Tuesday, November 23, 2004

My Limits

Very recently, on Cliff Notes, I made a remark that it's all too often overlooked that we doms often have our own limits, but that it's indeed very rare that anyone admits or even realizes this, which I find to be sad. Claire asked if I'd be willing to make a post about my own feelings and limitations, and I was in the middle of a story, so that thought got shunted to the side. But, luckily for her, I got shot in the ass with some bad news that seems to have killed my fiction mojo once and for all, so I decided to write this post. Much of what I'm going to say is an echo of what B, the author of "Randomness," posted on his own blog shortly after this thread on Claire's blog. He writes well, and in many ways, it seems he and I are of one mind. But here goes, anyway.

My Own Limits

1. I won't do anything that I personally deem to be unsafe. In my SSC article, I wrote a bit about how SSC really is too flexible to easily define, because there really is no "one size fits all" in the BDSM lifestyle, and there are as many kinks as there are kinksters when we really get down to the nitty-gritty. So it begs the question of what do I see as "unsafe" within the confines of my own mores. Ditto for "insane" or "nonconsensual," obviously. At its simplest form, I won't do anything that I think could reasonably be expected to be harmful in some way, physically or emotionally. Here are some examples:

Breath Control
When we were basic EMT students, we were taught that the airway and breathing are sacrosanct, and to interfere with those was tantamount to going to church, dropping trou and shitting on the Bible on the altar. In other words, it's just not something you should do. And I don't see the appeal in activities that flirt with what would at the least be termed manslaughter in the courts if things went awry. As much as I enjoy a good scene with a lovely submissive, I've not had one yet that was worth doing hard time at the Crossbar Hilton. No thanks.

Scat Play and Watersports
Do I really need to give you chapter and verse about pathogens? How about if I don't and say I did, okay? Plus, it's just downright nasty, in my opinion. Pass.

Yeah, believe it or not, there's a subset out there that enjoys puke. Me? I can't see it as part of a pleasant evening's entertainment, thanks just the same.

Physical Harm
I won't do things that I think stand a strong chance of doing permanent harm, such as breaking bones, for instance. In Houston, there's the legend of a D/s couple that wanted to do a rather intense scene in public a while back. The submissive in question had even taken three weeks off work so she could recover fully from the planned events with her dom, a karate black-belt whose intention was to kick and punch her in the face until he was done, as the story goes. Fortunately or unfortunately (depending on your outlook), they didn't clear it with the dungeon master, who stopped the scene. To my way of thinking, I'm not going to do something that resembles an assault or a visit to the Hanoi Hilton in the name of a D/s scene. For one, it appeals none at all to me, and even if it did, God help the person who does this and has the bad luck to seriously fuck someone up. I don't think "informed consent" is going to go far with a jury.

Emotional Harm
I learned very early on to also ascertain a playmate's state of mind, both in general and specific to the hour. People who are emotionally unstable are not suitable playmates, and the last thing I want is to spank an ass and find out belatedly that I somehow shattered a mind in the process. I had one playmate who lied to me about her mental state, and then utterly wigged out in the middle of a scene. After she came down, which wasn't until the next day, she was never welcomed here again. To that end, neither will I engage in play that I deem to be emotionally cruel. The object here is mutual enjoyment for all involved, and I'm far more the type to try to uplift a submissive or bottom than to try to grind her under my heel. As I believe I said somewhere not long ago, if I treat my woman like a pig, does that not in turn make me a pigfucker? To that end, neither will I try to emotionally coerce someone into play, or go outside hard limits, especially if the girl has flipped into subspace.

Mind-altering Substances
Do I really need to go deeply into this? The only person in this world I'd trust in an S&M scene with mind-altering substances on-board is myself, and I refuse to participate in those kinds of activities, and will NOT engage in S&M play with a partner who is using alcohol or drugs. That would entirely fracture every one of my personal SSC mores. I don't know how safe it is to play with someone affected by substances. I don't know how sane people are on various substances. And is it really "consent" if the partner is on mind-altering chemicals? Leather and alcohol don't mix, at least if Patrick's in the game. I'm not saying others can't do it, although I seriously disapprove of it, but if it doesn't involve me, then do as you will if you want to take those risks. I hope that's enough said, people.

2. I don't get off on any sort of medical play, and again, this stems from my EMS time. Why do something for fun that just seems like work? I swear, if I got a hard-on every time I stuck a needle in someone back then, I'd have been a jittering train-wreck of a man before half my shifts came to an end. I've probably administered enough IV fluids in my lifetime to float a good sized bass boat, and it was just the job. It never seemed like fun. Pass.

3. Warning!: Rant to follow shortly!
I know it's an enormously powerful and wildly popular fantasy of power exchange, but I'm afraid that my life's experiences saddled me with an amount of baggage about such things that keep me from seeing the appeal from my own emotional standpoint. This doesn't mean I condemn those who have the fantasies, but it means that I don't share them from the dominant aspect. Okay, now here comes the rant, so bear with me or hit the "next blog" button or skip over this part or whatever tickles your fancy.

Every one of us is the product of our life's experiences, and how we interpreted and reacted to those experiences as they affected us. In my case, I've had to deal with too many freshly raped women in my life to ever find rape to be appealing or sexy or fun, even from a fantasy. Those of you who know me well know that I dealt with all manner of carnage and horrendomas in my years on a 911 truck, and to be honest, I think it mostly benefitted me as a human being to have undergone those experiences. I've seen heads torn off of bodies and other nasty carnage. I've been shot at and assaulted a couple times out there. One night, I even worked a call where a GSW patient vomited in my face with stale beer, onions and barbecue on his way to a well-deserved demise. I've seen life and death in all its resplendant nastiness, and from time to time in all its beautiful glory, and like to think I emerged from it a better man, and those years are experiences that I cherish.

Having said that, there's only one thing from those years that comes back to haunt me, and that's the look in the eyes of a woman who has just been raped, that look of abject terror simply because I'm a man, called in to help. As an aside, most rape victims I saw weren't injured physically, or not badly enough to require EMS, which they almost universally never wanted anyway, but we always got called when a rape was reported. These women were injured in places a paramedic really can't patch or bandage, I'm afraid. Getting back to those eyes, and their illustration of horror, that look has never left my heart, and neither has the feeling that it gave me deep inside when I saw it. It made me feel dirty, as though I was the author of the victim's misery, or even the rapist himself. I guess the fact that I'm big and hulking, and can look a bit scary didn't help matters, but one can't really help one's genetic code. I look like a thug. On too many sleepless nights, those eyes often weighed heavily on my heart, and still disturb me to this day when I let myself think about them. I could go on about this for several pages, but I'm certain you get the picture and don't need your face rubbed in this any more than I've already managed to do.

4. No children.

5. No animals

6. No dead people.

I know, you're thinking those last three should go without saying, but there's some people who find attraction in those things. I just don't happen to be one of them, and I'm just as happy for that, say thank ya. LOL

Anyhow, that's more about me and my mores than you ever wanted to know, I'm certain.

--Patrick H.--
--23d November 2004, A.D.--

Friday, November 12, 2004

What is BDSM?

This essay is one that I've been kicking around for a fairly long time now. Recently, I condensed my feelings about BDSM into a few brief paragraphs and included them into the body of the foreword for a novel I'm writing called Evolutions. When I read the foreword to my submissive, Grace, she about flipped her lid, telling me I had perfectly defined the BDSM lifestyle. I wouldn't go so far as to say that my essay perfectly captured the lifestyle, but I think I did manage a good job of at least expressing my own feelings on the topic. What I've decided to do here is to expound upon the foreword, and delete the specific references to Evolutions.

When I write an essay, story or poem and send it out into the world, I do so in the full knowledge that I'll never know all of the people who will ultimately read it, or how my audience will react. I hope I touch lives and hearts, but I'll mostly never know for sure. So to my audience, or perhaps "vidience," I have a few things to say and ask of you before we get don to brass tacks. If you are knowledgeable about this lifestyle, a real-life 24/7 participant, perhaps you're by now thinking this is all old hat, just another rehash of how we in this lifestyle feel, and nothing that would be deep or profound, or enlightening. Perhaps, if such is the case, you're right, but perhaps you've been looking for the right words to explain BDSM to some aspirant to knowledge (dom, sub or vanilla) who just needs to hear in a new way what you've been trying to explain about the lifestyle. Perhaps herein are those words.

Perhaps you're just curious about BDSM, or somehow accidentally came to this essay somehow, either printed or online. If so, I'd like to suggest that you carefully read my essay and carefully consider all I have to say here. But before you begin to glimpse into this special world, I would ask you to do both of us a favor. I want you to cast away your prejudices before you proceed further. This is neither the time nor the place to cling to your preconceived notions, but to jettison them, that you might open your mind and your heart to what I have to say here about myself and my friends and acquainances who live this lifestyle of dominance and submission.

