What a Submissive Isn’t

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Lets just start with we are not damsels in distress…so please stop trying to save us. We aren’t tied to the train tracks screaming for help. I can guarantee you that if we are tied to the tracks we are just where we want to be and loving every moment of it.

The Sub stereotype of being mistreated really rubs me the wrong way. We aren’t scared little girls in need of a hero.

And then there is the Dom stereotype of being an abuser. They aren’t bad guys lurking in alleys waiting to grab the first unsuspecting woman that comes along.

As sad as it is…this is our reality. Not in the sense that we practice these types of things but because vanilla society refuses to try to educate themselves on our lifestyle. Before they make a judgment on who we are and what we practice they should find info on how things in the BDSM lifestyle really work. Most would be very surprised on what they find.

That is the reason I write blogs and journal entries like these. Not to complain but to get as much good info out there as we can. I also think part of the problem is that we keep so tight to our circles that outsiders don’t see how we interact. Now don’t get me wrong I know why we do this and I totally get it. But maybe if vanilla people realized how many people they come across each day that live the BDSM lifestyle and how normal we all are it would change.

As scary as it is to think about being so open and the consequences that come with those actions maybe we need to be bolder. Every once in awhile I say something that lets the cat out of the bag. I did it just the other day. I was at the ER and a guy asked to sit next to me and referred to me not biting. I replied only if I’m asked to. His eyebrows rose and he replied hell yeah. I know not all of us can do this for various reasons…family…job…etc. And I’m one of them for good reason. And shame isn’t why. All the people in my life that are not judgmental know. That includes my mother. But not all of us have this brick wall closing us in. So maybe we should speak out and educate the vanilla public on the facts. We aren’t crazy or monsters waiting to attach. What we do in our bedroom is no different than the choices they make in theirs. And the people that practice the BDSM lifestyle might surprise you. We are moms, dads, doctors, lawyers, judges, etc. Not some crazy maniac waiting in the darkness to attach unsuspecting victims at will.

I’ll get off my soapbox and get to what I really wanted this blog to be about.

What a Submissive ISN’T…

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We aren’t weak at all. In fact most subs are some of the strongest people out there. They run their own businesses and most are alphas by day. A weak sub won’t find a good Dom that is the slightest bit interested. Doms don’t want someone that will bend to their every whim. They want someone that will bend because they choose to. A Dom gets nothing from a weak sub. Dominance is a challenge and with a weak sub that challenge is lost.

You will find I’m a very strong and independent person. I would never allow anyone to come in and take over my life. By day I run my own business and after my day is done I want to turn over the reins to someone I trust to meet my needs and I strive to meet his. A sub does have some say so in the dynamic. And yes they do as their Dom says but that is after everything is negotiated and a trust bond is formed. Even then we can say no if we feel the need.

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Subs aren’t mindless beings that need someone to tell them when…how…and where to do things. Most subs are highly educated go-getters. They have high power jobs and don’t need someone to lead the way. This idea is a total misconception.

I’m an educated person and make my ideas well known. Like with this blog post for example. A mindless sub couldn’t step out and voice their thoughts and opinions. Being a sub does not stop you from being you. It just enhances you in many wonderful ways. I’m no ones robot.

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Being a sub isn’t a mental illness any more than having vanilla sex is a mental illness. There have been studies that have proven that it isn’t a mental illness. If you have a therapist that says it is then you need to find a new one that knows their stuff about the BDSM lifestyle. And yes they are out there.

I have suffered with depression my whole life. I do what I need to do keep it under control. But let me say that I had this issue when I led a vanilla lifestyle and it has eased sense I have accepted who I am and what makes me happy. Did BDSM make me better? No, but allowing myself to just go with what makes me happy has been a beautiful thing. It was about the acceptance of myself not the lifestyle. I would never tell someone that BDSM will change their life for the better. It won’t treat your mental issues.

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Being a sub has nothing to do with low self-esteem. We are some of the most confident and strong willed people you will meet. Most subs would be totally offended by this statement. It says we are just weak doormats that can’t love ourselves. This is so far from the truth.

I admit at times I get down on myself but I think we all do. But to be really honest I hold myself in high esteem. I know that I am talented…a good mother…a great sub, etc. Not that I’m tooting my own horn but I don’t put myself down and berate myself constantly. So low self-esteem isn’t a good quality for a sub. We need to be strong, confident and in control of our outlook on ourselves. Doms don’t like weak women that constantly need to be reassured that we are okay. They want a woman that holds her head high and carries herself with confidence.

 

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Now this one I will break down a bit. What the average person’s idea on abuse is can be very different than the way a sub looks at this topic.

Most subs know the difference between abuse and dominance. With abuse there is no safe word and no negotiations. Abusers don’t care about the person they control by force. They take what they want and don’t care who they hurt in the process. A good Dom doesn’t act this way. If yours does then there is a serious problem. You need to rethink the dynamic. This is not the actions of a good Dom.

An educated sub knows that they have options and can change their minds. Now I’m not saying to abuse your safe word but knowing you have one and it will be respected is key. One of the biggest ways to avoid abuse it to play with people you know. Never trust someone you just met to tie you up and then be at their mercy. That is just common sense but it is worth saying.

For me abuse can happen in a lot of different ways. If you are not respected or you don’t get options well that is abuse. If your safe word is ignored then that is a huge red flag. No one should be in fear at any time in a D’s relationship. It should be a very trusting and nurturing experience. Not one you dread.

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A D’s relationship is about a power exchange. We decide who…when…where. And we also decide on who we will give this power over to. To say a sub is powerless is a vanilla way of seeing things with blinders on. A good Dom only has as much power as the sub is willing to give up. Don’t get confused about the sub listening and following their Dom’s directions. No, that is after a Dom has proven himself to be worthy and the sub trust him to her very soul. Just remember it is a power exhange and those two words say it all.

My closing thoughts…

I thrive with a good Dom at my side. But I have to have a Dom that I can trust whole-heartedly. If the trust isn’t there then I move on. See I make the decision on the Dom I choose to trust and let into my bed. But I also enjoy my total submission to the right Dom. It is a fifty-fifty decision until a meeting of the minds happens. Then the beauty of submission begins.

