You can be your strongest self AND a power bottom

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

I immediately thought they were a top.

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

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

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

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

I call it …

The Bad-Ass/Bottom Paradox

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

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

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

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

No. On the contrary.

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

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

* Not their real names

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

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


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

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!

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

gdiscipline

  • 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

gservice

  • 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

gmasochism

  • 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!

You’ll Never Find the Perfect Dominant

You’re right: You won’t ever find a dominant who is your most perfect match.

If you listen way down deep, there’s a voice telling you that. You have very particular needs, desires, cravings, and your submission is demanding, sometimes feeling endless. You want and want and want, and who can fill that up with anything that leaves a mark? You won’t ever find someone as good as your ex. You won’t ever find someone as good as the person who introduced you to submission, who whispered those most perfect dirty things in your ear and told you to get on your knees. You will come on too strong to the next sexiest person you’ve ever seen and they will whisper to their friends about how much you “aren’t a real submissive” or are “topping from the bottom.” You are too much. Too big. Too thick. Too mouthy. Too bratty. You will never get your needs met. You will never find someone who matches your particular specialties in submission, your unique perspectives on service and masochism and giving over your body and will and all the dirt under your fingernails. Your dirty hands are too dirty. Your dirty mind is too dirty. Your next dominant just wants to sit on the couch and have you pour more wine, and where does that leave you? You have to wait, to beg, to crave touch, to sit still with skin hunger that may feel like it will devour you, to be disappointed.

You won’t find the perfect dominant for you.

Unless you Do The Work.

Look at the parts of yourself that are yours and only yours. Excavate some of those unknown places until you can see around them and know why they’re there. Acknowledge what it is that you want and what it is you just won’t settle for, and you will have a much better chance to find (and be) the right partner. Until you know what you want, you may not find it. Until you look deep at your part in your patterns, you will probably keep repeating them. Until you fill your own holes, you may continue to have a bottomless pit of desire and need that you think can only be filled by another person. Define your own cosmology of icons and worship and desire. Define your own dictionary of touch and connection and intimacy. Write the perfect love letter to the universe detailing all of the amazing things you secretly wish hope dream for in a lover and mail it off on the wind to fall and float down a waterfall. You can do it. You have wells of untapped strength.

Submissives are the strongest people I know.

Your demands are reasonable. Your desires are reasonable. Your wants are reasonable. Your unique particular weirdo gender is reasonable, and beautiful. Your too-much-ness is exactly the reason why you will be wanted, why you will be craved when you are not around, why someone who doesn’t even know you is craving you right now.

There is nothing wrong with you, or with the kind of submission that you most secretly, way down in your bones, seek.

I do actually believe that. But you have to believe it, too.

And then you have to go after it, with such vigilance that you won’t accept no for an answer, and your own no is an eager blade to get anything not serving your journey out of the way. Take up arms. Take up protest. Take up your favorite friends as armor, as council, as confidants. Take up your rightful space in the room. Take more dessert than you were served. Take the most amazing gift of yourself to the person who really could use it, right now, today.

Take the next step.

Submissive Fantasy vs Submissive Reality, Guest Post by rife

Hi this is rife, Sinclair’s boy. Maybe you’ve read dirty things about me, but that’s not the whole story. So what am I up to when not bent over? Well … I love erotica and porn as much as anyone (honest!), but often when people describe it, we get so hot and heavy talking about the erotic fantasy version of BDSM and the really turned-up power play, and sometimes forget to mention the everyday lived realities and negotiations of it for “24/7” or “live-in” slaves, like me. These real-life submissive moments can be mundane, but also deeply satisfying in ways we might never expect.

So what does that stuff look like? You know, all the boring, in-between times where we try to keep the dynamic hot and tight and present, despite jobs and obligations and sick days and the general upkeep involved with not living in a fantasy world? That’s what I’m here to share. (I’ll try to get your rocks off another time, promise.)

Disclaimer: The following is a true account of my personal experience with live-in submission versus my fantasy version of it. This is only my experience, and please don’t take me too seriously, or assume this is The Way It Is for all slaves or s-types. I’m just speaking for me, here. This is not the right way, just the right way for me.

Submissive Fantasy Morning

7:00 AM Slide out of my spot at the foot of the bed bed before dawn, silently padding out to not disturb the sleeping Dominant.
7:03 AM Shower and shave my cunt with the straight razor, then put on the jock strap that Master left out for me the night before. Wearing only that, I start prepping Master their favorite breakfast, and have it ready on the table when they awake, with ice water with lime, their pills, and morning tea prepared (but not too hot).
8:00 AM Spanking with the wooden spoon over Daddy’s knee because I’ve not cut the onions small enough. Everything else was delicious.
8:15 AM Set up the office for Master’s work day; the heat is up, the shades are drawn, music is on. Sit at Master’s feet and await further orders.
9:00 AM Time for my daily fitness routine. Make sure Master doesn’t need anything, and I go to the little gym equipment in the corner. Master looks up from their work from time to time to watch, singletail in hand in case I should slack off. I make soft, sexy grunting sounds while I pump iron.
10:00 AM Help Master with their website and work tasks, check in on the Submissive Playground forums and emails.

