Monday, June 28, 2010

just questions

I have only questions today. I wrote to my husband a few days ago that our relationship suddenly feels like 24/7 D/s. We hadn't planned that, or sought it out, or even really thought it would be a good thing for us to pursue. But here it is.

Is this the right thing for us? And how would we know? How do you make a decision about something so overarching and all encompassing without having tried it out first?

Of course we did that when we got married. We committed to 'for better or for worse, forever.' That was similar I suppose, except that we had lived together for some time, and marriage leaves a lot more wiggle room than this does for compromise and re-adjusting, and we were young and niave and, and, and ...

Should we just keep moving along having it just be what it will be, the entity that arises naturally from the interaction of our individual persons and needs and wants? Or is there a greater gain to the act of committing to something more concrete? I do believe that the commitment of marriage in and of itself can give people an extra support in difficult times that is not available from living together or what have you. Or it can turn out to be the albatross dragging two individuals into their own personal ruin.

The idea that my submitting to him one time, albeit one very carefully thought out and openly discussed time, seems unrealistic. What if I change? what if he does? Sure, the small changes we have made so far have improved our relationship, our family life, and I think, each of us as individuals. But sometimes it is hard. And the nature of this beast is that I commit, on some level, to stop worrying about questions like this. To just do. Is that a good idea?

And how do I know that this is the right way for me to live? How do I know that my personality not only can tolerate such a thing, but can thrive and grow with such a thing? How do I know that this is the best way for me? How does he decide if it is best for him? How do we know if it is the way for is? And if we move forward, how do I stop myself from wondering?

Friday, June 25, 2010

living now

Last night we had a little time that we hadn't expected to have. The stay-awake-way-too-late son was at a sleepover and the good sleeper crashed even earlier than usual. We finished the things we needed to do in the evening, and we were both looking forward to bed time. We had been apart a few days and really wanted to re-connect.

He had me gather a few things while he showered. He had chosen implements that I particularly like, and he had not chosen the one that I really don't like. Then he met me upstairs.

There are times that things go well and times that things are somewhat of a learning experience. Last night was just very nice. It was fast, and intense, and left red stripes completely covering my backside and thighs. For a good part of it, he had me on his new bench. It is a really simple thing, not much more than a sturdier, painted and padded sawhorse. But somehow the position and the support allowed me to relax much more than usual. I slowed my breathing and dropped my limbs. I felt the impact, but the pain was much further away, like a sound that you know is loud, but isn't because of the distance.

We talked a little before we fell asleep. I explained how I had felt, that I assumed he had been easing off as he went. He told me it had been the opposite: he had been surprised at how he was able to increase what he was doing without distressing me. He liked that, and he liked seeing me respond the way I did.

We talked too about the fact that it had been a fairly simple thing. There were no new things tried, no high emotions involved, no boundaries pushed, no time spent doing things I find difficult, nothing extreme about it. Granted, all of these valuations are relative. The whole evening would have been shocking to many people or a giant yawn to others. Also granted, everyone has to go through the learning process, everything we do is new and boundary pushing at first. If we never push, and never have the 'learning experiences', times like last night would not be possible.

But we both agreed that we are in no rush to charge full speed ahead. It is nice sometimes to be very content in the now.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

home ec day

One evening last week (the week the kids were away) was set aside as home ec night. Not because my household management or basic homemaking skills were slipping - but because he could deem it so.

We started with cooking - actually - we started with me receiving a text on my train ride home from work telling me that by the time he got home, I should be making dinner - wearing nothing but an apron. (My aprons are functional - they cover the part of me that is likely to get splattered while cooking - not the parts of me I would choose to have covered, given the choice.) Also, my husband does not care for curtains; he strongly prefers minimal window dressing. Hence, our entire first floor is minimally window dressed. People walking or driving by pretty much have a decent view into most of the first floor rooms. Fortunately, the kitchen is in the back of the house. I was ok if i didn't leave the kitchen, but I was trapped. This made me feel distinctly silly and very self conscious which makes me giggly and not particularly focused.

I got much more focused after dinner when he informed me that it was arts and crafts time. He had started a project during the day and I was to upholster it then help with the final measurements, cutting, sizing, and assembly. This is the man who I had really thought spanked me mostly for the effect it produced in me. I knew he liked my ass warm and red, and didn't mind at all seeing some marks over the next few days, but I didn't believe it was something he really enjoyed for himself. Apparently I was wrong. So now we have a bench - it is nicely painted and upholstered and (so I'm told) presents my derriere and other bits of interest at the perfect height and angle. I'm just not sure what we will tell the kids it's for, now that they're home.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

marriage, wysiwyg, and manipulation

These somewhat unrelated topics converged in my brian the other day.

