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.--