I have a weight problem. It’s not the biggest problem in the world - I’m 5’1 and I weight 150lb. I have a BMI of 28.3. I’m a size 14 (UK). So I’m not obese. But I am overweight, and I’m heavier than I would like to be. I’m heavier than I feel I am.
I’ve been working hard on my weight - watching what I eat, exercising more. Over the last year or so I have lost about a stone… and some of it I have put back on. I tend to find my weight hovers around 156-158lb when I’m not doing anything to keep it under control.
I struggle with weight loss. I love food - I love cooking, trying new flavours, going to restaurants. I read cook books for fun. I have a pretty good relationship with food, as in I don’t comfort eat or eat out of boredom. But I don’t always eat the right foods. I love pasta. I love potatos. I love baking. I refuse to imagine a world without chocolate.
I don’t drink fizzy drinks or munch on biscuits and cakes. But I do spend winter making wonderful hearty stews, pies and stodgy puddings. Whilst this might be fine in and of itself, I don’t spend as much time in the gym to make up for the indulgence as I should.
Working exercise into my routine has been hard. Developing something resembling a routine has been hard. I am not a creature of habit! I go to bed at different times, wake up when I’m ready, eat when I’m hungry. I don’t have a set work schedule as I can pretty much turn up when I want… or not turn up at all on some days.
So for the last couple of weeks, I have been dieting. As in, that is what I have been doing with my days. I have set myself targets for when I have to exercise, and trying to stick to that. I’ve been writing down every calorie I consume and planning my meals meticulously. I have even altered other plans to fit my dieting, because I know when I’m going to get hungry.
I am so frightened of fucking it up, of finding myself in some unplanned situation that causes me to break from my plan, that I am avoiding doing anything not scheduled in.
Today I have been dieting. Tomorrow I will be dieting. (Except ‘diet’ is the wrong word because I’m not doing anything crazy like only eating cabbage soup. I’m just eating ridiculously healthily.) And until this becomes something I just do, instead of something I have to plan for, it’s going to be taking up most of my thought processes. Because it is something I have to choose to do. Something I have to work at.
His Lordship, who is long and lean and can eat his way through half the cakes in the bakery without gaining an ounce, can’t understand this. I know he thinks I’m obsessing, and I know he thinks it’s unhealthy. But I don’t know how to express that this is everything I can think about right now without confirming his fears.
I know I’m supposed to love myself as I am. My friends are wonderful and supportive and make shocked faces when I tell them how much weight I want to lose. But we’re not talking crazy numbers here. I just want to move from ‘overweight’ to ‘normal’. Not to suggest that there is an ideal magical weight all women should aim for… I’m talking BMI scale. I’m talking being a size 12 instead of a 14. Being able to run for the bus without getting red in the face. Looking in the mirror and not being surprised, because the reflection isn’t what’s in my head.
Today I was dieting, so that one day this can just be the stuff I do, and I can think about something else.
I’ve enjoyed hashing over the safeword issue, but I don’t want to keep going over old ground. Suffice to say, I do not use safewords and do not believe them to be the bullet proof vest of the kink world. I recognise their value and their purpose and would encourage their use as part of a safe dynamic. Particularly at the beginning of a journey or relationship. But I do not use them, and they have never been a part of my journey.
One thing that kept coming up throughout this discussion is the concept of ‘responsible’ play. Which has me wondering, what is that precisely? And can I really be accused of being irresponsible because I don’t use safewords?
Being responsible is about being accountable for your actions and the outcomes of those actions. I have spent my adult life seeking to know and understand myself, my motivations, dreams, desires, fears. Submission is a big part of that search for understanding, as it forces me to confront the best and worst of me, and to take ownership of that.
Within a scene, my Dom takes some responsibility for me. I expect him to own his actions, to recognise that in the context of the scene I may not be in the best position to judge what is right or wrong, or to communicate clearly what I need in that moment (need and want being different things that are often highly confused within a scene). I hand that responsibility to him, and he accepts it. But that does not alleviate me of all responsibility.
I have a responsibility for myself, for my own safety and development. I have the responsibility of ensuring I am placing myself in the hands of someone who will use me wisely. I have the responsibility of communicating my needs, desires, fears and limits clearly, and I have the responsibility of ensuring that they are not abused - that I am not abused. In short, I am responsible for my own decisions and actions, my own path, and no one and nothing can alleviate me of that responsibility.
