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The Master’s Voice #18: Munches, Fairs and Discovery Nights

In the last post my alpha slave introduced the idea of some options for meeting offline. Today I’m going to expand on that and discuss some important points of etiquette relating to these events.

For many novices, even though spending hours online ‘researching BDSM’ is well within their comfort zones, the idea of actually going that one step further and arranging to meet a real Dom can be terrifying. There are lots of easy alternatives and among the most widespread and popular of these are the informal social gatherings known as munches. There are believed to be in excess of 100 of these throughout the UK alone. Often they are social gatherings in pubs, wine bars or coffee shops and are usually advertised through social media. These are truly welcoming affairs and even those which take place in gay pubs and clubs will set aside a room to welcome attendees of all genders and sexualities. Most of the UK munches are trans tolerant, but some are aimed at specific groups – e.g. men only, women only, under 30’s etc. so it is wise to check in advance. A more recent development is the greater awareness and acceptance of polyamory so be prepared to find multiple partnered groups well represented here.

Most munches discourage overt BDSM behaviours because they meet in public, although depending on the venue, many attendees will dress-up for the occasion even if only to wear a leather collar or locked chain. For more background information do look up the Wikipedia article on munches.

Another development over the past 15-16 years in the UK has been the Fetish Fair. Aside from occasional one-off fairs there are three large regular monthly fairs starting with the London Alternative fair on the first Sunday of every month, the London Fetish Fair on the second Sunday monthly; possibly the largest is Birmingham’s Bizarre Bazaar on the third Sunday of the month. These events have bars and cafes and there are many fetish suppliers and trades stands as well as workshops and demonstrations throughout the day. These are of course very sociable events but they are also about educating and informing BDSM novices in a safe informal setting – especially with regard to safety and best practice.

More specific to the gay community there are both regular and less regular BDSM, leather and fetish nights all over the place including the now regular London Fetish week every summer. None are as fixed in the diary as the monthly ‘Discovery Nights’ organised by SMGays for the last 33 years and hosted at the Bloc South club in London on the third Thursday of every month. The aim of SMGays is to encourage safe and lawful SM practices through sharing of information among people with similar interests. The atmosphere is friendly and informal with a team of skilled volunteers running workshops or demonstrations relevant to each of the monthly themes. Attendees can watch or participate safely to get a taste of what they want. I have personally been a regular demonstrator at these events and would certainly recommend it for novices wanting to gain both knowledge and experience in a wide variety of BDSM activities. Incidentally, I’m also fortunate enough to be the Dungeon Master of SMGays, so my recommendation is based on considerable experience with them!

(A note here to my fellow authors. At the start of my novel ‘Taking The Gardener’ I wrote a scene in which my principle character goes to a Discovery Night and takes a shine to a sexy lad in a bondage demo. He meets an eager young sub who he then goes home with for a night of horny fun. My very first negative review chose to focus on that scene and pointed out that since such places could not possibly exist and that I was clearly a fantasist. I was taken aback not so much by the ignorance, but the arrogance of of the reviewer. Not only had I described an actual SMGays bondage night but even the sub (Kevin) was real. I agreed to meet him at the club for the first time and brought him home afterwards. Of course, I did not respond to the reviewer but I did enjoy a moment of righteous indignation over it.)

It is important here to consider some points of etiquette regarding these ‘public’ events. Many places and events will have their own rules listed clearly but most follow an accepted etiquette based on common sense, good manners, discretion and safety.

1. No Photography. As a general rule this ensures discretion for those participating. Occasionally a sub in a demo might ask the Dom to take a picture as a memento but that is between them only.

2. Do not touch: Never touch people or toys without permission. Remember that the submissive in any scene may be ‘owned’ by the Dom and is therefore not yours to touch without permission. Alternatively they may be a complete novice who has taken a huge step in submitting for the first time. Being groped by a complete stranger during the scene may put them off completely. Of course if humiliation is part of the activity, the Dom may allow or even encourage touching, but he must always have the last word.

3. Respect diversity: If we cannot respect each others various kinks  then how can we expect wider acceptance?  Never disrespect others or criticise them. If you want to have a giggle about the big butch construction worker dressed in work boots, hard hat, utility belt and pink lace panties, then do it in the car on the way home. While he is standing in front of you at the bar be sure to manage your eyebrows!

4. Never interfere with a scene: If you don’t like what you see then move on to something else. If you have any concerns, ask an event organiser or monitor. Remember everything I’ve previously mentioned about negotiations and respecting limits. Stop words still apply here and NO always means NO!

For a good guide to best practice do take a look at the London Munch website. That and other links are listed below. Go and explore, visit and have fun.

www.londonmunch.co.uk

www.manchestermunch.com

www.findamunch.com

www.londonalternativemarket.com

www.londonfetishfair.co.uk

www.brumbazaar.co.uk

www.smgays.org

My thanks to GymHarry again for the sexy image.

