language quiz, plus some BONUS materials when rife and I had too many good materials not to include.

2. The Experiment

This is the “go do this activity” part. There’s one per module (and four modules total—Bondage, Discipline, Service, and Masochism) and it’s the thing that you go try out in your life—there are ways to do it with a partner or by yourself.

3. Submissive Journals Homework

The journals part of the homework is thoughtful written responses to #1, The Materials, and #2, The Experiment. It is kind of like discussion questions in a class, a series of questions to get you thinking about and interacting with the materials and your experiment in a deeper way. This has been a big hit for journallers, folks who are into self-reflection and self-examination, and who like writing.

Doing #3 kind of requires that you keep up with #1 and #2, at least in part.

4. All-Player Live Video Sessions

This is the “live” part of the course. All the participants, plus me and rife, meet up every other week throughout the course to talk about all the #1 Materials, #2 Experiment, and #3 Homework, and to share our stories of discovery with one another. This happens in Spreecast, so there’s a chat function and you can come on video (but only if you want to) and talk to me and everybody in the course. These have been so very fun! They have set dates & times:

  • BONDAGE: Saturday, January 31, 10-11:30am PST / 1-2:30pm EST / 5-6:30pm GMT
  • DISCIPLINE: Thursday, February 12, 6-7:30pm PST / 9-10:30pm EST / 1-2:30am GMT
  • SERVICE: Saturday, February 28, 10-11:30am PST / 1-2:30pm EST / 5-6:30pm GMT
  • MASOCHISM: Thursday, March 12, 6-7:30pm PST / 9-10:30pm EST / 1-2:30am GMT
  • WRAP-UP: Saturday, March 28, 10-11:30am PST / 1-2:30pm EST / 5-6:30pm GMT

And they are all recorded so you can go back to them and watch them later if you aren’t able to miss the live calls.

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Oh wait! Let me tell you about The Star Chart!

Throughout the course, Star & Mentor Players have access to the Star Chart, which is a place to keep track of the different pieces of the course and what you’re consuming. It’s like having your own sticker chart on the wall where everybody can see how you are doing your chores.

5. Submissive Community

This is the part, more than any of the others, that participants have said was really life-changing. Making connections to folks on a similar submissive path from around the world has been amazing! Friendships have been born and connections have been made. I firmly believe that identity explorations are easier when there’s a community context, because you have not only support but also many representations of how this particular identity manifests. In the course, we have a chat during the live video sessions, there is a message board available for your perusal and in-depth conversations, and you’re hooked up with a “subby buddy” with whom you can dive in and converse more deeply about the course.

6. One on One Sessions

Last but not least, the individual sessions track of the Submissive Playground course is where you and I get to dive deeper into your particular journey with submission and offer some support around whatever your growth edge is. One session is included with the Star Package, and FOUR sessions are included with the Mentor Package (which is why it’s called the Mentor Package, cuz you get some significant mentorship for your D/s path over eight weeks). Anybody in the course can add on additional sessions for a reduced rate, though, so just contact me if you want one. (Note: I’m not really doing 1-1 work with clients this year, instead I’m focusing on teaching and ecourses. So this is a great way to have some 1-1 time with me!)

Oh yeah, and rife is also limitedly available for sessions. After watching his videos in the course and hearing him speak about submission, you might really want some support directly from him and his brilliant submissive theory.

And that’s pretty much the course!

So if you’re not sure you have time to devote to a course, my suggestion is to check out the various contents, decide which one or two or three you are going to prioritize, and leave the rest behind. Sure, you can dig in to them if you find yourself inspired, but you will know you are totally on top of your commitment to the course when you finish up the work for your Track, and you don’t have to feel guilty about not doing more.

Because hey, I don’t want to add to your endless to do list! You’re busy! And you should be out making money and getting laid and changing the world for the better, I don’t want to get in the way of that kind of important stuff.

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Plus, many subs are the A+ student type.

You don’t need to put that kind of pressure on yourself on my behalf. You can still get TONS out of this course even if you don’t do half of it. And, you can always download the materials after the course if you want to keep them and do them later!

Maybe your work or home schedule is such that you just can’t make the All-Player Video Sessions, for example. That’s okay! You can watch them later, or you can skip them altogether and dive into the materials yourself. (Sometimes I give a context or some content in those video sessions that I am encouraging us to explore during that unit, but you can do it on your own.)

Does that all make sense? I want this experience to be exciting, fun, and energizing for you, not a drain or an extra obligation. And rather than dropping off mid-course because you aren’t caught up, what if you set lower expectations on yourself and then felt AWESOME when you completed them? This is recreational, for your growth and pleasure.

I want to set you up to succeed, and to thrive.

I just need to use you.

morningContent warning: Power dynamics, ownership/property play.

Sometimes, I just need to use you.

