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!

Counting Down

“Come, now. Do it for me.”

He quivers under me: hips splayed open, on his stomach, lower back curled so his ass is in the air. He has been waiting. He has been holding back.

“Now, faggot. This is your one chance.”

He comes easily, so of course it is something I like to control, withhold. Our sexual play isn’t about his pleasure.

“Five … four … three … ”

He bucks back into me, buried to the hilt in his ass. I can feel his other hole convulsing just from having my fingers on the outside. He starts shaking, his tight faggot hole slick from lube and my come already pushed deep inside him. I’m not moving. I’m just buried deep, holding him.

He comes. Bucking, clawing at the sheets.

“That’s it.” I relax. “That’s what I wanted.”

Featured photo courtesy of the Crash Pad Series episode 16, Syd & Dallas.

Ready to explore “embodiment”? Three workshop offerings in Seattle & San Francisco in March & April

Two of my greatest queer erotic embodiment / sacred sexuality teachers, Alex Jade and Lizz Randall, are facilitating workshops at the end of March, and I have a collaboration with another mentor and friend of mine, Betty Martin, the first weekend of April.

So it’s shaping up to be an incredibly erotic and embodied spring!

I highly recommend ALL of these workshops, of course, but which one might work for YOU depends on where you’re at on your own journey, where you are, who you want to work with, and what kind of explorations you want to continue.

Lizz’s workshop Dedicated to Your Body will be an entry-level somatic embodiment experience dedicated, well, to YOUR body, where there will be a lot of temple time, deep ritual, play, somatic time, integration, and pelvic floor exploration. I just had a chat with her this morning about curriculum and I’m really excited it’s happening. I won’t be at this one, but I have known Lizz for many years and I know it’s going to be great.

Lizz’s Dedicated to Your Body workshop is for all women, meaning anybody who identifies as a woman or female and wants to do this work in a space for women-identified folks. It’s different to be in a women’s temple, and as someone who has been doing work in women’s temples for about 15 years, I highly recommend it. Because I know Lizz and her trans- and genderqueer inclusions, I know I would feel comfortable attending, as a genderqueer trans/ish butch who is probably female and definitely passes as a “woman.” Just, for the record. You butches and trans folks are invited, assuming you want to explore your connection with female and woman-ness in a women’s temple space. And, just in case it isn’t clear, it is explicitly inclusive of trans women, as the facilitator is very trans-aware and -versed, and since it’s inclusive of all women, that includes trans women. (Duh. But just being clear.)

Alex’s workshop, Tantra & SM, is in San Francisco through Flesh & Spirit. It’ll be a bit more advanced, I imagine, and delve into some kink things and shadow. I haven’t spoken with her about curriculum but I trust both Flesh & Spirit as a container and Alex as a gender-fluid SM player and as a teacher. I’m signed up and very excited to be there!

Tantra & SM is for any and all genders.

My workshop with Betty Martin is actually two linked workshops, Betty’s Learning to Touch on Saturday and my day-long workshop Playing with Power on Sunday. I am THRILLED to be playing with Betty and building off of her Learning to Touch workshop, and I’m really excited to offer some embodiment practice based in power dynamics and the embodiment of power. I can’t speak to Betty’s side as much, but my side will be about domination and submission, about power and surrender, about giving over and taking, about receiving and pulling out. It’s a combination of my Queering Power Dynamics workshop, which is more theoretical and talky-based, and my erotic ritual day-long workshops that include some small group and optional play parts.

Touch & Power will be for any and all genders and orientations, queer trans genderqueer masculine feminine straight d-type s-type, whatever. I’m hoping we’ll have a wide range of all of it, actually. I don’t expect it to be “power balanced,” meaning to have the same number of d-types as s-types, and as such we’ll ALL be exploring ALL aspects of power and surrender. It’s going to be delicious.

So, won’t you come join me in the Pacific Northwest for some erotic embodiment play this spring? I’d love to see you there.

Click on the big green plus (+) to expand the descriptions and see which one would work for you!

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Dedicated to Your Body: A Retreat for Women

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Dedicated to Your Body: A Retreat for Women
March 22-23, 2014, with Lizz Randall in Seattle

Our bodies need tending, away from lovers, partners, children and media. This retreat gives you that time.

In a safe, respectful and fun environment of women discover and connect with the aliveness and potency of your body. This workshop is designed for women interested in the conscious cultivation and exploration of embodied presence and sexuality. You will slow down enough to listen to what your body really wants and needs, to be witnessed and to witness, to receive on your terms, and go with your own flow. This retreat offers you full choice, presence, honor and permission to be where you are and go where you want.

Learn about clear boundaries and self-trust.
Connect with your erotic energy as a source of generative power
Learn how to ask for what you want.
Uncover the power of giving and receiving without losing yourself.
Explore states of embodiment, from subtle to bold, through conscious touch, movement, meditation and ritual.
Develop a relationship with your whole body that serves as a foundation for everything in your life.
Experience the potency of connecting with your eros
Come experience the healing and transformative power of this experiential work.

