Category Archives: sado-masochism

“Lifers”

Recently I had a discussion with someone who had spent significant time in the scene, albeit in another city. He mentioned a non-group of people, since they didn’t get together or necessarily even know one another, that he referred to as “lifers”, i.e. people who lived a 24/7 M/s or similar dynamic but weren’t part of any “scene”, although most had been part of one scene or another at some point.

We discussed the reasons most of these people had no further interest in the scene: they had no interest in the mutual admiration performance art of a play party; they had no interest in the mutual justification societies of the BDSM / leather conference circuit; they had no interest in relationship-oriented groups since, just as individuals individuate and diverge from group interests, their relationship had individuated to the degree that group discussions about relationships had little to no relevance.

One of the reasons I found the discussion fascinating is that it articulated many of the things I feel about the scene and the various sub-scenes, and their relation to emmie and me.

I find no interest in playing publicly, the aspects of the way emmie and I actualize our fantasies are rather personal and playing publicly forces us to “tone down” what we do to the point of disinterest.

I haven’t enjoyed the conferences I’ve been to: the only areas of interest are largely for beginners and, it seems to me, necessarily so, since discussions on more advanced topics would be too specific to the people involved, without enough in common to attract any type of group.

I’ve lost interest in the relationship-oriented groups we’ve attended: I have very little advice to offer that is generally applicable, what we do is too personal and thus irrelevant to others; the inverse is also true, where what others who have been involved in this lifestyle as long or longer do things in such a substantially different manner that beyond mutual respect there isn’t much worth discussing; the idea of teaching or otherwise influencing those new to the idea of a 24/7 power dynamic is both repetitive, since what is common to this type of dynamic is very limited, and irritating, since people whose longest power dynamic has been measured in months or less are aghast at how emmie and I actually live and spend the time telling us that we’re doing it all wrong.

I have no interest in any of the established “groups” precisely because they, as groups, depend for their own survival on inculcating and maintaining group values and interests, while my own desires and interests have diverged further and continue to do so.

Although many of our friends, naturally, are in the scene, meeting at “scene events” gets annoying simply because we’ve said all we have to say to one another about “scene stuff”. While I enjoy them as people, the enjoyment of their company has to do with enjoying things that have nothing to do with M/s or BDSM from the perspective of non-vanilla people. Since people are busy though there is an unfortunate tendency to put off getting together with other people in the scene in non-scene situations, with the idea of “we’ll see them at such and such scene event in any case”.

It appears to be the last point that seals the effect where those my acquaintance referred to as “lifers” often know very few or even no people who share their lifestyle the longer they’ve been involved in it.


Refusal Or … ?

Between my post on refusal and now I’ve had a very odd change in my manner of being.

I had what used to be called, in the conceptual world, a “divine revelation”.  Since I live in the post conceptual (post religious-metaphysical-scientific)  world it was no long divine in any sense.   However it was reflexive in a way that no epiphany could be.  It was a revelation of the nature of revelation itself.

The reflexivity made me suddenly understand Hegel’s Absolute Knowing, Nietzsche’s Eternal Recurrence of the Same, and Heidegger’s vom Ereignis (from Enowning) simultaneously as attempts to provoke the experience.  Not that they do, but they do at least prepare one for it in a similar way to mystic practice preparing one for divine revelation.  Understanding understanding, as it were, doesn’t give you an understanding of anything in particular.  It gives you a different sense of things where understanding precedes self-conscious interpretation.

More on this later …


Freedom, freedom and Waffling

I’ve been reading Master Obsidian’s House blog site some more and a paragraph in another post caught my eye as something I’ve also been concerned with. Part of the reason expressing oneself as a part of the M/s subculture is that our language betrays what we in fact do and how we structure meaning within the world. Speaking of a tendency within the community Master Obsidian makes the following observation on a common and becoming more common attitude:

freedom in its purest sense embraced is the freedom to do anything and to be anything at all. And if we truly are inclusive, if we truly are seekers of truth then we must conclude as often as possible that every man and every woman has the ability and the right to pursue what ever strikes their particular fancy. And perhaps even more importantly than that notion, is the notion that whatever a person comes up in their pursuit of getting their particular fancy struck as it were – is great and wonderful and not to be denied.

