Tag Archives: submission

Trigger

The Tightrope Walker. Portrait in The Haunted Mansion.

The Tightrope Walker. Portrait in The Haunted Mansion.

Being triggered doesn’t happen to me often anymore. When it does, I often feel like this girl, standing on a frayed tightrope over an alligator that I’d forgotten was there.

A Few Notes:

  1. This post has a trigger warning. I don’t usually use them, but I felt that I should as what I’m writing about is a trigger – my trigger – which got pulled not long ago. I’m going to touch on sexual, psychological and emotional abuse, shame and the lasting damage they cause, so if you feel like it would be better to skip this one, please do and consider yourself hugged.
  2. I neither advocate for trigger warnings nor do I oppose them. It’s a complicated issue that deserves objective consideration. This essay  is not that.
  3. It’s important that I explicitly state that consensual D/s play is not abuse. Unfortunately, my trigger overlaps this territory, which means that I have to take certain things into consideration when I play with power dynamics.
  4. Everything in this post is specific to my experience. Nothing I say is intended as prescriptive. I’m not even sure there’s any general wisdom to be had. I’m just feeling my way through.

On to the post….

A few months ago I had a panic attack. I haven’t had one in nearly eight years. It’s been so long that I didn’t quite realize what was happening until an hour later when I still wanted to throw up. When I realized I’d been triggered, the shame was immediate and intense. There is always shame, but even more so in this case.

There are a few reasons for that. The first has to do with ego—this damage was done so long ago that I should be over it by now…right? Well, while I know, intellectually, that that expectation isn’t fair, my feelings feel differently. Shame and egos aren’t interested in fair.

The second reason is a little more basic—the act of falling apart feels shameful because I never want to be an emotional burden again, and panic attacks level me to such a degree that I fear I’ll become one. And then, there’s the serious, primal reason for the shame—the fact that I have a trigger to begin with. But I’ll get to that.

Shame is not something I enjoy feeling, but I’ve accepted it because I know that, for me, it’s part of the triggering mechanism. Complicating this episode, however, was something I’ve never felt before—a deep, panicked resistance.

I didn’t want to be negatively affected by what I’d read. I don’t mean this in a wow-wish-that-movie-hadn’t-made-me-cry kind of way. What I mean is that I didn’t want this piece, very specifically, to affect me negatively. I didn’t want my history to shadow something that would usually turn me on, particularly given my relationship to, and feelings for, the author.

But that’s the thing with triggers. They are intensely specific. The piece that triggered me could have had warnings all over it, but it wouldn’t have made a difference. I’d have read it anyway because, regardless of the warning, I wouldn’t have seen it coming. Change any number of external factors and I’d probably have been fine. In fact, six months ago, I may not have triggered at all. Six months ago, I hadn’t received an email that I never wanted to get. I was getting more sleep. I hadn’t just finished a difficult piece…. There was just no way to prepare for the very specific, collective effect that all of those factors had on me right then. There’s never any way to prepare. At least, not for me. And it’s for that reason that I stand by the piece that triggered me, because it’s really good and in no way at fault for affecting me in that way. It’s just one of those things….

This is going to seem like a random transition, but bear with me.

I’ve written before about the fact that, while I’m not a Domme, I am sexually dominant, and that my dominance formed, (in part, at least), in response to several traumatic things in my history. That’s where triggers (warning!) come in.

When I was very young, I was sexually abused. As a result, I learned that my will could be supplanted. I learned that I couldn’t rely on my parents and that love doesn’t keep you safe. I learned that I had to protect myself. And I also learned that I couldn’t. In other words, at four years old, I internalized that I was powerless.

This led to all sorts of borderline abusive situations as I grew up. Eventually, I graduated to a genuinely abusive relationship. My ex was charming and intelligent. He made me feel strong. He loved my anger and my hunger and my insatiable sexuality. He wanted me to own the world. And he wanted to own me. He taught me about power and how to use it, and then he flipped the tables and showed me how powerless I was.

That’s my trigger. Powerlessness. Helplessness. That’s where the shame comes from—the uneasy knowledge of what I allowed to happen after a lifetime of trying (and failing) to protect myself. And no, I’m not blaming the victim (although the word doesn’t sit easily with me). What I am doing is acknowledging that I made choices. I chose to stay for longer than I should have, and that decision installed a trigger that was pulled because I read something beautiful, written by someone brilliant, that was too much like something my ex had done to me.

My trigger unmoors me from the strong foundation I’ve built. It reminds me that I can be leveled by things that are out of my control. It makes me feel like I can’t protect myself. It makes me feel like I have to, and it’s that last part that’s especially hard. It’s my vigilance that saddens me most. I feel most like the self I might have been in those rare moments when the vigilance drops…when I am soft and relaxed. Those are the sweetest moments. And to that end, my trigger is also a gift.

What made this episode different, and especially disturbing, is that it didn’t stop. I remained unsettled for weeks, so much so that I finally went to a therapist for what has always been diagnosed as depression. This time, I came away with an additional diagnosis. PTSD. And now, thanks to the awful discomfort of being triggered, I’m doing the work that I wish I’d done years ago.

The only way I know to recover is to get stronger. That used to mean making myself invulnerable. Now, it means the opposite. It means bending. I need to learn to accept the abuses and my vulnerability, and I need to learn to trust my strength. I can’t tell you how sweet it would be to feel that acceptance and trust. To drop the resistance and shame. Vulnerability can be such a beautiful thing. One day, I would like to experience it as such.

Erotic Fiction: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Purple watercolor canvas of a woman in a black backless dress standing between two men and holding a drink

Woman in Backless Dress with Drink by Harry Weisburd

“Hey, babe? Would you get that?”

“Yeah. Did you order room service?”

“Yeah. Something like that.”

Jilly heard Mark open the door as she zipped up her slim, backless dress. Then she stepped into a pair of peek-a-boo heels and clipped across the room, enjoying the fact that she was bare beneath the silk. Everything just felt more when she skipped the lingerie, which is why she often did.

“Sam!”

Jilly smiled. She sounded much calmer than she actually felt, which was encouraging. Mark’s Christmas present was a bit of a gamble and it was up to her to pull it off. Luckily, she had enlisted help. Sam, her ex from a lifetime ago, whistled and gave her a slow, achy kiss. Ignoring Mark’s confusion, Jilly kissed him back.

“Jill, you look fucking amazing,” he said. Then he turned to Mark. “Hey, handsome. You look fucking amazing too.”

Mark gave Sam a shy, crinkly grin.

“Hey, Sam. C’mon in. I didn’t know you were coming by. Let me get you a drink.”

“No,” Jilly said.

Her voice dropped an octave on that single syllable. Both men turned and looked at her. It was adorable. She smiled.

“Sorry?” Mark said, giving her a look.