The Master’s Voice #17: The wider BDSM World

It’s time to look at BDSM in the context of the big wide world out there. This post is a two-parter and I asked my alpha slave to give us his thoughts for this first part and next time I will explore some of the other options out there for all you seekers of knowledge, skills and fun.

So far every post in this series has focused either on abstract concepts (the meaning of submission/slavery, what to look for in a dominant) or else accounts of my life as a slave with Master Tim. Today I want to widen the scope a bit by talking about the wider BDSM world, both offline and on the internet.

It’s entirely possible that you’ve begun to explore the world of submission without ever encountering some of the standard online meeting places. For the most part, they’re just dating profile sites geared specifically towards people looking for some kind of dominant-submissive relationship. Recon, probably the best-known site for this kind of thing, lets you set whether you’re more dominant or submissive (‘active’ or ‘passive’ in the site’s lingo) in your profile settings, something you’re unlikely to see on OKCupid.

Needless to say, the images people put on their profiles tend to be a bit different to what you see on ‘normal’ dating sites. Expect depictions of the full range of BDSM fetishes, some of them quite explicit, as well as a lot of partial nudity. This is very much a NSFW site we’re dealing with here!

Having said all that, I’d like to dispel the notion that the online BDSM world is wall-to-wall porn and, for lack of a better term, ‘perversion’. There’s a tendency for the media to treat kink-related gathering places as vortexes of weirdness into which innocent people might become accidentally drawn, never to return to the safe world of straight vanilla sex. In reality, a lot of interactions on Recon boil down to requests for meet-ups or fantasy-fueling discussion of specific fetishes. I’ve never actually been on a traditional dating site, but I imagine they’re not too different to Recon.

If Recon is the (gay) BDSM equivalent of a dating site, then SMGays is probably analogous to a club where most of the clientele are there to hook up with someone for the night. SMGays is a London based organisation which seeks to educate people about the world of BDSM. The organizers run themed ‘Discovery Nights’  focussing on different aspects of BDSM and cater primarily to people with little or no previous experience in a particular fetish or subculture. As a newbie-friendly environment, they tend to be very welcoming. You can show up to take part in a demonstration or just stand on the sidelines and watch, which I would probably advise doing if it’s your first time.

Having been to SMGays a few times now, I’d say the media’s depiction of a real-life BDSM gathering is actually too tame, probably because you can’t show explicit sex acts on TV. Here, in no particular order, is a list of things I saw or experienced during my first trip to a gay BDSM club:

  • People dressed in everything from full leather gear to almost nothing at all.
  • A sex sling (which was in use at the time).
  • A St. Andrew’s Cross (also in use – Google it at home if you don’t know what that is).
  • A guy in a vacuum bed (again, Google it at home if you don’t know what that is).
  • Doms leading collared submissives around with leashes, one of whom decided to feel me up from behind even though I was clearly there with Master Tim. I politely rebuffed him!
  • Spanking (heard rather than seen, but the sound is fairly hard to mistake).

And so on. If anything, many fiction writers actually don’t go far enough when they decide to depict BDSM gatherings with no real-life experience. If you can imagine it happening between consenting adults, chances are it’s going on somewhere in a city near you!

There is one thing I want to stress, though, which is that the people you’ll meet at an event like SMGays are, for the most part, perfectly ordinary. There isn’t a separate class of weird people who engage in kinky behavior 24/7; rather, there are normal people who just happen to be interested in unusual things. BDSM is a huge leveller of class and almost every other type of differential you might think of. For all you know, the bland office worker behind you in the line in Starbucks might have been enjoying all kinds of fetish activities the night before!

The Master’s Voice #16: Happy Valentine’s Day

Hurting the one you love.

Loving the one you hurt.

10928998_933646453321551_4622834056669050866_nOver the past few months I’ve talked about all kinds of BDSM relationships and how they work. Among the many questions I’ve been asked there have been more than a few along the lines of “how can you hurt the one you love?” Its true that I’ve not used the ‘L’ word very much, but there are reasons for that. First is that on some level , for me, it permeates all my encounters or relationships. Secondly I always knew that it was a subject worthy of its own blog.

To answer that question I will say yes, of course you can have a deeply romantic and loving relationship with a BDSM oriented partner. For a great, long-term BDSM relationship, many aspects of love have to be present, whether or not you are in a romantic relationship with that person. You may choose not to express these things as love but in a mature bonding you will accept them for what they are.

Some of the basic requirements for love are things like trust, honesty, responsibility, reliability, communication, empathy, desire, respect, satisfaction and a sense of humor. Try having a great sub dom relationship without anyone of these things and you will fail.

To help with understanding lets look at three types of BDSM relationships. First of all we have the casual encounters, whether they be one-off sessions, modelling at demonstrations or in club events. This will mostly be devoid of love or romance, but will still require trust and some mutual respect.

