Shoutout to everyone who has a tough time with mother’s day

I missed a couple years there so I thought it was time for another shoutout to everyone who is really fucking tired of being beaten over the head with the idea that all mothers are loving and kind and not abusive.

And if you have cut off contact and still feel shitty, this article might conceivably help. I don’t love the line about “But it is also true that going no contact isn’t a “solution” in any traditional sense.” but the entire rest of the article is about how literally zero people cut off contact with a parent without agonizing over it and how it’s totally normal to feel shitty afterwards. Not having your parent (or other abuser) actively re-traumatising you is great, but you’ve still got to grieve for the non-abusive parent you deserved and didn’t get.

Possibly bullshit

So you know that stereotype of the high-powered manager who sees a dominatrix on the weekend because he needs a break from being in charge all the time?

Well I’m not an actual manager but I’ve been doing some facilitation and oh dear god I would fucking love to be able to beat people until they do what I fucking tell them. That sounds so relaxing, I can’t even tell you.

To be fair, I work with other programmers and we all know nobody can tell us shit (seriously programmers are fucking terrible at taking direction) but still, we can’t be that special, can we?

Readers, what’s your experience? Do you (or your partner!) really need a break from being in charge, or is actually being in charge a break in and of itself?

Guest post: Un-Clustering Kink

Today we have a guest post by Jess Mahler about a subject near and dear to my heart: how we conflate dom/top and sub/bottom and how just understanding that those are all different things that you get to mix and match however you like can make your relationships work a lot better.

Keep an eye on Jess’s website too, she has an F/m fantasy novel coming out in January 🙂

I’m laying back on my bed while my sub eats me out.

I’m laying back on my bed while my sub ties me up.

If you are in kink there’s a good chance your brain just screeched to a halt.

We have a problem with how we use words in the Scene. Specifically, we have a problem with how we use four words: dominant, top, submissive, and bottom. The way we use these words has fucked up a lot of individuals introduction to and experience of kink, and has fucked up a lot of relationships as people trying to communicate their needs with these labels end up mis-communicating and everything just gets buggered.

First off, let me give you two examples of folks who have been buggered by this issue. Then we’ll talk about how to un-cluster this clusterfuck.

When I first entered kink, I knew I liked being in control. But I also liked being tied up. I liked feeling helpless. And of course, I thought I was a woman. So I assumed I was submissive. If you have experience in kink, you are probably seeing the problem already. I got in a relationship with a guy who liked tying me up, but didn’t like being in control. I kept trying to give him control, he kept trying to be in control and we both were utterly miserable.

It wasn’t until years after that relationship ended that I was able to really recognize my own preferred roles (yes, that’s plural) in kink. See, when I first started learning about kink the idea that someone could be a dominant who was into bondage and liked pain just did not exist. So I got fucked by the assumption that someone who liked being tied up and liked being hurt was, of course, a submissive.

A few days ago, someone shared in a FB group an article by someone else who got fucked by these mis-used terms. He entered the scene, knew he liked to serve and take care of people, and thought that made him a submissive. Then he went to a thing where he was acting as a service submissive, giving manicures to a bunch of femdoms and… let’s just say it didn’t go well, kay?

Like me, this guy had minimal info going into kink, and the info he had did a bad job of sorting out the different roles. The article he wrote was his attempt to uncluster this mess, but unfortunately, he seems to still be operating under a lot of assumptions and misinformation. I’m not linking to the article, partly because I don’t want to drag the guy and partly because I really don’t want anyone new to kink taking his ideas. (Look, if anyone tells you that masochists don’t safeword, GTFO, okay? Seriously, masochists safeword. Masochists safeword all the fucking time. The rest of his ideas, imo, aren’t any better.)

But what he saw was that he liked to serve people, and of course that meant he had to be submissive. And, look, being a service dom is TOTALLY a thing. It is. 100%. It’s extremely common among age play folks, but even those of us who don’t age play can be service doms. I don’t usually get into service (in either direction), but sometimes the highlight of my day is tucking my sub into bed. And I put myself in charge of shaving them because I love taking care of them that way, and I am the dom so it happens like I say.

Okay, so we have two people (three if include my ex) who got screwed because the Scene doesn’t do a good job of differentiating between top and dom, bottom and sub, or of educating folks about the different ways of being a dom, sub, top, or bottom.

So let’s take a look at those terms and maybe see if going forward we can keep more people from getting fucked.

