March 18, 2014

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Upending Limitations


Today, I am going to cover a topic that not only applies to BDSM but life in general.  While this is true of many of the subjects covered on here, since BDSM is a microcosm of life itself, this particular issue really applies.

Preconceived notions are things that we all carry with us.  No matter how advanced a person might think he or she is, the simple truth is past experiences and conditioning are ever present.  This traits form our view of the world.  At the same time, we have a mind that like clarity wherever possible.  Every situation we encounter is completely new.  However, this idea does not sit well with the mind.  Instead, it uses past knowledge while seeking out similarities to create certainty in the present situation.  As I will show, this creates a great many problems for us.

BDSM Imagery

The imagery of BDSM is well known.  Go to any mainstream website and what do you see?  Most often the "whips and chains" side of the lifestyle is pronounced.  This is the imagery the porn industry wants people to embrace.  Remember, their goal is to sell videos and other products.  They are not interested in delving into what is truly being offered in this way of life.

We think in pictures.  Consider the saying "a picture is worth a thousand words".  Why has this phrase stood the test of time?  The answer lies in the fact that our mind is image driven.  This is proven by the fact that the best writers are those who are able to "paint a mental picture" for us.  All of our vocabulary is nothing more than picture.  Think of the word "blue".  What happened?  Did you see the letters b-l-u-e in your mind or did you see the color itself?  I am going to guess you saw the color.

Another interesting aspect of all of this is the power that these images convey.  Advertisers know this.  It is often called "the shock value".  If one can paint a powerful image in your mind, then getting you to take predefined action is easier.  Power images evoke emotion which creates a bond within us.  A classic example is the little puppy dog at the humane society.  This orphan dog is so cute and the story so heartbreaking that you cannot help but to either go adopt an animal or send them money to assist in the work they do.

Believe it or not, the BDSM world is presented in the same way.  The porn industry has a goal, to get some of your money.  Hence, it creates powerful imagery of BDSM scenes meant to excite (sexually) which creates a powerful bond within yourself.  This becomes the overriding image people have in their minds.  For this reason, I cannot tell you how many I have come across over the years who believe that BDSM was nothing more than being tied up and beaten.  I guess for some, this is enough but, in my view, they are missing a major piece.

Another idea that I need to mention about imagery is that we are also susceptible to the experiences of others.  What do I mean by that?  When someone else shares something that we have no experience in, whether it be via the spoken or written word, we tend to draw conclusions about that.  This is another way that images are created in our mind.  Therefore, when reading how others live in the BDSM world, after enough research, we will begin to formulate what is "normal".  This is only natural and simply how the mind works.  However, being aware of it will allow us to supersede this while moving forward.

Total Creativity

Creativity is something that gets a poor reputation in our society.  When people typically think of creative individuals, the image (there it is again) of the starving artist comes to mind.  Obviously, this is something few would strive for hence we see creativity as characteristic is downplayed.  Also, creative individuals are not easy to control since they tend to be "free thinkers" which goes counter to the intentions of the powers that be.

When approaching BDSM, creativity is one of the major qualities required to enjoy fulfillment.  Why do I say this?  Simply put, BDSM allows you to create whatever life you desire.  This is counter to what we are conditioned to believe by society which tends to dictate to us what our lives are to look like (think of the kid who goes to school to become a doctor because his family expects that of him).

I surmise part of the problem with people embracing this idea of creating whatever BDSM life they want is that it puts responsibility upon them.  This is something which people often run from.  Too often we see people, especially in the BDSM world, who want power but not the responsibility for the results that come with that.  We live in a world that specializes in blame.  One only needs to look at our political leadership to see that in full force.  They are responsible for nothing while always telling us how "it is the other guy's fault".

Individuals operate from this same mindset.  Most people have built in answers for what is wrong with their lives.  They blame their parents, boss, spouse, kids, economy, or whatever allows them to feel like they are not at fault.  However, the truth is the individual is at fault.  Now I am not going to say that those factors do not play in and make progress more difficult.  However, owning up to our part in things is fundamental to success in anything.  Taking responsibility for the path we are on is the first step in changing it.

The other aspect to being able to create whatever life you want within BDSM is that there are no limitations.  Many seem to believe that the BDSM relationship will look a certain way.  There is no template what anything is suppose to look like.  People are free to structure their interactions however they desire.  BDSM truly is an open-ended lifestyle.  Whatever your mind can conceive is possible.  Trust me when I tell you, whatever fetish, idea, or structure you imagine, there is someone out there who is already into that.  We truly are dealing with unlimited possibilities.

Which brings us to the final problem that I will discuss today.  People tend not to do well with unlimited possibilities.  The limitless is incomprehensible to most.  Instead, they are conditioned to believe in the limitations they erect for themselves.  Negative self talk is the overriding mindset.  People can always tell you why something cannot be done.  Fear is probably the most felt emotion on a daily basis for the masses.  This leads to us saying that it cant be done rather than it can be.  To grow and excel, one needs to overcome this limitations.  What is ironic is almost all of them reside in the mind.  We tend to mentally imprison ourselves.  The words "I can't" formulate the actions we take.  The situation becomes self fulfilling.  Instead of creating, the individual is actually destroying.  Is it any wonder people lead such dire existences?

So, your challenge is to question the limitations you erected for yourself.  Why do you think or believe what you do?  Where did that come from?  Who put it there?  How do you know you are right?  Consider what your thoughts are on BDSM.  What do you believe?  Are things suppose to look a certain way in your view?  Do you embrace and relish the unlimited?  Or does it scare you?  Is your mind made of concrete incapable of being changed?  These are a few questions to get you started.

There is no right or wrong way to approach BDSM.  It truly is up to you to create what you want within the lifestyle.  Knowing yourself is paramount.  That is why I always say it is a journey within.  What is it that will fulfill you?  That is what is most important.  The views and opinions of others means nothing.  This is your life we are talking about.  What do you want?  For too long, most of us were ruled but the shoulds and oughts that those around us set down for us.  Now that you took the step to at least research BDSM, be sure to shed the thought process which enslaved you in the first place.  Open your mind up to the possibilities.  BDSM is truly a limitless lifestyle.

