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The Master’s Voice #22: The Age Thing.

Few relationship topics polarise personal opinions like ‘the age thing’. In BDSM relationships one often finds large age differentials, and this exposes the same prejudices as any vanilla ‘May to December’ coupling does. For me, the biggest gap is not measured in the years between the individuals, but in the gulf of misunderstanding between the couple and their peers. It is a touchy subject and I (63) was not surprised when I told my Alpha slave (31) what the blog topic would be and he responded with, “I wondered when we would get to that one”.

Stephen-Fry-3There has been much debate in both the hetero and homosexual worlds about loving relationships where there is a significant age differential between the individuals. We have had some very public pairings in recent years and witnessed the mix of hate speech and support which followed. The first Rugby Union player to come out as gay was the very young Sam Spencer (now 27). When he then revealed his much older partner, now fiance Laurence Hicks, both were vilified and labelled. Sam was apparently a gold digger and Lawrence a pervert! We have seen the varied response to the marriage between Stephen Fry (61) and his partner Elliot Spencer (31). I was not surprised to see so many of their detractors focusing on the assumed negative reasons for the choices of both men. For those embarking on such relationships, the age thing is rarely a factor. For those on the outside however, it will bring the most unseemly prejudices bubbling to the surface. Even the stereotypical labels used to describe those individuals go from barely neutral to downright offensive; Cougar, chaser, trophy wife, jail bait and paedo are all examples.

For those couples who ignore the prejudice they find great happiness and riches in their choice but they are well aware of the challenges too.

In the BDSM world such couplings are no less common, and perhaps even more so. Here, alongside all the emotional considerations are some purely practical ones. I still meet prejudice about this and although much of it is the same as in the non-BDSM world, it is very clear that some of it is grounded firmly in that age old human feeling – envy.

The very worst responses to my preference for younger subs has come from young Doms. Most of these come in the form, “I can’t get any decent subs because old guys like you steal them all”. I have had those very words used against me more than once. Of course the answer has to be “Why do you think that is?”

First of all, of course, I do not steal anyone. It is the sub who chooses who they wish to serve. Many will choose Doms close to their own age because they use physical attraction as a primary factor. Most however, in my experience, will choose an older Dom for much more pragmatic reasons. First is that if they are going to submit, they may seek out an older Dom who has the most real experience and the most to teach. Secondly, an older Dom may be seen as generally more settled in his life and more emotionally stable. Finally, BDSM can be an expensive hobby and older Doms are more likely to have a better toy box or at least the means to resource one. Most just say that they feel safer with an older man.

The most crucial failure in understanding is that most people apply the same thinking to BDSM relationships as they do to more vanilla emotional ones. The young sub is usually looking for a Master to serve and a mentor to learn from, not a boyfriend. If they were seeking a life partner they would probably apply a completely different set of criteria and seek out a mate closer to their own age and style.

I have spoken previously about the sense of loss that a Dom can feel when a sub that he has trained, ‘used’, and loved leaves him. In my experience this has usually been because they have met a ‘mate’ and when that happens allegiances change. Then I can only wish for them all the same happiness that I have experienced with my husband, who, as it happens, is slightly older than me.

So why do I prefer to take on younger subs? The explanation is simple. Young subs may be inexperienced but they will be eager, enthusiastic, open to new experiences and, importantly for me, they bring little baggage with them. By this I mean that they will not have picked up too many bad habits either from another’s training, or simply from too much freelancing.

Older, experienced subs can be great but often the they come with their own agenda. They will have their own menu of things that they expect to happen in a session. What should happen, where, how and when are all dictated while they attempt to ‘lead from the bottom’. For me their minds are now closed to true service or submission and of no use to a creative Dom.

Do I go for younger subs because I only find young men attractive? Many around me like to joke about it but when they look closer they soon see the truth of it. Yes I like to take on young good looking guys, but now some of my most loyal and long serving subs are now well into their forties . They are still good looking but we have aged together. Some have been regular visitors for the last fifteen years or more and they are the most amazing subs. There are no secrets and they can now anticipate my needs as readily as I can fulfill theirs. I get huge satisfaction from those who go off to start new episodes in their lives; lovers, wives, children, careers, only to find them on my doorstep again years later because they have missed their Master.

To those young Doms out there who hate me because they think that the sexy young subs should be serving them rather than me, just hang in there. My advice would be not to give up but maybe to apprentice yourself to an older Master. That way you get the best of all worlds because you can learn from his experience, you also get access to his toy box and probably his sexy subs too!

I could probably write a whole book on this topic but that’s not what a blog post is meant to be. Instead I am going to leave you with a set of points for further thought and discussion. Don’t be surprised if they contradict because of course the only rule is that there are no rules.

  • Being a young Dom is frustrating. You need credibility but it is hard to get experience. Don’t give up, it really 5685c47488dcd639f1f62b2bfb49c6d5does get better.
  • Age is a fluid thing. Young subs become old subs.
  • Old subs invariably can end up with fewer choices.
  • Culture can play a big part in how the age thing is viewed. Go look up hypergamy.
  • The biological imperative. I have mentioned this before. Younger women traditionally seek men who can provide the resources necessary for the survival of the family. Men seek younger women who will give birth to the healthiest babies.
  • In Ancient Greece young boys often partnered older men as lovers and pupils and yet long term homosexual relationships were frowned upon.
  • There are many varieties of BDSM/Kink where the age thing is important e.g. Daddy/boy, Bear/cub, AB (adult baby), handler/pup etc.
  • Young Doms can be real naturals.
  • Some young Doms like older subs.
  • An older sub can teach a young Dom.
  • Some older subs like to serve young Doms.
  • Some people are hot and sexy at any age.
  • Age really is just a number.
  • There is somebody out there for everyone.
  • The term boi often replaces the word boy in BDSM play.
  • Your values and beliefs are yours. Do not assume that they are the same for others.
  • Love is ageless.
  • Arrogance cannot replace experience.
  • Learn from the best that you can find.
  • Be the best that you can be.