The words ‘safe, sane and consensual’ get banded around a lot in the BDSM world, and I think many people repeat the mantra often enough they forget what it actually means. Safewords become the Holy Grail of ‘safe’ play, and a submissive can be lulled into the entirely false sense of security thinking that if she has a safeword, nothing can go wrong. But a safeword is not a money-back guarantee. Uttering your safeword is not an assurance the play will stop or change course. You may be playing with someone who has no respect for you or that safeword. If you have not taken responsibility for yourself and have placed yourself in a questionable scenario, a safeword will not be your escape hatch.
This is not to say that safewords are irrelevent or ineffective and shouldn’t be used. It is to say that they are simply one element of what might be considered safe. And having a safeword does not give you a merit badge of responsibility if you have failed to take account of everything else.
To suggest that play cannot be responsible without a safeword is, to me, shortsighted. Such an opinion appears to assume that there are no other precautions that could be taken, which is of course not true. My partner and I communicate extensively before, during and after every scene. When I told him, before our dynamic had even begun, that I do not like to use safewords, we discussed all the other ways we could make our play safe.
The first few times you play with someone are always a gamble, safeword or no, because you don’t know each other. It’s a learning curve. My responsibility on those occassions is to judge whether this dom is being respectful and responsible towards me. His responsibility is to demonstrate he is not a dick and that he knows what he is doing. I expect not to be broken in those first few encounters, and I expect to see adequate thoughtfulness and aftercare. And above all else, I expect to have ample opportunity to communicate what is happening with me.
I believe it is possible to communicate distress without a safeword. I am experienced enough to know the stages of distress that I go through. I have certain phrases that I utter at different points of the cycle. By observing this over the years, my Master has developed a pretty good understanding of where I am psychologically and physically, and how much further he can ‘safely’ push me. If I’m exhibiting unusual behaviour, that is a signal something is wrong and we need to touch base.
Of course, this degree of understanding cannot be present at the beginning of a dynamic, where a safeword can have far more value. Which is why we often say they are useful at the beginning of a journey or relationship. But more than likely, as you grow to understand your own process and your partner, you will find them less and less relevent.
Most submissives I have known have eventually come to a point where they ask not to have a safeword. They feel confident and capable in their own ability to communicate, and they have enough trust in their partner to not feel the need for the safety net. Graduating to play without a safeword opens up an entirely new realm of experiences. Not better experiences, but different.
Looking back over my time in the lifestyle, I can think of a few occassions where I was in a genuinly unsafe and potentially harmful scenario - and in none of those situations would a safeword have helped. I was once throttled to a point all the blood vessels in my face burst and I was literally scarlet for a few days. I couldn’t have uttered a safeword then if I’d wanted to - couldn’t breathe. My biggest scar is down my left thigh, the result of a breadknife being drawn quickly and unexpectedly down it. By the time I knew what was happening, the blood was flowing. No time for a safeword. I was once punched in the stomach unexpectedly by a man. That hurt and frightened me. But again, it was too quick for a safeword. These were not scene based scenarios. Safewords would not have helped. And I have to take responsibility for these actions taken against me because they were all the same guy, and three distinct occassions. In his defence, he was under the impression that I *enjoyed* this sort of extreme behaviour. I talked to him extensively about how I felt when he did these things, and about what I thought was acceptable and unnacceptable behaviour. When I did not see any major modification in his behaviour, I stopped seeing him.
Within this lifestyle, there are no guarantees. It is a risk every time you place yourself in the hands of another. We can take precautions, but nothing is foolproof. And so in the end the best we can do is take ownership of actions, accept responsibility for ourselves when we walk into a situation by walking in openly, knowingly and having communicated as clearly as we can, and remove ourselves from that situation if it turns out to be harmful or damaging to us.
Responsibility here appears to have become a scale by which we judge others for their relative ‘goodness’ or ‘badness’. Asking whether playing without a safeword is ‘responsible’ is to ask whether that play is good or bad, according to some scale which can only have value to the judge. ‘Good’ and ‘bad’ are judgement calls, grounded in taste and aesthetics, moral stance and ideology. Whether there are any inate qualities or values by which anything can be held more right or wrong, better or worse than another thing is an interesting question from a philosophical point of view. meaning, I can’t answer that - can you?
