Master Tim Coaching

Posts Tagged ‘sub’

The Master’s Voice #20: A view from the top Pt.1

Although there are still quite a few new topics waiting in the wings for this blog series, it has always been my intention to interact with my readers and to respond to their needs. Each posting seems to generate a good deal of feedback and many very good questions. Recent postings have led to some great comments and questions about the sexual dynamics of so called ‘tops’ and ‘bottoms’ so now seems to be a good time to address the issue.

First of all comes my usual disclaimer that there are no rules. Every person is different. Every couple has their own dynamic and yet, within that context, there are a lot of assumptions made. There is however a perceived wisdom and a set of generalisations that most people accept as true:

  • Being Dom usually means being ‘top’.
  • Being sub usually means being ‘bottom’.
  • Top and bottom usually refer to a persons role in penetrative sex.
  • In gay male sex the top is usually referred to as ‘active’
  • In gay male sex the bottom is usually referred to as ‘passive’.
  • Switching between roles is often referred to as being ‘versatile’.
  • Versatile players are often referred to as ‘switches’.
  • Some switches measure their versatility in terms of a percentage top or bottom.
  • e.g. 90% Top means mostly top but will “bottom for the right partner”.
  • Completely versatile switches use the term ’50/50′
  • Not all couples like or engage in penetrative sex
  • Terms such as ‘domination’, ‘control’ and ‘power exchange’ are also used in this context.
  • In gay BDSM scenes the Dom/Master is usually top/active.
  • In gay BDSM scenes the sub/slave is usually bottom/submissive.
  • In heterosexual BDSM scenes, Male doms are almost always top/active.
  • In heterosexual BDSM scenes, Female doms (dominatrixes) are often bottoms sexually.
  • In heterosexual BDSM scenes, Female doms will often use sex toys including strap-on dildos to allow them to take on the top/active role in penetrative sex.

This is not meant to be an exhaustive list but there should now be enough options for your fertile minds to start filling in any gaps. Just make sure that you also factor in other gender options such as lesbian and transexual or non-binary couplings and also group dynamics such as bi-sexual threesomes (m/m/m, f/f/f, m/m/f or f/f/m). Nor should you forget that BDSM can be an asexual activity too. Possibly the newest classification to cross my radar is MSM/NGI. Any ideas? Well it’s one which I will personally confirm as very much on the increase – Men having Sex with Men/Not Gay Identified.

For those of you who are BDSM practitioners, much of this list will have little relevance where it strays beyond your own needs, experience or curiosity. For my writing colleagues however, I’ve just delivered a whole menu of potential new fictional interactions with endless possibilities for fun and/or drama.

For some people these choices and options can be difficult to comprehend. As an example, let me quote from one dear reader who wrote a well thought out response to a recent blog post:

I guess I am slightly confused because whether you read fact or fiction about the BDSM lifestyle you are “taught” that submissives/slaves are to be respected because they are so strong and giving and trusting etc. Point being they are the strong ones but if that is so isn’t it like Master Tim said, throwing stones while in a glass house, to saying that Dominant men don’t bottom because it is considered weak/less male/not done because men in control don’t get a dick shoved up their butt?

Actually I thought this particular reader was less confused than they claimed to be. It is true that subs are strong. It is also true that most male doms refuse to bottom because they think it somehow weaker or less masculine.

A good friend of mine was once being teased by his straight workmates along the lines that he was less of a man they were because he admitted to being a bottom. They all got very uncomfortable however, when he suggested that very few of them would be strong enough or man enough to “take one up the bum” without running to their mothers in tears.

There are cultural differences involved here too. In the UK for example, it is my experience that British men are much more polarised about their sexual preferences. Others, such as Americans, tend to be far more flexible and versatile without challenging their masculinity. For those of you who are writing about these things, it often leads to transatlantic confusion. One big difference for example is that European doms see the activity known as ‘rimming’ (look it up) as being something being done by the sub or bottom as a sign of submission to the dom. Many American tops however see rimming as something that they do to the bottom prior to penetrating him.

Many subs prefer to engage only with doms who are 100% top. For them it is essential to be able to think of their dom as an exclusively dominant, top, active, sexual partner.

Attitude, self confidence and even arrogance all have a part to play in these choices. Before I leave you, lets look at one more set of options.

