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


Sunday, October 17, 2004


All around BDSM these days, we keep hearing the motto "Safe, Sane and Consensual," but what does it really mean? Well, on the surface, it means our actions are, of course, safe sane and consensual, but who the heck defines that? Well, like beauty, it is in the eye of the beholder, I'd daresay, and therefore subject to variances in interpretation. SSC could carry with it a broad range of definitions depending on who is practicing its tenets and how. Most of us in this lifestyle would contend that our actions are safe, sane and consensual, but what's safe to me might not be safe to you, and vice versa. Ditto for sane and consensual. I guess what I'm saying is that SSC sounds all nice and heartwarming and jazzy, but in truth, its definitions can be so myriad that it really means almost nothing. Let's take a look.

What is safe? Is it defined as a condition of being out of the way of any and all harm or pain? Is it defined as simply being free from conditions that are harmful? Is safe defined merely as being in non-lethal conditions? Yes? No? Maybe? What about a non-kinky interlude where one partner suffers a heart attack or a stroke? Was that safe or unsafe? Going back to my introduction, the definition of safety resides in the eye of the beholder. Many people really get into breath control and choking, which I think is about as unsafe as play can get. Are they unsafe? I think so, but my argument weakens in the face of the fact that few of its practitioners are harmed or killed despite my feelings. I was in one discussion not long ago in which one dom present said that none of what we do in play is safe, but we each define what he called "acceptable risk," and proceed on those grounds. His assertion was interesting, and one that I cannot necessarily refute with the greatest of ease.

Stephen King's novel "Gerald's Game" comes immediately to mind, in which a bondage interlude at an isolated lake cabin turns disastrous when a handcuffed lady's husband keels over dead of a heart attack, leaving her in a hell of a mess, cuffed to the bed as she was. Under circumstances other than Gerald's untimely demise, what they were doing was perfectly safe, but the circumstances King presented us were disastrous for our heroine Jessie. We could state that the kinky interlude shown us was an acceptable risk taken that proved to have been unacceptable indeed. The novel, strictly speaking, isn't about a BDSM scene gone wrong so much as Jessie's reluctant self-appraisal and self-rescue that were the results of Gerald's inconsideration in keeling over so unexpectedly. But Gerald was a lawyer, and we've come to expect the worst from them anyway, right?

I tend to think of sane along the same lines that I think of safe, at least with regard to a BDSM scene. Again, I don't think choking someone, for instance, is any more sane than it is safe, but who am I to pronounce judgement? I will say that's something you won't find me doing in the name of kink, but to each his own so long as nobody is killed or turned into a turnip or somesuch. But what about the sanity of the participants, generally speaking? Can someone diagnosed as a schizophrenic be trusted to put his schizoid tendencies up on a shelf and play nicely (or deliciously naughtily) with others? What about a person suffering from depression, or a manic-depressive, or someone with borderline personality disorder or dissociative identity disorder? Are such people by definition still sane or not? My feelings on these questions and yours may or may not agree, so again, sanity is in the eye of the beholder.

Ah, but "consensual" should be easily defined, right? Wrong. On the surface, it would look simple enough. An adult gives his or her permission to another adult to engage in certain conduct, and that's that. So it's time again that I muddy up the waters here. What if the person is easily influenced, or in a suggestive state of mind like subspace? What if the person is your legal spouse, but is not a legal adult? In many cases, people can marry with their parents' consent as young as fourteen. Does this mean the parents consented for that person? God, I hope not, but can that child bride, legally an emancipated minor, give that consent for herself (I'm going on the presumption that most married minors are female, but that's just to simplify things) and should she? What about an adult who might be mentally retarded to one degree or another? Keep in mind that I'm not even talking about legal standards regarding retardation, but ethical ones, which are often far more sticky. For that matter, what if both partners are under the legal age of consent? While we're on the topic, exactly how do we define an adult? Legally, age alone is the compelling factor most of the time, except in cases of the aforementioned retardation, if it's severe enough. We've all seen and heard of the situations where you see a very mature 16-year-old and a very immature 40-year-old and wonder exactly who is the more adult of the two. I'm not advocating by any means engaging a legal minor in play, but pointing out that being a legal adult doesn't necessarily make one an emotional adult, and then I'm asking you if you think an emotionally immature 40-year-old, for instance, is capable of offering his or her consent? Yes? No? Maybe? That's for you to decide on your own.

