Living with extreme weather

Weather is what makes Earth inhabitable. Solar rays heat the tropics year-round. As the planet spins at 1,000 miles an hour at the equator, low pressure causes rising moist air to spread out and move north and south. Ocean currents are similar in that they transfer surface heat into the sub-tropical and temperate zones. Dense cold air sinks from the polar regions and is drawn in by pressure differentials to replace the sun churned heated air. Seasons changes through the axial tilt of the planet.

All this simply means that for most people, the places we live are where crops are grown and animals farmed. Cities became possible only when agriculture could replace hunting-gathering as a means of supporting an expanding population. Food and potable water determines the suitability of settlements: technology has made it possible to inhabit nearly every climate zone safely, if not in comfort.

Living in areas that used to be marginal—such as floodplains, ocean-sides etc—is often a choice not a necessity in the developed world. Not so for the poor, who are most often the victims of extreme weather. Lack of zoning and political oversight is often blamed, along with cheap insurance, for allowing people to build structures and live in places that are repeatedly damaged by storms. This is true; however, there is no place safe from extreme weather.

Should everyone evacuate from the coasts? From all islands? Everywhere there is a chance of a blizzard or sub-zero temps? Away from rivers and lakes that flood? What about deserts? We can’t control the weather. We can control how we plan for disasters such as Hurricane Irma.

As the aftermath has shown, Florida is largely habitable because of air conditioning and insect control. Without both, there would be a mass exodus back north into cooler climes. But I grew up in Wisconsin, summers there are even hotter than Florida. Why? Because hot air from the Gulf of Mexico flows all the way into Canada during the summer months. It’s not hot all the time like it is in the semi-tropics, but it gets really, really hot without any chance of rain.

The Midwest suffers from another problem though; tornadoes. Should people be forced to leave Texas, Oklahoma and the rest of ‘Tornado Alley’ because it costs too much to repair property year after year? Well, Europe has their share of extreme tornadoes. In fact, in England, one of the strongest tornadoes ever struck London on October 23rd, 1091. There were only about 18,000 people living in London at that time. Maybe the tens of millions of people who live there now, should all leave in case it happens again.

My point is, weather happens; extreme weather happens, and no matter how much or little you prepare, you can’t control the outcome. Yes, you need to have non-perishable food, gallons of water and maybe a generator, but no plan is perfect. We live in a just-in-time consumer society, and as Texas and Florida have shown, there is not enough fuel, batteries, water, plywood and other storm supplies in stores, when millions of people try to purchase in volumes that normally would last for months. Not to mention that evacuation routes can’t possibly handle everyone trying to leave at once.

When it comes to surviving a storm, luck matters as much as preparation. Where you live only changes what the threat may be. If not hurricanes, then wildfires. If not tornadoes, then flash floods. If not droughts, then avalanches. We have more information than ever before, but sometimes too much knowledge makes the right decision even harder.

Don’t forget the SPF69

The next frontier for adventurous—yet discerning—travelers? Vacationing in the buff. At least that’s what a growing string of nude resorts are betting on as they fancy things up to lure a well-heeled clientele. Davy Rothbart ditched his drawers to find out whether there’s actually such a thing as high-class nudity.

Thus begins an article called, Inside the Clothing-Optional Resort of Your Swinging Dreams, in the August 2017 edition of GQ Magazine. The author travels to Cancún, Mexico and checks into the Desire Pearl, a clothing optional rather than nudist resort. As he states:

The free spirits flocking to Desire Riviera Maya Pearl Resort, I figured, had to be a different sort. With nightly rates during high season of $700 to $1,500, this place wasn’t for hippies. So, then, who was coming? And how was it that Desire Pearl and a string of establishments like it were booked solid for months at a time?

Within a few hours, Davy makes his way to the pool area, complete with bar and cabanas. The Desire Pearl caters to those seeking more than simply getting a suntan in the buff. After meeting a first-time couple, married with three children, they quickly discover that inhibitions have been shed along with swimsuits.

In that moment, a murmur swept across the Jacuzzi. Half the folks in the water turned their attention toward one of the six cabanas that ring the oversize tub. There, a tall, young, freckled woman was giving her boyfriend a sensual blow job, her ass waving in the air behind her. Rob’s and Laura’s eyes went wide. I have to admit, no matter how much sex you’ve seen in movies or on bookmarked sites on your laptop, it feels crazy to watch real people go at it, just yards away.

Sure, I’d prepared myself to see some amorous behavior, but I’d imagined it’d be fleeting and discreet. Swinging, I had deduced before arriving, was a fact of life at Desire Pearl—and the possibility of a little public sex (perhaps with someone new) must have been a draw for some couples. I knew all that. But even when the trailhead signs warn about bears and rattlesnakes, you’re still a little surprised when you see them.

Although it may be a key attraction for some, the prospect of sex with strangers isn’t explicitly advertised by Desire Pearl. There’s talk, on the resort’s website, of the “erotic,” “sensual,” “open-minded atmosphere” but almost no explicit mention of swinging. Why all this coded language? According to Daniel, one of two Americans who work at Desire Pearl selling vacation packages, the obfuscation allows for a level of discretion, even deniability. If your colleagues or acquaintances from church start Googling around about your vacation, they’re not going to learn too much.

