consent and the everyday submissive

As anyone who’s ever thought for more than a few seconds about BDSM should know, the magic word is consent. Safe, sane, consensual, risk-aware consensual, safewords and so on. If it isn’t consensual, it isn’t kink. We all know that much.

So where does the so-called 24/7 relationship fit into this? Is consent no longer an issue for people in such relationships? Is it given once and than assumed to be given constantly–the submissive agrees to the 24/7 relationship, and the dominant does whatever they want from then on out? More broadly, are those “24/7” people real or are they making it all up to sound More Kinkier Than Thou? What’s the deal?

Well, I have no idea what other people do, I only know what they write online. I can explain, however, what K and I do in our relationship–call it what you will; I don’t call it anything in particular. All I can say is that kink permeates nearly every aspect of our domestic lives, and this is how we interpret consent, for us:

1. In terms of the literal definition of “24/7,” no, we do not actually practice kink every second of every day for every week all year round. That would be exhausting and nearly impossible under the normal requirements of real life–we are real people with real housework, jobs, social lives and so on. But we do integrate our kink into most facets of our relationships, well outside the realm of bedroom activities. Sometimes I wash dishes because they need washing, and sometimes I wash dishes because I’m ordered to. Sometimes K puts on her shoes because she needs to leave the house for work, and sometimes I put them on for her because she needs to leave the house for work. Sometimes she says “please” and “thank you” and sometimes she doesn’t–and the absence of such isn’t rude, it’s an expression of dominance. In a word, we have house rules.

2. We operate under a general framework of consent. Put another way, the probability of my not consenting to an activity is extremely, extremely low. So K works under the assumption that most things she does will be okay with me, and needs not ascertain consent for each and every activity.

This is somewhat akin to the way that vanilla people in established relationships assume certain liberties with each others’ bodies. When you are first dating, you might feel anxious or require permission to put your hands under her shirt, or to put your arm around his waist without asking. Once the relationship has been established, you can do these things nearly subconsciously without requiring permission to enter your partner’s personal space. K doesn’t need to ask if she can do hurtful things to me, it’s assumed. I don’t like each and every thing she does to me, but generally, I like that she does them and I’m okay with it.

3. But this doesn’t mean that consent can’t be revoked. I don’t mean entirely, as in the dissolution of the D/s relationship, but rather on a case-by-case basis. This most often happens when K will ask my permission to do something that, technically, she doesn’t need to ask for. E.g., I don’t particularly enjoy having my nipples played with, but most times K won’t ask before torturing them–my dislike is really not a factor. Other times, such as when I’m having a bad day, she might give me the possibility to refuse. That’s a courtesy, and a gift to me, to return my consent temporarily…

I think it’s also understood that I could voluntarily revoke it, temporarily or for a specific activity–maybe, I’m not sure. Perhaps it would require some negotiation; I’ve yet to do this. If we ever found ourselves in a situation where I needed to, it would probably mean something was seriously out of whack.

Ultimately, I rely heavily on K’s intuitive understanding of my needs and abilities. Our system works because she knows what I can take, and what I want–and doesn’t push me beyond my boundaries or at inappropriate times. When it comes down it, that’s what makes our relationship not that different from any other kind of relationship and differentiates our dynamic from one of abuse. We are also exceptionally well matched in terms of interests, which means that she very rarely asks me to do submit to things that I don’t enjoy. Except sometimes she does…but that’s the subject of another post.

Protected: shower time

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million-dollar question:

Can I learn to tie a Windsor knot? How about with my eyes closed?

….before Friday?

the sea was airtight

Five days without her, counting from now. The house and me, sleeping pets, silent plants. If we had TV I’d turn the news on just to hear someone talking. It’s entertaining, really, how much it upsets me–the memory of her hand on my shoulder, fingers brushing tears off my cheek, whispering be a good girl, now–how silly I am.

When we were still in college, we would go days and days without seeing each other. A date on the weekend, looking forward to the next. That was fine; I liked the space. That was being a real woman, an independent person– I was me and she was she and that’s how I wanted it. And now she’s been gone for three hours and already I can feel the silence invading my head.