Coercion can be a factor in consent as well, of course, no matter how gently done. "If you really loved me, you'd ... " has started more than one set of problems for someone, and there's also the factor of pride and being dared, which also has the potential of leading down a slippery slope to disaster. How many of us were talked into doing something, abandoned all logic, did whatever it was, and then regretted it? I don't just mean in BDSM but in any facet of our lives, child or adult. Having been thusly coerced, did we truly consent or not? On one side, we can all say we act of our own free will and accord, but the other side asks does a coercive influence negate true consent?

Obviously, there are many tales of the blatant disregard of consent, and some things are so obviously non-consensual that nobody could argue in their favor. Other things, like the influence of drugs or alcohol, can become a bit more difficult to define in absolutes with regard to whether or not the chemically impaired person was capable of consenting. Most of us in the lifestyle don't engage in that kind of conduct anterior to or during BDSM play, and assiduously avoid those that do, but it still happens sometimes. Disregarding an established safeword would violate consent. Engaging in conduct outside prior negotiations would likewise violate consent. But what if the "violated" person didn't mind? What if the "violated" person comes away from the scene quite delighted with it all? Under these circumstances, was the conduct ultimately non-consensual due to after-the-fact consent, or even the implied consent that the partner didn't object? Once more, my feelings and your feelings about these situations might completely agree or completely disagree or take any tone of grey that rests between the absolute black and the absolute white.

So what does SSC mean, really? In truth, I'd contend it means very little and should mean very little. SSC is for its practitioners to decide on their own, without a particular set of hard-and-fast rules. Ethics are what we make of them. Again, I don't by any means advocate engaging in illegal conduct that will see you in a mess of trouble while giving the BDSM lifestyle yet another black eye before the world at large. What I do advocate is that we examine our ethics and ask ourselves hard questions about what conduct we would expect from ourselves in certain situations, and then sticking to our ethics in the heat of the moment. I'm afraid too many wrongs are done in the heat of passion that wind up being too regrettable in the cold light of day, and none of us can travel back in time and undo those things we regret. Forewarned is forearmed in all things, and BDSM is no different. Sometimes we have to arm ourselves against ourselves, circumscribing our actions as we keep our passions within due bounds. Your mind is the strongest tool you have, as well as your most powerful sexual organ. I'd recommend you exercise it regularly and use it wisely.

---Patrick H.---
---20th March, 2003, A.D.---

A License to Dom?

A thought occurred to me recently about dominants (and yes, you smartasses, I know that thoughts are a rare thing for me), and I wanted to get the thought into an essay. It occurred to me that there's no license to be a dominant, and that we're really mostly self-proclaimed tinpot dictators. Some of us have a subbie or slave to be the citizenry of our little banana republics, and some don't. I'm not saying that every dom just woke one morning and said "I'm a dom!," but that it's not quite like being a stockbroker or an insurance agent where we must formally prove our knowledge of this chosen vocation. "Safe, Sane and Consensual" (a topic addressed in another one of my rants to come) is what makes a wall of fire between, say, Fidel Castro and the average dominant. At least we're elected to be the dictators of our banana republics by our submissives, and most of us are pleased to be benevolent despots, however forceful in our applications of law and justice.

The problem is that many doms don't know doodly-squat about being dominants, or about properly caring for the ones who've given us the ultimate trust to be in our charges. I've seen too many submissives with shattered hearts and spirits inflicted by selfish or stupid dominants. That's a big part of the reason that I like places where those of us in the lifestyle can go and communicate, such as chat rooms or BDSM clubs out in the real world. Of course, the downside is that these places are where submissives tend to meet dominants, so it becomes a double-edged sword if others of us (dominants and submissives both) don't keep our eyes open to protect the newbies who arrive in our midst from time to time.