I don’t know how to describe it: Those times when I wake up and your skin is just right there, you’re not allowed to sleep with clothes on anyway and this is exactly why, so that my hunger stirs the moment I wake and realize that your skin is already under my hands. This particular morning I woke with you behind me and immediately wanted your dick in my ass. I rubbed against you, and you got hard. “You’re hard, aren’t you,” I teased. You woke up and moaned. Ready. Always ready, for whatever it is I need, whatever it is I want to take. It’s what you most want, isn’t it? To be told what to do, to be taken, to be used in the ways that I need. As much as that can be hidden in sex, or desire, or kink play, the same need in you would be filled if I decided you would now only be my footstool and never speak, or be my pet curled up on your little pillow bed in the corner, or my sex slave chained to the bed. I own you, and you know it.

It helps me that it’s what you want, because it is so what I want, but I never thought I’d have it. I never thought this craving for devotion in me was going to be allowed, I never thought I could degrade and humiliate and own and worship and demand in the ways that I can with you. I was always too much for other partners—needed too much, demanded too much, expected too much. I’ve said it so many times, but I am still surprised by how much I feel met with you. You step up, you show up, you don’t shy away from what I need, you don’t let my insatiable hunger scare you.

Or maybe it does scare you, a little. Because you know I’m bigger than you, not exactly stronger but certainly when I throw my weight around I can make you do what I want, what I say, what I need. Not that you would need to be physically overpowered. You’d go willingly, shakingly opening all your holes and skin and mind and will to me, even if it makes you shiver and cry. You are so good. And you like it, I know you do. You can resist all you want, but it doesn’t make the outcome any different. And when you gush and come so hard you drip down my thighs, I know you like it.

That’s what you did this morning, isn’t it. You did just what I told you, and you liked it. You took it just how I told you. You gave all that come to me, because it’s all mine, everything you have is mine now. And I can use what’s mine, I like to use it for exactly what it’s for. And this is what you’re for, isn’t it: To be taken and used, filled and opened. You’re all mine, and this is what I need.

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?

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!

Reconciling the Identities of Feminist & Butch Top

Queer Memoir: Butch/Stud Through the Years was fucking EPIC on Friday night, and I’m so honored and thrilled to have been there and to be a part of it. There was the story of the kid’s game “hide and go get it” in Kentucky! There was the revelation of belonging somewhere and that “here take a sticker” moment—”because even though you’re in New York City, you might still be isolated.” There were discussions about feminist topping! There was deep appreciation for butch friends and community and support! There was a fucking marriage proposal!

This is the piece I read, slightly updated from the December 2009 version, about reconciling the identities of feminist and butch top, and what it means to be a masculine person who is also dominant. It is relevant as ever and I still struggle with the intersection of these identities. I have a lot more to say about it, and reading this piece again made me think about what I’d add and what more there is to say, so I’m working on it. Meanwhile, here’s the text of what I read.


A few years ago, a girl I dated wanted me to slap her. To hit her face. She asked for it specifically, I still remember the conversation on the subway and the precise way that she looked over at me and said, I want you to hit me. Something big swelled in me and I wanted to, I wanted to feel the sting of impact on my palm and see her recoil, to do it again before she was ready, to push something so sensational onto her experience that she was jolted to the edges of her skin and had to feel, to feel herself, to feel me, to be fully present.

This girl and I had already done some other light percussion play, using my hand, or even a paddle, me hitting her ass and thighs, the fleshy parts that I couldn’t possibly do damage to beyond some light bruising. She liked it, we both did. It made sense to escalate, at the time, to something new; we were deepening both our romantic relationship – our trust in each other – and our power dynamic, and it was time to push a little, to see where we could go.

I was terrified. After she asked, after we talked about it extensively, I even tried, a few times, when we were in bed and she said, hit me, now, please, and I couldn’t, I’d bring my hand up and chicken out.

I was terrified of what it would mean for me, as a masculine person, as a butch, to be more dominating in bed. To like it. To like to cause someone pain. To like to cause a woman pain. To hit someone in the face. To hit a woman in the face, to sexualize that act and that power dynamic specifically.

I was paralyzed by that terror – I wanted to do it, the idea, the very thought of it, the discussions with her, turned me on, the girl I was dating wanted me to do it, but I couldn’t.

Beyond wanting to do it, this was the kind of sex act that was in the sex life I was dreaming of having. This was what haunted my fantasies and what I looked for in porn that I watched and erotica that I read. And I was on a very serious quest to figure out how to have the sex that I wanted. I’d just gotten out of a bed-death relationship. I was committed to studying sex hard, to figuring out: what I wanted, how to get what I wanted, how to build a relationship with that as an element, how to maintain something sane and hot over a long period of time. That’s precisely why I started Sugarbutch.