First and foremost, I want to say I believe there are far more of us in some measure involved in dominance and submission than the vanilla mainstream would try to have us believe. I don't base this contention upon any statistics I've seen. Indeed, I don't know if there are any reliable statistics about the BDSM lifestyle and those of us who live it and love it. No, I base my contention instead upon my life's observations. We humans are an insecure lot, by and large, terrified of revealing our inner selves, I'm sad to say, to even those closest to us. We are all too often such cowardly sheep, blindly following the herd instead of our hearts. I thikn too many of us are even afraid of how we'll view ourselves if were were to prop those hidden doors open and explore our deepest secret desires. That saddens me greatly. How many very wonderful people who would love to be part of this lifestle never come to explore it, too afraid? Even if it's just one person, I say that's too many. I certainly don't think that BDSM is for everyone, but unlike gays, there are thousands out there who just can't find it inside themselves to take the chance, to explore these desires.

I think many of us explore our desires in circumspect ways, too fearful to openly express them. For instance, listen to people when they make jokes, because the subjects of those jokes often afford insight into the teller's heart. This is not to say that each and every joke every person relates tells the listener "I'M INSECURE ABOUT THIS!!!" I work hard to not cubbyhole people that way, but I cannot forget the teen boy I once was, just beginning to discover my sexuality. Including myself, every one of my male peers spoke of homosexuals with derision, scorn and ribaldry. Were we all really gay deep inside? I don't think this is the case. The vast majority of my peers married women, fathered children, and generally grew up to be flamingly heterosexual, myself certainly included. But I remember being afraid of girls as they likewise developed sexually, ultimately to flower into full womanhood as we boys likewise developed into men. I was by and large uncomfortable around teen girls (they ARE strange even to this day ... LOL), and such discomfort plants the seeds of insecurity, usually expressed as jokes or derisive commentary.

You've probably figured where I'm going with this line of thought, but I'll spell it out nonetheless. How often do you hear or express jokes about whips, chains or leather? Be at least honest with yourself even if you find you cannot be so with me. What, exactly, are your feelings on BDSM? Let me throw this into the mix, a conversation Grace tells me she had with a friend, one of those people who seems doomed to a live of never understanding, a person to whom an original thought and a cold drink of water would more than likely prove to be irretrievably fatal. Read on ...

Have you ever spanked or been spanked in an adult relationship, no matter how briefly, lightly or gently? How about bondage, again, no matter how lightly done or easily escapable or symbolic? Blindfolds? Tickling? Grace pointed out to her friend, and I agree one hundred percent, that if you have willingly administered or received the lightest intentionally delivered pain or even the least surrender and exchange of control, then you have stepped into our world, the realm of BDSM. The nameless young lady's paradigms shifted without a clutch at that point and her poor little head exploded, Grace told me. She was fortunately nowhere near a glass of ice water at the moment, and survived the experience. When she eventually emerges from the catatonia after the shock treatments, she should be just fine, but is likely to drool for several years to come. Attagirl, Grace!

Let me ask you another question when you've returned from the loony-bin shock lab, my Dear Reader. Are you back already? Great! Yeah, I agree, Grace's friend is a sad case. Anyway, here's my question. Have you ever gone to an adult book or toy store and perused the leather goods and handcuffs, or perhaps the S&M magazines? If so, then I submit that you are at least interested in this lifestyle to some degree.

I need to get more off my chest here if you're still reading this. I want to work with you for a moment to see if you're still carrying preconceived notions about the BDSM lifestyle and those of us who live it. Maybe we can start to dispel them and open your eyes.

First and foremost, we're everywhere and have been since time out of mind. If you explore the literature of BDSM for long, you're inevitably sure to find writings of the Victorian era rife with BDSM. In the 1950's, an author using the nom de plume "Pauline Reage" wrote the novel "The Story of O," exciting great commentary passionate with approval and scorn from the literary community of the day. The novel is still in print, in fact, available at most any regular bookstore you may patronize, and almost a half-century after its debut, it still sparks passionate debate and controversy among literati in and out of the BDSM lifestyle. Perhaps the first mainstream author to finally place her real name upon BDSM fiction is Anne Rice, who originally wrote the Sleeping Beauty trilogy and "Exit to Eden" under the pseudonym A.N. Roquelaire, but later released the tales for publication under her real name. "Exit to Eden" was later made into a movie starring Rosie O'Donnell and Dan Ayckroyd.

I'm not going to offer commentary about stories and books I've read based on this lifestyle. If you choose to read them yourself, I want you to do so without the shadow of my opinion interfering with yours, that you might read these things and form your own conclusions. However, I want to spek for a moment about the movie, one of the very few feature films addressing the BDSM lifestyle, and as far as I know, the latest. I think "Quills" has been released since, but while it is about the Marquis de Sade, it's not about BDSM but more general sexuality and perversion. (Is there such a thing as vanilla perversion? A cute topic for jest, I suppose.) Author's note: This essay was written in the year 2001, long before the movie Secretary was made, which is likely to be the topic of another essay soon to come.

The movie "Exit to Eden" was only loosely adapted from the novel, more a vehicle for O'Donnell's and Ayckroyd's antics than a serious glimpse into BDSM. But it did afford the vanillas a sympathetic glimpse, however briefly, into our world. However poorly done, the movie served to illustrate my next point.

Before I get to that, though, I want to share a little something with you. I'm hand-writing this essay at a Denny's, where I usually stop most nights after I get off from work. It's mostly a quiet place where I can write and think over cigarettes and raspberry iced tea. I've written most of "Evolutions" here while the waitresses schlepped glass after glass after pitcher after pitcher of tea out to my table. I've become a regular here, sort of like Norm or Cliff from that old show Cheers, I guess. Anyway, sometimes when they're not running themselves ragged, I get to chat for a moment with a couple of the waitresses. Tonight, out of the blue, my waitress stayed for a moment and let me a little bit further into her life. She told me she's clean and sober, a recovering drug and alcohol addict. As we spoke, the discussion centered on the universal acceptance found by all and from all in the twelve-step programs. I couldn't help but reflect on the irony of this, considering that what you're about to read is more or less directly quoted from the foreword I wrote last night, before she and I had this talk. BDSM, you'll come to find, is often loaded with its little ironies. Read on, and you'll understand ...

I remember seeing a television commercial years back for some sort of rehab center, and the voice-over asked, "what does an alcoholic look like?" The answer, obviously, is that an alcoholic could be anyone, of any race, size, sex, religion, sexual orientation, income level, creed, color, political affiliation or shoe size. Those of us in the BDSM lifestyle are no different, not to be cubbyholed and dismissed. We are as multidimensional as anyone because we are anyone. I once debated politics with a domme I know, as an example. She contended that no one could be in this lifestyle who has my political beliefs, trying to dismiss me as a dominant and merely categorize me as a "wannabe." I'm not terribly fond of this woman in any event, and her invective did absolutely nothing to endear her to me, not that either of us really gave a damn then or now. But it was tantamount to saying I had to hold certain exclusive opinions were I a black man, or a Catholic, or a millionaire, homosexual or whatever. God, how shallow can a person be? May I give her some ice water and tell her "I think, therefore I am! Now begone!" as she swallows it? My reply to her attempt to dismiss me over my politics is this: I'm in this lifestyle, but it isn't my life. There is far more to me than BDSM, and thank God that can be said about each and every one of us. Coincidentally, I am neither Catholic, black, a millionaire, nor gay. Other than "millionaire," none of these categories are even those which I would particularly desire to fit!

If there's a category of humanity that exists, I think I've encountered it somewhere in the BDSM lifestyle. We are no different than the alcoholics I mentioned. We are no different than Hispanics. We are no different than homosexuals. We are no different than middle income moms and dads (even Ward and June Cleaver). We are no different than your postman, preacher or Avon lady. We are all these people, we are all people, we are everywhere in every generation. The BDSM lifestyle makes us no different than those not in the lifestyle. In fact, the reverse is actually true. BDSM is a common thread many of us share, each of us in this lifestyle seeking and finding our own levels.

It's sad that the media seems to report only the man-bites-dog stories, and that we read these stories and use them to paint other groups of people with broad strokes of misinformation and bigotry. If you read about BDSM in the newspapers or see it on the evening news, it is usually because someone did something outrageous and reprehensible. I think it'll be a long time before the media cares to portray us in a positive light. In that way, we are the brothers of the Muslims. For every single news story I've read portraying Muslims in a positive light, I've seen hundreds more depicting these people as mad bombers, rabidly intent on the wholesale slaughter or all non-Muslims worldwide, Hitlers in kaffiyehs and flowing robes. You'd think by now we'd learn, but it seems we're happy to be doomed as sheep to the media's shepherd, and thus blindly believe that Muslims are a worldwide menace, as Hitler once caused Germany to believe of the Jews, and as we Americans once shamefully believed of our west-coast Japanese-Americans, many of whom were born on our soil, and almost all of whom were entirely loyal citizens of our great land.

Have you ever met a Muslim? Have you ever befriended a Muslim? I have, and the ones I've met have been ordinary people like you, like me, like all of us. The only constant among Muslims that I've found is that they're all Muslim, subscribing to the teachings of the Holy Koran and the Prophet Muhammad, and worshipping God, whom they call Allah. To be sure, most of them are not wild-eyed airplane hijackers. Neither are all of them rich, or convenience store owners or tobacco merchants. They're just ordinary everyday people who share a common belief in God, just as we BDSM-ers only share a commonality of one facet in our lifestyles. We're not all freaks and perverts, nor sickos nor weirdos. We're just people.

