The Exhibit

Is there a better museum for rare and priceless experiences than words on a page?

I could try to preserve all the details – how we began, how many strikes from which implements, how he moved me about the room, how taut the rope felt on my skin, and the way my thighs ached as I squirmed in the stress position in which he’d restrained me.

Those details may convey my surrender, but won’t capture my emotion.

I could record the hearing of footfalls and whispers, soft murmurs of interest or (possibly) admiration lingering in the hallway, and my vague awareness of some shadows in the door frame as the intensity of a final powerful orgasm ripped through my soul.

Those details may convey my vulnerability, but won’t capture our connection.

It’s just three words I’ll keep in this museum of intangible artifacts. The three words I whispered when, toward the end of our scene, he leaned down for a kiss, and warm tears escaped the outside corners of my eyes:

I missed this.

Cold Water

I like warm water.

One of my favorite feelings in the world is to be submerged in or have very warm water cascading down my skin.

He knows this. I noticed that he knew this a few weeks ago during a shower together. The memory of what it was he did is fuzzy now, I just remember realizing that he’d figured out how much I like it.

The trouble with dating this sadist is that when he learns I really like something, he has gained a new tool with which he can torment me.

And when I say “trouble,” it’s with a smile.

So, yesterday morning, we were heading over to shower and I hesitated to step in, realizing it’d not yet been on long enough to be hot.

He checked the temperature with his hand and I asked, “It’s not hot yet, is it?”

His sadist face came on.

“Get in.”

I stammered and resisted. He grabbed hold of my wrist and pulled me toward the shower door. I watched as he pushed the handle away from “hot” to “cold” and held me there.

There’s this moment where I’m faced with something I don’t want to do and the option to not do it is taken away from me. I recall, as a child, standing at the edge of the diving board when I was still dry and I knew the pool would be cold. I feared the initial shock of the cold water. Yet, I knew after a few minutes acclimate I would to the temperature and it would be a welcome contrast to the hot summer day.

Eventually, I convinced myself that all I had to do was jump. Once I was in the air, the decision to land in the water was out of my hands. I found that the lack of control mid-air made me feel less anxious about what I’d face when I hit the water.

It’s that same moment, when my brain switches from “I don’t want to go in the cold shower,” to “He’s going to make me go in the cold shower,” that brings up a similar sense of tranquility.

And then he pushed me in.

The water was warm.

This is what I love about a sweetheart sadist. He knows I love warm water. He also knows I love it when he pushes me toward the things I resist (plus, he loves the pushing). Yesterday morning, he found a way to give me both.

Tops and Strength and Vulnerability: a post-GRUE post-mortem post

Let’s get organized…..Here’s what I want to accomplish in this essay:

1) To share my thoughts on a recent discussion in which I both observed and later participated on the subject of Tops/Dominants and vulnerability

2) To explore my own thoughts on “strength” and “weakness” as it pertains to the concept of vulnerability and/or the exposure of said vulnerability.

3) To offer suggestions on how someone on the topside might find comfortable and meaningful ways to express their vulnerabilities without losing what it is that helps define that role for them.

Here’s what I do NOT want to accomplish in this essay:

1) To share personal information about real people who participated in the discussion without their consent, or make them feel like what they shared was not done so in a safe environment where it would not come back to hurt them. To avoid this, I will speak mostly in the abstract; but if you were there and you recognize your words and you want to help clarify, you are welcome to do so publicly or privately as it suits you.

2) To make someone feel like if they cannot or will not expose their vulnerability it makes them a bad person, so if you’re reading this and you think “nope, I can’t do what she’s suggesting,” that’s okay. You don’t gotta. I’m not the boss of you or the leader of the planet. Yet.

3) To tell anybody how to live their life. See above.

And one more thing…

What I inferred from the discussion may not be what the person speaking had truly intended to convey. On a couple of points, my partner (who also sat in on a large part of the discussion), picked up different messages than I did from the same person’s comments. Therefore, I’m not saying my interpretation is the be all and end all to what was discussed, so take this for what it’s worth. An incomplete attempt to understand a concept I do not have personal experience with as a Top; but I do as a person who is very much in control of her own understanding of her wants and needs, if not those of anybody else.

On to the meat of it…

Over the weekend I attended the Los Angeles GRUE. This is my third time attending this annual event, and in many ways it was the best one yet.