DN  

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February 26, 2014

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BDSM: A Personal Evolution


Everybody who is presently involved in BDSM was at one point new.  This is an important criteria to remember.  Few of us grew up in a home where BDSM was openly talked about and taught.  Most of us, being products of the Western Civilizations, were exposed to the overriding social norms.  This means a traditional lifestyle was promoted based, most likely, upon Christianity where sin is prominent and disobedience is punished.  While the punishment is in line with BDSM, in my view, this is where the correlations end.  To me, BDSM is about openness, exploration, and growth.  Those who pursue it as a central part of their lives find themselves growing stronger within.  This is not something that comes from an outside force but oneself.

Abilities

When one is new, at anything, the simple truth is they lack ability in whatever that area is.  BDSM is no different.  Everyone who comes to the lifestyle basically starts at the same point: knowing next to nothing.  The process starts with the search for this knowledge and the Internet is a wonderful resource in the endeavor.  There is a great deal of information explaining the basics of this lifestyle and what it is all about.  This blog, as an example, is full of posts pertaining to many of the different situations that one will encounter.   Of course, I must caution one to be careful what he or she pays attention to.  While there is some wonderful stuff written by exceptional people within the BDSM community, there is also a lot of garbage out there.

Naturally, knowledge is only part of the equation.  "Book" knowledge can only take us so far.  After acquiring some of that, it is important for an individual to gain some experience.  This can occur in many different ways.  Many feel the next step is to get involved in a BDSM relationship which is not always the safest course.  While it works for many, there are other options out there.

One effective way is to seek out some of the classes and workshops that people who are experienced in the BDSM lifestyle put on.  While most of these are of the informational variety, there are certain programs designed with "hands on" experience.  Aspects such as fire play, bull whipping, and suspension require extensive hands on training from someone who is proficient in this area.  Gaining experience in this manner will assist your development which makes one more valuable.  I look at it as bringing more to the table.  The more skilled an individual, the more he or she can offer.

Psychology

The aforementioned suggestions tend to deal with the "whips and chains" aspect of the lifestyle.  While this is an important part of what we are about, it is not the entire story.  Also, attention to this area is paramount for the simple fact that extensive damage can be inflicted if one is not careful.  Safety is always the top priority.  There is another area which takes everything to a deeper level and that is the psychology of BDSM and this is an area that few discuss.

Domination and submission exist extensively between the ears.  While the core part of us, down near the pubic hair line, contains our domination and submission, it is the mental/psychological aspect which takes things to another level.  So many concentrate on the "whips and chains" that they fail to realize what is truly offered by this way of life.

Psychological control starts with oneself.  I am truly amazed at the number of people who claim to be dominant yet are woefully inept at exerting any influence over themselves.  They are a wreck emotionally, their financial situation is in the toilet, physically they are ailing (and not doing anything about it), and mentally they stopped growing.  To me, these are not signs of one who is able to take control.

Psychological control conveys bad imagery because of what we saw regarding mind control by the government and cult organizations.  Bear in mind what I am referring to is not non-consensual.  There is nothing manipulative or forced about this.  Both parties are open and in agreement to what is taking place.

True domination involves taking all of the person.  This includes her thoughts and emotions.  One who is owned truly wants to feel that at the deepest level.  Simply barking out orders does not achieve this end.  That basically is domineering which usually involves fear.  When one is properly taking control of someone psychologically, he is able to walk her through a series of steps helping her progress in a desired direction.  Again, I must stress this is consensual and the dominant needs to be fully aware of what he is doing.  Pitfalls, most commonly from past experiences exist, at every turn. 

For this reason, it is helpful for one to study and understand the basics of psychology.  There are common characteristics in this area among all human beings.  Subs/slaves have the same desires as everyone else ultimately.  Obviously, how that fulfillment is attained differs from the traditional world yet the underlying motives are still the same.  It is up to a dominant to uncover them and then concentrate on fulfilling them.  This is what creates a happy relationship while allowing for continued growth of both parties.

In summary, your entry and existence in BDSM is a journey of your own personal evolution.  Growth is a process and without it there is only death.  There is a saying that you are either going forward or backwards, there is no standing still.  So the question is which direction are you moving towards?

DN  

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February 23, 2014

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"Lifers"


I was trying to think up a title for this post to describe what I am going to write about.  However, there really is not a term that I could come up with that accurately captured what I wanted.  The closest I could get is the word "lifers".  Hopefully, after you read what I write, it will make more sense to you.

We see a lot of propaganda online.  At the same time, we see many different factions advertising the "right" way to approach the BDSM lifestyle.  Of course, as we know, it seems the "munch" is at the center of it all.  For those unfamiliar with this concept, a munch is a gathering, usually at a public place, of lifestyle people.  Think of it as a kinky coffee although play is not usually part of the program at these events.  The basic idea is that one associates with like minded people.  Naturally, this makes a lot of sense.

Another think we see is different "conventions" that occur around the country (world).  This is a munch on steroids where the gathering takes place over the course of a few days and the amount of people grows exponentially.  At these events, there are usually workshops and other presentations put on by people who are supposedly experienced in a particular area.  While many of them are good and taught by genuine people, there is a section of this lifestyle who are driven simply by ego.  Oftentimes, these situations become more a show place for one to get a stroking of the ego.

To me, there is a lot of big facade painted by many.  This BDSM way of life has nothing to do with anything that most of these people tout.  While seeing someone who is a master with a bullwhip can be fascinating, it applies little to most people's lives.  Are we dealing with BDSM or the circus is often the question.  At the same time, many seem only interested in showing off their latest "sexy slave".  While I acknowledge it is good to be proud of your property, parading her around like she is a showpiece tells me that one suffers from a great deal of insecurity.  Finally, it gets very difficult to find information that is being taught at an advanced level.  Most of the workshops are targeted at new people and rightfully so.  Putting forth advanced ideas simply would be too limiting at something like this.

