Is Community Service Submission?

A discussion on the internet machine got me thinking.  It was on expectations and protocol, essentially asking if some level of service or obeying small requests should be expected at events.  The focus of this conversation was not on couples or people otherwise involved with each other.  Rather, the question was more on whether subs should do things that are asked by other dominants, as well as whether to submit in this situation while single.

My response was a flat “no.”  Service is not owed.  It is to be negotiated.  Consent cannot be assumed.

Someone from the local community brought up an excellent point though- High protocol and/or service-oriented events can sometimes be exceptions to this.  I agree.  If it’s in the rules, and you agree to those rules and show up, that’s on you.  Those aren’t events I typically go to though, so I never even considered that in my reply.

Then someone else brought up service to the community as a whole.  That’s what fermented in my brain all day.

I volunteer a fair amount in my local community by facilitating groups and events, teaching demos, setup/tear-down, DMing, or helping out at other groups in various ways.  There’s also a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff that most people don’t see.  (When I travel to other cities for events, I look at that as a vacation and don’t usually volunteer there.)  My efforts in helping out don’t come from my submission.  For me they aren’t related at all.  I make the effort to help keep the community well-lubed because it’s necessary.  Without volunteers, events don’t happen.  The creepers and consent violators continue unchallenged.  Volunteers help keep this community healthy.  I gain a lot from being part of this community, and helping out is a way of giving back.  Yes, it’s service, but not in the d/s sense.  It’s not service to individuals, and it’s not service based on d/s orientation or personal chemistry.  It’s service to something bigger than the individuals.  It’s service to the community as a whole.  For me, that is not d/s.  A leader does not lead by barking orders from high above.  A leader leads by being the first to jump in the trench and get their hands dirty.  That’s what this is for me- doing work in order to help keep a good thing going and maybe improve it here and there.

One final thought: If service to the community is a form of submission, why are there so many doms engaging in this type of service themselves?

Service, Sadists, Slut-Shaming, Subs, and Sasquatch (Okay, I’m Lying About That Last Part)

I’ve noticed a huge discrepancy when it comes to service and gender, at least among hetero couples.  (And once again, there is a divide between online and real life, which I’ll touch on later.)  Online, it’s common to see women looking for men to do their housework.  When they don’t find what they’re seeking, they rail against submissive men as being a bunch of wankers, not really submissive, etc.  Then when you look at the dominant men, they take the approach of, “I got this, I’ll take care of my stuff and you take care of yours.  Now suck my dick.”  And you don’t see many subs of any gender clamoring to do housework.  They exist, but they are far more rare.

One obvious part of the equation is that women in our society aren’t allowed to own their sexuality.  If you like sex, you’re a whore.  If you make the first move, you’re a skank.  Men on the other hand are encouraged to own their desire for sex, and being the aggressor is pretty much a requirement in dating.  All this gender-based baggage clearly carries over into how much a particular dominant person is pushing for sex to be part of it.

It’s important to break things down further.  There is a difference between sex, play, and service.  Sometimes the lines between them can get fuzzy, but most of the time they’re pretty clear-cut.  Some people enjoy casual play; others don’t.  Same goes for sex and service.  Out of those three categories, I know lots of people into casual play and sex, but not service.  Those types seem to be in far shorter supply.  We all have to get something out of what we do, whatever that “something” may be.  Those who get something out of doing someone’s housework aren’t exactly the most common people out there.   Dominant men seem to understand this; yet many dominant women will bash male subs who don’t fall into this category because they’re “selfish” and “thinking with their dicks.”

In that light, when a submissive woman offers casual play or casual sex, the dominant men don’t make fun of her and say she’s not a Real True sub™.  Yet this is the treatment submissive men get frequently.  Is it any wonder so many men have trouble coming to terms with their submission?  Not only do they have to overcome all the crap society shoves down their throats about being a “real man”, but then they get into this community and are told their desires are not valid, that sadists don’t exist, and that if they want anything kinky, they’ll have to pay for it either in housework or in cash.  And forget sex; real dominant women never have sex with submissive men.

All the behavior I mentioned so far in this post occurs almost exclusively online.  In the real world, service hardly ever enters into our community’s vocabulary.  You see it sometimes, but it’s a fringe interest.  Many people, like me, just aren’t wired as service-oriented.  (I’m prone to feeling taken advantage of and developing resentment if we’re not both pulling our weight.)  In our community, casual play and casual sex are all over the place.  Service, not so much.  Especially casual service.  Yet all the things that submissive men online are told don’t exist (casual play, casual sex) abound.