I participated in more discussion sessions this time than in hard-skill types of sessions. So, while last year I spent a lot more time in rope than I did this year; this year, I spent a lot more time engaging with people than last time.

And that’s pretty cool.

One of the earlier sessions during the course of the day was a discussion of the vulnerability of dominants. At the top of the discussion the person who’d organized the session asked for people to only speak if they were doing so from the perspective of a Top/Dominant; and to hold off on offering perspectives from the bottom. I completely understood the purpose for that request and myself and may of the other “bottom only” types in the room gave the rest their space to speak.

(Thankfully, after some time had passed, the discussion leader opened up the discussion to everyone in attendance and there were some really great insights brought up by the bottoms in the room who’d remained silent up to that point).

The big takeaways I had from the Tops only portion of the discussion were as follows:

1) A significant portion of the vulnerability a top feels stems from the idea that they find it uncomfortable to express needs. I want to say it was mostly emotional needs, but i think there were physical needs as well that they did not feel comfortable addressing with their bottoms.

2) Another portion of the vulnerability stems from the cognitive dissonance of being a sadist, for example – of recognizing that somewhat frightening part of you that gets off on hurting someone else, and trying to reconcile that enjoyment with what you know to be “right” or “wrong.”

3) This is the part that might have been up to interpretation – what I was hearing was that some of the tops felt like they couldn’t be as open about not “having all the answers” or not “being in complete control” of every situation. They felt the need to hide their vulnerabilities because it weakened them or glaringly exposed their inability to control all things.

A while back I know I wrote something about finding the strength in exposing my vulnerabilities. I can’t find it, though I found bits and pieces in other writings that support that notion. I recall I went on a date quite a while ago, after which I received a text from him that said that something about my vulnerability making him want to jump up and protect me from anything or anybody that may want to hurt me.

He saw my vulnerability as a weakness he wanted to protect and defend. I saw it as a strength that could draw in an army of protectors. And, of course, with great power comes great responsibility; so I mitigated the temptation to take advantage of that power by attempting to solve my own problems before asking for help.

But I also am able to recognize when I do need help to solve a problem, and am quite capable of “exposing my vulnerability” by asking for that help when it’s appropriate.

I don’t believe that makes me weak. I actually thing it is a show of strength that I am capable of opening myself up to rejection by asking for help.

People have needs. Take away the labels of top or bottom or switch or whatever being a “dominant” means to you and you are a person who has needs. The people who love and care about you are invested in helping you get your needs met.

It is very likely that the people who love and care about you are not mind-readers. Some may be highly intuitive and may be able to make you feel like you’re a really good communicator; but in the end – if there is something you need that you’re not getting, one of two things have happened: 1) you are not asking for it, or 2) the person you asking it from doesn’t want to or cannot give it to you.

I feel like this is the part where a few caveats must be explained: 1) the way one interacts with a long-term or intimate partner is different than the way things go down with a play partner or someone in a one-off situation. Most of my examples and analogies are more in line with how I think long-term relationships work, over pick-up play situations. Also, 2) I have a very clear-in-my-head differentiation between a want and a need; so when I say “need” I am talking about things without which a relationship suffers.

So, let’s take the second takeaway as an example…the cognitive dissonance. That thing that makes you feel vulnerable when you admit to yourself that hurting someone else just made you wet.

I don’t experience this. What I know of this feeling is purely through having heard from many people and empathizing with the feelings they have expressed. On more than one occasion, people to whom I’ve bottomed for or submitted to have been the ones to tell me that these feelings exist.

One very specifically told me what he needed from me. He told me he needed me, as the person he just got off on hurting, to absolve him of his guilt by letting him know that I enjoyed it. That I wanted it. To tell him that he was not an evil person for wanting to do this to me nor for enjoying having done it to me.

That was a very vulnerable thing for this very domly dom person to admit to me, and it did not take away from his ability to exert his control over me (when that was our dynamic). In fact, from my point of view, it strengthened his control because he exposed his humanity to me; and I was able to trust more that there would not be unexplained passive aggressive retaliation toward me for his negative feelings because he’d been honest with me about how he processed what he does.

To be honest – what killed that relationship was when he STOPPED being honest with me about his vulnerabilities and he started behaving in passive aggressive, retaliatory, and explosive ways to our disagreements. I lost my ability to trust him with my emotions when I felt like he couldn’t trust me with his anymore.