In general, you’ll see the following definitions:

A top takes the active role in a scene

A bottom takes the passive role in the scene

A dom likes to be in control

A sub likes to be controlled.

With me so far?

So why, in the article this guy wrote, was giving a manicure considered bottoming? Like, unless I’m mistaken, if you are GIVING a manicure you are the active participant in the scene, and the person receiving the manicure is the passive one. Right?

But “logic” of the Scene is that the person giving the manicure is doing a service for the person receiving the manicure and doing a service means their a sub, and therefore the person giving the manicure is the bottom. Because that’s the way words work. Apparently. In some alternate universe I refuse to continue to inhabit.

So let’s un-cluster this scenario.

The person giving the manicure is the top bc they are the active participant. The person receiving the manicure is the bottom because they are the passive recipient, and without further information we can’t say if there even IS a dom or sub in this scenario because we don’t have anything tell us who (if anyone) is in control.

Stick to the definitions, de-conflate dom/top and bottom/sub, and you are well on your way to un-clustering the way words are used in the Scene.

But let’s take it one step further. Why was manicuring thought to be a bottom thing in the first place? Because is was serving the person receiving the manicure.

And we see this a lot in kinks. Going down on someone is seen as inherently submissive, and will be referred to as bottoming, even though the person going down is the active participant. Um…. you see the part of the definition where is says a dom likes to be in control? I will go down on my sub if I want because being in control means I get to do that.

But why is going down seen as bottoming and/or submissive? Because it’s serving the person who is on the receptive end. And if you are doing a service type action, it’s bottoming. Even though it’s active. *sigh* Are we seeing the pattern now? ARE WE?

Okay, but I like getting tied up, right? If I tell my sub to tie me up, I’m receiving a service–the service of being tied up. And yet the message I got coming into the scene was that this made me submissive bc by being tied up I was being the passive participant and that made me a sub. Because bottoming? Maybe?

Un-cluster. If I go down on my sub I am a dominant who is topping because I am in control and I am the active participant. If I have my sub go down on me, I am still the dominant but I am now the bottom, because I’m the passive participant. Mmkay?

And if I tell my sub to tie me up I am also being a dominant bottom.

So… why is it that folks brains will screech to a halt at the idea of my sub tying me up and not at the idea of my sub eating me out? Why have our brains classified the same situation (only the action my sub is doing is different) so differently?

Yes, I’m beating a dead horse. Or at least I hope I am.

Stop conflating dom and top. Stop conflating sub and bottom. When talking about scenes, default to the actual definitions and not the ingrained biases of the scene.

The person who is active is the top. The person who is passive is the bottom.

The person in control (if there is one) is the dom. The person who gives up control (if there is one) is the sub.

For our final act of the evening, we’re going to deconstruct “service top” and “topping from the bottom”

Service top:

definition 1: Someone who likes to be the active participant in the scene and provide a service to the bottom. Related: Service dom. “Yeah, I’m a service top. I haven’t done bondage before but it will make you happy, I’d love to tie you up.”

definition 2: A term used to shame doms who like to do things that don’t fit the Scene’s bias. “Can you believe she goes down on her subs? She’s nothing but a service top.”

Topping from the bottom:

definition 1: A term used for times when the bottom breaks the negotiated terms of the scene to try to dom from the bottom. Blatant conflation of terms top and dom has led to much confusion.

definition 2: A term used to shame bottoms who are not submissive. “I’d never play with him! I’m always in control of my scenes, he insists on topping from the bottom.” Again, blatant conflation of terms.

So that’s it. Mix and match freely, have fun, stay risk aware, un-cluster the Scene by un-conflating our words, and for god sakes stop shaming people for not fitting the biases the Scene tries to teach us.

Vetting potential subs, part 2

The thrilling conclusion of last week’s post about vetting potential subs! If you missed it, you should read that one first or this one probably won’t make much sense.

Last time I was talking about how just the first line of a Fetlife message can tell you a ton about whether the guy who messaged you is remotely worth your time. Even if he makes it over that first hurdle, there’s still the rest of the message to judge. For me, it absolutely has to say something about why that guy chose to message me of all people. If it doesn’t, delete or block. If somebody messages me but can’t be bothered to tell me a single thing about why he messaged me in particular, I assume the only reason he’s bothering me is that I have tits and live in the right country. No dude fuck off.