Of course, as Daniel notes, not everybody is here for sex—you’ve got plenty of standard-issue nudists, and also people just drawn by the edgy atmosphere. “Only some are swingers,” he told me. “Others like the freedom of hanging in the pool naked.” The appeal is pretty broad, actually: It’s a tranquil destination where you can step outside of everyday life. There’s an open bar all day and night and a slew of naked people you can flirt with and maybe have sex with. Think of it as Vegas on HGH, a place to let your id off the leash. “The demand is large and growing,” one longtime Desire Pearl staffer told me. “People want ultimate freedom. We provide it.”

The article goes on to explain all the rules about nudity not being allowed in the restaurants, sex only in the cabanas or the ‘Sin Room’ and absolutely no harassment of staff or fellow guests. It paints a picture of safe hedonism far from the grubby club scene. By the end of their stay, the couple he first met winds up swinging with an experienced pair after a late night of partying.

There’s no D/s or spanking going on, or at least none mentioned, but again, the tone of the reporting is constrained and slightly skeevy. I’m actually getting quite discouraged at reading numerous magazines that focus on the ‘abnormal’ aspects of nudity, sex and kink, instead of saying: “America, get your collective heads out of your asses and start accepting the joy of sex.”

For most people though, a vacation—of any kind—is hard to afford. I guess stay-at-home nudism will have to suffice.

Transgender ban versus science

The ban on transgender individuals serving in the United States military was reinstated on August 25th, by the current President. This was not a surprise given the rhetoric during the campaign and the promises made to the winning electoral base. Given the plethora of ‘fake news’ accusations being hurled by ‘both sides’, I wanted to contrast the decision to sign the ban, with a trio of recent articles in magazines.

Before I link to the information, I wanted to state for the record that, although I do not identify as LGBTQ or any of the currently more than 50 ‘labels’ for gender’; I do understand what it’s like to exist with different genders and orientations inside. As a multiple personality who is male by birth, has an incredibly vibrant and compassionate woman as the strongest other, and who himself is several personalities removed from the original boy: I know from first-hand knowledge that gender is not genitals, but centered in the mind.

The January 2017 issue of National Geographic Magazine, featured a transgender girl on the cover. The article title, How Science Is Helping Us Understand Gender, leads into an exploration of how the mind and hormones determine gender. I doubt very much if the issue changed many minds, but it certainly solidified my support for transgender rights.

National Geographic, by Robin Marantz Henig: Many of us learned in high school biology that sex chromosomes determine a baby’s sex, full stop: XX means it’s a girl; XY means it’s a boy. But on occasion, XX and XY don’t tell the whole story.

Today we know that the various elements of what we consider “male” and “female” don’t always line up neatly, with all the XXs—complete with ovaries, vagina, estrogen, female gender identity, and feminine behavior—on one side and all the XYs—testes, penis, testosterone, male gender identity, and masculine behavior—on the other. It’s possible to be XX and mostly male in terms of anatomy, physiology, and psychology, just as it’s possible to be XY and mostly female.

Each embryo starts out with a pair of primitive organs, the proto-gonads, that develop into male or female gonads at about six to eight weeks. Sex differentiation is usually set in motion by a gene on the Y chromosome, the SRY gene, that makes the proto-gonads turn into testes. The testes then secrete testosterone and other male hormones (collectively called androgens), and the fetus develops a prostate, scrotum, and penis. Without the SRY gene, the proto-gonads become ovaries that secrete estrogen, and the fetus develops female anatomy (uterus, vagina, and clitoris).

But the SRY gene’s function isn’t always straightforward. The gene might be missing or dysfunctional, leading to an XY embryo that fails to develop male anatomy and is identified at birth as a girl. Or it might show up on the X chromosome, leading to an XX embryo that does develop male anatomy and is identified at birth as a boy.

Genetic variations can occur that are unrelated to the SRY gene, such as complete androgen insensitivity syndrome (CAIS), in which an XY embryo’s cells respond minimally, if at all, to the signals of male hormones. Even though the proto-gonads become testes and the fetus produces androgens, male genitals don’t develop. The baby looks female, with a clitoris and vagina, and in most cases will grow up feeling herself to be a girl.

Which is this baby, then? Is she the girl she believes herself to be? Or, because of her XY chromosomes—not to mention the testes in her abdomen—is she “really” male?

Continuing the gender wars, Vogue magazine weighs into the fight with two articles in the August 2017 edition. This first tackles the fashion industry with the quote “You see boys wearing makeup, girls buying menswear—they are not afraid to be who they are. This category or that category—who cares? They want to define themselves.” The essay itself leads off linking Virginia Woolf with Tumbler.

Vogue Magazine by Maya Singer: Midway through Virginia Woolf’s novel Orlando, a startling transformation takes place: Our hero, Duke Orlando, awakens from a seven-day slumber to find that he has switched genders. “Orlando had become a woman,” Woolf writes, “but in every other respect, Orlando remained precisely as he had been. The change of sex, though it altered their future, did nothing whatever to alter their identity.”

He becomes they. The pronouns shift, but the person remains the same. Woolf’s words, written in 1928, could easily be mistaken for a manifesto posted yesterday on Tumblr, the preferred platform for the growing cohort of “fluid” young people who, like Orlando, breezily crisscross the XX/XY divide. Fashion, of course, has taken note of the movement, which is sufficiently evolved to boast its own pinups, including Jaden Smith, recently the star of a Louis Vuitton womenswear campaign, and androgynous Chinese pop star (and Riccardo Tisci muse) Chris Lee. But where, exactly, is someone neither entirely he nor she meant to shop? And how, exactly, is such a person to be defined?