It was the extremely polite, what-the-fuck look he usually reserved for corporate events and, (apparently), the unexpected arrival of hot, male guests. Jilly kissed his cheek in a vaguely dismissive way and sauntered to the mini bar to pour herself a scotch.

“I said, no. No drinks – not for either of you, anyway. Not til after.”

Sam cleared his throat and drifted toward the window. Mark watched him go – or rather, he watched Sam’s fine ass carry him across the room. Then he looked at Jilly, who was sipping her drink.

“Not til after what, Jill?”

“Not til after you’ve sucked Sam’s cock and gotten fucked into next year.”

“What?”

She smiled sweetly and held his gaze as he blushed. It was wonderful. She loved it when he blushed. Relenting, she leaned in and nuzzled his neck.

“You know that fantasy we always talk about,” she whispered.  “That’s your present. Merry Christmas, babe.”

Mark stared at her in a way she couldn’t quite decode. Even after being together for nearly two years, there were still things about him that were quietly opaque. It made her nervous, but it excited her too. And it was only fair – she wasn’t exactly easy to read either.

They stood there, staring at each other in a way that made Jilly’s thighs slick. Suddenly, the stalemate broke and Mark grinned.

“So, what you’re saying is that Sam is my Christmas present?”

“Well, technically, your Christmas present is an ass fucking and the opportunity to suck Sam’s cock while I watch. But yes. I suppose you could say that Sam is your present.”

Mark picked her up and kissed her in the way she loved best – like she was something to be savored and slowly consumed. She curled her fingers through his soft hair and gently pulled, loving the bite of his fingertips on her hips. By the time he put her down, her body was humming beneath the silk. Mark glanced at the window but kept his hand on her.

“And Sam’s okay with this?”

Jilly arched a brow and gave him a lopsided grin.

“Golly, I don’t know. Are you okay with this, Sam?”

Sam turned and stopped pretending to look out the window.

“Fuck yeah. I’ve wanted Mark’s ass for ages.”

His grin was open and playful but, when he edged towards Mark, the playfulness drained away. Suddenly, he was nothing but hard-on and hips.

“Slow down, cowboy,” Jilly said. “We’re playing by my rules tonight.”

“Right,” he said, stopping just short of touching Mark.

Jilly took in Mark’s nervy breathing and Sam’s restlessness. They reminded her of thoroughbreds before a race – big, muscled animals straining at the gate.

“You’re both wearing too much. Strip.”

Jill sat in the leather chair in the center of the room, relishing the pleasure of crossing her legs. She knew Mark’s fantasy so well it had become her own, and it played out in her mind, sharpening her focus, as she calmly sipped her drink.

Sam grinned and turned to Mark. “You heard the lady.”

Mark glanced at Jill. He was trying to get his footing in the dynamic. Jilly held his gaze and sipped her scotch. She didn’t need to say anything. That slice of silence was enough.

Mark nodded, not docilely because Mark was not a docile man, but in a way that communicated a level of acceptance that was undeniably hot. Then he began to strip. Charcoal jacket. Cufflinks. Shirt. He hesitated at his belt, but then continued on, obviously determined to make the most of his present. When he was down to his briefs he stopped again. Jilly smiled. He was already hard.

“Go on,” she said, keeping her voice flat.

Mark nodded again. Then he stripped off the briefs and stood before his girlfriend and her fully clothed ex. Sam cocked his head.

“Hey, Jill? Would you have him turn around?”

Mark flexed his big, strong hands like a nervous boy. It made her heart hurt in a wonderful, happy way, but she kept her face blank to the point of disinterest.

“Sure.” Jill shrugged. “Turn around for Sam.”

Mark’s blush spread halfway down his chest, but he turned.

“Stop there,” she said when his back was to Sam. “Bend over, babe. Show Sam what he’s getting.”

Mark closed his eyes. She could see it in his reflection in the window. Every cell in her body focused on him – every twitching muscle and every change in his face – gauging how far she could push. She knew he wanted to be pushed.

Finally, he bent at the waist and voluntarily parted his cheeks with his hands so that Sam could see his ass. The heart-hurt Jilly had felt earlier swelled and filled her chest.

“That’s good, babe,” she said, softly. “Go ahead and stand up.”

Then she turned to Sam.

“Your turn, hot stuff.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Sam threw off his clothes like a puppy let off the leash.

“Slow down,” she said, suppressing a smile. Sam was acting like a horny, cartoon wolf.

Soon both of them were naked in front of her – tall, strong, Mark and dark, stocky Sam, with the dick of a man twice his size.

Jilly glanced at Mark. She could practically see his mouth watering.

“Okay, babe. Suck his cock.”

Jilly knew Mark had gone down on a few other guys, but she doubted any of them had been as big as Sam. But Mark more than willingly knelt before his challenge. Suddenly, her big, complicated man was nothing but keen and eager. It was a part of Mark she rarely saw and it deeply turned her on.

Sam canted his hips towards Mark’s lips, but otherwise stood still while Mark angled his head and glanced at Jill. She nodded.

“Take your time. Work all of him in.”

Sam was more than a mouthful. It took Mark a while to work his way down Sam’s pornographic length, but even as he struggled, Mark got harder. Clearly, having him edge for three days had been the right call. Jilly crossed and uncrossed her legs. Her body knew exactly what he felt like when he was that hard, and knowing made her wetter.

She watched him choke and sputter as he struggled to take all of Sam in; and the more he struggled, the harder he got. Jilly pressed herself into the soft, leather chair, rocking her hips in tight, controlled circles that mimicked Sam’s own. Slowly, Mark found his rhythm, but he kept taking his time, sucking and tonguing the whole way down, until Sam’s knees buckled when Mark’s lips touched the base of his cock.

“Stay there, baby,” Jilly whispered, pulling out her phone. “Just keep sucking him.”

She set her drink aside and stood up. Her cunt was throbbing, but she ignored it as she got close enough to frame the details of Mark’s face. His clenched eyes and distended mouth were beautiful to her. The look on Sam’s face was too. She angled the phone and caught the two of them…Sam’s hands clutching Mark’s rumpled hair, Mark’s hands grasping Sam’s pretty ass…. Then she sank back down and raised her hem.

Sam moaned and began to thrust into Mark’s throat. She left them to it for another minute, half curious to see how long Sam could hold out against Mark’s relentless mouth. And all the while, she stroked herself, keeping time with Sam’s hips and Mark’s bobbing head without letting herself go. Finally, when Sam’s body began to tense, she stopped them.

“That’s enough. Sam’s getting close.”

Reluctantly, Sam eased himself out of Mark’s mouth. They both looked dazed and big-eyed. She wasn’t even sure if they were fully aware of her presence anymore. The energy between them was hard and needy and strong, and she didn’t want to interfere. But she also wasn’t going to let go of the reins.

