Master Tim Coaching

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The Master’s Voice #35: Topping from the Bottom

10849879_751172164938494_1102566014208657054_nIf you’ve explored the online BDSM world at all, you’ll most likely have encountered the phrase ‘topping from the bottom’. Depending on the context, this may have been presented as a bad thing (i.e. ‘Try to avoid topping from the bottom’). Most likely you won’t have received an explanation for what this actually means, since it’s one of those concepts that experienced BDSM practitioners seem to assume are universally understood.

Put simply, topping from the bottom is exactly what it sounds like: a sub, slave or other ‘bottom’ controlling what happens during a session, a responsibility which is at least nominally supposed to rest with a dominant.

On one hand, this may seem counter-intuitive. Why would the submissive subject in a scene be the one in control? Isn’t that a contradiction in terms? Looked at another way, however, topping from the bottom is perfectly natural. After all, the bottom is the one who is acted upon during a session – if not an entirely passive participant, they are at the very least the ones who things are done to rather than the one doing things to others. Doms of course have their limits and preferences, but it is unlikely that any typical session will play out in a way where those limits could unexpectedly be violated. A bottom, on the other hand, must always be aware of how close the top is bringing them to their personal line in the sand.

But ‘topping from the bottom’ doesn’t just involve the observance of limits. It carries an implication of control, of manipulating the direction and tone of a session to such a degree that the bottom is essentially calling the shots.

There are certainly cases where this might be irritating – for example, if it had been decided beforehand that the Dom would  control what happens and when, only to find that his or her Sub constantly interjects with last-second requests or alterations to the plan. This could certainly kill the mood for the Dom, particularly if the Sub is asking for things that they aren’t particularly interested in. One of the challenges presented by older or more experienced subs is that they may have developed a shopping list of their favourite activities and will present this to the Dom as a list of Things-to-Do. This often leads little room for the skill, desires or creativity of the Dom and can severely cramp their style.

But imagine the following scenario: a couple, Alice and Bob10358743_10205007187530864_55922349093193382_n (or Andrew and Bob, or Alice and Claire, or…) have been together for ten happy years. Lately, however, Alice has started to realise that she has unfulfilled desires involving submitting to a strong, dominant man – namely, her husband. Bob doesn’t exactly share these fantasies with her, but he’s happy to try out some exploratory BDSM sessions to see where it leads. Spot the potential problem!

Obviously, Bob’s inexperience here is going to be a bigger problem than Alice’s. If she was single, she might seek out an experienced Dom who could guide her through her initial forays into the BDSM world. Even if her broad minded partner were to agree to this, many female submissives feel way too vulnerable about giving themselves to a strange male Dominant. However, in this case, neither Alice nor Bob are interested in an open relationship; if they’re going to do this, it has to be with each other. That means that Bob has suddenly found himself responsible for guiding a BDSM session, something that he has no experience with. If he screws it up, Alice will feel unfulfilled – or, worse, he could accidentally violate her limits, creating a traumatic experience for both of them.

That’s a lot of pressure for an inexperienced Dom! The obvious solution is to have Alice be the one calling the shots during their first few sessions. A healthy amount of role-play will be necessary here, more so than might be the case if Bob was a seasoned veteran. His dominance over Alice will essentially be an act that he plays out for mutual satisfaction; in reality, she’ll be the one controlling what happens, and not just in the sense that she has the power to stop things immediately by using a safe word.

How exactly this will work will depend on how important it is to Alice that they maintain their roles consistently. They may arrange everything in advance down to the smallest detail and agree not to deviate from the plan. Alternatively, they may break character at certain points in the session, with Bob checking in to ensure that things are going smoothly and asking what Alice would like him to do next.

I say that this is ‘role play’ because, in this scenario at least, Alice and Bob are not ‘naturally’ submissive or dominant, respectively. Their relationship will not fundamentally change in any way. Contrast this with a full-time Master/slave or Dom/sub relationship, where the power dynamic is permanent and ‘real’ – that is, not a role that the participants slip into, but rather a natural background state that determines the parameters of their relationship as a whole.

Needless to say, there are hardcore BDSM practitioners who will turn their nose up at Alice and Bob’s arrangement. Bob isn’t really a dominant, they’ll say, and Alice isn’t really submissive. They’re only pretending.

I wouldn’t let this kind of snootiness bother you. For one thing, there will always be people more hardcore than you. If you ‘merely’ roleplay, there’ll be someone who considers their dominant or submissive side to be their real self. If you see a Dom every second week, there’ll be someone who sees one every week. If you mix a BDSM relationship with a vanilla one, there’ll be someone who does it 24 x 7, and so on.

