Thursday, August 2, 2007

The View from Inside bondage.com: Learning it the Hard Way (a naughty slave’s dream)

If you are a misbehaving submissive, then learning things the hard way makes your submission all the better. But, of course, thatт??s only when you are playing. When it comes down to the nitty-gritty of most things, people would rather put aside the difficulties and make things happen as quickly and easily as possible. Unfortunately, it doesnт??t go that way for most people and making mistakes becomes one of the most important learning techniques. Such is the life of bondage.com. Thatт??s not to say that we donт??t do certain things intentionally т?? weт??re not into the "trial and error" lifestyle, but all the same, nothing is as easy as you first think.

Speaking of learning it the hard way, recently we attempted to launch the first bondage.com sponsored BDSM-Net slave auction. While our intentions were good, we made some mistakes that we shouldnт??t have. Foremost was trying too hard to make the event rigid in its rules, too limited in as much that we would judge submissions, and too small because we were limiting the event to a select number of auction items (the slaves) and auction participants (the Doms).

Compassion and fairness are key to a healthy BDSM eventт?І Unfortunately, these are too easy to forget sometimes. Of course the main intention of the event was fun. While we tried to keep compassion and fairness in mind, they were not at the top of the list when we first tried to put the event together т?? we were thinking maximum excitement for т??viewersт??. IRC is different, however, itт??s not about "viewers", itт??s about participants -- the participation creates the fun.

These concepts were, thankfully, beaten into me by two wonderful IRC personalities: princess and silkenluv. After hearing what they had to say shortly following the initial launch of the auction, we decided upon a vastly different approach. While we can't discuss the new rules and the new venue at the moment, suffice it to say that weт??ve decided to develop an auction engine and open the event up to many more people with much more relaxed rules and more enjoyment for everyone.

Enough of the hard learned lessons, though. A few weeks ago I had a very interesting letter sent to me. One of our readers wrote describing how he liked to tie himself up. "Now thereт??s an idea," I was thinking. Iт??ve read about self-bondage, but had yet to receive any email concerning it until now. When I spoke of it to the others who work with me, they looked at me and wondered why in the world I hadnт??t bothered trying it yet.

Well, I said I wasnт??t going to talk about learning things the hard way again this time, so I didnт??t try the technique. Although if I did, I would have purchased the "Iт??ve fallen and I canт??t get up device!" It would have been a great story for the person who showed up to rescue meт?І

Take your favorite set of handcuffs, or bonds with locks, and drop the key into a bottle of water. Freeze this water with the key in it (be sure to practice for a little while to find out how long it takes the water to thaw). Take yourself to some fantastic location in your house remembering to bring that frozen bottle with key along with you. Lock yourself up and plead with all your heart that today will be warmer than most because you arenт??t going anywhere until that bottle thaws.

Since my interest in self-bondage has been piqued, please write me about it because Iт??d be happy to share your ideas with everyoneт?І

Back to the basics again, some other things that Iт??ve been speaking of have recently started on the site. One of the best pieces of news is that the original stories section of the site now has new stories in it. While there arenт??t many yet, they will be added on a regular schedule now that we have the procedure down.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Yes, My Lady: Money, Power, & Consensuality - SM Style



I want to share with you something profound and intimate that I now recall while flying to New York City to be the Guest Mistress at L'oeil Cache. Aboard yet another airplane, I reminisce my SM experiences, but on this particular flight, I remember how I came to confront the abuse of monetary power in SM by the submissive who now sits beside me. It was back in 1995 when I faced the torture of a 27-hour flight to China to attend the World Conference on Women. I just happened to be sitting across from this submissive woman who was just waiting to be dominated...or so I thought. In preparation for the Conference, I was to be pondering solutions to women's oppression; so, how better to prepare than to negotiate with this submissive how I was going to tie her down. After flirting for about, hmmm, nine hours, she leaned over and whispered into my ear: "I would like to hire you to dominate me."

I was quite taken-aback because I was not about to dominate this woman for the exchange of money. I attempted to disavow her comment as I winked at her and declared a "whatever" with a wave of my hand. I beckoned her to follow me to the back of the plane. We crawled up the stairs, and I immediately threw her onto a bed. However, before I could restrain her in a web of rope (I just happened to have rope in my pocket!), she threw three one-hundred US dollar bills at me. I froze. I did not know what to do. I did not want to accept money because I was not providing professional services or allowing her to be a client. My energy spent negotiating for nine hours with this woman was personal. Present in her desire and actions was an insidious power dynamic that I found to be nonconsensual and nonerotic. Why did this submissive insist on paying me for something for which I did not require compensation, you ask? I questioned what was behind her need to pay me. Moreover, I disliked and felt extremely uncomfortable at the manner in which she chose to compensate me.

During our negotiation, she confessed to her need to pay for SM; things that I had assumed were involved in her desire of monetary exchange for domination. She conceded to feeling titillated when telling me that she wanted to hire me. Throwing the money at me made her feel powerful. Moreover, the toss was an act to demonstrate her desire to have power over me. It was imperative to her to pay for my time with her. Flinging the cash at me acted as a safeguard, meant to supposedly even out the SM playing field that was so suffuse with unequal, but consensual power exchange.

While I accept money daily as the means for clients to consume my services, I did not consent to this particular submissive's attempt at consumption. Furthermore, when clients consume my services, they do so with respect and do not toss money at me. I have only run into disrespectful behavior toward professional dominance or paying for dominance by personal contacts. This submissive enjoyed nonconsensual power from excluding negotiation and my consent to the monetary exchange. The cash signified her desire to control the scene and me. She used the money as a tool to exercise her power, not my own. By paying for my attention and services, the cash served as a power-equalizer in her mind. She admitted to wanting me to eroticize accepting the money: a sign of her desire to humiliate and control me, tossing the cash was a passive-aggressive attempt at domination.

By the end of my negotiation with this submissive, it was painfully obvious that I should not play with her. I would not continue with our interaction. To do so would consent to accepting the money, her behavior, and her whims at how she wanted me to play with her. I would not allow this or any submissive to hide behind or control me with money. Furthermore, when a submissive consents to a dominant's control and gift of domination, she or he agrees to relinquish control. However, this submissive wanted the facade of consensual power exchange while remaining safeguarded by maintaining control.

Her behavior clearly demonstrated that she did not respect me. Furthermore, the act of tossing the money at me showed that she thought of me as her slut and held no emotional responsibility to me. She sought to put me in a position where it would be difficult for me to say no to her. Overall, her behavior indicated disrespect for my position as a professional dominant and as the dominant in this particular scene. The consensual power exchange that we had been molding for nine hours died at the moment she threw the cash at me as if I were a piece of trash, a plaything.

What started out as an exciting, transgressive engagement ended up as a life lesson on how SM can be manipulated, in this case, with money. After communicating more and having compassion for this submissive, we were both able to confront what was behind her behavior. She was also able to accept the consequences of her behavior and take responsibility. Part of her really desired to submit to me, but as we both learned, part of her needed to manipulate the power dynamic. There is usually something worthy of reflection when submissive chooses to act passive-aggressively toward a dominant. As a personal and professional dominant, I always access whether my bottom or client respects and trusts me and if s/he trusts and respects her/himself in order to feel safe and confident. In order to be responsible to this particular submissive and myself, I chose not to play with her. This decision helped me gain more self-respect and her more respect for herself and me. Had I dominated her, we both would have lost something inside. Furthermore, I know that she would not be by my side today. My courage to say no to this submissive led to responsible communication and the beginning of a strong relationship. Sometimes, the best decision is not to play.