Living with Conflict

I have a dear friend who simply does not understand my affinity for BDSM. Despite countless in-depth conversations, in which I do my level best to explain it to him, he persists in his belief that submission is demeaning and that everyone really prefers freedom.

Believing himself to be an open-minded person, he has constructed an illusion in which he does support submission. He does this by re-defining, in his own mind at least, what submission is; or by inventing a complicated argument that submission is in fact dominance. By clinging to this dubious construct, he can appear to agree with me, while never actually changing his beliefs.

He doesn’t get it. He probably never will. And I must live with that.

The illusion works for him within the limits of a conversation about abstract thought, when his ideas are not put to the test. But inevitably, something concrete will happen that forces the abstraction to materialize into action. Then, his actions do not bear out his conciliatory words. The curtain is pulled aside, and his true beliefs are revealed. And the truth is that he just doesn’t get it. He probably never will. And I must live with that.

It pains me to be at odds with my dear friend over this important aspect of my life. I would love to share my joy with him, but I can’t, because he doesn’t believe in it. While painful, conflict in a relationship is not at all unusual. I think we all find ourselves, at some point, having a major difference of opinion within the context of a close relationship. When it happens, must we choose between winning the argument and preserving the relationship? Is it possible to prove your point without hurting the other person? Is it necessary to capitulate, to keep the friendship intact? Or must we avoid conflict at all costs, agreeing not to mention certain issues, or pretending that the conflict does not exist?

We are genetically more invested in winning arguments than in thinking clearly.

These questions become even more complicated when we consider the fact that humans are inherently irrational – even the ones who most adamantly claim to be rational. Scientists have demonstrated that we are genetically more invested in winning arguments than in thinking clearly. It has been proven countless times that facts usually do not change our minds. We – all of us – experience something called “confirmation bias,” a trait that is hard-wired into our genes. It means that we all tend to embrace information that supports our current beliefs and reject information that contradicts them.

Furthermore, we also have a trait called “cognitive immunization” which means that the stronger our beliefs, the less likely it is that facts will sway us… no matter how true the facts are. The person you are arguing with probably will not be swayed by logic, reason or facts that contradict his or her beliefs. In fact, it is more likely that he or she will just become more entrenched.

Given that this is true, when two people have conflicting beliefs, it seems to me that arguing is pointless.

Given the choice between proving my point, and preserving the health of a relationship, I choose the relationship. Every time.

Given the choice between proving my point, and preserving the relationship, I choose the relationship. Every time.

So, I must let go of my disappointment that my dear friend does not share my understanding of submission. My dear friend is very important to me, and I want him in my life. I find great joy in submission, but I do not wish to wreck a friendship by insisting on winning an argument.

I also suspect that if I chose to associate only with friends who agree with my beliefs about submission, that would be a form of confirmation bias. My friends have many shades of beliefs and opinions about submission and BDSM. It is quite a varied tapestry. Total unanimity on this or any point probably cannot be achieved. And a circle of friends who all think alike could be a little boring.

So, I will accept the presence of the conflict and learn to co-exist with that tension. I will stop trying to convince anyone of the truth of my beliefs. Living with conflict is not comfortable. But there are many, many other things about those relationships that make them totally worth the effort.

Happy 9th Anniversary, Master!

9th Anniversary

A long time ago, in a sim far, far away,

Walter took Camryn as his submissive.

Nine years have passed since that day.

The Force is strong with this couple!

Master, may the Love be with you, always!

Happy 9th Anniversary, Master! Thank you for 9 fabulous years!

Bigotry and Ignorance at HG Visionz Magazine, Opensimulator, Hypergrid

Bigotry is a commitment to ignorance. In the Information Age, ignorance is a choice.

Recently Walter was asked by the staff of HG Visionz, a small online magazine that covers various Opensim features, to submit an article about Littlefield Grid’s BDSM regions. At their request, Walter wrote a great article highlighting those regions on Littlefield Grid that cater to people who enjoy BDSM.

We were just informed that, even though the article was written at their request, the “staff” (which I think means one or two people) decided not to publish it because — get this — although the article was very general in nature, with no adult content, the acronym BDSM was deemed to be X-rated.

This was clearly a not-very-well-concealed pretext for displaying the prejudice of the “editor” against BDSM. Is there a fear that simply reading those four letters might make someone think about… omg… SEX?!? Well, then, I am sure that HG Visionz will also decline to publish any article that mentions lesbian, gay or transgender communities, since that acronym LGBTQ is clearly too dangerous to read.