Another thing that gets a block or delete is when somebody brings up his kink in any detail at all in the first message. Somebody who jumps right to what you can do to make his penis happy is absolutely not worth your time. If you wouldn’t date a guy who contacted you on a vanilla dating site and asked in his first message if you give blowjobs, then why would you ever speak to a guy who contacted you on a kink site and asked the equivalent of that question in his first message? Seriously, you can have the exact same standards in the kinky world as you do in the vanilla world.

Aside from looking at someone’s avatar (which you kind of can’t avoid), I also look at people’s profiles. Often out of morbid curiosity, I’m going to be honest 🙂 If I get a terrible message, I usually can’t resist seeing just how terrible his profile is, and if I get a good message, I still want to know if his profile backs it up.

If someone sends me a nice message but their profile is just a long list of their kinks or a detailed fantasy they expect some woman to act out for them? Nope. Or if their profile pictures are a shrine to their dick? Nope. Or if their activity feed is an unbroken stream of thirsty comments on women’s pictures? Nope. To keep beating a dead horse, you get all the time you need to fill in your profile and make sure it isn’t terrible. Anyone who can’t be bothered to do that also has a zero percent chance of ever bothering to learn what you like, block/delete and move on.

Another problem is when people get too intense too fast. If you’re new it can be really flattering to hear that somebody (supposedly) wants to be your collared slave forever, but it’s really a sure sign he doesn’t give a shit about what you want or even about getting to know you, all he cares about is finding a pair of tits to fill the role of “Generic Dominatrix #1” in his fantasy. Block or delete and move on.

And of course form letters are an instant block. On top of it being a sure sign of someone who won’t put in more than the bare minimum of effort, it’s just insulting that these dirtbags seem to think a form letter will a) work, and b) that I’m dumb enough not to realize it’s a form letter. Protip: don’t tell someone she has a great smile when there are no pictures of her on her profile.

The first level of vetting is “does this guy understand that I’m a human being with wants and needs and likes and dislikes that have nothing to do with his preferences?” If you just throw out all first messages that don’t clear that bar, you’re going to save yourself a lot of time and hassle.

If dude clears the “understands I’m a person” bar, there’s another one: does he sound like a person I would ever want to spend time with? Do we have anything in common? Does he want what I want? This level is less about figuring out whether the guy who messaged you is a complete waste of space and more about figuring out if a perfectly nice person is actually compatible with you.

If you’re just looking for a play partner, somebody who wants a serious relationship that leads to collaring and marriage is just not going to work. Even if you both just want a play partner, you’ve still got to figure out things like how often you want to play, what you actually want to do together, how you want to handle it if one of you finds a serious relationship, etc, etc. And of course if you are looking for a submissive boyfriend, you’ve got to figure out if you have anything in common besides kink, if you even, you know, like each other, whether your lifestyles are at all compatible,   exactly what kind of d/s you’re both interested in (just in the bedroom? total control of his life? something in between?), and so on.

A guy can be perfectly lovely and objectively a wonderful human being and oh god so utterly wrong for me. He can also be nice and mostly compatible but just a lot of work, or compatible except for that one thing that’s a complete dealbreaker.

Okay, suppose somebody messages you and the first message greets you correctly and treats you like a human being and you can imagine chatting with him for half an hour without faking your own death to get away. There’s still more judging to do!

Does he contact you at a frequency that works for you? If you’re always the first one to reach out, maybe this guy isn’t for you. Same if you’re absolutely never the first one to reach out because he messages you incessantly. That may seem minor but honestly, you’ll both be happier with someone who isn’t constantly annoyed that you don’t message them enough or message them too much.

Another very important way to vet people is to set a boundary and see what happens. This is great for when you know you should give up on someone and need to convince yourself they’re beyond your help. Note that I do not condone jerking people around, that’s not cool. Don’t make shit up, just, you know, exist as a human being with preferences and see how he reacts to that. If you do something as simple as saying you couldn’t get into a tv show he absolutely loves and he hounds you about how you have to give it another chance, it’s time to hit the eject button. When the best case scenario is constant subtle disrespect, just say no.

Vetting doesn’t have to be complicated, it’s just paying attention to what people say to you and deciding whether you want them in your life. If you can decide whether or not you want to see a given movie based on trailers and reviews, you can decide whether or not you want to keep messaging a given guy based on how he treats you and how he presents himself.

Vetting potential subs, part 1

I see lots of complaints from female doms about how “submissive” men mostly aren’t, that they act like dominant women exist to make their dicks happy if they even show up for a planned meeting in the first place.