Play Safe,

SK

1Smittinkittinn

 

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#FreakyFriday: What’s In A Name? Pt. 2

by Lord Unicron

A note about pronouns and other forms of address before I begin:

As a male, cisgendered, heterosexual D-type, I only take female submissives on. Because of this, I tend to refer to s-types using female pronouns and D-types using male pronouns. As with everything else I write, these pronouns should be taken to refer ONLY to the dynamics within House Unicron and varied as appropriate to your specific dynamic, gender and orientation or lack of same. (i.e. If you are a female D-type with a coterie of male s-types, flip the script as appropriate for your own situation.) In this same spirit, while I refer to my submissives as “my girls,” they are in fact WOMEN in every sense of the word. Each and every one of them is a strong, capable female in her own right, makes her own way in the world and has earned the right to my time, care, attention, discipline and love by demonstrating the genuine maturity, desire and will to become the best woman and submissive she can be. I say this only because I would not be misunderstood as to my meaning or stance on these forms of address, and wish to clarify my position accordingly at the outset.

With that disclaimer out of the way:

House Unicron is a hierarchical polyamorous House. What this means is, I have three girls as of this writing, each of whom inhabits a specific place and role within the House “on paper.” In actuality, the roles are a little more fluid, based upon who has the greatest need of my time, care, attention and discipline at any given moment. The hierarchy I have established serves my needs and that of my girls, and establishes a progression based upon seniority, training and ongoing role negotiation. I do not give my girls anything. Collars, names and position are not bestowed as a matter of right within my House. Everything they have and receive from me, they earn, for better or worse, and the House hierarchy reflects this and their individual standings. On paper, the organization of the House runs as follows:

Myself (Lord Unicron)

Skwirly: As the first slave of House Unicron, she is considered the Primary. All within the House are expected to defer to her judgment and will in matters where I have placed her in charge and/or where I am not available for immediate consultation. In practice, this rarely becomes an issue as her permanent address is 1,000 miles away. She enjoys the most leeway but the least margin for error of my girls. She addresses me as “Master.”

Sparrow: Sparrow inhabits a role somewhere between a full slave and a mere submissive. She is Secondary on paper, but in practice serves as my right hand on matters regarding training and House management, because she has spent more continuous time on both sides of the slash than anyone else in the House and demonstrates sound judgment in such matters. She enjoys a longer leash but less leeway than Skwirly. She addresses me as “Sire.”

Kitten: Kitten is the newest addition to House Unicron, and is Tertiary and my submissive in training. As such, she has the most room for error, but the shortest leash. She is still learning about herself and what she needs and wants out of the lifestyle, and I am deeply honored that she and her sisters within the House have chosen me to guide in their explorations. She addresses me as “Sir” or “Daddy,” depending upon the situation.

These names often make people do a double-take, especially when they know the provenance of my own lifestyle name. Names like “Cyclonus,” “Shockwave” and so on would be perfectly apropos. By contrast, you may notice that all my girls have animal names, and not just any animals, but CUTE animals, goddamnit! There’s a reason for this, of course, and I’ll explain what that reason is now.

As we discussed on #TastyTuesday, naming and titling conventions are largely meaningless. They are labels that serve as a convenient shorthand, but they frequently miss the mark, or at best give a very one-dimensional view of the person to whom the name, label or title is attached.

HOWEVER…

When it comes to naming my submissives, I don’t believe this at all.

A double standard, you say? Au contraire, mon cher ami!

Like many D-types, I hold to the tradition of giving my girls “House names” by which they are known both within the House and in the broader context of the lifestyle. I also believe, like many people do, that names have a unique power all their own that is largely independent of the precise configuration of letters and phonemes of which the names consist. Therefore, I believe that the naming of a submissive is something to be undertaken with exacting care and precision.

Like most of my conventions, the reason for this is simple if not immediately obvious.

A SUBMISSIVE’S NAME SHOULD REFLECT HER PERSONALITY AND THE PERSON AND WOMAN SHE IS, AS WELL AS WHAT SHE WISHES TO BE OR EVOLVE INTO.

Now, other D-types have their own conventions. So long as everyone involved in a particular dynamic is on board with a given handle, it’s not my place to say whether this is right or wrong. As a matter of personal belief and opinion, I feel that a submissive’s name should describe, at a minimum, the following:

  1. The name should reflect her both as she is and as she is viewed by her D-type.
  2. The name should reflect her primary personality traits and worldview.
  3. The name should reflect something she strives to be, become or attain.
  4. The name should NOT degrade or humiliate her.

Example: I often tell my girls, “You are not a slut or a whore. You are MY slut and MY whore. There is a difference.” Thus, in the context of a scene, I may refer to my girls as bitches and their lady bits as my cunts. I may call them my cock-sucking cum sluts. I may say things in scene that I would never consider issuing from my mouth outside of those confines. However, outside of those confines, I need a name for each of my girls which is socially acceptable (pet names being a common usage even in vanilla relationships) but still reinforces the dynamic and her place within the House.

More importantly, it is my belief that a woman who chooses to submit to her D-type is worthy of the utmost respect and care. This sounds counterintuitive until you remember that in addition to being a cisgendered male, a D-type and a Sadist, I am also a feminist. I believe a woman should not be forced to do anything…UNLESS she willingly, enthusiastically and voluntarily chooses to adopt such a dynamic. Therefore, a name is the first and most evident criterion for how a D-type conducts himself with his s-types and what she can expect from him in terms of care, devotion and guidance, to my way of thinking.

Sparrow’s first D-type promptly christened her “Cumdrop.” Well and so: She belonged to him at the time and that was the form of address they negotiated, so I won’t bother to second-guess his reasons. Still, when she told me this on our first meeting, my response was a hard flinch and an immediate resolution to do better. She wanted to lose weight. She identified with birds. She has a cute, independent streak. Thus, Sparrow. As an interesting side note, she had been considering a tattoo of a sparrow for a year before we met, and I was pleased to be at her side when she finally got it done in February. It looks amazing, and if you should happen to see us at our favorite dungeon, you’ll get plenty of opportunities to see it “in the flesh,” as it were.