This new blasé attitude toward gender codes marks a radical break.

“I have a friend who identifies as ‘all boy, all girl, all male, all female,’” says Gypsy Sport designer Rio Uribe, who is known for his party-like fashion shows cast with pals from all along the gender spectrum. “It’s like—what is that? But it doesn’t matter what it is.” Eluding the labels, constructing an identity apart—for Uribe, that’s “a clapback to a society that wants to define you.”

For a demographic so keenly attuned to being looked at, style serves as a convenient means of liberation. And so it’s always been, as Marc Jacobs points out.

“These kids—I’m not sure they’re any different from the people I saw at Danceteria or Mudd Club in the eighties,” Jacobs says. “The difference is that back then, the expression—extreme looks, cross-dressing, what have you—was hidden away in a speakeasy or a club. Today, thanks to the Internet, that culture is widely exposed.”

The second article builds upon the National Geographic story, by interviewing parents and their transgender children. How the Parents of Trans Teens Are Fighting for Their Kids’ Lives, shows how love and acceptance can be a powerful force for change when faced with an often hostile school system, medical and insurance industries in denial, and the suicide provoking pressures of a judgemental society bent on ridiculing those with differences.

Vogue Magazine by Rebecca Johnson: Almost a decade ago, Judy Caplan Peters’s four-year-old made an announcement that would shake their family’s values to its core. “Mommy,” the little one said, hand on chest as if to recite the pledge of allegiance, “I’m a boy.”

A simple enough statement except that, up until that moment, her child had been raised a girl. Sander*, as he’s known now, had been born with a girl’s anatomy, went by a girl’s name, and dressed in girls’ clothes.

His mother did not try to argue him out of it. She’d seen the signs, beginning with the phone calls from school advising that her child refused to sit with the girls when the students were divided by gender. Or saying that Sander had a headache, a stomachache, or just wasn’t feeling well and wanted to come home. She knew Sander was not happy on some fundamental level, which, for her, meant she did not have a choice in the matter. “You either love your child for who they are,” she says, “or you don’t. It’s that simple.”

Simple but not easy. “I had to go through a grieving process,” Caplan Peters admits, “because I was losing my daughter, but then you realize that your child is not dead or sick or lost, which, God forbid, some parents have to deal with. Your child is healthy. There is nothing wrong with them. This is how they were born.”

Previous generations of transgender people look at the children taking hormone-blocking drugs in awe. When the writer Andrew Solomon attended a gender conference to gather research for his groundbreaking book Far from the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity, he met trans people who openly wept when they encountered young people who would never have to go through what they had: puberty as the wrong sex. “It’s fantastic,” says novelist and trans activist Jennifer Finney Boylan about hormone treatment. “I was OK with my androgynous body as a child, but when puberty hit and the girls started going one way and I had to go with the brutes, I thought, Oh, no, this is going to be bad.” Thirty years later she transitioned to female, becoming one of the movement’s earliest and most articulate voices.

We in the BDSM community attract unwelcome attention and scorn for our chosen lifestyle, even though D/s and spanking is more mainstream than ever before. But being more visible doesn’t translate to being accepted. I grew up in a liberal/progressive big city, but even there, hetero marriage with a white picket fence was the ideal. I don’t ever recall a conversation or dialogue about sex outside the norm of male enters female and reproduces, and fluid gender was about as remote as watching live events on a mobile phone.

To give you a reference point, when I was a senior in high school, Bruce Jenner came for an assembly that was held at the track field. There was no way anybody in the audience of thousands, could have ever envisioned a day when he, would transition to she, and be known as Caitlyn. I was four years old when biracial marriage was declared legal in the United States, and six years old when the Stonewall riots happened in Greenwich Village.

I watched Star Wars seventeen times in the theater when I was thirteen, and ESPN launched just before I turned sixteen. When CNN started broadcasting the following year, I watched the first 24-hours without a break; enthralled that the world was now only a satellite linkup away. I don’t remember what year I got my first email account and scrolled through the World Wide Web via a dial-up modem, but back then, LGBTQ and BDSM information was very hard to find.

Every generation lays claim to the title of ‘Most Changes’, but for Baby Boomers such as myself, the sheer speed of social change playing out in live streaming color, belies the fact that—as Virginia Woolf wrote—fluid gender has always been a part of human existence. The acceptance of others who are different than us, is up to each individual. Who would have guessed that starting a blog eleven years ago would have led to discovering my true identity? But here I am, a straight Dom male, with a bi switch female always hovering around peering over my shoulder. I accept who we are.

So does she.

Attention!

I finished a book last week—I read at least a dozen books a week—called, Fighter Pilot: The Memoirs Of Legendary Ace Robin Olds. If you’re interested in the history of fighter pilots in WWII or Vietnam from an American perspective, then I can recommend this non-fiction book. This essay however, is not about any of the details of war, nor about Robin’s lifelong battle against the military hierarchy and political stupidity he blamed for losing Vietnam and costing countless lives, but about discipline.