So where does that leave the masses?  There are many people who live the 24/7 lifestyle who do not attend munches nor travel on a weekend to spend at a fetish conference.  These people simply go about their lives concentrating upon what is important to them.  Obviously, they feel that their lives are not lacking by missing the festivities which so many seem to make ultra important.

To me, these people are BDSM "lifers".  They are basically going through life without the fanfare that others are seeking.  To them, BDSM is about service and mastery as opposed to showing off.  The main idea is that it is not about other people but themselves.  There is no need to advertise in front of others.  In fact, for many, if they were to play publicly, they might have to tone down their activities.  Extreme games are not for the general masses.  Nevertheless, I encounter so many who have the inherent need to feel like they are a part of something.

Ultimately, life is about how you choose to live it.  If you are one who truly adores the interaction with others and finds munches or conferences helpful, then by all means, attend.  However, make sure your motives are proper and bear in mind that many who are at events such as these are not there for the same reason.  As I stated, many (but not all) have the need to "show off" and present an image to everyone.  For them, what others think is more important.

 So, in closing, I would suggest you always look at your motives.  Understand that it is perfectly acceptable to live your BDSM as you see fit.  You do not need to be a "part of the community" to be involved in this lifestyle.  Your choice to live this way of life in your daily affairs is enough.  It is up to you to do what makes you happy.

DN  

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February 17, 2014

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Life Is Just Life


Today I am going to cover a topic that I tend to touch upon repeatedly because I think it so important.

Too many people enter the BDSM world believing that it will be the "magical" answer to all their problems.  Sadly, we see so many who believe that this is somehow a fairy tale or romance novel coming into existence with just the snap of the fingers.  Of course, those who are around this way of life for any length of time know this is not true.  Life tends to mirror itself both before and after the entry into BDSM.

Lifestyle

I think that many are thrown by the term "lifestyle".  For many, the image conjured up in their minds is the idea that one is somehow getting a new life.  While on a certain level this might be correct, the truth is that there are not radical differences to start.  Life is still life no matter what choices one makes.  There is no way to exempt ourselves.

A lifestyle is nothing more than a mental concept of the choice we make.  In turn, those who choose a  particular "lifestyle" tend to seek out those with similar views.  For example, those who are into the "gay lifestyle" are apt to interact with other of the gay persuasion.  At the same time, those who like the "furry" way of life are likely to associate with others who enjoy this.  We can say the same for nudism, swinging, or BDSM.  At the core, there is a major decision from which all other decisions flow.

In the BDSM world, anyone who is committed to this way of life will, naturally, seek out power exchange relationships.  They also will associate, either in person or online, with others who are also interested and living this way of life themselves.  We share ideas, experiences, and concerns in an effort to assist others.  All our decisions are intertwined with this foundational decision to life this way.  This "lifestyle" ultimately becomes the central basis for our lives.

Reality

It is heartbreaking to witness someone who is awoken to the reality of what this deal is all about.  Sure, it is enticing to consider this an entry into something new, exciting, magical, and unrealistic.  Who wouldn't want something like that?  However, as I mentioned, BDSM is not a romance novel turned real.  The movie "Secretary" is still a movie.  "50 Shades of Gray" is a glorified romance novel that is not centered in reality  It is imperative to keep these things in mine.

The truth of the matter is BDSM is work just like any other aspect of life.  A BDSM relationship, by its very nature, entails two people who are not going to agree on everything.  The only difference between a BDSM relationship and a vanilla one is the power structure.  Other than that, all circumstances that one is apt to encounter in the traditional world exist within BDSM.  People get sick; financial difficulties are present; incompatibility occurs; jealousy arises; emotions go unchecked; people fall out of love.  Anything you can imagine that happens outside of BDSM also occurs within it.

I do not like to see people entering BDSM under false impressions.  The truth that life is life cannot be ignored.  Simply because someone decides to seek out a power exchange relationship does not mean that only good times are on the way.  People suffer just like anywhere else.

So stop with the fantasy.  BDSM is a wonderful way of life for those who have the makeup to life it.  However, it is not a solution to our problems.  This is simply an alternative way which fulfills us while providing great satisfaction.  That is all it is.  Do not think that you will be exempt from things such as loneliness, fear, anger, and disappointment.  There are a lot of tears shed by those who are in the BDSM world.

As I always say, BDSM is about more than whips and chains.  The fantasy does not appear in reality.  It is best to burst that bubble right now.

DN  

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January 25, 2014

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Directing of Power


Power is something that we often talk about in the lifestyle.  However, I noticed that it is often in the general sense.  For example, the topic of power often comes up as it pertains to the "exchange" of power.  In a TPE relationship, the submissive agrees that power is in the hands of the dominant.  This is what we mean by exchange.  Nevertheless, what is done with that power once this takes place?  That is what I will delve into in this post.

What Is Power?

Before going any further, it is best if we define what power is.  Too often we discuss a particular subject without having a clear idea what we are referring to.  Of course, everyone knows what power is but did you ever take the time to ponder what it truly means.

We know that our cars run on power.  At the same time, we get a bill from the electric company for the power they provided us.  The owner of a company has the power to give an employee a raise or fire that person.  For those who are gym rats, you know it takes power to lift a heavy weight.  Finally, in the BDSM world, one person wields power over another.

Since we all know what power is, how come it is so difficult to define it.  Like many things in life, it is so familiar to us yet we do not take the time to articulate exactly what it is.  So let us get a working definition of this.

Power simply is energy.  That is all it is.  Everything in the universe is made of up energy.  Our entire existence and everything in it is nothing more than protons, electrons, and neutrons buzzing around at incredible speeds.  It is from this energy center that things occur in the physical world.