Skwirly was named for her somewhat skittish but playful personality, as well as a sketch from The Swedish Chef. Look it up on Youtube: “swedish chef squirrel stew.” Likewise, Kitten was named for her catlike (not catty) traits, a theme which has followed her through most of her adult life in one way or another.

This contrast between the hardness of my own name and the softness of theirs speaks to their personalities and my belief that as their D-type, it is incumbent upon me to ensure that I conduct myself as their protector, caretaker, disciplinarian, guide, teacher, shelter from life’s storms and giver of both pain and pleasure when necessary and as appropriate. Thus, I must be “harder” than they are and yet capable of giving them my softer side as well.

Names are just one of the many command and control mechanisms at a D-type’s disposal, but I happen to believe they are perhaps the most critical right from the outset. In addition to establishing their positions beneath myself, they also indicate that you see your s-type for who and what she is and honor her for these things. To do less, in my opinion, is to do yourself, your s-type(s) and your House a grave disservice. A name is the most important gift you can give your s-type, and it is not something that should be undertaken lightly.

What are your naming conventions? How do you decide what your s-type’s name should be? Do you keep it only behind closed doors, or do you introduce her publicly under the name you have negotiated? Please leave a comment below, and be sure to check out our Grand Opening Blog Hop by clicking the ad on the right!

Until Tuesday,

Best,

Lord Unicron

You don’t have to have a cute name to bring out the animal in your s-type.

#TastyTuesday: What’s In A Name? Pt. 1

by Lord Unicron

Juliet:
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

Titles are very big in the kink lifestyle. One of the first things you can expect to be asked at a munch, dungeon or during a private interaction is about titles and how you like to be addressed. These can get very murky, very fast, because what you consider a submissive may look outright vanilla to me, whereas what you consider a Dominant may bear little or no resemblance to how I operate. You may think that this title or that is inaccurate, or that the person bearing it is a self-aggrandizing asshat.

I’m going to tell you a dirty little open secret today.

TITLES ARE MEANINGLESS! SO ARE NAMES.

A title or lifestyle name doesn’t define the core person. It’s nothing more than a convenient shorthand that (many, but not all) people use to explain how they’re oriented within the kink scene. When I chose my name, I kept it simple and basic: _Unicron_. (You can look it up on FetLife, if you wish.) This name comes from old-school animated Transformers, and seemed like a perfect fit for my style. Bonus: It came with its own theme music!

Then, something interesting started happening.

I took on a slave. And then a sub. And then a sub in training. Between the four of us, we make a House.

Here’s the interesting thing about titles: they do mean something…but ONLY within the context of my House and the relationships within it. Here’s how it works.

Sub-in-training: Calls me “Sir.” Is considered the junior member of the House, even though she is the oldest chronologically. She has the least responsibility and the shortest leash, because she’s still learning the ways of my House and how I expect to be served. As such, she is subject to more punishment and discipline than either of the other two.

Sub: Calls me “Sire.” Is basically the “middle child,” so to speak. She has proven herself to be capable of serving me well, effectively and efficiently, with minimal reminders as to what the rules are, and thus enjoys more latitude, with the understanding that her errors carry correspondingly greater consequences. Her punishments at this point are more mental than physical.

Slave: Calls me “Master.” Is the Primary within the House. While she does not stand above anyone else in my affections, when it comes to situations where hierarchical matters are concerned, she has the final say, subject to my whim and will. She has the longest leash and the most freedom of independent action, because I trust her not to abuse either. Her punishments are the most grueling, because those to whom I give more are also expected to deliver more.

So…where does the whole “Lord Unicron” bit come in?

To understand this, we start with etymology.

I’m a writer, and so my primary toolkit for any job starts with words. Natural enough, right? So, to understand why I call myself “Lord Unicron” instead of Sir, Sire or Master, we have to know where the word came from so we can see how it applies to my position.

The word “lord” derives from a Germanic word, hlafweard, literally “loaf keeper” or “he who makes (and guards) the bread.” Echoes of this idea persist to this day in the semi-common question, “Do you have any bread (money)?” In Old English, this became “hlaford,” or “loaf ward,” and was then shortened to “lord.” Thus, “lord” has come to mean “the breadwinner and master of a house, especially a noble one.” Even today, the English titling system refers to members of the nobility as “Lord Such-and-So, Duke/Earl/Baron of Whateverfarthing, Duke/Earl/Baron of Fappington.*”

I wanted House Unicron to have that patina of nobility, especially since I do believe that what we do within the House is a noble effort in and of itself. This is reflected in the House Unicron motto:

Nobilitas servitio penitus perfectam caritatem et fidum et fiduciam.

Or, for those who are Latin-challenged:

“The nobility of our service is rooted in perfect love, faith and trust.”

As the Head of House Unicron, it is up to me to ensure that I embody and live the expectations and standards I hold my girls to. Therefore, the title of Lord demonstrates to my mind the following:

  1. I do not ask what I am not willing to give.
  2. My standards are high and those I welcome into my House must be of equal caliber.
  3. I conduct myself as a gentleman, not a “gentle man” or “nice guy.” I am polite until the time comes not to be polite, but I do not enforce my will upon those who have not negotiated with me.
  4. I am the Head, protector, safe harbor and disciplinarian within my House.
  5. I do not suffer attempts to poach the property of my House lightly, nor do I treat those who try gently.
  6. When I speak as Lord Unicron, I speak on behalf of my House. Actions always speak louder than words. Thus, my actions AND my words speak for my House.

The interesting thing is, within the House and its interwoven dynamics, I play many roles. I am the stern but loving Sir, the tough but tender Daddy, the primal predator, the giver of rewards, delights and treats as well as discipline, punishment and pain. Each of these dynamics brings with its own set of rewards and difficulties, but all of them are subordinate to my role as the Lord of House Unicron.

