Master Tim Coaching

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The Master’s Voice #29 – Protect Yourself.

BDSM – The Dark Side, Part 2

In the last blog post I described a BDSM world which was apparently10173627_311683172356130_4008303024363836939_n fraught with risk and danger. As with any hazardous endeavor, the right precautions can help you to reduce the risk as close to zero as possible. Let’s take a look at some of the principles and practices which will allow you to construct your very own BDSM hazmat kit.

I have previously mentioned several elements of safe practice. The catch phrase which has been used for some forty years in the BDSM world is Safe, Sane, Consensual (SSC). This remains a good catch-all although in the last five years or so many have started to question the subjective nature of what was considered ‘Safe’. Out of this has grown the use of a new phrase ‘Risk Aware Consensual Kink’ (RACK). Yes, this is possibly more accurate, but since I had always considered ‘Risk Aware’ to be part of what was ‘Safe’ and ‘Sane’ I do not see the need for a big either-or debate here. I sometimes think that the term ‘Happy Sex’ would do me just fine, but I’m being flippant. My point is that the words we use are less important than the actions we take.

As a novice you may not have much experience to call on, but you do have a couple of hard-wired items in your personal armory. First is the ‘gut feeling’. This is not some imaginary thing, but it is a part of your genetic make-up. Our primitive ancestors evolved a part of their brains specifically devoted to survival and which elicits what we call the ‘fight or flight’ response. When your gut tells you something is not right, it is your primitive brain protecting you,  so listen to it. The second level of protection is your own list of values and beliefs. These dictate your personal standards and should be seen as the base line against which you measure the evidence of your senses. Now with your ‘gut’ at the ready and your checklist of personal standards in place, lets go find a sane partner to play with.

You would never make a major purchase like a car or a house without careful research, so why would you put your life in the hands of another without researching them too. These days , most BDSM connections take place online. Just as with online shopping we need a cooling off period and a returns policy, so when we have made a connection we should start the negotiating process. If your potential partner claims to be experienced then ask for references from others whom they have played with.

Most important of all you should have a pre-session meeting in a neutral public place to assess each other in person. During this meeting you should discuss and agree your limits and your safe word.

If anyone refuses any of these steps it should be taken as a red flag and you should walk away without hesitation. With the meeting in particular, be very wary of any last minute changes of plan or venue. Simply cancel the meeting and rearrange it if possible.

So you have met your play mate and you are ready to move on to your first play date. You can still put solid levels of protection in place to ensure your ongoing safety. To my mind, safe-calls are the easiest to arrange and the hardest to get around. Safe-calls can be used in various ways but they need to be set up in advance and they depend on you having in place a reliable friend. Here are a few options:

1. Leave details of your intended play mate and location with your ‘phone-a-friend’.

2. Arrange to call/text when you arrive safely.

3. Arrange to call-text at a given time or after a given period of time.

4. Agree trigger words to be included in any call or text e.g. “he’s interesting” meaning “He’s a complete freak, call the police!” etc.

Telling your play partner that you have taken these steps will lower any risk level considerably.

You should now be ready to have some fun. You’ve done your research, met your playmate, agreed limits and safe words. You will have discussed other warning systems such as traffic light codes, intensity codes and you may even have drawn up a contract. Your gut is calm, the red flags are folded away and your personal standards are upheld.

The ultimate arbiter of the first”S” should be the safe word. Keep it simple. When you are about to pass out, you do not want to be trying to remember if it was “pineapple” or “porcupine” so I suggest you go with your own first name, or even just the word “fire”!

Having mentally arrived at the point where you are ready to play, the next level of safety is the more practical one of safe practices during your various BDSM activities. This is a lengthy topic so I will come back to much of it another time. There is, however, one risk about which very little is said and there can be much surprise and great confusion when it happens. Positional asphyxia can be a scary thing when an apparently healthy sub passes out mid scene. The usual cause is lack of blood flow or of oxygen but although the effects are scary they need not be dangerous once a little education is in place.