There’s a great way to avoid a lot of unhappiness: vetting!

While vetting isn’t a magic cure-all, people mostly suck at lying about who they are and they extra suck at it when they don’t realize they’re kind of terrible and probably should lie about who they are 🙂

Whether you want a long-term romantic relationship with a submissive boyfriend or you just want a play partner who will treat you like a human being, guys who can’t clear that bar are usually super obvious about it. Seriously, it is not hard to catch them. At all.

I think the hardest part of vetting people effectively is being absolutely certain you deserve better. If you don’t believe you deserve better than J. Random Douchebag, no amount of vetting advice is going to help. On the upside, being totally over manchildren’s bullshit works just about as well as high self-esteem. If you can’t love yourself (and let’s be honest, a profoundly misogynistic society makes that pretty fucking hard), you can still decide a videogame and a glass of wine is a better evening than meeting up with yet another bratty pissbaby who could not possibly give less of a shit about your feelings. Sadly, you might have to meet a bunch of dirtbags to get to that state of “oh fuck this shit”, but you’ll get there sooner or later.

So assuming you’ve got either self-love or a total lack of fucks on your side, let’s talk about what else you need.

One extremely useful trait is the willingness to believe a person when they show you who you are. Optimism is nice and all, and I’ll even grudgingly admit that sometimes people who actually do mean well express themselves badly, but if you don’t want to waste a ton of time on people who turn out to be complete dickbags, you’ve got to take what they say and do seriously and not make excuses for them.

This is pretty closely related to not having time for bullshit, because if you value yourself (or at least having a nice evening without manchild bullshit), you don’t need to talk yourself into believing that this particular little brat isn’t a total waste of time.

Another useful thing is patience. People keep saying there are tons of submissive men for every dominant woman but that’s just bullshit. Men who are a) actually submissive and b) compatible with you are rare and precious. It’s going to take some time before you meet just the right guy, especially if you’re looking for a long term relationship. If you just want a play partner it’s a lot easier because you don’t have to worry about stuff like how you each manage money or whether you want to have kids or not, but it’s still not likely to be instant.

So here’s how you vet people: basically you get in touch with your inner judgemental asshole, and in touch with exactly what you want, and you say not to everything you don’t want.

It’s totally okay to just want a little hot chat and then go about your day, you’re just going to vet people differently than you would if you were looking for a submissive boyfriend or a personal slave who is cool with being part of your stable or a play partner you can really grow to trust and explore your limits with.

My personal standards are going to be different from yours, but some examples will probably help explain what I’m talking about.

When I get a message, say on Fetlife, I start judging from the very first line. Honestly guys there’s not a fucking time limit. You can take as long as you need to not fuck it up, so yes I’m going to  judge you for it.

I’m pretty informal, as long as you greet me like I’m a human fucking being we’re cool. That means either my username or a simple “hi there”. Basically anything that would be appropriate to say to a vanilla woman works for me. For you maybe you want a certain word in the subject line that you mention at the end of your profile or to be greeted using a title you mention liking.

Anyway if they can’t even get the first line / subject line right, they can fuck right off. Greeting someone like they’re a fellow human being who does not exist to entertain you is not hard, if somebody who messages you fucks that up, delete their message and move on. I’m also a fan of blocking people who are clearly never going to be worth my time.

Almost forgot! When I get a message from a stranger I also judge the shit out of their avatar. If there’s a dick in it, that’s an instant delete or block. Even back when I was single and just looking for a little kinky sex, I had zero time for anyone who literally led with his dick. Somebody who doesn’t even care whether or not you want to see his dick will never, ever be worth your time.

This post got unreasonably long, even for me, so part two is coming next week.

Safecalls: they’re not just for women

There’s an especially interesting discussion about safety for submissive men in that one fetlife group I like, I recommend checking it out.

We talk about safety for submissive women all the time, we talk about safe calls and meeting in a public place first and getting to know your d-type/play partner and not letting a new partner bind both your wrists and your ankles at the same time, but I think we as a society kind of assume that a woman couldn’t possibly be dangerous to a man.

That makes it really hard to talk about how to handle a woman putting a man in danger – what man is going to show up to a workshop about safety if doing that is a tacit admission that a lowly (yes I’m being extremely sarcastic) woman could ever actually be dangerous to him? If I were a submissive man, I’d sure be scared that even other submissive men would make fun of me for being worried a female dom might hurt me.

