[M/s 365] Why do this?

This past weekend, slave Angie and I had the pleasure of giving a 1 day “intensive” on M/s. It was six hours of an intimate group of couples and some unattached/unaccompanied joining us to discuss tools, techniques, mindset and approach to M/s and what they needed most to hear. It went wonderfully!

The reason for the repost is because I was asked both last week on Facebook, and in the class, why I/we do M/s. My answer hasn’t changed from what I said almost 18 months ago. If anything, I’m even more drawn to the edge and exploring where we can go.

Our Master/slave Journey

razor-and-pearlsWhy do I do this? I’ve always been attracted to the edge. I’m a firm believer that M/s *is* edge play. It’s on the fringe of relationship dynamics for sure. It explores places that are deeply intense, that are on the edge of what our kink/leather/BDSM world explores.

It’s that edge that calls to me. It’s that edge of exploring where we can go. It’s that edge of passion, of joy, of feeling the heartbeat of our relationship as surely as I feel her pulse when I touch her.

There are a hundred and one things that follow, but the first stirrings, the first calling, was that edge, just as surely as S/m called to me.

And what does that edge look like? It’s the authority, it’s the absolute decision that she made when she surrendered to me, and it’s the surrender and exercise of authority that we engage in each day.

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On Reconnection

The simplest of things – a long-used phrase, but said with passion; slowing down that evening ritual so that each word spoken, each position taken, each touch made becomes a moment of meditation; a drive to the grocery store where you all are in the car together, alone – these things can become moments of reconnection that end up meaning so much.

We teach about this in our classes on M/s and Life: That in the cycle and ebb-flows of Life, it is easy to lose track of each other. To get caught up in the day to day struggle. To simply collapse in front of Netflix, Facebook or World of Warcraft and “veg out.” To forget that NRE and drive that brought us together in the first place.

Taking time to reconnect can feel like an impossibility, but it doesn’t have to be a holiday weekend, it doesn’t have to be a big production. A simple coffee shared together, a moment where your mind, intent and mindfulness are focused on these moments, just being together, just remembering those things that may have gotten lost in the shuffle.

After three years of being road warriors, slave Angie and I have been doing exactly that. Reconnection. Remembering the sting of paddles, the sadistic lust, the moments of connection with rituals and a flow that feels more like “us” than it has in a long time. We have been taking trips up to a get-away in the woods of Wisconsin and it has been healing in so many ways.

We used those tools though – the simple reconnections – to keep us going through those three years, but this feels so good to be “us” again.

Check your assumptions about the slave or submissive you’re talking to

Oh look, a stump or soap box. Let me get on it for a minute…

This weekend, I saw a wonderful man Robbie Butler step up to the mic and say “Yes, I am a slave and yes, I can run for American Leather Man.”

I’ve seen slave Angie push against similar projections and assumptions … that slaves cannot stand up and be leaders. Especially in leadership positions where people think it only applies to Sirs, to Masters/Mistresses, to Dominants.

It’s a false assumption. I’ve seen strong, caring, wonderful slaves across the world take up leadership positions and “get shit done.”

Too often, I think we as a community shoot ourselves in the foot with these assumptions that a **RELATIONSHIP** role somehow applies across the community.

Respect of that role is one thing. I respect someone as a slave or collared boy/girl or submissive in respect of their relationship role. BUT then, I don’t assume that because they have given control or surrendered authority that they somehow make that the ONLY thing about them.

Next time you walk into a bar, dungeon, play event — check yourself as you talk to someone with a collar or obvious sign of a relationship status. Do you treat them different, make different assumptions? Yes? Then mentally take that collar off them and see them as the wonderful person that they are, fully capable of that leadership position that our community needs filled.

Consent Non-Consent

This topic rears its head more often lately, and I was specifically asked about it today on a Facebook post. I thought I would share my views here as well. To avoid TL;DR, I’ll state it here: I go back to a long held belief – 2+ adults consent to do something, as long as it doesn’t harm each other, I hold none in judgement of what they do with their limits. CNC for me is about someone giving consent/authority to another to go beyond their limits, without requiring permission or ongoing, active consent to continue. (From a relationship consent, not from a legal authority standpoint.)

The phrase consent-non-consent seems to have been around as long as I’ve been involved in the BDSM and kink communities – so set your clocks to 1995. When I first starting looking around the BBSs and then the strange thing called “the Internet”, there were discussions on ye-olde-Usenet that centered around the acronyms “TPE”, “IE” and “CNC.” Ah, JJ and his interpretations and pronouncements of what was and was not “TPE” back then. The discussion about all of that was good stuff, with a lot of very smart, bright and thoughtful people asking good questions. So, it feels very much like “back to the future” as folks new to kink as very similar questions as I was reading twenty years ago.

Wait, stop me, I think I’ve heard this one before…

Consent-Non-Consent, in my mind, boils down to this – the idea that you consent to whatever is going to happen, trusting that the person you’ve given that consent to isn’t a psychopathic asshole who is going to end up harming/abusing you.

Now I use those words harm/abuse very deliberately, because I think that those activities of “harm” and “abuse” are ones that aren’t designed for consensual activities. I *also* believe that although activities may not be harmful or abusive from a legal standpoint, they could be harmful/abusive from a personal standpoint. This means that CNC becomes a personal, contextual definition, which brings in that whole messy “relativism” question. What is harmful/abusive to some might be a Saturday night foreplay session for me. And vice versa.