From December 1967, to January 1971, he served as Commandant of Cadets at the United States Air Force Academy. On page 358 [the softback edition] is the following paragraph:

Some people saw a paradox in the notion of a maverick fighter pilot instilling discipline in the Corp of Cadets. Many thought fighter pilots were probably the most unruly, undisciplined bunch of people in the military. Complete nonsense, of course. Every aspect of a fighter pilot’s life demands strict discipline. Flying itself takes discipline. It is, in fact, both the end result of highly disciplined training and the constant application, through self-discipline, of the lessons of that training. I have a pet definition of discipline: It’s what makes a person do the right and proper thing under many different circumstances. That doesn’t mean by sheer instinct or innate ability, it means through knowledge gained by life experience, training and learned judgement. If discipline were instinctive, I wouldn’t be needed as commandant. To do the right thing moment to moment, a person needs to analyze and judge a situation correctly, make the right decision for the proper course of action, and then take that action. All these steps require discipline and training.

Now obviously Robin wasn’t taking about D/s, but his definition works quite well in terms of BDSM and all the various ways we interact in relationships. Doms and subs have to learn discipline, together and separate, so that each time life seems to throw the D/s off-course, there is a base of ever expanding knowledge to draw upon.
Many different posts from many different Doms and subs I’ve read recently, have a common theme of feeling lost, or overwhelmed by forces outside of their control. Not to be trite or make light of reality, but life sucks some of the time for everyone. I don’t claim to have any answers to any metaphysical questions D/s may raise, but I do know this: Love and respect go a long way when discipline becomes a matter of personal intimacy.

Justify my shame

We all have addictive personalities to some extent. It used to be thought that addiction was a moral failing found most often in the lower classes. Abuse of alcohol and drugs were the reasons that the poor stayed poor and uneducated due to bad blood. Studies have found though that addiction is 50% genetic and 50% poor coping skills. Because of the social stigma attached to addiction, most people don’t seek help until it’s too late. Even if assistance is available, the shame that is drilled into us by parents, teachers and religious institutions, make the guilt so overwhelming that most addicts believe they deserve to suffer.

Addiction vulnerability is the genetic, physiological, or psychological predisposition to engage in addictive behaviors. Source: Wikipedia

For a long time, too long, I considered my need for D/s and spanking to be an addiction; thus shameful and the ultimate source of my guilt. I justified that need by saying to myself, I could stop at any time, it was only words and pictures. It wasn’t like I was actually hurting anyone.

That all started to change twelve years ago when I crawled up out of my self-imposed and self-created oubliette. When I began blogging—for non-D/s reasons—I gradually connected with many others who enjoyed spanking and BDSM and weren’t shy about stating their interest.

I discovered healthier ways of coping with my needs and today, I can finally state with conviction, that my need to spank and dominate is not shameful or weak or perverted. I am not addicted to D/s: D/s makes me a better person by holding myself accountable for my actions towards others.

I can give respect to all my readers and friends, because I can now be respectful towards my own desires. I want to spank. I want to be a Dom. There is no longer any reason to justify my shame.

Don’t forget to laugh

If there is one 52-second video that sums up what Lurv Spanking is all about, it’s this one.

This week’s essay is inspired by this article: 4 Signs That You Are Your Own Worst Enemy, in the August, 2017 issue of Oprah Magazine. I wanted to pull two paragraphs from Martha Beck’s essay that summed up the focus for me.

“Take the spotlight off yourself by learning the 20-40-60 rule. It’s a bit of folk wisdom that goes like this: At age 20, you’re sure everyone’s thinking about you. By the time you’re 40, you’re starting to care less that people are thinking about you. And when you hit 60, you realize the truth: No one was ever thinking about you. People are generally so busy being their own worst enemy that they don’t even notice your flaws.”

“A war against yourself can never be won; the only true victory happens when you lay down your arms and befriend the enemy. And if you can make peace with yourself, you’ll find the whole world becomes a kinder, gentler place.”

This a continuation of sorts from my previous essay “Breaking the martyr inside”, where I talked about the ways we harm ourselves with the best of intentions. Martha writes about how we are constantly warring with all those flaws—external and internal—that most people never even notice. It quickly becomes both a habit and self-filling prophecy to beat up ourselves for all our perceived shortcomings.

There is a difference of course, between those things we despise because we don’t have a perfect ass being bounced upon by a cute kitty, and genuinely harmful behaviors we should change or outgrow. Having a caring Dom can go a long way towards disarming the verbal hand grenades we lob at inopportune times, but unlike in real life, our ammunition called self-loathing, never runs out.

So laugh my friends. None of us are perfect. No matter how obedient and docile we appear on the outside, no amount of spanking and discipline can erase decades of mistakes; unless, and until, you open up that storage container and make love to your inner humanity.

Practicing a D/s diet

Hi y’all, it’s getting toward the end of the summer, and back-to-school adverts have already started. After working so hard to create a swimsuit body—cough-cough, yeah, right—it would be shame to gorge on carbs as the nights grow shorter. In the June, 2017 issue of GQ, there is an article called How to Fast: A guide for the Hungry Man. The author lays out two types of fasts. The 16:8 diet and the 5:2.

How It Works: the 16:8 plan. For an eight hour window a day, you eat however you normally do. For the other 16, fast. You can drink water, black coffee, and herbal tea. That’s it. You’re giving your body time to digest.