Submissive Reality Morning

7:04 AM First alarm goes off. Wake up warm and cozy in Daddy’s arms, curl around tighter and hit snooze.
7:48 AM Three snoozes later, we stir. We tell each other our dreams and dirty stories, and end up fooling around some.
8:15 AM I groggily ask permission to leave the bed.
8:16 AM Why is it always so cold in this house?! Throw on last night’s PJs from the floor and a big fluffy robe. I go pee, as directed, so I don’t get another UTI.
8:21 AM Daddy finds me staring at the coffee pot and takes over making breakfast. I’m delegated to chopping and fetching duty, out of the way.
8:27 AM I put away last night’s dishes and set the table for breakfast. “Can we eat outside, Daddy?” “No, boy. It’s still too cold out.” “Okay, Sir.” Breakfast is delicious. I thank them lots and apologize for being useless in the morning for about the billionth time. I make the bed like Daddy likes it.
9:00 AM The first round of dishes for today; why does Daddy need so many bowls to scramble eggs?
9:15 AM Planning the day, picking the Most Important Tasks from my boy chores list, and reminding myself, what was that new protocol this week…?
9:22 AM “Daddy, may I use the restroom please?”
9:24 AM Sweep the kitchen floor (didn’t I just do this yesterday? I’m pretty sure I did) and settle in to work.
9:45 AM Email and other admin tasks for my small business, on a cushion in the living room floor, not at their feet, but where Daddy can see me.

Submissive Fantasy Afternoon

1:15 PM Pleasure Master Orally.
2:15 PM Pleasure Master Orally.
3:15 PM Pleasure Master Orally.
4:15 PM Pleasure Master Orally.
5:15 PM Pleasure Master Orally … What do submissives do all day in their fantasies? I.. uh, take a nap maybe? Oh, do some personal grooming! Definitely. And… practice my guitar and other pleasing arts.
6:30 PM – Midnight SEXUAL RELATIONS BDSM FUNTIMES EVERY DAY. Whips and chains and shit in our own personal dungeon in the basement (which is totally not creepy and filled with old mattresses and feral cats, in this fantasy universe).

Submissive Reality Afternoon

1:00 PM Second set of dishes for the day, from lunch and the coffeepot, which is regrettably empty.
1:00 PM – 3:45 PM Work at my job, building websites and mobile apps and stuff. This month I have a variety of fun projects (and the normal cadre of boring ones, too).
3:45 PM “May I use the restroom, Sir?” “Yes, go ahead, boy. Give me a kiss first.” (I also refill their water while I’m up.)
3:48 PM Back to work. Probably time for a tea and fruit break. I offer Master some but they decline.
3:50 PM- 6:00 PM Work, work, work. Small breaks to pay bills and walk the dog.
6:01 PM Freedom!! “Daddy, can we go for a walk? Please, please?”
6:22 PM Night hike around our favorite little lake, followed by dinner at that Thai place I’m not crazy about by Master is really into. Daddy orders for both of us and I ask before sitting.
8:00 PM Catching up on some Downton Abbey. We are way behind. I’m invited onto the couch!
10:00 PM We play cribbage because we are basically old people. Daddy kicks my ass this time.
11:00 PM Where did the time go? I brush my teeth and pick out a bedtime story, strip down to sleep naked and ask permission to get in bed, as I should, grateful for my real-life Daddy and deep spiritual submission. Even when it means doing the dishes 3 times a day.

Okay, so there you have it. My day-in-the-life of your average, everyday sex slave (results not typical. Your mileage may vary). I notice some big differences between the fantasy realm and the real-life versions, namely: hurray! In the fantasy, I don’t have to work because Master supports us both. You know, because writing smut and giving it away for free on the internet is so lucrative (eyeroll).

It hasn’t always been this way, though. The first year and a half of our relationship, we could basically keep the fantasy up, fuck and play the vast majority of our time together. The secret? We only saw each other on weekends, at conventions or hotels (where someone else did the laundry and everything else could wait). I highly recommend long-distance D/s if you want to live your fantasies (and who doesn’t?), it is super fun.

But eventually, we wanted more. The thing about the boring in-between times, the sick days and hours of bad TV and cuddling and cleaning house, is that that’s most of what our lives are made of. And there came a point, at least in my life, where that reality of intimacy with another human became preferable to even my best fantasy. That, my friends, is called winning.

Now, I’m not saying we don’t still have marathon fuck sessions or break out the implements o’ destruction from time to time (because oh, we do). But when I imagine that kind of intensity every day, I kind of lose my boner for it. I remember before we moved in together I was genuinely scared: What if I could just never sit down again because of all the bruises on top of bruises?

We did it anyway, though it was scary as hell. Finally, that “monstrous want” of Master’s calmed down. Don’t worry, it’s still here, but channeled. We found ways to feed it, even on random Wednesdays when we both had to work, that didn’t involve making me purple all over or quitting my job and forsaking all other obligations. We found some kind of… balance.