I would hold that ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are relative. There can be no objectivity because ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are emotive subjects. If I accept myself as an autonomous being, if I take responsibility for myself and my actions during play, surely by definition I am playing responsibly? The mechanism for that responsibility is irrelevent, being that it is personal to me and has no impact on anyone but me - and my partner, of course, though let’s assume my partner also entered the scenario knowingly, willingly and responsibly.
Of course safewords are important and valuable and have a relevent place in the BDSM arena. But why must their irrefutable value mean that not having a safeword instantly devalues play by rendering it unsafe and irresponsible? Can we not accept that with the whole spectrum of people and experiences operating within this arena, there might be more than one way of doing things? And cannot we attribute value based upon intent and outcome, rather than some abstract notion of what is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’?
LETS HAVE A MOTHERFUCKIN DIALOGUE UP IN HERE
Hey! I’m Bee, 390nm’s girl, and I wanted to throw in my two cents to the discussion. It’s weird that you speak of the “place beyond” that you wouldn’t get to if you had a safeword, because it contradicts what you said earlier about how you used…
“So basically you prove your submission—your intent to reach new depths/heights by not mumbling “red” or “rrh” or “ed” (may backfire if dom’s name is Ed) during a scene”
To me, the idea of ‘proving’ my submission by refraining from uttering a safe word is not a healthy attitude when going about safe words. Reading that statement links safe words with needing to ‘prove’ something, approval/disappointment, and worth as a submissive in a way I completely disagree with.
It’s already been made clear that I don’t believe in safe words, considering my original reblog of a post about them is what sparked this entire debate.
If I was under the impression that my submission was something that was valued based on whether or not I used my safe word, I wouldn’t want to use my safe word. If I have to ‘prove’ my submission by refraining to use my safe word, what happens when I use it? According to the logic I’ve been presented using a safe word ‘proves’ I’m not fully submitting in some way, and that’s an incredibly toxic message to associate with something that’s intended to be used as a judgment-free measure of when something goes wrong.
Furthermore, to judge a submissives level of submission on something as simple and black-and-white as a use of a safe word makes something as incredibly complex as a D/s dynamic really, really simple.
Yesterday I addressed this issue in a separate post because I didn’t want to potentially step on anyone’s toes and I’m not really huge on confrontation, but I think the fact arguments have actually come to imposing rules and regulations on how consenting adults chose to live within their dynamic is a bit ridiculous.
“Anyone who is practicing this right now needs to be aware that what they are saying is actually teaching, whether it be a “trip report” or a deviant little missive captioning a dirty picture. We are building the future ourselves, and if we don’t want to see a bunch of little hurt people on cnn making everybody look bad, we should encourage our readers to explore safely first, and maybe take that edgy leap once they’re truly ready.”
I really don’t think that the argument that someone (in this post you appear to be referring to minors/someone in your position when you were younger) could read something and misinterpret the clear, concise, explicitly-stated message (that both artofbabalon and I have always preached) ‘I don’t believe in safe words for myself, but I’d never encourage someone else to not use one’ to mean anything but that. If someone should somehow find an ulterior meaning in those words, well, I think that really says enough.
I don’t understand the concept that consenting adults who consider themselves more than capable of engaging in a D/s relationship should refrain from living their life a certain way or allowing themselves to publicly express because someone could take it upon themselves to act carelessly and get hurt. That’s really the same as arguing that people shouldn’t participate in extreme activities like skydiving or bungee jumping (both of which share the same common disclaimer with the safe words in this matter) because someone could get hurt if they took it upon themselves to engage in those activities in a way that wasn’t safe. Any activity has risk attached to it, especially when we’re talking about D/s and the extremes that sometimes go along with it.
I can’t help but pick up on a sense that people who think that people who don’t use safe words are engaging in stoic, communication-less scenes in which a submissive/bottom/etc. has completely lost his/her voice. That ‘no safe words’ means no communicating verbally/non-verbally before/after/during a scene, a lack of empathy, and a Dom who isn’t paying attention to his/her sub’s needs.
All of which are simply untrue. Artofbabalon managed to make this point (and a lot of other points I had myself-now I just look like I’m stealing!) before I decided I wanted to weigh in on this argument myself: if you’re playing with a safe word, you’ve put that safe word up on a pedestal as the determining factor when establishing when something has gone wrong. There is nothing wrong with that and I think a safe word can be incredibly beneficial in plenty of relationships, but why is this a tool that’s being forced on me? Why is a safe word being pushed on anyone?