How It Works: the 5:2 plan. For five days a week, eat normally. For the other two, “fast” by limiting yourself to 600 calories a day. (And yes, booze counts.) A typical breakfast: a slice of ham and two scrambled eggs. Dinner is a protein-packed chicken salad.

By Jeff Vrabel: If you somehow stick with it, you’ll join a lineage of fasters dating back to Aristotle and Plato, who proved that even humanity’s deepest philosophers sweat their beach bodies. Fasting may actually put us closer to our natural state; some experts think humans aren’t designed for three squares a day and that we mistakenly regard mild hunger as an emergency. Which is why, although our loinclothed ancestors only ate when they brought down a mastodon, we invented Doritos Locos Tacos.

Naturally, this got me wondering, what if D/s wasn’t 24/7, but restricted to either one of these fasts? As a Dom, you could only be in charge for eight hours a day. If you decide that sleep is not part of the hours, then that would leave you roughly eight out of sixteen awake hours to dominate your submissive. It could be breakfast to mid-afternoon; mid-morning to dinner; or mid-afternoon to bedtime. With only eight consecutive hours of D/s a day, how would you work around work? Use text and calls and pass on the physical for a day? It’s not so farfetched when you consider that if you take away sleep and work time, most people only have a 4 to 6 hour window in any case. Toss in a family, and that time slivers to minutes. Would a scheduled time work better?

The other plan, 5:2, is what I think most D/s couples+ would likely choose. Work is no longer M-F 9-to-5, but skipping all D/s twice a week, doesn’t sound all that bad when you consider that some days nothing happens anyway. This would take the pressure off in terms of feeling let down that there was no play time or spanking. The downside is deciding whether to take a two-day break, with five on, or some pattern where the breaks are further apart. Constantly starting and stopping may seem a hardship at first, but it may also ratchet up the intensity knowing that if time is wasted, then the wait will make the next on day feel more precious. So, any takers for a D/s diet?

Breaking the martyr inside

Most of my recent essays have been triggered by magazine articles—the paper kind no less. The March 2017 edition of Real Simple, had an article entitled, How to Conquer the Martyr Complex. The author Ingela Ratledge begins her essay with the following statement: Some highlighted quotations follow, but I recommend reading the entire article for the parallels between D/s and martyrdom.

Overdo. Complain. Repeat. Sounds like the worst motivational slogan ever, right? Welcome to how I roll. Biting off more than I can chew is standard procedure for me. (“Sure, I can volunteer for the spring carnival and make a résumé for my niece and cook multiple options for dinner!”) And so is feeling fried and resentful later on. I’ll corner my husband for a thorough debriefing on my saintliness, hoping he’ll be overcome by a powerful mix of gratitude and admiration (gradmiration, anyone?). Instead, he typically says, “Oh, you didn’t have to do all that.”
Of course, he’s right. In addition to juggling life’s many nonnegotiables, I’m taking on tons of extra-credit assignments—and accomplishing them through gritted teeth. I’m being…the M-word.
I have plenty of company. We’re surrounded by folks who perpetually sacrifice themselves and then kvetch about their lot. The question is, to what end? I get zero thrills from playing this unwinnable game of whack-a-mole. I’m weary of holding a grudge against those who swan around unburdened by phantom obligations.

“The concept of self-sacrifice can be found across all religions and cultures,” says Candida Moss, PhD, professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame and author of The Myth of Persecution. “If you live in the Western world, you are still influenced by the social values that mattered thousands of years ago.” Yep, she adds, even if you’re an atheist: “Dating back to ancient times, martyrs were regarded as brave, virtuous, and strong.” The critical difference is that historical martyrs, like Joan of Arc—as well as more modern martyrs, like Gandhi and Nelson Mandela—had higher goals. “Real martyrs stood for something,” says behavioral science expert David Emerald, cofounder of the Bainbridge Leadership Center. “For them, the suffering was not the point—it was secondary to their fight, and that’s been misplaced in current culture.”

But why are some of us more susceptible to this messaging than others? Much of it boils down to basic issues of self-worth. “Typically, martyrs don’t know how to validate and love themselves very well,” says Sharon Martin, a psychotherapist in San Jose, California. “They feel that their value is in serving others—so if they stop doing that, they will have no value.” Alas, altruism and ulterior motives make strange bedfellows, which is why bending over backward doesn’t offer a golden ticket to the promised land. Says Martin, “Martyrs don’t get a lot of warm feelings from doing good deeds.” So what’s keeping us in this racket? Partly it’s a matter of control. “Martyrs think that if they don’t do something, it won’t get done,” says Mazer. Or at least not properly. “The martyr operates on the assumption that he or she knows best and has the answer rather than an answer,” says Emerald, because the alternative—that our contributions aren’t actually essential—is downright destabilizing. “It’s a stab to the ego to admit that the world does not depend on you,” explains Emerald. Also, funneling the bulk of your energy into external situations provides a handy distraction: It gives you a pass on addressing your own vulnerabilities, goals, and shortcomings. How could you possibly be expected to finish that master’s, quit a job you despise, or make it to the gym when you’re so busy taking care of everything else?” “As a martyr, you don’t have to take personal responsibility,” says Mazer. “You can project your unhappiness and blame outward.” You may be trying to cover up the fact, says Garcy, “that you have no clue how to get from where you are to where you want to be.”