I don’t think there’s a “solution” to cognitive dissonance. I think the best we can hope for is acceptance and coping. Similarly, I don’t think one needs to “fix” vulnerability. I think the better option is to lean in to it, expose it, and accept the consequences, whether positive or negative.

As a bottom, that’s kind of our jam. When we are hit, it hurts. But for masochists, we’ve found a way to lean into that pain and transform it into something our brains find pleasurable. By virtue of what we do, we place ourselves in vulnerable positions for fun and profit, and we get a ton of enjoyment, catharsis, and in some cases, growth from it.

As a top, you might also be able to harness the power of vulnerability by exposing yourself to the potential to be disappointed, let down, or ….wrong.

The example I gave as a concrete step to take to open oneself up to their vulnerability is something I do all the time and have written about on several occasions. When I am having a negative feeling, I dig down into it until I understand what is causing it. Until I know what it is that I want or need from someone else that I am not getting that is causing this negative reaction. And then, I tell my partner what I want or need from him.

So, I text him and say “I’m feeling kind of down. Can you please say something nice to me?”

I always get a response. The response is never no. Not with this partner. I’ve had two partners in the past that had rejected my request. They are no longer partners.

Let’s say, (and this is another real example), that I’m starting to feel a little down because my partner doesn’t hit the love button on my fet photos very often. I notice he does with his other partners, but not mine and it makes me sad.

What is that really about, because the comparison to his other partners isn’t fair. The reality is that I know he finds me attractive and I don’t need him to hit a button on a photo on social media to know this to be the case. And yet, I’ve gotten into a situation where I’m feeling down because he’s not doing it, and to further the feedback loop, I want him to do it without my having to tell him to.

That’s where you get into that mind-reading thing. If you’re not getting something you want or need out of someone else, the two reasons are that they either don’t know you want it, or don’t want to give it to you.

So, what am I doing by not telling him what I want? I’m trying to hide from him that something hurts because I want him to intuitively know that it hurts and fix it without my having to tell him. He doesn’t, ’cause he’s not a mind reader, and I just keep on being butthurt because there’s no resolution to this problem through the power of magic.

There is, however, a resolution through the power of communication.

Now, if you think that it’s easy to tell your partner you want public validation of his attraction to you, believe me, it’s not. I processed this shit in the poly chat group for days before I felt comfortable bringing it up with him directly. It was really hard to admit that I wanted this from him; but there was no solution to the problem that didn’t involve my directly telling him so.

Guess what he did?

He loved a couple of my pictures.

And every once in a while, when he does do this without my having to remind him that I want it, it feels really good.

Does that mean I’ve never had to bring it up again? Naah. This comes up. It is what it is. It never means he doesn’t love me or that I don’t make his dick hard. It means that there’s a part of me that wants the public validation of that fact once in a while. By exposing that truth, I took away its power to make me sad.

That’s not a top/bottom thing. This could easily have gone the other way. I might be a top who wants her bottom to like my pictures once in a while and not want to have to order them to do it. I might let it make me feel sad, or become passive aggressive in my behavior toward them because I think that by saying “I want your feedback when I post sexy pictures” means that the feedback isn’t genuine.

At the root of this example is the knowledge that my fear doesn’t stem from any ideation that he’s not attracted to me; but from a place of feeling like he doesn’t want to publicly acknowledge my place in his life. Again – that’s not a top/bottom thing. That’s a relationship thing, and more specifically, that’s a phi thing.

So, something to think about – if you struggle with exposing your vulnerability; start small. Start by not expecting your partner to read your mind when something is nagging at you. Start by figuring out what behavior you want from them, and ask them for it.

Another, much less exposing example is the difference between saying “Brrr….I’m cold.” and “Darling, can I borrow your sweater?” If you’re not getting what you want from your partner by announcing that you feel cold; then follow up with the direct ask. And if your partner says no, then …well, now you know what kind of person they are.

I think that’s all I have for now. I mean, there is so much more but those were the main points of what I wanted to accomplish with this writing. I welcome any continued discussion that comes out of this, though I can’t promise to be very participatory in it until I get home in a few hours.

If you ever have an opportunity and the means to attend a GRUE in your local area…

I highly recommend it. For reals, yo.

Oh, and one last thing. In my search for whatever writing I’d done in the past that had to do with vulnerability, I came across this bit of erotica I’d written a while back. I think it’s a subtle portrayal of how the Top/Sadist/Dominant’s attempts to hide or mitigate his vulnerabilities served only to delay the gratification of a truly deep and personal connection with a potential partner.