Freedom, for me, comes in two flavors. There is the a priori freedom that every human being possesses no matter what their life circumstances. Without this freedom we would be unable to comport ourselves towards anything whatsoever. It is a necessity of being-in-the-world itself. This is properly called ‘ontological freedom’, which can be explained as the freedom of being itself. The other sense of freedom is the practical freedom that one possesses within-the-world. This is a matter of circumstances, and is also a matter of degrees. The proper term for this is ‘ontic freedom’, which can be made clearer as the freedom to dispose of beings as one wishes.

Enhancing the ability, if the individual chooses, to exercise ontic freedom is a noble pursuit. The as-one-wishes is crucial though, as not everyone wishes to exercise every possible ontic freedom. As well, circumstances being what they are, no one can exercise every freedom they may wish. We are all constrained by law, by custom, by societal opinion, and by our own ethical sense.

Choosing to not exercise freedoms may be due to ethics or societal norms, or it may be a more personal choice in that an individual may simply not feel comfortable exercising a good number of freedoms. If this number is great enough they may choose to enter into a D/s or M/s relationship, depending on the degree of unfreedom they feel most comfortable with. In an M/s relationship, once the choice is made it is made in a permanent sense, unless one is willing to break one’s word in an important manner.

Whatever that person, who is now a slave where continued consent is not required, may suddenly feel the urge to express may now only be expressed accordng to the will of the Master . The slave has given up the freedom to “get their particular fancy struck” unless it happens to coincide with the Master’s particular fancy at that moment. That ontological freedom is still present cannot undermine ontical slavery.


BDSM as M/s Praxis

“Any form of skillful coping in which you can become an expert, in which you get into a kind of flow in which you don’t have to think at all, your mind is out of it and the skills in your body are doing it, we’ve done all of that and we’ve done it taking a risk too, that when you do that: you end up lost or you may end up saying things you regret having said, and if you aren’t ready to take that risk you’ll never become an expert in that. So, I could predict that you have taken the risk and done it and felt bad about it, and you’ve done it and felt good about it, and when you’ve got that, you’ve got a kind of mastery. “ – Hubert Dreyfus.

Merleau-Ponty had an important insight. When we look at certain types of expertise (and I’m betraying less philosophical interests of mine, lol) such as the expertise of an athlete, we see embodied expertise, the expertise that is not simply “unthinking” in its operation but is required to be unthinking, such that the athlete wouldn’t be able to do what he/she in fact does if he/she had to think about it while doing it. In this context we have to look at such things as “muscle memory” etc. where the brain simply doesn’t contain the whole representation of what is going on. Merleau-Ponty recognized, in his idea of intercorporeality, that our usual and normal interactions with the World were bodily in nature, that we don’t in fact keep a mental representation of the World, the World is immediate to us through our bodying forth into it. The skill of an athlete is an extension of our normal bodying forth, not an unusual or fundamentally different manner of relating to the World, or meaning-context, in which we exist.

The “play” aspect of bdsm is related to this, as part of the praxis of M/s relationships. Most M/s relationships do in fact incorporate aspects of bdsm play, and this is not an accidental relation. Dominating someone is not, fundamentally, simply a mental thing, and as a result purely psychological or psychosocial theories of M/s fall down when it comes to praxis. The physical aspects, bodily aspects of domination and submission come to the fore in bdsm “play”, and the scare quotes are there because in an M/s context “play” is in fact very serious and very much a part of the real dynamic between the people involved. That bdsm involves skilled play, mastery of technique in a more limited sense of the word mastery than I usually use it, is part of the way that M/s is embodied and brought to a fullness beyond its psychological expression.