I will raise my hand and admit freely that I am a martyr of long-standing suffering both in my personal and professional life. I have always thought of myself as worthless, and have never been able to love who am I. I’m the worker bee/drone who does everything without asking, follows the rules, and then stews volcanic-like inside when nobody else gives a shit and I wind up mopping the floor of someone else’s mess. It has taken being out of work for the past 19 months to realize that I’m only responsible for my own actions and ethics.

Tomorrow is our 30th wedding anniversary, and for the entire time—plus the nearly two years we were dating—my wife has been ill, sometimes critically. For the past 19 months, I have been her 24/7 caretaker at home. The specific reasons and medical issues are not important, but she has been near death at least a dozen times since we’ve been together. In fact, when she was seven-years old, her parents and she were told she wouldn’t survive to adulthood. She’s now 53. Ironically, having been nursed by me, she’s in better health now, than at any time in the past. Going to the hospital only makes her sicker. The next hurdle is the possible amputation of her left leg below the knee: She goes back and forth on her decision; but it is her decision, not mine and not her doctors’. I fully support her no matter what happens.

What I took from the article in terms of similarities to D/s, is the way both Doms and subs struggle with doing it ‘right’ even more so than perfectly. Self-worth, and the lack thereof through depression, plays an outsize role in submission. The opposite, arrogance, leads many Doms down blind alleys where they abandon their subs for not being good enough for them. Whether you’re a Top or bottom, if you don’t realize that the world not only isn’t going to stop for you, but could care less about your accomplishments, then you’ll continue to be disappointed and upset when the people in your life don’t constantly pat you on the back. A simple thank you should suffice… or a good spanking.

Probably the most positive aspect of D/s though, is when both partners drop the resentment of martyrdom and make the effort to do things not for praise, but because caring for the other is the right thing to do. If both the Dom and sub take responsibility for themselves, instead of waiting to be rescued, and from a position of personal strength, use that self-confident energy to prioritize their partner’s needs, then both will want to keep caring instead of keeping score and holding grudges. Didn’t get spanked last night? It’s not a crisis. Forgot to take the trash out? The next pickup is fine. Didn’t notice the kitchen floor was waxed? Likely a rough day at the office.

Partners doesn’t mean clones. Men and women are different. Doms and subs are different. We all have different parents, different upbringings, different beliefs, different desires: We are each of us unique. The weaknesses and strengths are different as well. Have you ever given a gift without expecting something in return? Remember how good that felt? Maybe you paid for someones meal, or helped someone to cross the street. I know I’ve given directions hundreds of times before for the sheer pleasure of getting a smile of relief in return. I have to keep reminding myself that I don’t need to jump up and down waving ‘look at me, look at me’ every time I do something good.

Being a martyr leads to bad choices. Life is crappy for most people most of the time. We martyrs ruin the few happy moments by obsessing over what we should have done differently, said more eloquently, reacted more politely; instead of moving on, we squirrel away the slights—both real and imaginary—until our blood pressure nearly bursts our poor hearts. In a D/s situation, this doesn’t happen [shouldn’t happen] because there are protocols in place to prevent an escalation of emotions. Many times, an instant swat on the backside will serve as a placeholder until time is available for a real spanking. To be submissive means that martyrdom is no longer allowed and ranks right up there with back-talking, sulking and other forms of verbal and non-verbal communications that disrespect the D/s compact.

Note: I did not say disrespect the Dom. Being a martyr is not directed at others, it is aimed solely at self. The self that believes they will never be good enough, and are constantly letting others down by not working harder and better. When a submissive says to their Dom; ‘I’m a burden’, ‘I’ll never be what you want’, ‘I don’t know why you stay with me’, ‘I hate myself for feeling this way’. Those are all spanking violations. Write ’em a ticket, flip up the skirt, yank down the knickers, and give your sub a nice, long spanking for disrespect. How hard is up to you, but in this case, actions speak louder than words, although re-enforcing the discipline with loving praise will help to overcome the desire for self-harm.

Hi, my name is Lurv Spanking. I’m a recovering martyr. It’s been one year since I last hated myself.

The Submissive Mindset: What is it and how to reach it.

Seek a Zen-like state. Be the void where thoughts are soap bubbles drifting in morning mist. Your being is not manipulated by unwanted thoughts.

 

‘When does a submissive reach her goal?’
‘When her ego returns the starfish to the sea.’

 

The above was a comment I left on nora’s blog recently. She was bemoaning the fact that it is so hard to get into and stay in a submissive mindset when having been a take-charge dominant woman for so long. She’s not the only person struggling with maintaining the deep submissive posture that she craves. What today’s woman seeks is a calm oasis in the vast landscape of modern society. In the past, being submissive had different connotations.

I finished reading The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert last week. The blurb reads as follows:

Elizabeth Gilbert’s first novel in twelve years is an extraordinary story of botany, exploration and desire, spanning across much of the 19th century. The novel follows the fortunes of the brilliant Alma Whittaker (daughter of a bold and charismatic botanical explorer) as she comes into her own within the world of plants and science. As Alma’s careful studies of moss take her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, the man she loves draws her in the opposite direction—into the realm of the spiritual, the divine and the magical. Alma is a clear-minded scientist; Ambrose is a Utopian artist. But what unites this couple is a shared passion for knowing—a desperate need to understand the workings of this world, and the mechanism behind of all life.

