It’s been very dry in my part of the world, to the point where it seemed like most of the province was on fire. We’ve finally gotten some serious rain today and it’s awesome! There’s even been some thunder, which we almost never get on the island.

I love the sound of the rain, but we don’t get much of it out here during the summer. If you’re missing the rain too, here are some rain sound generators:

simplyrain is one of the simplest. It automatically starts playing, so you don’t have to do anything to it if you don’t want to, but you can adjust the volume, rain intensity, and the amount of thunder. It allows you to set a sleep timer too.

raining.fm is also really simple, works pretty much the same way as simplyrain.

naturesoundsfor.me lets you create your own customized ambient soundtrack with beach sounds, creeks, different types of rain, birdsong, frogs, and more. It allows you to download your creation  too.

soundrown lets you mix and max a bunch of different soundscapes including rain, coffee shop, birdsong, fire, and more. Very simple controls,

rainycafe gives you only two soundscapes which you can toggle off and on and adjust the volume of independently.

All of these do pretty much the same thing, it’s really just a matter of which rain sound you like better.

And here are some rain themed songs to celebrate finally getting some rain!

Hey I’m a 90s kid, I’ll always have this weird fondness for Guns N’ Roses.

At this point I feel like I should prove I’ve listened to anything produced after 2000.

This one’s a little bit of a stretch for the rain theme, but hey the word rain is in there a couple of times.

Hey readers, what are your favourite rain songs?

Stabbity recommends things

Lately I’ve been playing a ton of Don’t Starve and Don’t Starve Together (the multiplayer version). If you like open world, no hand-holding survival games, check it out. You will die over and over again and you’ll keep wanting to give it just one more try. To quote one of the reviews:

You will die.

Spiders will murder you.
Hounds will murder you.
Bunnymen will murder you.
Trees will murder you.
Tentacles will murder you.
Shadows will murder you.
Giants will murder you.
Penguins will obliterate you.
Bees will f**king destroy you.

And that’s only if you don’t starve first.

On the less frustrating side, the art is adorable. All of the creatures that will try (and usually succeed) to murder you are really cute.

Another game you should try if you like dying repeatedly is Dungeons of Dredmor. It’s basically an old-school roguelike with nice graphics, friendly controls, and a sense of humour. You’ll die a lot, but the little obituaries the game gives you are so good you can’t even really be mad about it. Plus you can worship Inconsequentia, Goddess of Pointless Sidequests and sacrifice lutefisk to the Lutefisk God. Dungeons of Dredmor is also quite a good deal these days because it came out in 2011.

A friend also introduced me to Space Team a little while ago, that game is amazing at parties. It’s a cooperative multiplayer mobile game where you yell incomprehensible technobabble at each other – everyone gets a set of controls on their screen and a console where you get instructions, but the instruction you get might not apply to the controls on your screen. That’s where the yelling comes in 🙂 If you like Space Team, there’s a kickstarter to support the developer to release more games. It can be a bit of a pain to get everyone’s devices connected, but it’s well worth the hassle.

On the book side of things, Richard Morgan’s A Land Fit For Heroes trilogy is a) awesome, and b) complete, for those of you who hate waiting for the next book in a series to come out. A land fit for heroes is a noir fantasy, which totally works for me but may not be everyone’s cup of tea. The characters are interestingly flawed, the world building is fantastic (I find books that let things be mysterious much more interesting than books that insist on spoonfeeding you every little detail), and if you’re going to read it I recommend getting all three books at once because you will want to know what happens next right now.

Definition of “dominant”

A couple of months ago I wrote a post about how maybe we shouldn’t shit on young doms just because they’re young, and in the comments we had quite an interesting discussion about what the definition of dominant actually is.

My personal definition of dominant is “has dominant desires”, the exact wording of which I stole directly from Ranai’s comment. For me the term dominant is just a convenient shorthand that I use to describe who I am (someone who likes being in charge) and what I want (someone who will go along with what I want most of the time). Like Simina said in another comment, “Dominant is not a title.” She also made an excellent point when she said “I want to know, if a dominant person isn’t allowed to call themselves dom without all this magical experience and training and what not, what the hell are they supposed to call themselves to express their identity?”