I have previously stated that a good Dominant should be fully informed and constantly aware of both the physical and mental well-being of their submissive. If there are any health concerns such as asthma, hypertension, anxiety, circulation or weight problems then tread very carefully when doing any activity involving prolonged restraint. Some activities are more prone to this effect than others and they include:

10426220_1541898796083477_7315032786763590444_n1. Inverted (upside-down) positions or suspensions.

2. Hogtie positions.

3. Upright spread eagle or crucifixion positions.

4. Any positions where  arms are held above shoulder height.

5. Prolonged pressure on torso or rib cage.

6. Prolonged stress on shoulders or torso eg face down with hands tied behind back

Any or all of these can put a great strain on breathing and can leave the body too exhausted to breath effectively. I am a big guy and I am well aware that if my arms were tied behind my back, the strain on my shoulders would prevent my chest from expanding to breath properly.

Some of these positions restrict blood flow and can also lead to fainting.

Rapid reaction to these problems means that they should never escalate to danger levels but I must add one clear work of warning. MONITORING. Even the least risky bondage or restraint can become deadly when left unsupervised. I cannot emphasise this enough. Never leave a restrained sub unsupervised. Never put a sub into any form of restraint without the having knowledge and appropriate tools to get them out of it.

Next time, in the third and final part of our trip to the dark side, I will take a brief look at safety in a whole range of activities and also consider the notion of “pushing limits”.

The Master’s Voice #27: The Benefits of BDSM

Back in February I wrote a blog post on why BDSM might be (or probably is) good for you (Master’s Voice #15). I included a lot of references to academic resources for those curious about the scientific evidence behind the effects of BDSM on mental and physical well-being, so I thought ask my Alpha slave talk a little bit about his own purely anecdotal experience with the benefits of BDSM. What follows are his own words.

If there’s one thing I’ve found myself repeating over and over again throughout this series, it’s that being a slave in a Master/slave relationship is something that I wanted for many years before it became a reality – ever since I was a young teenager, in fact. There are two ways to look at this. One is that I was suffering from some form of psychosexual malady which should have been cured by, I don’t know, a trip to a psychologist. The other is that I was experiencing a relatively normal – if statistically unusual – form of sexual desire, the indulgence of which would be no more harmful than any other set of fantasies involving consenting adults that you care to name.

I suspect that people who argue for the first interpretation would do so on the grounds of the supposed rarity of interest in BDSM. If it was ‘normal’, the argument goes, wouldn’t it be more common?

My first rebuttal to that line of reasoning would be to point out that it confuses normality with frequency. Certain genetic mutations are extremely common, but we don’t say that they represent normal biological functioning because even a casual examination reveals that they are caused by a clear breakdown in normal genetic processes. If you can make the same argument about BDSM, you must have an understanding of human psychology far beyond the rest of the scientific establishment and should probably see about getting yourself a generous grant from a research body.

But I would contend that interest in BDSM is actually far more common than most people think. Sites like Recon have thousand upon thousands of members from all over the world and from all walks of life, meaning that the BDSM illness must be a mental pandemic of the worst kind.

In fact, you can find traces of BDSM in all sorts of unexpected places. Have you ever been in the middle of a TV series, film or novel and suddenly become aware that a part of the story was included only because the author was, er, particularly interested in it? For some reason this used to happen to me constantly with fantasy novels, which tend to include generous (and often out-of-place) examples of bondage, corporal punishment, Master/slave dynamics and many other fetishes, often described in curiously lurid detail. Either these authors are being paid off by Big BDSM, or there’s a widespread enough interest in this kind of thing that major publishers are willing to let it slide because they know that a certain percentage of their readership likes it.

So, interest in BDSM might common, but is it healthy? To answer that question I can only point to my own experience. As I’ve said before, I never had any particular interest in a ‘normal’ relationship. The appeal just wasn’t there for me. I knew for a long time that I would find a Master/slave relationship deeply fulfilling. Should I have just ignored that feeling? Or, worse, should I have gone through the motions with a regular vanilla relationship, knowing all the while that I was essentially faking it?