Some guys do change sides for various reasons and tops may become bottoms or vice versa as a life choice. This also leads to the thorny question of experience. We often see or hear it said that the best doms or tops, have at least spent some time experiencing the role of a sub or a bottom. This is where many doms get very flustered and defensive claiming that it is not true. This premise appears damaging to their status and should be denied at all costs. It is true that many great doms have never experienced life as a sub or bottom. Of those who have at some point broaden their experience however, I have yet to meet one who denies that it made them a better dom.

Next time : Today has been all about sweeping generalisations and it would be foolish of me to put them out there as pure opinion. In Part 2, I will explore some of the studies which have been done around ideas of power exchange and the roles of dominance and submission.

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 #18: Munches, Fairs and Discovery Nights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.londonmunch.co.uk

www.manchestermunch.com

www.findamunch.com

www.londonalternativemarket.com

www.londonfetishfair.co.uk

www.brumbazaar.co.uk

www.smgays.org

My thanks to GymHarry again for the sexy image.

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

Hurting the one you love.

Loving the one you hurt.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BDSM is good for you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

References:

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

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

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

The Master’s Voice #13: Caring and Sharing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Master’s Voice 07: The First Meeting.

We’ve looked at why you should negotiate with any prospective Dom about your limits, and why it’s important to lay a lot of groundwork before you decide to meet with someone. I wish I could say that everything after that point is nice and straightforward, but of course, it isn’t. (You may be starting to detect a theme here.)

You’ve no doubt read a lot of the standard advice when it comes to meeting someone from the internet for the first time, but I’ll repeat it here anyway just in case. These guidelines are designed to keep you safe, so think long and hard before you choose to ignore any of them!

1) Meet in Public. This one is a no-brainer. Be very cautious if someone insists on meeting you in their home or in a secluded spot – there is no conceivable reason why someone should demand that you meet them for the first time in a park at night, just to use one obvious (if unlikely) scenario. If someone wants to meet in a strange place, ask yourself why that might be.

2) Be specific about why you’re meetingGenerally speaking, your first interaction with a Dom will involve more talking than playing. As with the previous point, remember that they should be trying to protect themselves as well by making sure you’re the kind of person they want in their home (or wherever else it is you’ll eventually end up). An over-eagerness to get you into a private place so they can tie you up as quickly as possible might be a sign that they’re not going to respect your wishes once they have you in a vulnerable position.

3) Have a way out. Ideally, you’ll want to tell someone where you’re going when you meet for the first time and make sure that they’re expecting to hear from you at a specific time. If that’s not possible, then at the very least make sure that you can contact someone if need be during your first meeting. This goes hand-in-hand with meeting in public.

Apart from just safety, though, there are some other things to keep in mind when arranging an initial meeting. I’ve been harping on about the fact that when you meet a Dom or a Master, you’re also meeting a person, and it applies here as well. If you meet in a coffee shop (which is an excellent place to do it, by the way), what will you talk about? Do you have any questions you’d like to ask? Have you thought about what questions they might ask you?

If you’re only planning on meeting for occasional rounds of BDSM play, then all of this might seem like something you don’t have to worry about – after all, it’s not as if you’re on a first date. But if the person you’re meeting has any aspirations towards being your permanent Master – if you consider yourself a slave, in other words – then this first meeting will be almost exactly like a first date.

By this point you’ll have be finished with the negotiations and limits-setting stages (I hope), but remember, it’s not too late for either party to realize particular meeting isn’t entirely what they’re looking for. This could be something as general as a personality mismatch, which definitely does matter in the BDSM world, or something as specific as a previously-unmentioned fetish which is a must-have for one person but a complete dealbreaker for the other. As always, the important thing to keep in mind is that you can leave at any time if you feel uncomfortable. It’s not as if you’ve committed to anything. (And actually, even if you have committed to something, you can still leave.)

But I don’t want to dwell on the negative too much. Your first meeting with a Dom or Master should be a wonderful experience even if you do nothing but get to know each other face-to-face after previously chatting online. Whether it’s the beginning of something more long-term or just a once off meeting, for many subs or slaves it will be the culmination of years of fantasizing and dreaming. Stay safe, lay the groundwork and try to ignore the butterflies in your stomach!

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.