(Author's note: This essay was written several months before the events of 11th September 2001, but those events do more to illustrate my point than to eliminate it, in my honest opinion)

So what is BDSM and the BDSM lifestyle? Let me begin by saying what the lifestyle is not. This is not a lifestyle of abuse. It is not about torturing unwilling captives for one's own pleasure alone. It is not about dominants treating submissives as less than human, for our submissives are not cattle or unfeeling objects. BDSM is not about spanking. BDSM is not about bondage. Now here's what BDSM and the BDSM lifestyle is ...

BDSM is about complete mutual trust, one for the other, first and foremost, trust that each seeks to please the other and will endeavor to ensure that neither partner comes to harm. BDSM is about unfailing honesty on the parts of all involved. And BDSM is about deep and abiding love. These limitless degrees of trust, honesty and love form an unbreakable triad, a unity among its partners usually far stronger than that found out in what we think of as the vanilla world.

I want to discuss our relationships in this lifestyle for a moment. Grace and I have frequently discussed the BDSM lifestyle in generalities, going beyond the particulars of our own relationship and out into the wider world of our peers and friends in this lifestyle At varying times we have spoken from emotion, but at other times from the standpoint of logic. Grace is a very intelligent woman, and I've found that I love delving into her thoughts I'd like to share with you our conclusions, in no particular order.

We have concluded that the roles in BDSM relationships begin with at least basically predefined roles, dominant and submissive, or switch-switch, ad infinitum depending on the couple in question. That in no way means that every one of the relationships in BSDM is identical. The reverse is true, in all actuality, but we BDSM-ers at least begin with a great deal more knowledge of our partners' wants and needs than most vanilla folk, I'd daresay. By definition, a BDSM relationship begins on a step of trust and honesty that vanillas might take years to make. I suppose you could say we begin a relationship in the center and work outward while our vanilla counterparts tend to advance their relationships in more linear fashions, often striking pitfalls that BDSM-ers would find unimportant, but that the Vanillese more often discover to be unrecoverable. because the trust and honesty needed to hoist one another from these punji-pits isn't there yet. I think vanillafolk often spend way too much of the early stages in relationships posturing and hiding parts of themselves from their partners in ill-advised attempts to show only their best sides. Personally, I think that's insane and counterproductive. All of us, BDSM or vanilla, get into relationships seeking something long-term, at least sooner or later. We're not running for office, for Christ's sake, but oftentimes for lifelong commitment, hopefully with the man or lady who will become a soul's mate. If you happen to be a vanilla reading these words, please consider them and take them to heart, and if you're hiding things from your partner, get those things out on the table, and soon, so you can mutually deal with them and cement trust and honesty firmly in place, that it might point you always to the right path, a compass never erring from True North. Yeah, yeah, so I wax poetic sometimes. Sue me! But getting back to my point, I contend that if you dispense with the deep issues early, the minor ones will seem more and more trivial, even laughable, as they arise. Perhaps your partner will find the big issues to be unrecoverable and break the relationship. If so, you are at least free before you've invested too much of yourself backing a lame horse at the Kentucky Derby. But if you work out whatever the deep issues may be, I think you'll come to find that you will also have gone a long way toward casting doubt and insecurities into the bowels of Hell where they belong, before they destroy love, trust and honesty irreparably.

I am very close friends with a dom named "Bob," who has come to this lifestyle relatively recently. (As an aside, I've noticed that many BDSM-ers come to the lifestyle later in life after some momentous self-discovery or admission brings them to epiphany. I think that's great, but I'm a bit different. I remember being seven years old and daydreaming about domming on Ginger and MaryAnn out there on Gilligan's Island.) Anyway, Bob and I talked late into the night about how happily stunned he and his slave "Millie" are at the seemingly infinite love, trust and honesty they'd suddenly found in BDSM from the get-go. I'll tell you what I told Bob that night: Vanillas could stand to open their eyes and learn from we grizzled old perverts.

Last Saturday, I attended a meeting of a BDSM organization in my area, Houston, Texas. The moderator led the discussion on the topic of psychological aspects of BDSM. Ideas and opinions fairly crackled across the room.. The discussion was lively, at times deeply profound and outrageously hilarious. One woman there offered a brief comment that expressed my diatribe, and I'd like to share it here. She said that almost no vanillas in her life know about her BDSM lifestyle, but that in our realm it is a given that we are free and encouraged to share our deepest feelings, only far later getting into the small talk like favorite movies or whether we prefer McDonald's to Burger King. That same woman later broached again the topic of trust, saying that she and her master had hosted a number of BDSM parties in their home and had never been violated or suffered a theft during the course of these events. She plainly stated that we tend to be very honest and honorable people in most regards. To that observation, I would like to add my own. There are women and there are ladies. There are men and there are gentlemen. After ten years as a paramedic, I've seen too many people bared of their masks to ignore the difference, and we southerners tend to be big on gentility in any event. Most of the BDSM-ers I've known have far and away been ladies and gentlemen, strata above mere women and men. Take a bow, y'all, because you deserve it.

But what more is BDSM, you may by now be asking. Hopefully you've not by now gotten bored and fallen asleep or went to find a rerun of Adam-12 on Nick at Nite. BDSM is about the elevation of our humanity, raising all involved upon pedestals to stand proudly in the warm sun, under a dazzlingly blue and cloudless sky. Oh! So now you're calling your lawyer to sue me out of a zillion bucks for malpractice of poetry, eh? Well, I don't have a poetic license in any event. Go ahead and sue, but there's no blood in this ole domly turnip, so I think your shyster's going to send you packing.

If you have studied this lifestyle for anything more than the scantest perusal, you've surely encountered our motto scattered everywhere: Safe, Sane and Consensual. That's not just a jazzy feel-good slogan, but the way we live this lifestyle. Safe, Sane and Consensual is indeed one exclusive definition of our lifestyle, however flexibly applied from couple to couple. If an experience was unsafe, if it was insane, if all didn't consent to it, then it was absolutely not BDSM but abuse. Author's note: See my essay on SSC on this blog for more thoughts on this particular topic.) I know of no one in the BDSM lifestyle who is accepting of an abuser. Are people in the BDSM lifestyle spanked, whipped, beaten? You betcha. Are these same people held, cherished, hugged, loved? Absolutely. BDSM is for the mutual pleasure and satisfaction of all involved. It's not just confined to cheap thrills and kinky sex, but usually reaches from there and on into the deeper, more private and sacred chambers of the spirit. I'll flatly tell you the kink is fantastic and I love it, but it's like condiments served alongside the entree in a four-star restaurant. Please accept my apology in advance for what I'm about to say, but it is exactly the difference between an old fashioned down and dirty raunchy fuck and lovemaking, where bodies, hearts and souls are laid bare and shared. In either case, you came, and I hope very well. At times, a lowdown raunchy fucking is just what the doctor ordered, but it's far more the lovemaking that most of our souls crave.

Submissives may often be hurt, and sometimes very badly. They may be brought to tears, screaming, or sometimes even bleeding and scarring at their behest and consent. I don't venture to guess the reasons why, anymore than I guess why I love barbecued chicken but hate fried chicken. Neither am I able to explain why we dominants are pleased to deliver such pain to our loved ones. Are we made? Are we born? I don't know and neither do I care. It's good enough for me that we simply are. But "hurt" lives in a galaxy light years apart from intentionally delivered harm to one's body or spirit, which is beyond the pale, unforgivable.

And no, BDSM does not require that one be spanked or restrained. One of the more fun and interesting activities I've found in D/s play falls under the broad category called "sense play," in which a submissive is subjected to a number of physical sensations, sometimes blindfolded, sometimes wearing earplugs, sometimes restrained. Pick any combination of the above. The submissive may feel ice rubbed on the skin, or soft rabbit fur, or the blunt side of a knife dragging down the body. Perhaps the submissive will feel the most feathery of fingertip caresses. The list is as endless as the results are ... well ... WOW!

Most larger cities have clubs or social organizations for those of us into BDSM, and I highly recommend looking into them. They can be a great place to socialize and be, if only for a short time, with like minded people in a casual environment. But it's not at all why I recommend looking into these organizations. Above all else, these societies provide a venue to learn this lifestyle intellectually and emotionally. Should you attend, you will likely find an open-minded acceptance of one and all seldom encountered in Vanillaworld, save the occasional twelve-step group. The internet has perhaps been the greatest boon to our lifestyle. Shielded by anonymity, it is now possible to find and contact like-minded people in one's locale. But these BDSM societies should not be considered to be singles' bars, so I recommend that you attend with a closed mouth and open eyes instead of trolling for some cute little subbie to spank. Many there are in deeply devoted relationships, dom and sub. This is not to say the unattached are automatically unwelcome, but a simple suggestion that you take your prejudices and assumptions and lay them aside, then enter with an open heart, an open mind, open eyes and open respect.

This is a discussion Grace and I have held long into many a night. I suppose this is my testimony of hope for the BDSM lifestyle and our future. Hope springs eternal, right?

Do you remember when the tennis star Billie Jean King rocked the sporting world with her admission that she was a lesbian? I remember it, even though I was still a youngster, a future far ahead of me when I would realize that I, too, am a lesbian, however wrapped in a man's body. I remember people left, right and center were freaked, utterly freaked, that someone so previously well-regarded as a heroine to the sports world, and I suppose to the women's liberation movement as well, was now an overnight infamous pervert.