“Get on your hands and knees, babe. Sam’s going to fuck you, and I’m going to watch. Let’s see how much of that big cock you can take.”

Mark looked at her. His pupils were so dilated that his eyes were nearly black. Then a smile pulled at the corner of his red, swollen mouth.

“Yes, ma’am.

Jilly got up and kissed him. She couldn’t help it. Then she stood and turned to their guest.

“Remember what I said. Slow and easy to start. Then have at it. And use a fucking lot of lube.

Sam nodded. Any trace of the puppy dog was gone, replaced by something much more carnivorous. He reached  over and grabbed the condom she handed him. Then he picked up the bottle of  lube and knelt between Mark’s spread legs. Sam nudged them even wider and poured a ton of the stuff between Mark’s spread cheeks. Then Sam put a hand on the small of Mark’s back. The second he did, Mark visibly relaxed, and so did Jill. Then Sam began to work his way in.

He moved faster than Jilly would have expected given the sheer size of his dick, but Mark didn’t seem to mind. In fact, he spread his knees wider and thrust back into Sam, groaning like porn star. She loved it when Mark acted like a slut. Finally, when Sam was balls deep in her boyfriend, he and Mark both turned and looked at her. It was adorable. She smiled.

“No rest for the wicked, gentlemen. Save something for round two.”

This piece was influenced by two things. The first was Girl on the Net’s fantastically hot post, Threesome Director. It touched on more than one of my own fantasies, so it was impossible not to let it creep into this little bit of joyful, holiday porn. 

The second influence was one of the prompts in Exhibit A‘s Awesome Christmas Erotica Meme. Admittedly, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” plays less of a role in the story than I’d originally intended, but I’m keeping the title because it makes me happy.

A new song title goes up every day between now and Christmas so click here to catch the prompts and participate (you should!). And click here to see who else is making merry this December.

PS – Exhibit A is doing his own variation on Girl on the Net’s fantastically hot post. The first part just went up. Check out his site to catch the rest. 

Woman in Repose

Woman with arched back lying on a dark bed

Woman in Repose by Steve Harris

The past few months have been challenging. A series of difficult things destabilized what had been a very stable foundation. It was a bit like playing Jenga. Each thing that happened removed a pin from my tower, until I was leaning and listing everywhere – nowhere near falling, but structurally unsound.

As a result, it’s  fair to say that I haven’t been myself. The people in my life have had to deal with me being unusually emotional and term bound while I struggled with a limited sense of perspective. I’ve been anxious, reactionary and far more taxed (and taxing) than I ever want to be. It’s a state of mind that made me want to unzip my skin and divorce my body from my brain until I got a handle on things. And that’s essentially, what I did. The result was a general disinterest in sex and, to a greater degree, D/s.

There are labels I use for myself, and others that I don’t even though they could superficially apply. The primary example of this is “Domme”. I never refer to myself as a Domme even though I am sexually dominant. (To be honest, I’m dominant in general though I try to keep that checked. I’d rather be accessible than in control…unless there’s a reason to be in control).

I make the distinction between dominant and Domme because, while I enjoy playing with power, I can just as easily not and be very satisfied. The label “Domme” comes with implications that I feel don’t quite apply because my dominance isn’t formalized, nor do I want it to be. My recent situational reticence with D/s underscored that distinction for me in a very concrete way.

Side note: Drawing this distinction deserves its own post, so forgive the broad brush I’m using now.

While I love playing games, I’m equally happy to meet my partners without a power dynamic in play. What keeps me from being even remotely switchy is the fact that I won’t submit sexually to anyone. Ever. My aversion to sexual submission is serious enough that I couldn’t do it for love or money. There are reasons for this, but I’m going to save those for a separate post.

I’d be lying if I said that I don’t enjoy gentle cruelties or imposing my will on consenting partners. I’d be lying if I said that there isn’t a carnivorous part of me that gets off on taking control. But I’d also be lying if I said that that particular kind of assertion is an integral part of who I am. It’s something that I do, not something that I am (unlike my resistance to submission, which is a fundamental part of my personality). That’s why I love sex with an equally dominant partner just as much (and often even more) as D/s play. 

The result of dealing with what I’ve been dealing with is that I haven’t really wanted to play in a D/s sense. I haven’t wanted to control, create or weave scenarios. So much of my energy was going to keeping myself under control, that the idea of taking external control in a play context was exhausting. Unfortunately, I didn’t consciously realize any of this at the time, though I wish I had. I was pushing myself in ways that I shouldn’t have.

In hindsight, I can see that what I needed was something else – good sex, balanced dynamics and, perhaps most lowering, a sense of safety so that I could get out of my head and back into my body. I’ve been sexually reticent and, though not passive (because I’m almost never passive), I’ve definitely been more cautious and reserved – what a friend of mine would call a woman in repose.

While I was in London, Exhibit A and I went for a short run. Afterwards we talked about how, after you’ve been injured, you tend to go more carefully and not push yourself as hard. It’s an understandable thing but, at a certain point, that self-protective instinct can get in your way. Then again, sometimes it’s what you need, even if only for a short time…the hope is always that you’ll return to running at speed.

To circle back to where I started, certain facets of my sexuality and personality have been feeling fairly injured of late – facets that are tied to my relationship with sexual dominance. In a sense, I needed to rest those muscles – the ones I use in D/s – because D/s is not my home base. Sex is. I needed to get re-grounded in sex while those other parts of me rested. I needed to feel, not think or plan. I needed to be spontaneous and basic, so I didn’t go out on available limbs or explore interesting possibilities. I played it safe because, as with running after an injury, I needed to respect my boundaries and get the lay of my land again.

I didn’t realize it until I wrote this, but sex was, and is, the key to that for me. Good, connected, uninhibited, back-to-basics sex with someone I trust.  And now, on the tail end of what turned out to be a pretty difficult patch, I’m happy to say that I’m in better shape than I thought I was. The muscles that needed resting are stretching and waking up. I’m feeling like myself again, and it feels awfully good. I really am happiest on my feet.

Going Down

Cast Painting 1 - Lips by Julie Beck.

Cast Painting 1 – Lips by Julie Beck.

I had an interesting conversation awhile ago. The person I was talking to mentioned that if there were such a thing as a blow job spectrum, he’d have data points all over it, because while he enjoys blow jobs with some partners, with others it’s just not something he actively craves.

I liked the idea of a spectrum because, if popular opinion were to be believed, every man everywhere wants blow jobs from everyone all the time, which is a bit like saying that every woman on the planet wants chocolate every minute of every day, regardless of what it’s in. (Personally, I’ll take custard over chocolate any day, but that’s a different issue).

The conversation also made me realize that I cover a similar sort of spectrum as the giver, rather than receiver, of blowjobs (though I should say that, as a bi lady, I have a totally different spectrum for going down on women, a subject I’m sure I’ll come back to at some point).