I now know that I’m a sadist, and a top. That means I like to dominate. And already there are conclusions being drawn by some of you out there who think well of course you like to dominate, you’re masculine, and that’s prescribed for you or in other words you misogynistic asshole, I already knew you were one of “those” butches who needs to make up for your inadequacies by dominating women. Because that’s what we think, isn’t it? Maybe not consciously, but a little bit, somewhere in our brains, we associate these particular identity alignments – butch equals masculine equals top equals dominating equals men’s prescribed gender role. We’re relieved when they line up how we think they will, or maybe we are challenged and uncomfortable – though perhaps in a stimulated way – when they misalign.

There’s something supposedly anti-feminist about wanting to dominate. There’s something in the feminist rhetoric which says we are all equal especially in bed, so that means I-do-you-you-do-me, or that means we have sex neither above nor below each other, and with no reproduced heteronormative misogynistic patriarchal power dynamic.

But I didn’t want that. I’d had that, with other girlfriends, but it didn’t keep things hot enough to sustain a relationship. And secretly, I wanted to top and control and hit and demean and humiliate and restrain and force and take.

Power dynamic theory—stick with me for just a paragraph here—has many similarities to gender theory. Like the gender identities of butch and femme are not reproductions but pastiche copies at best of prescribed societal gender roles, putting on and taking off power roles in power sex play is a pastiche reproduction of power in our lives, of which there are thousands of examples of interaction on a daily basis. And when we can put on and take off these roles intentionally, the act of adopting becomes further proof that the power positioning in our lives is not inherent, or “real,” or immobile, or prescribed, or “normal,” but part of a hierarchical society of social power that can be deconstructed. In that, we can more easily have more power and control in the beneficial ways, and less power and control in destructive ways, as we play with it and engage with it.

As in my experience with coming to a butch gender identity, when I finally came to a power identity that really deeply aligned with something inside me that just clicked and make sense, I felt like I was coming home to myself in a way I hadn’t experienced previously. Through my personality and tendencies and psychology I have my own set of quirks and workings and functions, and for whatever reason, it makes a lot of sense to me to let out some of my power and control issues in the bedroom by being dominating. It is deeply satisfying the way a glorious meal or a delicious book is satisfying, one of my life’s greatest pleasures. I’m not sure I understand why I like what I like, but what I like does not harm others, and is consensual, and I know myself well enough to accept what I like as what I like – and to let that be a simple truth.

How did this change for me? What happened between the time when I was terrified to slap a girl in the face and today, now, where I am fairly comfortable in my identity as a top, and even as a sadist, as someone who enjoys causing extreme sensation (aka hurting) someone else?

Little by little, I had lovers who pushed me, lovers who were more experienced as bottoms than I was as a top, lovers who wanted more from me and who could take more than I was able to give who made enough space for me to walk into a bigger version of myself and occupy it, try it on.

I did come to a reconciliation with my feminist self and my top self. Phrases like men should not hurt women or rather masculine people should not hurt feminine people, or even more broadly that people should not hit each other and violence is bad bad bad … I had accepted those phrases as Ultimate Truths, and I started to understand deeper the ways that sensation was not violence, and hitting was a way to be sparked into the present moment, to release whatever our musculature was holding onto, and to deepen trust between people and in a relationship.

I didn’t realize how little trust I had in others until I started playing deeper with BDSM. Because I would tell myself, it’s okay, she wants to do it, but then I would think, does she really? Maybe she wants to because I want to. Maybe she wants to because society tells her she should want to. Maybe she wants to for fucked-up reasons, like she thinks it’s okay for her to feel humiliated and less than me because of her own internalized misogyny … but that was me not trusting that what she said was true. That she wanted me to hit her face. And that was me, further controlling both myself, her, and our relationship, in unhealthy ways, because I didn’t trust her.

This was an issue of agency, in feminist terms – my not trusting my lover to communicate with me what she wanted, to explain to me how far I could go, and my not trusting that she would let me know if I was going too far or too hard, either with her physical communication or her words or both, was me not trusting in the agency of my lover. I have to trust that she will tell me, she will let me know, if I am going too far. And I have to listen, apologize, understand what I did, and trust that she will accept that it was an accident, a mistake, and that I’ll do whatever she needs to feel safe again.

When I started playing out my control issues in BDSM, in the bedroom, in sex play, the control issues I had in my relationships began to heal.

In learning my way into being a top, I had many, many conversations about consent and intention and communication, I talked to my lovers when things broke down or didn’t seem to work and I learned more about my own tendencies when things went well. I figured out that sometimes, it was really hard for me to be with someone who bottomed so well, and who I trusted so deeply, that I did harder, scarier, bigger things with them that took me even deeper into my topping and dominance and sadism and power, and sometimes that meant I needed to be comforted afterward, to be told I liked that, and that wasn’t too much, and you didn’t hurt me, and that was what I wanted and thank you. Hearing those things is always a relief.