I mean, it’s apparently unmanly to use the most basic safety gear when you’re using power tools, which we all know perfectly goddamn well are dangerous and that it’s just fucking dumb not to wear safety goggles, so of course there aren’t a lot of submissive men out there willing to even ask, at least in public, “so how do I stay safe?”

And of course there’s the oh-so-helpful myth that there are 100 submissive men for every dominant woman so if you put any kind of limit on what you’re willing to do that dom you’ve been talking to will snap her fingers and the next submissive guy in line will take your place. To be clear that’s complete bullshit, but that’s also not the subject of this post.

So given that it’s really, really fucking hard for men to ask for safety tips, here’s my attempt to help:

First of all, let’s talk about physical safety. Safecalls are not just for women!

If it helps you worry less about it being totally unmanly to even consider the idea that a woman could harm you, think of it as protecting yourself from scams and robbery. Not to make everyone totally paranoid, but just because Ms Right said she was going to meet you alone doesn’t mean she isn’t going to bring some large male friends to rob you or worse. If somebody knows where you’re going and when you’re supposed to check in, at least they can file a missing persons report sooner rather than later. Just having a safecall and making it known that you do can protect you, you don’t even necessarily need to make the call – if somebody knows that you’re going to be missed and that they’ll have to explain themselves to the cops if you don’t check in, welp, strangely enough you’ll be a lot less likely to go missing.

And for the love of god don’t meet in private for the first time. Again, she could have her large male friends already there when you walk in. Meet in public first and get to know her before you agree to meet in private. I know a lot of people have issues with munches and other events, but if you can meet your potential dom at one of those, you will learn a lot about her. Practically all women know this, but it may be news to men: if he’s nice to you but mean to the waitress, he’s not actually nice. It’s really useful to know how your dom treats people she doesn’t want anything from, especially other submissive men if there are any around. If she tries to tell you you’re special, not like that other guy, I’m sorry to tell you but you are not special. She will treat you just like she treats him.

Now, kink is a bit of a special case, it may be that nothing makes that other guy happier than being treated like a not-very-bright servant. Still, if that’s the case it should be very simple for her to explain that she does in fact know him well and they’ve been friends for a while and that’s a fun game they play.

Playing in public, at least at first, can be a good way to see how your shiny new d-type / play partner reacts when you don’t like something she does. Yes, everyone is on their best behaviour in public, but if someone’s best behaviour involves showing any irritation or attempts to talk you out of it if you safeword or just need a break or a drink of water, then oh my fuck no no no do not play with them in private. Serisously, things are not going to go better with no one looking.

This may be the hardest piece of advice for men in general (I figure my regular readers have a handle on this one, seeing as you’re here already 🙂 ) : women are people and have agency. We might like stuff you don’t like. We might like stuff that actively turns you off. We might like stuff that would make you run the fuck away if you weren’t tied up. And we might have some fucked up ideas about what’s okay to do to people who came over and let you tie them up, sad to say.

You really, really need to talk about what’s going to happen before you play. You cannot assume that any given dominant woman likes what you like. Aside from safety, you’re going to have a shitty and unsatisfying scene if you don’t talk about what you both like ahead of time, so fucking talk so you can both have a better time.

The woman who started that thread brought up a really interesting point: what if the submissive guy’s kink is being scared by a woman who is outside the norm?

Here’s the part I think some submissive men will hate a lot: you don’t always get everything you want. To be fair, I think submissive people of any gender may hate that point, but men in particular spend their whole lives being told they can have whatever they want from women and it’s got to be extra jarring to suddenly hear that they can’t.

Being scared, being forced, being used are all really common fantasies and they can all be hard to live out without breaking the s-type’s suspension of disbelief. For me personally, I’d much rather break suspension of disbelief and have the whole scene fall flat than risk harming somebody. If it’s more important to you to live out your exact fantasy even if things go sideways and you’re not having fun anymore, welp, I’m not the person to ask about that. Doms get to safeword too, guys.

Now, it is possible to have a genuinely scary scene with people you don’t know well and still be relatively safe – you just have to have a dom who is really invested in making you happy and has some trusted friends who you don’t know and who is willing to spot that scene while you’re blindfolded and don’t know they’re supervising. Yes, that’s a lot of work and you shouldn’t expect it from someone you’ve only played with a few times.

