Friday, April 22, 2016

Kink Can Be in the Little Things

Sometimes things get busy (a common theme) or for other reasons there simply isn't an opportunity to play (family visiting, the flu, etc.). Today's post is about how we maintain our kink and our D/s relationship in the face of those (rather common) challenges.

For me it's simple: our dynamic—actually our very relationship—has a dominance/submission power exchange at its core. It didn't start out that way. That whole thing was an evolution...a process.

After attending two BOLD conferences (an excellent weekend conference on the D/s and MDHL dynamic) we understood the necessity to confer some rituals, habits, and loving "reminders" into our relationship. This was particularly true after Lizzie moved in with me, but some of them developed even before (most notably long distance punishments).

Now that we are a "seasoned" couple, both in terms of living together as well as being in a full time D/s relationship, those things that keep our dynamic going are part of our daily routine—without ever becoming routine.
If you’ve read our blog for any length of time, you know that we tend to live our lives a bit on the, uh, hectic side. If we aren’t traveling, our schedule quickly fills up with visitors, events, and other plans. Even as empty-nesters, we don’t always have at much time to play as we might want.

But as much as we enjoy the play - and believe me, we both enjoy our scenes and our play - our relationship isn’t necessarily based on that. It started that way, of course, as Craig and I met at a spanking party and became play partners. But as our friendship grew and our relationship intensified, we discovered there was more between us than great scenes.

We’ve attended conferences and lectures on MDHL and D/s. And I’m always reading, finding new perspectives and discussing them with Craig. Those experiences, and the conversations that followed, have taught us a great deal about ourselves and what we want. (You can find one of my better descriptions of that here.)
When things get busy, that's even more important. When we don't have time or simply can't have an intense scene (those seem to always reinforce our power exchange in a tangible, intimate way), the little things are what remind us of who we have chosen to be.

I'll share a few of those, some of which may seem trite but are quite a part of our power exchange:

Lizzie makes my coffee almost every morning. That alone is a very "50's housewife" kind of thing in this day and age. But when she makes it, she brings a mug of steaming Starbucks to me, kneels in front of me, kisses the cup and looks up at me and says, "Here's your coffee, sir." I take the cup, sample it, make a verbal note of how it tastes, and then set the cup aside and lift her to a standing position. I kiss her on the lips and again on the forehead and tell her she is a very good girl.

As a side note, sometimes when Lizzie isn't feeling good or if she's rushed to head out the door I'll go and make coffee myself. When that happens, she can become very hurt that I "took that away from her." A guy can never win. ;-)

If we make a cocktail, get a glass of wine, or when we sit down to a meal—either at home or when we go out—Lizzie won't take a first sip or bite until I have done so first. It's such a little thing. When we're out with friends or family, no one ever notices. But I do. And that's a part of our D/s dynamic, too.

There are a myriad of little things that make up the simple day-to-day domestic power exchange in our lives. Sometimes it's just a glance, or a "young lady" uttered. When Lizzie is scattered or ramping up into becoming upset, a powerful grab of her wrist or wrists will suddenly (and to me, almost inexplicably) ease her. I can physically see her muscles relax when I do this.

Each and every one of those little things have purpose and meaning. Sure, it's easy to let them become rote because of their frequency and daily occurrence, but for us (and I would suggest if you try to add this to your dynamic, for you too) it's an important and symbolic way we remind one another of our promise and commitment to our D/s, part of the bedrock of our broader domestic relationship.
Over the course of living together, we’ve developed different rituals and rules that keep our dynamic in the forefront of our minds. I’ll try to write about different ones than those Craig already mentioned.

We have a series of rules that we’ve developed governing things that I notify (mostly by text) Craig about. I text him any time I leave the house, telling him where I’m headed. I text when I arrive at that location and when I leave again. Basically, he always knows where I am - whether I’m at home, at school, running errands, or in transit between activities.

I know there are apps that could easily give him the same information. And I know that works well for many of our friends. But for us, there is something particularly powerful in the act of telling him. It’s more than just the simple fact that he knows where I am. I take an affirmative step to let him know, each time I leave a location. I have an obligation to let him know where I am and what I’m doing.

It adds a step to going anywhere or doing anything. (Sometimes with amusing consequences, as you can read about here.) It’s not a huge burden, but it does make me aware of our dynamic on a daily basis.

This is just one of the things I do every day to strengthen and affirm our dynamic. The things that Craig does are very different, because the shifted power dynamic of our relationship means that our experiences are very different. His side of our “everyday” is perhaps more immediate and less ritual or rule based. He will grab my wrist. Or reach out to touch my face in a certain way that draws out my submission.

These are some of the simple things we do. They could be dismissed as habits or quirks by our vanilla family and friends, but we’ve given them meaning that goes beyond the act itself.

[Second picture by The Clandestine Capture. You can find her on Fetlife - here, or on Tumblr - here.]

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Second Adolescences

We were watching “I Am Cait” several weeks ago. This is the reality show about former Bruce Jenner's life as a transitioned trans woman. A regular on the show is Kate Bornstein, a trans advocate and author, who in one episode warned Caitlin Jenner about the “second adolescence” she might experience entering the trans scene. Something about the phrase caught our attention and led to a long discussion that we thought we would share.

Reading about this “second puberty” online, there are those who attribute this to hormone therapy. But we think there are social aspects that are similar in the kink community as well. It seems that whenever someone enters the lifestyle they experience a bit of their own "second adolescence," often reverting to—shall we say—a youthful exuberance—until settling in to a more mature attitude toward the scene. Here are our stories and thoughts on the subject.