(I give good aftercare too, of course. But top aftercare is less common in the BDSM world – we don’t frequently talk about the toll it takes for the dominant to dominate.)

I practiced, a lot, to be bold and trusting through my topping. I tried scary things and it turned out they weren’t so scary, they were in fact incredibly hot. I got to know myself, and I learned more about the things I wanted to play with, and I talked to smart people whose experiences were similar to what I was going through and who assured me it was possible to come out the other side of it a masculine, queer, butch, sadistic, feminist top.

From Not Stone to Stone-ish

I’m finally getting around to the Ask Me Anything questions from Sugarbutch’s 4th anniversary. I hope to get through them all, though it might take a little bit of time!

My question: How do you relate or not relate to stone identity? To what extent do you ID/not ID as stone and how do you feel about that? Maybe you’ve written about this here before and I missed it … I’ve had a big process going from not stone to stone-ish to stone, and I’m curious about how other butches feel. —Bond

I haven’t written much about this, I don’t think. I don’t identify as stone, but I do identify as stone-ish. I’ve never been all the way stone, but I do remember on my first date with Kristen I said, “I’m basically stone,” as I was trying to describe the ways that I was a top and wanted to be in charge perhaps ninety percent of the time. I’d told this to other lovers on other first dates, but it didn’t always make sense to the other person, and I was trying to put it out there stronger and more specifically this time, lay everything out clearly as early as possible in hopes that she’d get it.

(She did, she does.)

But that is really new in my history—I’ve dated girls even in the past four years that I’ve been running Sugarbutch that were tops, or toppy, and to whom I bottomed. My first long-term relationship with my ex-boyfriend of five years was kinky, in a kind of entry-level kink way (light bondage, light percussion) and we experimented with some switching, but mostly I was bottoming to him. As our relationship drew on, we started taking some classes on kinky sex (at places like Babeland) and I started learning more and more about topping. It wasn’t until I got out of that relationship entirely and had a series of revelations that I started realizing I was more of a top than bottom, and that perhaps I’d never really been submissive as much as bottoming.

I’m mentioning all this because stone is tied to topping, for me, because I’m not stone so much as I’m a top. I’m not opposed to being touched or penetrated, and I don’t have strong emotional reactions to those things, as I know some other stone folks that I’ve talked to do. (I don’t think that’s the only way to be stone, but in my experience stone often goes along with a gender dysphoria and a disagreement of gender between body and mind.) As I’ve been dating (and chronicling my dating here), I started getting more and more specific about who it was I wanted to date, especially in terms of identity keywords like bottom and submissive, and I did start describing myself as stone or stone-ish to girls I was flirting with or on first dates. I wanted to see what their reaction was, what their relationship to stone was, and whether or not they knew what to do with that. More than one girl seemed to understand and then behaved differently in bed, which was not what I wanted.

There is a relief that comes along with not being touched (very much), though. It means I don’t have to try so hard, I don’t have to worry about whether or not I’m going to get off ‘that way’, whatever way she’s touching me, it means I don’t have to be in that particular position of surrender when I often (at least nine times out of ten) do not want to be. I much prefer getting off while strapped on and fucking … and yes, I suppose that does have something to do with gender, that I prefer my orgasms to be related to my cock and not necessarily while being penetrated.

I don’t always prefer to get off that way—I was just writing about masturbation and My Ultimate Masturbation Toys, one of which is that genius Pure Wand, which is just the right size and shape for me. And sometimes, especially it seems right before I start my period, I crave getting fucked, sometimes hard. That tends to be when I ask to be fisted. I don’t do that often, maybe three times in the last year and a half relationship with Kristen, but when I have, I think they have all been around that time of my cycle.

But generally, when I’m with someone else, when I’m with Kristen, I want to get off through fucking, through my cock. I want to be dominant, in some way, using some sort of physical strength that tightens my muscles and makes the getting off all the more intense. I want to be using my gender fetish, which I don’t ever fuck without, anymore. I want there to be a gender component and a power component, with me in particular places on those spectrums, and usually, that involves me strapped on, on top.

That doesn’t quite make me stone, at least not the way I understand it. But there’s something useful in the language of stone that helps get across that top identity, that dominant identity, and that butch identity, so I have relied on stone in the past to help me make all those identities come together.

What about you? Do you identify as stone? Stone-ish? Not stone? Why or why not? What’s your relationship to the identity of stone? What do you define it as, what do you think it means?

I’d Like To Fuck Her Ass

Since we got together about nine months ago, Kristen and I have kept a verbal running list of Sex Stuff To Explore (okay, not always verbal, we have a shared Google doc, too).

Up pretty high on my list, and one thing that I have mentioned quite a few times, is that I’d like to fuck her ass.

