Posts Tagged ‘power theory’

Dominance & Power with Responsibility

June 24, 2013  |  essays  |  2 Comments

As I’ve been exploring deeper into power theory, like D/s and M/s, and as I’ve been trying to understand how my relationship with Kristen went wrong and in what ways power played into that, I’ve been thinking more and more about responsibility.

I’ve been meditating on the basics: What is it? How does it work? How does one “take responsibility”? What kind of responsibilities does one have—as a partner, as a lover, as a Daddy, as a dominant, as a friend? How does responsibility shift and changes when circumstances are not ideal, such as when someone is grieving (you know, hypothetically)?

Raven Kaldera and Joshua Tenpenny, whose books on M/s I have been recently devouring and whose theories I astutely agree with, mention in one of their books that a dominant’s hunger for responsibility must be equal to or greater than their hunger and lust for power. That resonated deeply with me, so I have been chewing on how to act from a responsible place, how to behave responsibly, how to hunger for responsibility, how to be responsible with my power.

We commonly use “responsibility” to mean our obligations—the things we have agreed to do, or the things other people have put on us to do that we may or may not have agreed to—and how we cope with those obligations. It is my responsibility as a cat owner to make sure my cat is fed, for example.

But when it comes to interpersonal relationships, what our responsibilities are vary greatly from person to person, and from culture to culture. My responsibilities to my parents might mean, to me, calling them on their birthdays and going to visit once a year, but to another person, their responsibilities to their parents might be visiting them every day, or might be sending one holiday card annually. Same with lovers and partners: I might think my responsibility is to respond to texts or emails from lovers is to respond when I can get to it, but my lover might think it rude and irresponsible of me not to reply right away (especially when now, with iMessage, you can see when your texts have been read). I suspect some of the expectations in relationships are built on our love languages (quality time, acts of service, gifts, physical touch, words of affirmation).

The expectations we place upon responsibilities of those around us are often unspoken and unconscious, and therefore difficult to make clear. Making those clear is a key piece of good communication, I believe.

But that’s just one piece. We also use the word “responsibility” to talk about one’s behavior in any given situation, such as, “They’re not being very responsible,” or, “they’re not acting very responsibly.”

I started breaking down the word responsibility into its two parts: response and ability. Response-ability. And that led me to my first conclusion about it: responsibility is your ability to respond to any given situation. But how does one “respond”?

Most of the time, I think we are reacting, not responding. Reacting is the knee-jerk impulse our combination of body, mind, experiences, emotions, and self tells us to have. We get an email from a boss with some critique, we feel insulted. Our lover asks something taxing of us, we feel put out. Not everybody has the same reaction, of course—depending on our unique histories, unique bodies, unique patternings, we react in different ways; many of us have different reactions to the same emotions, too. Some people feel insulted and fight back, some people feel insulted and become paralyzed, some people feel insulted and run away.

I think that responsibility is your ability to take the reaction you have, process it through your thoughtful higher self who wants the best for everyone involved and can see many perspectives, and choose your response and your next actions intentionally.

Let me put that another way. My ability to respond well to a situation, to be responsible in my role or job or relationship, depends upon my ability to notice my knee-jerk reaction and use that as one piece of the data that I gather before I decide what to do next. Other pieces of data you could use as you analyze the situation include:

  • What would the high wise imaginary counsel inside your head, made up of all of your mentors and favorite people, advise you to do?
  • What would your counsel of very favorite people advise you to do? (Perhaps you should call them to ask?)
  • What would the best possible outcome for all people be?
  • What would you say if you were really telling the truth about this situation?
  • How do your ethics ascribe you to behave?
  • What would yourself in ten years say about this situation?
  • How do your spiritual or religious beliefs guide you in this quandary?
  • Where are the places where your ego, pride, or stoicism are getting in the way?
  • Where can you use your great strength to be more vulnerable in this situation?
  • Where do you feel this pain, sorrow, longing, anger, or frustration in your body?
  • What does your bodywork or therapy point you toward?

I’ve been chewing on this difference, between reaction and response-ability, for at least a year now, trying to figure out how to be sure I am exploring what it means to be responsible with the privilege and power that I hold. Because, as the cliche saying goes, “with great power comes great responsibility,” and as I’ve been seeking more and more great power, I want to make sure I have the great responsibility part down as well. I don’t think “responsibility” dictates a code of behavior specifically so much as it dictates an intentional response, and that is a comfort to me, as I try to continue to sort our my own wounds, heal my own heartache, and continue to pursue my lust for power.