That really just brings me back to my next point: everyone in the tumblr BDSM community who posts sexually explicit content features a disclaimer to the extent of ‘NSFW blog/18+ only.’ Our blogs are meant for mature audiences-adults. If someone under the age of eighteen/legal age in their country were to access a blog that is clearly marked as being for viewers above their age limit, read my consistent disclaimers about my views on safe words and how I’d never personally never encourage someone to go without them or speak ill of them and then still ignore consistent warnings and have a negative experience…that would not be my fault. It would absolutely be unfortunate and I’d never wish a negative experience on anyone, but I can’t police people any more than I already am with consistent warnings.
I am a consenting adult writing about my own experiences that I am perfectly capable of making. To say that I’m ‘not skilled at submitting’ (referencing a previous post in the debate) because I chose to put myself in situations where I allow myself to feel a sense of helplessness in a controlled environment with someone who can read me very well and with which communication (both verbal and non-verbal) are taken very seriously before/during/after a scene discredits the concept that I’m someone capable of being trusted to make decisions for myself.
Of course there’s a risk, there is always a risk. No one is arguing that there isn’t one…but there is a risk with everything involved in BDSM. That’s just plain fact. Safe words can be beneficial, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have the potential to be a way of expressing fear or when something becomes really, really hard to deal with. And that’s fine, because that’s what they’re there for. But some people want to push/be pushed past that point. This is okay because:
- I am an adult.
- I am more than capable of choosing what experiences I might consensually want to experience.
- D/s is anything but black-and-white and can’t be categorized into a simple list of ‘do’s and ‘don’t’s.
- I am fully aware of the risks involved and should a scene go wrong then I’d be prepared to talk about what went wrong and why and how whatever went wrong could be avoided the next time.
- I wouldn’t resent someone for pushing me a bit harder than I’m ready to go in that moment because it was something I wanted.
- I understand that ‘no safe words’ doesn’t mean ‘no communication’ or throwing caution out the window.
- I know myself, and I know myself well. I understand that not all of my experiences will be good, but I will learn from all of them and grow from everything I come to experience.
- I know the difference between a situation that has the potential to go horribly wrong and might damage me physically or mentally and something that will be hard to endure that will teach me something invaluable. I have no problem speaking up if I think a situation is unhealthy or harmful, and I trust myself not to engage in extreme situations with people who don’t know me well enough to have an idea of how an experience will affect me and respects where I currently am/am able to endure.
- I understand the fundamental importance of safe words, as well as the pros and cons that come with both using a safe word and foregoing one.
- I am a legally consenting adult capable of choosing how I want to live my life. I trust myself. I know the difference between how I’d feel in a healthy relationship and in an unhealthy relationship and I trust myself enough to know I wouldn’t tolerate anything that I considered to be damaging or unhealthy. I understand that people experience things differently, have differing opinions, and may choose to live their lives completely differently than I do mine. I respect that, and I’d never tell someone that their choices were wrong/damaging/unsafe/etc. because I can only speak for myself.
- I am a consenting adult capable of choosing the experiences I want to have.
Smart lass, that American Whore (but shh, don’t tell her I said so…)
It’s weird that you speak of the “place beyond” that you wouldn’t get to if you had a safeword, because it contradicts what you said earlier about how you used them because you wanted to see what would happen.
That’s not a contradiction. I don’t like safewords because I like being pushed beyond my limits. I have played with Doms who refused to play without safewords. And once I repeatedly used my safeword for no good reason just to see what would happen. The Dom decided I was bratting and did not respect the safeword.
So basically you prove your submission—your intent to reach new depths/heights by not mumbling “red” or “rrh” or “ed”
How I ‘prove’ my submission? Prove it? Who the fuck to? The person standing over me with a whip? The one who is in said position because I knowingly entered into the agreement for him to beat me? Do I need to prove something to him?
Do I need to prove something to anyone?
Surely my existence in this lifestyle is proof enough?
I submit because I am compelled to submit. It is a need. A desire. The act of submission makes me whole. The journey through submission makes me stronger, wiser and helps me to grow as a person. My dominant is my partner. We share in this journey of discovery and growth and together we reach new heights. I show him my devotion to him and our relationship each time I place myself at his feet… and the fact I, you know, pay half the fucking rent.
I am a submissive with or without a master, and I do not need to ‘prove’ that to anyone.
My Dominant is my guide. He takes me to places that I cannot reach alone. The things I fear, that I would run from, he forces me to face. We do that without safewords. And thus far it has been 2372 days and counting since our last serious accident (or the entirety of our relationship).