I’ve never actually strapped on and fucked a girl up the ass (how come it’s up the ass but in the pussy? Does one say “up the pussy”? No, that’s awkward. Weird). (I have actually fucked a guy that way, but perhaps that’s different. Or perhaps that’s too much for a lesbian sex blogger to disclose in parenthesis without going farther in depth. Carry on.) I want to. The idea is really hot. I don’t know why exactly – not that the why matters terribly, but perhaps if I could articulate it better she’d be more inclined to try it. Maybe because it’s taboo, maybe because it’s tight and I expect the sensation to be a little different, maybe because I have fantasies of sharing her with another butch (or two) as we all fill her and use her, so she needs the practice. Maybe because DP feels good. Maybe because I know it changes and enhances my own orgasms. Maybe because I know it makes her nervous.

I guess the real hangup is that it makes me a bit nervous too. I don’t have trouble pushing her to do things I want that are things I’ve done in the past, even when she’s nervous, but for some reason we still haven’t done much ass play. Sure, a finger here and there, a small butt plug a few times – but I want it to be my cock, and I want to be wearing it.

I’ll admit, too, that since I started keeping a tumblr log and going through my dashboard as another daily inbox, I’ve thought about it more often. There is no shortage of cock-in-ass shots on that site, the sights of which makes my own imagined cock strain against my slacks every time.

Sidenote: why the fascination with girls assholes, guys? Same reasons for mine, I imagine …

Kristen mention Tristan Taormino’s book The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex For Women the other day, asking if I had it. I don’t. I may attempt to hunt down a copy though, and maybe a DVD or two of hers too. She does, after all, have a butt plug named after her.

I may be getting a Fun Wand from Babeland in the near future (crossing my fingers), which I think will be great to play with. I’m tempted by the Njoy Plug also – I have the Pfun Plug, perhaps I should get that out. (I am a bit obsessed with these stainless steel Njoy toys these days, thanks to my Pure Wand.) I have plenty of other butt toys, though – goodness knows I have no shortage of toys. Slim cocks I anticipate working up to, butt plugs in small-medium-large, thicker, wetter lubes. No problem.

Something still makes me a little nervous, though. It isn’t the shit part, at least not for me – I don’t particularly like it, but it is just part of the reality of things up the ass, and whatever, things happen that are sometimes awkward. I can deal. I know how to clean it up, know how to prep with towels nearby and condoms and wipes and whatever other supplies. I’m not sure what Kristen’s hesitations are exactly – inexperience? pain? shit? – but perhaps it’s time to ask her again.

Fucking up the ass strapped on seems like something that is done for her pleasure, not mine. It’s her body that has to get used to some new invasion, some new and violating way of being taken. The top in me – and the use of a dick with no nerve endings – makes me hesitant to pressure something that is all about her.

But then again: this is a frequent topic for our sex life, actually, and a place in which we have some snags. Nothing big; a few tiny things. We have a complex power dynamic (aren’t they all) in that while I am a top, I am sometimes more of a “service top,” doing things to my bottom because I know she wants them, I know how she likes it, I know what she wants. (I could say much more about this – it is, in fact, the reason the Sugarbutch Star stories were born, and often the way I write smut too. That feels like a tangent, I’ll cut myself off.) Sometimes, as you can imagine, this extends out to me being so focused and attentive to her needs and reactions that I ignore my own. I think this is why (at least sometimes) I have trouble getting off. Likewise, it is challenging sometimes for Kristen to contain, to hold – not to let in or open, those are a bit different (I have an article on these concepts in the works) – and we’d both like her to be better at it. Playing with that concept sexually would be a good way to do so, we’ve discussed this, since it is one place where I can practice being completely focused on me with disregard to her feelings, and where she likes being submissive and bottoming to that kind of degrading, using power energy.

But why have I not connected this with fucking her up the ass before? I want to; I am hesitant because I feel like it’s “for her pleasure” and not for mine. But it is for mine, maybe not physically, but in other ways. Obviously! Weird to think I still have a small hangup there. This particular act it is a great symbol of this issue of me taking, selfishly, something for me and not necessarily for her (with, hopefully, the side effect of her liking it). I have pages more to say about this issue, really; I feel like I’m only scratching the surface, but perhaps I’ve written around it enough in the past that you know what I’m talking about.

Kristen, baby, that means you’re going to give me that sweet ass of yours, and soon. You’ll do that for me, right? I thought so.

Folks, Kristen reads the comments – leave some support, wouldja? Tell her being fucked up the ass is not that scary. Tell her it is hard at first but you get used to it. Tell her why you LOVE it, tell her why it’s fun and hot, tell her it makes your orgasms better, tell her your story of when you first tried it. Tell her it’s worth the work. Tell her your story of learning and practicing ass fucking. Lend her some support. Share some resources.

You know I’ll certainly appreciate it.

How do you get a dominant to dominate?

Unspeakable Axe interviewed me for his podcast Masochast a few weeks ago (I’ll let you know when the interview goes up), and one of the questions he asked really got me thinking, and I still don’t have a very good answer, so I’d like to pose it here to see what you think.