A man who cannot protect his House has no right to claim one. However, I also say that it is the submissives’ right to decide whether their Lord is living up to what he promises. If he does not, they have every right to leave. I firmly believe that the test of a “true” Dominant is not how he uses a flogger or how skillfully he ties Shibari knots, but how well he holds the affection, adoration and attention of the women who choose to kneel before him. Skills can be learned, but there is and can be no faking true Dominance.

Tune in on Friday to find out why I chose to call my girls what I do. The answer may surprise you! In the meantime, I’d like to know what your naming conventions are, and how they function in your dynamic as well as the broader kink world. We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Until Friday,

Best,

Lord Unicron

*With apologies to the REAL Earl of Fappington, Duke of Cummings, whose title I shamelessly appropriated for this post.

Sometimes, enforcing your dominance takes a little more than a stern look and a warning tone. For those moments when your sub lets her brat take the wheel a little too hard, or just because it’s Wednesday, using a special paddle can help remind her why you’re in charge here!

#FreakyFriday: 10 Things To Do When Consent Is Violated

by Lord Unicron

A note regarding the featured image: This image was originally featured on EverydayFeminism.com for an article that discusses the “gray area myth” of consent. Neither I nor Covert and Carnal own the rights to this image, and it is included here for educational, non-profit use and illustration only as provided for under US fair use laws.

There are very few absolutes in the kink world. What repulses me may be just the thing that gets every nerve ending in your body singing the Hallelujah chorus. What you as a D-type wouldn’t do to your s-type in your darkest, most depraved nightmares I may do to my s-type just because it’s Tuesday night and I’m bored. You may like pee, scat or whatever; I want no part of either of them. You and your s-type may like to play so hard one or both of you is bleeding at the end. Blood’s a hard limit for me.

AND THAT’S FINE!

But when it comes to consent, I do think there should be a uniform standard of behavior for how consent violations (CVs from here) are dealt with by both parties. What follows is the protocol I follow for dealing with CVs. If you have a better, more effective or more efficient way, please leave a comment at the end of the post to present your point of view for discussion! I am not the sole repository of all knowledge and wisdom regarding kink, nor do I pretend to be. There is always a better way out there if you’re willing to look hard enough, and for all my experience, I am constantly seeking out new things. Your help in this endeavor is appreciated, as I wish to learn as much or more than I teach!

I talked on Tuesday about my hard limits, and my personal parameters by which they are set and enforced. Today, I want to look at ways to deal with CVs on both sides of the slash, in an appropriate, reasoned and mature fashion. The idea is not to put anyone on the defensive, but to make it clear that certain acts or behaviors are not okay. And, since it’s Friday, I figured a “listicle” is about due. Let’s take a closer look at 10 things to do when consent is violated.

*Note: Everything following goes for both sides of the slash, unless specifically noted.

For the recipient

Stop CVs before they start.

Having a clearly defined set of hard limits is never a bad idea. These should be reviewed as an ongoing part of your negotiations, regardless of which side of the slash you occupy. Having them in writing tends to lend them a little authority and a certain frisson of seriousness that expressing them verbally doesn’t seem to convey. Make sure your partner is clear on your hard limits as they apply to the scene or relationship before you ever get started. This is one case where an ounce of prevention is worth a metric fuckton of cure.

Stop the scene!

I’m using “scene” here to mean a kink scene, a conversation or any other interaction where hard limits could be violated (which is ALL of them), so adjust as appropriate. This is a good time to reiterate that PEOPLE SCREW UP! D-types do it. So do s-types. It’s called being human. However, just because you’re in the middle of a scene, conversation or what have you does not mean that consent violations should not be addressed right away, if at all possible. Obviously it’s hard to give a safeword when you’ve got a ball gag in your mouth and you’re trussed up like a Thanksgiving turkey, but you should still have a way to stop the scene. For scenes involving gags, a quick, short series of grunts may be an alternative. “Three grunts means RED, right?” However you do it, stop the scene as soon as you can. Sooner is better!

Stay calm.

There are some times and situations where this isn’t possible. No one expects an s-type to stay calm when a dragon tail opens her back to the bone and she’s bleeding all over Hell’s half-acre, nor is it reasonable to expect a D-type to be chill when the s-type does something that causes a panic attack. However, when and where possible, staying calm and collected while being firm about the scene needing to stop while the problem is dealt with is the best way to resolve the situation before it has a chance to escalate into something really ugly.

Explain exactly what the violation was.

Phrasing the violation the right way can solve a host of problems right away. I find it useful to explain the violation like so: “When you ________, it makes me feel __________. It’s hurtful, harmful and one of my hard limits. Can you explain why you chose to do that?” This gives the other party an opportunity to understand where you’re coming from and make a sincere apology and/or present any ameliorating facts. Understanding your partner’s headspace and how they understood the information you conveyed can help both of you reach a deeper understanding. This is not always appropriate or desirable, but when possible, it’s better to seek common ground than to go off half-cocked.

Use your judgment and your words.

If the violation is severe enough to warrant immediate action, take it. Explain clearly and succinctly why the violation is beyond your tolerance and what remedial action, if any, must be undertaken. In cases where the violation is serious enough to warrant an immediate termination of the relationship, saying something like “You knew X was a hard limit of mine. You chose to break it. I cannot trust you and do not wish to continue this with you, because you have made it clear that my hard limits are a secondary consideration for you.” Once you do this, stick to your guns. Especially if there is an ongoing pattern of behavior, this may be the only way to make the point that the behavior is unacceptable. Always remember Maya Angelou’s words: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.”

ONLY YOU CAN SAY WHAT CONSTITUTES A FORGIVABLE VERSUS AN UNFORGIVABLE BREACH OF LIMITS. NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO APOLOGIZE TO A PERSON WHO WILLFULLY CHOOSES TO HURT THEM IN A WAY THAT CANNOT BE READILY HEALED.

For the violator:

Safewords mean STOP.

Either side may invoke the safeword in a scene. D-types often forget that they have just as much right to end a scene as the s-type does. Safewords or other indicators that the scene needs to end must be honored by both sides if they are to have any meaning at all. If the scene is halted, there is a reason.