My way of approaching intimate relationships was very strongly influenced by my parents' marriage. My father manipulated, coerced, threatened, guilted, cajoled, browbeat, and physically forced my mother into de facto submission for as long as I can remember having any sense of what those things were - which - given the extent to which I was steeped in them, was pretty young. My mom felt afraid, obligated, guilty, and hopeless. She was certain that she couldn't make it without him, and that she would be judged and shunned if she left, and that we children would be taken from her. He controlled her through fear and manipulation. She did for and gave him anything and everything and she became someone who wasn't herself.

Very much because of this, I had always been extroidinarily oversensitive to manipulation or mind games, or even disingenuousness from boyfriends, including the one who was to become my husband. I also fought very hard against being controlled, too hard I'm sure. I was defensive and controlling and opinionated and strong willed. (I wonder what he did see in me?) But I was adamantly wysiwyg - take me as I am or not at all.

In talking with my husband about how we have ended up where we are now and how we were before - he explained that, starting when we were dating, he consciously acted in certain ways, and not in others because he saw how my parents interacted, and how I reacted, and how I defended myself so strongly. He didn't push me so that I wouldn't feel I needed to push back. He says that he has always known that I would follow him, that I would do what he wanted if he really asked. But he asked only very rarely because he knew I wouldn't stick around if I felt controlled.

I have gone back and forth in how I feel about this. Was that disingenous of him, was it manipulative, or was it simply the inevitable compromise necessary for two people to live and find their way and thrive together? Was it a smart, even loving decision; the means justified by the ends? Was he really bringing me his true self if he were intentionally leaving out certain behaviors? For that matter, if my behaviors were so much in reaction to my parents, was I bringing my true self?

We are both learning and finding more of ourselves now I think. And in that - we are each bringing more of our true selves into our relationship. His decisions then weren't designed to change me or mold me into something else, just to keep me. And neither of us now is asking the other to change who we are, or even to act counter to who we are.

Beyond having relinquished final control, this lifestyle requires me to step back and allow manipulations to happen. He orchestrates things frequently now - for fun, every once in awhile for laughs, but also to show me something about myself, to teach me something, or to explore something together. Often I see this for what it is at the time - but I go along. Sometimes it surprises me. But, I have consented to this, explicitly and with full knowlege.

I think consent is a complex thing. I believe that partners manipulating each other for their own purposes, or even ostensibly for the other's benefit, is wrong. And I believe that if I have consented to turn myself over to him, I make a huge leap of faith and trust that what he does will be for the good of both of us, then I am not being manipulated.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

how should i seem?

My husband has commented to me, more than a few times, that I just don't seem very excited when we have plans for adult time. He looks forward to these things, and whether the period of anticipation is an hour or several days, he anticipates with pleasure. He finds it frustrating and maybe off-putting that I seem more often distracted, uninterested, nervous, or just in a bad mood about it. I am, and I tell him I am, interested, looking forward to it, etc, but I know my face and body say something else entirely. Along the same lines, he has been frustrated by the fact that I am unable to rally much genuine enthusiasm when he asks me what I might like to do, or try, or experience.

I have never really known quite how to act about it. I certainly don't want to be sad or scared or hang my head, but there is a certain amount of nerves involved. Excited or gleeful don't seem quite right given what it is. It just seems wrong to be genuinely excited, what kind of person is excited or looks forward to such a thing? The fact that my body immediately announces its own interest and arousal at the idea, in direct contrast to my mental state, further confuses things. This is part of why I seem ambivalent.

I do anticipate sessions- not exactly with pleasure, although partly. It is a large part that shy, small, quiet, drawn in, submissive feeling. Maybe it is also a little like the feelings before a big race - the potential for accomplishment, and the potential for failure - but you know there will be pain, and you just don't know how body will perform for you today. It is also maybe a bit like the feeling before doing something almost scary, like a roller coaster or a really challenging ski run - something that you know will get your adrenalin flowing.

I truly do want all of this. And I am aware it is completely contradictory to want something and to seem so very ambivalent about getting it. I also know that my husband cannot read my mind, and does rely on my feedback to know how I am about things overall, or specifically, and to make decisions about what or how or how much. I have promised to be completely candid and honest before, during and afterwards about any and all of it. But part of that honesty is that I honestly don't know exactly how I feel.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I (we) learned a few things

We had the opportunity to learn a few things about ourselves this weekend (not very deep things, well - not that kind of deep anyhow):

I am not able to eroticize itchy - I now know this because I now know that I am allergic to a particular product that produced a very ill timed reaction.

