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Join me in Love

BDSM in Three Parts

Published by hartmans on 2015-04-06
There's a lot of discussion and a lot of confusion about what BDSM is, probably in part because it means so many different things depending on context and people. A lot of that discussion focuses on activities: are we talking about impact play, bondage, electrical play, or something involving humiliation? For me, I find the emotional and spiritual context more important than the specifics of the activity. I'd like to share three recent scenes I've participated in to help explore BDSM and its spiritual context. I took the submissive role in all three of these scenes. I find it much more challenging to write about my work as a dominant because to a large extent I'm creating an experience for the submissive and that experience ends up being their story rather than mine.

A Saturday Healing

I was in a very unhappy and disconnected place. There was conflict in a relationship. Some of it had to do with an unexpected change in boundaries. As a result, I was feeling shame when I thought about sexuality; I was even having difficulty connecting with myself sexually. On top of that, I had made some hard decisions and was frightened about whether I'd regret the approach I was taking and about the potential consequences. I didn't feel like I was love, and it was hard to remember that I am loved.
I had gotten together with welcomerain. We had talked about what was going on. I wanted to reconnect with myself and with my sexuality. I wanted to live in the moment enough that I could break out of the loop that my mind and awareness were becoming. If I could regain connection then I felt that I could keep my connection to myself and to Venus.
I asked him to design a scene to work towards that goal. After some discussion, we approached something we thought might work.
We started with me chained face-down to the bed. For me, the restraints served to allow me to be free in my movement. I could thrash,, strain, arch, as I willed. I need not worry about my body falling off the bed, getting in the way of what welcomerain was doing, or even getting in my own way. The restraints allowed me to surrender to my physical desires to move and just be there with that experience rather than planning for my movement and my interactions with the surrounding. I didn't feel confined; I trusted that If I used a safe word, I would quickly be released.
The scene was much more intense than things I typically submit to. There was strong tickling and other forms of sensation play alternating with what for me was intense impact play using a cane, crop and paddle. Our goal was not to use pain for the sake of pain, but rather to use sensation including pain to allow me to break past the things holding my focus. Surprise was as important of a tool as pain; at several points when welcomerain was able to create an expectation that one sensation was coming and deliver something else, I was dragged immediately into the physicality of my body.
That physicality is what we were going for. I could have taken more intensity by detaching from the experience. That way, I'd try to disassociate from the physical sensations, hardening my body to take more, focusing inward. That's generally bad for the kind of work I do with BDSM; that inward focus tends to be the antithesis of a connected scene. For this work it would have been especially bad because it would focus on the shame, disconnection and fear that I was hoping to get past. Instead, my goal was to experience the pain fully, reacting fluidly in the moment. My goal was simply to open up to the physical experience and let it fill me, becoming aware of my body, being without thinking. As I succeeded, my feelings began to change. There was the joy of pushing myself, of accepting my surrender, and of the love that made it safe to be this vulnerably open.
We finished with me on my knees, ass in the air, his cock in my mouth. As I sucked, I was delighted to be able to take joy in being comfortable and free as a lover, connected to my beloved. I was happy that I could be comfortable offering my body as I had done as well as accepting the gift of healing. Both required significant openness and inner strength. I was delighted to find both within myself. By the time he climaxed, I had regained the sacred connection to sexuality and was able to offer the experience to my beloved and Venus with all my spirit. As is often the case with emotional healing, I didn't fully realize what I had lost until I regained it. I realized that I had lost my connection to myself, but didn't truly appreciate the silence of my connection to Venus until I met her again in his climax.