When mitda and I first became involved it was in both a romantic (in the old fashioned sense) and practical manner. We were not an M/s couple in any sense, in fact neither of us understood the M/s dynamic as a real possibility. But the combination of a psychological bond together with a penchant for bdsm play resulted in a very tight relationship with one another, and an unplanned but powerful tendency towards M/s within the relationship. After getting together in a physical sense, living together as a couple, and engaging in such play our relationship dynamic inevitably tended not just to M/s, but M/s in its absolute form. Without having any conceptual transparency, we lived together, played together, and developed a total power transfer dynamic. As we became more aware of the tendencies that were expressing themselves within the dynamic and attempted to achieve some sort of conceptual transparency for what we were in fact doing, ideas such as TPE/IE suddenly made sense to two people who had run across and essentially written off such ideas. One of the things this made me aware of as a person who writes on the subject, is that while I can provide a framework for thinking about such relationships, I can’t justify its existence or prove anything of what I am saying, and viewing it as a framework for my reality is something that could be accepted or rejected by the reader, but probably not really understood by the reader unless they themselves had experienced a similar dynamic. And this dynamic cannot be experienced purely mentally, it requires a bodily expression, it requires the bdsm practice aspect that from a conceptual point of view seems extrinsic.

In the relationship that developed with emmie that this praxis was intrinsic came more to the fore, in that she was not, is not a masochist in the conventional sense. She doesn’t engage in bdsm praxis for the sake of the physical pleasure that a conventional masochist derives from it. She engages in it, and it has felt and become necessary to both of us to engage in such practices, from a purely dominance/submission aspect. As a result it is impossible to make the error of viewing the bodily aspect as essentially separate and different from the psychological. Her enjoyment of s & m play is purely the enjoyment a submissive derives from being submissive, palpably, physically. It is the bodying forth of her submission and the bodying forth of my mastery. Our play doesn’t, as a result, have the comfortable and easy feel that mitda and I attain, where mastery and submission is bodied forth in concert with deep mutual pleasure and satisfaction. Instead it results in a tension of necessity, an expression of dominance and submission with our bodies that we cannot choose to forego simply because it isn’t a fundamentally pleasurable activity.


Xmas and Migraines

I took emmie to a wine cheese and widgets party Saturday afternoon, where the point was to objectify (or de-subjectify as I prefer) one’s slave by not addressing them and simply using them as whatever tool one needed at the moment. It was interesting to see her reaction and the reaction of the other slaves at the event, and also to have some conversation with other Masters. More events are planned that will be different than the more common bdsm style get togethers, the first being a protocol dinner with entertainment by the slaves in the group. While mitda wasn’t quite recovered enough to attend the event she did make it to the xmas party that followed (at a different ranch) and we had quite a lot of good conversation and good times. I played emmie for only the second time publicly, (the first was a very private sort of publicness at a small party) and she did very well, given that I played her rather hard, if only for a short time. She did well with being publicly nude during the playtime as well.

There are a few more xmas events in our community but this party was the big one as far as I was concerned, with a huge white elephant gift exchange (which our family did rather well at) and various other holiday attributes :).

I am definitely planning on switching jobs in the near future. One company has interviewed me but there is some distance between their offer salary wise and my expectations. Two more opportunities came up today (I am taking the day off due to a migraine and the resulting dozyness from migraine meds).


Discipline and Punishment

In one of my earliest posts to this blog I talked about the conundrum of how to punish a masochist.  As it happens this worked itself out over the period during which I didn’t post much to the blog, and I never got around to explicating any of it.


There’s a “mode” one has to get into in order to punish, it’s a mode
that involves “knowing” that you know better than the person you’re
punishing, people find that easier with children, obviously, than with
adults   If you look at Tanos’ site, the focus on “Internal
Enslavement” seems to focus on the slave’s mindset, which is of course
important.  When mitda or emmie are being punished they are in a
different headspace than when they’re being played.  But my
introduction of the term “Absolute” or “Total” Subjugation is important
because it deals with the mindset and headspace of the Master.  (Tanos does include this of course, it’s only the term that seems to focus on the slave’s doing, not the site or his thoughts on the matter)  In
order for the slave to get into her mindset, the Master has to be in
his, and it’s a difficult thing at first to accomplish.  If you look at
my earliest blog entries there was the conundrum of how to punish a
masochist, and it took time to solve, but it has to do with getting
into a certain zone and making that felt to the slave.

First, as I said, you have to “know” that you’re right, or that you
know better, than the slave.  This is difficult to do with someone that
you love and respect as an adult on the same level as your own.  You
have to know you know better because, simply, you are the Master in the
situation and it is your world and your set of meanings that are the
crucial ones.  The slave, in her enslavement, has given up the set of
meanings she had, what she accepted previously as her truth, and
accepted your reality as hers.  As a result, although she might be as
intelligent and capable as you are, she doesn’t know the terrain as
well as you do, and within the dynamic in any disagreement she is
always in the wrong, because you are the arbiter of what is right and
wrong to begin with.  She needs this grounding by you as much as you
need to ground things in this way.  