How do we correct this misrepresentation so common online?  Lots of people (including me when I was new) are discouraged from getting involved in the BDSM community because of the way it’s portrayed online.  Getting in arguments with random internet strangers is rarely productive.  From my experience, correcting misconceptions is more similar to erosion than demolition.  Live your life, lead by example, and slowly wear away at fallacies.  It’s not a quick or easy path, but it’s one of the most effective processes we have.

Armchair Subs

One commonly given piece of advice to those who are new to BDSM is to read.  Go online, browse writings, blogs, fetlife groups, etc.  Educate yourself.  There’s one problem with this: There are built-in assumptions that the reader will be able to discern between the solid advice they’re reading and the total crap.

I hit that trap head-on when I was new.  As I read so many things online I told myself, “I thought I was a sub, but I guess not.  After all, I’m not willing to give total control of my finances, I don’t submit to just anyone who capitalizes their pronouns, and I have limits.”  I questioned whether BDSM was for me since apparently I wasn’t doing it right.  I almost didn’t get involved in the local BDSM community because I was worried I didn’t fit the mold.  Luckily I ran into a few people who told me it wasn’t like that in real life, and that provided me the encouragement I needed.

I run into this in lots of new people as well.  Quite a few new people have very, um,  misguided ideas of what the BDSM community is about and how it operates.  Many of them have the same reservations I had about getting involved because of that.  So I try to blast those fallacies out and replace them with some general ideas of how this works in the real world.

People give total garbage advice online.  One gem I saw recently was in regard to cuckolding.  Someone who was new was trying to understand how anyone can get off on cheating.  I explained the whole consent thing and that it’s only cheating if the sub doesn’t consent to that.  Some Official Internet Expert chimed in with (paraphrasing here) “Dominant women can do as they want.  They know what’s best for us.  It’s not cheating because she can do whatever she wants with no regard to the sub or the relationship.”  This guy, as is the case with most Official Internet Experts, was single and not involved in any kind of in-person BDSM community.

These are the kinds of people pro-doms often cater to.  They generally have this big totalitarian fantasy that they want to live for a short time until they get their rocks off.  Nothing wrong with that.  However, there is something wrong with pushing that on other people and telling them they’re wrong for not doing things the same way.  BDSM is an incredibly individual experience.  Telling someone they’re not doing it right because they have limits is a dangerous approach.  The people receiving that advice may feel pressured to push themselves well past a level of activity they’re ok with.  While many people are able to take the advice they read with a grain of salt, some are more prone to sacrifice to some degree their desires over to the will of another.  This is why education is important.  This is why I find myself countering the online wanker armies at every turn.  And I encourage you to do the same.

My Testicles are Demanding to Know What the Hell Happened.

I never thought I’d say this, but I went over a year (and counting) without an orgasm.  While chastity has been a form of play I’ve been into for years, constantly pushing further with it, I didn’t think it’d ever get to this point.  My first experiences with chastity were only a couple days at a time.  Days turned into weeks, then months, and now over a year.  Some things I’ve learned over this past year:

  • I eventually plateau.  The horniness does build the longer I’m denied, but once it reaches a certain point, it doesn’t go any higher.  That level can also drift back downward, even after being denied for a really long time.
  • There are occasions when it’s much easier than expected.  Some days I don’t even think about the fact that I can’t orgasm.  This is a good thing; otherwise, I’d find it hard to concentrate at work or other important times.  If it got to the point where it was interfering with my life, that’d be a huge issue.
  • How worked up I am is usually directly proportional to the amount of teasing and/or play I’m experiencing.  The teasing doesn’t have to be direct sexual contact; it can be a form of play I enjoy, more of a vanilla sexual flirting, scent, or even verbal taunting.  That level of hornification then stays with me for at least a day or two.  The more intense the teasing, and the longer it lasts, the longer I stay worked up afterward.  Without that, I can go back down to almost normal levels of horny.
  • I have more willpower than I thought.  Then again, maybe it’s just experience.  I’m a sober alcoholic.  After a decade of sobriety, I’m rather well-practiced in restraint.  And not drinking is a hell of a lot more difficult than not orgasming.
  • Motivation is part of the willpower.  I know if I orgasmed without permission, not only would T be disappointed in me, but I’d be disappointed in myself and beat myself up over it for a long time.  Plus, she’s made it clear that there would be very unpleasant consequences if I did orgasm.
  • Knowing my release date or a minimum limit (“You won’t orgasm until at least this date…”) puts my mind into cruise control.  I don’t get as worked up in that case.  I know I won’t be orgasming any time until then, so it’s pointless to even hope for it.  Instead, I just buckle in for the long haul.  My testicles put on little sunglasses and ease back into a recliner.
  • I don’t experience blue balls.  Some report it as pain in the balls after being teased and denied.  That just doesn’t happen with me.  It’s ok though- There’s still ball-kicking for that.
  • Casual play partners taunting me about not being able to orgasm adds another level of sexitude to the experience. It’s  like a group of people ganging up on me, even though they’re not the ones controlling my orgasms.
  • I don’t really look at much porn when I’m in chastity since I know it will only get me even more worked up.  Didn’t take me long to learn that lesson.
  • Likewise with masturbating.  When I’m not in a cock cage, I’m free to masturbate as long as I don’t cum.  But I know that would only drive me even further up the wall, so I don’t do it.  Unless, of course, T makes me edge.