Or, for that matter, they had better decline any article that mentions marriage, or romance, or dancing. Especially dancing. And rock music. You know, like it says in the movie Footloose, dancing leads to relaxed morality. We certainly can’t have any of that in Opensim!

Sarcasm aside, I continue to be astounded by the ignorance displayed about BDSM. Even more so, by the fervor with which some people willfully cling to that ignorance. That is what makes it rise to the level of bigotry. Bigotry is an emotional commitment to ignorance about groups of people. And in the information age, ignorance is a choice.

What’s even more astounding is the hypocrisy behind the public posturing. It is well known that “adult” activities are wildly popular throughout the virtual world. I’ll wager there are very few people who haven’t tried sex animations. And of those who have, I’m sure a hefty percentage also enjoyed at least a little bedroom bondage, if not more.

D/s relationships are founded upon love and respect.

First let me address the ignorance head-on. D/s, the foundation of BDSM and the central letters of the fearsome acronym, stands for Dominance and submission, which is a consensual agreement between a couple where one person surrenders control to the other. Within that extremely broad container, there are many different types of relationships; I’m not asserting that all are the same. But in my experience, any sexual content in most of those relationships is no more public than that of “vanilla” couples. In the eight and a half years we have been together, Walter and I have never had sex in public, only in our own home or on our own sims.

Also in my experience, D/s relationships are founded upon love and respect. I made a consensual choice. I chose to surrender control to Walter because it gives me pleasure to do that, and it gives him pleasure too. I wear a collar, which is not a symbol of slavery, but a symbol of love and commitment to the vows we made… not unlike a wedding ring.

But, you know, love and commitment… those are things that HG Visionz can’t mention in their magazine, because they seem to believe that love and commitment are not family-friendly.

Anyone with any knowledge at all of BDSM knows that the attitude of the HG Visionz “staff” is ignorant. It’s important to me to speak up about it, because perpetuating that kind of ignorance is a very, very dangerous habit.

They may believe that we should keep to ourselves and only whisper about our relationship behind closed doors. LGBTQ people have been told the same thing. Thankfully, they realized that keeping their loving relationships secret simply helped to feed the ignorance and bigotry, and the hate that grew from it. They stepped into the light, and showed the world that gay couples can be a shining example of love and commitment. They can have children and raise families that are just as wonderful (and just as flawed) as straight families. They are human, with all the promise and possibilities of any other humans. Had they remained in the shadows, the world at large might never have figured that out.

By relegating BDSM relationships to the shadows of “x-rated” content, HG Visionz Magazine is participating in the fostering of hate, by choosing to be committed to ignorance. That is bigotry.

And in the 21st century, it is a disappointment to find people still trying to justify it.

Get over it

Dear world:

Yes. I am a strong, intelligent, secure, capable, boringly normal woman who is in a D/s relationship. Get over it, already.

Do not for a moment imagine that I have low self-esteem. I own who I am, I am humble about my challenges (we all have some), and I am proud of my gifts, abilities and accomplishments.

Do not imagine that I cannot recognize spite and petty jealousy when I see it.

Do not call me a doormat. I am independent and self-sufficient and there is only -one- person who gets to tell me what to do.

Do not call me weak. My way of life requires a reserve of inner strength you only wish you had.

Do not call me passive. I made a carefully considered decision, of my own free will, with clarity of mind, heart and conscience. Our life is a mutual, consensual choice.

Do not call me a bimbo. I have exquisite taste and I don’t wander around dressed like a hooker. My sex life is as private as yours, and probably no kinkier.

And p.s. It’s none of your business anyway.

I have been given the gift of submission, the freedom to surrender, the grace to trust, the privilege to love.

If that bothers you, I’m not the one with the problem.

Everyone should be so lucky as me.

.

(reprinted from 2010)

Six Things That Make You a Better Submissive

the submissiveA new submissive recently asked my advice. It made me smile to think that I’ve been doing this long enough, and that my contentment is so evident, that someone should think my advice worth having.

I am happy to share what I told her. Although she asked for “advice” and it is just easier, language-wise, to write it as such, I would not normally tell anyone what they should do. D/s relationships are all very different, and there is not much that is objectively “right” or “wrong” about them. What works for me, in a 24/7 TPE relationship, may not work for someone who is into “bedroom bondage” or time-limited “scenes.” With that disclaimer, I will share random thoughts that are probably valid for all submissives.

It’s your choice.