Check in immediately.

When the scene stops, the first question to ask is, “Are you okay? What do you need?” The person who didn’t call the safeword should be the one to ask this question, because no one calls red “just cuz.”

Stay calm.

Having a scene ended prematurely can sometimes trigger an anger response. This is understandable. However, when the safeword is given, it is important to remember that you and your partner agreed to stop the scene if necessary. Just because you don’t think anything happened that warranted ending the scene does not make you right. Remain calm and collected, instead of throwing a fit.

Listen to what you’re being told.

No one likes being told they screwed up. That’s human nature. However, you owe it to your partner to listen without judgment and try to put yourself in their place. If your hard limits overlap your partner’s and you broke them, it’s on you to muster the empathy to be able to see it from their side without trying to jump to your own defense until you have all the information. Communication consists at least as much in listening as it does in saying your piece.

Comply or begone.

Once you have all the information, if the violation is not egregious enough to warrant someone walking out the door, you now have a choice to make: comply or begone. This may mean something as simple as, “I’m sorry and that won’t happen again,” followed by starting aftercare. It could be as big as the other person walking away permanently. Everyone makes mistakes and errors in judgment, especially in the heat of the moment. There is a difference between this and acting with deliberate, malicious intent. Any relationship where both partners are not scrupulously honest with themselves and their partners about their actions and motivations is by definition toxic. Regardless of the side of the slash you occupy, if you cannot be honest with yourself and your partner, and/or cannot and/or will not comply with their hard limits in order to make your play and relationship a safe place for both sides to explore and grow, then you need not be there. This is one of the few situations in which everything is black and white, in my opinion.

THERE ARE NO SHADES OF GRAY WHEN IT COMES TO CONSENT.

Having said all this, I’m curious to hear what your experiences with and opinions about consent are. Please leave a comment below! If you prefer, you may email covertandcarnal@gmail.com to speak to the staff, or send me a message directly at iamlordunicron@gmail.com. Please check back on #TastyTuesday to see what next week’s discussion is, stay kinky and have a safe and sexy weekend!

Best,

Lord Unicron

 

#TastyTuesday: A Question Of Consent

by Lord Unicron

I’m going to go in a slightly different direction this week, because I want to talk about something that is CRITICALLY important to the health and safety of everyone in a D/s relationship, as well as the wider community:

CONSENT

Consent is the foundation of everything that a healthy relationship should be. This is equally true of the person you meet on Match.com or the person you beat on at the dungeon. In the BDSM lifestyle, consent is all-important because it can make the difference between a successful scene that grants the physical and emotional release both sides desire and a dangerous debacle, complete with legal entanglements and lasting physical, emotional and psychological damage or even death.

There are a lot of ways to violate consent. While the community often buzzes about D-types who break boundaries, little if anything is ever said about s-types who do the same. Granted, this is because when a D-type does it, it’s usually in a big, splashy way and all too often occurs in front of witnesses. Consent violations that happen from the s-side of the slash are usually subtler and much less overt. There can also be a question in the D-type’s mind of whether or not what happened was an “according to Hoyle” consent violation in the first place.

The other problem is, s-types are encouraged to talk about consent violations. Most of the time, there’s no negative impetus against the s-type for doing so. When community “leaders” are implicated in CVs, as I’m going to refer to them from here on to try to do my carpal tunnel syndrome a favor, this can be a definite negative against the s-type, because supporters tend to rally around “pillars of the community,” no matter what community we’re talking about. But there is minimal support or sympathy in the community for D-types whose consent has been violated. This is one place where the illusion of control that the D-type supposedly has works against them.

Neither side of the slash is immune from bad behavior!!!!

I cannot stress this point enough. It does not matter who did it. CVs are devastating to both sides and to the trust they’ve built with each other. A D-type who deliberately draws blood or engages in sexual contact with an s-type when that was either not negotiated or set as a hard limit is and should rightly be called out as a predator, and I will never argue that point. Likewise, accidents and misunderstandings can and do happen. A cursory glance at the writings on FetLife can tell you this, and the Web is chock full of horror stories about how misunderstandings can get out of hand. I’m not talking about accidents or miscues here, but willful, deliberate, premeditated choices to commit a CV on the other person.

A D-type beating an s-type until she’s bloody, ignoring a safeword or doing something that another person clearly heard the two negotiating as out of bounds is obvious, and D-types who do this can and should be called to account for it. But what would a CV from the s-side look like? How can you tell if it’s happening?

Note: The following are real-life examples I have either had done to me or witnessed at firsthand. I will not name names, but the guilty parties know full well who they are and I do not currently speak to or acknowledge them in any way. I do not and will not endorse CVs on either side, and this includes tolerating around me those who I know for a fact to have engaged in same.

Exhibit A: An s-type at a party I attended some months ago did not make a full disclosure of substances she had partaken in some hours before a rope scene. She had eaten a doughnut as her sustenance for an entire day, and then washed down a painkiller with a very strong cocktail. Fortunately, the D-type doing the tying (not me) noticed that she was acting strange and pulled her out of the scene before things could escalate to a dangerous level. I quickly severed all ties with this s-type, because if she could do it to someone else, she could and most likely would do it to me at some point in the future. Her defense for not giving a complete rundown of her current state before play?

“I didn’t think it was a big deal.”

Now, some readers may be looking at this and thinking I was unduly harsh in my decision to decline to pursue any possibility of playing with this s-type in the future. However, I reject this notion on the grounds that by not giving the D-type a complete precis of her physical, emotional and mental state before pickup play, she took away the D-type’s right to informed consent. Had she admitted her condition, the D-type said, she would never have agreed to the scene in the first place. I consider this to be akin to rape, because in both cases the right to consent and self-determination as to whether the contact in question is appropriate are taken away.

Exhibit B: An s-type whom I loved dearly decided she did not want to be involved with me on a romantic level. Being dumped is always messy, but I tried to make the best of it and remain friends with her. Still, I knew some limits had to be set for this to be a tolerable state of affairs for me. I specified that I did not want to know what she got up to at events or with whom, I didn’t care to see or hear about the marks, and in general the only thing I needed or wanted to know was whether she had a good time. I asked this of her in an effort to preserve my heart, which her rejection had wounded cruelly. She agreed and said she understood.