The novel is a very ambitious fictional biography, and I will admit to enjoying the prose much more than the weak plot and shallow characters. The author weaves an undercurrent of sexuality throughout the novel by creating a mechanism whereby Alma Whittaker can explore masturbation through erotic books accidentally obtained in bulk library purchases by her wealthy father. The only detailed manuscript named in the novel is Cum Grano Salis [With a Grain of Salt] and is apparently a literary construct by the author. It is an erotic treatise; purportedly being the memoirs of a man exploring the many and nuanced pleasures to be found in “marvelous bodily pricks and holes”. On page 92, Elizabeth Gilbert writes the following excerpt from the book that her protagonist Alma is reading:

I have come to believe that there are some people who benefit both in body and mind by regular beatings to the naked posterior. Many times, I have seen this practice lift the spirits of both men and women, and I suspect it may be the most salubrious treatment we have at our disposal for melancholia and other diseases of the mind. For two years, I kept company with the most delightful maid, a milliner’s girl, whose innocent and even angelic orbs became firm and strong with repeated flagellation, and whose sorrows were routinely erased by the taste of the whip. As I have described earlier in these pages, I once kept in my offices an elaborate couch, made for me by a fine London upholsterer, specially fitted with winches and ropes. This maid liked nothing more than to be tied securely upon that couch, where she would hold my member in her mouth, sucking me as a child enjoys a stick of sugar, whilst a companion—

Sounds a bit like Ruby’s adventures in The Bumhampton Chronicles, doesn’t it? This is the only reference to corporal punishment in the entire novel, unless you count slavery and asylums as implied instances: or British sailors under the lash. In any event, submission is never directly stated or acted upon, but rather assumed to be the natural order of the Universe. God first, white Protestant males next—or Royalty if not American—followed by the wealthy; then white middle-class women and the unfortunate white poor who toiled dawn-to-dusk for survival lumped beneath. Catholics, Jews, African slaves and Natives of all areas around the globe, were not to be mentioned in polite society beyond scholarly publications created to cement the white man’s place at the top.

So is the author herself a spanko? That is unknown, however, the snippet she created in Cum Grano Salis and a few pages later, shows an interest in flagellation.

Leaving behind the novel, is there even such a thing as the submissive mindset? I wrote the Zen koan posted at the beginning of this essay, because the closest parallel I have experienced to a submissive mindset myself, is during intense zazen—meditation—when all the cares and worries and emotions that beset the waking mind, drifted away into a place of empty contentment. Religion has always been protective, sometimes violently so, towards meditation/prayer as a means of enforcing submission towards the Divine. Anything that smacks of secular interference into the mysteries of the Universe has always been ruthlessly suppressed. Medicine, literature, science, sexuality; all forms of free-expression continue to run afoul of the strict tenets of faith. Religions demand submission: on their terms; or else.

“It’s a dichotomy though that the more you want to be submissive in your thoughts, the harder it becomes to quiet the chattering mind.”

The above comment I wrote for missy’s blog on one of her frequent posts about desiring a more submissive mindset. For missy and nora, among many other women in D/s relationships, they want their Doms to impose their will and demand submission through actions and words. This is in fact, how religion, and other organizations including the military, create institutions that thrive with the mindset of obedience through rote training, intimidation and fear. That mindset though is diametrically opposite to how a successful D/s relationship operates through willing cooperation and respect.

In Gilbert’s novel, Alma’s father Henry is a tyrant, created thusly by the circumstances of birth, and an early life at sea as a cabin boy. In order to carve out a life for himself, all beneath him are submissive to his needs, and any defiance is dealt with harshly. All within his orbit fear him and his temper. Henry is not a Dom. He’s a bully who’s only goal is to be richer than anyone else. Money is a vehicle with which he transcends his past and allows him to collect everything but love and an heir.

So yes, you can as a Dom, force submission through pain and fear, and render someone meek and broken to your needs. Or, you can, through selective dominance, allow—yes, allow—your submissive to tap into the well that already exists. Instead of thinking of your submissive as a tabula rasa you then write your desires upon their willing soul, instead treat them as intelligent beings who want your guidance in becoming better versions of themselves. After all, what is the difference between kneeling in a church praying, and kneeling naked in corner reflecting on inappropriate behavior?

There is of course, no real definition of what makes a submissive mindset. In this case, it seems to be an oxymoron when what makes thoughts disappear is active action, not passively waiting to be dominated. Actively seeking out actions that re-enforce the submissive bond; actively asking for a spanking when stress or melancholia rear up like the Garden’s serpent. When real-life work, family and the ever looming emergencies strike, chanting a mantra that you’ve created at your Doms behest. Having rituals that bond and release you from being in charge; even if only for awhile.

Remembering that ‘this too shall pass’, and that by taking care of your Dom first, your submissive mindset reminds them, that through service and discipline, the more they put into helping you quiet the chattering mind, the stronger and more confident you become in maintaining your submissive mindset to the enrichment of you both.

Start young and never look back

I’ve read three very interesting books recently that created this essay. I’ve been focusing more on my writing these past twelve months, but it has yet to reach a level of consuming passion. I may never get there, but after finishing the trio of books, I feel much less of a failure.