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January 3, 2010  |  journal entries  |  Enter your password to view comments.

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“Can I come? Please?”

July 7, 2009  |  dirty stories  |  5 Comments

Kristen gets off easily. When we were discussing it last night, she said there’s a point after we’ve been fucking for a bit where she can simply tighten and it happens, so after a while she can basically come on demand. I start murmuring, “do it again, come for me, do it now,” and she does, almost every time.

It’s a bit of a miracle to me, as someone who takes a while to gear up and get off, and as someone who dated someone pre-orgasmic for four years (four years! We weren’t even open, I didn’t make any single person (except me) come in four years, it was torture). I have written about how it’s hard for me to get off around here somewhere.

I love that she comes like that. It is one of the things I crave most about sex: being able to give someone else that feeling of orgasm, of momentary loss of control, of la petite mort. I love the power of that exchange, the way she wants it from me, the way I keep her poised on my fingers or tongue or cock. I have tried to keep track, but I always get distracted, or loose count, or can’t tell when one ends and the next begins, sometimes she just goes and goes. I have asked her to count, telling her I’ll let her out of the ropes after she gets to ten.

Lately, we have been playing more with the torture of waiting, with making her beg for it, with keeping her writhing but not touched until she can’t stand it. She has noticed has orgasms are stronger and bigger the longer she waits, so that made us implement something else new: to make her ask permission before she can come.

This is mostly because I can’t always tell when she gets close, can’t even always tell when she starts coming, sometimes it’s a cry of ecstasy not unlike being bitten hard or fucked well and I can’t tell if she’s close or expressive. So she has to ask.

She waits until she’s so, so close, as if she’s forgotten she has to ask, then forces out the word: “Please?”

“Please what?”

“Please can I?” Gasping.

“Please can you what?” I don’t let up with my fingers thrumming her clit, my cock shoving inside her. I know she’s on the verge.

“Please, can I come!”

“… No.”

Seems I need to remind her that she has to ask if I want it to be ongoing, though, which I think I do. It is easy for both of us to skip over the asking and go right to the coming. And sometimes having one or two orgasms seems to open her up, make her able to take more, deeper, harder. So sometimes perhaps it’s best to let her come a few times before starting to deny her more, to build up to a larger release.

We’ve added this element of asking permission into sex on various occasions in the last few months, but I think it’s worth continuing to explore. I don’t really know how it’ll work yet, but I love the power dynamic of it, love the extra element of control over her body and her orgasm that I get to play with having. Love how she gives that over to me. Love how I can feel like I can sculpt her rise and fall of energy and release – no, not yet, not yet, keep it building, just a little longer, you can hold it in, hold it back, wait, wait … now: let go. This is what I love about being a top, too, at its very best – being able to sculpt someone else’s experience of their body, sensation, release.

Last night, I wanted her to wait until I was coming, until I came, to let herself come, but I couldn’t quite say that, I wasn’t quite confident of my own ability to get off. I wish it was more consistent for me. I can never quite tell when or if it’s going to happen, I can’t seem to make it happen. The factors all seem variable: sometimes I feel disconnected from her and I come anyway, sometimes I feel totally connected and can’t. Sometimes I don’t expect it and it happens, sometimes I do expect it and it happens. Sometimes I don’t try and it surprises me. I came twice on Saturday, that’s rare, but somehow I had the angle, or the harness placement, or the mental turn-on, and it worked.

Someday, that’s what I want. To use her like that, to be oblivious to her pleasure until I get mine. To take what I need.

That feels extremely vulnerable, because it goes against what I’ve been taught – to be respectful and conscious and interactive in our sex lives. But consent in this kind of play can sometimes trump what is “supposed” to happen, and perhaps will move me into new realms, to explore new interactions, to move into new personal realms, weave knowledge into our bones. And oh my god the very idea makes me so incredibly hot.

There is so much to explore here, with her, I still feel we’ve barely scratched the surface. And I just want more, and more, and more.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen, when we have sex,” she said last night. “I don’t know if it’ll be sweet and lovely, or some crazy tantric energy release shit, or if I’ll be your little girl, or if it’ll be dirty and kinky.”

We seem to be moving from one into another more and more fluidly these days, able to turn on a dime and make something that was full of dirty talk and name-calling and control and, occasionally, pain, into something sweet and sensual, or into some deep-breathing chakra release. We seem to have a little bit of all of it, all the time, and that is near perfection.