As a society, we tend to cast indulgence in a certain negative light, particularly if the feeling or desire to be indulged is somehow different to what is practised in ‘normal’ society. It seems to me, however, that absent any reason not to indulge ourselves – in other words, without any clear harmful effect of indulgence – why shouldn’t we do what we want? Certainly, it’s useful to have scientific data suggesting that BDSM has either a neutral or positive effect on its practitioners, but I’m not sure that justification is even needed if the only counter-argument available is ‘I think it’s weird’.

While I’m sure there are people who will argue against BDSM in good faith, in the majority of cases I firmly believe that the negative arguments are based on nothing more than a knee-jerk reaction from people who are uncomfortable imagining a lifestyle that differs too radically from their own. By all means, present a rebuttal if you feel like it, but don’t dignify simplistic prejudice with your time or effort; let them present a compelling reason for why you should defend yourself first. My guess is that you’ll be waiting for a long time.

The Master’s Voice #26: The Art of Spanking Part 3

So, your eager subject is carefully positioned and warmed up. Agreeing to assume the position was the primary act of submission in this process of build-up; now they have relinquished control and you have seduced them into presenting a sexy target for you to exert your authority over.

What exactly do you do next?

Photo Guide to SpankingLocation

In part 1 I talked about which areas of the rear should be avoided for safety reasons. Now we need to consider areas we should be striking.

The warm-up steps should include areas which you intend to use for the main event. Yes, this may focus on the butt cheeks, but be sure to consider both upper and lower cheeks as well as the thighs. The backs of the thighs are very sensitive, but much better (louder) results will come from slaps to the inner thighs. It is both effective and important that you vary the location as well as the intensity throughout the session.

Delivery

Spanking should begin with a few initial slaps with the hand held rigidly flat to act like a paddle. Then relax your wrist to deliver a slightly different sensation. There is a surprising variety of slaps you can perform, all producing slightly different outcomes on different bottoms.

For example, if you cup your hand slightly you ensure that the entire surface makes contact with the sub’s curved bottom and you will achieve a very loud smack. If your aim is to achieve maximum sting, then try just using your fingers. This delivers a sharper, more instantaneous shock to the blushing bottom and you only need to use a few of these to elicit a great response.

To add further to the intensity, try using an open palm with fingers spread. This has the effect of reducing air resistance between your hand and the target, but it also increases the area of impact.

Of course, you need to pace your delivery with any of these styles. The finger-slapping in particular will leave the spanker in more pain than the spankee after an extended period of time. Speaking of which…

Pace and Intensity

My general advice about pace is to keep it steady, 0e66bc86ca99f2e02cc537182e3b7981with some rhythm to it, but also keep it unpredictable. Less is more, and intensity is not about force.

Begin with slow, steady slaps through the warm-up and early stage. Take care not to extend the period of soft slaps for too long or boredom will set in. As you move into the heavy spanking, you need to break it up with some medium slaps or even massaging or the session will become unsustainable for one or both of you.

I find that a good tactic is to build up and maintain a steady pace for a while and then to suddenly stop. This leaves the subject wondering what you are up to just before you start again with a series of harder slaps. Another approach to the mind-games is to suddenly focus on one butt cheek and then the other. You are asserting your control and dominance by taking away the sub’s ability to predict your actions.

Communication

It is essential to maintain good communication throughout the spanking session. Don’t limit this to two-way communication either. Your eyes and ears should be fully employed listening to the reactions of your subject and watching their body language.

Don’t forget to have a safe word in place, but also use a check-in of some kind, especially if one or both of you are newbies at this. The traffic light method works for many, but I have also employed a more graduated scale of numbers going from 1-10. Here, 1 is hardly felt while 10 is the worst pain ever. This also allows for some measurement of the intense portion of the session, where I would aim to keep within the range of 5-8.

