July 27, 2011

The Basics

Everything in life revolves around basics. No matter what the activity, people are continually mentioning the basics. Take a sport for instance. Coaches are forever 'preaching the fundamentals'; another way of saying concentrating on the basics. Sales is nothing more than a series of basic steps that, when taken, will produce a result. And the same is true for relationships. Therefore, it is crucial that we place attention upon some of the basics of our lifestyle.

Personal Development

Certainly, where one concentrates will vary depending upon whether that person is dominant or submissive. Nevertheless, each of us has a responsibility to take the necessary steps to ensure we are continually developing. For most, this ought to take place long before getting into a BDSM relationship. I am a firm believer that most BDSM relationships fail simply because the parties involved are woefully equipped to deal with them. Contrary to what the majority of the online community tends to accept, BDSM is not a game that is to be taken lightly. While there are aspects of play which are perfectly acceptable, the truth is that this is something that can cause tremendous harm. The path of destruction left behind by the pretenders is catastrophic.

Personal development mandates that one go inward to uncover the natural qualities which exist within. This is a primary step that few tend to engage upon. Instead, they feel that having an inclination that he or she is dominant (or submissive) is enough. Sadly, it is not. One needs to reveal where that quality lies and how it affects his or her life. What decisions are made from this? How does it manifest in other areas of life? Is it something that was repressed for decades or does it emerge on a daily basis? What is required to generate fulfillment knowing this quality exists? These are all questions that are basic in nature with answers which are fundamental to the success of a BDSM relationship.

Once the qualities within oneself are uncovered, what is an individual willing to do with this new found knowledge? Reading, learning, and practicing are crucial elements to mastering any craft. BDSM is a lifestyle that differs greatly from the mainstream. Thus, a new set of skills are required if one is going to approach things in a safe manner. One needs to have the motivation and desire to spend the time required learning about the different facets of the lifestyle before putting anything into practice. As I mention umpteen thousands of times, safety is always our primary focus.

Another area I feel is part of the basics of the lifestyle is the psychology behind the structures we establish. Power exchange carries with it a great deal more than just physical manifestations. There is a series of psychological needs that are to be met by each person. One who is willing to delve into this area will be able to understand what is required by each person thus increasing the chance of BDSM success.

Relationship Development

Much of what I am going to write in this section is not solely applicable to the BDSM world. Anyone who deals with relationships will mention that they require work and that both parties need to commit to making the relationship grow. Healthy relationships will grow over time as each person is working on him/herself while dedicating the proper effort to the overall interaction. Sadly, since the percentages of relationships that end up in 'splitsville' is high, it is obvious most people do not engage in this behavior.

BDSM adds another element to this entire process. Since there is an exchange of power to some degree, the dominant one is responsible for the direction of the relationship. Thus, the submissive lacks some of the ability to decide what areas are focused upon for growth. At the same time, depending upon the structure, i.e. M/s, he or she might be dependent upon the Master/Mistress for authorization to seek personal development. Of course, my viewpoint is that this should always be a focus of the dominant one; growth of both individuals is what a BDSM relationship is all about.

As the parties interact, they will opt to experiment with different things. It is helpful if one person is experienced so as to approach things safely. However, in situations where both are relatively new, it is important that attention be paid to things such as safety, technique, and aftercare. Over time, the interaction of their BDSM play will expand and grow. Each will become aware of the limits of the other (yes dominants have limits also) and know to stay within those confines. Their interaction becomes more natural as the knowledge between the parties grows.

Also, qualities such as trust, dependence, and openness emerge in a healthy interaction. Again, these are things which are the result of putting in effort. Many seem to think that these are overnight developments; they are not. It takes time for one to peel away some of the connotations to past events and be able to move forward. Lack of trust is a common trait of those who were harmed in the past. A true Master or Mistress will dedicate the time to providing a forum where a person can develop. Of course, dominants often have trust issues so the reverse is true also.