This past year has been a strange ride.  It’s still odd for me to think that I didn’t orgasm in all of 2014.  An entire year.  It’s hot and horrific at the same time.  Like many other things I’ve experienced in BDSM, this isn’t something I ever envisioned myself doing.  I’m very curious to see what other surprises are around the corner.

Communicationalisms

It’s the first thing you see whenever someone asks for advice online- “Communicate!  Talk it out!  Get your feelings out there!”  Communication (or rather lack of it) is one big cause of relationships faltering.  But that’s often as far as the advice goes.  It’s usually not as simple as blurting out all that stuff festering inside you.

For me, the first step is to not communicate for a while.  I pull back and chew on my thoughts and feelings for a bit.  How long that is can vary.  I find that if I just let loose my initial gut feelings, they’re often more intense than they would be once they’re settled in.  But I make it clear that I’m delaying the conversation rather than avoiding it altogether.  Sometimes if I’m hurt or bothered in some way, I need time to think about things before I can have a rational conversation.  I need to put some emotional distance (and time) between myself and whatever the issue is.

One big reason for this is tact.  If two people talk to each other and just immediately vomit up all the raw emotion they’re feeling, it’s easy to severely damage the relationship.  They say things they later regret.  They may mean those things in the moment, but once they purge those feelings and air them out, the feelings they still have inside are often different and usually less intense.  I find it best for me to take all that raw emotion and let it simmer for hours or days before talking about it.  It gives those emotions time to evolve.  It helps provide a clearer perspective.  We often don’t feel the same way about a given subject initially as we do later on down the line.  I want to make sure my feelings have settled some, which makes it more likely that I only say things I really mean.

The method of communication matters more than most people think.  Some are best with face-to-face conversation.  Some prefer a phone call.  Others work best via email.  Still others may do better with text or instant messaging.  I can operate with any of these methods, though email works well for me; it gives me time to think things through before they reach the other person, to make sure I really mean what I say, to make sure I’m not missing anything, and to ensure my phrasing is tactful.

Another issue some couples run into is that the d/s can hinder communication.  For some this isn’t an issue.  I’ve found that it can be problematic for me on occasion.  If I approach a problem from a submissive mindset, I may feel that I’m asking too much, be willing to cede more ground and accept a lopsided compromise, or just not bring up the problem at all.  This has been a stumbling block for me at times.

The other hurdle I run into is that I can be a little gun-shy due to previous experiences.  If whoever I’m talking with snaps at me for attempting to communicate, or if I do my part in communicating but it seems to fall on deaf ears, I’ll be less likely to communicate as effectively in the future.  As much as I push communication on others, it’s not something I’m perfect at myself.  But I work damn hard at it in trying to improve.

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Penis!

Toward the end of my last relationship, cuckolding was occasionally drifting back and forth in my head between a hard limit and a soft limit, or something I’d be willing to do for the right person given enough “persuasion” or outright force.  I didn’t say anything about it though; what if we decided to try it, and that day turned out to be a day when it was more on the hard limit side?  I wanted to make sure I was certain about it being a soft limit before bringing it up.  So I kept thinking on it and processing my thoughts.  Once I reached that point where it became a soft limit with no wavering (maybe a month after we split) I posted on here about it.

I’m currently going though that same back-and-forth process with another type of play.

Strap-on play has been something I’ve found hot for years, but I’ve never experienced a bio-cock other than my own.  At this point, it’s safe to say I’d be up for play and/or sex with a trans woman.  I’d need to be attracted to her (as is the case with any other play partners or sexual partners) but doing something like that is very much within my current limits and something I’m curious to explore.  So I’m not really doing the back-and-forth with that anymore.  That’s on pretty solid ground as far as being feasible is concerned.  I’ve come to the realization that I’m attracted to people who present as feminine, regardless of whether that person has a dick or a vag. With me attraction is more about the presentation, not the parts.