Trust and responsibility in BDSM

In one of my early posts on Fetlife long ago, I wrote “It’s not that I’m lying when I tell you I’m okay; it’s that it isn’t until much later that I realize I was mistaken.”

This week, there have been a couple posts out and about that are debating the issue of …I guess it’s personal responsibility in a bottom to communicate truthfully to their top on matters of consent, limits, and negotiation.

On the one hand, you have two posts making the point that many bottoms may be failing in communicating their true limits out of the fear that they will be “disappointing” their tops; and another that argues that if this is too often the case then we are setting up a situation where a bottom can’t be taken at their word.

It made me think of that little thought from such a long time ago. That it’s not about “truth” and “lies” so much as it is about being really self-aware and confident that one’s top is not going to be disappointed when a limit has been reached; and likewise that one’s bottom is not going to put you in a position of harming them irreparably.

There is a difference between pre-scene negotiation and mid-scene check-ins, and I don’t think anybody has a problem understanding how an s-type might agree to or give consent once their mind has been altered and later regret it. If you do have trouble with that let me know and I’ll clarify in a separate post. That’s why collaborative negotiation ahead of time is really important; especially if the relationship is new.

But there’s something else I’ve been exposed to that helped me a LOT in my ability to set my limits and boundaries during the pre-scene negotiation as well as during mid-scene check-ins. I think I’ve written about it before (though I don’t remember when) and I know I’ve talked about it recently as a panelist for an S-type panel discussion as part of the BDSM 101 series.

It was “safeword training.” See, back when I went by the label of “submissive,” I was one of those submissives that would pressure herself – potentially past my personal limit – out of fear of disappointing my partner. There were many times that I’d end up heavily bruised; and, I am on record as not a fan of heavy bruising.

But I didn’t stop them. I didn’t want to disappoint them by not taking what they wanted to give me.

When I explained as much to a partner I’d been spending some time with, he did what he called “safeword training” with me, where he told me he was going to spank me five times and on the fifth, I was to call “yellow.” I did so, and was able to witness what his reaction would be to my calling “yellow” during a real scene.

Then he did it again, this time, ordering me to call “red.”

And so I did. And so I saw what his reaction would be if I were to do that during a scene.

This was critical in my being able to accept the difference between what he wanted to do “to” me and what he wanted to do “with” me.

He wanted to give me a good experience that was not tainted with regret because I was too afraid to speak up for myself, and for what?

No top I’ve ever been with has actually wanted to harm me. None have ever truly wanted more from me than I would have been willing to give. That takes our scene into the “not fun” territory. And if it’s not fun for me, it’s sure as hell not gonna be fun for my top. Especially afterwards.

But I have played with inexperienced tops as an inexperienced bottom; and I have had tops who had no prior experience with me who have gone too far, and I didn’t stop them until too far had already been reached.

Did they have my consent to spank me? Yes. They did. But I didn’t specify to one that I required a warm-up before he went to town on my ass. And …well, the other accepted my consent after I was already inebriated, and left me passed out on the floor of the dungeon by myself after our scene. In fact, I remember enough of that night to recall that I approached him for the spanking, and not the other way around. He also never checked in with me again. (P.S. that was the last time I ever mixed drinking and kinking).

In the first example, I was self-aware enough to know I was not having a good time. In the second, the onset of that self awareness was quite delayed. Both times I let it happen for longer than I needed to because I was afraid of disappointing the top in question.

So. What to do? We can all write eighty-billion essays urging bottoms to speak up for themselves and to speak truthfully when they’re negotiating a scene for themselves; but remember – sometimes the opposite of truth isn’t a lie, but a lack of self-awareness.

And when someone who wears the label of “submissive” has agreed to something and then during said thing realizes they’re not really loving it – I guarantee you that MANY said submissives will try to grin and bear it because they don’t want to go back on their word and disappoint their tops.

Does that mean that the bulk of the responsibility falls to the top? You gotta question everything? You gotta take their consent with a grain of salt?

Not necessarily. It’s a power exchange. If you’re negotiating something new, or something edgier – try making sure your bottom understands that you won’t be disappointed if they ask you to slow it down because something doesn’t feel right. If you’re the bottom, make sure your top knows if there’s something on their list of things to do that you’re not entirely sure about.

You know….communicate.