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DETAILS:
Location: Columbia City, Seattle
Date: Saturday, March 22 and Sunday March 23rd
Time: 9:30-5:30pm
Fee: $395 (early registration by February 15th: $350)
Pre-registration required!
To Register email [email protected] or call (619) 839-9349
Limited to 14 participants
Open to all women: gay, straight, undecided, queer, trans, genderqueer

Lizz Randall is a gifted and highly trained facilitator who has been teaching whole body workshops for over 15 years. Her work and private practice are dedicated to helping people create erotically embodied passionate lives. She has fierce trust in the body, the healing power of pleasure, and the interconnectedness of spirituality and sexuality. Lizz is a Body Electric School teacher, Sacred Intimate, tantra teacher, farmer, and parent.

Amanda Geller is a Body Electric alumni and a fellow woman on her journey. As a coach and entrepreneur she has seen the power of connecting to her body as the starting place for everything working in one’s life.

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March 22-23, 2014, with Lizz Randall in Seattle

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Tantra and SM: A Spring Equinox workshop

“] Tantra and SM: A Spring Equinox workshop
March 29 and 30, 2014, With Alex Jade in San Francisco

Once again, Alex Jade returns to us to share her unique alchemy of classical Tantra and SM. Those who have been to one of Alex’s workshops know that it is difficult to describe the magic (and fun!) that we create in our time together with Alex. We will conjure the healing power of pleasure through Tantra, SM, and more! Drawing on the power of the spring equinox as a balance point between day and night, we will explore the fertility that emerges from the riches of the dark. We will go from stillness to activation as we uncover the inner marriage of polarities.

This workshop is designed for those who have had erotic ritual or community erotic gathering experience, and who have some level of comfort and/or skill with SM. Previous experience with Tantra or with another flesh and spirit workshop is not necessary. We are happy to speak with you to explore whether this workshop would be right for you.

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DETAILS:
Date: March 29 and 30, 2014
Time: Saturday 10 AM- 6 PM, Sunday 10 AM- 6 PM
More information: http://www.fleshandspirit.org/women-s-community/35-power-of-pleasure.html

LOCATION:
A beautiful private dungeon location, SOMA, San Francisco
Details will be sent after registration
COST: $325, payment plan available.
Early bird: $250 if $75 non refundable deposit paid by February 24, 2014

ABOUT ALEX:
Alex Jade, MSW, is an erotic educator, sacred intimate, psychotherapist, and student of Tantra. She is on the faculty of the Body Electric School and has produced and taught independent workshops for over 17 years. She has mastery in clothes-off, hands-on experiential erotic education and the use of ritual as a healing tool. Alex’s specialties are gender exploration, classical Tantra, SM, and exploring with an open heart and mind.

This will be the fourth workshop Alex has led for Flesh and Spirit. We are excited to welcome her back to our sacred space!

[/toggle] March 29 and 30, 2014, With Alex Jade in San Francisco

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Learning to Touch & Playing with Power

Saturday and Sunday, April 5-6, 2014, with Betty Martin and Sinclair Sexsmith in Shoreline WA”] Learning to Touch & Playing with Power
Saturday and Sunday, April 5-6, 2014, with Betty Martin and Sinclair Sexsmith in Shoreline WA

~ Women, men, genderqueer, trans folks, singles, couples, queer, straight –
any and all genders and orientations
~ Inexperienced, wildly experienced or anywhere in between

Saturday: Learning to Touch, with Betty

Learn how to notice what it is you want, why it matters, when to bring it forward and when to set it aside. Feel the difference between receiving a gift and giving one, and what they have to do with touch, and what they don’t. And fall in love with both of them – completely and equally.

Find each of the 4 Quadrants of Receiving and Giving and what each of them can teach you. Each one is inherently pleasurable but often misunderstood and therefore sometimes difficult to find. Each of the 4 is innate to who you are as a lover and as a person, and the more you discover about yourself in each of the 4, the more freedom you have to be yourself, fully and authentically.

Sunday: Playing with Power, with Sinclair

Take what you have just learned about desire, consent and the dynamics of receiving and giving, and now expand it to play in the realm of power and power exchange. We take the skills and dynamics, and dive in a little deeper into this fascinating, fun and potentially erotic playground.

For beginners in this realm, this is the perfect way to gain a solid footing of awareness and skills. For experienced players, discover what the 4 Quadrants have to teach you that clarify your dynamics let you go even deeper.