Most of us tops know that there are certain things you can do to get someone to be more submissive, to surrender, to let go, to move into that bottomy headspace. Like pull someone’s hair, for example, or slap their face, or bind their hands, or giving them orders, or having them kneel. Everybody’s a little different, but there are certain themes and similarities that I bet many of you submissives would agree upon get you into that space faster and easily.

But, Axe asked, what can one do to get a dominant to dominate? So I was thinking about it, specifically: what kind of action or look entices dominance in me?

I have some ideas, but nothing that really makes me think, yes, that, exactly. It’s a hard question – there definitely isn’t one simple thing that always does it.

Things like closely-shaved legs, straps on her shoes that lace up her ankles, short skirts or flowy skirts that go down to her knees, hourglass dresses with pinched waists, hair up and off her neck (just begging to be pulled down), definitely give me that growl in my stomach. Looking up at me or sideways at me under her eyelashes, yes. Sometimes (I said this on the podcast) having her be a little resistant of me gives me the cue that I should take her a little more forcefully, a little stronger – but it’s not about bratty resistance, it’s about keeping the tension strong between us.

Yes, that’s it: tension. She can do things that increase the tension, and that builds the dominance in me. It’s the ways that she gives me her power, then takes it back, then gives it over to me, then takes it back. I think I’ve heard Dylan Ryan call what she does “active bottoming,” which of course implies that bottoming is sometimes “inactive,” which is probably where we get the same stereotype of “pillow princess” – which is a little problematic.

I don’t exactly have a cultural history of submission at my fingertips, but I feel like this is a rather new idea. Or maybe it’s just an unthought known – something that has been around for a long time, but that sexology and kinksters are just starting to observe and name in a theoretical, observed kind of way.

But, back to “active bottoming.” That’s the kind of thing I look for – someone who will push back against me. Not necessarily in an attempt to resist what I’m doing or break out of my restraints, but someone who knows how to keep the friction alive between us, someone who heightens the tension as we give-and-take the energy we’re raising and dispersing. That’s what gets me feeling more powerful, that’s what makes me more dominant.

Though I’m not sure I’m hitting on everything here. Still feels like there’s something else at play. I’ll keep thinking.

What about you? What are the ways that someone can entice dominance – or submission – in you? A look, a glance, a bit of clothing, a particular gesture, the flash of a body part?

Wait for me on your knees.

Two weeks ago:

I arrived at her place late – I was delayed, but I won’t go into that – but still in time for dinner.

I don’t remember what she wore, what I wore. I remember what she made for dinner: caramelized onion and gruyere tart with roasted broccoli, and peanut butter & chocolate pudding for dessert. (And she made scones in the morning.) I remember her lived-in kitchen, the way she looked at me with passion and want, the way her body felt under my hands again. I remember I brought wine.

She gave me the quick tour of her apartment.

“I want you in every room before the weekend is through,” I said.

“Even the bathroom?”

“… There are ways.”

I started with the kitchen, before dinner was even ready.

*

The next morning:

On her bed, after hours of fucking, in the bright light of midday because her room has no curtains. I study every inch of her.

Inside her, on top of her. Riding the waves of energy between us, sometimes strong and steady, sometimes collapsing to kiss her neck and whisper sweet nothings. Not so much “oh you’re beautiful, you feel so good” as much as “you little slut, you feel my hard cock in you like that?” – though the former is sprinkled into the mix, too.

We come down together from a peak, panting, I’m shivering from my body’s own heat and sweat in contrast to the cool air, and rest against her, still inside.

Her legs around me.

Her arms around my neck.

And she shifted, and suddenly I was coming, right then. Don’t mind the tantric-hippie moment here, but it was all energy, her pelvic bowl opening to catch me, pull me deep inside her. I can still feel how the contractions shook me, eyes rolling back, so sudden – and it started from stillness! – so sweet. Gasping in her ear and shuddering.

We lay wrapped in each other for a while after. Talking touching, fucking more, her insatiable body able to take more, more, more.

And then: “I’d like your fingers in me. Would you do that?”

She nearly froze, as to not disturb whatever was aligned for this delicate moment. “Now?”

“Please. Now.”

We shifted, I took my cock off, she got on her side next to me, hand on my thighs, between my legs. Gentle and sweet and slick.

“I know you said inside,” she whispers, mouth close to mine, “but I want to feel you.”

“Feels good. Don’t stop.” I whisper back.

Slowly: her fingers in me, pressing deep and stretching full, my hand on my clit, calling it my dick in my mind, and keeping my eyes open, watching her, as long as I can, until I come, screaming, hard and big, a release a year in the making, and pull her close against me.

*

Later:

At the dining room table in her living room. She sits on my lap, kisses me. I pull her hair and move my mouth to her neck.

