Monday, March 29, 2010

nipple torture?

I'm all for nipple torture, but............

Behold the Flaming Tatas of India

By matthew.debord
Created 03/23/2010 - 9:09am
Shifting Gears [1]

I ran across the headline and, even though I knew of the car, my mind still went a different direction entirely.


We went to the art museum this weekend and passed by this sculpture on the way out - my husband got a huge grin on his face that needed no explanation.

Yes, another tease........

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Explaining myself

After this past weekend, we've had some conversations. Part of the upshot for me was that, in a few things that were important to me, his way of responding seemed to me to be back to our old ways, not the ways we had been learning and getting better at. Part of it for me, unfortunately, is my assumptions. I assume he knows how I feel about things, how I respond, what has what kind of effect on me; never mind the fact that I haven't actually told him most of these things. I also, I think, fall into the trap of having an idea of how things "should work", something I create in my imagination, fueled by too much reading and too much imagining.

But the slide into our previous patterns led me to think that perhaps he either didn't really want to be involved in any sort of power exchange/dominant/submissive/ttwd relationship at all. [Yes, in spite of being typically nearly perfect, every once in awhile I have a bout of overly dramatic self doubt and insecurity] Specifically, I wondered if he was uncomfortable with thinking of me as "submissive." The word doesn't have the most positive connotations in the more general, everyday sense. Did it make him think I am not the person he has known, that I am or want to be less - less intelligent, less useful, less engaged, less thoughtful, less strong?

His response,after a good deal of thought, was that he doesn't want any part of something in which he (or any one else) diminishes in their respect for me. That he knows there are some areas I am more suited for than he - and it is silly for him to take over those things. And that he doesn't feel any compulsion to lessen me, that what he really feels compelled to do is to take care of me.

I know it doesn't have to be these things. First of all, it wouldn't work for us that way - we just couldn't, so it won't happen, whether anyone would argue it should or not. I also believe that we can use the advantages the dynamic has to offer, expand and nurture some aspects to my personality that I had never realized, and, I think, utilize his strengths more fully - all while being true to ourselves.

So I am trying to explain myself to him. This is very hard because I am learning myself all over again. There is a lot about myself that I don't understand. A lot of reactions, responses, thoughts, feelings, obsessions, and changes in personality that take me by complete surprise. It sounds incredibly simplistic to say "subs are this way; it's best to do x,y,and z, with them; they will respond to...." But instinct tells me that, as much as I am an individual, and we are certainly uniquely us, there are probably some common traits, patterns, ways of thinking maybe that might be helpful to be aware of.

Someone has suggested to me that it would be good for my husband to read about or discuss with others how submissives are, so that he will know what to expect, how I will respond, what I need, etc... I agree, and I don't. I do think it would make it easier for him (and me) for some of my strange reactions and behaviours to be less shocking to him, for him to have ideas about how to help me realize things, to maybe avoid some the misunderstanding. Ideas or inspiration are good, not re-creating the wheel is good, learning from others' mistakes is good. On the other hand, I know he doesn't want to be or follow anyone else, and I don't want to be anyone but what he wants. I think that, somehow between the two, there must be a balance point.

In the mean time - I will keep trying to explain myself to him.

Monday, March 22, 2010

I screwed up.

I got up out of bed and went to sleep on the sofa because I didn't want to sleep next to my husband. Neither of us has ever done that before. I didn't think about it, I just needed to be not near him. I didn't consider that it would really bother him. But it did, enormously.

A lot of poor choices and mis-communication got us to the point that I felt that way, and a lot of fears and misunderstandings are being uncovered trying to reconcile.

This new dynamic has improved our relationship immensely, but when things go wrong, I feel like they go much worse, like falling from a higher place or like something highly tuned to go fast or powerfully which is easily derailed by the smallest bump. The bumps also scare me because the reactions and feelings and ways of interacting that we had grown past all come flooding back, and are ugly and bitter to me. That was the risk of starting this, that if it failed, if we failed, we would return to the way things had been, only to find them no longer so palatable.

My husband disagrees. He feels that the same advantages that make this dynamic work typically, make us more resiliant to the bumps, not less so. I want to see it that way. He wants me to see it that way. In order to do that, I need to figure out what is keeping me from believing this.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Why is sex so important?

Over the past year I am learning and being shown more and more that it is such a crucial part of our relationship.