Secondly we have the regular, or even long-term BDSM partners with whom we are not romantically linked but which cannot be devoid of love on some level. Love without romance? yes of course. Just like the love of parents, siblings, children for best friends, you can love without being in love. When both parties can understand that and realise that it does not threaten their other romantic relationships then the link is a powerful one.

Thirdly we have the long-term, committed relationship where there is both a loving BDSM bond and the entirely romantic bond of a life-partner or partners.

Lets take a closer look at the long term or regular, non-romantic bond.10559658_262546807269767_1781677666578919213_n If a dom and their sub spend a lot of time together, whether over long sessions or through regular sessions, their relationship must grow. If this becomes stale or boring then the partnership will not last. If however creativity continues to grow over time and the responses become more comfortable between the players, then it is difficult to ignore some aspects of love. Remember we are talking about loving, but not being loved.

We may not be lovers in the traditional sense but a sub may learn to give themselves entirely to the dom in a way that they cannot with anyone else. It takes a deep empathy for the sub to let themselves go entirely with their dom. I have huge respect for any sub who attains that level of trust. I care very much for them and would do pretty much anything to help them, support them, or protect them if needed. For all intent, I love them even if I am not in love with them. I challenge any true dom to bring their sub to the point of wild ecstacy and not feel enormous pride in them for that. As a Dom I have had a great deal of experience with sub guys who are either Straight or Bisexual. Here it can be more difficult to express these feelings but they do not challenge sexuality in any way. The straight sub of a gay Master may feel uncomfortable with physical intimacy but he will feel pride in a job well done and even misery over mistakes made. Over time the relationship will become a strong bond of mutual trust and understanding even if sex or romance play no part in it.

I’ve also talked before about the importance of aftercare of a sub following a session with them. Nothing aids recovery like the affectionate contact with the dom who has just drained them physically and mentally.

True, life-long BDSM/Romantic partnerships are unusual but not impossible. I have known couples who started out as BDSM playmates before falling in love with each other. At first the play is intense because there is a true connection and it can be uninhibited. After a while, the romantic relationship becomes stronger and one or both partners looses interest in the sexual activities. For those who can see their way beyond the short term, a hiatus is followed by renewed vigor and once again the pair will return to intense BDSM activities.

As a dom, don’t be surprised at the strength of feeling you may have for your sub. As a sub, a loving master will get so much more from you so don’t resist, just be true to yourself and honest with him or her.

If you are unsure of the link between the subject matter and said Valentine then I urge you to read about the life and death of the sainted man himself. There is more than enough hurt and violence in that story I can assure you.

The Master’s Voice #15: BDSM is Good For You.

BDSM is good for you.

A bold statement, but for experienced BDSM practitioners it is no surprise. Many researchers have become fascinated with the psychology of the BDSM world and so far their findings have been very positive. Opinions are changing and something which in the past was treated as a disorder is now under serious review. The scientist in me admits that my bold statement is an extrapolation of the findings but it remains a reasonable conclusion based on current evidence.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is often referred to as the “psychiatrist’s bible”. In the latest (5th) edition, BDSM is no longer listed as a disorder but instead is referred to as a paraphilia, or unusual sexual fixation. Even in this incarnation, studies have consistently failed to link BDSM practices to any psychological problems, leading some professionals to argue for its removal entirely from the manual.

Recent studies do in fact tend to range from the ‘does no harm’ variety, to those which appear to suggest that BDSM behaviour lends itself to measurable positive mental health. So, can we truthfully say that BDSM is good for you? Well, yes, it seems that we can.

Elsewhere I have discussed the notion of the ‘sub-space’ or ‘head space’ which many submissives describe. One study (1) in 2013 found that BDSM can give similar results to focused meditation, leaving the practitioner in an altered state of consciousness. It appears that blood flow to the brain may be altered in similar ways to those previously recorded in certain types of deep meditation or in the well-documented “runner’s high”.

Some of the practitioners in the study were ‘switches’ who liked to both give and receive pain. Their role in the study was decided on the roll of a dice and they performed a cognitive test both before and after sex (the Stroop task). It was noted that those playing the ‘sub’ role performed poorly in that part of the brain known as the Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex which is linked to high level functions such as focused attention, working memory and executive control.

This area of the brain has also been associated with such behaviours as daydreaming, various drug ‘highs’ and the aforementioned ‘runners high’. We should not be surprised to learn that activating this area of the brain can lead to feelings of floating, peacefulness and of living ‘in the moment’. It can also give the impression of time standing still as well as impacting on the ability for rational thinking.

More general findings have echoed other studies where it was found that BDSM practitioners experienced fewer feelings of anxiety than the general public. There has also been some evidence to suggest that practitioners have more secure relationships than others. Of course this excludes the very specific anxieties felt when meeting a new BDSM partner and submitting to them.