I will leave the final word to Grandma Alice in my novel Bear Among the Books. Upon meeting her grandsons much older boyfriend, she reminds him that when it comes to love “The heart shows no wrinkles”

The Master’s Voice: #21 The View from the Top, Pt. 2

Domination and Submission, the Paradox.

IMG_9443I was tempted to write a quite academic blog post describing the findings of various studies into the whole BDSM scene. A good friend then pointed out that although this would be of interest to one or two of my readers, the remainder would be running for the hills at the first sign of an academic citation! I shall compromise. Part two of my look at ‘The View From the Top’ will be a visit to the findings of those researchers without the need for citations. If anyone is interested I will be happy to provide details of relevant source materials.

In part one we looked at the ideas and variations around the concept of ‘tops’ and ‘bottoms’. There are paradoxes within the perceived wisdom. Why is the sub or bottom, often thought of as the strong one? Why does a bottom submit and allow themselves to be humiliated or even emasculated? Surely the flight/fight response should engage but true bottoms will actually seek this out rather than flee from it. Finally,why is it that so many subs are in “real life” highly intelligent, responsible and even controlling people? This would appear to be at odds with their chosen sexual/BDSM role.

The reason and explanation for most of these paradoxical behaviors will come as no surprise to most practitioners. The very best BDSM behaviors may be a big turn on sexually, but they are not really sexual activities. They are in fact psychological interactions.

The most basic explanation for this is down to the way our brains are wired. We are one of several mammal species which appear to be pre-wired with sub-cortical circuits for both sexual dominance and for submission. Crucially, both circuits are also wired into the pleasure/reward centers of the brain. Many studies have catalogued such behaviors in primates, especially Bonobo chimps. We may more readily see every day manifestations  in dogs. Just think of the apparently perverse and futile behaviour of female dogs mounting other females, or even human legs! Its all down to the sexual dominance circuitry.

Men are generally  assumed to programmed with both biologically and socially dominant sexual firmware. Why then is there so much evidence from the world of online porn which appears to contradict these desires. Many gay men seem to get off on viewing submissive porn where the subject is being humiliated, degraded and “abused”. It could be argued that the dominant men are simply watching things that they would like to be doing to a sexy sub. How then do we explain the fact that heterosexual men are also viewing sites where it is female doms who are abusing submissive men? In fact the evidence suggests that sites depicting straight male submissives are slightly more popular with men than sites focusing on male dominance.

Of course such sites feed our fantasies. It may simply be that what we watch is a million miles away from anything we would actually do and that in itself is sufficient reason.

Some researchers however, have an answer based in neuroscience. They believe that these viewers are tapping into their female submissive firmware circuits which are also wired to their brain’s pleasure/reward centers.

Once we start to examine actual participation in BDSM activities the paradox can be no less confusing. To the outside world, the terms can seem to describe a strange, harsh, or even violent sexual activity. It is often assumed that the scene is all about torture and the giving and receiving of pain resulting from the assertive or aggressive use of power by one person over another. Of course if you believe that, it would be a very short hop to accepting sex of a non-consensual or even dubiously consensual nature.

In reality nothing could be further form the truth. In practice, most BDSM activity is in fact a cooperative and wholly consensual behaviour. Not only is it usually a mutually gratifying experience but it is one on which the submissive willing transfers power over them to a dom whom they trust and respect. For this reason the power exchange is often referred to as “the gift”.

Another surprise for most outsiders is that although many still think of BDSM as a sexual activity, it is not all about the orgasm. Yes, for many, a scene ends with the orgasm. For others that may happen after the scene has ended. I have previously considered the possibility of aftercare sex. For most players however it is the scene itself which generates the erotic psychological high.

For me the strongest evidence for this is the number of straight men who submit to gay Doms for BDSM play. They will seek out Doms who understand the psychological desire and among the limits they set may be a ‘no sex’ rule. Trust is essential for this to work and once that is established the sub maintains ultimate control by way of the safe word. When experienced Doms and subs play together the sub may still display some nervousness but because they still retain control over the scene they should never need to become anxious about the activity.

Anyone who thinks that the Dom has an easy time of it just letting themselves loose on some willing submissive, really does not understand the dynamic. In any good play scene, the Dom is under considerable pressure. First of all the sub needs to be assessed and activities agreed before the scene. Then the Dom must constantly monitor the sub and endeavor to satisfy both parties. Of course you may wish to explore and over time, push limits, but that is always done with an eye on the state of the sub. Only a combination of learning and experience can produce a Dom who will achieve all this and recognise when the sub is approaching their limits.

All this can lead you to think that the sub is the one with ultimate control.IMG_9325 You might wonder what the Dom gets out of it. I like to use an analogy from the world of music. The Dom is the musician and the sub is the instrument. The best music making occurs when the player knows his instrument and his craft intimately. He then pushes the instrument to its limits without breaking it. For me if the sub has to use the safe word then I have failed. If my sub ends up elated, sated, exhausted, but willing to come back for more, then I have maintained control and the View From the Top is supremely satisfying.