From a legal standpoint, abuse/harmful are also subjective, but we have a pretty good idea of what our local police and prosecutors are going to see as abuse/harm. That whole can of worms has been with us for a long time and will continue to be, but I believe the people I consider “safe” (in that they will not be harmful/abusive) pretty much know how to walk that edge.

So… if CNC is relative/contextual to the relationship and people within it, then how do we define it and have a discussion about it? Well, that’s the catch and that’s where an Internet debate is going to quickly boil down to “I do it this way and it works for me…” and rinse/relather/repeat.

So, that’s why all I can offer is my opinion, which is that I go back to a long held belief – 2+ adults consent to do something, as long as it doesn’t harm each other, I hold none in judgement of what they do with their limits. CNC for me is about someone giving consent/authority to another to go beyond their limits, without requiring permission or ongoing, active consent to continue. (From a relationship consent, not from a legal authority standpoint.)

Can someone “consent” to have their limits exceeded? Yes. Ask basejumpers if they are consenting to exceeding their limits. Almost every time, they ride the edge. Same for test pilots. Same for anyone doing possibly harmful things. They’re adults. They hopefully are tall enough to ride the ride and to understand that the edge cuts both ways and has a price. If not, they’re going to learn really damn quick.

Yep, the NOPE is strong in this picture.

As a Master, i work on mental CNC, to where I attempt to create a mental/emotional response in Angie so that she cannot do anything but submit. It’s that edge that we walk as practitioners of an authority based power dynamic. To be honest, in such a case, I can’t see how we’re not doing CNC. I’m OK with that… I know I’m not harming/abusing slave Angie and she quite readily would agree with that.

(Image from here: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=119175&picture=red-yield-road-sign )

When Real Life Happens


It’s been an interesting few months since we took a break from our travels and presenting, giving ourselves a much needed rest. A number of things have happened, we’ve had some interesting experiences with dealing with change, and we just had a really good MAsT meeting this past weekend where we talked about changes and how relationships go through times of evolution and change.

relationship-triangleI’ve seen a number of M/s relationships fail because they were set up with such a rigid structure and rigid expectations that when real life and change did happen, the relationship couldn’t absorb it. One of the things that I heard recently from someone was that you can measure relationships by where it falls in a spectrum on  a triangle like the one to the right here. Sexual/Romantic/Service. I found it a very useful way of looking at things. If the relationship is completely in, say, service and one of the people in the relationship starts to want to go into the Romantic or Sexual, that might mean a change that the relationship isn’t set up – a Master may want the rigidity of a Service-only, no-love, no-sex, and the slave is starting to want to date, or to open the relationship to the possibility of a sexual element.

This also is true for when changes happen to a relationship which require one or the other to step outside their roles and assume the responsibilities of the other. Like for me, doing the dishes, and house cleaning, and child care, while slave Angie was recovering from a procedure. I think having the flexibility to refocus our energies into the other areas, while keeping the protocols and dynamic in place, allows us to have M/s in times when one of those sides can’t be fully explored.

And let me tell you, I discovered new areas of things that I want a certain way now. *grin* The dishes get loaded now immediately, laundry is done in a certain schedule… the things I relearned having to do it myself.

I think that it is possible to have a relationship that fully engages on one side, and as long as both parties are open to moving to other points of the triangle, or as long as that’s made clear up front – yes, we can consider going into other elements, or no, it has to firmly stay here, because that is all both of us want or agree to. I personally find it hard not to incorporate all aspects into a Master/Companion-slave relationship, but I definitely would be able to limit it to one or two aspects for a shorter term, or focused relationship, like I’ve had with some explorations of people being in short-term service to me.

And yes, there is a reason why sex is at the top… I may be almost fifty, but I’m still a dirty man…

A most epic drop

I think one of the unwritten effects of stepping-aside of being heavily focused on kink/leather events and presenting is that the stress it creates on a body and psych. There is a huge reward in doing something we were called to do, but the amount of home-body-ism that we’re both feeling, the illnesses we’ve suddenly been dealing with and the almost nesting we’re doing seems to fit a rubber band effect of having stretched ourselves very far, then suddenly, it’s over.

In the end, we’re doing OK, but this has been a bit of a rougher landing than we anticipated. I’m very much home-bodying on painting my little figures, playing games and just enjoying some down time. Slave Angie has been doing much the same, while preparing for her upcoming surgery.

During this ebb, we’ve been sharing a lot of how we’re doing, with some scrapes and glitches. Transitions are not easy and we’re feeling our way through this one. I can feel a sort of “leveling out” happening, as we get to figuring out what this feels like. Plus, the month of May always brings IML (International Mr. Leather) to our lovely city of Chicago.

(Picture – that’s what that drop feels like – from http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=3127&picture=top-of-highest-cliffs-in-the-world )

Not dead yet!

So it’s been a few days. OK, a few weeks since we last updated.

That whole bit about we’re going to have down time? Hahahahahahaha!!!! At least they waited two weeks before asking us a huge question to take on a huge responsibility. More is coming soon about that, but that has taken up a lot of our brain cells, the contemplation of this undertaking. In some ways, it feels bigger than us being titleholders.

Mix into that some family things going on, me being assigned to a brand new position within my company, me being sick for almost 10 days, a gaming convention, Easter… it’s been a whirlwind. So much for down time, huh?

Through it all, we’re anchored and strong. We are missing some down time/play time – and we might take advantage of going to Leather HEAT in Los Angeles next weekend to have just that… a hotel room without kids, interruptions or the press of what has to be done? Oh yea!