One week later, she texted me while I was in the bathtub, telling me all about the wonderful pickup play scene she’d had. I told her she was violating my consent and reminded her I didn’t need or want to know. She pursued the conversation. I cut her off.

Over the next two months, we stayed in sporadic contact. She broke every promise she made to me. She still wanted to tell me about the scenes she was having elsewhere. Later, I met another s-type and we went to an event hosted by a friend of hers. I asked her beforehand not to acknowledge me and to keep a safe distance, because I didn’t feel safe or comfortable around her. She agreed to this. No sooner did I walk through the door than I saw her off in a corner, serving coffee. She waved at me.

Her excuse for repeatedly breaking the limits I established?

“But I only did it ONCE!”

Again, none of these on their own sounds like a big deal…until you consider that she managed to find ways to keep herself inconveniently within earshot and line of sight. By 11:30, I’d had enough and my s-type and I departed. I made it half a block before an anxiety attack drove me to my knees, leaving me hyperventilating and exhibiting all the classic symptoms of cardiac arrest. My s-type had dialed “9-1” into her phone by the time I finally got myself under control.

This series of CVs wasn’t grandiose…but it was devastating just the same. And they left me thinking long and hard about how to prevent future occurrences.

Hard Limits

Because of these incidents and a dozen others like them, I changed how I went about expressing what is and is not a consent violation in my estimation. Today, my hard limits are clearly and explicitly stated. I state them right up front in my FetLife profile. I state them on the House Unicron website. I reiterate them constantly in my daily dealings to clarify that no, my limits haven’t changed. I learned to do this the hard way: by experiencing and witnessing CVs often enough and traumatically enough that it made an explicit, black-and-white statement crucial to my ability to function safely and successfully in this lifestyle. They are not flexible and I deal harshly and decisively with those who violate them at this point in the game, because I have seen and experienced the havoc that permitting bad behavior, including CVs, can wreak.

So, here’s my recipe for setting hard limits. Adjust as you see fit for your own purposes.

Know thyself.

You cannot set hard limits if you don’t know what they are. Any behavior that upsets, disgusts, alarms or harms you in ANY dimension should be considered a hard limit. In my case, some of my hard limits seem fairly extreme…until you consider the damage that not having these limits in place has caused in the past. Your hard limits should not only reflect what you expect from others, but what you offer in return.

Be prepared to reciprocate.

Whichever side of the slash you’re on, you do NOT have the right to establish a hard limit that you yourself have no intention of upholding. Double standards can be fun in certain kinds of play, such as a mindfuck, but hard limits are hard limits are hard limits, period, full stop, end of discussion. An s-type can’t insist on a D-type observing and honoring her hard limits and then break his (adjust genders as appropriate for your dynamic and situation) or vice versa. In other words, if you don’t want it done to you, don’t do it to your partner.Yes, this is a reiteration of my previous point…because I happen to think it is THE primary cause of CVs from both sides of the slash.

State your hard limits clearly and explicitly.

Simple, plain English is the rule here. Don’t be coy or use cloaked, coded, flowery or “legal” language to try to get your point across. My hard limits are as simple to read and understand as the Ten Commandments, and are phrased in a way that leaves no question as to my meaning or intent. In fact, the very title, “I DO NOT CONSENT,” states plainly that these are not items for negotiation, discussion or debate. They are what they are, and anyone who wishes to deal with me will honor them.

Be ruthless in your enforcement.

Violate my hard limits and you’re done, plain and simple. No second chances. No protestations of “But I only did it ONCE!” No reprieve, no parole, no mercy. These limits also apply to my dealings in the wider world. I accept that not everyone knows or is aware of my limits, especially in the vanilla world, and so I check those who violate them ONCE and make it clear they do not get a second warning. I enforce my hard limits because they define not only how I expect to be treated, but how I treat others as well: with dignity, honor and respect for their needs, tastes, preferences and feelings. Just like you can’t set a hard limit you won’t honor when it applies to your own behavior, you cannot expect people to take your hard limits seriously if you do not enforce them when necessary.

Your hard limits are an expression of how you see the world, what you want and need from your partner and what you offer them in return. Having solidly established, clearly explained hard limits can make or break a D/s dynamic, a friendship or a workplace relationship. Make sure you have your hard limits set in stone and that your partner is clear about what they are. In a truly successful dynamic, your hard limits and your partner’s will mesh in such a way that CVs should never occur.

Please join me on #FreakyFriday, when I’ll be discussing practical limits and what to do when they are violated.

Until Friday,

Best,

Lord Unicron

Starting off too hard can kill your dynamic before it ever gets properly off the ground. Incorporating kink into your activities can be as elaborate as ropes, restraints and impact implements, or as simple as adding in erotic tickling. As with any other BDSM/kink activity, enthusiastic consent should always be obtained prior to play.

 

#FreakyFriday: The Why And What Of The Mindfuck

By Lord Unicron

On #TastyTuesday, I talked about how to set up a mindfuck scene. Today, I want to talk more about WHY a mindfuck scene can be effective in a kink sense.

NOTE: All of the following is my own personal experience with mindfucks. Your mileage may vary, and it is VITALLY important that you negotiate any new practices you want to take on with your partner, as well as understanding your partner’s physical, emotional and psychological limits. Neither I nor C&C will be responsible for your errors or any harm arising from trying anything herein for yourself!