I've seen before both online and in the real world situations where a new submissive arrives and there are any number of trolling dominants who act like these people are calves to be roped at branding time. This seems to happen more with male doms and female subs in my observations, but such conduct can run in all directions, and rarely, almost never, to the benefit of the submissives, who are often regarded no more highly than meat in the supermarket by these people. I think the problem is complicated by the arrogance that too many wannabe dominants tend to manifest. There is all too often a belief by these people that they know it all, or can figure it all out on their own and that questions are a sign of weakness, stupidity, or insecurity. Way too late in the game for way too many people, we learn that there are no stupid questions, because in the most extreme cases, those are the unanswered ones that can get people killed. I've met in my life dominants and submissives who I thought were very intelligent and knowledgeable and a number who weren't. But I've NEVER, and that certainly includes myself and Grace, met a dominant or a submissive whose knowledge was boundless or had nothing left to learn.

I would warn any submissive to avoid like the plague any dominant who acts as though he knows it all and has nothing left to learn, for that is a stupid and dangerous person who is very likely to seriously harm or perhaps even kill you. That same warning goes out to dominants, although we're rarely harmed physically by our submissives. I frequently encounter submissives who are deeply steeped in protocol and insist on calling every dominant "Sir," and so forth. I'm not big on protocol, but if that pleases the submissive in question, then I've no problem with it. But I have told several submissives that this isn't the military, where every dominant is like an officer who has the inborn right to give orders and control the submissive in question. Unlike a dominant in BDSM, the officer has been to OCS or a service academy (such as West Point) to prove his or her worthiness to act in such a manner.

As a hypothetical, let's say you're a new submissive and have just met me, and wish to be in protocol and say "sir" to me like you're using it for a comma. Just because you choose to do so does not give me the automatic right to give you commands as though I suddenly became your master. Such is not the case, and shouldn't be the case. My being a dominant does not in any way mean I'm automatically YOUR dominant. Your submission to me is a gift that you give to me, if it ever happens, and one that I should prove that I am worthy of receiving. Likewise, dominance is a gift to the submissive (a dismayingly often-overlooked fact) and should be earned by the submissive who has proven worthiness to receive it. Submission does not automatically mean you're without rights or the responsibility to yourself to exercise good judgement.

Anyone in this lifestyle of ours is privileged to be here, and with privilege always comes responsibility, both to ourselves and to our partners. This is not a lifestyle of political correctitude or one for secrecy and lies, for instance. As an illustration, a friend of mine (a domme) had taken the first steps to bringing on a submissive male. She asked him (as is her responsibility) if he had any medical problems, and he lied to her and said no. A day or two later it came to her attention that he had a very serious medical problem about which he knew and lied in denial, and she dropped him like a hot potato. Was she right to do so? Grace and I discussed that very question at length last night, in fact. It can't be rightly called a debate since we both agreed that the domme did the right thing in dropping the guy. Our lifestyle is about great honesty, and dishonesty such as this man manifested could have (in the worst-case scenario, to be fair) have gotten him killed and her jailed as his murderess. She exercised her responsibilities in this privilege, and he did not. Sad, really, because I'm thinking she could've made him very happy. She would not have dropped him over the medical issue itself -- it wasn't insurmountable -- but because he lied and could no longer be trusted. This wasn't a little white lie, either, but one of perhaps life-and-death importance. Perhaps he'll learn from this and not tell lies to his next domme. Perhaps not. It seems that some people never learn, and that's a crying shame, but those people are to be shunned here, in my opinion, for the safety and well-being of all, including themselves.

I'm not sure why it was that I felt the need to write this essay, but now that it's on paper I'm glad that I did. Our community needs by its very nature to have the highest of standards in our regard for our safety and for our public image. We've seen too many times where people cannot wait to combine our lifestyle with any side issue to make us all look bad. I commented recently that Americans are awfully judgemental, and anyone who has sex other than missionary and/or more than 1.6 times weekly is to be viewed with suspicion and derision as some sort of a pervert. Being people of sexual liberation, we are damned suspicious to the vanillas, who are happy to be good Germans and think us capable therefore of any abomination from child molestation to bestiality as a category of people.

Well, there it is. I don't know if you think I'm full of that which makes the grass grow greener, or if you think I wrote a good essay about we in the lifestyle. Perhaps I never will. We all react differently by our own experiences and attitudes, but here it is anyway. I hope you at least were interested enough to read the entire missive.

--13 November 2001, A.D.--