January 22, 2012

Goals In BDSM

Self help and productivity experts all over the world profess the value of goal setting. The mantra is "it is impossible to get somewhere without first knowing where you are going". Obviously, there is great truth to this statement. Repeatedly, those with a clear vision of what they hope to accomplish ultimately arrive at that destination. This is remarkably different than those who opt to just "float through life" hoping to arrive at a place where they can enjoy life. Without going into details, many qualities pertain to this place which result in the fulfillment of a particular individual.

BDSM: A Microcosm of Life In General

It is always amazing to me how so many people enter the BDSM lifestyle believing that somehow they were transformed into something resembling the Twilight Zone. For whatever reason, these individuals feel that the basic laws of life are no longer valid upon entering a BDSM relationship. Obviously, there is a vast difference in how one operates in the BDSM world as compared to the vanilla lifestyle. Nonetheless, most of what was learned in the traditional realm is equally applicable.

If our lives resembled what we see in BDSM videos, then I might be persuaded to retract the aforementioned statement. However, since I know for a fact that most of us do not live in this manner 24/7, I will stand by what I wrote. The truth is that we operate within the traditional realm on a daily basis. How we choose to structure our relationships is a personal choice. Yet, this does not absolve us from interacting with other people within our community and workplace. At the same time, we know that none of us are protected from the regular problems of life. Financial, health, personal, and family are just a few of the areas where, periodically, we suffer. The approach to these situations has little to do with our chosen lifestyle. Ultimately, life is just life and we are fortunate to partake in it the same as everyone else.

The bottom line is BDSM is just a microcosm of life in general.

Where Are You Going?

Getting back to the original idea, goal setting is an exercise that answers the question: where are you going? It is something that people from all walks of life engage in. Certainly, we see the advantage to it in sports where the desired result is a championship. Business often sets sales and productivity goals as a means of laying a path for people to follow. At the same time, people, in their personal lives, establish things they would like to accomplish while on this planet. In all these situations, goals are a tool utilized to provide clarity in an uncertain world.

So, my question is how come people in the BDSM world do not do the same thing? In other words, how many of you have clearly defined outcomes in certain aspects of the BDSM lifestyle? From my interaction with others over the years, I can state that it is very few. Most people simply have the goal to be in a BDSM relationship (to live TPE, 24/7, be owned/own, etc...). While this is a wonderful starting point, it barely suffices.

I believe part of the problem is that most people want to jump from novice to expert immediately without realizing there is a progression that takes place. For instance, just because someone claims he or she is a slave, that does not mean the individual is ready to live as one today. The same is true for those professing to be Masters. It takes a while to attain competence in either of these areas. Yet few seem to realize that, at least initially.

Goals will help one to develop and grow. BDSM is a wide and varied lifestyle with many aspects that stray far from the norm. Those who safely engage in some of these practices spent years learning and studying what it is all about. While this might seem obvious, the idea that is missed is that this individual, at some point in time, make it a goal to enhance the skill set in this area. Without doing some, and committing to it, one would have nothing more than a passing fancy.

Therefore, I challenge everyone to establish goals as it pertains to your BDSM life. If you havent done so already, write down what you want. Are there areas of play that you are interesting in pursuing? If so, get it on paper. What skills do you need to acquire or are required in another person to make this happen? Questions such as these allow you to expand upon the present mindset of "I want a relationship" or "I want more out of my relationship". The idea is to get specific. What is it that you want? I maintain that a BDSM relationship can only happen after an internal search is undertaken. This is a method to get you to look inward to determine what will lead you to fulfillment. Gaining clarity will help you along the path because you will have an idea of exactly where you are going.

And that will put you ahead of most people on this planet who are just floating along waiting for the next thing (whatever that is) to arise.

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January 13, 2012

Submissive Without Esteem?

A healthy self esteem is an attribute that is crucial for success in life. One only need to go to the self help section of any bookstore, read the titles, and you will realize how much emphasis is placed upon this single quality. From our esteem stems most of the actions we are capable of taking. Without going into the dynamics, it is our foundational core. Therefore, it is something that everyone, bdsm or not, should look at.

Fear And Its Ramifications

Fear is something that those who lack a healthy self esteem suffer from. People who allow fear to be their dictator end up being ones who view themselves poorly. Of course, this most likely is a subconscious thing since most people will claim to like themselves. But do they when you really think about it? Watching their behavior, I conclude they do not.