Let us look at the example of the automobile.  We put gas (petrol for my readers across the pond) in our cars to make them run.  This is the resource that is used to generate the energy in the vehicle.  Once the gas is ignited, it gives off heat which then is used to run the engine giving power to the car.  As this is accomplished, the axles on the car are turned and it moves.  If you want to go faster, simply step on the accelerator which burns more fuel creating greater heat making the vehicle move at a higher speed.  The power comes from the energy source, in this case the gasoline.

Direction

For power to be most effective, it needs direction.  If this does not occur, it is lost.  Going back to the car, the engine is designed in a way to maximize the use of the power.  The same is true in our home.  When power is directed into the house, it comes across power lines which run from one specific location to another.  The power does not travel haphazardly.  It is harnessed.

Now let us contrast this with a lightening strike.  When lightening hits, it is one of the most powerful forces we see.  The energy field has the strength to set hundreds of acres on fire.  I am not sure the exact ratios but I feel certain in saying the energy contained in one lightening strike would power many homes for a year.  However, this power goes to waste since it is unharnessed.  There is no direction to it.  It simply strikes and dissipates.

Therefore, as you can see, the amount of power is a secondary issue.  The primary concern starts with the idea of whether power is harnessed or not.  The power coming into your house is much less than that of a lightening strike.  However, you can turn on a light and power it for hours.  A lightening strike contains a huge multitude in terms of power compared to what is coming through the cord on your lamp.  Yet, since it is unharnessed, it gives off a quick burst and then is gone.  In essence, the difference is a fraction of a second versus hours.

Power In BDSM

As mentioned, everything, including us, is made up of energy.  When we witness an exchange of power within the BDSM relationship, what we are really seeing is the transfer of control over the energy from one person to the other.  To fully understand this idea, let us take a look at personal power.

Some will say that personal power is the ability to act.  This is true but it is jumping over an important component.  Personal power is the ability to generate the energy to take action.  Exerting power over oneself to go workout requires generating the energy within to get off the sofa and go to the gym.  The action comes from the energy.

As you can already guess, in a power exchange situation, the submissive is ceding the power over the energy generation to the dominant.  He is the one who decides where her efforts will be focused.  Depending upon the style of the dominant, he might determine when she gets up in the morning, washes the dishes, bathes, works out, does the laundry, if she holds a job or not, when she sits down, and when she has sex.  All these activities require the generation of energy.

Focus

Now that you understand what power really is and what is exchange, there is a final point that needs to be explained.  Power not only needs to be harnessed but also focused.  This is what is meant by "direction".  Again, going back to the lamp, the power is delivered in a consistent manner over the power lines, into the house, and through the wiring into the lamp.  The grid is designed in such a way that the power if directed to go exactly where it is desired.  Contrast this with the lightening strike which basically can go anywhere the laws of physics will allow it.

In BDSM, we see many who receive the power by entering into an exchange relationship yet fail to focus the power.  This often occurs because the person fails to harness the power to begin with.  When receiving power, one must be able to harness it.  In other words, can the person handle it?  Electricians know they need to use wiring that is capable of handling the power that is going through it.  That is why the power lines along the street are a lot thicker than the wires in your house.  They are designed to handle a great deal more power than is transmitted to your lamp.  We see the same thing in BDSM.  If you are going to cede power over to me, do I have the wherewithal to handle it?  Can I harness the power that you give me?

One thing I need to mention is that the power a submissive gives to the dominant is only half the power.  Do not forget, that since power is energy and within everyone, the dominant also has his own power source.  This means that the submissive is adding her power to his.  This creates a problem in many BDSM relationships because the dominant is unable to handle his own power.  Ultimately, this leads to a blowout no different than when a transformer blows on the electrical pole.  The dominant cannot handle his power yet a submissive adds hers, and he goes into overload.

Getting back to the idea of focus, when handed the power in a BDSM relationship, the dominant is assigned with the task of leading the relationship.  Another way of describing this is to say he is the one who is to direct the interaction.  He is the one who decides where the energy is focused.  Those who are able to focus the power in the relationship are able to generate a strong bond.  Failure to do so results in the power being lost.

I will give you an example to illustrate this point.  Energy increases in intensity when it is focused.  Let us consider the sun.  If you go outside on  warm summer day, you see the sun shining brightly.  Go out without sunblock, the sun has the power to "burn" you.  Lay your clothing down, especially if it is dark and the sun will heat the garment up considerably.  This is the power that the sun has when unfocused.

However, when we focus the power of the sun on the garment, we learn that the ability exists to set it on fire.  If we take a magnifying glass, the intensity of the sun directed through this item increases to a level where the garment will actually burn.  This is what results when power is focused. 

Control

Ultimately, when we break it all down, control is the ability to harness and direct power.  As mentioned, for a dominant to successful be able to do this, he must first start with himself.  If he is unable to control his own personal power, how can he expect to do that with another?  Remember the idea of a transformer.  When a submissive adds her power through the exchange, she is really doubling the amount of power traveling through the "wire".  Is he able to handle it?  Sadly, when we hopscotch our way around the web, we see many "dominants" who are ill-equipped to handle the power.  In fact, look at their lives and you see a person lacking the ability to harness and focus his own power.

BDSM is not about whips and chains.  Entry into this lifestyle is an exercise is growth and development.  The BDSM relationship is unique in the separation of power.  For one to enjoy success, he must expand himself in all areas of life.  Domination is not telling one what to do.  It is the successful leading and control over the areas of finance, health, emotions, psychological, and mental arenas.  Contrary to popular thought, it is not making her do something she doesn't want to do but rather making her want to do that what she doesn't want to do.  There is a big difference.

So the question always comes back to, can the dominant handle the power he is being given?

DN

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January 17, 2014

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Dominant versus Master


We often hear words that become part of our everyday vocabulary within the lifestyle yet, rarely, do we take the time to determine what they mean exactly.   When we hear the words "Dominant" and "Master" said, everyone knows what is being talked about.  Or do they?  Today I decided to write about this subject to clarify things as I see them.