I can understand people being pissy when some yahoo shows up and calls themselves Master WolfDragon when they actually have no experience, but Master actually is a title, and it’s one that has a lot of meaning for people, particularly in the leather community. Dominant, on the other hand, just means that you like calling the shots. And if you do just like calling the shots what the fuck are you supposed to call yourself if not dominant? We spend an enormous amount of time talking about how important it is to be honest about what you want and what you have to give, and now some asshole is saying I should lie about what I want because I don’t fit their personal definition of dominant? How does that help anyone?

Also, being dominant most certainly does not mean that I slavishly follow some asshole’s personal definition of what is domly and what is not. I don’t give a shit if you think having penetrative sex is undomly, they’re my nerve endings and I’ll stimulate them how I like. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again “Am I seriously supposed to prove how dominant I am by doing what I’m told?” If you think the only way to be dominant is to follow your personal rules, I think you’ve profoundly misunderstood what being dominant actually means. If you want someone to do what you tell them the person you are looking for is a submissive. As I am neither submissive at all nor your submissive in particular, you can fuck right off if you think you get to tell me what to call myself.

What does it even matter if someone doesn’t meet your personal standards of domliness? The only person whose opinion of someone’s domliness actually matters is that person’s submissive, just like the only person whose opinion on whether I’m a good spouse is my husband. If you’re not part of the relationship, your opinion is irrelevant. Dominance is such a personal thing to me that I can’t imagine why the opinion of someone who’s not involved would matter in the slightest.

One of the reasons I define dominant the way I do is because I personally experience dominance as a facet of my identity. I like being in charge, I like ridiculous action movies, and I like nerding out about code. Nobody gets to tell me whether I actually like being in charge or whether I actually like action movies, and the idea that anyone could is completely ridiculous (well, at least until we have the technology to read people’s minds, but I expect that to take a while 🙂 ) It’s totally reasonable to decide I’m not experienced enough for you or not old enough for you or not mature enough or whatever, but nobody, nobody gets to tell me who I am. You cannot possibly know me better than I know myself and it’s unbelievably rude to think you can.

Thinking of dominance as identity also helps explain why I’m so utterly baffled by people who think there’s some kind of dominant hierarchy. Me being dominant is only about who I am, it really has no bearing on whether you over there are dominant, submissive, or a rutabaga. It doesn’t matter how skilled or experienced you are compared to me, you bloody well get to define yourself however you want.

We do need at least a broad definition of dominant and submissive so we can have a conversation about those topics, but I think “has dominant desires” and “has submissive desires” is plenty, and as a bonus defining it that way allows us not to be total fucking dickweasels about other people’s identities.

If you want to call yourself dominant, go to town! If that’s the best description of who you are and what you want, then you’re morally in the right using it and the dicks who say otherwise can fuck off until they come up with a good reason dominant people shouldn’t call themselves dominant and an alternative word that clearly describes who people with dominant desires are and what they want. I’ll just hold my breath until that happens 😉

Women and desire

Or, if you’re not ready reading Emily Nagoski’s awesome blog The Dirty Normal, you should go fix that 🙂 In particular, she has a really interesting post about Flibanserin and the way the FDA was pressured to approve it even though “the drug increases “sexually satisfying events” by one per month over placebo, and roughly 13% of women who take it experience side effects like somnolence, dizziness, and nausea.” Ooooh, sexy sexy nausea.

But more seriously, it’s really sad that even the American Sexual Health Association and the American Reproductive Health Professionals, both of whom really ought to know what they’re talking about, thought that the best option to help women who were desperately unhappy about their “lack” (it’s not necessarily a lack, but I’ll get to that) of sexual desire was a drug that only works a little bit better than a placebo and has some shitty side effects.