Second, you need to get this world, this set of meanings, across to her
and put her in the situation where she knows that no matter what she
believed prior to her enslavement, she is now completely in the wrong
and needs to be punished to set her straight and remind her of where
her ground and truth are.  Partly I talk to emmie and mitda constantly
about the way I view things and the way things are for me, and must be
for them.  But truth lies in manifestation, and having things manifest
to the slave in the way they manifest to you is the key.  Human beings
share a world and share the way things manifest to a greater or lesser
degree depending on how close they are – and this phenomenon is what
people mean when they refer to “relating” to someone.  Physical contact
I’ve found is a key – standing at a distance and touching the slave
only when you hit them doesn’t bring them into your space, you need to
break the slave’s personal space by being as close to them as possible,
touching them with your free hand, and letting them feel the punishment
implement prior to and between hits, so that they know it’s an
extension of your hand and your will.


Discipline and Punishment

In one of my earliest posts to this blog I talked about the conundrum of how to punish a masochist.  As it happens this worked itself out over the period during which I didn’t post much to the blog, and I never got around to explicating any of it.


There’s a “mode” one has to get into in order to punish, it’s a mode
that involves “knowing” that you know better than the person you’re
punishing, people find that easier with children, obviously, than with
adults   If you look at Tanos’ site, the focus on “Internal
Enslavement” seems to focus on the slave’s mindset, which is of course
important.  When mitda or emmie are being punished they are in a
different headspace than when they’re being played.  But my
introduction of the term “Absolute” or “Total” Subjugation is important
because it deals with the mindset and headspace of the Master.  (Tanos does include this of course, it’s only the term that seems to focus on the slave’s doing, not the site or his thoughts on the matter)  In
order for the slave to get into her mindset, the Master has to be in
his, and it’s a difficult thing at first to accomplish.  If you look at
my earliest blog entries there was the conundrum of how to punish a
masochist, and it took time to solve, but it has to do with getting
into a certain zone and making that felt to the slave.

First, as I said, you have to “know” that you’re right, or that you
know better, than the slave.  This is difficult to do with someone that
you love and respect as an adult on the same level as your own.  You
have to know you know better because, simply, you are the Master in the
situation and it is your world and your set of meanings that are the
crucial ones.  The slave, in her enslavement, has given up the set of
meanings she had, what she accepted previously as her truth, and
accepted your reality as hers.  As a result, although she might be as
intelligent and capable as you are, she doesn’t know the terrain as
well as you do, and within the dynamic in any disagreement she is
always in the wrong, because you are the arbiter of what is right and
wrong to begin with.  She needs this grounding by you as much as you
need to ground things in this way.  


Second, you need to get this world, this set of meanings, across to her
and put her in the situation where she knows that no matter what she
believed prior to her enslavement, she is now completely in the wrong
and needs to be punished to set her straight and remind her of where
her ground and truth are.  Partly I talk to emmie and mitda constantly
about the way I view things and the way things are for me, and must be
for them.  But truth lies in manifestation, and having things manifest
to the slave in the way they manifest to you is the key.  Human beings
share a world and share the way things manifest to a greater or lesser
degree depending on how close they are – and this phenomenon is what
people mean when they refer to “relating” to someone.  Physical contact
I’ve found is a key – standing at a distance and touching the slave
only when you hit them doesn’t bring them into your space, you need to
break the slave’s personal space by being as close to them as possible,
touching them with your free hand, and letting them feel the punishment
implement prior to and between hits, so that they know it’s an
extension of your hand and your will.


Domspace part 2

emmie and I engaged in some SM sex last night after the Subway experience, and it led to the Domspace feeling of control, and also led to some other fantastically wonderful feelings.  I love the state of mind it engenders and even love the drop into exhaustion afterwards, as it’s a satisfied, contented exhaustion far different from the depressive exhaustion sometimes suffered under subdrop.