This numbering is quite different from the counting of slaps. Some spankers like to have the spankee count each slap. This can be fun in a ritualised punishment session, but it is more suited to formal CP situations (e.g. caning) and should not be treated as the default for a more fluid spanking session.

Good communication will allow the session to be extended for as long as possible for both participants.

f2e343d9-4fd4-487d-bcbb-9f15c120f063Aftercare

My readers will know that I am a great advocate of good aftercare in all BDSM activities. Spanking sessions are no exception to this, and you need to have your exit strategy in place.

If this has been a formal spanking session which ends with the final slap, then you need to move straight to aftercare. this may begin with comforting strokes or even the application of some cooling lotion to the skin. Some will want to take their bruises away with them as a badge of merit; others may be fitness fanatics who don’t want to display a bruised bum at the gym. Here it may be helpful to rub in some Arnica, which can be a very effective herbal anti-bruising cream.

Hugs and cuddles are important, as is praise for a good session. I prefer to leave any discussion or analysis of the session itself for another time. Offer your sub water to drink as well! If the session was for the delivery of a punishment, now is the time for forgiveness to be gently given.

For many, a spanking session may be part of a longer BDSM session with an expectation of sex to follow. The level of arousal during a spanking session can be extreme. Toward the end of the spanking, the arousal can be intensified with well-placed stroking and/or fingering. At some point late in the session, the spanker may find it useful to keep some lubrication to hand in order to aid the process.

This has been a long three-part series, but I hope it delivers enough detail to give you the confidence to go out and try it for yourself. If you’re an old hand, then I hope it has been a good review of the basics.

Nothing develops skill or improved satisfaction like continued practice, so get out there and start connecting your hand to some bottoms! Let me know how it goes, and I hope you have a spanking good time.

The Master’s Voice #25: The Art of Spanking. Part 2

In part 1 we looked at the background to spanking as anc40f1188c02516aa0a64b41978b6b83a erotic BDSM activity. Now it’s time to deal with some of the practicalities. I’ve identified six stages of any spanking session,  so we’ll go  through each of them in some detail. The choreography of each session means that some of these stages may be quite fluid. Although you need to arrange positions at the start, I prefer to describe the warm up first.

Warm Up

This sets the pace of the session and is essential if you want the most amount of fun with the least amount of damage. A good master is never a bully and can deliver a far greater sense of authority by appearing patient. For me the warm up begins long before you position your subject or deliver the first slap.

The physical part of the warm up builds on what you have achieved with your voice and demeanor. Start by massaging the bottom and then spank it gently until it begins to glow. Pause and massage some more while using your voice to subdue, chastise, or relax the spankee. I sometimes like to combine this with the almost ritualistic disrobing of the sub e.g. massage, spank, remove outerwear, massage, spank, remove underwear, massage, spank, proceed.

The pace and delivery of the warm up has two main objectives. The slow methodical build up combined with the use of your voice will build anticipation in your subject. The second objective is the physical one. The initial gentle spanking increases blood flow to the area you are beating. This serves to cushion the blows so allowing you to spank for longer before discomfort terminates the session. It also serves to reduce the bruising.

Of course a great many of the feelings we generate are the result of changes in body chemistry. The warm up serves to increase the flow of endorphin’s which are the body’s own pain/pleasure hormones. This will increase the arousal felt by the subject.

Posture & Positioning

One of the factors which defines spanking is the almost ritual, sometimes ceremonial positioning of both participants. That’s not to say that you can’t indulge in the occasional spontaneous spanking but the ritualised scenes will bring out the best responses. The position adopted by the spankee can greatly enhance the spanking and amplify the feelings for both participants.

6b8eea61ce87dc21ba893af102f9dfc4Over The Knee

OTK spanking as it is known, is the most commonly employed position for most people. The spanker sits upright on an arm less chair or on the edge of the bed. The spankee is laid face down across the spanker’s lap with their head angled down and away from the spanking arm. The knees should be dropped and tucked under the spanker’s thigh with the bottom angled up towards the spanking arm.