A mindfuck is just one of many tools in a D-type’s toybox, and can be used in a number of different ways. Some of the ways I find mindfucks work well include:

  • Discipline. Remember the old “Just wait till your father/mother gets home?” bit. Yeah…same idea. “No, I’m not going to take you over my knee at the family reunion, but you know what you’ve got coming.” By the time the actual discipline arrives, you’re just glad to finally be getting on with it!
  • Trust-building. Saying you’re going to push, but not break, an s-type’s limits is one thing. It’s another to SHOW it. Mindfucks are great for this, because they allow you a lot of freedom to find out where the lines actually are, as opposed to where the s-type thinks they are. It also builds trust because it shows you’re true to your word.
  • Sadism. I’m a sadist. This means I derive emotional and sexual gratification and arousal from the judicious, calculated, consensual infliction of pain upon another person. (When I hurt someone unintentionally, I’m a mental and emotional wreck for DAYS. Lessons learned this way hurt, but they also stick.) Asking, perfectly casually and seemingly out of nowhere, “Do you have an anal plug?” can often leave the s-type saying, “Yeahhhh…why do you ask?” “Oh, no reason.” Bullshit. I had a reason. She knows it, I know it, and she knows that I know it. Imagine the possibilities!

A truly great mindfuck doesn’t just happen. It has to be planned and orchestrated down to the last nuance. Example: A couple of months ago I had a pickup play partner who wanted a mindfuck. We started negotiating on Monday night. Each day, I added a little more to the scene, without giving her explicit instructions. When she finally arrived on Friday, I put all the elements I had been building to all week into the final scene. The result was a very satisfying scene for both of us in all senses of the word, much different and deeper than “I’m going to flog you, fuck you and send you on your way.”

Psychologically, mindfucks are terrific for reinforcing dominance and reminding the s-type of her place. They are extremely effective because they do not rely upon physical restraints or forces to any great degree. As a D-type, I regard whips, chains, floggers and ropes to be really the least important part of a D/s scene. A mindfuck done right reinforces this, because it illustrates that the s-type’s own will keeps her kneeling, makes her drink the next glass of water or put in the butt plug you commanded her to wear for your pleasure.

Emotionally, mindfucks are fantastic because they show that you, the D-type, are fully in control. This gives the s-type freedom and permission not to NEED to be. We all build up a lot of emotional and mental mud during the week, and a good mindfuck can allow her to clean off some of that through crying, orgasm or another mechanism. This also builds trust and lets her know that you are her rock, the stable fulcrum at which her emotions can batter and rage without being knocked off balance.

Pretty cool, isn’t it?

THE BEST MINDFUCK ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS TOUCHES BODY, MIND, HEART AND SPIRIT!

However, as I said on Tuesday, a mindfuck can also be devastating. In D/s relationships, we tend to dance right up to the margins of what vanilla society would consider “abuse.” Mindfucks, by their very nature, are more volatile and more dangerous than even the most brutal flogging if not scripted and acted out with EXTREME care and concern for the s-type’s safety and well-being. You can break a bone and it will heal, leaving a callus. You can accidentally draw blood with a whip and tend the wound. It may or may not leave a scar, but it will mend. When you wound someone’s mind and heart, none of this applies. There is no cast sturdy enough or ointment robust enough to help that scar over and heal. Therefore, the best way to fix that is not to NEED to in the first place.

But sometimes people screw up. I do it. You do it. EVERYONE does it.

When you screw up, the only thing you can do is own it and do your best to help your s-type through the damage. Especially if you do it in ignorance (“I didn’t know telling you ‘I’m going to rape you now’ in the context of a consensual non-consent scene was going to trigger you!”) you can be forgiven, but you’d better make damn certain you don’t repeat it! Once you do, ignorance is no longer an excuse and you’ve crossed that line from “kink” to outright abuse. An error can be forgiven. Abuse generally cannot.

Like everything else in the kink world, there is always an element of risk in creating a mindfuck. You need to know when to stop and be responsive if your s-type TELLS you to stop. D-types who look like mind readers are amazing, but I’ve got a news flash:

WE ARE NOT MIND READERS!

Therefore, the D-type needs to be alert for signs of trouble or anything that even sounds like it might be a safe word. The s-type is likewise responsible to listen to her body, mind, heart and spirit and be prepared to stop the scene before it has the chance to get out of hand. An s-type who takes what she’s given stoically and says after the fact, “That was really traumatic for me” is not doing herself or her D-type any favors, and causing as much if not more damage to the trust in the relationship than the D-type did. Not good. Not okay. Not cool. And I can’t speak for other D-types, although I know plenty who agree with this sentiment, but I will NOT keep an s-type who can’t open her mouth to say “This isn’t what I agreed to.”

Kink can be very rewarding. It can also be dangerous if it’s not done right. Always, always make sure the reward is greater than the risk for BOTH sides of the slash.

Because, after all, isn’t that why we’re here?

Until Tuesday,

Lord Unicron

The only limits on a mindfuck are the ones you and your partner impose. Adding in weighted nipple clamps can add a new dimension to predicament play or reinforce the idea that your partner’s body is yours to do with as you wish.

 

 

Freaky Friday: Power and Force

by Lord Unicron

In my last post, I wrote about power and force as they equate to a sensual spanking, and in a broader sense to ALL forms of impact play. We can even broaden these definitions further and say that in some respect, they apply to just about any kind of BDSM play. From a pure physics standpoint, power is defined as the amount of potential energy available, whereas force is the transmission of power to and its action upon an object. (The object, in this case, is naturally the s-type who is receiving the action.) Therefore when we hear about “stopping power” when discussing firearms, this is actually a misnomer. We are actually talking about stopping FORCE, because stopping power is relatively useless except in the theoretical realm.

When a trigger is squeezed, the person performing the action is not interested in the theoretical. It comes down to two simple questions: Will this weapon fire? And if so, will it stop the person or thing I’m shooting at from doing what it’s doing? Force is what gets the job done. Thus, stopping power in this case must surely be the despair of anyone who knows more than nothing whatsoever about high school physics.

But wait…there’s more.

Consider that just about any human relationship can be reduced to patterns of power and force. Whether it’s with family, friends, a lover or an s-type, these patterns assert and reassert themselves over and over again. In the kink world, power dynamics tend to be more rigidly stratified and enforced than in a vanilla relationship, but even there, if you look hard enough, you’ll notice a tidal flow of power to and from each party.

So what’s the difference?

From a relationship perspective, I like to use this example.