I suppose how you regard gays and lesbians is for you to decide, just the same as your feelings regarding any other subset of humanity, to include BDSM-ers. I am neither here to praise nor condemn gays and lesbians, but to have them illustrate my eventual hopes for those of us who practice dominance and submission.

You see, the homosexual community is starting after all this time to gain footholds in the mainstream culture. No longer do we necessarily go into an autmatic panic and think a gay is by definition a menace to ourselves and our children. To be sure, we still have a liberal lacing of homophobes and gay bashers out there, just the same as other extremist groups of racists and other bigots that are still around, and likely always will be. But you're probably a lot like me as regards bigotry: You've seen it running in all directions and from all directions.

The American culture has slowly but surely arrived at the conclusion that gays are just people living another life. To be sure, the main beneficiaries of culture's slowly evolving attitude change are the feminine lesbians and to what I think is a lesser degree, masculine gays, what one might term "normal homosexuals," as if any human has ever attained that state of grace known as "normality." Gays and lesbians have arrived to a more secure place in American society. My hope is that in the fullness of time, BDSM-ers will be accepted by our culture as just the ordinary, everyday people we are, that our choice or avocation or birthright will no longer hang over our heads like the Sword of Damocles, keeping us cloistered in secret garrets like latter-day Anne Franks. I want us, my numerous friends and acquaintances who share this beautiful lifestyle with me, to be able to emerge from our closets without the fear of being made yet another group of outcasts. We merit your bigotry no more than any other subset of culture that is harmful to no other.

I'd like to leave you with one parting thought, if you're still reading this and didn't fall to sleep for a good dose of QWERTY-face. There is really no facet of society where dominance and submission is not the rule. There are those who dominate every person they encounter, and those who daily submit to the domination. We all have someone who is dominant to us, be it a boss, a doctor, a policeman, the PTA president, whatever. And all of us have dominated or do dominate or will dominate others, perhaps subordinates at work, a person who wants our business, and even our children. At least the BDSM lifestyle is one we're free to embrace or reject at our will and pleasure. We have to submit to our employers or we're fired. We have to submit to the law, or we're jailed or fined. These are consequences we've no choice but to suffer. These elements of dominance and submission are required of us, no matter our choices or opinions of them. It makes me wonder exactly who are the demented ones and which of us are truly sane.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Articles Worth Reading

My dear gentle readers,

This blog has mostly been a sharing of my own thoughts on topics within the BDSM lifestyle, but I also am a voracious reader of the thoughts of others. I think that these particular blog entries have been very interesting and well-spoken lately, and felt that I should direct your attention to these. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I have.


No Room for Jealousy

Temptation gives us her views on the place of jealousy in the BDSM lifestyle in a well-considered article.

Thoughts on Dominance

Lady Myles tells us about her observations on different types of dominants, which I also thought was well-spoken and certainly worth taking the time to read.

Domming by the Numbers

Orchidea discusses her thoughts on whether or not a dom can be trained, and whether it's worth the effort to even try. I found it to be thought-provoking, and I bet you will too.

The Mind Clit

Bliatz, one of our online geniuses (genii?), discusses the need for emotional and psychological dominance. She's a bright bulb, and writes very well in communicating her thoughts and desires. This essay re-inspired my short-story, Glass, which has seemed to have generated a good deal of interest. I guess I owe Bliatz a thank-you for her inspiration, and so thank you, Bliatz, for helping to breathe life into a tale left too-long dormant.


Maculate Deviant shares with us a few thoughts about polyamory and her place in a polyamorous relationship. She's likewise a bright bulb, y'all, and worth taking the few minutes to read.

Tips and Revelations

What can I say about Neko, other than bravo! He gives us a very well-written line of thought on sharing desires with one's partner, and introducing that partner to the BDSM lifestyle, with a number of suggested options for opening that door to the significant other.

Roots and Essence

I only recently discovered this blog, and I thought this was a good article from John, who ponders his thoughts on what is for him the essence of the BDSM lifestyle. He's also wild about his submissive, L, which I personally think is heartwarming.

I certainly hope you take the time to read and enjoy these essays. Leave 'em some comments too, because I can say on my own behalf that I think that sort of thing encourages me to write more, and I wouldn't bet against the same effect on these fine folks too.

Vaya con Dios,

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Insecure "doms"

For my purposes, I'm using m-doms and f-subs here, mainly because I hate having to keep saying "he or she" or H/him (a topic for another essay in the future, believe me), but please don't take that to mean that f-dommes and m-subs don't find themselves in these situations. Be warned: this essay takes rather much of an advocacy position, and if it pisses you off, I really don't care.

Your first rule is that you can't talk to these friends of yours, and certainly not to any other men, and most especially not other doms, or I'll take your collar away. You don't talk to anyone without getting my permission first, or else. And I insist on having full access to all your emails and chat clients.

How many of you have undergone this sort of treatment from a dom, or known someone, dom or sub, participating in that sort of conduct? A collar goes onto a submissive, and instantly, the dom feels he can't be domly if he doesn't instantly drive a wedge between his new submissive and her life. I see this sort of conduct going on to a far lesser degree out here in the real world than I behold online, but I've always found it to be utterly dismaying, for my own reasons, but what the hell, this is my essay, so I can say whatever I damn well please, right?

First of all, what this sort of thing screams to me is of insecurity and distrust on the dom's behalf, and that in turn comes back with the echo that this is a player or someone who is otherwise unqualified to hold responsibility for another human being, because he obviously doesn't think much of himself or his submissive if he has no more trust than that for her. I wrote recently an essay entitled "Blame" where a measure of this was addressed, so read it if you like before continuing, so you understand when I say here that if you have that kind of baggage, you've doomed a relationship before it got out of the gate.

Distrust is inconsistent in a dominant and submissive relationship, and the whole "if you talk to another dom he might take you away from me" line of thought is bullshit. If your girl can be trusted, she can be trusted. If she cannot be trusted, no order you give her is going to change that, so wash your hands of her and send her ass packing. And if you think you're that lame of a dominant that you can't keep her under your control but by making yourself her only human contact, you need to go fucking grow up and get yourself unfucked before you fuck up someone else's life beyond your own. Your submissive is a human being, and humans need human contact. We're social animals, and robbing that from your submissive will likely only be damaging to her, stunting her growth as a human being. Sometimes the golden rule is an important thing to write on your heart as a rule and guide to your practices, and I'd say this would be one of those times. Would you really think it's tolerable for your submissive to say you can have no contacts or friendships with submissives or other females besides herself? Or would you think that she's being a pissy-assed jealous broad who needs a knot yanked in her ass and a strong dose of reality?

This also lays the groundwork for abusive relationships, and no, I'm not going to go off into abuse and how I define it versus how you define it, because we'd be chasing this possum through the woods until December and never nail down the little fucker anyway. A person suddenly forced to alienate long-standing friendships in the name of a new relationship, vanilla or D/s, is creating a condition of sacrificing her safety net to her dom or new boyfriend. I'm not saying that's automatically a bad thing, after the guy has proven his worth, so to speak, but I think it's a disastrous early move in a relationship. Sometimes a submissive needs these kinds of outreaches, especially early on in a relationship, when there are many growing pains involved.

Do I put my money where my mouth is on this one? Or am I telling you to do as I say and not as I do? Well, in four years that Gracie and I have been together, I have only forbidden her to talk to one person, and that was some swine online who lived his life to piss people off, and seemed to have some otherworldly magical ability to mash her buttons and get her upset. And then I'd wind up having to deal with her being upset for a couple days over his antics, and so this maggot (whom I also discovered is a registered sex offender and child molestor) is the one and only person with whom she was forbidden to communicate. She was actually happier for that in the long run, and it's a moot point since everyone's lives have gone in different directions since. Are you still unconvinced that I stick to my guns on this matter? What if I were to tell you that Gracie and I are both members of HPEP (Houston People Exchanging Power), and that she participates in a special interest group there called SubHaven, in which only submissives are allowed to attend, and do so on a promise of secrecy, that what goes on there remains there. She attends this SIG with my full consent and approval, because I know sometimes people need to talk among their own kind, and I'm okay with that. After all, I really couldn't talk to her about my EMS issues from back when, and expect her to have a visceral and practical understanding of what I was saying. She's by no means stupid, but she hasn't walked a mile in those shoes, and neither have I walked that mile in hers. At the same time those meetings are ongoing, the doms meet elsewhere for a mirror SIG called DOMinion, which is usually more of a general bullshit session without any real topic on hand, and more often than not, it's not even a D/s conversation.

How many of you submissives who are reading this can relate to what I've said thus far? Had you ever been in that sort of relationship, where you were banned from your friendships and associations? Did you feel that your relationship with your dom was stronger for this? Did you feel that alienating your associations helped you to grow as a human being? Or did you just feel low and depressed and perhaps confused as to why he refused to trust you? I've stated my opinion, but please tell me yours.

--Patrick H.--
--30th October 2004, A.D.--

Thursday, October 28, 2004

More about me than you wanted to know ...

Okay, I've seen these odds and ends all over the blogosphere, and while I doubt you'll find me all that interesting, here goes.