The non spanking arm should be pressed against the back of the head or shoulders and taps from the spanking hand can be used to position the legs as required.

Feet should rest on the floor but the full weight of the spankee should be on the spanker’s lap. Hands can rest on the floor or grip the chair or bed.

I like to reach across and hold the spankees right hip and place my elbow on their back to stop them wriggling off. If their right arm comes up in defense it can be grabbed by the wrist and pulled across the lower back to keep the spankee in place.

Purist will differentiate this over-the-lap style from true OTK spanking. Here a right handed spanker will hold the spankee bent over their left knee while using the right leg to restrain the spankees legs.

Grab Your Ankles8937e2ec32830263036e28909e29e4ba

This style is often used in fantasy sessions such as school-style punishments. For this reason it is quiet likely to be used for paddling or caning sessions so I will deal with it in more detail in a CP blog.

Grab Your Knees

Similar to grab your ankles but better for those who may not be so flexible. The bottom is also better presented and the back can be arched to enhance this. Feet should be shoulder width apart with hands placed on knees or thighs. The ceremonial position should be enforced with the spankee made to lift their head to look at a spot on the wall in front of them. This underlines the feeling of submission whilst serving to arch the back to better present the bottom.

Over The Desk/Table

For school or office-style fantasy play. The subject bends over a desk or table with their chest pressed on to it. Hands reach overhead if possible to grip the opposite edge. The height of the spankee or the length of their legs will determine the position of the bottom for paddling or spanking.

Over Pommel Horse or Bar Stool.

Similar to desk but better presentation of a relaxed bottom since the subjects legs may be hanging loose with their hands gripping the legs of the stool.

Kneeling On A Chair

One of the best positions for presenting a well turned up rump. The spankee kneels on the seat pad and leans over the back of the chair with their thighs in a vertical position. Now the upper body is mostly unsupported and so the back can and should be arched to raise the bottom.

1299a16f43ae569b89d18a8cd4ec50a7Laying on The Bed

This can be a great position offering comfort to the subject who is to receive a lengthy spanking but you need to be aware of its short comings. First of course is that the spanker may not find spanking so easy if they have to lean over the bed. Secondly, in order to present the bottom, it needs to be raised up by placing three or four pillows under the midriff. Another reason for this propping up is the need to prevent clenching. When the body is straight as in standing upright or laying flat and face down, the subject will be able to clench their cheeks together and this will considerably reduce the effects of your slaps. The body of the spankee needs to be bent to some degree to ensure a relaxed and bouncing target.

So now, we have warmed up our subject and positioned them for our pleasure. It is time for the main event. In the third and final part, I will describe the delivery of the spanking and how to pace it for the best effect.

The Master’s Voice #24: The Art of Spanking. Part 1

10954545_756191501128381_8779770636079284321_nWarm Hands, Rosy Cheeks.

Time to start the practicals and get on with the hands-on (sorry!) stuff. Since I started the BDSM journals on here, we’ve posted 23 blogs. Much of the content could be described as general advice for BDSM practitioners and writers. There is still more of that to come, but today with post number 24 I want to start looking at the first of the practical activities. Whether you want to do it, have it done unto you, or to write about it, this is intended to be your KISS guide: Keep It Safe and Simple.

Why do we spank and/or get spanked?

Spanking is probably the single most popular BDSM activity, especially if we extend it to include paddling and flogging. Spanking is also the first and for some the only kinky activity that most people experiment with. Spanking can be used for fun or as a punishment tool and of course those two things are not mutually exclusive. We could talk about the power play and the strong feelings of dominance and submission present in the spanking activity. We could talk about how control and humiliation are powerful aphrodisiacs. Let’s be clear however, whether you are laying your trembling sub across your knee or bending them over the end of the bed or pommel horse, it is hard to ignore the attraction of an upturned arse. I don’t care if you are the hardest leather dom, Master of the Universe – a sexy bum will elicit responses which few can deny.