Obviously you can see there are many different areas where there are 'basics'. It is similar to baseball where there are fundamentals to hitting, throwing, pitching, bunting, fielding, and sliding. Each are a part of the game and required if a team is going to be successful. The same holds true in a BDSM relationship. There are basics in the area of psychology, scening, communication, personal development, and interpersonal skills all which have an impact upon the success or failure of a BDSM relationship. Those who are willing to concentrate attention on these areas will enjoy a greater amount of fulfillment and success.

Remember, the most important part of the term 'BDSM relationship' is the word relationship.

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July 23, 2011

Dominating From Fear

I often write about the tendency for people to use fear as a tactic for domination. Of course, this is not domination to me but, rather, domineering. People of this ilk tend not to know what the lifestyle is all about. Being a bully is not dominating yet many seem to think this is how a relationship is run.

Weakness Versus Strength

To properly dominate, one needs to come from a place of strength. Many enter the lifestyle believing that simply because he or she has a natural tendency to dominate, that is sufficient. This is completely incorrect. Often, those who fall into this category succumb to the need to use fear to control. My belief is because this is the only emotion they really are intimate with.

Anyone who comes from a place of fear is showing weakness. When fear controls our decisions (i.e. lives), then that person is continually beaten. Fear is an awful Master. To properly dominate another human being requires strength.

Domination is a quality that is placed in many naturally. However, simply because the quality exists does not mean this person is able to control. As I often point out, the process of dominating begins with oneself. If one has no control over his or her decisions, feelings, and actions, then how in the world could that person expect to effectively control another?

Those who take the time to battle fear have the opportunity to operate from a place of strength. Learning the psychological and mental aspects of domination enables one to move away from the fear-based tactics. Nevertheless, this can only result if the individual is able to manage his or her own fears. This truly is what separates the true Masters and Mistresses from the pretenders.

A Hundred Forms

Fear can manifest itself in hundreds of different forms. We are all aware of terror, dread, and anxiety. However, it is important to remember that fear emerges in other ways. And, the psychiatry profession hands out scripts like Pez to combat this single emotion.

The greatest impact fear has is in the area of self confidence. Those who do not manage fear and allow it to dominate the decision-making process tend to have esteem problems. Fear is a relentless attacker who delves into the psyche taking more and more. The result, after decades, is a person who is completely enslaved.

Of course, when we focus our attention on the BDSM world, we can see how a person of this design has a difficult time controlling another. He or she is naturally going to operate from a place of fear since that is what is known. This means that the only technique utilized is fear. Those without self confidence cannot effectively dominate. It is that simple.

I will caveat by saying that those who approach this lifestyle with the intention of learning and understanding will, proportionately speaking, have better esteem than those who come from the place that "I am a natural dominant". The reason is that "know-it-alls" are simply covering up the fact that they do not know. It is impossible for anyone to know everything. A person with healthy esteem can admit this. Yet one with low confidence cannot own up to this because he or she believes others will think less of him/her. It is absurd but this is the thought process.

Cockiness is another sign that a person lacks the proper self confidence to dominate. Again, we see a person who appears one way while actually compensating for an internal lack. This is obvious in the abusers who feel the need to bully another. Anyone who studied psychology at any basic level knows exactly what this person is doing. Sadly, most succumb to it because they does not have this knowledge.

Therefore, the key is to find the person who is confident without being arrogant. At times this can be difficult to distinguish. However, with some practice you can pick up on the motivating factor rather easily. A confident person will make a statement without the need to continually defend. He or she will maintain a consistent demeanor regardless of the situation. Ultimately, a person of this nature understands that he or she will be able to transcend the present circumstances. This is confidence. He or she does not have to convince you with words because ultimately the actions taken will win another over. A confident person carries a demeanor that says "I am in control of myself first and foremost". This is a far cry from that of the cocky person who is busy telling everyone how great he or she is.

Remember this the next time you encounter a supposed dominant online. Ask yourself, is this person coming from a place of confidence or cockiness? The answer will reveal a great deal about the person.