There is one particular implement that he likes and I hate. No matter how much he takes it easy with it (he swears he does), it just never flows into a kind of pain I can work with. It (apparently) works quite well for him; it never seems to fail to produce just the right combination of very red, very heated ass and very attitude adjusted me. But when he has been working for a while towards a very specific, very pleasureable attitude, adjusting said attitude just before the big payoff is not necessarily the way to go.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

summer camp

We are resolving the things that became difficult last week. Everything was made worse by the fact that he was not home - so we talked about things, but we couldn't re-connect. I couldn't feel that things were really better. I had been reassured that he was no longer angry, that things were over and done with, that I should put it behind me and go back to being myself, but I wasn't able to and I remained tentative and unsure of how to act, what to feel, what to say. I didn't feel fearful or worry our marriage would end, but I also couldn't go back to feeling at ease with him. I was nervous.

Which made it very bad timing. Our kids were to leave for camp in a few days. This would be the first time that we would have more than a few hours truly alone together without other obligations, distractions, interruptions, or potential eyes and ears waking up or walking in. I was already more than a little anxious about this. Last year they went to camp very shortly after I had told him I wished for him to assume control in the bedroom. That was a fun and very welcome opportunity at the time. But we've changed since then, a lot.

He especially is different now. I guess I don't talk about this aspect of our life much, but he has grown into the Dom thing. I used to worry (a lot) that he was doing his side of things for me only, or just tolerating them, or kinda - sorta interested, maybe a bit uncomfortable with the idea of causing me pain. All very reasonable, at least to me. If those were ever true, they aren't any longer. Now there is no doubt in my mind that he enjoys (plans, dreams about, anticipates, savors, is excited by) everything he does; and if he doesn't, it isn't done. We have reached the point that I believe it will be me who's boundaries are stretched or pushed, or maybe limits reached, not his.

So I have had some anxiety about the idea of several nights in a row (we do both have to work) of free play time. He has been drawing up plans, actually taking measurements, and dropping hints, all designed to keep me either on my toes, or maybe back on my heels. He had me choose several new toys for him to order [I think I may like the flogger better than some of the other implements, at least I tell myself that; the clover clamps were pure bravada I will surely regret]. He has promised the red (i.e., giant - to me) plug. And I can't imagine what else or what other new realms he has planned to explore.

All of this is, of course, exciting - but not in a yippee!! way. He, willfully I think, doesn't understand my trepidation or lack of enthusiasm. I trust him, I don't fear for my safety, and I know he is not at all seeking to overpower me or to test his mettle, but maybe mine. We are both learning, but he pushes, not tries to break. And I want several things: I want to experience the sensations, or I want to have experienced them; I want to give him the way to play out what he has imagined in his mind; and in an odd way, I want to see how we can be together in this way. This all means that I do want to have my boundaries pushed, even if it makes me a bit nervous.

He is home now, and we have had a chance to re-connect. I feel much better. But the eggshells feeling from our disconnect is still there in the background. And my anxiety about being able to really engage in what he wants me to is in the forground. This could go either way. I don't want the anxiety to block me, I want to be able to take a deep breath and step into it with him and let it happen.

Friday, June 11, 2010

This is where it gets hard

As I initially began learning about D/s, I formed opinions about what must be included for a relationship to be D/s out side of the bedroom, to be 24/7 so to speak. I figured we were never really going there because it all just didn't seem like useful or feasible transformations for our lives. I came to see, over time, that there were so many different possibilities, and potentially a lot more depth to it.

This all started for us because I asked my husband if we could incorporate D/s into our sex life, not because I had always fantasized about such things, but because that was the part of our relationship that didn't feel right and loving and connected. We never made a one time conscious decision to expand things beyond sex; it just progressed naturally that way, very slowly, sometimes easily, and sometimes more fitfully. Now when I look at our relationship, it is "just us". The changes have been, for the most part, so gradual that I don't necessarily recognize it as any different than it ever was.

Until something big happens. And this week something has happened that has highlighted just how different our relationship is now from a year ago. He has moved into my mental space, my privacy, my mind and thoughts; and it is intrusive in a way that I would never have tolerated before, and which wouldn't be in vanilla relationships.

We have never discussed an overarching structure for our dynamic, never spelled out consent for certain things but not others, never talked about limits for the reach of his involvement in my everyday life. It continues to just evolve as seems natural, useful, or needful. His involvement is not so much in logistics, but in behaviours; not in presentation, but in underlying beliefs and motivations; not in asking me to change to his specifications, but to examine and consider my choices. While i think i might chafe a bit at controls on my external self, i am finding his insinuation into my underlying self to be confusing, difficult, uncomfortable, disturbing and at times painful. It takes self control and determination to make changes to ones habits or appearance. I am finding it takes a different kind of self control, one with which I am much less familiar, to accept and work with this sort of intrusion.