Much as I want to focus on the fun, you will know by now that I take this stuff seriously and will try to give you the best information to use both as a practitioner or as a writer about to compose a sexy spanking scene. If you are going to start using spanking as part of your BDSM play, there are several points to consider. Once you have mastered the basics, the rest comes with practice – and what fun that is!

First, the anatomy lesson. Yes, you do need this because you want to have the most fun with the least amount of lasting damage. You won’t need a map of body parts since you can learn all you need just by using your eyes and your hands. No-go areas for spanking include the lower back, the coccyx (tail bone), backs of knees and hip bones. Striking any of these areas could cause lasting damage and your sub’s play hate will quickly turn to genuine rage. Finding the tail bone does not have to be a clinical process and can be built into the warm up. If I am about to administer an over-the-knee (OTK) spanking, as a right handed dom, I will run my left hand down the spine until I run out of bone. Every arse is really different but for most people the tip of the coccyx will be at the start of the crack between the sub’s cheeks. I would suggest that novice spankers should then keep their fingers in place on that tail bone as they start to administer the slaps.

You may wonder why, when I’m talking butt stuff, that I now mention genitals. In future I will visit the whole subject of CBT ( cock and ball torture) in some depth, but for now just be careful. When spanking the lower butt or upper thighs, be aware that your sub boy’s balls may be caught and his reaction may be very different from what you intended. If you have a sub girl over your knee you can actually take advantage of her different anatomy. The clitoris being mostly an internal organ is well protected but its position allows you to indulge in a neat trick. If you spank the crease between the arse cheeks and her upper thighs, and you angle the slaps upwards from below, the blows will be felt as vibrations to the clitoris. In the right sensual context some lucky girls can actually orgasm purely from this action.

Before we move to hands-on, there are a couple of other things to consider.

Pain is a very subjective thing. Spanking differs from most other forms of pain play in that it is an impact pain rather than a stress pain. You may be surprised how much of a turn off this may be for some people. I have elsewhere mentioned my big strapping rugby playing sub lad. He can take levels of pain and bodily injury (on the rugby field) that would terrify the average sub. Spanking however is definitely not his thing and tempting though it is to lay into his meaty arse, any attempt to do so instantly reveals his inner wimp.

Of course a dislike of being spanked may have a strong mental element to it. Any master worthy of the label will always keep the mental, emotional and spiritual ecology of his sub in mind and will apply these things before applying his hand. For me, whether using spanking for fun or chastisement, a big part of the thrill is using my voice and actions to build the anticipation to the point where the sub is almost ready to beg for the feel of my hand.

A final word of warning. Even if you are using the spanking10905984_317596745100298_6371709683276573103_n as punishment, NEVER spank in anger. If you do this you are no longer in control and you may not know when enough is enough. To be honest I rarely use spanking as punishment. If a sub is well trained, they will rarely, if ever, need chastising and I would get really frustrated waiting for a chance to spank them. As in many BDSM activities, the participants often need to employ their acting skills. I spank a sub because I can, not because I need to. Even the most intense spankings can still be extremely sensual.

I used the title The Art Of Spanking for this post because there is real skill involved in administering a sound, erotic sensual spanking Like all art forms spanking needs a little knowledge and and a lot of practice. It is only with practical experience that a dom will develop their own style and techniques.

All the best sessions will move through a set of stages and each situation will dictate the importance and choreography of those stages. In Part II I will guide you through each stage in detail starting with positioning and warm up before looking at pace, delivery, intensity and aftercare.

Until then if your hands need warming up or you need a rosy glow to bring some colour to your day, you know what to do.

The Master’s Voice #23: Anticipating Your Master’s Needs.

For this post I am still looking at some of the background to what makes a good slave. I have asked my alpha slave to give his point of view on something which we both think important. This is however an area of the Dom/sub dynamic which many practitioners fail to develop and which many BDSM authors ignore. Let’s see what he has to say:

I think it’s easy to mistake the Master/slave relationship as one rooted in an action/reaction framework – the Master gives an order, the slave responds. Isn’t that what comes to most people’s minds when they consider, fundamentally, what any kind of Dom or sub do that differentiates them from an ordinary couple?