“Ohh yes, yes,” she breathes.

“Mmm, I like it when you say that. Say yes again,” I demand softly, next to her ear. She hears me, and says nothing. She bites her lip and looks right at me, which tells me she’s refusing to say it. Am I pushing her too far? Does she know – she must know – that saying yes is playing with consent, that I am warming her up for saying no. Does she feel pressed? Pressured? I study her face, wait for her to say it for what seems like minutes. “Say it,” I say again, low, with a grip on her hair, desire and dominance building in me. I pull back a little to get enough distance between us so I can hit her. I wonder how fast I’ll have to do it for her to not see it coming. I want her to be surprised.

Underneath her resistance, she’s got that tiny self-satisfied smirk on her face.

She is surprised. A quick, hard smack against her cheek. Then five, six, softer, in rapid succession, warming her up. And another, stronger. Another. Her whole head turns on impact. I don’t stop. Harder. I vary the rhythm and let her have a breath, a quiet moment in between, when she straightens her body and feels the sting.

This is the hardest I’ve slapped her, but I can feel the way she can take it, now, differently. She’s not scared or wincing but open and accepting, drinking in the sensation.

I stop. Pull back a little and watch her recover.

When she can, she whispers, “yes,” hand to her stinging cheek, eyes dark and smoky and submissive, that look, that look, that strong and active giving over that makes my knees weak (and oh I’m glad I’m sitting down).

I kiss her. Smooth her cheek with my fingertips, feel the warmth with my lips. “Good,” I say between kisses. “Good girl.”

“Yes,” she says again with her breathe out, chest shuddering.

I want more.

“Get off me.” I say quickly, pulling away and pushing on her body. “Down. On your knees. Now.”

She does. Slides onto the floor and I unbuckle, unzip, pull my cock out. “That’s right, suck my cock. Oh that’s good. Yeah, that’s so good.”

And she is so good at this. Lips pursed, tongue flicking softly, eyes looking up at me, hand gripping the base of it and sucking hard into her mouth. I take hold of her hair. Pull her up by it and shove my fingers in her mouth. I like how her tongue gets wide and flat. I like the gulping noise she makes when she swallows.

“Up,” I say, and stand, pulling her to her feet. “Take these off.” I tear at her clothes and so does she, pull her shirt over her head and her jeans, socks, undies off, then embrace her briefly for kisses on her swollen mouth. I bend her at the waist, swift, over the dining room table.

I start spanking her, hard. Harder than I usually would without warm-up but she’s warm, the blood rushing through her, veins dilated already, I can see it in the flush of her skin and in the response each time my palm makes contact, landing with a satisfying smack. She’s moaning and squirming off the table, wants her pussy touched. I haven’t even felt how wet she is yet, how have I resisted this long? She’s pushing back against me so hard, her torso is nearly off the table. She lifts herself up and stands, presses back into me, reaches back for me.

“Who said you could get up,” I growl in her ear and bend her over quickly, her palms landing hard on the table to catch her. “Stay there.”

She likes direction. And oh do I like to give it to her. I like it even more when she does what I say.

She stays put. Breathes. I pause, run my hands down her back and thighs, tease her cunt only slightly with my fingers on her soft hair, then bring my arm back and down in a smack right to her cunt and she gasps, winces, sighs. I go slow with taps more than slaps and build up to a couple sweet ones, hand landing just right, her body responding, so smooth and open.

I keep my tongue unlocked throughout. I wish I could recall better now what I was saying. [Kristen, if you remember any particular good phrases, perhaps you could leave a comment, or tell me?] I know she wanted to be called names, so I began a narrative about how much she loves sex, look how wet you are, you like it when I hit you don’t you, slut. Bad girl. You like this, look how wet you are, feel that?

… And by time I got about to there in the talking I couldn’t wait, I had to have her, I was practically growling with lust.

Still unzipped and unbuckled, I pulled my cock out, only to realize: I left the condoms in the bedroom. I try to keep one in my back pocket so I have it at the ready, but I think I hadn’t replaced the one we used earlier.

Mouth next to her ear, bent over her: “I want to fuck you, but you’re going to have to wait,” I sneer a little. Then … yes. Let’s make her wait.

I pull her up from the table and cradle her close, her naked body against me, still fully clothed. Kiss her tender and run my hands along her skin.

“Now: down.” I command. “On your knees.”

She didn’t quite respond quickly enough, still looking at me heavy-lidded and getting her brain to catch up with the sensations in her body. I push on her shoulders. “Down.”

And she slides to her knees. I take a fistful of her hair. “Put your hands behind your back.” She does, eyes shining, blinking.

“Wait for me. Be right back.”

I walk the ten or so paces to her bedroom slowly, deliberately. Pick up two condoms from the nightstand. I hear her cry out softly. Can feel the desire rising between us, even from the next room. I pause a moment. Feel the dominance rushing through my body like a drug. Quickening my blood pressure, the pump of my heart. I can see her so distinctly in my mind, kneeling. I breathe, put my hand on the wall for support, to gather myself.