D/s relationships, even TPE (Total Power Exchange) relationships, are a consensual power exchange. “Consensual” is the important word there. You choose to surrender your power to Him, but that choice is yours. From that point on, by mutual agreement, choices are not up to you; they are His. You both enter into a consensual agreement for your mutual pleasure: you agree to give up control, and He agrees to accept it. Never forget that it is a choice; and one for which you both must take responsibility.

Let go.

Once you have submitted, go all in and relinquish control. Don’t tell Him what to do. Don’t argue. Don’t give Him 29 reasons why not. Just give in and accept His will.

I find it amusing when submissives wax poetic about “the gift of submission” and how they long for it, yet they don’t actually submit. Don’t say “Yes, if…” or “Yes, but…” Just say “Yes, Master.” Let go of your own will, and accept the gift of His domination. That thrill is what you’re in this for, isn’t it?

Don’t worry if you don’t submit fully the first time, or even the first ten times. Most subs need time for the trust to deepen. Your dominant should be helping you with that. Go easy on yourself. Listen to Him and accept His guidance.

If something absolutely goes against your grain, you need to be able to speak to your dominant about it. Which brings me to my second piece of advice.

Respect yourself.

A D/s relationship must be built on mutual respect (even if you are into humiliation). You must respect your dominant, but He also must respect you – and most importantly, you must respect yourself.

Giving control to another person can be thrilling, but you must have power before you can give it away. If you have no self-control, you aren’t ready for the discipline of a D/s relationship.

Delight in abandoning that control to another, but know where the safety switch is. Respect yourself enough not to let anyone damage your emotional, physical or financial health. Your dominant should care for you, but you have a responsibility to care for yourself, too. If you can’t care for yourself, you may lose the ability to give anything to Him. So speak up when you are in trouble; He needs to know, and it is the responsible thing to do. If your dominant does not want to hear about your needs, you may be in an abusive D/s relationship (and not in a good way).

Be generous.

Do not confuse “submissive” with “passive.” Submission may focus on being receptive and open, but this is not just about you. Pleasure should flow both ways.

Learn to be giving. Be observant; open your eyes and ears and heart, to see and hear and feel what pleases Him. Then give pleasure generously. A good dominant will do the same for you. The best dominants know what you need even more than you do.

Refrain from criticizing. Be very careful about humor; for some women, poking fun, in the guise of humor, is nothing more than thinly veiled criticism. Being critical is one of the most toxic things you can do to any relationship, D/s or otherwise. Instead of telling Him what you think He’s doing wrong, tell Him what He’s doing right. Remind Him why you admire Him. Look for and honor the best in Him.

Above all, in everything, be kind. None of us are perfect. If you want Him to forgive your shortcomings, be willing to forgive His. Compassion and simple kindness are in short supply in this world, and there’s no reason they should be, since they cost nothing to give.

Respect Him.

king and pawnI am continually horrified by the lack of simple respect shown by some submissives. Submitting to His control is only part of it. Observing correct protocol is one important way to show respect, but that should be a visible expression of a deeper conviction. If you have chosen to submit to this dominant, it should be because you respect Him. That conviction, in your heart, should be evident. Everyone should be able to tell.

You show respect in your speech and actions. You also show respect by being loyal, by being present, by being attentive, and by being faithful. It shows when you ask for His advice and guidance, and when you follow it. It shows in how you speak to Him, and how you speak about Him to others, even (especially) when He is not present. It shows when you support Him, and when you honor the people, ideas and things that are important to Him.

Lighten up.

As you give and receive pleasure, remember that laughter is one of the greatest pleasures. You don’t have to be serious and dramatic all the time. It’s okay to be funny and even silly sometimes. Just be sensitive about the timing of your silliness and keep it kind.

I don’t think I am particularly wise. These random thoughts are merely a summary of the things that I have learned by the good fortune of having been in a loving D/s relationship for eight years. For this, I owe an eternal debt of gratitude to my wonderful Master, Walter Balazic, for teaching me everything, and for being so amazing.

To all submissives, I wish you all the best as you immerse yourself in the pleasures of a D/s relationship!

 

Happy 8th Anniversary Master!

8th Anniversary

Eight years ago today, Master, you gave me your collar, and in that moment I knew infinite joy. I am yours permanently, to infinity and beyond! I love you Master 🙂

 


(The background photo: “infinity room” mirrored art installation by Yayoi Kusama 2009. The artist intended it to symbolize eternal life; to me it captures my unending happiness as yours, stretching from that day eight years ago, to infinity and beyond!)