Another research paper (2) published in 2013, seems to suggest that BDSM practitioners may as a general rule actually be more mentally healthy than the general populace. In this study, researchers questioned 902 BDSM and 432 ‘vanilla’ practitioners without telling them the purpose of the surveys. The questions covered aspects of personality, sensitivity to rejection, style of attachment within relationships, as well as their overall well being.

Interestingly the highest scores were achieved by the ‘Doms’ in the group as compared to the ‘switches’. Of the three groups, the submissives scored the lowest but even their scores were still higher than the vanilla practitioners. In reporting this research, the online magazine Live Science (3) explained the findings as follows:

‘The new results reveal that on a basic level, BDSM practitioners don’t appear to be more troubled than the general population. They were more extroverted, more open to new experiences and more conscientious than vanilla participants; they were also less neurotic, a personality trait marked by anxiety. BDSM aficionados also scored lower than the general public on rejection sensitivity, a measure of how paranoid people are about others disliking them.

People in the BDSM scene reported higher levels of well-being in the past two weeks than people outside it, and they reported more secure feelings of attachment in their relationships, the researchers found.’

More work needs to be done to look into the reasons why BDSM practitioners appear to be more mentally healthy than the general population. Some researcher believe that this may simply be that those practicing such activities are more aware of their own sexual needs and desires. This understanding may well lead to less overall frustration with their physical and emotional relationships.

Wouldn’t it be great to think that our need for anti-depressant drugs could be replaced by a pair of handcuffs and a decent flogger!

References:

 (1) James Ambler, a graduate student in psychology at Northern Illinois University, and presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology in Austin, Texas.

(2) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jsm.12192/abstract

(3) http://www.livescience.com/34832-bdsm-healthy-psychology.html

The Master’s Voice #14: To Share or Not to share

Last week I wrote about multiple members in d/s or BDSM relationships. For today’s blog I’ve asked my Alpha slave to give us his point of  view on the subject. This is one of the most common inaccuracies that I see in fictional representations of our relationships so it is appropriate that since we are both authors, he uses this same topic as a starting-off point for today’s post. I’ve added a note at the end about the role of the alpha slave but first let’s read what he has to say:

Think about a story you’ve encountered about two men in a Dom/sub or Master/slave relationship. If you read M/M romance or erotica with BDSM elements, that will be particularly relevant. (I’m talking about men here because my only experience is with the gay side of things. M/F and F/F relationships might work the same way as what I’m about to describe, but I don’t have first-hand experience of it!)

Most likely, the story will build towards the two main characters establishing a monogamous relationship – either a Master/slave setup, or else an ordinary relationship with BDSM practice included. Obviously, when you’re writing about a couple who find their ‘happily ever after’, it makes sense to have them be completely committed only to each other at the end. That is, after all, the romantic ideal for most people.

In reality, however, I think most people involved in the M/M BDSM worlds are in at least partially open relationships. Some guys have a boyfriend or partner as their ‘main’ relationship, but see a Dom on the side. Others see multiple Doms, without any of them also being their partner. The variations are probably infinite, but in my experience it’s relatively unusual for someone to have a single, monogamous boyfriend who is also their only Dom.

But what about Master/slave relationships? If they’re ‘full-time’, shouldn’t they also be monogamous?

This is where things get tricky, because I’m sure people have very different ideas of how a committed Master/slave relationship ‘should’ work. I can only talk about my own experiences and opinions, so I’ll limit this post to those.

Personally, I’ve always felt that a slave should be exclusive to his Master, but that a Master need not limit himself to one slave. If this seems like a double standard to you…well, it is, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing! For me it goes back to a slave’s role, which is to serve and please his Master. Isn’t it more desirable for a Master to know that a slave is committed entirely to him, without having his attentions divided among multiple people?

In reality, of course, whether this is going to work for you will depend largely on your personality. If you can’t imagine yourself ‘sharing’ a partner with someone regardless of the circumstances, then no amount of high-minded philosophising about BDSM power dynamics is going to make it easy for you to know that your Master is seeing slaves other than you. For me it’s never been an issue at all, but that doesn’t mean everyone will feel the same way.

As with any other kind of relationship, it probably helps if both people are open with each other. Even if you’re okay with the thought of sharing your Master with other people in theory, being kept in the dark about what he’s doing with other people still might not be much fun. That’s the kind of thing you’ll want to discuss in detail at the beginning of the relationship, before either of you commits to anything long-term.

It’s also possible that you might end up sharing a Master with more than just subs, and this is where the fictional scenario I described in the first few paragraphs breaks down a bit further. How often do you see couples in books where the Master has a husband or partner in addition to a slave (or slaves)? It’s actually quite common in real life, but maybe it doesn’t fit with a fictional narrative too well!