Power, and a Pure Wand

July 6, 2009  |  dirty stories, reviews  |  2 Comments

When things get a little out of control in my life, I crave power sexually. Crave that rush that I get when someone’s body struggles and gives in, gives over.

purewandI’ve been craving power lately, like a drug, a junkie needing a fix. My fantasies are getting increasingly harsh and occasionally violent, which sometimes scares me. Sex acts alone don’t seem to be enough to get me off. And since I got a Pure Wand from one of my favorite sex toy stores, and since Kristen moved to my neighborhood, I’ve been getting off a lot more in general. I’ve wanted a good g-spot insertable that is not a cock; as my own cockcentric sexuality has developed I have been more averse to being fucked by a cock, but I still do enjoy that feeling of being filled, of squeezing tight around something, of straining to open.

But: back to power. I feel it from my fantasies and it rushes through me, I feel it coursing in my veins, muscles, tendons, bones. I want to feel strong, crave it, want to feel invincible, indestructible, like I can do anything, have anyone, take anyone down.

While getting off the other night, I let my mind wander. Scary when I do this, sometimes, for the dark places it goes. I ask myself, why is that hot? Why does that ‘do it’ for me, when so many other things don’t?

Power is sexy.

When did those wires get crossed in me? I watch and observe the ways that I am built, deep, where I allow myself to be overridden, to be rewritten, where I allow myself to get overwhelmed by the outside world, empath that I am I cannot help but to take it all in, and sometimes I crave so deeply to push back, draw thick lines around myself shut out the world. And lately – the past few years – that has manifested in sex as my topping, my desire to control, coerce, force, overpower, take, split open, break down.

And when things feel out of control, I crave it all the more.

I question the health of this, at times. But I am nothing if not extremely, extremely careful, cautious – overcautious in fact, overanalytical and overobservant, paying so much attention to others that sometimes I forget to pay attention to myself. And that’s why I crave this kind of play: situations that we construct, consensually, in order to explore power. Because just as I crave to take, control, overpower, so does someone else seek to be taken, to be controlled, to be overpowered.

There’s nothing really to say about the Pure Wand that hasn’t already been said. It’s one of the most coveted sex toys out there – ask any sex blogger and they’ll swoon over it a little. It’s beautiful, sleek and heavy, made of solid stainless steel. The weight of it in my hand (and in my cunt) makes me feel more grounded, more solid, more rooted to the earth. And I need that right now. Perhaps it’s the vibrant brightness of midsummer’s long, long, endless days that makes me feel exposed, like the spotlight is shining on me, like I’m being burned to light instead of my feet in the dark thick mud of the earth, that creative, nurturing soil where life is made, where strength and power flows freely.

I crave it. Desire it. Want it, need it.

A beautiful book I was reading yesterday deconstructed the word “want” a little, explaining that to be in a state of wanting is to always be in a state of inadequacy, of incompleteness, of unsatisfaction. The author was specifically discussing how to state intentions around the creative process and tapping into a spiritual source, and the ways that intention actually communicates with energy and manifests reality. I love this idea, and I do understand the ways the concept of “want” puts us in a state of less-than, of not-whole. And while I do also crave that state of wholeness, this feeling of deep desire that arises in my belly when I start to feel the power rising in me is at times intoxicating, and I wouldn’t want to give that up. But perhaps instead of feeling like that puts me in a state of desire and want and thus inadequacy, maybe I can think of it as being in a state of power, of control, of strength. Revisioning that, just ever-so-slightly, means that I become what I am to be, instead of wishing I was in another state.

Because perhaps I have already arrived.

Buy the Pure Wand at Babeland.

How do you get a dominant to dominate?

June 1, 2009  |  essays  |  11 Comments

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?

Her dirty talk got me off. Twice.

March 31, 2009  |  dirty stories  |  8 Comments

“So,” Kristen said, arms around my neck, looking up from under me, my legs between hers but bent and wrapped around each other, both of us naked, skin to skin, sheened with sweat and still a little bit out of breath. “I guess we figured out what gets you off.”

Not that I – and she – and, let’s be honest, the entire fucking internet – didn’t already know what I like: blow jobs, strapping on, fingering a girl until I make her squirt. But this was different: I came twice in the few recent hours we’d been fucking. Probably mostly thanks to what Kristen was saying.

We’d talked about it the day before. “I want to be used,” she’d said. “Just … fucked with no regard for my pleasure.”

And so I did. And we liked it, a lot, both of us.