In the aftermath of a transgression, I order my s-type to kneel and place her nose against a point I’ve marked on the wall or the floor and to stay there until and unless I tell her otherwise. She does so without fuss or having to be told twice. I wait what I consider an appropriate amount of time and then I grab her by the hair, haul her to her feet, drag her across my knee and proceed to spank her.

1922_spanking_illustration

In both situations I am demonstrating dominance over the s-type. In neither case is my dominance or my right to do these things, which have been negotiated and consented to previously, being gainsaid. The difference in these things is deceptively simple, because if you think about it for a moment, a lot of different things are happening all at once.

By issuing a series of verbal commands with which the s-type complies without question or hesitation, I am asserting power over her. Power is given by the s-type to the D-type to do with as he will, under the assumption that he will not abuse it or use “his” power as an excuse to violate the s-type’s consent. Nevertheless, once given, it is unquestionably his power and so long as he uses it responsibly and within the negotiated parameters of the relationship, he will likely retain that power. Power does not rely on external factors; it is purely internal, within the minds of the people in the scene. Their physical compliance is an outward symbolic representation of their internal agreement as to who wields the power.

However, when instead of commanding the s-type to get across my knee, I drag her bodily from the position in which I placed her and then across my knee, I am using force. Force is purely physical in this situation*, and while it is my right to do so because this is what we have mutually agreed to, it is not the same as power. True power does not require shows of force for its validation, although I am by no means saying that there aren’t times and circumstances where force can be mutually pleasurable all on its own. Sometimes the implicit loss of control that force brings to the table is exactly what both sides need. The D-type needs a reason, and the s-type craves that kind of attention. However, force is and has always been a poor substitute for real power in the long term. Therefore, the s-type kneeling where, when and how she is told is a much truer representation of power than the spanking that follows.

*Note: Yes, mental force, or coercion, is a thing. For example, while it is comparatively rare for males to be physically, overtly raped by women, being coerced into an unwanted or undesired act is by far the more common method. This is why negotiation is SO crucial and why any unclarities should be ironed out before the first command is given or the first prop brought into play. Coercion is not dominance, and those who engage in it for nefarious purposes do not deserve to consider themselves D-types. Of course, the problem with this definition is that just like #MKINYK, your definition of “nefarious” and mine may not even inhabit the same solar system. As with all human behavior, definitions can be a VERY slippery slope. Please keep this in mind.

So, if we want to produce a useful, simple definition of power in the BDSM dynamic, let us understand “power” to mean the following:

Power is negotiated between the D-type and s-type and employed in a consensual manner in ways that require minimal or no physical or overt contact to be valid. Power defines the overall hierarchy of the relationship and the responsibilities each has to the other.

If this is our working definition of power, then we may say of “force” that:

Force is negotiated between the D-type and s-type and employed in a consensual manner in ways that demand some or a great deal of physical or overt contact. Force defines how and to what degree physical expressions of power may be employed and the limiting factors upon same.

Power is the heart and soul of a BDSM relationship. When true power is freely given, responsibly wielded and properly acknowledged on both sides, the relationship is far more likely to be healthy and of merit to both parties. True dominance flows from a constant awareness of one’s power and the responsibility the D-type has to both his s-type and himself to use that power wisely. A D-type with true power doesn’t need to bang a gong, send up a flare or hold a ticker-tape parade to show just how much power he has. He understands his power, the s-type understands his power and within the confines of the dynamic, this remains satisfactory so long as neither party chooses to renegotiate the dynamic.

Force is not properly an expression of dominance at all. A D-type may choose to employ force in specific situations, but a reliance upon force rather than choosing shadings of tone, facial expression, stance and posture calculated to reassert power and thereby convey approval or disapproval as needed walks a razor-thin line between dominance and abuse. “Do X or I’ll kick your ass” can be cathartic in the moment, and it may well get results…but the raised eyebrow and soft tone with which a D-type lets the s-type know her behavior is not acceptable, and how quickly she moves to correct her behavior or make amends for same, is a far better measure of just how much dominance he really has.

The best dominance doesn't need to broadcast its existence. It is simply a fact, like gravity.

The best dominance doesn’t need to broadcast its existence. It is simply a fact, like gravity.

Does this mean that dominance with force or the threat of force behind it is invalid?

NO!!!!

As with so many other things, it is largely up to the people in a given dynamic. Some s-types may negotiate a certain threshold level of bratty behavior, after which the D-type has more or less free rein to employ force if power isn’t getting the point across. Some D-types may negotiate the use of force only during play scenes, not during discipline or correction, or vice versa. And of course, there is the question of “consensual non-consent,” wherein the s-type surrenders power and the right to use force completely to the D-type and then proceeds to play the role of hapless victim.

A fascinating test of this is going to dungeons and watching where the power in any given dynamic lies. You can even perform the same experiment right on the street. It’s generally pretty easy to tell who has the power in a relationship at any given time and to gauge how that power ebbs and flows. An s-type calling RED at a dungeon is asserting her inherent power to end the scene in which the D-type is nominally in command, rendering the D-type’s power moot, and the D-type will (typically) reassert power by rendering aftercare. You can observe similar psychodramas play out, generally in a less dramatic fashion, at work, at the mall, the park or the bus stop. Some people will be naturally submissive, while others will be naturally dominant. However, even the hardest D-type cannot be “on” all the time, so the tidal shift of dominance becomes an observable phenomenon.

The truest test of a D-type’s power is whether he can assert it at his will and whim, and achieve the outcome he desires. A D-type who must resort to force to enforce his will is not, in my opinion, a Dominant at all, but an abuser.

Thank you for stopping by today! Be sure to check back to hear more from Sparrow and Kitten about their side of the slash. If you have a comment, question or concern, we’d love to hear about it! Just send us an email at covertandcarnal@gmail.com or leave a comment in the box below. See you on Tasty Tuesday, where I’ll be talking about…well, come back and find out!

Best,

Lord Unicron

Power is an aphrodisiac. The ultimate power comes with absolute trust. Does your s-type trust you enough to deprive her of sight and motion while you have your way with her? Cuffs and blindfolds can be a very erotic way to build trust and prove that the power you have over her is not misplaced…