Qualities

To start, I must explain that both dominant and submissive are qualities.  They are characteristics to describe an individual.  It is akin to calling someone tall or short.  It is nothing more than a trait about that person which describes them; in this instance his or her personality.  Hence, when we call someone dominant we are saying that person exhibits the characteristics of domination.

Within the lifestyle, we call all individuals who are male "Doms" and females are "Dommes".  As you can guess, to achieve this title one only need to have the qualities or characteristics of being dominant.  Nothing further is required.

Since much of our personality is natural and ingrained in us, we see that domination is not something that is acquired.  Much in the same way that submission is natural, domination is a trait that one is born with.  While some do seem to have both characteristics within them, hence being switches, most will lean heavily one way or another.  This is an important point to remember as we clarify these points.

Mastery

The other day I wrote a post talking about domination and how it equals mastery (post here).  For one to dominate, he or she must master domination.  There is a skill set required to excel in this area.  Therefore, we find that while being a dominant is derived from an inherent quality, true domination is a result of acquiring this particular skill set.  An individual spend years learning this art in an effort to better control himself and those he interacts with.

Getting back to the main topic, I will say that all masters are dominants.  They have the quality of domination while also having studied and researched the subject itself.  This individual exhibits control over himself to a great degree while also having the ability to transfer this upon another.  Of course, a Master is not the only one who does this.  A dominant can also be equally adept at the subject of domination.  So, what is the difference?

To answer this question, I feel it is imperative to consider the other side of the equation: the bottom.  My belief is that whether one is a dom or a master is solely determined by the individual that person is topping (controlling for the newer people).  Since the skill set of the individual is the same, the only thing that differentiates is the person being controlled.

Submissive

On the submissive side, one will either be identified as a sub or slave.  Just as we witnessed with the dominant, submissiveness is a quality or trait that is within a person naturally.  There is no effort or learning required to fulfill this criteria.  One simple desires to give up control in some aspect of her life, if not all her life.

Anyone with this characteristic is identified as a submissive (sub for short).  However, there is a class of submissive that is called "slave".  This is a person who opts for a TPE (total power exchange) structure.  This individual is ceding control over her life totally.  No aspect is off limits.  A sub, on the other hand, retains the ability to pick and choose the areas where submission is present.  Like with the domination side of things, submissives, over time, will gain a particular skill set which helps them fulfill their roles.  Both a sub and slave can have advanced skills.  What separates the two is whether TPE is present or not.

Now that we clarified that point, I think you can easily see the rest of the scenario.  A master can only own a slave.  He cannot own a submissive.  The two terms, master and slave, go together.  One cannot be present without the other.  If one identifies as a slave, then the dominant she is with is called a "Master".  However, if she is a sub, meaning she retains control over a particular area(s) of her life, then he is a "Dom".

In closing, notice how the dominant is the same.  His makeup or abilities do not affect how he is termed.  It is only by focusing upon what the bottom is that we can assert what the top is.  People incorrectly establish a hierarchy believing that a master is higher than a dom.  As you see, the title is not based upon him but, rather, the one he is control of.  Hence, it is possible for one to be a dom in one relationship and a master in the next one.  In other words, beyond the identification of the submissive, a dom and master are the same.

DN  

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January 13, 2014

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Leadership: A Submissive Wants To Follow


As I travel around the web monitoring the state of the BDSM world, I am continually surprised with what I uncover.  It seems that people like to look at the behavior of others while completely ignoring themselves.  Of course, I believe this is natural and part of being human.  However, for those who want to "evolve", looking at oneself is crucial.

BDSM is basically made up of dominant and submissive personalities.  While there are others who are part of our community, the majority of us will fall into one of these two categories.  When I read much of what is out there, I come across the idea of training a sub.  Personally, I always found this to be an odd idea.  On an intellectual level, I understand it but, as a matter of practicality, I am lost.

To Follow

A submissive desires to follow.  This  is in her makeup.  There is nothing else that will fulfill her.  Power and control are not things she craves.  In fact, the exact opposite is in line with her true nature.

So what is so difficult about this concept?  It seems many are confused about it.  A submissive wants to follow, what training is required?  There is nothing to train.  Tell her what she is to do and she will do it.

The argument against this premise, and which confuses the entire issue, is that not all submissives follow.  I agree with this statement.  Yet, instead of deciding that training is required, perhaps it is best to evaluate why she does not follow?  What is preventing her from doing what she craves?  These are important questions which few consider.

The truth is the fault most often lies with the dominant.  An intelligent person understands what a submissive deals with, especially online.  This medium is wrought with pretenders and wannabes.  The "on your knees bitch" crowd is commonplace.  Each day a submissive will encounter dominants who are anything but.  Instead, they are predators.  Over time, a submissive will become leery, usually after a few mistakes.  Dealing with these people leaves a mark on the psyche.

Getting back to our dominant, what did he fail to do with the submissive who wants to follow?  Usually it is a matter of timing.  Trust is not something that can be rushed.  A submissive needs to feel safe and comfortable with an individual before she obeys.  In fact, people like me write posts warning submissives about the insanity of blindly obeying or submitting to another.  It simply is not a healthy practice.  Therefore, a dominant must alter his behavior to instill this confidence in her.  Failure to do this is what results in her resisting.

Leadership

With power comes responsibility.  Few of the misfits operating online realize this basic fact.  Being in charge is not an easy thing to do.  One must take responsibility for all that occurs; both good and bad.  The "blame game" is not an acceptable approach.  Instead, one needs to step up and realize that all results are because his leadership or lack thereof.

Great leaders accomplish big things.  However, leaders are made, not born.  Thus, we are confronted with the idea that instead of the submissives requiring training, it actually is the dominant ones who need it.  Few have any conception what leading is about.  We live in a world which teaches us to abdicate to others.  When something goes wrong the first thing people do is to point the finger.  This is not what a leader does.

Leaders have vision; they have foresight; they are decisive.  Over time, a leader gains the ability to solve problems.  In all walks of life, no matter what it is, obstacles will arise.  Ultimately, a leader is able to navigate others through those areas to reach a desired goal. 