To a certain extent, that is accurate. In a Master/slave relationship, the balance of power rests with the Master, and the easiest way for him to exercise that power is to give orders to the slave. But there comes a point where, ideally, the Master shouldn’t have to give explicit orders to his slave. In fact, the slave should consider it his duty to anticipate what the order would be if given, and react accordingly.

To give a simple example from my own experience, I’ve learned to tell when Master Tim would like me to make him coffee and serve it to him. I would say that I’m right about 90% of the time, to the extent that I could just go and make it without asking him if he’d like it, although I still ask before I do it just to be sure (more on that in a minute).

Considering it from his point of view, isn’t it better to have a slave who can tell intuitively when he wants something like this done for him, rather than having to specifically ask for it each time? It’s both more convenient for him, and is also evidence of a certain level of devotion; it takes time and dedicated effort to get to that stage of accurately predicting what he’ll need before he asks for it.

Of course, it’s also possible to become presumptuous, which is something a slave should never be. That’s why, in the example above, I said that I always ask before making coffee. What if he wants something else instead? Or, as happens occasionally, what if I misjudged what he might want at a particular moment in time? I would consider it a personal failing on my part if I presented him with a fresh mug of coffee, only to be told that he would prefer tea!

I have said in a previous post, that a slave should strive to improve his Master’s life in any way possible. Anticipating your Master’s needs and reacting to them pre-emptively is a great way to do that, and might be another major differentiator between a Dom/sub and Master/slave relationship, but it’s something that takes a lot of time and effort to get right. This is, once again, why it’s so important that a Master and slave are compatible on a personal level before they attempt to jump into an involved relationship. If you find yourself constantly unable to predict what someone wants or needs because you can’t work out how they think, then it’s going to be very difficult for you to be a good slave for them.

I often see fictitious depictions of Master/slave relationships in which the slave gets a thrill out of following his Master’s orders. That’s true to life as well, obviously, but don’t neglect the quiet satisfaction that comes with effectively obeying an unspoken order as well. It might not be quite as exciting to depict as a heavy-handed Master ordering his slave to kneel at his feet, but it will add an extra dimension to the relationship which writers often overlook.

The Master’s Voice: #19 Some Thoughts on BDSM in Fiction

I have previously touched on a point that many readers of my stories have made; that, for obvious reasons, my characters and scenarios tend to depict a more accurate representation of the BDSM lifestyle than you generally see in works of fiction. (Actually, before I go any further I should say that this isn’t a knock against people who write about BDSM without having ‘lived’ it; only that someone with decades of experience is obvious going to be able to write about it more truthfully than someone with none.) My Alpha slave and I have discussed this at some length and so I asked him to write about it here:

I think it’s safe to say that most examples of BDSM in novels, TV shows and films come from an outsiders perspective. I’m sure you’ve seen a scenario like this a dozen times in crime dramas: the detective digs into a victim’s past, only to discover that – gasp – they were into being tied up on Friday nights. Cue a scene in which the bewildered main characters, the audience surrogates, nervously entered a darkened BDSM club – or, if the writers are feeling particularly titillating, a ‘sex dungeon’. (What exactly is the difference between a ‘BDSM dungeon’ and a ‘sex dungeon’, anyway? Discuss in the comments!)

Clearly the intent here is to shock, although real-life BDSM gatherings are probably a bit too explicit to feature on daytime TV. The writers of these shows assume that the mere fact of some kind of kinky sex will be enough to surprise their audiences. They’re not writing a documentary, so why bother doing any research?

