July 27, 2018

How far does control go?

I was having a conversation with my slave last weekend about rules and regulations regarding our relationship. Without getting into the gory details, she had a question about how outside relationships might impact the core relationship (myself and she). She recently met a couple and there was talk right off the bat about expanding their relationship to include her. Getting away from the whole “Isn’t it too soon” argument, it got me thinking about the tenets of control and how that works between us, and perhaps others as well.

This also touches on polyamorous relationships and how they all work. Granted polys are different, since you’re adding another personality into a relationship, so there’s a question of which relationship is the core one, or does this even touch on that at all. Usually, a poly begins when one person in a dual relationship wishes to branch out, or there’s an agreement between the two ‘core’ participants to add a third (or even a fourth, depending). There’s no such thing as a ‘standard’ poly relationship, considering that like BDSM, the participants determine how it works, and how it works for them. In the case of myself and my wife, we consider ourselves poly to a certain extent, except that together we’re fluid bonded, in other words, if one or the other has a submissive, there’s no sex between either of us and the outside partner. Early on in the conversations I’ve had with my slave, I told her that I wasn’t interested in sex with her, I was solely interested in participating in BDSM for the physical attributes. I know that sort of flies in the face of what many people consider to BE BDSM, but before the Internet at large got its mitts on what people see of it, that’s really for the most part what defined BDSM. Just remember, what you see on websites is there to generate money. Essentially, sex sells. Insex learned that early on, people were less likely to tune in (or pay) for the scenes that didn’t involve some form of sexual interaction. pd didn’t start Insex to showcase sex acts in the midst of his BDSM art. He added it a year or so down the road because he discovered pretty quickly that if he included sex in some form, he made more money. It was a financial decision, pure and simple.

As usual, I’m getting away from my topic here.

About 7 months ago, when my girl and I changed our dynamic 180 degrees, we didn’t have a lot of rules and regulations.  We’ve been working on adding them in as we go, since as with any relationship there are going to be growing pains, misunderstandings, discussions and certainly some things aren’t always going to work in practice that were understood and agreed upon on paper.  So it’s always a dynamic and fluid exercise, trying to get all the nuts fitting on the bolts, as it were.  One thing she said right off the bat was, she wasn’t sure if she was ever going to be poly, even though my wife and I are a committed couple, and my girl would be the third wheel as it were.  Though she was very adamant about her expectation that she would be my only submissive.  And that’s fine, I’ve tried the multiple submissive route before and it ended up being so much work and angst, I’m very against giving it another go.  Just too much work for very little payoff.

I’m still a bit off topic here I see.  The bottom line always is, how much control does one have over another?  It’s easy to state in a profile that you’re seeking out a relationship where all the power lies in one place and the other party in it is along for the ride.  Well, I can tell you from experience, it doesn’t work like that in the here and now of real life.  No one really likes owning a doormat.  Even eventually the doormat is going to get tired of it, because it’s patently boring.  Too, becoming the literal definition of a slave (being one for service and having no outside interests of your own, being ‘on’ 24/7 for your Owner etc.) sounds good in fiction, but in real life, it doesn’t work for very long.  People are dynamic, they require downtime and in theory a ‘slave’ doesn’t get that.

How much control really exists between my girl and myself?  Again without getting into the nitty-gritty of it all… she obeys me.  Not perfectly, but then again she’s new to her collar.  And she’s a good distance away.  So there are times I may want something done ‘now’, but it can’t be because of issues, responsibilities, outside commitments and so on.  I have to be flexible, even if I don’t want to be flexible at that particular point in time.  I also can’t punish for not obeying immediately because (duh), again life gets in the way.  Is she willfully disobedient?  No, she’s not.  She does her best to please me, which I appreciate immeasurably.  We’re not in a perfect relationship, but who really is?  She’s where she is, and I’m here.  We want to be together, but it’s going to have to wait.  I give orders on occasion, and usually she carries them out.  If not completely to my satisfaction, at least she tries.  And that, again, is way better than texting me hours later and saying “I couldn’t“, or worse yet, “I forgot“.

Control in many ways can be elusive.  But it’s definitely worth working towards.

What’s in a name? (with backstory)

With the scene at large, many of us use names that aren’t our own.  I’m not talking about titles like Master, slave, Sir, Ma’am, Mistress and so on.  I’m referring to our other names, like the one I’ve been using since I first broke into the scene around 1982-83.

At that time, there was no Internet the way that we know and take for granted today.  The best there was at that time was a small cobbled together intranet of corporations and colleges, and fledgling companies with names like Compuserve, America Online, GEnie, Prodigy and so on.  In order to connect to these latter places, you had to have a physical piece of hardware called a ‘modem’, that hooked into your telephone line and the telephone dialed a number to connect.  It was a long, laborious process, but it worked.  Well most of the time.  Speeds were incredibly slow, but still, it worked.

Once you connected, like websites today, you had to create an account.  Account, password and then you were assigned a username.  Compuserve assigned numbers. (So far as I know they were the only system that used that method.)  Once you’d gotten past the sign up process, that username (or number) was the way that people identified you from then on.  Except in places like chat portals, where like today on IRC, you were able to choose a ‘handle’, a name that was unique to you and you could then interact somewhat anonymously.  Compuserve’s chat forum was called ‘CB’, a throwback to Citizen’s Band radio, which at the time was still being used in people’s vehicles as well as commercial trucking because cellphones (or car phones) by and large were nothing like they are today.

When I first located CB and signed up for it, I chose ‘Leathers’ as my handle, because someone else already had chosen ‘Leather’.  Even then I had a very prominent leather fetish, so for me it seemed appropriate.  Over the years I’ve owned several domain names with ‘leathers’ in the name (leathers.org, dungeonleathers.com, leatherspride.com) as well as being the one on Fetlife with that nickname, so for me it continues and will continue in the future.  By contrast, my wife has always used the handle/nickname ‘Christabel’, there are people that we’ve known in the scene for the last 25 years that still call her by that name, because really, that’s the name that they know her by.  (As an aside, when we were both on Compuserve in a certain forum, while she was eternally called Christabel, my nickname at the time was YM.  It doesn’t really fit nowadays as I’ve gotten considerably older….)

Nicknames by and large are something that we’ve come to know and expect in the BDSM scene, but it’s a double-edged sword.  When you use a nickname, there’s initially no baggage attached to it.  Essentially you’re creating a whole new person, because people who you meet aren’t aware of any history that you’ve had prior to creating the new persona.  So people can take advantage of that, like in the case of ‘Michael Makai’ for instance.  He’s someone who was in the news a couple of years ago, a respected and admired scene educator, but he had some outlandish ideas that for the most part should have stayed in the books he had written.  Instead he attempted to bring them out into reality and caused more than a few problems, for others as well as himself.

A story like that is always something I keep in the back of my mind when I talk to people in the scene.  Yes, many know me by my given name, but many others only know me by the name ‘Leathers’.  I try to make sure the knowledge they have of me is always truthful, accurate and doesn’t deviate from what my ‘vanilla’ friends know of me, but there’s always things that don’t translate, that you don’t want one or the other to know and so on.

Just have to keep your personas straight!