01. Bought everyone in the pub a drink

02. Swam with wild dolphins

03. Climbed a mountain

04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive

05. Been inside the Great Pyramid

06. Held a tarantula.

07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone

08. Said 'I love you' and meant it

09. Hugged a tree

10. Done a striptease

11. Bungee jumped – not on your fucking LIFE

12. Visited Paris -- and neither will I ever do so. Unless you mean Paris, Texas, where I have been on a couple occasions.

13. Watched a lightning storm at sea

14. Stayed up all night long, and watch the sun rise -- I've seen more sunrises than I can count.

15. Seen the Northern Lights

16. Gone to a huge sports game – Baseball and NFL Football

17. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa

18. Grown and eaten your own vegetables

19. Touched an iceberg

20. Slept under the stars

21. Changed a baby's diaper

22. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon

23. Watched a meteor shower

24. Gotten drunk on champagne -- yuck!

25. Given more than you can afford to charity

26. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope

27. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment

28. Had a food fight

29. Bet on a winning horse (even if it was only $1) -- horse racing bores me to tears!

30. Taken a sick day when you're not ill – I didn’t want to get out of bed… -- we call those mental health days sometimes.

31. Asked out a stranger

32. Had a snowball fight -- When I lived in Michigan, and when I was a little boy and it actually snowed here in Houston for three days.

33. Photocopied your bottom on the office photocopier

34. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can

35. Held a lamb

36. Enacted a favorite fantasy

37. Taken a midnight skinny dip – not yet -- Actually, it was more like 0200, but I'm going to give myself some leeway!

38. Taken an ice cold bath

39. Had a meaningful conversation with a beggar.

40. Seen a total eclipse. -- lunar and solar

41. Ridden a roller coaster -- emotional ones too, I'm sad to recollect.

42. Hit a home run

43. Fit three weeks miraculously into three days

44. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking – White men can't dance -- and shouldn't!

45. Adopted an accent for an entire day -- I do a really good Irish accent. S'fun!

46. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors -- Why would I want to go there? They didn't like it or they wouldn't have escaped here, would they?

47. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment

48. Had two hard drives for your computer

49. Visited all 50 states – I've seen several, but I love Texas most of all.

50. Loved your job for all accounts

51. Taken care of someone who was shit faced - I went once on a date with a girl who got into a spat with an ex-boyfriend and had to spend the night holding her while she upchucked everything she'd ever eaten. The overall relationship wasn't a smashing success. And the Lord Alone knows how many drunks I had to fuck with in my EMS days. LOL

52. Had enough money to be truly satisfied -- does such a state of grace exist?

53. Had amazing friends -- oh, the stories I could tell ... yeah, my friends, my true friends, are amazing human beings

54. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country

55. Watched wild whales

56. Stolen a sign

57. Backpacked in Europe -- If I go to Europe, I don't intend to drive my sneakers, thanks just the same.

58. Taken a road-trip yes, and one of my fondest dreams is to get into a car and go see America for as long as I can drive it

59. Rock climbing

60. Lied to foreign government's official in that country to avoid notice -- who the hell thinks of these questions, anyway? What, am I in the CIA?

61. Midnight walk on the beach

62. Sky diving – Not unless the aircraft is gloriously aflame, bubba!

63. Visited Ireland

64. Been heartbroken longer then you were actually in love -- let's not go there, okay?

65. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them

66. Visited Japan -- not on your life, bubba!

67. Benchpressed your own weight

68. Milked a cow -- I'll just go to Kroger for my milk, thanks just the same

69. Alphabetized your records

70. Pretended to be a superhero -- Didn't we all do that when we were kids?

71. Sung karaoke. -- I sing like old people fuck: suh-LOW and suh-LOPPY!

72. Lounged around in bed all day – and it was a weekday

73. Posed nude in front of strangers

74. Scuba diving

75. Got it on to "Let's Get It On" by Marvin Gaye

76. Kissed in the rain -- thunderstorms carry with them a primal sexual power, I've always thought ...

77. Played in the mud

78. Played in the rain

79. Gone to a drive-in theater

80. Done something you should regret, but don't regret it.

81. Visited the Great Wall of China -- whyever would I want to go see a wall?

82. Discovered that someone who's not supposed to have known about your blog has discovered your blog

83. Dropped Windows in favor of something better

84. Started a business

85. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken – thus far, this time is looking mighty fine. Cross yer fingers, y'all.

86. Toured ancient sites -- I guess it depends on a definition of "anciency."

87. Taken a martial arts class

88. Swordfought for the honor of a woman

89. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight -- I love Baldur's Gate on PlayStation.

90. Gotten married-- Jesus, what a fuck-up that was.

91. Been in a movie

92. Crashed a party

93. Loved someone you shouldn't have -- isn't that like, a rite of passage?

94. Kissed someone so passionately it made them dizzy -- WOOHOO!

95. Gotten divorced -- another WOOHOO!!

96. Had sex at the office – not yet

97. Gone without food for 5 days -- We probably should open this door no further than this, hey?

98. Made cookies from scratch

99. Won first prize in a costume contest

100. Ridden a gondola in Venice

101. Gotten a tattoo - we had a rule in EMS --- anyone with more tattoos than teeth was impossible to kill by any means.

102. Found that the texture of some materials can turn you on

103. Rafted a river

104. Been on television news programs as an "expert" -- I once told a reporter that he could kiss my ass before he'd interview me on camera.

105. Got flowers for no reason

106. Masturbated in a public place

107. Got so drunk you don't remember anything -- I'm ashamed to report that this has indeed happened to me.

108. Been addicted to some form of illegal drug

109. Performed on stage

110. Been to Las Vegas

111. Recorded music

112. Eaten shark

113. Had a one-night stand

114. Gone to Thailand -- I'd rather be doomed to live in Kalamazoo, but thanks anyway

115. Seen Siouxsie live

116. Bought a house

117. Been in a combat zone -- I guess that depends on whether you consider being shot at while working a 911 truck to be combat.

118. Buried one/both of your parents

119. Shaved or waxed your pubic hair off

120. Been on a cruise ship

121. Spoken more than one language fluently -- does Tex-Mex count?

122. Gotten into a fight while attempting to defend someone

123. Bounced a check

124. Performed in Rocky Horror

125. Read - and understood - your credit report -- a side effect of the car biz.

126. Raised children – not yet

127. Recently bought and played with a favorite childhood toy

128. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour

129. Created and named your own constellation of stars

130. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country -- What the hell is wrong with visiting places in a car?

131. Found out something significant that your ancestors did – many of my Irish ancestors were a colorful lot, including one drunken old gent who burned down a city jail when he got arrested for drunk and disorderly

132. Called or written your Congress person

133. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over to be with the one you love -- Been there, done that, bought the shirt, and I swear I'll never ride a bull in that rodeo again, Buckwheat!

134. ...more than once? - More than thrice?

135. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge -- ACK! What's this obsession with walking???

136. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking -- I sing poorly, but I never said I don't like to sing anyway

137. Had an abortion or your female partner did

138. Had plastic surgery

139. Survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived. – ten years in EMS and never got hurt. Sometimes ya just know God's protecting ya.

140. Wrote articles for a large publication -- Does my novel count, since it's submitted for publication?

141. Lost over 100 pounds -- I lost 240 pounds in one moment. All it took was signing the divorce papers!

142. Held someone while they were having a flashback -- God love the EMS biz.

143. Piloted an airplane – Does Ace Combat 04 on PS2 count?

144. Petted a stingray

145. Broken someone's heart

146. Helped an animal give birth

147. Been fired or laid off from a job

148. Won money on a T.V. game show

149. Broken a bone

150. Killed a human being -- insane family members accused me of it when Grampa didn't respond to CPR, but elsewise, no. I've seen too much death on the streets, though.

151. Gone on an African photo safari

152. Ridden a motorcycle -- the first DB I scraped off the pavement was a motorcycle accident. She was 26 years old and her head shattered like one of Gallagher's watermelons. That killed it for me and motorcycles, thanks just the same.

153. Driven any land vehicle at a speed of greater than 100mph

154. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced

155. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol -- you're asking a TEXAN that sort of question?

156. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild

157. Ridden a horse

158. Had major surgery -- earlier this year, in fact. Bleh.

159. Had sex on a moving train

160. Had a snake as a pet -- If I see a snake, it's my mission in life to kill the slithery little bastard. Read up on your Genesis.

161. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon

162. Slept through an entire flight: takeoff, flight, and landing -- no, but I've had flights so bad that I think the pilot was snoozing

163. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours

164. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states

165. Visited all 7 continents -- now, why in the world would I want to go to Antarctica?

166. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days

167. Eaten kangaroo meat -- no, but I wanna collect more kangaroo whips

168. Fallen in love at an ancient Mayan burial ground -- That sounds morbidly goth and fucked up, yask me!

169. Been a sperm or egg donor -- not going there either.

170. Eaten sushi -- not bad, but I wouldn't go far out of my way for it.

171. Had your picture in the newspaper

172. Had 2 (or more) healthy romantic relationships for over a year in your lifetime

173. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about -- We of Irish descent have a way of being able to tell someone go to hell, and make them happy to be on their way.