But unfamiliarity with real-life BDSM practices can create other problems than just shallow representation. I’ve noticed a trend in fiction about BDSM for Dom/sub relationships to evolve in one of three scenarios, none of which are entirely accurate. Because I’m mildly obsessed with over-analyzing creative works, I thought I’d briefly go through each of them on this blog. This is not meant to the definitive guide to fictional BDSM, but rather some random thoughts that I’ve been wanting to put some structure on for a while now. Feel free to suggest additions if you have any.

1. The Surprise Fetish

This one comes up a lot in BDSM erotica. Character A is coasting through life having decent-but-unsatisfying vanilla sex, when suddenly they run into Character B, a Dom of some description. One things leads to another, and pretty soon Character A is incapable of having an orgasm without being tied upside-down and blindfolded.

You might argue that this kind of thing can happen in real life, and you’d be right! I’m sure lots of people only discover that they have a particular fetish after stumbling across it (or someone who’s into it) an realizing that it turns them on. Where this scenario loses me, however, is when Character A goes from having no interest in BDSM whatsoever (or, in many cases, even knowing it exists) to enthusiastically engaging in a full-blown, 24×7 Master/slave relationship with Character B.

The reason why I’m always incredulous when this comes up is that people who desire that kind of relationship have almost always known it for a long time. It’s not at all uncommon to hear people say that they had fantasized about submitting to a Master (or Mastering a slave) since they were far too young to know that there was necessarily anything sexual about it. It was a strong interest, that’s all, and over time it grew into something more.

Is it possible that someone could desire a Master/slave relationship without realizing it? Certainly, but I suspect that most people who write stories this way do it out of expediency or because they don’t know anyone who has done it in real life.

2. “That’s okay, I’ll turn you into a sub!”

This one is closely related to the previous trope, except instead of realizing that they’re into BDSM, Character A is more-or-less coerced into engaging in it by Character B. Common methods used to skirt the obvious consent red flags this raises usually involve giving Character B psychic powers, of the ‘I can tell you’re really into this even though you’re not’ variety.

There’s a scene in Fifty Shades of Grey (you didn’t think we’d get through this series without mentioning it at least once, did you?) where Mr. Grey tells the main character that he wants to show her his ‘play room’. She naively assumes that he’s talking about a room where he plays his XBox. Instead of telling her that he’s doing to bring her into his BDSM dungeon (or sex dungeon, I forget which), he just leads her downstairs and more-or-less orders her to walk into a mysterious room whose function he won’t elaborate upon.

Even if you don’t think it’s a bit skeevy to bring someone into a playroom even though they have no idea what a playroom is, it’s worth keeping in mind that this is his way of starting what’s-her-name down the path of becoming his full-time submissive. Does he ask her outright if she’s ever been interested in BDSM? Does he say ‘I’m super into bondage, want to see?’ Of course not, because he can divine the inner workings of her mind, which means that he knows exactly how she’ll react to seeing his leather bed and whips and whatever else E.L. James found on Google Image Search when she typed in ‘BDSM toys’.

(You may have gathered by now that I’m not a huge fan of that book.)

The point I’m making here is that you can’t turn someone into a submissive against their will, and attempting to do so in real life would count as sexual harassment at the very least. By all means, write about character awakening to their previously-unknown interest in BDSM; just try to do so in a way that doesn’t make Character B look ten different kinds of creepy.

3. Glorious BDSM Utopia

In real life the chances of a mysterious billionaire funding the creation of a private society built around Master/slave relationships is vanishingly small, but that doesn’t stop writers from using it as a setting.

All right, so this one clearly isn’t meant to be taken seriously, and the appeal is obvious: since it isn’t possible to live out a Master/slave relationship ‘full time’ in the real world, why not create a separate, isolated society where everyone is in on the secret? I think this speaks to the fact that everyone who lives the BDSM lifestyle has to hide it to a certain extent. Fiction is a place to depict your idealised world, so why not go all-out with it?

Master Tim writes: That final paragraph made me chuckle since Alpha and I are currently co-writing a novel in which some very rich and powerful men do indeed fund a private global organisation based on D/s members. Watch out for ‘Trust and Devotion’ coming soon!

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 #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.

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