I have no idea what I’ll do when I get back to her. Fuck her, eventually. But I want to play first.

She’s waiting so nicely for me. Knees apart, head down. When I approach she looks up at me with such fierce submission my knees go weak: eyes heavy, smoky, dark; mouth and tongue swollen.

Cock at the ready, I press it right to her mouth. “Suck my cock, again, while you’re down there,” I say, and touch her cheek, her forehead as a sweep her hair back, palm the back of her head.

She does. Takes it deep and long with the first stroke in. I start groaning, moaning, pressing into her farther, down her throat. “That’s right, so nice, feels so good,” I’m babbling but I don’t care. I have her tipped backward and she’s left her hands behind her back, I’m throwing her off balance. My hips start thrusting – she gags a little with the depth and breathes hard with her mouth full. I don’t let up, but keep shoving my cock in, down her throat.

I nearly come. Can feel how her mouth and throat would tighten as I pulse and shoot. But I can’t, I can’t quite get there, just not quite enough, so frustrating. I pull out fast and shove my fingers in her mouth before she can notice her mouth is empty, kneel down between her legs and push her back onto the floor, lower my mouth onto and cock into her beautiful body.

I slide in easy. Easy, slick. God I love the way she takes me in. Deep, deeper, I keep her pressed open all the way, laying back, legs spread wide, hands grabbing at my shoulders until I grab her forearms and hold them above her head. Perfect leverage. And I thrust, fuck her hard, burn my knees against the hard dark wood of her living room floor.

Damn, the floor is hard. No give whatsoever. I haven’t fucked her lying on a floor ever – I’ve forgotten how it feels. She can’t squirm as much, she doesn’t slide as much, stays where I put her and the impact is harder, I do like that. But there’s less give-and-take, less sensuous connection, and goddamn my knees are going to be wrecked after this, probably it’s the sheet burn from earlier more than the floor itself, but I’ve got to change positions.

I lose myself in the hard impact of cock against cunt for as many strokes as I can muster before I lift myself up, sit back on my heels, and breathe. She’s vibrating, head lolling side to side.

“Get up,” I say. “Bedroom.”

I change cocks when we get to her bed, and pull the two lengths of rope from my bag. She sits near the pillows and reaches for me as I sit on the edge of the side, and I kiss her but don’t move.

“Look at you, all ready. You really are insatiable, aren’t you. Slut. You can’t get enough cock, can you.”

She moans, drops her head. I bring one hand between her legs and the other keeps stroking my cock. “So wet. What, you want me to fuck you? You want it? look at you, can’t think of anything but sex, but getting filled. Can you.”

I slide two fingers in and watch her face. “You want it, don’t you.”

“Yes,” comes out in a small breath.

I know she does, I can feel it. I want to hear her say it. It turns her (and me) on to hear her talk and I want her to do it more. “Tell me.”

“I want it.”

“You want what?”

“Your cock. I want your cock, please, fuck me, please.”

I lean in to kiss her and take my hand away. “No.”

She whimpers.

I pull out the rope. She hands me her wrists, I secure one, then the other, to the bed frame, fuss about the tightness and my poor knots (I really need some better techniques.) She is writhing. I could fuck through steel, I’m so hard. I can’t make either of us wait any longer and I position myself between her legs, slap her inner thighs to get her to open up. We’re both so smooth and slick and desperate for it, we can’t wait, I can’t stop myself from plunging in, hard as I can, hard as I dare, and fucking, thrusting, pounding into her, kissing her face and neck, hands in her hair, on her chest, pulling her nipples and sliding my arm underneath her to grab at her waist and shoulders.

I’m babbling again. Her name, dirty things, take my cock, slut, you’re so tight, I love to split you open like this, and she comes, twice, three times, I loose track and she doesn’t collapse yet so I keep going, reach between us and slide my fingers along her clit and she gasps, bucks under me, I feel her tighten so hard around my cock that she nearly shoves me out of her and I work to stay inside. She’s holding her breath so I keep my hand and hips steady, hard, and then she shudders, body quaking, and I feel her squirt while I’m still inside, clit quivering under my fingers as she pushes my cock all the way out and lets out the breath she’s been holding, a gasp in for desperate air, and comes hard, shaking.

I watch. Witness. Feel her body quiet, tender and open. Holy, holy. (Holy shit.) Feel her breath as I lay my body against hers, holding tight, touching everywhere.

“Hey,” I say after a minute, lifting my face to see hers.

She sighs and opens her eyes, fingers trailing along my shoulders, on the back of my head. “Hey.”

And we nap the afternoon away, sunlight streaming through the window, though it’s cold outside we’re warm in her room, satiated, spent.