The Master’s Voice 05 – Limits and Negotiations

Before we get into a discussion of limits, I want to make it clear that I am in no way attempting to spoil your fun here. In fact, the opposite is true and I hope to arm you with the tools to ensure you the best possible experiences.

At some point during your travels through the online BDSM world, you will no doubt have come across the term ‘limits’. People have limits, you will have been told. Doms and Masters must respect your limits, which means that you must make them aware of what they are. Limits are important!

You should be able to enter a BDSM relationship or interaction knowing that the experience will be a wholly consensual one. Any Dom who ventures into the realms of non-consensual behaviour is an abuser or even a rapist and should be treated as such.

‘Limits’ are pretty much what they sound like: things you’re unwilling to do. This might be because they don’t interest you, because you don’t want to do them with that particular person, or because they’re an extreme turn-off for you. Regardless of the reasons (and you shouldn’t ever need to justify them), your limits represent a firm no-go area for your Dom or Master. They shouldn’t ever cross them, regardless of the circumstances. Any good Dom will agree with this.

Of course, in order for someone to respect your limits, they first have to be aware of what they are. This is where negotiation comes into the picture.

On one hand, I’m almost hesitant to use the term ‘negotiation’ in relation to limits, because that makes it sound like they’re something you can or should be talked out of. You shouldn’t, obviously. At the same time, though, everything up to  your limits might be subject to negotiation, and it’s at this stage when you’re likely to discover how much your tastes and preferences align with those of a particular Dominant.

For example, let’s say you’re into bondage. That encompasses an extremely wide array of activities, and it’s unlikely that you enjoy all of them equally. Perhaps you’d prefer if a session involved more or less of a particular variety of bondage. If so, the negotiation phase is when you should speak up about it, otherwise you may end up coming away disappointed with the experience.

At the same time, your Dominant might enjoy a completely different kind of bondage, and may feel that a session wouldn’t be complete without it. Do you agree to doing it in the interests of mutual satisfaction even though it’s not something you particularly enjoy? Or do you insist on limiting all activities to things you’re both going to like equally, even if that means foregoing certain activities altogether? This is why it’s called ‘negotiation’ – there’s likely to be some level of compromise.

I should reiterate, however, that ‘compromise’ should never be about whether or not a Dom violates your limits! If the discussion starts to go in that direction you should immediately be on your guard, because it could indicate that the person you’re talking to isn’t respecting your limits as much as they should.

At this point you may be asking yourself if it’s possible that these negotiations might come to a standstill. That’s always a possibility, of course, and it goes back to what I’ve said in previous posts. A BDSM relationship is exactly that – a relationship. If you’re not compatible with someone, then you shouldn’t expect that a relationship with them – however limited or short-lived it is – will be successful. And that’s okay! It’s better to find out that you and a dominant are fundamentally incompatible at the negotiation stage than in the middle of a session.

I think it’s also worth talking about two very common fantasies: the submissive with no limits and the dominant who is so skilled or authoritative that they can encourage a submissive into pushing themselves beyond their limits.

If you’re someone who thinks that they ‘have no limits’, ask yourself this: how do you know? If a Dominant had you completely at his mercy, with the ability to do literally anything to you, would you feel safe? What if it turns out the Dominant is violent or dangerous? Would you still be having a good time? But wait, you might say, that’s not what you meant! When you said you had no limits, you meant that you’re into heavy bondage or ‘extreme’ fetishes. You don’t want to do anything dangerous.

Unfortunately, there are people out there who hear ‘I have no limits’ and take it as an invitation to let loose on you. They might end up seriously hurting you, either intentionally or by accident. This is why no responsible Dominant will take someone seriously when they say that they have no limits, particularly if that person is inexperienced. Everyone has limits. If you think you don’t, it just means you haven’t discovered what they are yet.

It is true, however, that some Dominants can help you explore the boundaries of your limits – and, in some cases, push past them. This is something that requires a great deal of trust, and should only be done if you want to do it. And of course, it goes without saying that a safe word is just as important in this situation than it is in any other context. Always make sure you have a safe word in place, and don’t even think of ‘pushing your limits’ with a Dom who you don’t trust to respect it!

Limits aren’t the same as limitations, and they aren’t something that you should ever feel required to ‘overcome’. If a Dominant immediately launches into a monologue about how he’s going to help you go beyond your limits before he’s even met you, it might be time to end things before they move past the negotiation stage.

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