The reason it’s so sad is that what we call a lack of sexual desire, particularly in women (I don’t know of any research specifically about trans women, but I bet this applies to you too), is often just responsive desire. To paraphrase it quickly (although the link is really interesting and goes into much more detail), there’s this assumption we have, at least in western culture, that the normal way to be is first you feel sexual desire, then you go have sex. But for roughly 30-60% of women and 5-20% of men, it’s the other way around – they don’t usually want sex just out of the blue, they start wanting it after foreplay has started. These folks don’t have “low” desire. They don’t suffer from any ailment, they don’t long to initiate but feel like they’re not allowed to. Their bodies just need some more compelling reason than “That’s an attractive person right there,” to want sex.

If all your life you’ve been told that spontaneous desire (sexual desire without an obvious trigger) is the way you’re supposed to feel desire, of course you’d feel broken and wrong and bad if you only experience responsive desire. And the more you feel broken and wrong and bad, the more even considering thinking about having sex becomes a minefield that you’d just as soon avoid entirely and things spiral downward from there.

In case things weren’t complicated enough already, AFAB (assigned female at birth) people don’t always orgasm reliably and aren’t always fulfilled by the sex acts that society says are the only “real” sex (ie penetration). To quote Emily again “only about a quarter to a third of women are [able to orgasm from vaginal penetration]. Another third of women are sometimes orgasmic from penetration, and the remaining third of women are never or almost never orgasmic from penile-vaginal penetration.” I know orgasm is far from the only reason people have sex, but personally if I’m going to go to the trouble of having sex I damn well want an orgasm. I’m also one of the lucky ones who does orgasm reliably, which does colour my views on that.

The one thing I really wanted to talk about is how responsive desire exists, is totally normal, and is only different from, not less than, spontaneous desire. You can stop reading now and that’s totally cool 🙂 But if you’re still here, let’s talk about how responsive desire might affect female doms.

There’s this stereotype that doms are always supposed to be the ones to initiate sex, but it seems unlikely that absolutely all female doms are part of the roughly 40-70% of women who experience spontaneous desire some or all of the time. It can also be complicated for submissive people, particularly submissive men, to initiate sex in a way that doesn’t feel pushy or demanding to the dominant woman.

Fortunately, I think kink itself might be a hack for that problem. Basically, getting aroused enough to want to initiate sex takes a combination of turning on the ons and turning off the offs. You can rev the engine as much as you want, but if you don’t release the brakes you’re not going anywhere. In a happy healthy d/s relationship, the trust that your partner will do what you tell them to do could help turn off the offs and the act of them submitting to you could help turn on the ons. Then again, any healthy relationship, kinky or not, where you feel safe and trusting is going to be good for your sex life in general, so does adding kink fundamentally change anything? I have no idea, but I think it’s an interesting question.

Another thing that might help is for the submissive man to learn to seduce his partner. There’s a fine line between seduction and manipulation, but if you know your partner well and know what turns her on, it’s possible to present yourself in a context that makes the answer to “would you like to come have your way with me?” “why yes, yes I would.” It’s about setting up a situation where she feels relaxed and sexy and playful, not about sugar-coating plain old pushiness.

Also, if we’re talking about kink and differing types of desire, we pretty much have to talk about chastity, if only to yell about how it’s not a silver fucking bullet! Just because you’re not having sex doesn’t mean you’re not still trying to make the world revolve around your dick. If you and your partner enjoy chastity play for its own sake and are really good at communicating your needs, then you absolutely might be able to use chastity as a way to do fun sexy things without pressuring the responsive partner to have sex they’re not necessarily into. But on the other hand if your partner just wants a goddamn break from the pressure to sexually service you, then a chastity device is going to backfire horribly. By the same token, if your dom thinks using a chastity device means they don’t have to give a shit about your sexual needs, they’re probably a bad partner for you and a jerk besides.

Responsive desire exists and is totally normal, but may be even more complicated for dominant women than it is for everyone else given the way our culture says spontaneous desire is the one true way (fuck the one true way).