For the most part, I’m happy to go down on a guy but, generally speaking, it isn’t one of the primary things I fantasize about. There are, however, notable outliers. I have had partners whom I have actively preferred not to go down on and, way over on the other side of the spectrum, there is a very small handful of men that I absolutely LOVE(D) to suck off. I suspect the variety in my data points has quite a lot to do with my first experience.

I gave my first blow job just a few weeks before I had sex for the first time. I was, for all intents a purposes, a virgin at 19 and grimly determined to rid myself of the label. I didn’t feel like a virgin. I felt hypersexual, and yet there I was, 19 years old with many, many trips to third base under my belt, but no partnered orgasms, no blow jobs and no penetrative sex….

I decided to rid myself of the innocence I didn’t want, so I hooked up with the guy who would pop my cherry a few weeks later. We went dancing and had a genuinely good time. Later that night, we started making out in his car and he asked me to suck his cock. And why wouldn’t he? We were going at it hot and heavy after a pretty successful date. There was no way he could have known that I’d never done it before, because I’d very purposely avoided discussing myself. I wanted so desperately to have already had that experience that I let him assume that I had.

So, I sucked his cock. After years of curiosity and waiting, I was prepared to love it. But I didn’t. I hated it. Once my mouth was on him, he held my head and fucked my face. Now, before alarm bells go off, I will tell you that he would have stopped if I’d told him to. I could have jerked my head back at any time, but I held myself there far more firmly than he did. I didn’t know that a face fucking wasn’t the ideal way for me to experience giving head for the first time. Even if I had, I wouldn’t have cared. I wanted to check that box, so I did, knowing the entire time that I was shortchanging myself, and defiantly not caring.

It wasn’t long before I found other partners, but it took me awhile to learn to like sucking cock, and even then it was a sort of skill-based enjoyment, rather than a primal one. I liked experimenting. What would happen if I focused on his head? If I fondled his balls? If I did this or that with my throat? It was all very academic in a way. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-twenties that I experienced what I will call The Joy of Sucking Cock.

The first time I lost myself in giving a blowjob, it was completely unexpected. I’d been dating A for close to six months and I’d already gone down on him more times than I could count. I’m still not sure why it was different that day, but it was. Maybe it was just that we had the luxury of time, but I sucked his cock without thinking about it. For once, I was totally unmotivated by getting him off and for the first time what I was doing turned me on. I enjoyed myself in a way not unlike this, and while I did, that hard edged, dangerous, son-of-a-bitch of a man bucked and begged to come. Finally, he dragged me onto his lap and fucked me harder than he ever had, and with far less finesse, because I’d worn down his control. That’s when I realized that I actually loved sucking cock – it just had to be attached to the right man.

Even now, while I generally enjoy going down on a partner, I’ve only experienced The Joy of Sucking Cock with a handful of men. Physically they’ve all been different – cut, uncut, longer, shorter, curved, classically proportioned and not quite as much so…. There are two things these men have in common, however. This first is that they all felt right in my mouth – a sort cock sucking version of fit vs. fill. The second is they’ve all had an incredible energy both in and out of bed. Like many people, I feed off my partner’s enjoyment, and the men whom I’ve loved sucking off have all had voracious sexualities that synced up naturally with my own. More than anything, it’s that syncing up that makes the difference for me. It’s what transforms the blow job into a feedback loop, with one giving and the other receiving, and both of us spiraling out of conscious control.

There’s another component, as well, one that goes back to my first experience in that car. It also (unsurprisingly) links to control. That night, I was not in control. I rendered myself an object and I hated it. To compensate, I spent many years treating blow jobs as a way to exercise power over my partner – my way of owning a sexual act that I’d first experienced in a very passive and, as a result, negative way. (Even now, I can’t stand having my head maneuvered and I hate having my face fucked). The small handful of partners that I described above have all been men who a. instinctively knew not to test my boundaries in this regard b. were men I could honestly talk to and c. were partners whom I trusted, implicitly.

The joy I described feeling with them – that syncing up – is the direct result of my letting go of control and relaxing enough to simply enjoy having his cock in my mouth. It’s the result of knowing that when his knees buckle or his hips buck, he’s sharing his pleasure with me. There’s a ton of power in that feedback loop and power is fucking hot – all the more so when you’re enjoying it together.

This is my contribution to The Fellatio Project, hosted by Marie Rebelle. To read other entries, click the pretty picture below.

The Fellatio Project

I’ve Got What You Want

How far do you think he'd go for that pie?

How far do you think he’d go for that pie?

I’m hypersensitive to power dynamics. I intuit hierarchies the way a cook intuits whether or not a soup needs more salt. It’s one of the reasons I’m drawn instinctively to D/s, and why I love Secretary so much. But more on that in a bit….

Interestingly, power doesn’t have nearly so much to do with position and title as one might think. Boss / employee, parent / child, even Dom / sub – these relationships are vertical in theory, but in practice situational power is fluid and highly dependent on external factors. An influential title is not enough to guarantee that a power dynamic remain static. That’s because situational power has little do with rank, and everything to do with having what someone wants.

Take the boss who is caught embezzling by an employee. He wants to avoid jail, so suddenly the person who relied on his good will at review time has the power. It shifted with context, leaving the boss who once had control at the mercy of his subordinate.

This kind of power simmers beneath the surface of any situation in which people interact. Generally speaking, contextual power goes to whichever party has what the other person wants – love, approval, sex, money, security, respect, whatever. This form of power is leveraged by the honey pot, not by the person who wants a taste.

But there is another kind of power, one that is far less fluid. This other kind of power is defined not by the situation, but by self-possession and control. You can see it when the context shifts, and the honey pot changes hands but the person who should be pursuing it doesn’t.

Let’s go back to the example of the boss who was caught embezzling. What if his employee comes to him demanding blackmail? What if, rather than pay the blackmail, Mr. Embezzler weighs his options and chooses to make a deal with the authorities? While he would still be subject to the institutional power of the law, he will have preserved his autonomous power of choice because he exercised his will and addressed the situation on his terms, and not the blackmailer’s.

That is personal power, which supersedes context. This is the kind of natural authority that claims situational power. While someone who exercises personal power can still be affected by changes in context, their response is entirely their own. It is not determined by the pursuit of what they want. Unlike contextual power, personal power is dictated not by desire, but by choice.

The sort of decision I described Mr. Embezzler making requires incredible personal power. Rather than reacting on impulse to the change in his fortunes, he exercised control over his response and defied his employee’s bid at taking control of the situation – not to spite the employee but, rather, because addressing his crimes on his terms would likely lead to more leniency than he might otherwise get.