I’m not going to blather on about my history and congratulate myself on getting here, to “living the dream” of live-in submission. Because honestly, I’m still new at this, and finding my way. But I will tell you this: It doesn’t happen by accident. You have to look for it, hard, for years sometimes (ten in my case!). You have to work your ass off to be worthy of it when it does show up. I wish the same for you, sincerely, that you can make the steps to actualize your fantasies and fantasize the reality, until it’s hard for you to untangle them, too.

Still, I’ll take the reality any day.

—rife

PS: Are you another submissive looking for community? I’ll be active in the forums and chat and video calls during the Submissive Playground. I love it there! No other place on the internet have I found such an active, supportive community of true peers. I’m honored to know all the players. I’d like to invite you to join me there, but you’d have to act super fast—registration closes tomorrow!

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.

Turn Your Rough Fantasies into Responsible Reality

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

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

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

Here’s some things to keep in mind.

1. Everybody Fantasizes!

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

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

2. Fantasizing about rough, dangerous things is normal!

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

3. Comfort Your Inner Feminist With Consent & Agency

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

4. Get Brazen & Bold

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

5. Get Further Involved with the Kink Communities

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

6. Sharpen Your Kick-Ass BDSM Skills

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

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

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

7. Don’t Forget Aftercare!

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

Rinse, Lather, and Repeat!

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

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

Photo from Unsplash


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

Follow your own Kinky Desire Map

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

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

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

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

1. Interest! Spark!

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

2. Experiments!

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

3. Pursue your interests!

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

4. Become yourself!

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

5. Prioritize your preferences!

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

6. Pursue it!

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

7. Practice, practice, practice!

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

So … Where are you on the map?

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

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

Happy Pride! Last Chance Submissive Playground Sale

It’s pride weekend! Right now as I type this from the warmth of my sunny bedroom, hundreds and hundreds of gender radical folks are gathering in Delores Park in San Francisco for the pre-Trans March gathering, and then the Trans March, and then the Trans March afterparties. And then tomorrow’s the Dyke March (with a similar schedule), and Sunday is the big ol’ mother-of-em-all, the Pride Parade.

I get a little weepy around Pride, just like I get weepy around my birthday or other Big Events that mark the passing of time and cause me to reflect on community and friends and chosen family and survival.

Being an introvert with misanthropic tendencies, I usually don’t attend big Pride events. After a few times of going and being just pretty miserable and waiting for them to be over, I learned that it’s better to stay home and have an Introvert Pride all by myself (or with a few friends).

I also remember that Pride marks the anniversary of Stonewall, which was a riot started by drag queens and trans folks against police in New York City. It might be a commercialized, commodified celebration now, but it has radical, marginalized, and empowering roots.

“Hey wait, I want to hear about the sale!”

Yeah. Let’s do this thing.

So because I love community (in my introvert-misanthropic way), I want to invite you and a friend to sign up for the Submissive Playground—this weekend only!—for $200.

That means: YOU + your friend who is also into submission = take the course for only $200.

The course is much more fun when you can make study dates or compare homework!

What do you get? The DIY (formerly and lovingly called the Broke Ass) Package includes:

  • Materials! Videos to watch, erotic stories to read, how-to articles,
  • Submissive Journal worksheets (like the one in the Submissive Starter Kit, except more elaborate)
  • Experiments! Every module has guided experiments for you to go try—on your own, or with whatever resources, doms, or play partners are available to you
  • Calls every other week to reflect on each module’s tasks, report your progress, and ask Mr. Sexsmith questions
  • Access to message board to discuss the homework and tasks with other submissives, for continued group feedback, discussion, connection
  • Submissive community, and deeper connection to the kink world
  • Digital certificate of participation

Are you unsatisfied right now? Become insatiable. Become delectable. Become confident in your submission to go after what you want.

This is the way to figure out where your heat is, and what really gets you going. Maybe it’s more dirty talk in your sex life, more spankings, more humiliation, more rules/procedures … or maybe just more play. Submissive Playground will help you start being a more conscious sub. You’ll start saying yes’ consciously instead of being taken advantage of (you know, without your consent, in the bad ways). You’ll begin to create healthy submissive patterns that don’t leave you tired, uninspired, and unsatisfied.

Registration for Submissive Playground summer school in July & August closes on Monday, June 30th! This is the last chance sale to sign up!


Sorry! This deal is no longer available

And hey, if you’re out there right now, having a great time in the grass and sun with all the eye-candy of trans and genderqueer folks all around you, I hope you have a wonderful time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is it risky to be out as kinky?

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

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

Here’s some strategies for you to think about.