Another potential compromise is talking out what you like, what you don’t like, how you want to feel in an abduction/takedown/consensual non-consent scene, how you react when you’re having a good time vs when you’re really really not anymore, and how to tell whether it’s a good time for a surprise scene or not, then asking you dom to take all of those things into account and surprise you sometime. You may have to spend a lot of time convincing your dom that they know you well enough to surprise you and have it go okay. Surprise: doms aren’t the only ones who need to build trust!

Also, you have to accept a certain amount of risk that things will go wrong and you’ll end up traumatized. That’s really what I want people to understand: you have every right to take any risk you want, just fucking admit you’re taking a risk and be clear about what the potential downsides are. Even if everyone is experienced and knows your safeword and is doing the absolute best they can to make sure the abduction or takedown or consensual non-consent scene is fun for you, things can still go wrong.

The single most important tip I can give anyone, dom or sub, woman or man, is that things can go wrong and you need to think about how that might happen and how you can avoid it. A big part of that is admitting that you’re physically vulnerable if you’re tied up or handcuffed or otherwise restrained, and another big part is admitting that you have feelings that can be hurt.

Readers, do you have any more safety tips to add?

What do you do if your top won’t play as hard as you want?

Every so often I see discussions started by frustrated submissives whose d-types won’t play as hard as they want, whether that’s less intense impact play, less restrictive bondage, less intense humiliation, less intense control over their lives outside the bedroom, etc, etc. I see the not-intense-enough impact play complaint most from small female submissives whose doms / tops / playpartners are afraid of hurting them.

That’s where I think there’s a bit of gray area: it’s kind of a dick move not to believe your partner when they tell you they can take more. It’s their body, they know better than you, especially if they’ve been playing for a while. That said it’s also kind of a dick move not to respect your top’s limits. Tops get limits too, dammit.

So what do you do about it if you’re not getting the kind of play you want?

Well first of all you need to know why your top doesn’t play as hard as you would like, and you need to accept that the answer could be that they just don’t like to.

Aside from just not enjoying player harder than they currently do, your top could be worried that they don’t have the skills yet to be sure they don’t harm you, worried about what it means about who they are as a person if they do play hard and really like it, worried about how you’ll take it if they accidentally go too hard, that they or you will drop really hard if they play harder, or something else entirely. Side note: worrying that you’ll accidentally harm someone with bondage isn’t just paranoia, nerve damage is a thing and I’d sure feel terrible if I accidentally fucked up somebody’s hands.

If and only if your top even wants to, you may be able to slowly work up to playing harder. The top isn’t the only one who needs to build trust, as a bottom you need to build trust with your top, too. It would be straight up irresponsible to play as hard as they can with you the very first time, it’s a lot safer to start slow and build up from there. That process helps the top trust that you can in fact take what you say you can, that you can communicate if something isn’t working for you, that what you said about what you wanted and what you didn’t was actually true. Without that, it would just be foolish to play really hard.

Sometimes it just takes time too. I mean, did you immediately run out to a munch or play party (or even just put up a kinky personal ad) immediately after figuring out you might possibly be kinky? No, of course not, you took some time to process that idea and get used to it before you started reaching out to other people.

And if you’re really lucky, the issue may just be that your top assumed you were perfectly happy with the way they play and/or that you would directly ask if you wanted to play harder. Hints are just a bad idea here, and to be entirely clear this is not a discussion for the middle of a scene. Sometime when you’re both relaxed, just let your partner know that you would like to play harder sometimes and ask if there’s anything you can do to help them feel comfortable doing that. It might be that they just need a little extra reassurance that you’ll still like them if they hit you harder. Oh and don’t nag either.

But it’s also totally possible that a top / dom / d-type who you’re really compatible with in other ways just doesn’t want to play the way you prefer. If that happens, you have three choices: learn to live with it, negotiate play with other people (if you’re comfortable playing with anyone else), or break up and find a different partner who does play the way you want to. Note that hassling your top to play the way you want to is not in that list.

Sometimes you just don’t get what you want. It sucks but you can adore someone and get along great in most ways and still have that one area where you’re incompatible and where it’s a dealbreaker. I wish I had a better answer than that but sometimes things just suck.

Can you really develop a “tolerance” for a fetish?

In which Stabbity mines the Novices & Newbies group for post ideas 🙂

It seems to be pretty common for kinky people, especially those of us who are new to kink, to be worried that our interest in kink will take over our lives like some kind of addiction and we’ll need to do more and more extreme things all the time to get off and I don’t know, end up getting murdered or murdering somebody or some shit like that because we didn’t know when to stop.