10426202_10203883815079630_2830258561098620362_nThere is no one proper way to do BDSM. Topping from the bottom is not inherently a bad thing, and in fact it may be exactly right for you – it all depends on what kind of relationship you’re in and what kind of desires you want to have fulfilled. Where both parties are complete novices but willing to learn for each other, it may prove useful to seek out an experienced facilitator to act as a mentor in early sessions. You would both set the rules before hand and be there to look out for each other.

If you are in Alice’s situation, or if you’re afraid of the idea of handing over control to a stranger, consider topping from the bottom. It might be exactly what you need to get started.

The Master’s Voice #33: Time Wasters pt.2 -How To Spot Them and How Not To Be One

After writing the previous post I asked my Alpha slave to add his insights on the subject of time wasters.

I’ve written before about the importance of large online sites like Recon to the gay BDSM scene. I grew up with the internet, so it’s hard for me to imagine a time when finding like-minded practitioners (or, indeed, newbie-friendly information) was more difficult than creating an account on one of the big sites and immediately connecting with any of the hundreds of people online at a given time. I have to imagine that things were a lot more difficult, though.

1378650_445165942256513_2041940144_nBut the convenience of the online world brings its own unique problems. It’s easy for someone to create a profile (or many profiles) which completely misrepresent who they are and what they’re looking for; and no, in the age of Google Image Search, requiring a profile picture does nothing to combat the problem. I was only active on Recon for a short time before meeting Master Tim, but that was long enough for me to run into several people who I suspected of being ‘time wasters’ – that is, people who were more interested in creating an online fantasy than meeting someone and engaging in real-world activity.

The phrase ‘time waster’ is one that you normally see Doms using to describe would-be subs. There’s probably a good reason for that; I suspect that the number of time-wasting subs is probably much higher than the number of time-wasting doms, if only because gaining any sort of reputation as a Dom in the first place requires you to actually do things in the real world. In my admittedly fairly limited experience, I didn’t run across any Doms who I believed to be disingenuous when they said that they wanted to meet.

I suspect that Alpha may have been lucky in his encounters because the feeling I get from other subs is that there are also a good many time wasting Masters out there too! – Mr.T.

The one exception was people who told me that they wanted to meet immediately, when we had exchanged perhaps a handful of messages. Now, I don’t know about you, but in general I don’t rush to meet someone from the internet before I know anything substantial about them. It’s possible that the Doms I’m thinking of were just very enthusiastic, but when someone was ridiculously quick to suggest a meeting it made me think that it probably wouldn’t have happened even if I had agreed to it.

Of course, there’s also a darker possibility, which is that someone who suggests meeting straight away is doing so because they have less than noble intentions. I never met anyone who I thought was up to something shady, but it’s a possibility.

Now to an area where I can speak with more confidence. In browsing the profiles of my fellow subs I began to spot a certain pattern of traits that made me think someone was probably a time-waster. If you’re reading this and are planning on dipping your toe into the world of BDSM, these are things to avoid.

First of all, include a decent amount of information. You see countless profiles along the lines of ‘Hey, just looking for whatever, send me a message’, which isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement of your enthusiasm. If you’re trying to catch a Dom’s attention, you need to give the impression that you’re genuinely interested in having them contact you.

I also don’t think it’s a good idea to just include a list of fetishes that you’re interested in, since it says nothing about you or the context in which you might enjoy those things. (Are you looking for a one-off meeting with some, one or all of the items on the list, or are you a slave looking for a long-term Master who also enjoys those things? Are you exclusively a sub? Do you care whether your Dom is exclusively a Dom?)

Speaking of lists, it would probably be a good idea to limit it to things you’ve actually done, or else make it clear if you’re talking about things you’ve done and enjoy versus things you think you’ll enjoy. I lost count of the number of times I saw a profile with a gigantic list of ‘Fetishes I like’, followed by a disclaimer that the person has never done any of them in real life. I get that you like the idea of those fetishes, but any Dom will tell you that fantasy and reality are two different things. (I believe we may have touched on this subject once or twice during this blog series.) Make it clear how much experience you have – and please, don’t lie about it. That will only end badly.

Some sites, like Recon, attempt to make it easy to differentiate between Dom and sub profiles by letting their users specify, with a numerical value, how much they prefer to play each role. If you make use of a system like this, please keep it consistent with what’s in your profile. In other words, don’t say that you’re a dedicated slave looking for a Master and then put ‘80% Dom’ in your profile settings. (Yes, people really do this. No, I don’t understand it either.)

Finally, I’ll give the same advice here about offering to meet as I did for Doms. If a Dom messages you, don’t offer to meet (or, worse, demand that they meet) five minutes later. Rather than making them think you’re enthusiastic, it will just come off as false or rude – or both.