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

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

1. Stay Anonymous

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

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Pros:

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

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

2. The Alter Ego

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

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Pros:

  • Nobody who googles your name will find your connections to kink
  • Generally very safe to show up at events, wear a “no photos” marker, and go by your other name—no one will ever know you were there
  • Easy to erase all trace of your alter ego, just by deleting your alter ego’s accounts
  • Relative ease to keeping your other self separate from your kink self
  • Can still put up a variety of identifying things (photos of your face, photos of your tattoos) and be relatively sure that your name is not attached to them. If someone you know is at a kink event or on Fetlife and sees you, well, then in order to out you, they’d have to out themselves, so you are relatively safe.
[/columns] [columns width=”1/2″ last=”true”]

Cons:

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

Full Transparency

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

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

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

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

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Pros:

  • Integrity! Being who you are!
  • Making your own unique way in the world without apology
  • Significantly reduced shame (Potential for, not guaranteed)
  • Reduced potential for someone to attempt to use something against you as a threat
[/columns] [columns width=”1/2″ last=”true”]

Cons:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Submissive Playground Winner!

Announcing: The winner of the Submissive Playground giveaway for the summer session is: Yasha!

winner1

random1

Thanks to all of you who wrote notes and about your submission and why you’re interested in the course … you may’ve thought you were just writing “blah blah blah” but actually I read every. Single. Thing and I am really curious about your stories. Every time somebody commented, I would say, “Oh! I wish they could come play too!” Seriously I want you all to join me/us in this course, it would be way better if you were here.

Here’s a few of the things you wrote:

This is box title

Hmm…dreadfully curious about this class. I was the first time around as well.

I have been looking for ways to expand my skills!

I am a poor college student that would love to learn about the nature of submission and how to become a better submissive. This is something I have been interested in for a very long time and I would love the opportunity to explore it in a safe and instructive environment.

I would love to hone in on my skills as a submissive within a queer context! I want to connect my queer identity with my kinky identity!

I’ve been dying to take this course and was so thrilled to see you’re offering it again!

The biggest thing I’d like to learn is how to express that I’m nearing my pain threshold without being bratty.

LOVE this website! I’d love a spot in the Subplay Course, if only to find a more local (not just virtual) sub network.

I’m a long-time bottom who’s had mostly non-bottoming experience. I am now in a relationship with a dom who wants to push me to be the submissive I envision myself being. I would like to get deeper into understanding how I can be a better service bottom and daddy’s boy, as well as how to make my dom feel well-taken care of. I’ve always wanted to go deeper into understanding the nuances and the give and take. I think this course would bring me much deeper into the world of submission, as well as help me examine why and how I want to be an effective submissive.

As a queer, submissive girl I would relish in the opportunity to expand my submission and my understanding of what makes me tick, so to speak. I would like to delve more into my service oriented nature.

In my everyday, vanilla life I am a dominating force to be reckoned with. I love submitting to my partner because I am able to get out of my head, forget about life responsibilities and just revel in offering myself to another. I would love a spot in your ecourse because I think learning about the intellectual/theoretical side of submission sounds fascinating and I would like to see how to apply that to my own submission.

See what I mean?!

I want you ALL to come. Hrm. Now I just have to figure out how to invite you.

Congrats on the win Yasha, I’m looking forward to working with you!

There’s still room in the Submissive Playground course, but spots are being filled up quickly. Sign up today to join us!

Win a spot in the Submissive Playground ecourse

Do you want to attend Submissive Playground? It’s running in July & August (summer school!) and I decided that this time, I would give away one Broke Ass Player spot in the course.

I usually describe it like this:

Submissive Playground is an online course with five live calls, eight weeks of creative, sexy explorations, and four learning modules—Bondage, Discipline, Service, and Masochism—all with the goal to take your submission deeper. And, you’ll get to explore it in community, making friends with other s-types through the course, and learning from each other. The entire course is online, and done within your own levels of comfort. Registration is open until June 30th www.submissiveplayground.com.

What do you get with the Broke Ass Player spot?

  • Access to all the course materials, including porn to watch, erotica to read, and essays about submissive theory
  • Guest videos from amazing BDSM experts, including Lee Harrington, Madison Young, Raven Kaldera, Tina Horn, kd diamond, International Master & slave 2011 Liza & Jody, and more
  • Access to the course message board to discuss your experiences with other submissives
  • Submissive journal homework prompts for each unit
  • A downloadable star chart to track your progress in the course
  • Access to the online All-Player video calls every other week, where we’ll chat about our experiences and I’ll answer your questions
  • A digital certificate of completion that you can print out (and add to your submissive resume or submissive experience folder)

Want to win a spot in the ecourse?

This is box title
Just leave a comment below (with a valid email address, that won’t be published) and tell me one thing you’d love to get from the course, or one thing you love about submission, or something else entirely.

The winner will be chosen at random on Wednesday, June 18th, in the evening my time (PST).

Got questions about the course?

Curious but not sure? Other people had some of your same questions, I bet— rife & I did an interactive Q&A about it with about a dozen folks who stopped by to ask questions. Here’s the video, check it out:

I was also on two podcasts over the weekend, talking about Submissive Playground:

kc-meatball-sinclair_med masocast_1500-300x300

Unspeakable Axe, one of my buddies and favorite podcast hosts, mentioned the Submissive Playground on the Masocast this past weekend. He is off getting married to his dominant Sade this week, and I can’t wait to hear all the dirty stories when he gets back.