That is not easy – the impulse to follow a knee-jerk response is strong. But that’s what personal power comes down to – defying that first, knee-jerk impulse. Do you react immediately or measure your response? Do you take the high road or jump in, guns blazing? Are you ruled by your reactions or do you weigh your options and pursue the one that most aligns with the preservation of your terms? Are you aware of what your terms* are?

*Quick note: I’ve used the word “terms” here a few times, and it occurred to me that I should explain what I mean. When I say “terms” in the context of interpersonal relationships, I mean those things that are most important to you. Terms can be anything from your principles and values, to your needs. Knowing what your terms are in any given situation makes it easier to ensure that you keep them.

Movie poster for The SecretaryOutside of corporate crimes, where can you see this sort of power exchange play out – hopefully in a completely legal way? While power dynamics underlie even the most mundane interactions, there are few places in which both forms of power are played with quite so explicitly as in D/s and BDSM.

In D/s (and other forms of kink) the dynamic of a scene is controlled by one person. Ostensibly, that person is the top, but only if he exercises his will successfully over the sub. In other words, the top has to inspire the bottom’s submission – holding the title of “Dom” isn’t enough. As Laura Antoniou wrote, to dominate is a verb, which means topping requires taking active control of the scene though the assertion of personal power.

This doesn’t always look like what we read in fiction. Take the scenario of the recalcitrant sub. I’ve read many stories in which the top snarls and makes a great cock swinging show of his dominance while the plot put him back in control. It’s much rarer to see a fictional Dom portrayed as possessing, let alone asserting, genuine power. That’s why I love Secretary so much.

Edward Grey is subtle and tremendously considered. He watches Lee and maintains control over their dynamic not through grand displays of dominance, but through the nuanced manipulation of their shared context. He ensures that situational power stays with him by exercising patience and control – the opposite of responding to impulse. But what makes Secretary so wonderful is that it also chronicles Lee, the submissive in the relationship, as she develops her self-possession and gradually asserts power over other aspects of her life, including, at the end, successfully managing contextual control over her relationship with Grey. It’s a well-rounded portrayal of a nuanced power dynamic, one that capitalizes on the complexities of contextual power and personal will.

Power is a lovely game, one whose stakes are defined by the players. Personally, I love to play the game almost as much as I love to watch it play out. It’s endlessly interesting because it’s as varied and dynamic as the people involved. But in a far more serious sense, being aware of power dynamics can help you keep your footing when the going gets rough (and it will always get rough, if only for a bit). Knowing your position in a power dynamic can help you navigate a situation without letting context steer you into a wall. The key is knowing what you want, and whether or not you want it badly enough to compromise your place on the curve.

Strong Foundations (Guest Post by Exhibit A)

I got a lovely birthday surprise today – a guest post from Exhibit A. He wrote an excellent introduction to this story, which is up right now on his blog. I really encourage you to check it out, as he talks about what went into creating a story out of this particular scenario.  

As for me, my capacity for critical thought is a little challenged right now – “Strong Foundations” is, quite literally, exactly the kind of story that turns me on most. It’s fantastically fucking hot, and  full of the sort of tension and boundary pushing that can only happen when two people trust each other implicitly.  It’s a brilliant story from by a brilliant writer. I hope you enjoy! xx.M

NB: Exhibit A just put up a supplement to the story on his blog. It’s got some additional (hot) background on the writing of it, as well as a very illustrative visual aid. Have a look…

Strong Foundations

by

Exhibit A

“Here – you look stressed.”

I turned away from my laptop just in time to see Ally put a fresh cup of tea down on the kitchen table next to me.

“I can’t fucking concentrate with all that banging going on downstairs. Do they have to be so loud?”

“Honey, they’re ripping out the whole shower unit. I’m not sure what made you think that would be a silent process.”

I glared back at Ally, but only because I knew she was right. Arranging to work from home on the day the builders came had not been one of my smarter moves. My desk sat flush against the bathroom wall, and vibrated each time hammer struck chisel next door; moving upstairs to the kitchen had helped a bit, but in our cosy maisonette apartment there was really no escape from the repetitive thud, and the sound of tiles clattering down onto the floor.

“I know, I should have gone to the office. I’m an idiot.”

Ally pressed her fingers into my shoulders, easing out the tension. I leaned back into her as she bent down and brushed her lips against my ear.

“Mm, you really should have done. I’d have had far more fun with those two if you weren’t here.”

I pulled her round onto my lap and she squealed with laughter.

“Oh really? And what exactly do you mean by that?”

“Well…they’re not exactly painful to look at, are they? And such strong young men. I bet they have plenty of energy. Yum.”

I rolled my eyes. Ally’s nipples were hard against her tank top, inviting attention, but when I moved my hand toward her breasts, she slapped it away.

“Do you think they’d enjoy seeing me like this if I took them tea right now? That one in the khaki overalls, I know he definitely liked what he saw when I went down there earlier. I bet he’d love to know what the thought of his bulge was doing to my nipples.”

Ally squirmed in my lap, and I felt her grind down onto my cock. I willed it to stop twitching, to stay soft and unresponsive, but she knew my body too well; her grin was triumphant and smug as it started to swell beneath her.

“Oh, don’t worry, I know that you would like that. In fact, maybe I should leave you up here with your work and go see how hard their dicks get when I sit on their laps. What do you reckon? It’s not as if these shorts leave much to the imagination.”

I paused, weighing up my response. Ally smirked down at me.

“Maybe you’d prefer to hear them hammering away at my cunt instead of the bathroom wall. Making me scream. Is that it? Would you find it easier to concentrate on your laptop then?”

I could feel the skin at the base of her spine getting warmer with every word. It was one of her favourite games, and she played it with merciless proficiency. If I hadn’t already hated the builders for their intrusion into my working day, the lust that practically dripped from her tongue would have left me wound tight with rage at how wet she was for them; and for how she held that arousal just out of my reach, teasing me with it.

What we both knew all too well was that the anger only turned her on more, so it was no surprise when she swung one leg over me and hopped up onto the table, her feet kicking together as she contemplated her next move. I saw it spread across her face well before it reached her pursed lips, but that did nothing to deaden the impact.

“Ok, get up. We’re going to have a bit of fun here.”

I levered myself out of the chair and shuffled across the wooden floor. She slid into the space I’d vacated and leaned back, arms crossed behind her head. My shoulders tensed at the sight of her body stretched out like that, lithe and feline. In contrast, mine felt clumsy and awkward, weighed down by the dense, thrumming desire that only her piercing gaze could awaken in me.

“Strip for me. Slowly. Jeans first.”

I tugged at my belt, my fingers cold and shaky without the reassuring warmth of her body curled in my lap. Downstairs, the hammering stopped and I tensed, a nervous response I inwardly cursed as she raised a questioning eyebrow.

“Sorry, I just…well, what if one of them comes up?”