Next time  in Topping and Hugging, I want to explore the the challenges of sub-drop and yes, Dom-drop too!

The Master’s Voice #31: Public Submission

We’ve looked previously at some of the different ways for a sub to express their submission. One important aspect of  this is how to behave when you are both out in public. Since this is an area which my Aapha slave excels in and we do spend a lot of time out together, I have asked him to contribute the bulk of this post.

On one hand, this is obviously something that will vary from person to person, and what works for you may not work for someone else. In general, however, I think it’s possible to divide submissives into two groups: those for whom submission is a mental state that they enter into for a fixed period of time (usually during a BDSM session of some kind) and those for whom the submissive state is constant – or, at the very least, permanent whenever they are around their Master.

The latter scenario presents one obvious problem: how do you express your submission in public? In the privacy of your or your Master’s home it’s easy to do things like wear a collar, but it isn’t socially acceptable to do such things in public. (Unfortunately!)

Thankfully, all is not lost. There are a myriad ways to subtly express your submission, things that will have meaning for you but will not draw any undue attention from those not in the know. And I think the ‘for you’ is a key point here. There’s no list of submissive expressions approved by the High Council of BDSM. You don’t need to justify your own private code of conduct to anyone else. If it has meaning for you and your Master, then go for it, even if others in the community might scoff at it.

Below I’ll describe some of the ways that I express my submission towards Master Tim when we’re out in public, along with my rationale for each. These might be something you want to emulate, or they might not resonate with you at all. And that’s fine! At the very least, I hope they’ll inspire you to think about public submission and what it means for you.

1) Always walk slightly behind your Master

This is a pretty simple one, but it’s also very easy to observe. Whenever I’m out in public with Master Tim I always try to stay one or two paces behind him and walk to his left. What I like about this is that it’s very subtle, but at the same time is something that you really have to constantly pay attention to if you want to observe it continuously. Because of this, it’s a good way to stay constantly mindful of the submissive dynamic in your relationship.

Obviously, this isn’t something you can do absolutely all the time. (Attempting to keep this up in a busy London train station can be a bit of a logistical nightmare, let me tell you.) How strictly you’re expected to adhere to it (or any of these suggestions) will be something for you to decide with your Master.

Master T. This is something which he does automatically but when in a crowded situation I love watching him self-correct as we keep moving. Also, my husband likes to walk on my left. When the three of us are out together, I sometimes have to stifle a giggle when, out of the corner of my eye, I observe them both good naturedly jostling for that position!

2) Opening doors first

A good exception to the above rule, if you’re following it, would be to step forward to open doors for your Master. Again, it’s something that’s very easy to do, but if you try to do it all the time you’ll realise that it takes quite a bit of vigilance to get right.

3) Carrying things for your Master

This one is a bit of a no-brainer. If you’re out in public with your slave, why should you carry something yourself when they can do it for you? If I’m out with Master Tim and he has something to carry (shopping, a coffee cup at a cafe, a jacket) I’ll always offer to carry it for him.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should grab something out of your Master’s hands as soon as he takes hold of it! Always offer your services to your Master rather than assuming that he wants them. Sometimes he might prefer to carry it himself, or simply not want to load you down with too many things at once. Don’t be pushy!

4) Wear a ‘public’ collar

This one requires a bit more forethought, but has the advantage of being something you can do even if you’re not with your Master. As I said above, wearing a collar in public tends to attract unwanted attention (at the very least, people will think you’re some kind of hipster who’s trying way too hard to be ‘different’), but you can wear something else that stands in for a collar. Traditionally people have used a chain kept in place with a small padlock, but that’s also a bit conspicuous if not worn under your clothing (and could be a bit uncomfortable as well).

Really, you can use anything here – a necklace, a bracelet, even your wedding ring on a chain if your Master also happens to be your husband (or your Mistress your wife, as the case may be). Anything that holds significance for you will work. The main point is that it’s something you should be able to wear all the time. When you put it on in the morning, reflect on what it means to you as a submissive. You’ll know it’s ‘working’ if it helps you do that.

Master Tim’s Footnote.

As alpha has mentioned there are so many ways to discretely show your subservience and with a little ingenuity it is easy to find little ways to respect your Master. A couple which he did not mention but which he still does include waiting until I sit down before he sits or not getting into the car before I do. Also, what I call the Coffee Shop scenario is when we go for a coffee etc. it is his place to do the ordering/collecting even if I am paying. It is important to point out that in just the same way as he takes great pride in these little things, I never take them for granted. If for example we emerge from a crowd or get off a train etc. I am always aware of him moving as quickly as he can to take up his habitual position and that makes me very proud of him too.

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 #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 #22: The Age Thing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Master’s Voice #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.