It’s probably pretty clear what I think of that 🙂 That’s not very helpful to someone who is worried that they’ll end up getting hurt or doing something terrible, though, so let’s talk about it.

First of all, you do not develop a tolerance for a fetish or kink as if it’s a drug. That’s just silly, and there’s a much simpler explanation: people get bored when they do the same thing all the time. Take food for example: I love pho and I’ve been eating a lot of it since it started getting cold where I live. Right now, I would probably eat pho every day. But as much as I love pho, if I actually did eat it every day I would still get bored of it after a while and need to eat something else. Same with kink and with sex in general (not that kink always have to involve sex), if you do the same thing over and over eventually you want to try something else just for a little variety.

It’s also not unusual to eventually start wanting to try things that freaked you out or actively turned you off when you first got into the scene. Again, this is totally normal in other contexts, people just get weird about kink and/or sex. Let’s take my career as an example totally unrelated to kink, I always swore I’d never work for a game studio (fuck crunch time) or a startup (fuck brogrammer culture), and what happened? I used to work for a game studio and currently work for a startup. Turns out not all game studios expect you to work 80 hours a week to release a game on time and not all startups are run by brogrammer douchebags who are frightened and confused by the idea that anyone would want to have a life outside of their work. As you gain more knowledge and get to know more people who enjoy things you aren’t into, your perspective on those things can change. Again, totally normal.

Sadly, it’s not uncommon for people to do terrible things and say “I never meant to hurt anyone, I just got carried away!” That’s some bullshit, to be clear. Things can and do go wrong in scenes without anyone being malicious, but if you fuck up so bad you actually got arrested and it went to court and you ended up in the news, that’s not “getting carried away”, that’s “I thought I could get away with it.” If you really are worried you’ll get carried away and hurt somebody, the solution is simple: get a fucking spotter. Find somebody you trust to recognize when you’re about to go too far and who you know can stop you, and get them to supervise your scenes.

On the other hand if you bottom and are worried you’ll get carried away and not safeword when you should, that’s, uh, not unusual? Lots of people go nonverbal or get deep into subspace or otherwise can’t safeword. When you really into the scene and your endorphins are flowing, you may not even realize you’re getting injured. Some injuries, like nerve damage from bondage, may not hurt at all while they’re happening. You’ve got to get to know your top really well and be sure they know how far they can take you if you know there’s a risk you won’t be able to safeword.

Also, if it’s just your fantasies that freak you out, that’s totally normal too. Just because you fantasize about something doesn’t mean you actually want to do it – I’ve ranted enough about how fantasizing about an intense weekend scene in no way means that your butt could actually hold up to a whole weekend of spanking, flogging, whipping, and paddling. The fantasy is great, but in real life you would be sore and bored in half a day, tops. And if you eventually build up to being able to handle a weekend scene, you’ll probably also be fantasizing about week-long scenes. Fantasies are pretty reliably more intense than what you would actually want in real life to make up for the fact they aren’t actually happening.

If your fantasies really scare you it’s probably worth talking that out with somebody (maybe anonymously with strangers on the internet if you can’t afford a therapist or find one who understands kink?), but if you’re just worried that fantasizing about a thing means you’re inevitably going to do it that’s just not true. I’ve spent plenty of time fantasizing about telling former managers to go fuck themselves and walking out of my office, middle fingers held high, but I don’t actually do it because I’m a grownup and because I really like getting paid. If you understand that some things aren’t okay to actually do, you can fantasize about whatever you want and still be a good person.

In short, don’t worry. If you’re a decent human being and have any semblance of common sense, you’re going to be okay. Kink will not take over your life and make you into a monster.

how. original.

To think I was worried I wouldn’t find something to be angry about this week. I was reading Captain Awkward, as you do, and in the comments somebody linked to this fucking bullshit and I remembered how much I hate it.