You are driving your little sedan on the highway, singing to some bad rock station, swearing at the other drivers–you hate the ones who skip three lanes to get to the exit. You are going home to your family, your annoying teenage brother, that sister I’ve never met, your mother and your cats, and you will have a great time with them, and I will miss you and wait, I will miss you and wait until you come back.

I will lie in our bed and touch myself the way you would, imagine your fingers in my hair, the way you hold me still and tell me I belong to you. I will wake up with your scent on the pillows, soft and full, holding myself tight. I will miss you and wait, miss you and wait until you come back.

Protected: role-playing: who are you today?

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the truth about boys

In the last few months I’ve found myself in some situations that have made me think a lot about my own sexuality. Sexual orientation, gender, identity in general. What do I like? And what does that make me?

First off, a bit of history. I identify as a lesbian. I came out when I was 15, went right back in, came out again, dated a few girls–and since have been with quite a few more. Girls are where my mind goes. My body. My love. I cannot imagine being romantically involved with a man for any length of time, at this point.

I did date a boy for nearly a year, though, some time ago. He was a good person, and a kind person, and I loved him intensely. This caused me a great deal of consternation at the time–how could I be with him, when thus far I’d only loved women? But that’s a reductionist way of thinking. Nobody is one thing all the time, there are no solid rules in life, there are always exceptions. And that’s okay.

And I do occasionally have sex/do kink with male-bodied persons. It’s not an emotional thing. Sometimes I’m not sure why I do it– I find it strange, the way their bodies are arranged, and the desire I have for them is entirely different than what I feel for the women in my life. But when I have an opportunity to get nekkid with someone that I find attractive, I don’t usually pass it up, and I’m not going to avoid doing something because it doesn’t fit into a certain specific category. So I do sometimes have sex with men (if that’s still what you call it when someone ties you up, pulls out a flogger, and fingers you til you beg), and I try not to feel weird about it.

In my mind, none of this makes me bi, because I’m not attracted to men in general (I am the last person to notice a “hot guy,” and frequently don’t get it even when explained), and the way in which I am attracted to them is fickle and very specific. I think of it kind of like this: I am “oriented”—like a compass, that always swings around–mostly towards girls, but even more so towards dominance. Meaning: I always look at a pretty girl, but give me a pretty girl who’s sexually dominant and I’ll make a beeline for her. Now, give me a boy who’s dominant in the right way and I might possibly pay him some attention too. As Pat Califia once wrote:

I identify more strongly as a sadomasochist than as a lesbian. I hang out in the gay community because that’s where the sexual fringe starts to unravel. Most of my partners are women, but gender is not my boundary. I am limited by my own imagination, cruelty, and compassion, and by the greed and stamina of my partner’s body. If I had a choice between being shipwrecked on a desert island with a vanilla lesbian and a hot male masochist, I’d pick the boy.(“A Secret Side of Lesbian Sexuality,” The Advocate, Dec. 1979)

That’s fairly similar to how I think about myself. My emotional connections have mostly to do with women, and in that way I consider myself a lesbian, but when it comes to sexual attraction I’m primarily submissive. It’s a bit difficult to explain, but it works pretty well for me.

waking up wet

In my dream I am in her truck, just like in real life. This woman I have had such a crush on, the one with the cigarette fingers and crewcut hair, who makes me tremble and look at the floor, dripping. In my dream I am in her blue pickup, we are parked, (or is she driving?), we are staring out the windshield into a fog. I feel her hand on the neck of my shirt, fingering the hem of fabric, brushing my skin so soft, so soft, she does not talk but the air almost vibrates. She brushes my nipple, all of me held between two calloused fingers, she takes my hand and guides it to her lap. One foot on the pedal.

We talk but the fog obstructs. I can’t remember the words but I remember the hardness of her cock through her jeans, the sudden shudder of understanding as I unzip, tooth by tooth, and take her out. Little fingers wrapping tight, twisting, turning the soft warm flesh (in my dream I am unsure, is it silicone or is it real?), pumping it into her, against her clit, til she grunts and grabs me by the hair…

and I wake up wondering, when?