MORE ABOUT THE CLASSES:

Saturday, April 5: Learning to Touch

At this workshop, you will:

~ Get crystal clear on Receiving and Giving – what the difference is and why it matters
~ Fall completely in love with both of them, equally
~ Find the surprising source of your confidence and creativity
~ Bring a new level of presence and sensuality to all your touch
~ Learn the Circle of Consent and the 4 Quadrants, a sensual practice that will clarify your relating on all levels
~ Learn real, tangible skills to ask for what you want, with ease and generosity

This workshop is for you if you:

~ are seeking the next level of ease, confidence and joy, wherever that is for you
~ love and care for each other, but can’t quite find the key to loving your love life
~ know there is something deeper, more meaningful in sex, but have no idea were to start looking for it
~ have been experimenting with Tantra but find it awkward and contrived
~ are not comfortable ‘receiving’ and don’t know why or what to do about it
~ want to have more fun!

Sunday, April 6, Playing with Power

At this workshop, you will:

– Practice principles of giving and receiving touch
– Feel in to your consent and agency, and more feminist foundations for power play
– Learn and explore some of the basics of domination and submission
– Experience what it’s like to tap into the great strength of vulnerability in being seen, asking for what you want, and giving yourself over
– Feel into the inherent power that is in all of us
– Deepen your connection with your own calling

This workshop is for you, if you:

– Have some experience with giving and receiving consensual touch in groups
– Trust yourself to feel in to your yes and no in the moment, and vocalize that
– Want to take your power play to a deeper, bigger, bolder, playful level
– Want to increase your capacity for asking for what you want in the moment
– Want to get more in touch with your own surrender to another’s desires, or
– Want to get more in touch with your own desires, to request them of another
– Are eager to play with power and touch

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Cost:
For one person:
One day: $120
Both days: $200

For a couple (or pair of friends):
1 day: $200
Both days: $380

Maximum class size: 14

When & Where:
Saturday and Sunday, April 5-6, 10 am – 6 pm both days
Shoreline, WA, at a private residence

TO REGISTER, visit bettymartin.com/learning-touch-playing-power or contact Sincliar!

ABOUT BETTY:

I’m Dr. Betty Martin, a Chiropractor, a Body Electric School trained Sacred Intimate, Certified Sexological Bodyworker, Foundations of Facilitation trainer, and a self-propelled erotic adventurer and intimacy coach.

Every one of these and more has contributed to my understanding of the nature of professional touch.

I’m one of those lucky people who grew up in the touch-y feel-y hippie years. Then I got serious and went to Chiropractic school and learned to touch with some clear intent.

That makes about 30 years as a hands-on professional, first in therapeutics – Chiropractic, Somato-Respiratory Integration, Educational Kinesiology, Reiki, Neuro-Emotional Integration – and later in body-based erotic education, including sensual massage, Taoist Erotic Massage, Kashmiri tantric massage and Sexological Bodywork.

I’ve taught peer counseling, gender liberation, embodiment and empowerment, fantasy play, goddess awakening and erotic massage. I’ve played with contact improv dance, Authentic Movement, Non-Violent Communication and Shaivic tantra. I am a student of The Work of Byron Katie. I am a Board member and train and certify new facilitators for a touch and communication workshop called Cuddle Party.

ABOUT SINCLAIR:

Sinclair Sexsmith, known as the “kinky queer butch top,” is an erotic coach, teacher, and writer who produces Sugarbutch Chronicles at sugarbutch.net, full of dirty stories, essays, advice, and journal entries since 2005. They travel frequently to perform and lead workshops, and to work with people one-on-one for identity puzzles and sexual experiments. Sinclair’s work is published in more than twenty anthologies, and they edited Best Lesbian Erotica 2012 and Say Please: Lesbian BDSM Erotica. They are an expert on strap-on technologies, a feminist Dominant, an identity puzzler, a classically trained poet, and a sacred intimate, and prefer the pronouns they and them.

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Saturday and Sunday, April 5-6, 2014, with Betty Martin and Sinclair Sexsmith in Shoreline WA

Dominance & Power with Responsibility

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.

“Can I come? Please?”

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

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.

ask for what you want

I want you to only address me as Sir.

I want you to start playing with your clit ten minutes before I arrive, but under no circumstances are you allowed to come.

I want you wearing high heels and a short skirt with nothing underneath.

I want your safeword to be carnation, which means, you can yell no all you like, but I will not stop.

I want you ready to bend over my lap struggling as I spank you. Lift your dress up and turn your ass-cheeks red until my hand hurts. And then you’ll kiss it, suck my fingers, make it better. I’ll scold you for making me all hard and wanting, and you’ll straddle me and ride.

I want your explicit consent. I want your permission and submission.

I want you to know how to draw it from me. I am afraid of my own power. I want you to pull these cruelties from me, to beg for them. I want to take your energy and mine into one huge fireball that I will weild and you will receive. I want your surrender. I want you to make me feel like the biggest, baddest top in the room, even if I’m not.

Can you do that for me?