And, before you play – make sure you know how you’ll react to a “red” or a “yellow.” Make sure your bottom knows what to expect from you if those words are called. If necessary, consider foregoing safewords and use ENGLISH (or whatever language you speak) to communicate during the early days of your playlationship.

“Ow ow….slow down, I need a minute” or “Oh holy shit STOP” are REALLY great words to use until you’ve gained a level of comfort with your partner where you are allowing them to push you a little further beyond your established boundaries.

Hell, I’ve been with my partner for over a year now and he LOVES to push me. There have been times when he’s about to do something and I cry out, “NO NO NO!” and he’ll pause, and look at me with a look of pure sadistic pleasure and ask, “No?”

It gives me a moment to pause and consider my answer carefully. It’s like my version of “yellow.”

Because my response is almost always, “Okay, yes,” but even when it’s not, I never feel like he’s disappointed in me.

Ever.

That’s why I am able to be 100% honest. And my honesty is why he’s able to push me further.

That’s the beauty of an exchange.

 


Photo credit: Renata Colette, rope by @MisterBacon, model…me ūüôā

One Lucky Whore

When I miss him, I ask if I can “see” him and he sends me a selfie.

I was still three days away from seeing him again. He sent me a selfie. He was smiling in it.

“is that smile for me?” I asked him.

“The smile. The photo. The excitement.”

I grinned. “Oh, but I do love pictures of your excitement,” I replied smugly.

“Well, there’s an idea….” he started. “Seems like I should deny you the sight of it for a bit.”

“I’ve been denied a week already!” I threw in a shocked face emoticon for good measure.

“Are you ready for me to be nasty?” he asked.

I had no idea if I was ready. Two weeks ago, he wouldn’t let me kiss him until after I’d fixed dinner, we ate, and I’d washed the dishes, then kissed every inch of his body before he let me touch his lips.

“Yes?” I responded.

“You will not touch, taste, or see my cock until I pull it out of your wet hole and come on your face, my beautiful whore.”

swoon


I got out of the shower around 6:45. Plenty of time, I thought. He usually arrives at my house around 7:30.

“Trying to decide if I should wear makeup for you to ruin” I texted him.

“Heh, sure, do it.”

“Sweet,” I replied. “Whore it is. After I go to the market.”

“I’m here.”

My heart skipped a beat. “Here?” Did he mean he was at my house already, or that he was still at work?

“Your house.”

He was early. Forty five minutes early! I hadn’t cleaned my vibrator, picked up the laundry, brushed my teeth…I hadn’t scooped the litter box! I was still wearing a bathrobe!

He let himself into my house as I was brushing my teeth. He was on his way up the stairs when I stepped out into the corridor outside my bedroom wearing only my bathrobe. “You’re early! I didn’t have time….!” I stammered. He smiled and pulled me in for a kiss.

One kiss led to another, and soon I was naked and leaning back on the bed with my legs spread and his fingers probing my wet cunt.

After an orgasm, he stepped back. “Well…? Go whore yourself up.”

I nodded dreamily and went to the bathroom to put on some makeup. I did it quickly – heavy mascara and eyeliner, light on the rest. Then grabbed this very slutty dress that I’d picked out for the evening. About 20 pounds ago it looked hot. I’d worn it to the dungeon about a year ago….but not since.

But he loves my body and always makes me feel sexy. For him I’ll walk around naked or in a bikini and I still know he wants me.

He’s laying on the bed when I finish. I walk over to him and smile. He gets up and pulls me into a kiss. Then forces me to bend over the bed kicks my feet apart at the ankle.

He fingers me until I come two more times. He pulls me up by the hair and, woozy, I lean against him for support.

“I’m gonna go change so I’m not wearing cargo shorts,” he said.

“Wait..,” I say, looking up, “Where are we going?”

“To the market,” he replied.

I’d forgotten about the market. ¬†“Can I change?” I asked..

“No.” The gleam in his eye….

Fuck.


I’m dressed like a whore in a too-tight, too-short dress, wearing leather knee high boots and no panties at my upscale, suburban neighborhood market. As we’re heading over, he points out what’s on the shopping list…

Cucumbers. Japanese Eggplant. Condoms….

FUCK.


 

I was bent over the foot of the bed, knees on the padded bench. He fingered me roughly. Spanked me a lot. Shoved my face into the mattress, then pulled it back up by my hair.

He walked around to the side of the bed and leaned over to bring his face down to my level.