And Woody at the new KinkyCast podcast invited me on to talk about Submissive Playground, too. It’s the same episode where LunaKM from Submissive Guide talks about pain processing, episode #19.

Thanks Axe + Woody!

Hope that helps clear up any questions you might have about the Submissive Playground. Still have questions? You can always email me, dominant@submissiveplayground.com, and ask.

Let’s do this! Leave a comment now and win a spot in the course.

Take the (new!) S-Type Quiz

Version 2.0 of the famous “What S-type are you” quiz has been released, with 2 new result options, and fancy illustrations for each type, along with your percentage breakdown of your submissive traits. Check it out!

Slave, submissive, service-oriented, bottom, kinky masochist, obedient little pet—what kind of s-type are YOU?

“S-type” is a broad umbrella term for the submissive side of the power dynamic. These identities are multi-faceted—complex and nuanced, and don’t fit into any one little teeny box. However, there are some similarities, too—and I’m interested in the places we overlap, the things we share and have in common, as well as our differences. 

Is your favorite kind of sex…?

  • the kind that leaves bruises
  • full of dirty talk,
  • or when you make someone come over and over … and over

Where would you *most* like to be at a play party?

  • shining everyone’s boots
  • writhing in pleasure/pain
  • ..or at the end of your Dominant’s leash

If you had to give up one part of your sex life, it would be…

  • kinky play. I’m not *that* much of a masochist.
  • vanilla sex. It’s kinda overrated.
  • role play. I never was good at theatre.
  • or… my brain hurts. I’m safewording this question.

 

TAKE THE QUIZ!

… These are just some of the examples of questions on the quiz. Remember, This quiz is for fun! A 12-question quiz could never truly capture your myriad identities. This is designed to measure things like your obedience, interest in BDSM, aptitude for sex, ownership fetish, and then funnel them into a unique s-type identity based on your answers.

I hope you enjoy it! I hope it’s sexy and fun and curious, and maybe, just maybe, it’ll give you a little insight into how you work, and remind you that there you overlap identities with lots of other folks.

Also: at the end, the quiz software (Hello Quizzy, which is part of OK Cupid) wants you to fill out some demographics, including inputting your gender. They only give you two options: Male and Female. And of course you know that I think that’s bullshit, and I suspect that you also think that’s bullshit. You can bypass that step, just skip it. I would’ve loved to have quiz software that didn’t have that stuck on there at the end, but there is no perfect quiz software, rife and I are absolutely not quiz programmers, nor do we have a budget to pay the perfect software to be developed, and this was the best one we looked at in terms of results, percentage answers, and analytics.

And yes, we know that sometimes you can get more than 100% in certain categories, and that that is mathematically illogical. It’s for fun. You really, really like that category. There’s a much more complicated explanation for how all of that works, but I’m not going to go into it here. If you want to talk more about it, come to the Submissive Playground live Q&A call this Thursday night and rife can tell you aaaaaaall about it.

TAKE THE QUIZ!

 

Nine possible results, all are illustrated and shareable

Take the quiz to see all result types

Announcing! Submissive Playground 2.0: Summer School

It’s true! Submissive Playground is happening again!

And registration is open now, until June 30!

Got questions about it? Here’s a few brief answers, but I’m also doing a live Q&A video call this Thursday night to answer any more questions you might have. Read on.

What is it?

It’s an e-course, run entirely online, with four learning modules, five live calls, and eight weeks of creative, sexy explorations to take your submission deeper. And, you’ll get to explore it in community, making friends with other s-types through the course, and learning from each other. The entire course is within your own levels of comfort, as you choose any submissive experiments that you do.

Who is this for?

Well, it’s run by me, Sinclair, with the help of rife, who is a phenomenal designer and organizer, and an experienced teacher. It’s for people who want to explore their relationship to submission—regardless of how you identify, as a pet or a sub or a slave or a bottom or very submissive-curious or as a switch or queer or straight or poly or whatever, you just have to want to commit some time to exploring what it’s like to be submissive for you.

It helps if you are into assignments, tasks, homework, and getting stars for completing your work. If you are star-reward motivated, you’ll love this course. If you always liked school, you’ll like this course. If you like self-reflection and introspection, this course is for you.

“Structure and guidance with room for creativity is the perfect learning environment for me, and that’s what I got from this course.”
—Amanda, player from the January course

Okay, but what does it cost?

There are a few different options for cost. The Broke Ass Package includes all the materials, the live video calls, the experiments, and the journal prompts, and that’s $150. The next level up is the Star Package, which has all of the things the Broke Ass Package has, but it also includes one one-on-one session with me to set intentions for the course or to troubleshoot the hurdles that are coming up, and it includes feedback on your homework. The Fancy Package includes four one-on-one sessions with me, one for each module in the course, and it includes a Submissive Playground dog tag and a letter to your current or future dominant about your submission. Star and Fancy players also receive a paper certificate of completion in the mail (while Broke Ass players receive a digital copy, which you can print yourself). Here’s a big list of all the perks and differences in the packages if you want to know all the details compared.