My past has heavily influenced my attitudes about sex - and, I'm sure, my sexuality. I don't mean in a deep, "requires years of psychoanalysis to uncover" way. I'm sure that is there also - but I am blissful being ignorant of the details of whatever may lie below what I consciously understand. I know there were some strange, very abnormal things that happened around me and some absolutely wrong things that happened to me through my childhood. The things that happened to me, I have faced and come to terms with, and left in the past. The things that happened around me I think I am only starting to recognize and work out.

Growing up, the general social attitude about sex was conservative but not especially repressive. Within this context, my parents lived their sex life out in the open, and not in a "the human body is beautiful, our sexuality is a natural expression of our love" way. They aired their laundry, played their mind games, laid their traps and guilt trips, made their threats, and fought for control out loud and in front of everyone. Most often, everyone was the children and the conversations, arguments, and acts were way, way too specific. Their circumstances were governed by the fact of my dad's disability, which added layers of dysfunction to their dynamic, many of which I recognize, but am not (as is clear here) reconciled with. But - I'm not so willing to go digging any deeper through their abuse and passivity either.

So through my teens, through dating, and through the majority of my marriage, my normal, physiological, hormonal, etc... desires for the physical acts of sex were always at war with my very dim view of sex as a loving bond between two people. Only recently am I learning that it really can be.

There is a common wisdom that says that women need the relationship primarily and sex is a nice add on, and that men need the sex and the relationship can flow from there. [By conventional wisdom, I mean typical grocery store, check out counter, magazine racks.] I'm thinking that it's much deeper than either of those, and that in this, we (my husband and I) are becoming more aligned in our view of the role of sex. Ironically, we are becoming closer in our view of it even as we grow further apart from each other in our roles and the specific ways we engage in and experience it.

I'm not sure what terms people would use, but taking sex to levels that include more control, bondage, pain, objectification, whatever it is that moves it beyond making love - requires more effort for both parties and has more risk. It can require planning, precious alone time (our kids are around WAY TOO MUCH), maybe equipment, certainly a whole different level of mental involvement. The risks are greater also - the risk of being walked in on by a child is far less acceptable than "normal" mom and dad sex (not that we want that to happen either). There is also every chance that things will not go as envisioned, that a response will be different than expected, that there will be distress felt by one person or the other.

So what is the drive to try? Because I do feel the drive. I am frustrated by lack of time and opportunity, but have no thoughts of wanting to give up the effort. I get antsy and out of sorts (to put it mildly) if it has been too long. But with a nod to Sir J, why is this so important, so foundational?

I have a few ideas. I am working on it. With any luck we will keep investigating for many years - then I'll get back to you.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

putting things together

Some things are starting to tie together in my mind. That's one of the advantages of this blog - I can look and see how the back and forth and all-over-the-place of my thoughts sometimes really make a pattern that I may not have recognized otherwise. My mind has been chewing on the idea of what I do and say, versus what I really think. I don't always succeed in saying or doing the right thing, but I try. What I think, though, has and will continue to evolve, I'm sure. I'm also sure that, on one hand, I am meant to think and consider and make choices deliberately, biut that, on the other hand, theI have too many backseat-driving-in-my-mind thoughts that are not useful or good for us. Where that line is will change over time, but, as we keep going along, I hope there will be more of the former and fewer of the latter.

I think that this had everything to do with what happened last week. We - neither of us - is experienced in this. [Just to be clear, in this case I'm talking about sex, and play, and the things designed to cause pain and maybe anxiety for me] I fall vicitim to the human (maybe uniquely submissive - I don't know) appeal of the James Bond-esque man who knows all, can do all, with no hint of hesitation, everything is always perfect and perfectly effective, every time, fantasy. But I am an adult and I am able to separate fantasy from reality. The fact remains though, that this is a learn as you go kind of process for both of us, and since I'm the one being learned upon, those backseat-driving-in-my-mind thoughts are often loudest when things are the most intense. Which I think very much defeats the purpose and detracts from the whole thing - I assume the idea is to experience the experience rather than view or analyze it. I guess that's part of the learning curve. I can see over time that I am slowly becoming able to quiet these thoughts with more things, but they remain quite instrusive, quite often.

The trade off to our inexperience, of course, is that we have years of experience and history with each other. We know each other pretty well, and we trust each other; particularly, I absloutely trust his desire to always protect me from harm. That's the other reason I hate the voices of caution and second guessing in my head. It's not fair to him (ignore that 4 letter word if you must). Being on guard and analyzing every act as it occurs to decide if I think it is ok, safe, or whatever, is a serious lack of trust.