My "High School" Years Bright, Shiny, and New
Many of the people I now consider good friends—not just in the scene but in my life—it just so happens I met at my first Shadow Lane more than seven years ago (seven years!). That was my first spanking party, though I had been in the lifestyle for about a year at the time.

As many of you know, I am more into BDSM, but the spanking party scene seemed fun, light, and involved less negotiation. That first party was pretty much a downer, except for a very kind young lady who took interest in me and grabbed me by the hand, pushed me onto a bed in a party suite, and had me spank her.

That simple moment changed my life. I saw myself differently, thanks to her. And that began a rapid ascent (descent?) into my own second adolescence. Up until that time I had been struggling a bit in the BDSM community, though that's an entirely different story.

After that delightful scene, I had a newfound confidence that I poured into the spanking scene, eagerly going to multiple parties around the country those first few years.

It was probably my third or fourth party where I found myself booked solid with spanking appointments/dates in various rooms, taking my rolling bag from one scene to the next. It was intoxicating. I was gettin' my sadist on in a way I had never dreamed possible when I was 18 years old staring at poorly mimeographed bondage 'zines I had acquired from the back rooms at adult book stores in Hollywood.

It was like a buffet of bottoms, a birthday, and a perpetual sadistic bachelor's party all at the same time.
My first spanking party was an eye-opening experience. Like Craig’s (actually, it was the same party), my first party was a mixed bag. I met some really great people, many of whom I still consider good friends. I also had a variety of less perfect interactions, but I won’t dwell on that here.

That first party led to a rapid-fire series of parties. For the next couple years, I used every bit of my vacation time traveling to parties. I even worked overtime to earn the flex-time to attend parties. This was my “second adolescence” or my “lap-surfing” period, as I have always called it.

To really understand, though, I have to go back to my biological adolescence for a moment. I grew up in a rural area without even cable television to expose me to the things we find so readily online now. Nothing about my budding feelings and desires matched the “reality” presented to me there.

My childhood friends developed crushes on young, pretty actors near our age. I was more intrigued by actors three or four times my age. My friends were all perfectly straight. I was, and am, not. Cap that with my interests in spanking, power-play, submission, D/s, and a list of things that I didn’t even have words for and you can see why I spent my adolescence isolated and confused. In fact, I decided during that time that I must be asexual, purely because none of the things my friends were interested in held any greater power than a mediocre book.

Of course, as I got older the internet exploded and provided me with much better information. Even then, though, I thought this lifestyle was only fantasy. It wasn’t until that first party that I met people, real people, engaged in all sorts of activities that struck a chord with me.
But I also remember, after that fully booked spanking party, coming home and realizing that I hadn't had much fun. There were a few scenes that I had absolutely thrilled over, that were real, tangible connections. Others had been a bit about obliging those who wanted to play, more than me wanting to myself.

In the end, it sort of felt like work, to some degree. And that wasn't what it was about at all. I'm not a service top. Let me be clear: I'm in this for me, but I also enjoy and appreciate pleasing my bottom, giving her what she needs, and (I hope) occasionally transporting her in the process. But that party was less about my own selfishness and more about just filling a schedule to get all-I-cared-to-eat from that buffet.

Very quickly my "second adolescence" was coming to a close. I became more discerning, focusing on people I had developed a bond or a relationship with, hanging out with people that mattered to me. Trust me, there were still moments (and people) in which that second adolescence reared it's head, but I was settling in to what I'd found and what I was becoming.

I thought I was the only one going through that, then I saw and talked to others like Lizzie and our friend Jada who were experiencing the same sort of arc. Now, over the years, a "seasoned vet" in the lifestyle, it's interesting to see other people experiencing their own second adolescence as they discover the lifestyle. Some we let enter our lives—with caution—and others we watch from the fringe.

It's curious to see how many follow the progression we went through while others stay in their own second adolescence. For them, that smorgasbord is too tempting to pass up, living their entire lives on less than what they've craved, wanted, and needed.

For Lizzie and I, we grew out of our second adolescences fairly quickly to mature? transform? into who we are now.

What was your second adolescence like, Fellow Kinkster?
And so I engaged with the spanking community like an adolescent who has just discovered masterbation. Everything was so wonderful that I needed to try more and more and more. For several parties, I booked myself solid for playdates and accepted nearly every offer to play.

But after one particularly trying party, I realized that wasn’t what I wanted. I loved trying new things and playing with new people. I still do, in fact.

But parties had taken over my life in a way that I didn’t think was healthy for me. I wanted and needed to devote some of my time to my life outside of them. Today, my so-called normal life includes many aspects of kink, BDSM, spanking, power-play, and D/s, but even the purely vanilla parts are fulfilling and important to me.

As a result, I wanted more than just a fun spanking. I’d made some amazing connections with some incredible people. I wanted to spend my time with those people. These are the “lifestyle friends” who become lifetime friends.

Sometimes I enjoy watching the excitement of people entering the scene for the first time. But more often, it makes me feel like when I was a substitute teacher for junior high students. I remember being one of those students and I don’t really want to do that again.

So I’ll never really understand those who choose to stay in that second adolescent mode. I hope they are having a good time, of course; it’s just not my cup of tea.

Craig and I have found a great balance that works for us. We have great friends. Our lives are full and busy. We find pleasure in every aspect of life, from the mundane to our spectacular scenes.

For all our readers - I hope you’re enjoying your journey, wherever you’re at now and wherever you hope to be. I’d love to hear about it in comments or by email. Do you fantasize about your second adolescence? Do you feel that you’re in the throes of it now? Or do you have fond (or less fond) memories of the experience? Or do you think you skipped it entirely?