“Huh. What indeed?”

“Are you kidding, Ally? They can’t see me like this, ok?”

“Then why are you getting hard? And don’t deny it! I can see you straining against the fly. Are you worried they’ll see you? No, that’s not it: ah, you’re worried they’ll think you’re small!”

“I…”

“Because I saw the way they filled out their overalls. Fuck, there’s no comparison. Those boys are packing, and you…ha! I mean…well, we can’t all be superstars, can we?”

I flushed, a deep, angry red that I felt warm my chest and set my stomach on spin cycle. The heat spread lower though, and I gritted my teeth against it, trying to stop my body betraying me, even as I shimmied out of my jeans and presented myself to her.

She looked me up and down with a careful, studied gaze. I felt shy, coltish and awkward; undone by her forensic attention. I trusted Ally to push my buttons in a way that worked within the context of our relationship, but the sudden charge to the atmosphere between us indicated that we were both moving into new territory.

The hair on my legs shivered in the cold of the open, airy kitchen. I lifted my striped, long-sleeved t-shirt up over my stomach, and extended my arms towards the ceiling, stopping only when her voice cut through the silence.

“Did I tell you to take that off? Boxers first. I want to see how much you want this.”

I untangled my arms and let them hang limp by my side. Casting a final anxious glance at the stairs, I slowly peeled the tight boxer-briefs down over my cock, and let them join my jeans in a puddle on the floor.

Ally leaned forward and watched intently, fingers tapping against her thigh as I stood exposed in front of her.

“I really should take them tea, you know. They’re working ever so hard. Put the kettle on.”

My mouth hung open, but no sound came out. We stared at each other like poker players; it only took me a few seconds to realise that Ally wasn’t going to blink first. She held my gaze, then pulled my eyes over to the worktop where the kettle rested. The nod was subtle enough that I almost missed it; firm enough that my feet had already started to move across the floor by the time my brain processed her message.

I flicked the switch and stepped back again, shocked by how eager my body was to submit. Ally laughed, rich and warm, the way she did whenever I was stiff with her friends or slow to warm up on a night out.

“God, I’ve never seen your cheeks that colour. They’re almost as dark as the head of your cock. Speaking of which…”

Ally closed the gap between us with the sort of balletic grace that only further exposed the way she’d reduced me to slow motion, my body stuck in quicksand as hers took flight. She tapped her hand against my chest and held me in place, just far enough away that my cock could only graze the soft cotton of her white top.

“Mm, not quite dear.”

I felt my arse clench in frustration. Biting back every swear word that threatened to pour out of my mouth, I presented myself to her, wondering for the first time just what the two builders might have that I didn’t.

I watched Ally press the pad of her thumb against the tip of my cock, and slide her index finger down the shaft till it nestled snug against my pelvis. She jerked back as I twitched against her, and lifted her measurement in front of my face; I frowned, and wrinkled my nose in disbelief, but she refused to widen the space between her digits.

“Heh. You wish.”

The kettle boiled, but neither of us moved. Slowly, Ally lowered her hand and curled it around my cock, her fingers silken and warm. I longed to feel her mouth as well; she gave head with great enthusiasm, her tongue as skilful at working me into a frenzy as it was at taunting and teasing me. Instead, she caressed the shaft with quick, light touches, just enough to keep me achingly hard, but well short of what she knew I really wanted.

I dreaded the sound of footsteps on the stairs, but Ally showed no sign of putting me out of my misery. She scraped one nail over the head of my cock and pushed the pad of her finger against the slit, almost as if she was telling it to stay quiet.

“You…you clearly want me to make you come. But what you want isn’t really important right now. What I want is for you to be a good boy and make the tea. Think you can manage that?”

She stepped to one side and ushered me to the worktop. I dropped a teabag into each of the mugs laid out on the side, and poured hot water over them. When I wheeled around to fetch the milk out of the fridge, my cock bounced in front of me, and Ally gave it a playful tap as I moved past her.

“You’re not going to make me take these downstairs, are you?”

“And deny myself the chance to have another perv? Not fucking likely. Besides, while I’m sure you’d enjoy walking down there like that, I don’t think they’d be quite as impressed.”

Nodding meekly, I picked up the mugs and tried to hand them to Ally. She put a hand on my arm and steered it back to the worktop.

“Uh uh, don’t be so eager. There’s something else you need to help me with first. Unzip my shorts, please.”

“What? Why?”

“I stood at the end of our bed this morning and put this underwear on especially for you – you didn’t even notice it. Perhaps the two chaps downstairs will be more appreciative.”

I felt the disconnect between my brain and my body growing. The shame I felt at the thought of her parading in front of them only seemed to make my fingers work faster, helping her to push the waistband over her hips, and exposing the sea green lace beneath. They were her favourites, and I stopped to admire the way they clung to her arse, accentuating her curves and leaving just enough to the imagination.

I knelt to untangle the shorts from her feet, and she put her hand on the top of my head, using me to balance at the same time as she held me in place. She ruffled my hair and slid her fingers through it, letting them come to rest on the back of my neck.

“Kiss me. You know where.”

My lips were dry, but I let Ally ease them towards her crotch. I could smell her arousal well before the soft material made contact with my skin, but it still took me by surprise to feel how wet she was. I kissed her cunt through the knickers, and she moaned, a sound that never failed to make my cock tingle in response.

“Can I lick you? God, you smell amazing.”

“No. Not yet. You have to wait. For that. For me. For everything.”

“But I…”

“No, let me finish. You’re going to wait here for me, on your knees. Don’t get up. Don’t cover yourself. Just stay right here, with your dick hard between your legs and think about them looking at me. Think about those fucking delicious bulges in their overalls getting bigger and bigger as they stare at my arse in these tiny knickers. As they imagine groping my tits and filling my wet cunt with their fat cocks. Then maybe – just maybe – you’ll actually notice the next time I make an effort to look nice for you. If there is a next time.”

I sank back as she turned to pick up the two mugs, my arse resting on my heels. The blood rushed to my head and I barely heard her cross the kitchen floor toward the stairs. Her footsteps were light; where the wood creaked under my weight, she seemed to dance over it, and I knew the builders wouldn’t hear her coming. They wouldn’t know she was there till…God, even just thinking about it!

The hammering stopped and I closed my eyes, listening intently. A million thoughts raced through my head. I hated every single one, but each got me harder than the last. Her laughter floated up the stairs, followed by the low murmur of voices. It was maddening to hear them talking, without being able to make out the words.

A second laugh joined hers. Rough and dirty, a bark next to Ally’s musical lilt. Fuck, what did she say? I imagined her telling them what she’d done to me. Holding her thumb and forefinger up for them, even closer together this time to emphasise her point. My cheeks burned, but my cock refused to stop responding to the torment my brain was determined to inflict.