When we discuss fear, it is crucial to remember that it can manifest itself in many different ways. Most equate fear with being scared. While the "horror flick experience" is one form of fear, there are hundreds of others. Characteristics such as guilt, worry, anger, resentment, and arrogance all have their basis in fear. Ironically, one tends to exhibit fear in one or two ways repeatedly. Therefore, it is imperative to identify the manifestation and tend to the underlying problem.


The problem with fear is that, when experienced, it puts us instantly into a state where we are out of control. When our mind is racing with all the possible outcomes in a particular situation, and none of them are good, a person is apt to feel a sense of complete loss. Those who are driven by fear do not feel like they are in control of anything. And, they are correct because they are not even handling their own emotions.

In the BDSM world, control is something that we spend a lot of time discussing. This is only rational since the basis of all BDSM relationships is some type of power exchange. In other words, control is not divided up on an equal basis but, rather, in a slanted manner with one assuming most, if not all, of the control. This is a voluntary exercise on the part of both parties meaning that consent is present. However, is one really capable of giving up control without a healthy self esteem?

Topping From The Bottom

The ability to submit completely to another is something that requires a very healthy self esteem. Contrary to the ignorant opinions of many, being submissive does not equate to weakness. In fact, only those with a good self worth have the inner fortitude to hand power over to another without fear. Naturally, we are going under the presumption that the proper time was spent getting to know the other person and sizing up whether he or she is worthy of submission.

I see so many who find the BDSM lifestyle believing that it is the answer to all of his/her problems. While I acknowledge that this way of life is fabulous for those who are designed for it, the truth is that life is not without issues. And, for those who enter it after being miserable failures in all other areas of life, the result is the same: more failure. My belief is many of these people lack the basic self worth to succeed in a BDSM relationship, or any other for that matter.

A person with low self esteem is driven by fear. As I mentioned, one of the things a person in this situation feels the need to do is to regain some control. This is because fear strips control away instantly. Therefore, a person will assert him or herself wherever possible to stem the lack of control.

Hopefully, you can see the conflict that one of this sort has when trying to submit to another. Ultimately, when one does get into a BDSM relationship, he or she starts to top from the bottom. This is a phrase which means trying to instill control when taking on a presumed submissive position. Rarely is one forthright in the approach since the power structure is clearly defined. However, tactics such as being passive/aggressive or whining are often employed to try to get one's way. The esteem is so lacking that one cannot submit to another without reservation.

This fact is clearly visible when our submissive is dealing with people other than his/her dominant. As you can guess, our low self worth individual has the overwhelming need to control. Hence, all interaction with someone which normally would be on an equal basis becomes another power exchange. The only difference is the submissive is assuming a dominant role. Control is what he or she craves. It is the only way to suppress the fear. Of course, in this instance, the control is an illusion which means further loss of control.

In closing, only a person with a healthy self esteem is capable of succeeding in relationships. Confidence is a quality that allows one the ability to allow others to operate how they see fit as long as it is not affecting him or her. A submissive needs to be confident in him or herself before getting involved with another. Therefore, a person who lacks a healthy self esteem is not submissive. Instead, he or she is just plain scared.

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January 10, 2012

When Protocol Forsters Weakness

Protocol can be a wonderful thing that really enhances our experience in different areas of life. While it can be called many things, the term that is most often used is "traditions". Many organization and individuals adhere to different traditions. It is a way to remain in touch with the past, promote ritual, and foster an atmosphere of comfort. However, I see a downside to protocol especially in the BDSM world.

Protocol is a form of Dogma

Personally, I am one who detests dogma, especially when it is blindly swallowed as fact. Individuals and institutions have used this single mechanism as a means to control and enslave people throughout the centuries. The powerful manipulate it as a means of instilling their beliefs upon others. One only needs to look down through the ages to see how this was accomplished.

The main problem with dogma is that it suppresses individual thought. People who blindly adhere do not take the time to inquire as to the validity of the beliefs they hold to be true. Obedience is the main virtue and those who stray from the norm are ostracized. Being a free thinker leads on to living as an outcast. Fortunately, for the powerful, these people are few in numbers. Most blindly follow the dogma being delivered without question.

Protocol in the BDSM World

Obedience and control are words that are often used in the BDSM world and it would make sense that including something that fosters this is helpful. However, my feeling is that before one is obedient and controlled, he or she needs to be aware of what is going on. Dogma does not offer this option. When one is "forced" to adhere to what is presented without any thought as to its practicality or benefit, that is when one is in a dangerous position. Safety is something we are always concerned about and few realize the peril that goes along with turning beliefs over to another.