Whether you can make a situation like that work is largely going to come down to the three (or more) people involved, which is why I think it’s so important not to rush into anything when it comes to BDSM relationships. I’m sure you have a mental image of the ideal Master/slave relationship – open or monogamous, two people or three (or four, or five…), or some other configuration that I haven’t even thought of. If you look hard enough, you’re bound to find someone else who is looking for the something similar enough that you can make it work.

And if you are writing BDSM fiction, leave yourself open to the huge variety of relationships that exist in the BDSM world. There’s a lot more out there than just plain monogamy!

Master Tim – In a relationship where the dominant has more than one slave, or submissive, the person accorded the greatest power or respect among all the slaves may be referred to as the alpha. The alpha slave has seniority over the others and may help the Dom, or Master to train, organise and even, with permission, to use them for the benefit or entertainment of his Master. The alpha may not be the oldest or the longest serving of the Master’s subs but he will be chosen on merit to fulfil the role. In my case, my alpha has served me fully and faithfully for over 10 years and come to be a significant member of my family.

The Master’s Voice #13: Caring and Sharing

This is the first of two posts about the subject of the Dom owning multiple subs or the sub/slave serving more than one Master. Today I want to start by expressing  some thoughts on this from the Master/Dom’s point of view.

I’ve been in a confirmed long-term relationship with my husband for the past 35 years, and I have no intention of changing that for anyone. I’m fortunate that he fully accepts the part of me that is Master Tim, and while he might not play an active part in the activities, he still knows all my regular subs. Over the years he has, like me, grown to see some of them as close friends who he gets on really well with.

My partner has also welcomed some of them into our home as more than just my subs. He has recognised my ability to share my deeper attachments with more than one partner without ever feeling threatened by them. He knows that he comes first for me, and always will.

Having others in our intimate circle has enriched our lives enormously in many ways. Traditional views of relationships are very deeply-rooted, and not easily disregarded. I do, however, think that we should be open to all options and consider any alternatives available to us. I dislike the broad use of the term ‘cheating’, since this is often applied to members of groups and families where everything is in fact open and honest.

Many people are now experimenting with polyamorous relationships. So long as they are based on honesty and transparency, they have much to offer. In truth, the traditional heterosexual couple is a product of biology when it was essential to procreate for the growth of the species. This is clearly not the case in the 21st century. The world is overpopulated, so we should welcome alternatives based on peoples’ spiritual rather than biological needs.

In BDSM relationships, the dynamics of the ‘dungeon’ are not always compatible with those of the day-to-day lives of a married couple, either gay or straight. Such relationships need to be allowed to evolve with heavy doses of tolerance and flexibility on the part of all parties involved.

A BDSM Dom, by definition, wants to be in control, and so the ideal situation is to have devoted subs who serve him exclusively. This may come across as being possessive, but in reality the reasons are usually more more practical. For one thing, all Doms operate differently, and they prefer to have subs who understand their ways and are unpolluted by contrary training from other Doms. Also, there’s the question of availability. If a sub is dividing his or her attention between more than one Dom, they will not always be available when needed.

I, for one, realise that this can be very unfair on the sub if, as in my case, the Dom is already in a committed relationship with somebody else. This allows for compromises which can lead to a much more realistic and fruitful time for all concerned. In my experience the relationship between Sub and Dom can be as deep and meaningful as any other.

Some couples do manage to have lasting, life-long arrangements, but they have to come up with their own rules for living, often through years of trial and error.

For me, there is only one ironclad rule: Do Not Judge.  With this in mind, always be prepared to listen and learn. Be flexible and open minded. What works for one person may not work for you, but you can always learn from it.

I would like to end with two salutary thoughts for career dominants. These situations are rarely considered or spoken about, but they are important.

Firstly, when submissive guys are swearing allegiance to me, I remind them of two exceptions ot my authority. This always generates a laugh, but it’s a fact that Mothers and lovers outrank Masters! Know who comes first in your life and respect each in turn.

Secondly, when a Dom invests time and effort in training a sub, the attachments can run deep. It often happens that the sub will later find the person that they want to spend the rest of the their life with. This can be a hard transition for the Dom, and the sense of loss can be quite profound. Personally, I love it when a sub that I’m fond of finds a partner and goes off with them to start a new life. I’m genuinely happy for them, but that doesn’t mean that the loss is easy to bear.

Now if that’s not a plot for a new novel, then I don’t know what is.

In the next posting we will look at this idea from the sub/slaves point of view.

The Master’s Voice #12: The Collar

In last week’s ‘Day in the Life of a Slave‘ post my alpha slave mentioned that he usually wears a collar while he’s with me. A collar is a pretty familiar symbol in the BDSM world. In fact, there’s a pretty good chance that a particular image came to mind when you read the title of this post: a black leather collar with a metal ring used to attach a chain or leash, much like an oversized dog collar.

Collars are used in a multitude of situations in the BDSM world. They can be an accoutrement in bondage or general Dom/sub sessions, a public sign of submission or ownership at events, or a simply a symbol between a Master and his slave. The meaning of the symbol should be fairly obvious!

