That Occasional Need

*Contented grin*

I am blissfully reminiscing about an evening with the boy and the husband that was full of all kinds of devilish fun. Especially for me.

Usually when our boy comes over he spends a decent amount of time locked up in bondage of sorts. We think it’s good for him. Clearly it’s good for us. Everybody wins. But every once in a while, often without any kind of notice, I will get a sudden need to join him. I crave being the captive Sir who is put in bondage next to his imprisoned collared property. Or even better, the boy and my man suddenly join forces and opt to turn the tables on me and I become the helpless object of their devious afflictions – one of my personal favorites. We never question why these needs come up from out of the blue; though often they coincide with the overlying pressure of dealing with something in everyday life like finances or other mundane stresses.  We just acknowledge that yes, a sudden need has come up and it would be great fun to be somehow work it into the play festivities.

This all seems very simple to me, but there are many leatherfolk and kinksters that have a difficult time reconciling these desires, because they go against their ‘fetish identity’ as it were. As kinky human beings, we are very complex, not to mention illogical at times. The only true means we have of understanding something is through the language we use for it. We will have an experience of something, and attempt to use existing words to categorize what it is we are feeling and if none exist, we create them. But the problem with this is that labels and language are linear and we are using them to try to comprehend something that is anything but comprehensible, particularly when it comes to sexual desire. Some of you may know of my fetish for circus strongmen for instance, complete with being immensely aroused being forced to look like one. It’s odd, and silly yes…but it creates a gets a huge arousal in me and has ever since I was a kid. I have no fucking idea why and there is no existing ‘lexicon’ that I can align with to get my head around it. What I do know is the immense satisfaction I get from playing it out, which is really the only thing that should matter.

The challenge becomes even greater due our community’s ‘need’ to abide by the various labels we apply to one another; labels that go beyond how we identify sexually but how we are seen by our peers. We have put so much emphasis on upholding strict protocols of leather tradition that we leave no room to allow one another to explore beyond a given category. A person who receives great accolades from his or her community may receive the title of ‘Master’ for instance, and feel no charity if they suddenly wish to be adorned in a diaper and explore being a Little for a while. I believe that each and every one of us simply have those moments where we just want to not be the ‘tradition’. Constantly immersing oneself in maintaining a community ‘standard’ creates a kind of template that we may feel obligated to be restricted by. Yes, you may be well known as a Sir to everyone and a sought after Dom, but does it make you less so if occasionally you just want to be strapped into the sling and fist-fucked to high heaven?

With so much focus on things like contest prep or fundraising it can become very easy to forget that the most important mantra of leather and kink is that it’s a celebration of SELF. It’s embracing the fact that we all are on the island of misfit toys and together we can do incredible things for individual growth and a community that thrives. WE are the ones that get to color outside the lines, WE are the ones that not only say it’s okay to play in the mud but create full on parties for just such an activity. It balances us. If we feel ‘challenged’ by seeing a peer conduct themselves that appears to be outside the category we’ve put them in, our knee-jerk reaction is to judge. But that’s simply our own lack of self-acceptance being projected. Look at the recent uproar around various leathermen appearing in drag – the greatest amount of jeering came from our own.There is enough judgement coming from outside the perimeter of our culture, yet we’re the first ones to direct mockery within. As a leather community we must never stop allowing others to be who they are, and to do that we have to allow the same in ourselves. Live and let live as they say.

And a perfect first step is satisfying that random ‘need’ that may arise. Now…who’s next in the sling?

 

Relinquish Control, Not Responsibility

I’m engaging in some downtime where I’m reflecting on what I’ve learned from my own journey as a leatherman and from what I’ve observed in others. There’s one thing I keep coming back to when I think back to my times as a boy or with failed sub relationships I’ve had, and that it has to do with maintaining a certain degree of self-governance when entering a connection as a sub of any kind. Putting that kind of trust in others and allowing others to have the dominance over us requires us to give over our control – it does not however, mean giving up our means of maturity or social decorum. All too often I think it becomes very easy to forget this.