I don't know what happened last time to trigger it, I hadn't been thinking explicitly about any of these things, but something about it, or maybe everything about it, made it different. Shortly into it, all the voices stopped. There was no being on guard or watching to see if I needed to protect myself. There was just the experiencing. And I think that's why it felt so very unusual and left me so adrift afterwards.

The two of us were able to spend some time over the weekend talking about it. As we sorted it out and the implications became clear, we began to see it as a good thing. There is no reason in the world why we have to take our relationship or our sex life on this sort of adventure. But I think it makes my husband deeply pleased to see me be able to turn myself over to him in this way, and that makes me so happy.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

It hurt.

It's supposed to - that's what I asked for... what, a year ago now.
But this was different - my position, whatever he was doing, turned out differently.
I didn't know, I knew, but I didn't know. I don't think he knew - how could he?

It changed me, or I was changed, or it shifted my mind somehow. I think that, instead of thinking I was feeling, instead of planning I was waiting, instead of trying I was listening and reaching to sense him. It's fuzzy, it didn't get written to memory the usual way.

Feeling and sensing don't leave room for should I or shouldn't I? Or how should I? Or why? Or, what must he think? The only option is to react. What the body does, what the mind does without censoring.

But why did it leave me on the edge of tears afterwards? Tentative, raw, withdrawn?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

reflexes vs. responses - or - do thoughts count?

I know that my progress in this whole thing is only skin deep. I know this because I know what goes on inside my head - what lies beyond skin deep.

I do try to go along with what he says, and I succeed to greater or lesser degrees. But that's the skin deep - the final action/outcome, the response. If he says, "Do X" - I may feel this way or another way about doing X - but I will do it (or not) anyhow. The response involves choices - step on the brake vs. the accelerator, swing or let it go and risk the strike, comply or choose not to. This obviously "counts."

I think that the immediate thought/emotion/first impulse one has about something really doesn't "count." It is like a physical reflex, they happen whether you want them to or not. They are important and very informative as to our state of mind (or body/health). We can't really supress them entirely, but they can be influenced by our state of being beforehand, and we can act to avoid expressing them. But the absence of reflexes indicates a serious problem in the system somewhere. So - I do think it makes sense to study the reflexive feelings/emotions/thoughts: I should ask why I feel the way i do, what issues or barriers are present and what can be done about that. But I don't think I should be held accountable for them - only for my response in spite of them.

Beyond these though, there are parts of my brian or other levels of my thinking about which I am not so sure. It's the endless analysis of why he has asked or done what he has. What are the ramificatin of the whole thing on me? On him? How would my action or inaction impact him? How do I want it to impact him? It's the same way one examines one's interactions with students or children or patients.
On the one hand, it is maybe self aware - self examination and intentionality are good, right? And the goal is truly most often with the other person's interest in mind, how to make things easier, to protect him from worry, to save him the trouble. But it is also somewhat patronizing towards him. It's a kind of mind game, and ultimately, it's effect is manipulation of the other person, no matter the intention behind it. The real leap of faith would be to just comply or not, or maybe first to work to identify the barriers to action- overcome them - then do or don't do.

It's this sort of thinking that I don't know about. First and foremost - I don't know if I really could shut it off, although - if I really try - I can override it. Also - should I - is it useful, natural, generally good? Or is it just manipulative or a sign of serious doubt? It does keep me from coming to him with questions or concerns, or desires because I want to protect him from the trouble of it. But I suppose the question is - should I really be thinking about protecting him, or just trust that he can and will manage.

See what I mean - not so much change in myself if you look further than skin deep.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

like father like son

My older son is 12. He is so much like me that we often butt heads spectacularly. We both love to learn, both become so fully engaged in a discussion that we develop tunnel vision, we both live to argue in order to hone our thinking about a topic, we both have to have the last word, and neither of us can stand to wait while someone finishes a sentence. It is the "unstoppable force meets immovable object" if we are both in high gear. My husband tries to re-direct or intercede or at least send us to separate corners when he can. Sometimes he just rolls his eyes and waits it out.

Twelve is an interesting age, as I suppose they all are. He is at times so much a teenager with attitude, at times so much more mature in making connections and putting big concepts together, and sometimes still a little boy. I know that gaining autonomy and independence in his thinking and being are normal and necessary parts of growing up. In most cases they are welcome, he moves through his world, takes care of himself, and sees to his responsibilities with a lot less physical help or oversight than used to be necessary.