As I’ve said before, elements of a Master/slave relationship extend beyond just play sessions. My alpha slave doesn’t just wear a collar in the playroom – he wears it in all sorts of day-to-day- situations, from having breakfast to cleaning up the house. That might sound a bit surreal to you, but it feels perfectly normal to us. If it does seem weird, ask yourself why. After all, you likely wouldn’t find it strange for a slave to wear a collar during a bondage session in the playroom, so why is it strange to wear it in day-to-day life? That’s where the bulk of the Master/slave relationship takes place.

In fact, for my slave, wearing a collar is enjoyable because it’s such a simple yet effective reminder of his status as my slave even in the most ‘mundane’ of circumstances. It’s probably too trite a comparison to say that it functions like a wedding ring, but it is easy to see why people use that as an analogy; like a ring, the collar functions as both a simple accessory and as a representation for a particular relationship. (It’s also round, so I guess that helps as well…)

Some people arrange collaring ‘ceremonies’ to commemorate the official beginning of a Master/slave relationship. While I can see the appeal in that in some circumstances, alpha and I have a different approach. He never puts the collar on himself, nor does he take it off; I always do both of those things, which turns every time into a small ceremony in itself. It’s a continual reminder of what he means to us, and that’s where its true value lies.

img_9914_1230351I am always proud of my Alpha and the way he feels about wearing his collar. When he arrives he likes to bring his collar to me and there is some minor ritual in the way that I fasten it around his neck. Also at the end of the day I remove it before he sleeps. I see him wearing the leather band as he goes about the tasks of everyday life and it visibly defines the bond between us. I have previously mentioned that on our 10th anniversary together I locked a necklace on him, thus giving him a permanent reminder of his place and his Master.

Whether it is the traditional leather strap, a padlocked chain, a forged metal band, or some more discrete jewellery neck chain, the collar is the most significant item in the fetish gear toybox. This has come to signify ownership, belonging and control. The collar is a visible bond between the Dom and his slave but it is also a sign to others that this slave is the property of a Dom. 029 - Copy

There are protocols here although I see them abused by those who are untrained. For example many wear a padlocked chain as a fashion accessory and then wonder why other Doms show no interest in them. Availability is shown by an unlocked chain while the locked one declares that you are already ‘owned’.

There is also a big difference in the importance of a collar worn for the duration of a BDSM session and one worn on a more permanent or long term way. Of course in ‘pup’ play the collar is purely a tool for control and the sub would assume the role of a pup as soon as the collar is attached.

When you meet the Dom who is right for you. I hope he will place his collar around your neck. Yes His collar. Wear it with dignity and pride.

The Master’ Voice #11: A Day in the Life of a Slave.

Today’s post is told mostly by my alpha slave whom some of you have met. A few months ago we marked ten years together which is something I am so proud of him for. That is not just for ten years of serving my exclusively, but for the amazing young man he has become and continues to grow as. Over to him:

This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while, the kind of resource I wish I’d had back when I first started looking into the world of submission. I’m going to attempt to describe a day in the life of a slave – specifically, a day in my life with Master Tim.

I’ve cautioned readers before that a lot of what I write here is based on my own personal experience and shouldn’t be taken as universal truth. I’m sure there’ll be people reading this who don’t recognize themselves in what I’ve written here, or whose concept of submission is radically different to mine. If that’s the case, please do leave your thoughts in the comments section. It would be great to hear from people with different experiences!

With the disclaimer out of the way, let’s get started! What follows is a brief overview of what an average day as Master Tim’s slave is like for me.

First of all, I should point out that I don’t live with Master Tim, but in the space of a year we do spend a lot of time together. When I’m not with him we communicate with each other daily (actually several times daily!), but this is going to be an account of a day when I am staying with him.

On a normal day, he’ll usually come and wake me up sometime around eight or nine o’ clock. The first order of business for me is to make coffee or tea for both of us and then prepare breakfast. This is something I’d do for myself anyway, but I enjoy doing it for him. When breakfast is over I usually tidy up the kitchen and empty the dishwasher so that he doesn’t have to worry about it.

If that all sounds tediously vanilla, let me introduce something a bit more ‘BDSM-ish’. When I’m at home with Master Tim I wear a leather collar most of the time. (And when I say ‘most of the time’, it includes when I’m doing such exciting things as having dinner or watching TV. If this seems strange to you, you’re probably looking for a different submission experience to me!) However, it tends to irritate the skin around my neck, so I ask him to put it on me after I’ve had a shower.