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July 11, 2011

Trust: Trusting The Wrong Person

We talk about trust a lot in the lifestyle. Of course, when referring to relationships, it is natural that this topic is covered. We all know that without trust, there is not much of a relationship. It is one of the fundamental blocks of a healthy interaction. Each person needs to trust the other.

Being Gun Shy

I recently came across a situation that reminded me of what can occur. We write a great deal about the pretenders in an effort to warn people about the games that are played. The reason this is done is because people of this sort can cause tremendous damage. Sadly, it is something we see all the time.

What happens to a person after he or she gets hurt by someone of this nature? Naturally, one is going to become a bit gun shy when approaching the next interaction. Of course, this is not only applicable when dealing with pretenders. There are many experiences from people's past that can cause them to have this outlook.

Trust is a fragile thing which is easy to break. Anyone who was cheated on when in a monogamous relationship knows this intimately. While the other person can attempt to make all the amends in the world and swear it will never happen again, there is always that thought in the back of one's mind whenever the person leaves the house. Unfortunately, this experience will carry over into the next relationship also. How many of us have been accused of cheating without merit? Often, that is just the other individual's old experiences emerging.

Wrongly Trusting

Many will assert, after experiencing some of the things I just mentioned, that they cannot trust anyone. Their belief is that trusting is their problem. It is not. The actual truth of the matter is this person has a problem with trusting the wrong person. Trust is a healthy and natural concept. It is something we do from the time we are young. It comes natural to us. However, when we trust the wrong people, they tend to let us down. This causes us to establish walls as a way of protecting ourselves.

It is never wrong to trust. The problem arises when one trust someone who is unworthy of it. This is where people get themselves in trouble. Using the pretender as an example, here is a person who is clearly (after the fact) incapable of providing what was stated. Thus, trusting this person is a mistake. Of course, things are a lot easier in hindsight. Nevertheless, life is lived in the present and decisions are made without the future knowledge. The challenge is to learn to spot the warning signs ahead of time to avert dangerous situations.

In closing, do not believe that your ability to trust is a problem. It is not. Where you need to focus your attention is on being more selective about those who you do trust. Trusting the wrong person can never lead to a positive outcome. However, don't give up the idea of trusting. Those who wall up and do not trust tend to become old and lonely people. We all were burnt at one time or another. The only way to succeed is to hang in there and get back in the game. Over time, we learn to pick out those who are trustworthy. That is our ultimate end.

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July 2, 2011

Forced Time

I write quite often how time is an ally in the online world and that it is the one defense someone can throw up against the trollers and pretenders. People of this sort detest taking time to get to know someone. There outlook is to move quickly. Anyone who is new to the lifestyle can counterbalance this approach by slowing things down. Many will find that the pretenders lose interest quickly. Of course, those who are real understand this and are more apt to welcome this alternative.

Meeting Local People

As I travel around the 'Net, I read a ton of profiles in an effort to gain insight into what people are doing. One of the most common attributes of those who I would consider truly seeking is that a person be local before contacting him or her. This makes total sense since I am a proponent of the idea that BDSM is a face-to-face lifestyle. Even after all these years, I find the concept that a power exchange relationship can truly occur while separated distasteful. There is just too much evidence that supports the notion that people are going to lie and cheat. But, then again, that is an ageless battle which can be approached in another post.

The desire to interact with someone local is a wonderful idea and a good way to narrow down the 'field' in an effort to find what one is seeking. However, this can create a problem when one is dealing with someone who is desperate or in a position of weakness. A person in this situation tends to want to move forward, usually out of fear. This act tends to counteract the fundamentals which are required for success in a BDSM relationship.

Time is an ally when dealing with the trollers. It also is a required element that is needed to delve deep into a power exchange relationship. Those types of interactions are based upon trust, compatibility, knowledge, and genuine emotional investment. These qualities take time to develop. In other words, there is no way to shortcut this.