174. Gotten someone fired for their actions

175. Gone back to school

176. Parasailed -- no, but it looks like fun

177. Changed your name

178. Petted a cockroach -- yuck

179. Eaten fried green tomatoes -- yes, but I never cared for them, really

180. Read The Iliad -- the author is such a Homer, though!

181. Selected one "important" author who you missed in school, and read.

182. Dined in a restaurant and stolen silverware, plates, cups because your apartment needed them

183. ...and gotten 86'ed from the restaurant because you did it so many times, they figured out it was you

184. Taught yourself an art from scratch -- I think the woodturning can be called an art, as can writing

185. Killed and prepared an animal for eating -- they're best when you do it that way!

186. Apologized to someone years after inflicting the hurt

187. Skipped all your school reunions -- Why bother going? I'm in contact with none of my classmates, and we obviously don't miss one another.

188. Communicated with someone without using the phone -- isn't that what face-to-face conversation is all about?

189. Been elected to public office

190. Written your own computer language

191. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream

192. Had to put someone you love into hospice care -- And held her hand as she slipped into Jesus' arms.

193. Built your own PC from parts -- ACK! I'm a computer MORON

194. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you

195. Had a booth at a street fair

196. Dyed your hair

197. Been a DJ

198. Found out someone was going to dump you via blog

199. Written your own role playing game

200. Been arrested

201. Watched someone masturbate in a public place

More stuff about me

1. I am a Christian.

2. I am politically conservative.

3. I have five dogs. They are Grimmy, Kringle, Susie, Dixie and Addie.

4. I have three cats. They are Calvin, Hobbes and Tillie.

5. We have a 125-gallon aquarium.

6. We own two vehicles, a '99 New Beetle and a 2004 Ford Ranger.

7. I used to sell cars for a living. I fucking hated it and hope I never have to do that again.

8. I'm a member of the Masonic fraternity.

9. I don't believe in organized religion.

10. I hate peas and beets.

11. Fried chicken too.

12. I was a paramedic for ten years.

13. I love playing poker with my friends.

14. I enjoy history.

15. Especially Texas history.

16. I utterly loathe Julia Roberts.

17. And Barbra Streisand.

18. And Hanoi Jane Fonda.

19. My all-time favorite television series is M*A*S*H.

20. Currently, my favorite television shows are South Park, Dead Like Me, and the CSI shows, all three, along with Without a Trace.

21. Because I was a paramedic, I've tied people up in events that were not sexual experiences.

22. Because of those paramedic experiences, I don't get off on most medical play in S&M.

23. I do a great deal of writing, and have plans to write a mainstream novel of intrigue involving geopolitics.

24. Tabasco is a food group.

25. I believe Roe v. Wade was an invalid decision by the Supremes, but I'm glad abortion is legal, mainly because I'm glad I never had to run a teenage girl with a coathanger jammed in her works.

26. I think psychiatrists have no more validity than a local palm-reader, and would trust a bartender further than I'd trust a shrink.

27. I think the drinking age in the U.S. should be no higher than seventeen, the age a which the young may join the military, and in many cases, be imprisoned for felonies.

28. I've been told I should look into being a stand-up comedian.

29. I've actually been to Kalamazoo, Michigan. It's not far from Hell.

30. I believe in the death penalty, and think it's seriously underutilized in the U.S.

31. I miss men like Harry S. Truman, who would call a son-of-a-bitch just that, and make no apologies for having done so.

32. Although not a huge sports fan, I've always loved the Green Bay Packers.

33. I consistently vote against spending public funds on professional sports teams in any manner.

34. I'm opposed to monetary fines for minor offenses, such as traffic violations.

35. I live in the country, and not as far out in the country as I'd like.

36. I don't think Bill Gates is quite the monster people like to portray him as being. He's just a computer geek with a good sense of marketing and ruthless business practices, not Lucifer, fresh from the Stygian pits and reeking of brimstone.

37. The eternal debate. Boxers or briefs? Briefs win.

38. Coke or Pepsi? Coke, baby!

39. Favorite liquors: Tequila and single-malt Scotch, both consumed neat.

40. Favorite movie genres: Comedy and coming-of-age movies, like Secondhand Lions.

41. I love fried catfish.

42. I do very well cooking out on the grill.

43. I'm fairly cynical, and make no apologies for it.

44. I think animal rights activists are lunatics, who need to be locked away in rubber rooms and the key thrown away.

45. I have a thirty-foot flagpole in my front yard, that I built myself and set up. I proudly fly the US and Texas flags from it.

46. I like woodwork. Yeah, lookit the pictures. Duh, right?

47. I wear contact lenses.

48. The picture on my profile was taken very recently.

49. Yeah, and I know I look like the Missing Link.

50. The last time I took an IQ test, the result was right around 160 points.

51. I don't think that really means very much.

52. I grew up almost in sight of the San Jacinto battleground, where the Texas army under Sam Houston fought and defeated the Mexican army of Santa Anna.

53. I tend to be a bit of a nerd about things like history and my hobbies.

54. I have a sister whom I love, but don't oftentimes really like.

55. All of my grandparents are dead.

56. My mom's father was born and raised in Germany.

57. My mom's grandparents immigrated to the United States from Norway. One of their daughters was born on the ship bearing them to Ellis Island.

58. I love going deep sea fishing.

59. My favorite city that I've visited, although only twice, is New Orleans, Louisiana.

60. The best meal I had in New Orleans was at Ralph & Kacoo's, where I had blackened alligator.

61. My favorite genre of food: Tex-Mex.

62. Favorite authors: Stephen King, Dean Koontz, WEB Griffin, Laurell Hamilton. Lots of others, but those will do for now.

63. I watched Secretary, and loved it. We even own a copy of the DVD.

64. I have a very good rote memory. I memorized my first "adult" (not porn, but not for kids) poem when I was seven or eight years old.

65. That poem is called The Box. I've no idea who is its author.

66. I enjoy words, and often compose stories in my mind when away from writing materials.

67. My sense of gallows humor is an acute one.

68. My favorite comic strip is Dilbert.

69. I suffer from IBS. Yuck, huh?

70. I enjoy good debates, but give up on them when they turn into personal attacks.

71. I hate snakes, and I kill them wherever I see them on my property.

72. I've cried more over the deaths of beloved pets than I have over many of my relatives.

73. From about the age of 20, I disowned my dad's mother, and never regretted having done so.

74. Comedians I despise: Gilbert Godfried. Jim Carrey. Judy Tenuta.

75. Comedians I love: Almost anyone else, but I especially have come to love the Blue Collar team with their southern-fried comedy.

76. Favorite taste in music: Probably oldies from the Sixties and Seventies, closely followed by what I think of as real country music.

77. Other than two very brief forays into the casino in Windsor, Ontario, I've never stood on foreign soil.

78. I'm not opposed to traveling abroad, but I'd like to see the United States first.

79. I never graduated college, but I hope I can go back sometime soon.

80. I loved serving in EMS, although I was a volunteer only for ten years. They're experiences I wouldn't trade for a dumptruck full of diamonds.

81. The best friendships I've ever earned were working a 911 truck, and those friendships are lifelong. We still get together frequently, at least once a month, often more.

82. I have never gladly suffered a fool. In high school, I even had a teacher who was stupid and I lost no opportunity to remind her of it.

83. I refuse to purchase foreign cars. The only reason we have the VW is that Gracie got it before we met. BTW, the New Beetle from VW is a piece of shit.

84. I've never wanted to be a celebrity, or in the public eye very much. Once upon a time, I refused an interview with a local television reporter over an ambulance call I worked where we had to put the patients, father and son, on a dustoff to Houston.

85. I don't betray confidences, and usually find it to be unforgivable when mine are betrayed.

86. I've come to learn that if you look hard enough for bigotry, you'll find it, but it's most often not really there so much as imagined, like a case of buck fever.

87. After my EMS time, I refuse to look on alcoholism or drug addiction as diseases, but instead as voluntary weaknesses in one's personal character. That said, if someone I know or love is trying to get clean, I'll do all in my power to support that person, but will never agree he or she is a victim.

88. I cannot see Christopher Reeve or Ken Caminiti as tragic figures. I doubt that Reeve ever noticed people in wheelchairs until he found himself in one, and Caminiti's death was ultimately by his own hand.

89. I think the world was a far better place when we didn't try to understand criminals, but instead gave them a tall tree, a short rope and let 'em do the funky chicken.

90. I saw Passion of the Christ. I think it's a brilliant movie, and I can't see how an historical account of the Christian tale can be anti-Semitic, even if it did put the Jewish people of the time in an unfavorable light.

91. I positively love the Darwin Awards.

92. My most embarrassing EMS moment: A CPR call where the trailer floor collapsed under my weight, and I was left stuck and floundering in the hole for a while as my partner kept trying to resuscitate the dead little old lady, asking me in mixed concern and irritation if I was going to be able to extricate myself from the hole.

93. I enjoy putting tacky new lyrics to old tunes. One of my favorites was a song about CPR to the tune of Jingle Bells.

94. I once told a friend of mine a war story while we were in a restaurant, about a DB call I ran once upon a yesterday. An eavesdropper (his fault, not mine) got so sick about the gory details, he had to take his order to go.

95. I've never smoked marijuana, and probably never will, but have over the last couple years come to wonder whether it should be legalized.

96. I love good practical jokes, but tend to give as good as I get.

97. I do my best not to react in anger, having learned that walking away is often the wisest course of action. With rare exception, I've learned that I'll only come to regret what was done in anger.