This is one of those things where real life and fantasy don’t necessarily coincide. Ideally I’d like to wear it all the time, but occasionally that’s not practical. Of course, it would cause some problems if I was to wear it around outside, so I don’t do that. I bring this up only to highlight the fact that the mundane facts of life do sometimes intrude on our idealized versions of reality. In this regard, being a submissive is no different being any other kind of person. Sometimes you have to make compromises! To mark our recent anniversary Master Tim locked a stylish black necklace on me. Only he has the code and I have happily worn it ever since, as a constant reminder of him.

After breakfast, I’ll usually accompany Master Tim on whatever else he’s doing throughout the day. I’ve always tried to be a useful companion to him, which for me means enhancing his everyday life rather than expecting him to cater exclusively to me when I’m with him. I look for ways to assist him with things, even if it’s something as simple as tying his shoelaces, or carrying the shopping from Tesco.

When we’re out and about together I like to maintain my role in subtle but important ways. For example, where practical I always walk on his left hand side just a short pace behind him. I also open doors for him and carry any bags or shopping that we take with us or gather while we’re out.

Again, this might all sound painfully boring to you, but to me it gets right to the heart of being the particular kind of submissive known as a ‘slave’. I can think of no greater expression of submission than striving to be someone who enhances my Master’s life whenever I can.

That includes anything related to sex, which I haven’t mentioned yet. I believe that I should make any kind of sexual activity as pleasureable as possible for Master Tim – which isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy it as well. I do, a lot! But I think that a part of choosing to submit as a slave is to always have your Master’s pleasure in mind – regardless of the circumstances.

By now you hopefully see why I’ve been harping on about keeping compatibility in mind when you’re seeking out a Dominant/submissive relationship. If you’re looking to be a full-time slave, there’ll be a lot of times when you’re not doing typically ‘BDSM’ things. You’re unlikely to find what you’re looking for if you don’t meet someone who you enjoy being around. Thankfully, I’ve been very lucky in that regard!

-Alpha Slave

The Master’s Voice #10 Seeking the Perfect Sub.

In the previous post I considered one particular type of submissive but they are not my only ‘type’. I’m often asked both by Doms and subs to define my ideal sub. What is it that I’m looking for when I’m recruiting? Maybe my criteria are not the most obvious choices, but for me they are the factors which will lift a new sub out from the crowd –  and believe me, the crowd is huge! There really are way more subs than Doms out there, both male and female, so a Dom can afford to be choosy and the sub needs to stand out as unique.

The most attractive feature to me is the right attitude. Yes, of course I look for a certain submissiveness but it needs more than that. Some submissives come looking for another man to take control of them and their lives because they are unable to manage their own affairs. I drop those like hot bricks. If you are unable to manage your own life then you are certainly not going to add any value to mine. Sadly, there are Doms out there who will swoop on the helpless and take advantage of them for their own selfish pleasure, so beware.

Another part of the right attitude is open mindedness. By that I mean a readiness to learn and a desire to experience new things.

Many of my peers express surprise at how much I enjoy working with novice subs. They see them as hard work but I see them instead as eager, fresh, hungry, grateful and mostly unpolluted by bad habits. Don’t get me wrong, I see many subs who are very experienced and very good. They, however, happen mostly to be the ones who originally came to me as novices and years later they are still returning and we are able to ‘play’ together with the ease and familiarity of a pair of well worn but comfortable shoes. Oh, and a good sense of humour and some level of self awareness are essential qualifications too.

It has often been my experience that older and more experienced subs come to the negotiations with a fixed agenda and a wish list of the things they need to have done to them. They will try to lead from the bottom in a way which leaves no room for a versatile and creative Dom to lead or dominate effectively.

The biggest turn on for me with a novice sub is the feedback I get both verbally and non-verbally as they experience something new for the first time. I expect every sane sub to come with limits, but in our negotiations I try to identify two types as we discuss them. First there are the hard limits, which must be respected without compromise. Secondly there are the ‘soft limits’ and these are carefully stored away for future investigation. Soft limits are the ones which elicit responses like ‘I’m not sure’, ‘not yet’ or, ‘I’ve not heard of that one before’. These soft limits often define the areas to be explored as trust is built and limits are being expanded.

One big difference between casual one-night-stand encounters and and the well-prepared repeat visits is that the former will almost always be the only encounter. First play-dates are often the clumsiest with fears and anxieties ensuring that things do not always go smoothly. The sub is eager to please but nervous, so when the Dom attempts to impress by going through the entire toy-box they will probably experience sensory overload and be too timid or embarrassed to return again.

I prefer the laid back approach and my main aim for a first session is to leave the sub wanting another one! In just the same way I hope I have left you wanting the next episode of this blog series!

The Master’s Voice #9: BDSM and Sexuality.

Yesterday’s post on here was presented in the form of an interview with one of my long-standing heterosexual subs. That, as expected, generated a great deal of feedback which was mostly very positive. The hottest thread of the conversation was no great surprise, as it’s a conversation I’ve been fielding for many years. It took the form of comments or questions such as “He’s not really straight though is he?” or “He’s gay/bi but just doesn’t know it yet,” or even “He’s just too scared to admit that he is gay.” and worst of all, “when he is tied up you should just fuck him. That will sort him out.” Are you serious?