One Evening In Connecticut

I went to an event with morningstar and welcomerain. Morningstar wanted to explore topping me. The three of us shared a lot of love. On the drive, we were all filled with excitement, connection and trust. Welcomerain had good knowledge of my boundaries and I had some of that discussion with Morningstar.
When we arrived, we did some ritual work to honor Venus and our love and to open to each other.
We decided that the two of them would top me in a fairly improvisational scene. I trusted them and was excited to just give myself to the moment. Welcomerain and I had just finished a scene topping Morningstar. We had a general goal, but the improvisational aspects of that earlier scene were fresh in our minds. We were feeling good with our ability to work together, to connect and to open around each other. I felt such trust for the two of them;I was loved and I love.
They chained me to a spider web, which is a lot of fun. Then the two of them began exploring various impact toys. Welcomerain engaged in some fairly intense tickling. He asked how I was doing, I responded and the intensity increased. They were using a crop, paddle and various impact toys. I think he was using the point of a cane to tickle. However, as the intensity of what Welcomerain was doing increased, Morningstar was being sensual. this increased the intensity of my response to what Welcomerain was doing. As I would open up to Morningstar's touch, I would be surprised by the crop; the mix of sensations made it harder to take.
I wasn't doing well. I was sad, because I was really hoping for a connected experience with my friends and lovers. However, what I was getting was a lot of pain. Increasingly I was incredibly frustrated because I really hoped that this type of connection didn't have to be about being beat up by your friends and how much intensity of physical sensation you could take.
Part of me wanted to call yellow and see if we could repair things. Part of me was frustrated and angry and just wanted to say "fuck this crap, I call red." However, I was uncomfortable with that because I felt a lot of my desire to call red rather than yellow was to lash out rather than because I really needed red. Also, Morningstar did seem to be increasingly comfortable and I was pleased by that.
Meanwhile,Morningstar had started to experiment with some other toys. She was preparing to use the neon wand with a body electrode. That builds up a static charge on your skin and allows you to shock whatever you touch. You can adjust the intensity of the shock. If you combine this with a metal toy, you can shock someone else without really feeling much yourself. Using this combination on someone attached to a metal spider web is tricky enough that we're unlikely to do that again. The resistance of their path to ground tends to be rather variable, and so it's hard to have control over the intensity of the shock. So, Morningstar was fiddling with the neon wand testing the intensity herself, alternating fine fiddling of the dial with startled exclamations as she touched near the web. If she got something that worked she might approach me.
Around this time, Welcomerain had noticed something and decided to check in and ask if I was okay. I said no and we started to discuss. Morningstar noticed this and decided to put away the neon wand. When disconnecting the body electrode, it's best to turn off the wand first. Instead, she got an electrical burn and dropped the wand. Welcomerain was trying to pay attention to me, help her out. She was worried she'd damaged the toy and concerned about me. We decided to end the scene and go regroup and see what had happened.
After some hugging and reassurance, we began to discuss what had happened. We realized that we'd never really discussed the intent of the scene. My previous scene with Welcomerain was very intense. The scene where Morningstar was topped by Welcomerain and I was intense. However that wasn't really what I wanted and I never said.
We also discovered an amusing communications failure. Welcomerain had been asking me to rate the intensity of the sensation I was getting on a scale of 1-10, where 10 was the most intensity I'd prefer at that point. Morningstar and I heard him ask for intensity on a scale of 1-10, where 10 was the most I could take without calling red. So, she was hearing that I was fairly near the top of my range and he was hearing crank it up. So, the effect where she was increasing the intensity by matching his impact play with sensuality was unintended. That effect can be a great tool, but in this instance, I think it stemmed more from miscommunication.
I felt joy that there was enough love and trust to quickly explore what had happened. You are bound to make mistakes, and for myself I'd choose to make them with people like Morningstar and welcomerain who will help me understand and grow. In the future, I would call red in a similar situation. It's quite clear in retrospect that when you're debating between yellow and red, "keep going," is the wrong answer. If you can't see that in the moment it really probably is time for red:-)
Prior to publishing this entry, I was asked whether it was Welcomerain's job to notice that I was not doing well. I cannot say no strongly enough. As a top, I try to be attentive and to understand what is going on for the sub; I know Welcomerain and Morningstar do the same. However, in that scene, I was responsible for letting the tops know about anything that seemed to me to be impacting my emotional or physical safety. Only I know for sure if I'm hurting. If I don't communicate that and communicate its emotional impact on me, the tops don't have enough information to do their job. Yes, I expect the tops to react to any problem they notice and to react to problems I bring up, but I have a responsibility for communicating my state. In that scene, I would have said something within another minute. It might have taken a bit longer to recover had things gone on longer, but I have confidence we would have ended up at the same place. Never the less, I'm grateful for the care Welcomerain showed.

Later that Evening

I wanted another scene to end the evening on what we hoped would be a more successful note. We particularly wanted to encourage Morningstar to continue exploring topping. So, Morningstar agreed to top me and Welcomerain agreed to give her advice. We were shooting for something playful and connected; relaxing focused on being able to let go and be in the moment.
I was restrained at wrists and ankles. Like in the first scene I described, this allowed me to let my body move as it willed. The restraints also kept me open and accessible.
I don't really remember the details of what Morningstar did, because I quickly achieved our goal of relaxing into the scene and the moment. I was offering myself and my body for a friend to play with. I was hers to explore, to mold, to relax and excite. I find amazing joy in surrendering to this kind of play. For me there is no shame in offering myself to be played with in this way. I know that Morningstar values me; I do not lessen myself by offering myself. Also, the play allows us to connect and allows me to connect with myself and worship my goddess. At some point, with my consent, she invited Welcomerain into the scene.
I do recall some really wonderful flogging. For me, flogging can be incredibly relaxing. I can open myself to the thud of the flogger against my body, relaxing into the experience. Of course, with a different approach or when combined in different ways it can feel all but relaxing.

Conclusions

For me, BDSM is like ritual. There are a wonderful assortment of tools and approaches. However, the tools and type of play are not the big point for me. Instead, for me, it's about the intent; where the scene is going emotionally, spiritually, sexually. I like some kinds of play better than others, just as I like different ritual tools better than others. However for me, it's rarely going to be about finding some friends to beat on me. Instead, it's going to be about finding people will take me on a journey of sensation, trust and welcome vulnerability. Typically it will be a journey of connection or into the moment. Sometimes a journey of healing or growth. I give thanks for these journies past and future!

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