I didn’t think anything could be worse than the laughter – right up until the moment it stopped. The voices fell silent and I strained to hear what was going on. I thought about her fingers skimming the front of their overalls. Reaching inside. Their big hands pulling down her tank top, under her breasts. Cupping them. Pinching and teasing her nipples.

The click of a latch almost brought me to my feet. It could only be our bedroom door! She wouldn’t, would she? I fought to remain calm, my fists balling again and again by my side. One minute passed. Two minutes. Three. I tried to empty my mind, but the images wouldn’t stop scrolling across it. Ally on her knees in front of them. Ally bent over our bed, twisting the sheet between her fingers. Ally’s eyes scrunched shut, her mouth open wide in a soundless scream of ecstasy.

My knees ached. My thighs and back were rigid with tension, but still I didn’t move. Then, like a car radio bursting back into life as it exits a tunnel, the voices picked up again. Hers quickly left the other two behind, getting louder and more distinct as theirs tailed off.

“…oh yes…definitely…ha, the pleasure was all mine…”

Ally’s head came into view first, the rest following swiftly as she hopped up the stairs. I waited, unable to meet her eyes with mine. She walked over to the table and leaned against it, her feet crossed. Without speaking, she peeled off her knickers and spread her legs a shoulder-width apart. Tossing the discarded underwear in front of me, she cleared her throat and spoke, her voice softer than it had been earlier.

“Taste them. Taste how wet I am.”

I reached for the knickers and pressed them against my face, afraid all of a sudden. Afraid that I’d taste not just her arousal but theirs too. Her lips quirked up.

“Don’t worry sailor. There’s only one cock I want inside me right now. I’m so fucking horny, and I need you to take care of that. Think you’re up to the job?”

I scrambled to my feet. I no longer cared who might hear us, or who might see my dick as it pulsed with desire. Ally turned and bent over the table. She was soaking, her thighs sticky and hot, and her cunt wetter than I’d ever felt it before. I thrust inside her, as deep as I could; she shuddered around me, her whole body vibrating against the wooden surface.

“Jesus. I’m not going to last long. Harder – fuck me harder.”

I did as I was told, pouring myself into her with a fury and hunger that shocked me even as I let it flow out of my body. I came in seconds and Ally followed me over the edge, her cunt squeezing me in desperation.

She slumped down underneath me. I rested my forehead between her shoulders, feeling our sweat mix together. Her hand found mine, and she gave it a tired shake. I looked up in time to see her lift the index finger on her other hand. The one holding onto mine disengaged and move back up to the table. With a theatrical flourish, she extended a second index finger, lined the two of them up alongside each other, and slowly moved them apart.

Four inches. Five. Six. Still going. Still…

The smile on her face as she turned to look at my reaction was more wicked than happy.

“What the…”

“I do like men who travel with their own tape measures. Don’t you?”

Jade & Malin Talk 50 Shades

Jade & Malin, minutes from embarking on the FSoG experience.

Jade & Malin, minutes from embarking on the FSoG experience.

Hello everyone! I’ve got a bit of a departure for you today. Over the week-end my lovely partner in crime and platonic valentine, Jade A. Waters, and I saw The Movie. We got to talking about it over lunch, (of course), and decided that, in the face of so many proper reviews and opinions, we’d skip writing anything truly critical and record an off-the-cuff conversation instead. We meandered, we drifted, we laughed a lot, (we might have even snorted). Most of all, we had a lot of fun making this recording. A few notes before you press play:

1. We went into this with a particular context in mind – that FSoG is a formula romance, and the kink / BDSM elements were going to be geared for a primarily vanilla, mainstream audience. Also, R rating.

2. We tried to consider it through the lens of the audience it’s intended for, (rather than our own erotica writer / kinky person perspective)

3. The most pornographic moment in this film was the opening credits with Christian Grey’s wardrobe. See #1 on context and rating.

4. We get kind of loud at points so apologies if we laugh you out of your earbuds.

5. There are outtakes at the end! Listen on through if you can!

And now, without further ado, Jade and I talk 50 Shades. Thanks for joining us – we hope you enjoy the conversation at least half as much as we did.

xx.M

(NSFW) Spotlight: Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Time for another installment of Spotlight, an occasional series in which I shine the light on books that I love. This time around, I’m looking at a decadent and thoroughly debauched story / photo collection by the brilliant fashion photographer, Ellen von Unwerth. It’s called Revenge, and it’s the prettiest, most artistic piece of soft-core pornography that I’ve ever come across. 

revenge16 I need to preface this post by admitting that I’ve been wanting to spotlight Revenge for ages but held off because it isn’t that easy to find, and the copies that are out there tend to be fairly expensive. I bought it on a lark when it first came out in 2003. I had no idea that my first edition was one of only 10,000. That said, I was flipping through it the other day, and was struck again by how…well, striking it is, so I decided to go ahead and run with the post and hope that anyone interested in getting a copy has some good luck or a generous Santa. xx.M

Let’s begin with the premise, because the premise says it all. An evil Baroness, (yes, I know…), takes her step-sister’s daughters and nieces in after a terrible cable-car crash devastates the family, (yes, I know…). Little does anyone know, but the Baroness is plagued by her late husband’s debts and has been forced to let most of her household staff go. All she has left is a nameless stable boy, a chauffeur named Eric, and three pouty sadistic maids.

So, the Baroness takes in the lovely young naifs, (eight in total, all legal yet beguiling in her own way), off her step-sister’s hands, but little does anyone know that these poor, poor, poor young women will be “forced to earn their keep” and take up the roles left vacant by the chateau’s departed staff. As you can imagine, a certain amount of discipline is required, much to the girls’ dismay. But the girls are resourceful, and not nearly so innocent as the

The Baroness & Veronique the maid. From Revenge, by Ellen von Unwerth

The Baroness & Veronique the maid. From Revenge, by Ellen von Unwerth

Baroness assumes. Despite setbacks and misadventures, they manage to turn the tables in the end.

Revenge is the photographic retelling of the girls’ misadventures during their stay with the Baroness. As the premise implies, it’s an unabashedly over-the-top BDSM fantasy. The whole thing reads like an elaborately choreographed scene. In fact, I could almost believe this whole scenario going down during a long week-end at a private play party.

The book is signature von Unwerth – gorgeously sexual and fantastically staged. But within the staging and premise, the models are given a remarkable amount of freedom to act and react naturally. That’s what keeps it from straying into a sort of vacant, cynical exercise. It’s obvious that everyone is having a genuinely good time. While there is no doubt that this is a photo-shoot and that von Unwerth has a firm hand on every frame and angle, everyone’s hamming it up, and that’s charming. There’s no way to take the situation terribly seriously, so they don’t. The models pout and grimace and sneer like pretty, X-rated cartoons, and engage the “story” with a gusto that I find totally and joyfully infectious.