If you’re so broke ass that even the Broke Ass Package is too expensive, contact me and we may be able to work something out. Please note that I don’t trade services for sessions, but I do have some trade spots possible for the Broke Ass Package.

Also … there will be some special sales this month. Keep an eye out and join the mailing list to be the first to know about them.

When is it happening?

The summer session of Submissive Playground will be in July & August, 2014. Registration is open through June 30th, but there are only three Fancy Packages and ten Star Packages, so if you want one of those, sign up now!

Oh I’m ready. Sign me up!

But wait! I have more questions!

Oh I thought you might! And I have lots more answers. In fact, I’m doing a live Q&A through Spreecast this Thursday night at 6pm PST / 9pm EST. Come ask questions and I’ll answer ’em live!

QandA_graphic

If you haven’t been involved with a Spreecast before, it’s pretty fun. You can log in to your own Spreecast account, connect your webcam, and come “on air” to talk to me through video, or you can stay anonymous and ask things in the chat box.

Registration is open—Come play!

Ask Mr. Sexsmith: Didn’t you mention a marketing or business ecourse recently?

Dear Mr. Sexsmith,

This is a terribly mundane and sadly unsexy question but I swear I saw you post a link or a mention in the past few months of a marketing/PR/development website you had taken an ecourse with and I remember being really interested. Today when I went to scour the sugarbutch archives I couldn’t find it.

Am I making this up? And, if not, could you send me the information or maybe any sort of other similar information about ecourses you’ve been taking that inspired Submissive Playground? I’m particularly interested in those related to building branding or business at the moment but other suggestions are welcome. I am a big fan!

Ziggy

Hi Ziggy—

Sometimes the mundane and unsexy questions are the easiest to answer!

I think I mentioned the course on Twitter/Instagram—it was the IttyBiz “Fast Track to Fully Booked” course at ittybiz.com. They’re pretty amazing, definitely recommend signing up for their newsletter (and reading past issues) and keeping up with their blog—all of that is a ton of free content.

I have been studying ecourses for a few years now, partly with the idea of building my own eventually. I haven’t taken a “how to build an ecourse” course, but two things were massively influential:

Jennifer Louden & Michele Lisenbury Christensen‘s course Teach Now was highly influential for my identity as a teacher

and

I bought the Puttylike “Multipassionate Must Haves” bundle. I mostly bought it because it had so many different examples of ecourses in it, but many of the courses themselves are really good, and I recognized a lot of the teachers. I definitely recommend looking up the teachers included in that course, I’m sure many of them would be good examples of ecourses, and have ecourses themselves that would be inspiring and awesome.

Jennifer Louden also has a course in there called Creating Your Own Mastermind Group, which I took and then implemented last year. I’ve been part of an amazing queer creative business group, meeting since August, including Jen Cross of Writing Ourselves Whole, Sade Huron of Cariad Healing, and Amy Butcher of Amybutcher.com (you may recognize her as the author of Paws for Consideration or from, you know, around).

Other folks whose work has influenced me:

  • Tara Gentile – highly recommend for building your business things
  • Susannah Conway – love her photography and writings on grief, she has some courses but I haven’t taken them. she also has a “Unravelling the year ahead 2014” ebook that just came out which is really great
  • Jennifer Lee – Right Brain Business Plan is awesome, and she’s got a product launch course which is great too
  • Marketing for Hippies
  • Heart of Business

I don’t know of ones that are specific about branding, mostly because I’ve been a brand consultant in the past, and a designer, so those don’t catch my eye, though I’m sure those are around. But marketing? Ittybiz is the best, hands down.

Hope that’s helpful.
Sinclair

Masocast podcast features … me! Also: Fancy Package on #subplay!

I’ve been spending most of my time lately working on Submissive Playground. It’s kind of shocking to me how much time it’s taking to set up—I didn’t have a very realistic sense of the time involved on the back end. The past two days, I’ve spent close to 10 hours writing the main course landing page, and today, rife has already spent at least three hours designing it.

And that’s not even the curriculum! That’s just the copy describing the curriculum.

The course is getting close (pre-course materials launch in ten days!) and so I’m spending a lot of time thinking about submission, writing about assumptions, getting clear on what I want to know from the Players, and strategizing learning styles and games and tasks and fun things for people to do in the course.

I talked to an old friend from New York City, Axe, about the Playground and also my breakup, and D/s and M/s, and what it’s like to have left New York, on his Masocast recently. You can download it or stream it here:

The Masocast is community-run, so go donate to keep it going strong. I think Axe is an excellent interviewer, and a deep thinker about lots of kink things. This is my fourth time being a guest on his podcast, all the old ones are still available to download & stream too.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my motivations for putting something like this together, too. It was basically rife’s idea, and we brainstormed about it and bantered about it for a few hours before massaging it into the concept as it currently stands.