You talk about our words reaching wide audiences. Do you realise that I have repeatedly said there is no right or wrong way to practise BDSM, and that safewords are perfectly valid and useful? I have also said they are not the *only* route to safe play, and they do not offer a safety guarantee.
If we’re on the subject of responsibility, how about not spreading the view that there is one and only one correct way to engage with BDSM?
Safewords do not always work. If you happen to be playing with a dick who has no respect for your limits, a safeword will not get you out of that situation. By preaching safewords as the only way to play safely, you neglect to take account of other precautions. And even worse, you make those who do not agree with you view feel small, vulnerable and judged. You send a message to the world that BDSM *must* be carried out according to a strict set of scriptures.
Now, this may be your opinion - and you’re entitled to it. But you should know, believing there is only one path to the top of the mountain means you are likely to miss a lot of good views.
About all I can do is concede the (very true) fact that you and your Lordship are uniquely skilled and positioned for this sort of risky play.
I don’t think his Lordship and I are ‘uniquely skilled’. I know many people who do not use safewords in play. And again, I stress, I’m not saying that no one should use them ever, I’m saying they are not the only form of communication, and not necessarily the magic safety net that your post makes them out to be. Using a safeword will not solve all ills. Not using a safeword will not trigger the apocalypse.
Likening safewords to floggers was a bad analogy. You’re right, safety harnesses are not the same as hammers. But I maintain that safewords are simply one element of the kit. And not having them does not automatically mean the job can’t or shouldn’t be done.
I’m tempted to ask whether you really have so little trust in your ability to read a situation, or in communication outside of trigger words or phrases, but that would sound argumentative, which is really not my intention.
Safewords are a safety net. In our household, we liken them to stabilisers. They do a terribly useful job and are very handy when you need them. But taking them off does not guarantee a broken neck, and it does not mean you are being irresponsible. It means you feel confident and comfortable in your ability to go on without them. There might well be an accident, but it is not an accident waiting to happen.
Safewords are *a* form of communication. If you removed the safeword, I don’t believe that would mean your girl is rendered incapable of communication. Within a scene do you judge all of your actions by whether or not she has uttered that word? I hope and believe not. I believe that as a Dom, you would constantly be watching and assessing in the round.
That you have such a visceral reaction to the thought of play without safewords probably suggests you should use them. But that does not automatically mean *everyone* *everywhere* will feel the same way or play the same way as you do. And that does not mean their practise is ‘bad’ or ‘irresponsible’.
When I started experimenting with BDSM at the tender age of 15, I didn’t know it was a thing. My boyfriend, who was equally young and clueless as I, used to tie me to his bed and ignore me for a few hours. He would spank me, asphyxiate me, indulge in light bondage. We didn’t have safewords because no one ever told us we ‘should’. I was 21 by the time I realised there was a name for what I was, and when I started playing with older, more experienced Doms, safewords were an alien concept to me. One or two insisted I must have one. Usually I used them just to see what would happen. But that’s the sort of submissive I am - terribly confrontational and difficult. You’d probably hate me.
I know that safewords do not put the submissive in control. But for me, they always felt like a contradiction. They never sat right. They made me uncomfortable. They made me hyper aware in a scene and unable to relax into it the way I wanted. So I chose not to use them. Because I don’t use them, other elements became more important - masses of communication, slow starts, debriefs etc. Over time my Dom has come to know me well enough that he can read me, and I have found ways of communicating what I feel. If I need time to breathe, I say his name, or I say ‘please’. Perhaps it’s the same as having a safeword in that respect. But importantly, I know that there is nothing I can say that will guarantee he will stop.
That is terrifying. And frequently I’ll be in a state of cold panic knowing I cannot stop what is happening, screaming at the top of my lungs for mercy, half hoping the police will knock on the door wanting to know who is comitting a massacre. And that, that moment when I would play my safeword if I had one, is the moment the magic starts to happen. It’s the moment I cannot cope anymore, the moment I cannot fight it or manage it. The moment when I hit beyond.
For me, breaking point is the point I let go. When I stop fighting. When I accept. And it is the blows right after that moment that transport me. They cease to hurt, but become sensation. I cease to struggle. I understand something new.
I always knew there was a place beyond, and I always wanted to get there. And I knew I never could or would with a safeword. I wouldn’t allow myself to hit breaking point if I had a safeword.