98. When I go on a hard-charging writing tear, I let little interfere with me, and have often been so busy writing that I've not eaten all day. I don't forget to eat, but I don't want to be troubled. That said, I'm still a fat sumbitch. Sometimes life really sucks.

99. A piece of advice I'll offer to anyone: Never ask me a question if you're not sure you want to know my answer.

100. See, I told you people I'm a boring nerd, didn't I? Hello? Is anyone still awake? Damn. Text-Valium, bay-bee!

--Patrick H.--
--28th October 2004, A.D.--

Sunday, October 24, 2004


Scars of the past. Skeletons in the closet. Ghosts. Bitter experiences. Baggage.

We use all these terms all too often as an excuse for conduct that is ultimately inexcusable. In short, we all too often have a regrettable tendency to hold those in our present to account for the wrongs done by those in our past. Just exactly how sick and cruel is this?

Thinking on it, I cannot come up with any comparison to draw with this sort of conduct. Where else would we so knowingly and blatantly convict the innocent of crimes we damned well know were committed by others? Even the Jim Crow kangaroo courts of long ago don't quite compare, and would open doors to places that need no exploration here. The cruelty I'm talking about here is done to ones that are loved and liked, not to random people of a specific category.

Why do we do these things to people we claim to like or even to love? Why would we routinely deny to a loved one this measure of deserved trust and respect, or even in some cases, friendship? "Her last boyfriend was a two-timing ass, so this one must be no better." Exactly how fair is that, to make such broad assumptions as you paint one person, all the while acknowledging that person's innocence of someone else's wrongs, with another's brush? Not even the least bit fair, I'd contend, and I'd hope most would agree with me.

The BDSM lifestyle is one of trust, but doesn't such conduct bespeak utter distrust instead? How do we reconcile these things into a relationship and expect it to succeed, and not collapse under its own weight? How can we speak of love and trust for a dom or sub, and still harbor these feelings? How can we hold these feelings toward someone and say we like and/or respect that person, for that matter?

How many of us have lost relationships that could have been kinetic and wonderful creations were it not for this regrettable tendency to make others pay the bills of those who went before them? To draw a comparison, how would you feel if you entered a restaurant and discovered the last person at the table where you were seated didn't pay his tab, and now you were walking in and owing for a steak dinner for ten and premium hi-tension booze for all, before you ever got a bite of the simple burger you came to get? Hell, you'd blow a nut and I'm betting you'd tell the waiter demanding that payment to kiss your ass at high noon in front of the county courthouse, but give you a couple hours to draw a good crowd. Or maybe that's just what I'd do. For all intents and purposes, I have more or less done this in relationships where I've run out of patience after the SO tried to put my feet to the fire for the wrongdoings of her ex-SO. Fuck all over that noise, y'all.

If you've read this, and agree with what I've said, I'll ask you to do two things. First, pass the lesson along to others, so that the wanton cruelties can at least slow down some. I'm not so much the idealistic fool to think it will ever stop. Secondly, take this lettle lesson into your own heart, and remember that those you like or love are undeserving of the cruelties of your retributions for wrongs that don't fall under their ownership, but all too often instead to those who are forever beyond reach. In other words, get over it.

--Patrick H.--
--24th October, 2004, A.D.--

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Desires and Honesty

How do I tell my husband that I have these desires? My God, he'd think I'm the sickest deviate in the world!

My wife would call me a pervert and try to get me deballed if I suggested that!

Running hither and yon among blogs lately, I've found that to be a terribly recurrent theme on blogs that deal with sex and sexuality. People seem to be pretty consistently afraid of sharing their fantasies and desires with their spouses or significant others. Personally, I hold with the philosophy of the late, great George Smith Patton, who reminded us, "never take counsel of your fears." If you're in a long-term relationship, a marriage or a relationship resembling a marriage, you've already placed one hell of a lot of your trust in that person's hands, and if you did so while you were flying under false colors, you've already screwed the pooch way back at Square One. And yes, I've made these mistakes too, and came to regret them, but I learned from them, and when I got involved in my current relationship, I put the cards right out on the table for her to see, and I think we now have a good relationship for that. Neither of us is afraid to express our desires, and I think that's far the healthier. How many of us have read blogs from couples that are ecstatically happy in their relationships because they opened up and expressed things to one another? Raise your hands. Okay. Now, how many of us have read blogs from men or women who are miserable in their relationships and horrified of their significant others learning of certain dark and hidden desires? And now for the clincher question: if you were forced into someone's shoes, but you got to choose, from which category would you make your selection? Yeah, it's a no-brainer, huh?

None of this is to say or imply that your partner is obligated to share your interests, or to participate in them unwillingly. And it's entirely possible that you might find the incompatibility to be insurmountable, and something to end the relationship. So I can understand why it's frightening to admit to your partner that you may have desires that are other than the missionary-position-only-and-no-more-than-1.4-times-weekly cultural expectation. But I think our cultural mores, fed often by people living to mind their neighbors' business, make us afraid of being publicly declared perverts, and labeled with a scarlet "P" in the town square. When we toss that in with the attitudes that anything "deviant" is tantamount to "pedophilia," it's understandable where the fear comes strongly into play. Having said that, I think we've let the holy-rollers and other pundits (read nosy fucks who should mind their own business and not anyone else's) have completely overlooked something that it utterly undeniable. We humans are sexual beings, and we are driven to have sex by instincts probably coded right into our DNA. Your computer runs on Windows XP, but our inborn biocomputers run on SexDrive.

Life itself is sexually transmitted, as the anti-abortion bumper stickers often remind us, but even they overlook the reasons why. Our artificial concept of sexual purity and mores is only very recent in human history, from about the time of the Renaissance. In Medieval times and before, it didn't raise eyebrows when couples screwed right there in public like mating dogs, and it wasn't seen as dirty or sinful. It merely felt good, and the libido is a strong motivator in human conduct, even in casual circumstances. How often have we flirted, just to flirt, just to play a little game of "what-if?" It is a base instinct in any species to reproduce, and that's what's at the bottom of our urges to have sex. We're not as far removed from the Neanderthals as we'd have ourselves believe.

Getting back to my main thrust, no pun intended, our urges and desires are too strong in most cases to just stuff in a box and pretend are inexistent. In the animal kingdom, sex is about power. The strong breed while the weak merely need, to coin a phrase. We also hear this called Darwinism or natural selection. Henry Kissinger is oft-quoted with his remark that power is the ultimate aphrodisiac, and he was one thousand percent correct about this. That's not to say that it's good or even desirable that the only successful human breeders should be mere brutes, but it is to say that the exchange of power is undeniably sexy, and is absolutely nothing about which one should feel one iota of shame or insecurity.

Having said all this, sexual compatibility is more necessary in a relationship than culture would have us ever admit. I recently heard an interesting phrase about someone trying to dispense with guilt about sexuality. This person was self-described as a "recovering Catholic." I'm not going to go on a rant about religion and sexuality here, but in many ways, the attitudes of religion infect our attitudes about sex, all based on a Bible that was selectively edited by what I think were very sexually repressed churchmen of yesteryear who figured if they couldn't get it up, we shouldn't either. What a crock of crap that was, and I really wonder if these long-dead churchly bastards are still slowly roasting in the fires of Hell. To be honest, I kind of hope so.

If you have needs or desires in sexuality or your relationship, tell your partner, and tell that person as soon as you can, the moment you finish reading this, if possible. If you get shot out of the saddle, then at least you can stop wondering and start dealing with it. How deeply important are those desires? Are they strong enough to be fairly termed "needs?" To be honest, from my observations, they most often become needs. Around the BDSM scene, it's more or less accepted wisdom that nobody ever goes back to the vanilla life and stays there very long. I've personally met several of these people who returned to the fold, starved for passion after an excursion into a world where nobody speaks their language in the bedroom, so to speak. It took me a bit too much of my own personal experience to learn this lesson, and as I've said and re-said many a time, I'll never look outside my own species for relationships, ever again.

Look at it another way. Honesty is paramount to the success of most relationships. That's commonly accepted wisdom. Of course, lawyers and the like (we won't even go into the topic of our benighted priests worldwide) have labored hard for successive generations to redefine "honesty." It seems that many of us believe that honesty is achieved merely when we don't lie, but what's really the difference in actively hiding the truth? If the truth is that you want more, or need more, in your relationship's sexuality, then you're lying to your partner by not just saying so, aren't you? Success is never going to find the faint of heart, and if we cannot be happy in an area of our lives so powerful and all-consuming as our sexuality, why are we bothering to try to live a lie? For the record, I'm defining a difference between sexuality and sex. Sexuality includes sex, by my definition, in other words, what we do in bed with each other. But sexuality is broader than that, to my way of thinking, including all our interactions with those people who might be our partners or potential partners. Flirting, for instance, falls under sexuality, as do our fantasies and desires.

I hope some of you reading this are going to take my advice to heart, and take the leap. I recently commented to a friend in the blogosphere that it's much like falling up when you take that leap. Where would we be in our lives had our forebears not often taken the guts to roll the dice? Imagine us still living in Europe, still afraid of a flat world and falling off of it if we ventured beyond the horizon. No thanks!