So, when we have someone local, the tendency is to meet for coffee or dinner and then hop into the sack. This occurs after a few emails, instant message conversations, webcam sessions, and, perhaps a phone call or two. While not opposed to open sexual lifestyle (hell I live that way myself), the problem is that this takes things to a different level without the proper foundation in place. Also, many mistake the fact that because one is good in bed, that he or she will make a good Master or slave. The transition from bedroom to other areas of life is a big jump; one most cannot make.

Long Distance Relationships

The alternative to finding someone local is to get involved in a long distance relationship. This is something that is distasteful to many but an idea I embraced over the years. For those who are genuinely seeking, it is a viable option as long as one understands the terminology and is clear in the concepts I am going to cover.

Long distance and online relationships are two different things. There are many who seek online only as a preferred way of living their BDSM life. To me, this opens up the opportunity for the dishonesty and lack of trust that was mentioned before. Usually people in this fold tend to be married or involved with someone in a vanilla setting which means they are looking for some online role playing. This is a viable option for those who are into this genre but it is not a suitable replacement for real live interaction. The problem arises in the fact that one party is typically seeking more but settles for some temporary online games.

Online only will never develop into real time. It is also a means which the traditional modes of communication are ignored (for the most part). When dealing with someone online, getting to truly know that person is not of interest. Since the relationship is never going to develop, the idea of establishing grounds of compatibility, trust, and emotional interest is not necessary. The only thing that matters is the present moment and the interaction now. Nothing more is going to develop.

Long distance is a totally different concept. To start, the idea is to move forward into something more. In this situation, each party is aware of the desire for something greater but understands the present geographical and logistical situation. This is something that is desired to be overcome in time but the participants deal with the reality of the relationship as it is in the present moment.

Unlike the online only deal, people involved long distance are interested in getting to know the other person. Moving things to a deeper level is wanted by both parties. For this reason, the traditional modes of communication are utilized. Things such as phone calls, the postal system (i.e. letters), and in person visits are applied. One seeks to know the entire person and what he/she likes. A true relationship is sought.

Forced Time

Long distance relationships offer a couple of advantages over local ones. One of the biggest things is that, being open to the approach, creates more opportunities to meet someone who fits your needs. It always amazes me how few people in the local area (mine at least) are true 'lifestyle' people. Just like online, there tends to be a lot of the same antics at the munches. While this might suit their needs, it does not meet mine. Therefore, I had to be open to expanding my search.

As many of you are aware, my present slave came to me from the UK (United Kingdom, not University of Kentucky). There was 5,000 miles and an entire ocean between us. Fortunately, it was a situation where the logistics could be resolved in time. However, it took almost two years to get to that point. This is where the forced time was our biggest ally.

My slave visited me almost two years after we started interacting online. We used whatever methods were available to us over that time. While having never met in person, we talked on the phone (internet), sent packages back and forth, and really got to know each other. Thus, when we met in person, we knew a great deal about the other person, what was desired, and how we matched up. It was impossible to omit that stage of our relationship development since the distance necessitated that we approach things in this manner.

Personally, I believe many who I encounter online would be better served if they went in this direction. No matter how much I write and warn people about it, people still want to move ahead with their relationships at warp speed. This is where they end up getting hurt. I am never surprised when these situations do not work out. Of course, I speak from experience here since I have moved to quickly in the past also. Remember, this is something that none of us, no matter how experienced, can shortcut. Relationships take time to develop.

Therefore, I suggest that you re-evaluate your mindset of only dealing with someone local. There are many advantages to establishing a long distance BDSM relationship which ultimately moves into real time. While it is not an easy path to follow and the desire to hop on a plane and go meet the other person is always present, the benefits can outweigh that. Forced time is often the only way those who lack discipline will take the proper approach. In a long distance relationship, one has no choice but to use the time constructively. Sex, whips, and chains will come later. The basic foundation will be laid long before those aspects are experienced. In my mind, they will only serve to reaffirm what is already in place as opposed to being the primary basis. This increases the chance of success greatly.

Time is truly our ally.

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