My periods as a collared boy were always very rewarding in various ways, particularly my three years as the boy of Sir Machias. During that time I had immense growth and felt a tremendous sense of fulfillment exploring my need to submit, as well as the incredible play dynamic we had. There were also a lot of unfortunate choices I made back then that sadly, I didn’t allow myself the capacity to truly see. It’s a very scary thing for me to allow myself to be vulnerable and relinquish control to somebody else, as that ultimately means they are going to see all my imperfections that my ego wants to conceal. However, as I have talked about in previous entries, that can also be immensely rewarding – being loved and nurtured for who you really are as opposed to the facade that I try to uphold. But I ultimately did it with this man, and it added a dimension to my life experience that I will forever cherish and attribute to immense growth. What caused problems during this time however, was that I made the mistake of letting go of personal responsibility along with the control. I had no ‘wisdom’ to differentiate between the two. I put quotes around the word because what I really mean to say was that I was unwilling to look at that part of how I conducted myself. It was easier to simply be childish and abandon personal responsibility, and it often took the form of lashing out in various tantrums or arguments. Ultimately it resulted in alienating my Sir and his family BIG time and causing all kinds of stress.

I talk a lot about this when I teach workshops. Too many times I see people engage in a fetish or kink and use it as an excuse for bad behavior toward others.  It’s as though they give themselves permission to abandon the responsibility of being a full – fledged adult in order to experience a particular form of play. A prime example of this is with puppy play. One of the appeals of being a pup is you get to ‘lose’ yourself and immerse into a mindset that is very playful and in the now, with no concerns of the past or the future. Everything is very energetic and spur-of-the-moment with a focus on interaction with others to be scritched or petted affectionately. Unfortunately some take this to also mean absconding from behaving responsibly in public, particularly with strangers. People will use the excuse, “oh when I get into pup head space I have no knowledge of my human traits so I can’t help it if I wind up chewing on somebody’s shoes…” And we all know how well that goes over. Ultimately we do ourselves an incredible disservice by not being mindful of social etiquette while we explore various facets of kink and fetish. If we did, we would probably find a lot more celebration of our uniqueness as opposed to annoyance and judgement within the community.

Our journeys are all about growth and expansion and ultimately having a very strong sense of who we are. We need a certain amount of maturity and courage to immerse ourselves in our kinks and fetishes, and even moreso if it involves handing over trust and control to another. The real trick is to be able to do so while maintaining a grounded sense of personal responsibility. It can be a fine line and one that is very challenging to see when you are feeling vulnerable under the hands of a Dom. How do we be vigilant about this and prevent moments of stress or altercation? For one, I think we have to be mindful of the fact that we may not truly know how we’re going to be once we agree to allow ourselves to trust another and be vulnerable. It’s one thing to say, “yes stepping into this connection or agreement sounds very fulfilling and I’m going to be the best sub ever’,  and then suddenly we are in it and we discover that all kinds of fears and anxieties come up that we didn’t predict. Maybe we get very caught up in the romance of the initial connection and are slightly blinded by what some call the ‘honeymoon phase’.  It takes a great deal of wisdom to know ourselves when we take the risk to trust another, and part of that wisdom is embracing our imperfections that may lead to anxiety or stress. When we do this, we are better able to maintain our self-respect and in turn maintain personal accountability.

It’s of course very easy for me to say, “Oh I wish I knew now what I knew then” as it would have saved me a lot of heartache and shame in the way I conducted myself as a boy, but to do so doesn’t serve any positive purpose. Every time I explore a connection as a submissive, or take on a sub of my own, I gain further knowledge. Part of what I love about leather and kink is in the way it helps me grow as a person, even if the ride is an uncomfortable one. We sabotage ourselves if we ever think there is a point of ‘arrival’ in our journeys, and not a day goes by where I don’t embrace what I’ve learned as a result of personal mistakes I’ve made.

And that’s some of the best personal responsibility I can take as a human being and a leatherman 🙂