--Patrick H.--
--21st October 2004, A.D.--

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Players v. Real D/s-ers

The Internet has seen an explosion in BDSM like none ever witnessed before. Not long ago, an episode of the Discovery Health show Berman and Berman focused on sexual fetishes, and one comment on the show was that over 300 million people worldwide were into some form of BDSM in their sexual lives. Of this, we must assume that the bulk of these people are in the industrialized world, and it can therefore be safely said that BDSM is practiced by a very significant segment of our culture in some measure. As I've often been fond of saying, BDSM is a big house with many rooms inside it. Sadly, many of those rooms are occupied by people that have no business being here, but remain because nobody has the sense to give them the boot.

I find it unfortunate that so many people come online and think that the prevalant online environment is how it really is in the real-world lifestyle. They really think that all the protocols and posturing that are seen online is how we act in our day-to-day lives. Well, if you're reading this essay thus far, know here and now that I'm declaring that to be a crock of crap. There's a great deal of grey between the black and the white, but real-time observance of protocols like those seen online is highly rare. It didn't take me very long online to make a fairly cynical decision, but one that I've found to have been quite helpful. Until proven to the contrary, everyone I meet in D/s rooms online is a horny net geek and a player and a wannabee. The more you see them strut and preen, the more obvious they become about this, whether dominant or submissive.

As an aside, I want to point out that too many people take on the wrong terms to describe themselves, online or real-time, and that leads almost inevitably to disaster. If you spank or whip someone, or tie them up and do whatever kink comes to mind, that doesn't make you a dominant, but a top. If you have these things done to you, that doesn't make you a submissive, but instead a bottom. There's nothing wrong with being a top or a bottom, by any means, but dominance and submission extends beyond the kinky stuff and out into life. Topping and bottoming is about kink and play only. Dominance and submission is about the exchange of personal power within peoples' lives.

True dominants and submissives are not in this lifestyle to their own ends alone, but are here for the symbiosis that our lifestyle offers them. Players, on the other hand, are just selfish people here to use and abuse others for their own gratification. Make no mistake here, submissives are often as emotionally menacing as dominants, and the damage players wreak upon people is often devastating. Selfishness is not consistent with the lifestyle, because the dominant or top is supposed to keep the well-being of the submissive or bottom as a paramount objective. For now, we'll set aside the tops and bottoms, because that really isn't my focus here, and will instead concentrate on the dominants and submissives, and what makes one real and true and what makes one just a player.

First off: do not just assume someone is a player because he or she isn't real-time in the lifestyle but online only. For many of these people, the online experience dovetails perfectly into their needs, for a variety of reasons, and that makes them no less dominant or submissive on that basis alone. In many cases, what they get online does extend into their real lives. I say that if you are giving and receiving what you need, fulfilling the needs of another while your own needs are likewise fulfilled, then you're ahead of too many others, and bravo to you. Many people find BDSM for the first time in an online environment, and a good number of those discover this to be their true north. Online can be, for a wide variety of reasons, a very good way to discover and explore the ideals of BDSM in safety and anonymity. Because of the witch-hunt mentality of the cultural mainstream, most of us (myself included) feel a great need for circumspection about our lifestyle, which the Internet easily affords us. Having said that, I do believe that there are a far greater proportion of players online than out in the real world of BDSM. This is the dark side of the aforementioned anonymity for one thing. Also, most people won't tolerate real-time players, because only a fool clings for very long to their outright abuses and selfishness, and most people are far from foolish, believe it or not.

It doesn't take a person long to recognize the players, realtime or online, although the manifestations are sometimes different. For one, they are universally either arrogant or excessively dramatic (depending on dominant or submissive) in most cases, using bluster to disguise their shortcomings. It's also easy to spot players by their reputations, once you get to learn about them. VCOTW (Velcro collar of the week) Syndrome is one sure sign, in which collars are swapped off as though they were tee-shirts to be worn once and discarded. For most of these types, their reputations tend to go before them as a warning to those with open eyes, not unlike the criers in the days of old who would escort a leper about while shouting "unclean" to warn off any who would approach. "Trolling," which is the act of going around just trying to seduce others, is of course, another sure sign of a player. People are not commodities to be gotten, used up, and discarded like so much toothpaste or toilet paper, and players never seem to realize this. True dominants and submissives do recognize this fact, and regard those on the other side of that line with only contempt and scorn. Again, this lifestyle is not one of selfishness but of generosity, and failing to practice that generosity is utterly despicable to those of us who are true to BDSM.

Players are likewise marked by their day-to-day conduct, and failings in self-control put that mark on a person. Those who would dominate or submit while intoxicated or impaired chemically, for instance, are players. They're also playing dice with more than their own lives, of course, and are to be avoided like the lepers of old. A drug addict or alcoholic not in recovery, for instance, is just a player, unable to control his or her urges and therefore unworthy of this lifestyle. The ability to circumscribe one's actions and keep his passions within due bounds is the mark of a true dominant or submissive. The inability, naturally, is the reverse of the same, the Cain-like mark of the player. A friend of mine recently wrote a brief but very wonderful article about BDSM and the sad tendency of some people to "settle" on someone rather than to accept loneliness in the search of a more compatible partner, often because of failings in self-esteem or self-knowledge. I agree with her, and would add to her commentary that these people are the natural prey of the player, and are all too often the player's victims. I would also add another tidbit to her position. There is no "one size fits all" in BDSM, and before you know your abilities and needs, you're playing with fire getting into relationships in this lifestyle. Take time to make your decisions. The lifestyle will be here, and a richer place for you once you've done your self-appraisals. The knowledge of who you are, where you are, and what you are will far better arm you against those players who would merely use you to satisfy their own ends, ignoring the fact of your humanity while gleefully laboring to wreck your emotions and instill distrust for someone who would treat you as you deserve, to wit, as a human being worthy of such accord. Players care for nothing but themselves.

How else do we recognize a player? A player exhibits no trust, because he (I'm tired of saying "he or she," so don't think I'm pointing the fingers at men alone) knows he's not worthy of trust, and assumes that nobody is. An example of this would be a "dominant" who won't allow his submissive to talk to other dominants. He thinks the submissive cannot be trusted, and therefore tries to exert an iron control over the submissive's social existence. If "safe, sane and consensual" is the foundation of the lifestyle, then trust and honesty must surely be the mortar that binds it into one common building. Failures in trust and honesty around this lifestyle are tantamount to building a house in a swamp. It's going to sink and the enormity of the toll will be staggering.

Returning briefly to arrogance, I'll comment that no true dominant or submissive will say they've nothing left to learn about BDSM. I've written in other essays than this one that someone unwilling or unable to keep an open mind to learning is a person to be avoided at all costs, not unlike a blind drunk driving a car in an elementary school playground. A "know-it-all" attitude unmistakably marks a player, and a most dangerous one at that. One who won't listen to his partner is a menace, and it is only a matter of time until he wreaks havoc, often irreparably so. Likewise, someone who has read all the books and articles doesn't know a damn thing about BDSM, really. Or, to put it more accurately, he has no basis to apply that knowledge. It's kind of like when you took driver education and read the book, did the homework and took the test. That only proved you had a knowledge of the rules, not that you could skillfully operate a motor vehicle. That required that you strap that car to your back and put it on the asphalt, proceeding carefully as you gained experience. Arrogance, or unjustified overconfidence in oneself, is an awful thing in the BDSM lifestyle, and such people are just players. Trust me on this one, and stay as far away from these types as you can get. You'll be happier for having taken this advice.

True BDSM-ers are exhibited how, you might ask. Well, in short, we're antithetical to players. We know that generosity and not selfishness feeds our needs far better, and are therefore delighted to be generous to our partners in this lifestyle. We're always aspiring to greater knowledge. We're unfailingly trustworthy. We don't enter into relationships lightly, but after giving the matter a great deal of consideration. We don't strut and preen or feel we need to go around bedecked in black leather attire to validate ourselves as lifestylers. We will be what we are, no matter what we're wearing, be it black leather, Mickey and Minnie Mouse jammies, our undies only, or even naked as birth. We know that our dominance or submission comes from deep inside our hearts and souls, and not from external sources. We realize we're just people and not superhuman, and recognize our needs and more importantly, our limitations. We don't gamble with the well-being of others. We utterly despise and reject both drama and pity. Hell, we even help little old ladies across the street, whether they want to cross the street or not.

If you've read this essay to this point, I say thank you for having done so, and I hope you've considered all I've said here and found it to have been helpful to you. I hope what I've written here will help you to steer yourself to the right choices, and to avoid the players while at the same time you identify them and warn others off about them. After a while, we can hope the players know they're not welcome among us, and that they will slither back under the rocks from whence they came, and that their failures to breed because of our unwillingness to accomodate them will see us gleefully witnessing their ultimate extinction. I guess such utopian expectations are a bit much, but it's nice to dream of a perfect world even as we toil in this one, isn't it?

---Patrick H.---
---15th March 2003 A.D.----

This simple little essay was writ whilst I was on a lark
Maybe the Bard inspired me: 'twas upon the Ides of March
As I toiled with quill and paper in the cool of the night
Shaggy, tired and smoking, I must have been a sight
Now the time is come, I must declare
To fold my fevered musings and find my bed upstairs
I hope you've enjoyed these moments to read
And I hope it planted fertile seeds