This morning, very early, mitda and I decided to engage in needle play, I pierced her back and ass, which I then fucked, and then scratched lines down her back and across her ass, just deep enough for blood to well up in the scratch.  mitda went directly to subspace, do not pass go, do not collect your wits.  I was in a wonderful space myself that was hard to let go of for the rest of the morning, although the exhausted contentment that followed made it impossible to do anything but work from home.  Which turned out to be ok given it was the Friday of a long weekend and I had just turned in an important project on time.


Domspace part 2

emmie and I engaged in some SM sex last night after the Subway experience, and it led to the Domspace feeling of control, and also led to some other fantastically wonderful feelings.  I love the state of mind it engenders and even love the drop into exhaustion afterwards, as it’s a satisfied, contented exhaustion far different from the depressive exhaustion sometimes suffered under subdrop.

This morning, very early, mitda and I decided to engage in needle play, I pierced her back and ass, which I then fucked, and then scratched lines down her back and across her ass, just deep enough for blood to well up in the scratch.  mitda went directly to subspace, do not pass go, do not collect your wits.  I was in a wonderful space myself that was hard to let go of for the rest of the morning, although the exhausted contentment that followed made it impossible to do anything but work from home.  Which turned out to be ok given it was the Friday of a long weekend and I had just turned in an important project on time.


Nature vs Nurture (sic)

Jubal just had to raise the spectre of the nature vs nurture argument viz BDSM in his post.  Now you should know Jubal and I have very different intellectual backgrounds and very different ideas about most things.  Luckily it creates a healthy, fun argumentative situation and not a nasty type of thing.

In this particular case Jubal states very definitively that all BDSM is a learned thing.  I’m assuming that by “all BDSM” Jubal intends to include M/s and D/s as well as the more playful types of BDSM that interest him more at the moment.  Now I don’t fall, this time, on the complete opposite side of his argument.  With just basic knowledge of information theory it seems unlikely that the number of bits required to produce the quantity of memes in a developed human brain could be found in the human genome pool.  At the same time evolutionary psychology has a foothold in demonstrability in the identical twins raised apart studies, which show striking and sometimes unbelievable correlations between the developed behavioural patterns of people with shared genes and different development histories.

Of course neither IT or EP are really close to my own background and methodology for analysing a question, but in order to satisfy Jubal that I am paying some attention to Science and not all my attention to Philosophy I mention them, and what I feel they do bring to the argument.

So what does phenomenology have to say about the situation?  Since here we are discussing psychology in a broad sense, without agreeing with the DSM-IV that these things are deviant in the sense of being a psychiatric issue, I will bring in the most phenomenological of the psychological schools, Daseinsanalysis.

 Daseinsanalysis prescribes a phenomenological approach of paying attention to the things themselves, and not immediately subsuming the concrete phenomena under a already available set of abstractions, such as specific development theories (Freud) or specific meaning theories (Jung).

The phenomenon of personal domination, in my history, is one where it was something I simply did.  It was only later that I realized how much I exerted control in my early relationships, without being overt or, really, honest about it, even with myself.  Partly due to my ex’s being a dominatrix, but mostly due to mitda’s need for submission and the immediate way I responded to it, I became open to the idea of being dominant in a thoughtful, proactive sense.  And this has continued since, as we’ve developed from playing at BDSM to entering a TPE triad, myself, mitda and emmie.  So the practice of domination is something I have definitely learned, but it seems to have been learned from a strong pre-existing tendency. 

This feeling I have seen talked about on the BDSM boards when the question comes up by dominants and submissives alike, who can trace their immediate responsiveness to BDSM situations, whether real or portrayed, as far back into their childhood as they can remember.  And while I am sure there are people into BDSM that can trace their interest back to specific events, such as childhood abuse or trauma, when asked on the boards it doesn’t seem to have that strong a correlation for most of the participants.

I am asking mitda and emmie to put in their opinions as to how they experience and first experienced the submissive traits they have developed.  How much came in the development and how much (if any) do you feel was a priori present?  My own feeling about M/s, at least, as a subset of BDSM, is that it is learned, but learned out of strong pre-existing traits.  That I happen to share my dominant traits with my mother (who I am similar to in many ways) shows a possibility of a genetic connection also, but since my parents raised me, it being developmentally acquired from her is not out of the question.