Ivy turning the tables. From Revenge, by Ellen von Unwerth

Ivy turning the tables. From Revenge, by Ellen von Unwerth

As with much of her work, Ellen von Unwerth’s photographs feel like throwbacks to Weimar Berlin. The grainy, black and white images starkly highlight the girls’ pale skin, dark lips and glossy hair as they are forced to chop wood in stiletto heels and scrub floors in artistically tattered thigh highs. In fact, the entire book feels like what would happen if Vogue decided to run a unapologetically explicit sex issue. I almost never find anything this staged to be sexy at all, regardless of how aesthetically pleasing it is, but something about the book’s tongue-in-cheek, winking quality turns my head every time.

It’s that charm, more than anything, that turned me on when I first found Revenge nearly eleven years ago. On the surface, there’s a lot to get caught up in – a flagrantly abusive Baroness and her tool of a chauffeur, the lovely clutch of suffering nymphs, a trio of sly, sadistic, barely clothed maids – but beneath the sex-drenched premise and the glamor of von Unwerth’s images, the reality seemed to be that a bunch of people were getting a kick out of acting out a fabulously over-the-top fantasy, complete with crops, iron cuffs and pretty, black masks. That’s what made it impossible for me to put down.

What little text there is winks at novels like The Story of O and many of Anais Nin’s short stories, while never delving deeply into the potential psychology of the situation. This is one, very rare example of something that I think is sexy because it skates the surface of a fantasy without going deeper or darker than it has to. Forexample, the girls, who have “immaculate manners,” write the Baroness a thank you note after they liberate themselves from the chateau and leave their evil aunt in a compromising position in the village square.

Image from Revenge, by Ellen von Unwerth

Image from Revenge, by Ellen von Unwerth

Ridiculous. And yet…I kind of love the entire idea of that note, and of their aunt receiving her just desserts at the hands of outraged peasants who’ve been primed by rumors of her wicked ways. The fact that there is almost no story is actually one of the book’s strengths. The premise remains a premise, undeveloped and whole unto itself. Normally, I hate this. But I love it in Revenge.

I stumbled over Revenge when I was only just beginning to get a sense of my kinky side. I didn’t know much about BDSM then and, while I enjoyed sex, (a lot), I wasn’t consuming a lot of explicitly sexual material. I was still trying very hard to be my mother’s very normal, very good girl. But I couldn’t ignore this book or it’s arch, in-your-face sexuality. It was delicious and wicked and beautiful. It turned me on in so many ways, and I couldn’t put it down. It became one of those tiny bits of media that my sexuality latched onto. Something deep inside of me said, this is okay. This is good. It’s okay to want things that aren’t “safe.”

I’m honestly not sure I’d love it nearly so much if I hadn’t stumbled over it at such a pivotal point in my own sexual development. I might just have dismissed it as really pretty soft-core porn, or flipped through it and put it back on the shelf without paying what was then more than I could afford for a single book. But I did stumble over it at a pivotal time, and it tapped something inside of me like a tuning fork. It literally turned something inside me on. I didn’t know then whether I wanted to be the Baroness or one of her poor, put-upon nieces. All I knew was that I wanted to be in that book, and that was a revelation to me.

Image from Revenge, by Ellen von Unwerth

Image from Revenge, by Ellen von Unwerth

On Prowess

Leopard Staring by Nick Brandt. 2010. Image courtesy www.faheykleingallery.com

Leopard Staring by Nick Brandt. 2010. Image courtesy www.faheykleingallery.com

This is a much more confessional piece than I normally write, but I feel that, as with most of my writing, my sexuality is inherently tied to my work, so I’m calling this fair game. Consider yourself warned, (she said, cautioning her cagey self far more than you).

Every now and then, I realize I’m wired a bit differently, (though I am, by no means, unique). Occasionally I see myself from the outside and literally think, huh. That’s kind of weird. Those moments don’t happen often, but when they do, they make me think. Recently, I had one of those realizations.

You see, I love prowess. I love prowess in all things–athletics, the arts, intellectual pursuits–but I love sexual prowess most of all. I love it so much, I’ll say it again. I LOVE sexual prowess.

Well, of course, you might be thinking–who doesn’t love sexual prowess? Sexual prowess is great, especially when you’re on the receiving end. This is where my realization comes in. While I do love being on the receiving end of sexual prowess, (because really, who the doesn’t?), I also love watching someone I’m involved with exercise their prowess. In other words, I love watching a lover successfully seduce someone else.

I suspect this goes back to one relationship in particular. When I was in my mid-twenties, I was involved with a man who owned his prowess. He owned himself, and that gave him a magnetism that was difficult to ignore. We used to sit bars, sip Johnny Walker Black, and play a game…well, not really a game. It was more of a wink and a nod, fueled by the fact that we each loved watching each other seduce a pretty someone. Sometimes we’d bring that someone else home with us, but more often than not, we didn’t. The point was to see if we could. The end result was secondary, because regardless of who did, (or did not), end up in the bed, we would go back to his place and fuck, fueled by the charge we both got from watching each other in action.

Side Note: This is the answer to the question, how do two dominants make sex work? (Aside from very well, thanks). The answer is, they hunt together. There are many other answers, of course. This is just one of the answers that has always worked for me. But back to the issue….

My relationship with this man was unlike anything I’d experienced up to that point, and it seeded in me a love of something that, in many people, results in jealousy. I’m a voyeur to begin with, but when you add to that watching a man I’m involved with exert his dominance over someone else–whether in a purely top/bottom situation, or in a far more openly sexual way–it’s like catnip to me. He will have my attention and keep it as surely as ice cubes melt in gin. And the converse is also true. I love it when my partner responds to and appreciates my predatory instincts not with jealousy but with insatiability*. That response is, in and of itself, a turn on.

Since that first relationship, I’ve had a handful of partners who shared my love of prowess, but whether it’s watching my partner exercise his dominance over another, (“how many clothespins is she wearing?”) or my partner acting as an extension of my will, (“that pretty girl there. See how far you can get.”), it’s the shared experience–the mutual enjoyment–that creates the turn-on. In a way, it’s the acknowledgment of an affinity more than anything else that keeps that craving alive.

Which is why my head was turned by a lovely recounting of sexual prowess that in no way involved me. I like knowing that my partner can make a woman, (or man), want him, (or her), to distraction. I like witnessing it, even if only after the fact. It’s an entirely different sort of pleasure than being with that person myself. It’s the pleasure of the watcher, and while that isn’t to everyone’s taste, it’s tailor made to mine.

*NB 9/21/15: While I still agree with myself, something in my perspective has shifted on this point, or rather, I’m aware of a nuance that I wasn’t aware of before. Will very likely follow this up with another post.