The thing I didn't expect was that recently he has begun to flip the tables. He has started trying to take care of me. He asks how my work is going, he checks to make sure I have eaten breakfast and packed a good lunch, he reminds me to get rest and take time for myself, and tells me that he will take care of jobs around the house so I can focus on tasks I need to do. I wondered for awhile where this was coming from. We are not a frontier family or a military family where the father goes off and leaves the oldest son to "be the man of the house." I am not in any way in crisis or under huge stress, in fact the big, big project I was focused on ended last fall, things are much easier now.

I think it comes down to how he sees his father treating me. The way we relate to each other has changed in subtle ways, and this son is incredible at picking up on subtle. I know sons imitate and emulate their fathers, maybe the change in our dynamic came at just the point in my son's growth that it struck him as me needing more care, or he feels he wants to shift his relationship with me. I don't know, I also go back and forth as to how I feel about it. I have trouble with feeling like anyone needs to take care of me - my job is caretaker - so it often annoys me to have my child try to assume that role. I still have to be patient and bite my tongue in order to work with the dynamic with my husband this way, it is much harder for me to accept coming from my son. And I wonder if or how it might undermine my authority, if it means that he sees himself as in charge of me or if it hasn't had that implication for him. On the other hand, it is also sweet and in the end a quality we should encourage in him. All in all, it's not one of the issues I imagined having as we approached teenagehood.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

thoughts i can't catch

My past few posts have been fairly light fare, although certainly with some underlying meaning for me. Like (I assume) most everyone else, my thought processes and maybe my growth, in any sort of area, have cycles of intense activity and quieter times. Also, my life, our lives, and our family's activities have ebbs and flows of managable and way too busy. Right now is a time of way too busy. And it is probably no coincidence that it is also a somewhat quieter time inside my head. Except I keep catching glimpses of thoughts that intrigue me or questions I feel that I really want to explore. And then I get distracted agian with everything else. I feel like I can't quite catch the thoughts, that they are just out of reach. I'm putting a few of the pieces here; I don't think they have answers, I haven't thought them through at all, I'm not even sure how I feel about them, maybe they aren't important questions at all, maybe they are.

How does all of this integrate with our real life? Does it eventually come to feel real and natural, an organic part of our relationship that just happens and evolves as we do? Or does it always feel useful but a bit contrived?

Could I ever, and should I ever, (those are two very different issues) really change my thinking to consider my husband before myself in everything? Whatever is good for our relationship, is also good for me, not just him. Should the goal or the object of the effort be him, or should it be our relationship, the "us"?

On the other hand, moving my thinking from whatever it was before, to considering him more than I had, has been good, has been better, and also more right in a lot of ways.

Somehow, perversely, I feel like these changes are making me lazy, or letting me be lazy I guess. I find it too easy to not make decisions, not just work things out myself, not just do what needs to be done. I am sure this isn't a good trend, it's not how I've ever been in the past and it is a little disturbing to see in myself.

Is there a way to just go with all this - or does it need to be thought out and examined the way I do?

What is the balance between learning from others and making it our own, not like anything or anyone elses? Something shifted in me a year ago, and started to shift in our relationship. I do believe that I would not have recognized that fact without a framework or context and that this thing has fit the "us" well in a lot of ways, so it is useful. So, have we come to the end of its usefullness, or is there still more to learn from others, not just on our own? How can I be sure I am looking at and learning from others' ideas, not subconsciously integrating or copying them as my own?

Thanks for bearing with me - with this kind of post. I tend to be unskilled at making my brain tackle things on demand, but when it is ready, it usually happens with a vengence. So I guess I will wait until it is ready.

Monday, March 1, 2010

pushing my limits

There is so much equipment - getting everything tightened down, buckled in, wrist straps in place, the proper pieces over the head and the face, maybe something around the neck.... Then the work. It's so easy for him, he is so much stronger, and so much better at this. I have to push myself just to keep up; in fact, I know he is taking it easy on me, slowing down and choosing simpler ways for me. And there are typically aches and bruises the next day.

But I love this. I love being pushed, I love asking more of my body than I typically do. I love the feeling of flying that happens when it all comes together just right, the feeling of moving just at the edge of control. Of course, if you go a little too far, a little too fast, a little past your limits - it can be quite painful.

Actually - the whole family loves it.