Now, what I have described is me. A deeply personal journey. I don’t get subspace - it doesn’t happen for me. But I play at the extreme ends of the scale, and that holds a reward for me. This is not the practise for everyone. And not everyone will need to be pushed as hard as me to get there, and some submissives will be able to go there with a nice shiny safeword.
There is no right or wrong. There is only what works for you. This works for me. And I assure you, it is nothing like walking around with a loaded gun to my head, finger on the trigger, waiting for the shot.
I like a good debate. So I’m getting in on this.
If your sub has never safeworded during a scene, it is a very bad thing in my opinion. I would be concerned that she is not, in fact, skilled at submitting.
This statement struck me and is the reason I am replying to this post. I’m not entirely convinced that submission is a ‘skill’. Submission is a journey. It is a state of being, a set of experiences. It is a desire, a need, a compulsion. It is an itch. It is not a talent. Much as ‘joy’ and ‘depression’ and ‘grief’ are not skills.
His Lordship walked in at this point and pointed out that there are skills associated with submission, and that a submissive can develop these skills and become better at submitting. Essentially the submissive would get out of their own way and learn to ’just be themselves’ better. And yes, he has a point, and yes I can see how I have grown as a submissive and become better at recognising how I am really doing, and how to take a beating etc etc.
But for me, there is still an element of ‘submissive is what I am’, not something I learnt to be. And at the height of stress and discontent, sometimes the ‘skills’ I have learnt over the years go out the window. Yet I am still submissive, and the concept that the thing I am is a talent or a skill seems slighty abhorrant to me. Or perhaps it is the concept of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ submissive that niggles me. What I am does not have a value on that scale. It is what I am, and therefore it is inherently valuable in and of itself.
Though this seems off the point. I believe what the author is trying to say is that using a safeword is a skill a submissive must develop. Having confidence to speak out, trust that it will not damage the dynamic, and having strength of will and mind to safeword even when lost in a scene is a skill set she will learn. And I can see the value in that. But…
But. This is not the *only* way to practise submission. And not having a safeword does not instantly throw your practise into question or disrepute.
Safewords have never been a part of my play. Ever. From the go I found the concept abhorant as I felt, very strongly, that safewords put me in control, and at the time I was starting to experiment with BDSM, the last thing I wanted was to be in control.
Over the years I have explored the concept of safewords, and I understand the role and meaning they have for others, and I value their place in the BDSM arena. I would never argue that no one should use a safeword ever. But I do challenge the notion that the *only* sane way to play is with a safeword. I have never had one. I am safe. I am sane. I am pretty darned experience in this lifestyle (nearly 15 years active), and I might be considered by some as a ‘good’ submissive. (Not by his Lordship. He wouldn’t want me becoming complacent.)
Yes, safewords are communication and communication is always good. But there are other forms of communication. I think it is important that a submissive learn to communicate her needs and distress without having to resort to saying ‘Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled pepper’ - which would be jarring in a scene, no? Submissives should communicate, however that is done - with safewords or without. Relying on safewords can be a false grail, and a submissive therefore must learn to express herself both in and out of a scene.
Anything that stigmatises safewords is bad? Anything? What if we were to have a grown up discussion about the limitations of safewords? The times they are agreed as a way of making a submissive feel safe, then ignored because the Dom happens to be a dick? It happens. It doesn’t mean safewords are bad. But let’s be honest and admit they are not a bullet proof vest. They are one element of safe play, and they have limitations. I’m not saying throw them to the wind, just don’t think they are the holy water of BDSM. Safewords do not defeat dicks.
Thirdly, my Dom does not have to be a mindreader just because we don’t have a safeword. We communicate. I express my distress throughout every scene, every interaction. And he judges whether I am at the end, or whether I have further to go. He judges whether I can take it. Sometimes he might be wrong. But more often I am. When I’m saying I can’t I can’t I can’t, turns out I often can.
I believe, as does my Master, that there are places you just cannot go if you have a safeword. I like to be pushed. I like to be taken beyond my limits. That requires my Dom to make a judgement call and to keep going even when I believe I am broken. There is a place you will never get to if you have a safeword, and that place is beyond. With a safeword, there will always be a point at which you stop. Always. It may be a little further each time, but it will always happen. Because there will always be a point where you know - not believe, but know - that you cannot take any more. And that is the point you will safeword.