His probing my mind has compelled him to be brutally honest with himself at the same time. It is this process that is responsible for each of us learning about ourselves more thoroughly and honestly than ever before, and more importantly, knowing each other differently and more deeply. And this is what leads to us finding more joy and connection with each other. The ends are well worth it, but the cost is not negligible.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

he can't tell me how to feel

I guess he can tell me how to feel - but it doesn't really work well quite that directly.

There is a lot he can do to affect my mood, to cause good or bad feelings. He can tell me to do or not do things. He can set the environment, he can manipulate circumstances to influence how I feel about a topic or event. He can make decisions he knows will please me, or upset me, or not phase me either way. He can ask things of me that challenge me and make me feel good if I succeed or feel bad if I fail. His mood, actions or inaction, and words all greatly impact my mood at a given moment or my general impressions and feelings towards things. He has known and done and taken advantage of all of these for a long time; that's human and that's the nature of intimate relationships.

There is real life though. And he can't take away stress or anxiety or fear or nervousness or anger. I can do what he asks - abide by his decisions - good, bad or indifferent - but I do still experience feelings and moods and mental turmoil. Most often my feelings are good ones - no conflict, no problem - but what about when I am angry, distressed, stressed, frustrated, or hurt- in general, or because of his actions in particular?

At work, with strangers or acquaintances or even perhaps with friends - I can put on a face and hide how I feel about something in particular - or my mood in general. But should I do this with him - what is the line between disrespectful and honest? Obviously - I don't think that my never expressing my feelings to him is a great idea. On the other hand, walking around in a pout or angry funk all the time is no answer either.

I wonder this because I need to find the right balance - it is important. I am just learning to really trust him with all my feeling, thoughts, emotions, but I get stuck on feeling like I need to protect him from the burden of me.

Friday, June 4, 2010

I am submissive

I have been operating, or learning to start to operate, as submissive for about a year now. But it has been only in this past two weeks that I have been able to come out and say this, that I am submissive.

I would think this might make me one of the slowest learners in the world, or deep in denial, or very resistant to the notion of submission. I don't feel like these are true though. I can be incredibly stubborn and convoluted in my thinking, but I'm not generally a slow learner. I don't deny that I posess so many of the attributes of submissive: many are qualities I considered my strengths, others I always viewed as areas I needed to fight to change, but I know they are me. I also am not resistant to the notion of submission, per se. I haven't ever had the impression that "submissive equals doormat" or that it was turning myself over to potential abuse, or that it would make me in any way less than I am.

There must be deeper, subconscious reasons for my reluctance or resistance; I am human and complex like everyone else. But there are some more mundane ones that I can identify. I don't like to be wrong - it's not a very attractive attribute, but it's true. So i was reluctant to commit to something only to have some (real or imagined) person thinking or saying what i fool i am to say such a thing. Too - I think that not owning it out loud left me an out if it got too hard. If I failed -I could just point to the fact that it wasn't the right thing for me in the first place.

The biggest reason though had to do with what if "dominant" didn't fit my husband? Initially I worried that he would reject me if I turned out to be this other person than the one he knew and loved, and that all these new needs and desires would be just too much or too strange or just distateful to him. I would so much have rathered deny any new feelings than risk upsetting what we had. As he reassured me and showed me this part was ok with him, I came to worry that, even though he could "put on" dominance, what if it weren't really him. What if I were asking him to be someone he wasn't. Wouldn't that ultimately be damaging to him (and to our relationship.)

I know that "submissive" isn't something I can put on or take off at will, or choose not to be based on what he truly is or isn't. But I would have. I know now that I have to accept that this is me, no matter what anyone else is or does or says. If I fail - it will be because I have failed. And his true nature and true desires are things he will need to explore and learn. And (the very hardest part) I will need to learn to just let that go and trust him to be him.

I didn't expect the shift in my perceptions or feelings about things that occurred with this change from "maybe, sort of, seems to fit, I'll try it for awhile, but I'm not committing" to, "It is who I am, no matter what circumstances necessitate in the future - this is me." I had spent a lot of mental energy on resisting this step. During the letting go - I felt very relieved and light and maybe free. I expected (silly girl) that the thinking and fretting and wondering would be much quieter now. Instead, things feel like they have speeded up, like the brakes have been released. I just hope I can keep up.