What I am drifting one way and another with is forced bi.  There’s a big problem though in that I have yet to meet a man I find attractive.  One possible workaround would be a glory hole, but not a true random-stranger type setup.  I rather enjoy being not dead and I’d like to stay that way, so random guys in seedy glory holes are absolutely not an option.  If we were to try this, T would know his identity and would need to have the STI conversation beforehand.  But prior to that, the first obstacle is to stop drifting back and forth on it.  There are occasions when I find myself thinking it could possibly be hot, given enough involvement from T in the scene.  Maybe.  But there are other times when it’s still a limit.  I don’t feel safe exploring something when I keep changing my mind on it from day to day; that’s just asking for disaster.

I’ve already been made to eat other mens’ cum on a couple different occasions, so that aspect wouldn’t really be anything new.  From what I can tell so far, the appeal of this type of play for me seems to be more of power and d/s.  Most of my major hot-button kinks are ones that push me hard and make more evident her dominance over me.  Things that cause my brain to scream, “Oh fuck, stopstopstopstop please make it stoppppppp!”  Considering that this is something that has always been firmly in hard limit territory for me, I think it may have that quality as well.  Maybe I’ll find out at some point.  This process took a long time with cuckolding though, so I don’t expect this to be any different.  One step at a time.

Another Piece of the Puzzle in Place

In my last relationship, I was with someone who wanted to cuckold me.  I always immediately shot the idea down.  Wouldn’t even consider it.  It was very much in hard limit territory.  But toward the end of that relationship, my fantasies started to shift a little, as they tend to do over time.  Cuckolding was still a hard limit, but a scene involving being made to eat another man’s cum started to creep into my head now and then.  I’d been made to eat my own cum on plenty of occasions, but there was a tiny spark of curiosity developing; I had a feeling it would be more intense and more d/s-ish if it were another man’s cum.

Those conflicting feelings ate at me.  I couldn’t figure out why I could be open to doing that one thing, yet still be a brick wall when it came to cuckolding in general.  It took me a long time, but I sorted it out.

Cuckolding had always been framed up to me as a relationship dynamic.  That was seemingly the only way to do it.  The dom could go out and fuck whoever she wanted, with or without the sub present.  There could be feelings involved with the other men they fucked (sort of a one-sided poly) or they could just be fuck buddies.  I met women at events and talked with others online who wanted to get into cuckolding because it gave them the benefits of poly and/or swinging without the responsibilities; they didn’t want to share their partners with anyone else, yet they wanted to share themselves with others.  It’s a rather lousy thing to tell someone through your actions, “You’re going to learn to handle the heavy emotional baggage involved with this dynamic, but I’m not willing to make the same effort for you.”  This really rubbed me the wrong way as it’s a horribly selfish way to approach a supposedly loving relationship.

In trying to figure it out, I saw all the typical portrayals in femdom and cuckolding groups online, and for some reason, I believed them.  I watched the pitiful, emasculated subs being told they were nothing.  I read the disdain from the other men (fuck buddies, bulls, whatever you want to call them.)  I witnessed the way the women in the groups talked about how their sub’s needs didn’t matter at all since they were disposable and useless.  I started to believe this crap, not realizing it was yet another stereotypical porn fantasy.  I didn’t realize there are so many other ways to do cuckolding.

The cuckolding purists (every group has its overzealous purists) may disagree.  The standard definition of cuckolding is that the couple is married.  And the sub doesn’t get to fuck anyone else or play with anyone else.  Sometimes he doesn’t even fuck his own wife.

In reality, it doesn’t have to be that way.  It’s possible to do cuckolding as an individual scene rather than as a relationship dynamic.  Marriage isn’t necessary to make this happen either.  This is where I stumbled when I first started having those fantasies; I didn’t separate the stereotypes from the reality of it.  For some reason I hadn’t considered that doing a scene like this was even an option.  I thought it had to be the porn cliché or nothing.  It seems that those who get into this in a non-stereotypical way are far less vocal, so I never saw it.

After all that time arguing with myself, tossing ideas around in my head, and wondering why I couldn’t figure this out, I finally have it nailed down.  It simply comes down to cuckolding as a relationship dynamic vs. cuckolding as an individual scene.  While the former is still firmly in hard limit territory for me, the latter can be a mind-blowing, incredibly hot, oh-fuck-please-make-it-stop type of ordeal.  A scene like this can be a shared experience rather than an exercise in selfishness.  Such a basic solution to a problem that followed me around for some time.