I now want to dispel a few myths and clarify this whole gay vs. straight question in BDSM. I know that there are some who will never agree with my statements here but they are based on forty years of experience, discussion and observation.

Of course I understand the excitement of the whole idea of a gay man having sex with a straight guy. It is the stuff of fantasy and porn and I’m sure the same exists for the ladies too. The first myth to be dispelled it the notion that BDSM and sex are interdependent. Of course they can be and they often are, but they certainly do not have to be. They are two very different things and I believe that in essence they are not related. The need to submit. The desire to give oneself to another is far more basic than the desire for sex. If a heterosexual man has a powerful desire to experience submission, debasement, humiliation or emasculation, then surely there is no more extreme form than submitting to a gay Dom.

Of course sex can play a part in that loss of control. For some the fear of sexual use adds something to the feeling of submission. Some straight guys will even allow sex as part of the BDSM package either because they see it as the Dom’s right, or that they deserve it to happen in some way. Of course, it must be understood that even in these latter situations, the sex is still consensual and must never be otherwise.

I have learned to always keep two important ideas in my mind . I think in ‘grey scales’ where every individual sits on a line somewhere between black and white but rarely at either extreme. In the contexts we are considering here, the two lines are:

A) The Dom/sub scale where one end is 100% Dom and the other is 100% sub,

B) The gay/straight scale where one end is 100% gay and the other is 100% straight. Maybe true bisexuality lies midway between these two but it could be seen as a whole new greyscale of it’s own.

I believe that each individual sits in their own unique position on each of the scales and no two people will be the same. This for me is both the challenge and the excitement in the whole process. Every person I encounter has their own unique story. Everyone has their own set of needs, desires, experiences and limits. Perhaps this is best explained if I introduce you to some of the non-gay subs that I am proud to know or have known over the years. I am disguising their names but they will recognise themselves and some will recognise each other where they have met with me.

1) Pete: (see picture) Young, successful, wealthy, fit, entrepreneur. Pete liked to be used in rough roleplay scenes where he was ‘forcibly’ stripped and dominated up to and including ‘forced’ sex and mock ‘rape’ scenes. Pete identified as straight and he would arrive with his own video camera to record the session for replay to his girlfriend in their own kinky sex sessions!

2) Bob: Happily married very masculine guy who identifies as straight/bi. Visits once a month for utterly submissive sessions including humiliation and full D/s sex. After almost 20 years of this we have few limits.

3) James: Happily partnered straight guy who likes to submit and worship his Dom. At first this was completely non-sexual but over several years more and more sex was introduced at his request and it is now a regular part of each session. Ever since the first session, James has a tendency to ‘vanish’ after each visit for varying periods of time. This possibly allows for feelings of guilt to be resolved before he gives in to the need and calls again.

4) Harry: Bi guy who lives with his long term female partner and child. Harry is a successful business man in a position of great power and responsibility. Harry likes to escape periodically in order to experience intense bondage, and moderate pain. Sex is seen as the right of the Dom to take as part of the domination.

5) Al: Married guy who identifies as bi but believes that if he’d had access to the internet earlier in his life then he may not have married but chosen a different path. Al is a kinky sub but has a strong sense of duty and is genuinely devoted to his wife and child so would change nothing now.

6) Terry: First appeared as a 19yr old straight lad seeking use as a leather and bondage sub only. After about two years he started to ask for sex to be included in the sessions but during this time he met the girl of his dreams so he retired from the BDSM life to get married and have children. Fast forward several years and Terry was exploring kinky sex with his willing wife. He now identified as bi and not only came out to his wife but told her about his one time Master who he wanted to see again. Not only did he return as a very fit and sexy 32yr old but it was with his wife’s full knowledge. I even chatted with Terry’s wife on the phone and on one occasion I sent phone pics to her during a live BDSM session with him.

7) Ropesub: You have already met him when I interviewed him for Master’s Voice #8. This bondage sub identifies as completely straight but he is partly turned on by the fear of gay sex. He depends on the certainty that I will never break his trust.

This list is not complete but I hope that it paints a useful picture. There are no rules other that consent and labels rarely fit. We must abandon outdated and irrelevant roles and instead treat each person as a unique and special individual.

It is worth mentioning here that of the seven guys listed above, five of them had first sought out female Dominatrixes. In each case they mentioned the same reason for turning to gay male doms. They all found themselves serving Dommes who they saw as physically weaker than they were and so some part of the much needed control was missing. It was only when they gave themselves to male Doms that they felt physically dominated. I do not believe that to be a universal state at all but it was what worked for them.

In conclusion I can only urge that we forget traditional labels and start seeing ‘people’. Then the opportunities for mutual fun and satisfaction are endless.

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