Master Tim Coaching

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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: #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 #14: To Share or Not to share

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Master’s Voice #13: Caring and Sharing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Alpha Slave

The Master’s Voice 06 – Fantasy Vs. Reality (or, Why Porn is not Research).

Whether I’m addressing friends from the BDSM world or my many author friends there is one acclamation that you hear me use a lot: Porn is not Research. If you wish to live the lifestyle or dabble in it, this is very important. Maybe you are wanting to write accurately and descriptively about it. Either way the fantasy world of porn can give a wholly false impression. In truth BDSM without the checks and balances, without the careful negotiation and preparation could be a very dangerous thing. In this blog I intend to look at the differences and relate them to real experience.

My Alpha Slave often talks about how the months (or years!) leading up to his first real-life BDSM experience involved a lot of research. Like so many he sought out blogs written by experienced Doms and subs. Perhaps like him you’ve sought out some of the many books written on the subject.

Or, and I’m guessing this is as likely if not more so than the previous options, you looked at porn.

Obviously there’s nothing wrong with that! BDSM porn is abundant on the internet and elsewhere, and it’s certainly a valuable tool in determining what exactly you’re interested in. (Of course, it has other, non-educational benefits as well.)

The problem is that, as always, porn depicts a very skewed version of reality. Just as vanilla porn shows a heavily idealised (or non-idealised, depending on your perspective) view of sex, BDSM porn shows a version of the Dom/sub relationship that is unlikely to exist in reality.

Rather than going through all the ways porn movies ‘get it wrong’, I’d like you to ask yourself a simple question: what does porn not show?

The answer, obviously, is ‘real life’. Most BDSM porn doesn’t show a sub arriving at a Dom’s house (or hotel room or club or what have you) for the first time. It doesn’t show the actors negotiating over limits and boundaries. It certainly doesn’t carry on after the money shot is over to reveal how the Dom and sub get along outside of the playroom/dungeon.

These are all things that are going to happen in the real world, but porn movies aren’t going to give you any pointers on how to handle them. Going solely by what you see in pornography, you might think that BDSM relationships are things that happening spontaneously to a pair of automata who exist in their own pocket universe.

The one exception to the rule might be erotic fiction, which often at least pays lip service to depicting the full breadth of a Dominant/submissive relationship, but here we get into the issue of accuracy. Most authors of erotic fiction do not have real-life experience in the world of BDSM, and are likely to base their descriptions of it on second or third-hand information. (Or, worse, they might base it on those porn movies we just spent several paragraphs discussing.)  By all means, read fictionalized accounts of BDSM relationships as a way to fire your imagination, but don’t expect what you read to be perfectly in line with reality.

Ultimately, any media created primarily for titillation is a fantasy, and nobody expects or even wants their fantasies to match the everyday experience of their real life.

To quote my Alpa Slave again “In my case I was lucky, because in Master Tim I found someone who was able to take what I’d been fantasizing about for so many years and turn it into a reality, but even still there were things I couldn’t have predicted before I met him – mostly because, well, I hadn’t met him yet! My idealised ‘fantasy’ master was nameless, faceless and mostly devoid of any personality. He was an idea, not a human being, and anything I imagined happening with that idea couldn’t possibly happen exactly that way with a real person. The reality is so much better than what I envisioned, but it doesn’t change the fact that that disconnect exists and is something you should keep in mind when you’re planning your future life as a submissive or slave.”

Porn has been around for time immemorial, but there is now a new kid on the block when it come to BDSM fantasy. The internet has changed the way we find each other and interact with each other in ways we could never have expected. My reason for inserting this topic is the explosion of social media and of dating sites. We are all well aware of how transparently truthful people are on such sites and how we should believe online biographies implicitly. Yeah right! If the number of fit guys with 10″ dicks is true, then anatomists need to reassess their idea of what is average. Also when it comes to listing ages, the internet seems to indicate that number blindness is far more common than we thought!

For those seeking to find BDSM partners and experiences, there is a more insidious issue here. People spend a huge amount of time gathering their ‘experience’ online before they build up the courage to try the real thing. It is therefore more than likely that their expectations will be much closer to fantasy than reality. I find more and more that BDSM novices are only novices of the real thing and that faced with the reality they are at best confused and at worst, quite disappointed.

As a novice practitioner you should also be prepared to enjoy things you never thought you’d enjoy and to dislike things you were expecting to like. This is probably more relevant for people who want to seek out a Dom/sub relationship heavily based around shared fetishes, but it’s worth noting for everyone: just because you enjoy thinking about something doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll enjoy doing it for real. It is a great shame when it happens, but it is easy to imagine someone being confused or disappointed when they discover that the thing they’ve been craving for so long turns out to not be exactly what they wanted after all.

Ultimately, there’s no amount of research – porn-based or otherwise – that can prepare you for meeting a Dom or Master for the first time. Trust your instincts, keep an open mind and wait for the right person. There’s no better way to make sure that your fantasies become a reality.

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