A submissive wishes to follow.  However, it is impossible to follow if nobody is leading.  A ship without a rudder will drift aimlessly.  How many BDSM relationships fall into this category?  The submissive is not given guidance or direction on a daily basis.  Instead, it is left up to chance.  Or, another situation which is quite common, is that the submissive is told what to do on a micro level without ever being shown a bigger picture.  The reason for this is none usually exists.  Where is the relationship and your lives together going?  Another question that few think about.

Failure

An organization that lacks leadership usually fails.  We see this repeatedly in the business world.  Oftentimes, an individual will come up with an idea and start a business.  Because the idea is breakthrough, success ensures.  However, as the organization grows, different skills are required to keep it moving forward, skills that are often lacking in the "inventor" type.  Over time, the success of the organization dwindles as the size becomes a hindrance.  Ultimately, the lack of leadership skills leads to failure.

The same is true in the BDSM world.  Relationships, especially those which are structured on the free exchange of power, need leadership.  Without that leadership quality, it is destined to fail.  A submissive cannot be the reason a relationship fails if she is obeying.  Few seem to grasp this.  How can the person without any power be responsible for the failure of the relationship?  Simple logic mandates that it is impossible.

***I will enter a disclaimer here stating that I know relationships end for a variety of reasons and it is possible for something to end and "be nobody's fault".  It truly does take two people to make a relationship work and if one party is not as dedicated or committed, problems will arise.  Nevertheless, do not allow this to deter from the point that I am making.

Most BDSM relationships end because the dominant lacks the ability to lead.  He is the one who was granted the power.  Hence, all results rest at his feet.  It is ironic that he is very happy to accept the accolades for success.  However, when it is time to own up to the failure, he is nowhere to be found.  One again the blame game takes place.

Success in a BDSM relationship requires navigating through all aspects of life.  Physical, mental, emotional, and financial are just a few of the areas which one needs to excel at if he expects to be a strong dom/master.  Always remember, a submissive simply wants to follow.  It is up to the dominant to guide the relationship in the direction that is required.  Anything short of that is abdicating his responsibility to the relationship.

So I ask you, what is your plan for success?  What are you (the dominant) going to do to ensure the success of your relationship?  How are you going to improve in the areas I just mentioned?  In fact, before answering that question, ask yourself why a submissive should trust you to begin with?  How would you rank your money management skills (especially if you claim to be a master)?  What control do you exert over your physical body or do you have "body by Budweiser?  Are you suffering from any addictions which run your life and make your decisions?  What are your skills in the typical BDSM areas and how do you intend on improving them?  Why should any submissive believe that you will be better a year from now and that her life will be improved by being with you?

There is a saying that applies: those who fail to plan, plan to fail.  Do not fall into this trap.  Step up to the plate and take control of your BDSM life.

DN 

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January 11, 2014

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Domination Equals Mastery


In the BDSM world, we often see the terms "dominant" and "master" thrown around.  My question is, have you ever thought about what these terms mean?  It is incredible how we go through life thinking we know something while never taking the time to look up what the words actually mean.  This idea takes on a greater proportion when you realize how vital these basic concepts are to our lifestyle.

Defined 

I found this online and found it very interesting:

Dominating:   1. To have or exert strong authority or mastery.
                      2. To be situated in or occupy a position that is more elevated or decidedly superior to others.

Mastery: 1.  command or grasp, as of a subject: a mastery of Italian.
               2.  superiority or victory: mastery over one's enemies.
               3.  the act of mastering.
               4.  expert skill or knowledge.
               5.  the state of being master; power of command or control.

What peaked my interest is that contained in the definition of dominating is the word mastery.  This take the concept to a totally different level.

Power vs. Authority

Many years ago I was taught the difference between power and authority.  Many have authority without power and vice versa.  These are two totally separate characteristics which is applies to the BDSM world.

Authority is "power" that is granted because of position.  The power in this instance is backed up by something else.  For example, the power of the IRS agent comes from the organization itself and what it can do.  The individual is meaningless.

Much in the same way we see a dominant with the authority over a submissive.  The power comes via the recognition of the title.  Dominants are viewed within this lifestyle as being superior to submissives in regards to power.  We even structure our relationships based upon a certain amount of power exchange.

But is this true power?  The answer is no.  True power is the ability one has to influence another or others.  We see this many times in the business world.  A certain individual will have the authority based upon being the manager yet everyone defers to another person and listens to him or her.  Perhaps a long time employee or highly successful individual.  Whatever the reason, this is the person with the power.

Notice how authority is "forced" while power is voluntarily given.  When a person has no authority yet others are following him or her, that is power.  The President of the United States is "the most powerful man in the world" based solely on the authority of the office and not the man himself.  We saw some pretty weak leaders in the White House over the years which validates this point.

Mastery

So what does it take for one to freely give his or her power over to another individual who does not have the authority?  The simple answer is mastery.  When one is proficient at a certain skill, others will defer to him or her.  It is really that basic.  Hence, using the example above, if someone is not the manager yet others are listening to him or her, the reason is because there is a level of expertise or success that enables people to grasp onto.  This individual attained a degree of mastery over the particular craft which other people want.  It is not something that is recognized based upon position of authority.  There is no "forcing".  People are drawn to what the individual has.

In the BDSM world, a submissive (slave) will turn her power over to the dominant (master).  This is a foundational aspect of this lifestyle.  However, does it remain that way is the question.  A dominant has authority based upon the position of dominant.  That is the case in every instance.  Nevertheless, does he have any power?  This is where uncovering a deeper level is helpful.

If a dominant is into mastery, the power will remain in his hands.  The problem arises when one takes the route we so commonly see these days: self titled domination.  Simply because an individual calls himself a dominant or master, that does not make it true.  Sure he just obtained the authority that goes along with the title.  However, when interacting with another, he will soon exemplify the fact that he has mastery of little.  This is the point that submissives question the free choice of turning power over.