I think a big part of wanting to explore submission with people deeper is from the ways that the D/s in my relationship with Kristen went badly. The last two years, both as she and I were struggling to improve things and in the year since we split up, I have helped many people sort through their own struggles with D/s, and I know my perspective on these topics have really helped them come to a better place. In some ways, I don’t have a lot of range, having had only two major D/s partnerships, but I have a significant amount of depth in my studies of D/s.

And, when I floated around an idea of a Dominant course, the interest of learning to dominate from a dominant wasn’t as great as practicing how to submit with a dominant. I’ve been moving away from the me-as-know-it-all-teacher style of teaching anyway, so this experiential workshop is a good start to that.

Amazingly, the Star Player packages are sold out!, and I’m considering adding a few more slots to let the folks on the wait list in. (Want in? Email me, dominant@submissiveplayground.com.) I allotted time in my calendar for three Fancy Players, who would meet with me every week, but those aren’t currently full …

Which brings me to …

There are still slots available for people who want to be “Fancy Players,” aka The Super Star Package. This package has some special things in it! The major thing, and the reason why it’s more expensive, is because it has FOUR one-on-one sessions with me included in the package, one during each week of the course.

Here’s what you get:

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  • Four 1-on-1 sessions with Sinclair (via Skype or phone)* — $500 value!
  • Customized Submissive Playground dog tags*
  • A letter to your current or future dominant, outlining your strengths and suggestions for further training*
  • A paper certificate of participation, mailed to you
  • Submissive meditation worksheets
  • Weekly tasks/assignments
  • Erotica to read!
  • Porn to watch!
  • Tasks for and feedback on your personal submissive journal
  • Weekly all-player sessions to discuss your experiences with the current topic of study

* Exclusive to the Fancy Package

Go ahead & sign up!

If you’ve already signed up, you can upgrade! (Or, perhaps your partner or Sugar Daddy or Sugar Mama or Sugar Butch (haay! See what I did there?) or Sugar Femme or WHOMEVER would want to upgrade you as part of your dark-time-of-the-year holiday gift? Have them contact me!)

Alright … I’m off to pack (no, the other kind, you pervert), and fuck my boy and probably go to the grocery store to bake cookies so we can be all ready to catch a plane tomorrow morning. We’ll be spending the next two weeks with family, and off on a retreat by ourselves.

All you Submissive Playground Players: I’ll be in touch!

Everybody else … thank you, for all of your wonderful support and comments and shares and clicks and for reading this year.

So what ARE the different kinds of s-types? And more about the s-type quiz

So, the quiz! “What kind of s-type are you?” quiz, that rife + I co-created, was launched November 30th as a fun game, and an interesting tool, and the beginnings of a conversation about how many different ways that submissive folks explore their own submission.

And what the heck do we mean by “submission,” anyway? Do I mean “the person receiving the sensation or sexual touch in a BDSM scene”? Or do I mean “the person who takes the orders in a relationship”? Well … both, or either. And that is precisely the point: To begin asking what it is we mean when we say these things, to think deeper about them, and, ultimately, to make better informed choices about the parts in these power games that we want to play.

Here’s the quiz, in case you missed it:

THANK YOU for all of your thoughts and feedback. It’s been so fun to read and engage with you about this. There are more than 50 comments on the thread where I posted the quiz the first time, and each one I read and thought about … I replied to some, but I get overwhelmed by that level of correspondence sometimes, so I didn’t reply to everyone. I did have quite a few people who identified as kitties or puppies tell me that they weren’t represented, and it’s true that I didn’t include very many “vanilla” or non-s-type options. There was a bit of an agenda with the quiz, which was to determine which of the six s-types we separated out best matched the answers you’d give when you took the quiz. We added the “Not an s-type” option, just to make it a bit more inclusive.

And of course, it’s impossible to actually determine how it is that YOU identify just based on ten questions with seven options each! There is much more nuance to each person than that.

But, overwhelmingly, the response has been that the quiz is fairly accurate! And I love that! I hope it begins some conversations about what the different types of s-types are, and where you fit and what that means to you.

If I did a quiz again, I’d look for a different quiz host that gave the answers in percents, rather than just showed you ONE answer. (70% submissive, 30% servicey, for example.) But for this time, we didn’t do that.

The quiz has been taken more than 2,000 times (wow!). Here’s the statistics about what results were given:

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 1.59.28 PM

I find it pretty fascinating. I never would have guessed that Slave would be so common of a result, or that Bottom and Service were the most uncommon.

For the sakes of THIS quiz, the “Slave” answer was determined by a lot of questions that were about ownership and possession, “Bottom” was determined by receiving sensation and play (kind of from a service top), and “Service” was … well, about service. I think many, many s-types incorporate service into other s-type identities, and the service part isn’t necessarily the strongest reaction for them—but that’s just a theory.

Here’s the descriptions of ALL of the s-types that we broke the quiz down into.

[toggle type=”2″ title=”

Hey wait, you’re not an s-type!