“Fuck my hole,” she whispered, “take me, fuck me hard, pound your big cock in me deep. I’m your slutty little girl.”

Just typing that makes my knees go a little weak. Why does that turn me on so goddamn much? Makes my head spin. I feel guilty for it, really, somewhere, just a little, a small piece of me that fears that treating a beautiful, smart, strong woman like that – objectifying, humiliating – is bad and wrong. I know fantasies and role play are so much more complicated than that, that the problematic power play and gender play that we oversexualize for pleasure is just that – oversexualized – in a very specific context, and it doesn’t mean I would ever do those things outside of that context. In fact, the context is what makes them hot at all – the consent – the way she asked for it, explicitly and specifically.

I’ve known this is what deeply gets me off. This isn’t new. I discovered that I could come while strapped on and fucking with Callie, and this is precisely what we used to play with, precisely the language we used, precisely the kind of thing she wanted. I had trouble with it, sometimes, partially because I wasn’t sure I could trust her (go figure) and because of how she demanded it, and that if I didn’t deliver correctly there were consequences.

So this kind of play does open me up in sensitive places, triggers me a little bit, pulls on old wounds of trauma.

I’ve known how much these concepts, this play, turns me on, but I haven’t really brought it up with Kristen before. Well – no, that’s not entirely true. We’ve been building to this, been learning each other and building trust and playing with consent and dirty talk and power play. We’ve been building to this, and it’s of course I wouldn’t have come to her on the first date – or in the first month! The first three months! – and say, I want to take you down like this. I want to fuck you until I get off and disregard what you feel, whether you like it or not. I wouldn’t say that! Even now, I have trouble writing it out – it’s more complicated than that being what I want, what I crave, because while it is, I just can’t get there to do that until I know for certain that my respect and honor for her are in place – and that I know she knows that, too. That I know some of her history and why she craves to be degraded in these ways. I need the trust to be there, and a deeply feminist understanding of sex and power play such that the issues of consent and degradation are clear, understood between us, and ultimately irrelevant to the way we play.

So I didn’t say it first. Honestly, it never occurred to me to this extent – if it had, I might’ve brought it up. We have played with elements of this, but nothing quite so specific or elaborate as we did yesterday. But I so needed that extra little piece of consent, that explicit permission which came from her – so I know I didn’t coerce her into it – that says take me. Overpower me. Use me.

We talked about this a bit recently – I wrote about it – about how hard it was for me to get off and how much she wants – we both want – me to get off more, and one of my major conclusions in exploring that has been that I pay so much attention to her, how she feels, what I can read from her tones and moans and body language, that I forget to pay attention to myself. It’s a strength of mine, to be observant, thoughtful, to pay attention to the person I’m with, I think it makes me a good lover and friend, but it doesn’t always serve me well: I loose myself sometimes, in ways even that I don’t always recognize at the time.

(I wonder how this relates to my history with Callie too, the ways I lost myself so totally and terribly with her. Maybe my getting off (easily) with her wasn’t actually deep connection with myself – or perhaps that’s unfair, since honestly that’s precisely the benefit that I took from that relationship: knowing that I needed to learn to deeply trust myself. But maybe the ways I came with her were about something else. Regardless, whatever connection to myself I began culminating with her was so challenging to keep while dealing with her neuroses and insecurities.)

And that’s precisely what Kristen brought up when we talked about it later: it makes sense that it is a big relief, and release, for me, when I stop doing that. When I no longer put someone else’s needs above my own, and in fact allow myself to override theirs with mine. I never do that, sometimes to my own determent. So being able – and being asked explicitly – to do that sexually is a huge, huge turn-on.

What I’m trying to say is, Kristen & I opened up something deep and wounded and complicated and beautiful and fucking powerful yesterday evening. It brings up guilt, it triggers some old wounds, brings some of my issues of overattentiveness to the surface, and makes me feel so strong and powerful, like the king of the world.

I know you want to know more about what it was we actually were saying, those dirty, filthy things that got me to come inside her twice while strapped on, during a blow job, during a punishment spanking for her being such a dirty girl, during some intense fucking with her ass in my hands and her legs in the air. It’s taken me all day to get through this, unfortunately, so I’ll have to write up the dialogue tonight and get it to you tomorrow.

Did I mention how much I am just totally loving my life? I can’t believe what an amazingly dirty filthy sexy hot freak I’ve found. And? She likes me as much as I like her. Grateful, grateful, grateful.