“You are my whore…” he said, searching my eyes.

I nodded. “Yes, Sir.” I am. ¬†I always am.

“Tonight, I’m going to treat you like one.”

My heart skipped a beat.

True to his word, I never saw his cock. I heard the swoosh of the belt, and was grateful for the long warm-up that made it possible for each strike to land hard, loud, and solid on my ass and thighs. He entered me from behind, reaching around to roughly grab my tits and pinch at my nipples. I lost count of my orgasms. I just remember that he told me to close my eyes and keep them closed before he flipped me over onto my back.

By then I was naked except for the boots. He was fucking me so roughly, and so deeply, that was the first time I’ve ever squirted….and the second.

He pulled out of my cunt and crawled up over my body.¬†“Open your eyes,” he ordered. ¬†Just as I complied, I¬†felt his hot come on my chin and neck, then tasted it, followed by the sensation of his plunging his cock into my hungry whore mouth.

When he was finished, he pulled out and leaned down to kiss me, deeply. ¬†“I love you,” he whispered.

“I love you,” I whispered back.


“Do you like coming on my face?” I asked him over breakfast the next morning. Eggs, bacon, and vegetables.

He paused to think, then answered honestly. “I like knowing you enjoy it. It’s not really my preference…”

I smiled. There was a version of me a long time ago that would have been horrified to hear that a lover of mine had done something for me that he didn’t thoroughly enjoy. It’s different with him.

Or maybe I’m different with him.

I recall my soft whisper while still dazed after our morning fuck before breakfast. “I’m the luckiest whore in the world,” I’d said.

And I am. Because I belong to him.

Moments and Context: Part Writing Exercise. Part Smut.

 


A moment without context:

She felt the palm of his hand flatten against the back of her neck as his fingers, entwined in her still-damp hair, grabbed hold and pulled her back. Within seconds, she was on her hands and knees with her face pressed into the cushion – his strong grip holding her down with one hand while the other quietly unfastened his belt.

The same moment with physical context:

She reached forward to touch his face, but once their eyes locked, the heel of her palm met with his chest instead. Cautiously but with intent, she pressed forward until he fell back into the sofa behind him. Her body, as though magnetically connected to his, followed him down in practiced choreography, positioning herself in a kneeling straddle over his lap.

In this position her lips, angled above his, hungered to taste him. She gave in to the hunger, gently at first – leaning down for a kiss. Her hunger grew ravenous, and her kisses deeper and more demanding. His hands caressed their way past her thighs, around her hips, and began their slow, practiced rise up up her back.

She felt the palm of his hand flatten against the back of her neck as his fingers, entwined in her still-damp hair, grabbed hold and pulled her back. Within seconds, she was on her hands and knees with her face pressed into the cushion – his strong grip holding her down with one hand while the other quietly unfastened his belt.

The same moment with emotional context:

He owned her. There they stood, having just parted from a quiet embrace when she looked at this man and a kaleidoscope of passionate memories circulated in her mind’s eye. The memories filled her with raw lust and desire and she felt an instinct to connect with him take control.

She reached forward to touch his face, but once their eyes locked, the palm of her hand met with his chest instead. Cautiously but with intent, she pressed forward until he allowed himself to fall back into the sofa behind him. Not until he’d acquiesced to her advance did she allow the instinct to take full control of her actions. Her body, as though magnetically connected to his, followed him down in practiced choreography, positioning herself in a kneeling straddle on top of him.

In this position her lips, angled above his, hungered to taste him. She gave in to the hunger, gently at first – leaning down for a kiss. Her hunger grew ravenous, and her kisses deeper and more demanding. She, so far gone into her primal state of lust and want, didn’t notice his hands caressing their way past her thighs, around her hips, and begin their slow, practiced rise up up her back.

She became aware again of their juxtaposed roles just as the palm of his hand flattened against the back of her neck and his fingers, entwined in her still-damp hair, grabbed hold and pulled her back. Within seconds, she was on her hands and knees with her face pressed into the cushion – his strong grip holding her down with one hand while the other quietly unfastened his belt.

Submission and control: an introspective essay about the inverse proportionality of job satisfaction and my craving to submit

Introspective. I guess if I had to whittle myself down to a short list of words, introspective would be one of them. The first step is to acknowledge what I want. The next is often to uncover why I want it.

This is reminding me of a frequent phrase that kids so often hear growing up from their parents (or parental figures). “Because I said so.”