How often did we see two people "get together" online only to read a profile a few weeks or months later that he was a fake or was misleading her?  It is something one comes across everyday in the online world.  What was the basic problem?  Considering those situation where the person was not just a total liar and fake, I will guess the issue is with the fact that he lacked mastery. He simply failed to exemplify to her the ability to get her to follow.

Mastery, i.e. the study of being dominant, is a course unto itself.  One who excels in this area will spend the time learning and becoming proficient at this "art".  This is an intellectual exercise coupled with experience.  It is not contingent upon one's personality.  This is what separates domination from domineering.  Many seem to think that a strong personality or some natural quality makes one dominant.  This is untrue.  True domination comes because one has mastered the ability to dominate.

We find 3 variables that are necessary for successful domination in the BDSM world.

1. Mastery or possession of the ability to dominate.
2. The status of dominant or master
3. The following of the submissive because of his mastery

Notice how all three are required and cover both power and authority.  The authority is presented second.  It comes only after one is in possession of #1.  The reason for this is because without that, the authority is empty.  There is no true power.  Finally, the submissive needs to choose to follow.  Simply because I possess the ability to dominate (power) and call myself dominant (authority), that does not mean that every submissive I encounter will listen to me.  This is the last stage which is based upon the individual qualities of that particular dominant.

Mastery is an evolving skill which is why the journey is never complete.  Within the BDSM realm, there is always something more to learn.  Of course, in the area of human development, as individuals we always have things to work upon.  Mastery of another always starts with mastering oneself.

DN  

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January 8, 2014

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Resist The BDSM Fairy Tale


50 Shades of Grey became an international best seller.  Everyone is aware of this fact.  It sold over 70 million books worldwide.  The impact upon the BDSM world is immeasurable.  Millions of people were exposed to our way of life many of whom most likely never would have embarked upon it before.  However, was this a good thing? 

Reality

One of the common characteristics I see with newer people to the BDSM lifestyle is the lack of acceptance of reality.  What do I mean by this?  Basically, my observation is that many approach BDSM like they are stepping onto a different planet.  Somehow the rules and knowledge gained in the vanilla world is inapplicable.  It all goes out the window as they enter this "Twilight Zone".

The saddest part about this outlook is these people believe that all their dreams will suddenly come true.  I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this is not the case.  BDSM is no different than the vanilla world in the sense that we still deal with life on a daily basis.  Whatever one experienced while living vanilla, I guarantee that you will most likely encounter it during your time in BDSM.  Life is still life and simply because we make a lifestyle choice, this does not exempt us from it. 

Illness, financial struggles, breakups, and issues with family are all part of the BDSM reality.  The problem with the mindset of so many is that they honestly believe that entering BDSM will alleviate any of these concerns.  Consider the idea again of stepping into the Twilight Zone.  It is as if they believe in a new time/space continuum.  BDSM is no such thing.

For this reason, it is imperative that one be grounded in reality.  Life exists as it does for everyone else.  Just because you decide to structure your relationship in a different manner (in terms of the power breakdown), that does not mean that you entered a state of fantasy.  Yes, BDSM has a lot of offer in fulfillment, excitement, lust, and love.  However, all of that comes with a price.  It is a struggle to establish and maintain a BDSM relationship just like it is for "normal" people.

The BDSM Fantasy

50 Shades of Grey was highly successful for one reason:  it painted a wonderful fantasy.  This book was fiction.  It was not based upon reality.  The intent of this publication (other than being sold) was to engage the reader in a manner where she (mostly) could "lose" herself.  This was simply a romance novel with some BDSM flair thrown in.  Of course, this is no closer to reality than all the romance novels sold at your local bookstore.  They exist solely for entertainment purposes.

Naturally, this does not stop people from believing the image portrayed as being real.  This is akin to those who find BDSM based upon they see from the porn industry.  Is it any wonder why so many people believe that this lifestyle is nothing more than whips and chains based upon the productions from a company like kink.com?  The truth is few of us have dungeons in our homes with slaves tied up there all day long.  Instead, most of us get up each morning and go to work.  Not exactly romantic but it is our reality.

Getting back to the mention of dreams, I find it humorous how so many people believe that entering BDSM is going to make all their fantasies come true.  Again, I will enter a disclaimer stating that it does happen and many of your desires can be fulfilled.  However, what I am referring to is the naive belief that suddenly a person struck upon nirvana by becoming a "BDSM practioner".

Before going any further, I will state that both dominants and submissives are equally apt to engage in the fantasy of BDSM.  This is not a situation where there is a tendency of one over the other.  I came across many dominants who falsely believed they were going to own a house with 5-10 slaves serving all needs (with sexual being at the top of the list).  Of course, what these people fail to consider is the fact that it is impossible to interact with that many people on a serious level.  Also, establishing a successful poly household takes a great deal of effort and time to achieve.  It is not something that can be tossed together like a salad.  But then again, we need to remember our newbie dominant is buying into the fantasy.

One the other side of the coin, the submissive, believes that entering BDSM will cure all in her life.  If she was one who suffered rejection or broken relationships, this will cease to be a problem.  This idea is compounded by those who believe themselves to be "slaves".  I cannot tell you how many I talked with over the years who believed that by entering BDSM all problems would be eliminated.  The individual of this sort would find a Master to "take care of her" while providing all she needed.  Again, the concept of instant nirvana arises.  Little thought was given to the idea that it takes a great deal of time and effort to find someone who will fit as her Master.  Add on the fact that, since we live in the real world, "waiting on her knees by the door until he comes home" might not be feasible since a job could be required. 

As we can see, the disconnect from reality is in full tilt in these instances.  Once more, I will say that it is possible for these things to happen just as it is possible for some handsome, dashing, wealthy dominant will appear and take you all over the world.  However, if I were a betting man, I would suggest you hedge your bets on these ideas.  Since I am not into the gambling racket I will take a stab in the dark by using the term I believe is applies: longshots.