There is a point beyond that. Where you did take more, and it was not, as you so firmly believed it would be, the end of the world. The end of you. And safewords stand between you and it. Unless your Dom ignores your safeword… in which case, was it really a safeword at all?
I don’t care how skilled your submissive is. She will safeword when she hits her limit. She cannot allow herself past that limit. Self preservation will not allow her to. Is it placing a superhuman burden upon the Dom to recognise when a girl can take more? I don’t believe so. It might be a burden of time, understanding, communication and experience. It might be a judgement call they get wrong. That is always a risk. But everything we do is a risk. There are no guarantees in our lifestyle because everything we are playing with is so transient.
I would argue that a safeword is placing an unfair burden of responsibility on me, the submissive. You want me to make the right decisions about my use, when I’m in an altered state of consciousness with heightened emotions? I’m not sane in those moments! You wouldn’t let me drive a car, so why let me drive me?
Yes, I recognise the incendiary nature of that statement. Actually the point I’m trying to make is there is no right or wrong. There is what’s right for you, your dynamic, your style of play and your type of submissive. Then there’s what’s right for me. No doubt we have very different end destnations in mind, and we’re heading from very different starting points. We are, in short, on very different paths. So why do we assume that the same rules apply? You take a right and it gets you where you’re going, but I take a right and hit a ditch.
We all have opinions on BDSM. We all have tastes. Things we like, things we don’t like. I don’t like safewords. Does that make me a ‘bad’ submissive? Who can judge that? The chances are I’d be a terrible submissive for many, and yet I am the perfect submissive for some.
Safewords, to me, are a matter of taste. I don’t like that particular tool. I like floggers, but not canes. I like chain more than I like rope. I prefer to be fucked from behind. I love being pissed on, but it upsets me when it gets in my hair. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. There just is.
This morning, reading through Tumblr, I read a post by someone who was talking about their Dominant ‘punishing’ them by withholding contact. This really upsets me, and I was compelled to rant a little about it.
In my humble opinion, contact should never, ever be used as a bargaining chip. Submission is a journey during which emotions are turbulent and often close to the surface. It is an alchemical process, and the submissive will undergo major change and breakthroughs throughout that journey. being able to express that inner transformation is absolutely vital - both for the submissive to feel valued, and for the dominant to understand what they are working with.
As a submissive, I must know I have a channel to express what I am feeling - whatever I am feeling - and that I will be heard, and that I will have support when I need it. To remove that channel is to leave me suspended, struggling to process something I may have no way of managing alone. And that is remarkably irresponsible of a dominant.
Removing contact and a channel of communication is a sure way to break trust and damage the dynamic. Because from the first time contact is withdrawn, it tells the submissive that they may be alone in this journey, and that encourages them not to speak when they need to speak for fear of losing the thing they value above all else: contact with their dominant.
I see this form of punishment used most often in long distance relationships. I imagine that’s because there’s very little you can do to ‘punish’ when whips and chains are not an option. But distance relationships are where contact is even more important, because communication is your only way of connecting. So why would you want to damage that? Personally, this is the reason I avoid exclusive online D/s relationships. They can be great in the short term, but for long term development and growth they are seriously restrictive.
I don’t believe there’s a right way or wrong way to do D/s. but I do think there are good and bad ways of approaching it. For me, it’s a journey. I do not believe that I, as the submissive, am any less worthy or valuable than my Dom. Equality is not a traditional aspect of D/s, I know, but increasingly over the years this is where I have come to. Within the dynamic my Dom’s Will reigns supreme - he gets what he wants, by force if necessary. But my experiences, my reactions, my feelings are all part of what he wants. He wants *me*, and my submission and his dominance just happen to be the tools we use to strip back the layers until he can get at me. Expression and communication are therefore at the heart of what we do. To express, you need contact. And you need to trust that contact is not going to be suddenly withdrawn because you have done something ‘wrong’.
As a submissive you are not here purely to serve. You are here, on this earth, to grow. Submission, done well, can be a wonderful avenue of growth for you. It will allow you to learn, to overcome challenges and become stronger. It’ll also allow you to get off, which is just downright fun. The role of your dominant is to help you to grow. To guide you, teach you, pick you up when you fall and, you know, have fun with you. They should listen to you, seek to understand you, and then help you understand. Punishment should be a means to an end, not an end in itself. You’re on a journey together. Anyone who says otherwise is wrong, just wrong. And they have nothing to teach you.