Now, I’m more than a little late to the party here, but hey, I’m still getting a blog post out of it and maybe I’ll be less pissed off about this massive dickbaggery by the time I’m done 🙂

A quick summary for people who may not be interested in reading another blog post so they’ll understand this one: Ms Asshole wrote a post about how she feels happy and accepted in the tech community. So far so good, right? Yeah not so much. As much as she likes to think she’s not saying “fuck you, got mine” she’s absolutely saying “fuck you, got mine.” Yes, there are good things about the tech community. Many a nerd has been delighted to find a place where they can win arguments by being right, not by being popular. It’s okay to like that. What’s not cool is to tell other women:

What I’ve got, and what I wish the rest of the “women in tech” community who rage against the misogyny they see everywhere they look could also have, is a blazingly single-minded focus on whatever topic I happen to be perseverating on at the moment. It has kept me awake for days puzzling out novel algorithms and it has thwarted a wannabe PUA at a conference completely by accident. It is also apparently the most crashingly successful defense against attempts to make me feel inferior that has ever been devised.

which boils down to: have you considered just not caring when people treat you like shit because you had the poor taste to be a woman?

how. original. I have never been told to stop having feelings about it when people are jerks to me because I committed the terrible crime of being a better programmer than them and having tits at the same time before. what. an. amazing. revelation. Who could ever have possibly guessed that if I didn’t care about being treated badly then I, uh, wouldn’t care about being treated badly. Honestly, this asshole sounds exactly like every straight white man who just can’t believe there could possibly be a problem with tech because everyone is nice to him and obviously his experiences are universal. Newsflash: people who aren’t exactly like you do in fact exist. People who aren’t like me, do in fact exist too. Being a woman in tech can be a huge pain in the ass but because I’m white, there’s a massive amount of bullshit I just don’t have to deal with. But because I’m not a self-centered jackass who is incapable of caring about anyone but themselves, I believe people of colour when they say tech is shitty for them in ways that I haven’t personally experienced.

I want to be clear that I’m not attacking this self-centered asshole for being non-neurotypical, I’m attacking her for being a self-centered asshole. Being autistic does not mean you can’t empathize with other people (although it can make it hard to show it in a way that neurotypical people recognize, which is a separate issue), it does not mean you can’t understand that other people have experiences that aren’t like yours, and it does not mean you get a pass for acting like a complete douchebag.

My compilers are coming with me, but you can borrow my shoes, if you want.

Borrow your shoes? I would have to cut my toes off to fit into them, asshole. I WILL NOT STOP HAVING FEELINGS. I AM NOT WRONG FOR HAVING FEELINGS. I WILL NOT CUT OFF PIECES OF MY HUMANITY TO SUIT YOU.

The absolute nicest spin I can put on this shit is that Ms Asshole has only ever found one place where she fits in and is scared it will change and she won’t fit in anymore. What I think is more likely is that she has built her whole identity around a frankly toxic community and is taking any suggestion that maybe people who notice when they’re treated badly and experience emotions about that could be included too as an attack on her very self.

Nobody is saying that there’s nothing good about the tech community. Nobody is saying it would be a bad idea to have a place where technical correctness instead of popularity would win arguments. The problem is that magical place where the quality of your ideas is the only thing that matters DOES NOT EXIST. When an idea comes from a woman it magically becomes questionable at best and she will have to prove over and over and over that she isn’t stupid and does deserve to be there. The exact same idea becomes a heartbreaking work of staggering genius when it it proposed by a man. Where’s your meritocracy now, fuckface? No seriously, WHERE THE FUCK IS IT. How can you possibly say tech is about technical merit when women have to do much more work (and god fucking forbid you’re a black woman, you’ll have to work at least twice as hard as a white woman to get even less credit) to be taken less seriously? You know how much more work I could get done if I didn’t have to fight my own goddamn coworkers to listen to me for five goddamn minutes?

Not only do white men have to work less hard to prove they know what they’re doing, but not having to defend themselves constantly gives them far more time and energy to think about their tech. And let’s not forget that to this day women do far more household labour than men do. Not only do women have to work harder, we get less time to do our work.

Not only has a true meritocracy never existed (unconscious bias, it’s a thing), but not tolerating assholes is good for everyone. We cannot possibly know how many people who could have been amazing programmers have been driven out of the community by jerkbags who convinced them it was just not worth it to keep trying. We cannot know what incredible things could have been built if the tech community as a whole rewarded cooperation over proving you’re the smartest.

Seriously, what the fuck would we collectively lose if we as a community stopped being such incredible fucking douchebags to people who aren’t straight white men with no social skills? You can value technical correctness and also not be a raging asshole, I swear. If you can’t see how technical rigor and compassion can coexist, it’s not because they can’t, it’s because you’re an asshole who doesn’t give a shit about anyone’s feelings but yours.