So, in closing, resist the fairy tale.  While it is wonderful to lose yourself in romance and eroticism, do not buy into the fact that it is anywhere near reality.  It is not.  Life remains life and we must operate within it.  BDSM is a wonderful way of life for those who are cut out for it.  However, it requires realistic expectations of ourselves and others.  If not, one is surely to be disappointed when she finds out the hard way that reality is a lot different from the fairy tale.  And trust me when I tell you, it is not pretty when someone gets hit with that reality.

DN  

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January 4, 2014

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Affairs


Someone emailed me a while back asking me to cover this topic. 

It appears this person recently found the BDSM way of life and felt the need to get involved with another person.  The only problem, as it was explained to me, is that both parties are married.  Also, from what I could garner from the email, it does not appear that either person's spouse is aware of what is going on.

I mulled this over a while before deciding to write about it.  Overall, I was not sure how to approach this.  What is the best suggestion?  Who am I to tell these people what to do?  At the end of the day, it is not for me to be the "moral" police for someone.  I am well aware that people remain in relationships/marriages for many different reasons.  At times, leaving simply isnt practical.  Nevertheless, no matter what the situation, what business is it of mine to determine how another person should lead his/her own life?  Each person is free to do what is best for him or her knowing that there are consequences for actions taken.

That being said, I decided to expand upon some of what BDSM is and how people find themselves in this situation.

Society Is At Fault

This seems like an odd heading coming from someone who continually writes about personal responsibility but there it is.  So what do I mean by this?  The simple fact of the matter is that few people were ever given the option of going the BDSM route when they were in their teen/early 20s years.  Most of society grew up in households which followed the normal dogma.  In the Western Cultures, this was a heterosexual arrangement, usually a marriage, containing one man and one woman.  The relationships, at least on the surface, was equal in power exchange with a structure that strove for balance.  BDSM was not something that the majority of us growing up were exposed to.

It is natural for people to follow the course of action which is spelled out for them by the mainstream of society.  Few are willing to be "different" instead striving to be "normal".  Throughout the years, via conditioning, we learn what is deemed "appropriate" and what is not.  Hence we receive an education in what normalcy is while having the expectation placed upon us that we will follow suit.  How many parents want their children to grow up to be different or abnormal?  Very few.

So what do our obedient members of society do.  They follow the path laid out by society as the route to happiness and fulfillment.  Most people buy into the grow up, get an education, meet a girl, get married, have a couple kids, and live happily ever after.  This is something that is taught in the storybooks and has small girls dreaming about it.  However, decades later, is when the truth comes out and reality hits.  After a couple of divorces coupled with years of misery, one begins to understand that society was not promoting the truth.  In fact, it espoused lies.  So many follow the traditional path believing it would lead to nirvana only to end up empty inside.  Society basically did not deliver what it promised.

Of course, if BDSM was presented as a viable option, the situation could have been somewhat different.  Nevertheless, it was not.  Hence why I place some of that blame on society.

Openness

It is common for people to arrive at the doorstep of BDSM with some "baggage" from the vanilla world.  By baggage, I am not referring to the internal stuff from bad experiences although that is certain prevalent.  When I say baggage in this instance, I am talking about perhaps a husband or wife.  It is often the case that one who begins his/her exploration into this way of life does so because of unhappiness in the present situation.  Some seek out information trying to "make their husbands dominant", as an example, while others are simply interested in replacing said spouse.  Of course, a problem can arise if said spouse is still in the picture in that same role.  This is the situation that person who wrote me seems to be operating within.

To me, one of the main attractions to BDSM is the openness it provides.  Society has a way of trying to limit individual's options in an effort to control the population.  BDSM, on the other hand, basically has the idea that whatever you desire is out there for you.  When people start to explore all the different segments of BDSM, they truly are surprised to learn they can find someone into whatever they are no matter how far out the fetish or desire.  People might put up the facade within the confines of everyday life since we do have to operate within the vanilla world.  However, when safe, a BDSM person will be extremely open about his or her choices.  This is a radical difference from what most are accustomed to dealing with.

Society specializes in judgement.  I am not here to do that.  I understand completely the feeling of excitement upon finding this way of life.  Over the years I met so many who were in situations where leaving was not an option.  In this instances, I simply told the person that the time was best used learning about oneself and where she fit into the lifestyle since years were ahead of her before exiting the present situation was possible (or decided upon).  Again, since it isnt my situation, I am not going to tell someone what to do.  Nevertheless, it is commonplace where someone is required to fulfill responsibilities, usually to children, before embarking upon 24/7 BDSM.  The leftover "baggage" from the choices when in the vanilla world do not simply disappear.

Another thing I think most people value about BDSM is the ability to be honest.  I know this seems like a strange statement especially in light of what takes place online with all the games played.  Again, when we move past the pretenders and seek out what those who desire depth are about, we see honesty as a primary characteristic.  Lying will ultimately cause problems in one's life.  We all know this.  BDSM offers us the ability to tell someone at the beginning of the relationship, this is what I am about.  It is up to the person to choose whether he or she agrees or not.  Obviously if someone opts for an open relationship, at least sexually, and it is known, that eliminates one major stumbling block encountered in the traditional realm.  At the same time, TPE encompasses a host of freedoms and, yes, responsibilities not commonly seen in a vanilla relationship.  To succeed in this arena, honestly and openness is paramount. 

So, in conclusion, I do not condone, nor condemn affairs.  Frankly, it is not my place to pass judgment.  I realize affairs happen all the time for many different reasons.  BDSM is not the only environment where they exist.  The vanilla world is full of people straying, sometimes for valid reasons, other times, not so much.  Whatever people choose to do is up to them.  One thing that I must mention is that it is imperative to remember that one's actions can affect a number of people.  Sometimes we are not aware of the fallout of what we do.  However, to shed some positive life, there are many couples "hooked up" under the aforementioned circumstances and were together for decades while enjoying a wonderful relationship with each other.  So it can happen.

DN  

Click here for your version of An Owned Life.  

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