“] You’re not submissive, a slave, a bottom, service-oriented, a slut, or a naughty minx—you much prefer to be in charge or in an egalitarian relationship. Or perhaps you’re a mix of all kinds of things, a switch, or something else, but for whatever reason, right now you are testing as not an s-type at all. But hey, you took this quiz, so probably you have a little bit of curiosity around receiving, bottoming, submitting, and service. Why don’t you sign up for the Submissive Playground in January and let your inner submissive come out to play?
[/toggle] [toggle type=”2″ title=”

Slut by day, slut by night.

“] You’re a slut. You like sex—and when I say you like sex, I mean you REALLY like sex. Giving, receiving, topping, bottoming, serving, whatever—you are happy as long as you’re getting your rocks off. Service, humiliation, pain—you may be into those things, but those aren’t the main course for you. The sexual play, attention, and pleasure is what matters most for you. If you want to develop more of your service skills, kink knowledge, and expand your palette of sexual adventures, come sign up for the Submissive Playground in January and take your sluttery to new places.
[/toggle] [toggle type=”2″ title=”

Naughty, naughty, naughty

“] You love to entice. Teasing, testing limits, pushing boundaries, cajoling, begging, breaking rules—you love to see exactly how far you can go, and you love to be punished. But it’s not really punishment—“funishment” is the name of the game to get you to take a lot of physical sensation play. Sometimes, people call you a “brat,” but that’s because your naughty tendencies are misunderstood as disrespectful, when in fact they are part of how you like to keep things interesting. You love to push your top’s buttons, and they love you all the more for it. Naughty minxes like you are a challenge for Dominants and Tops sometimes—come sign up for the Submissive Playground course in January 2014, hone your naughty skills, and find the d-types that are the best match for you.
[/toggle] [toggle type=”2″ title=”

Bottom’s Up

“] You are clearly a bottom. Though submissive s-types like psychological play, and slave s-types seek to be owned and controlled in addition to psychologically submit to another’s will, bottoms like you are driven by the love to receive sensation. You might love pain, you might love service, you might love sex—but primarily you like to receive. Bold, stingy, thuddy, feathery, light, soft, big, biting—you might have preferences, but it’s clear that you like it all more than most. Are you ready to expand deeper into the realms of psychological submission, and play deeper with giving up power? Sign up for the Submissive Playground in January 2014 and you’ll have lots of opportunities to expand your palette.
[/toggle] [toggle type=”2″ title=”

Service

“] Alfred from Batman. Mr. Carson from Downton Abbey. Lurch from the Addam’s Family. Riff-Raff from the Rocky Horror Picture Show. These (and other) butlers are like to be your service icons. You are a service-oriented submissive, through and through. You like show your love and affection by keeping up with the chores, making sure your Dominant’s favorite hot morning beverages are always perfectly made, and anticipating their next desire—sometimes even before they do. You have likely been working on this skill of giving service with all kinds of people in your life for many years, not just in your intimate, romantic, or sexual relationships. The Submissive Playground course in January 2014 has an entire unit on practicing service, and while you’re clearly already a pro at it, the Playground will give you a place to hone your skills, and to branch out into other realms of submission, and make sure your extraordinary service skills are being placed in the right hands.
[/toggle] [toggle type=”2″ title=”

Slave

“] It’s not just a BDSM cliche—some of us, like you, are actual consensual slaves. You want to give over access to your entire self: body, time, will, and more. Though you may love to receive sensation, give good service, and submit psychologically, you also get off the very most by being owned, controlled, and possessed. Your deepest pleasure derives from someone else taking their deepest pleasure from encounters with you, and everything else is just icing on the cake. You love to be asked to do things that are not for your pleasure, just so you can have a chance to exercise your own devotion to your path as a slave. Come join the Submissive Playground course in January 2014—you can play with many aspects of a slave’s path and fine-tune your submissive toolkit while you’re practicing all of your skills.
[/toggle] [toggle type=”2″ title=”

Classic Submissive

“] You clock in as a classic submissive. You like giving over to your Dominant’s will, not just submitting to a Top’s sensation. You have a few boundaries and limits to what you will or won’t do, but you are eager to do what it takes to please and pleasure the one to whom you submit. You may love pain, or love to give service, or adore sex, but your desire for giving over is what drives you the strongest. For a deeper dive into all of your submissive tendencies, join the Submissive Playground course in January 2014 for four weeks of creative, sexy explorations.
[/toggle]

Whatcha think? Do you still think the quiz results you got were the most accurate description of you? Do you agree with my write-ups of what each one means?

It’s been a fascinating experiment! Thanks for playing!

What’s in our sex den? Books, of course.

“I wonder if anyone will notice that our videos have the same background?”

“Well, I mean, we do live together.”

“Right, it’s not like it’s scandalous. You’d just have to be really paying attention to the details.”

“I love that we keep all the books in the bedroom. It’s such a sex den.”

“Haha yes! The reading nook, the alter, the huge bookshelf, the meditation setup, the sacred objects storage shelves, and then the sex toy shelves and the bed. Sex plus den.”

“Exactly.”

Welcome to the Submissive Playground! from Sinclair Sexsmith

the GENDER book Fundraising Update! from the GENDER book