That was rarely a satisfactory answer for me growing up. I mean, I was a more-or-less well-behaved child, so I’d do what was asked of me (as long as it wasn’t clean your room or do your homework, because fuck that noise), but if I felt that something they wanted me to do was unjust or unfair or unnecessary, I’d ask why, and when the answer was “because I said so,” it felt….I don’t know, like I was operating in the dark. What if the goal for said task could more easily be achieved by other means?

Example: Parents telling me to take my shoes to my room while I’m in the middle of watching a TV show before the days of DVR and being able to pause live television.

I’d negotiate. “I’ll do it after the show.”

“No, now.”

“Okay, but during commercials.”

“No, now.”

“Why now?”

“Because I said so.”

That was really aggravating, because I would miss out on something I was enjoying for a task that didn’t really seem to have any specific reason to have to be done “right now.” The goal was to have my shoes end up in my bedroom. What was the difference between that happening during a time that was inconvenient to me versus ten minutes later when I wouldn’t miss any of my show?

Suppose they had told me, “Because we’re showing the house to a realtor and they are arriving in a few minutes.” Well, then. Now there’s a prioritized reason for my shoes going back to my room right away. Except, if the goal was for the shoes not to be on the floor when the realtor arrived, another option might have been to put them on.

I guess what I’m saying is that I’m usually pretty goal-oriented vs task oriented. Tell me what the goal is and I will get us there. That’s how I am in most things, including work. Tell me how much you need me to raise and I’ll put together the plan to raise that much. But the goal needs to be reasonable. Suggest a fundraising goal that is double what I achieved last year without any additional resources, and you bet your ass I’m going to ask “why!?” Likely also, “Are you out of your mind?” because I don’t appreciate being set up for failure.

But there’s not so much “why” involved when a D/s dynamic pops up in my relationship. That’s when I get much more task-oriented. The difference there is that my goal is to please, and this is done by completing tasks. There is a lot less “why” involved when the answer is “because he wants me to.”

If you’ve known me for any significant amount of time, then you know that the cycle of dissatisfaction with my job is…well, cyclical. I’ll amend that to say – it’s not so much the job, but the environment of it. The leadership here is inconsistent, more than a little bipolar, and it makes me feel off-kilter. Within my department we have a secret motto: “Stop asking why,” because so much that happens here doesn’t make sense, and we know that the things we’re tasked with are counterproductive. When we start asking why, we start getting frustrated.

I have a real problem with being in a non-consensual D/s dynamic with my workplace. As a department head, I should be part of the team that helps us reach our goals. To do so, I want answers to “why” and the opportunity to suggest innovative ways to achieve those goals.

I don’t like it when the answer I get is “because I said so,” especially when I know what they’re asking of me is counterproductive.

I’m on one of those cycles right now. The most important task I have today is to not quit. This takes a lot of energy, because right now the only control I really have at this job is my ability to walk away. I want to focus on what I have to do, but I’m having some trouble with it because my anger and frustration keep getting in the way.

I started daydreaming. This usually leads me to the understanding of what I want. His fist full of my hair, his low, measured tone, and a command.

I uncovered my want. I want to submit.

Then I ask myself, “why?” What does that desire address, because I don’t always feel that way. Not since I pulled my life together and got shit under control.

That was the key. Control. Consistency. Expectations. (Sanity.) There’s a lack of all of that at work and I start to feel paralyzed by the disorganization of tasks and priorities and ideas in my head.

I want to feel productive, so I asked my lover for an assignment. It’s that simple, I figured out what I wanted and why I wanted it, and then I asked for help. To be clear, we’re not in a strict D/s relationship, though there are sometimes elements of D/s in our interactions. He candominate me. He does not always choose to do so.

But today I requested it. I asked for an assignment to hold me over until the next time I see him. Some people would call that topping from the bottom. You don’t want to know what I call those people. (For the record, I call it communicating with my partner.)

I want to submit because I want to feel control again. Sounds weird, right? Usually people talk about submission as the idea of giving up control.

But, today with a job I keep trying not to quit because I feel like success in this environment is unreachable, my future seems a little bit foggy and unstable. By assigning me a series of tasks- my lover has given me a chance to feel that I am in control of my success because the tasks and deadlines are clearly defined, the goals are achievable, and I have a sense of accountability toward him.

All things I wish I could feel in my day job.