Though as a submissive you may take the role of the ‘bottom’, that does not mean that your needs come last. in order to serve well, you must be whole. To be whole, you must be nourished.
porn--or--art asked: Okay, the photos you took for Day 40 are AMAZING. I wish I could see every last one of them. My question is, can you talk a little more about the dynamics between you and His Lordship's other girls? Are they jealous that you got the beautiful box of 50 days' assignments? Would you be jealous if he gave them something similar? I know you've got Viking & there's respect and open communication throughout all your interactions, but I'm curious if these relationships ever push your boundaries...
Well, thank you very much for such kind sentiments. I’m touched you thought so. You’ll have to blame The Little Thing for not being able to see them all. Apparently girls have rights these days… who knew?
As for the dynamics… it’s complicated. But I guess that doesn’t suffice as an answer.
I can’t really comment on whether his lordship’s girls are jealous of my 50 Days tasks, you’d have to ask them. I know his Lordship goes to great pains to stress to them the importance of our relationship, and where they fit in the grand scheme of things, so even if they are jealous of any aspect of our relationship, I doubt they would mention it to me. That would be - in my mind at least - slightly inapropriate.
Of course jealousy happens in a poly relationship, but I think we have to be very careful when entering a new relationship not to disrupt existing ties. Certainly for me it’s always very clear who has priority in any given situation. So, for example, the Viking is married, and his wife absolutely gets priority in *every* situation. It would be wrong of me to place myself between them. Given I understood the dynamic when I entered it, I don’t feel any jealousy towards her, and even if I did, I’m not sure I would feel comfortable expressing that. It wouldn’t be fair. Having said that, if the jealousy was a result of my feeling that he is behaving disrepectfully towards me, or not fulfilling a particular role he had committed to, I would address that. I certainly *do* get jealous when the Viking talks about other girls - ones that are not his primary. Jealousy happens. I just don’t know whether it’s always fair to lay the jealousy on your partner.
Gah - it’s complicated!
I would absolutely be unhappy if his Lordship gave a task like my 50 days to one of his other girls. The 50 days was, I like to think, tailored to me, to my path, to our shared life and language and spirtuality. It would sting to see him do something similar with his other girls, as it would make me feel less important in some way. less special. I value my place as his primary and as his whore.
There are definitely times when I’m jealous of the approach he takes with his girls. Our dynamic is complicated. We live together, share the bills and the family obligations. There are days when I’m tired and stressed and have had a hard day and I haven’t the energy to serve or submit. There are days when I ask him to clean the bathroom. Balancing him as my partner, my equal, with him as my Master and superior can be tough. Those elements are not there with his girls. He can be the Dom 100% of the time. He can get creative and push boundaries in ways he might be nervous of doing with me, because there might be fallout that he can’t escape from simply because we live together. There’s an element where they will always be more exciting because they’re younger, prettier, newer, less experienced - in short, more novel than me. And that will always make me feel a little insecure and jealous.
Watching your partner focus all their attention on someone else, even for a short while, is hard. It doesn’t stop being a challenge, no matter how much respect and communication you have. Poly pushes buttons and tests boundaries. That’s the nature of the thing. Jealousy happens. It’s how you manage it that makes the difference.
If I’m jealous of how his Lordship is with his other girls, I tell him, and I tell him why. Sometimes the solution is that he doesn’t do those things, or that he does them in a different way, or that he reassures me. I imagine he would do the same for his girls if they expressed a similar thing.
But for me, the reality is that if one of his girls was expressing jealousy at how he is with me, with a wish that it could be that way for them, we would have a problem that needs discussing. he is how he is with me because I am his primary. You only get one primary, and if they were jealous of that position I hold, I would suggest they need to go and find themselves a primary who can give them their full attention, because his Lordship certainly is not in a position to offer that.
Just looking at the pictures I took under instruction of an ‘erotic’ photoshoot. I think I might be a bit twisted. The girls were freezing. It was a very cold, wet and windy day in Kent. I had to fix a couple of the pictures because the goosebumps made them look like plucked chickens…. and the little thing was blue by the end of it.
I got some stunning shots - many of which I can’t post here for issues of identity, yadda yadda. But it was fun.
I should probably also state, for the record, that the Little Thing *hates* being called ‘The Little Thing’. She has politely requested to be called evil-something-or-other-with-cowering. But pah to that. She’s little, and his Lordship’s plaything. It works for me…