Therefore, it is beneficial to be mindful of what protocols we have and how we adhere to them. Are they a bad thing? Not necessarily as long as those who are partaking keep them in the proper perspective.

For example, there are all kinds of protocols as to how a sub should address a dominant. Many people take this very seriously and are highly offended if someone does not show them the proper respect. To me, this shows an extreme insecurity on the part of the dominant. Why would someone get offended if someone did not show the proper respect, especially online? My only conclusion is that individual has tied a lot of his/her esteem into the title or position that was created in the mind. The truth is people behave in many different ways and if one ties his/her worth to how others interact, it is going to be a depressing existence.

Another point that I want to make is in the area of laziness. Protocol is helpful in that it offers a structure of how to proceed. We see this in the BDSM world with the Gorean philosophy. There are many protocols which were written that can be helpful as an outline of how to interact with others. However, I feel the danger lies in focusing too much upon the protocol to the point where one, namely the dominant, becomes lazy and indecisive. There are many instances in life where the works of John Norman simply do not offer answers. Each relationship is different and based upon the individuals involved. To claim there is a certain way to do things in all instances is harmful and dangerous. A dominant is responsible for determining the direction of the relationship at all time. Good decisions making skills are crucial. In my opinion, those who rely completely upon pre-written protocol are weakened. They lose the ability to be creative, decisive, and confident.

And this is where protocol can become a weakness.

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January 1, 2012

A New Beginning

Today is January 1st. This is a day, in the U.S., that is traditional for college football (although they moved the games to Monday this year). It is also a time where the "slate is wiped clean" and we all get a new beginning. The year ended is past with new dreams and ideas to look forward to.


Change is not something that most people embrace. However, it is the one true constant in life. The truth is that nothing remains the same. Life, in its essence, is a continual flow. It is mandated by the laws of nature which operate in a cyclical mode. New seasons push the old out. Winter is replaced by Spring which is cast aside by Summer. Each "death" is replaced with a new life.

Another fact about change is that one can either actively pursue it (i.e. plan for it) or get run over by it. Few people ever take time to consider this reality but it is something that is worthwhile to mention. There is a town by me that opted to adopt the later strategy when dealing with the change called population growth. It is something that has completely taken that town by "surprise" resulting in a chaotic mess. Poor planning led to absolute turmoil. The same idea holds true in each of our lives.

BDSM Is Not A Removal From Life

As I repeatedly write, BDSM is not a lifestyle choice that allows one to remove him or herself from the realities of life. Too many approach it in a manner of escape as opposed to moving forward. This disconnect results in much frustration when the truth emerges. We, whether in a traditional or BDSM relationship, have to interact with the same life issues as everyone else. Death, sickness, heartache, financial concerns, and career situations are just a few of the circumstances we encounter. Entering this lifestyle does not remove responsibility from your plate.

For this reason, the lessons that are taught for "life management" equally apply in the BDSM world. If you want to have a sensational year, it is best to plan for it. It is easy to allow the daily grind to interrupt our progress forward. Now is a good time to remember what is important to you and keep it at the forefront of your mind in terms of priorities. Taking people or things for granted is part of the human condition. Sadly, this often harms those that are closest to us.

Each of us elected to pursue this lifestyle for our own reasons. Getting reacquainted with those is important. BDSM is the most honest and truthful way to live for those who are cut out for it. Whenever a person is being true to him or herself, the result is a fulfilled life.

Remember The Cycles

Life is nothing more than a big circles. We are born and then we die. At first we aren't here, then we are, and then we are not. As mentioned, the seasons come and go. However, the basic characteristics of those do not change. And, we are fortunate to see them come around again.

At the basic level, there is nothing new in life. In terms of human behavior, it all was done. For those who have a few years behind them, I am certain you can see this in your life. We, as humans, tend to repeat the same behavior. If it is a helpful action, hopefully we keep doing it. However, we often find ourselves in the situation where we keep making the same mistakes over again. This is not a healthy practice to continue. Learning from our past is one of the most beneficial abilities on can adopt. The cyclical nature of life ensures this. Alter how you do things if you want them to get better.

We do not know what the future holds. But if we are observant and proactive in our planning, we will find that we do have influence over the quality of the experience we have on this planet. I hope everyone approaches 2012 with this in mind and that you all have the best year thus far. The world is our oyster so it is time to play.

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