I picked up a copy of Kevin Ashton’s How to Fly A Horse on a whim, but I’m glad I did. His premise is that the creative process is a myth, and that every single person is creative; but what makes a successful inventor, discoverer or artist, is simply hard work and doing it over and over again. Writer’s block, among many other concepts, doesn’t exist. Kevin is also the creator of the phrase Internet of Things. The title refers to the Wright Brothers.

Kevin: The creativity myth implies that few people can be creative, that any successful creator will experience dramatic flashes of insight, and that creating is more like magic than work. A rare few have what it takes, and for them it comes easy. Anybody else’s creative efforts are doomed.

He goes on to use examples both ancient and modern to bolster his thesis. Along the way, he shows through studies and clinical trials, that as the number of participants goes up, creativity goes down. In fact, Kevin claims that creative cooperation peaks in kindergarten. I, like many of you, will agree with this premise. Anybody who has suffered through production meetings, brainstorming sessions and forced teamwork can readily attest to the fact that one person creating alone is the most successful. He closes the book with this:

Kevin: The chain of creation is many links longs, and every link—each one person creating—is essential. All stories of creators tell the same truth: that creating is extraordinary but creators are human; that everything right with us can fix anything wrong with us; and that progress is not an inevitable consequence but an individual choice. Necessity is not the mother of invention. You are.

Two autobiographies picked up on this theme: Yanni in Words, and Tom Jones Over The Top And Back. I found striking similarities in both men’s accounts of their artistic struggle to creative success. One similarity was passion for music, Yanni writing and Tom singing, and  another was the way that success drew sexual attention. The road is a soul crushing grind that never seems to end, but both of them used the creative and sexual fire to fuel their success.

Yanni: If you are the music, you can write the music. If you’re not the music, you’re outside, judging it. Judgment and creativity are opposites. Both are valid, but they can’t exist in the same place at the same time. To create, you have to become one with your creation and let it flow freely. You have to be in the zone. For me, I have to become one with the music. The instant I begin judging my creation, I find myself outside looking in, and the creative moment is gone.

Tom: But I was out, getting up in front of people and singing and, really for the first time, properly seeing the effect that my voice could have on a room full of people—noting how excited people and how that, in turn, excited me. I realized, with a new, even clearer urgency, how badly I wanted to do this and nothing else, as remote as the possibility of that still seemed. Let’s face it, the music business [in 1962] wasn’t exactly rushing to the valleys to sign up any Welsh pop group… The music business seemed to have plenty on its plate already. But you could dream, couldn’t you?

Both Yanni and Tom detail the long, arduous and sometimes dangerous trip to ‘overnight’ success from an upbringing of poverty. Both had loving and supportive parents, but the reality was, that their success was a steady roller-coaster of highs and lows and the only person who created the opportunities that brought them critical acclaim, was themselves. Both men had the unshakeable belief they were the best at their craft, and if only the right venue opened up, they would prove it to the world. This dogged ethic allowed them to fight and claw their way until the vision they saw as their due came to fruition.

The second connection I found in their words, was the early—and often—sexual relations with thousands of women. For Yanni, he states his first time was in a local bordello next door to his school in Kalamata, Greece. He was thirteen and a half.

Tom was sixteen when he impregnated his fifteen-year old girlfriend—wife at eight months, and stayed married until she passed in 2016. Tom never comes out and states he had sex with groupies—other publications have said so—but numerous anecdotes certainly imply that was the case. Yanni writes that one-night stands were his preferred method until he met Linda Evans. It is no surprise that the music industry, along with sports and film, have always been synonymous with sex and drugs. Most seem to cite the relentless pressure and grind of the creative process, along with the pursuit by willing females determined for a taste of the bright lights.

Tom: Bam! I’m on the pavement under a pile of screaming girls—taken down with a pace and efficiency that a pack of rugby forwards would have been proud to pull off. The people making the commotion outside the pub window were making that noise for me, and I didn’t know it.

Yanni: When I was on the road other girls would invariably show up, willing to share themselves for the night in very creative ways. If you’re young and away from home for two or three weeks at a time, it’s hard to resist walking into temptation. Mostly I didn’t.

Tom: It happens for the first time on one of those nights in the Copa [in NYC] in 1969. I’m drenched with sweat. Just occasionally someone on a table near the stage will reach out with a white linen napkin for me. I’ll dab at my brow with it and then hand it back. Not this one woman, though. She stands, flips her dress up, steps out of her panties and hands them up to me.
What I do with the panties is, I dab my brow with them. And then I say, ‘You want to watch you don’t catch cold.’

Yanni: I just wanted to have fun and I was honest about it. ‘I’m not looking for a relationship, and I hope you’re not. I don’t owe you anything and you don’t owe me anything. If we do this, it’s what is for tonight. If it continues tomorrow, okay, but if it doesn’t, don’t come to me and say I’ve used you.’

Tom: There was sex in the [Vegas] shows, and there was sex around the shows. The air seemed to crackle with it.
Same thing at those big seventies tour dates. Best clothes. Perfume in the air. People getting revved up. A willingness to cut loose and let go. A general horniness in the crowd. The atmosphere alive with the possibility of sex—in a way that was definitely going to play out to the advantage of the band, the crew and beyond.
As somebody once said, I was the Pied Piper of pussy.

Yanni: I liked to choose my companions rather than the other way around.
The seduction had already taken place while she watched me play. She knew I liked her because I approached her, and most of the time she’d come with me. If I got turned down it didn’t make any difference because there were so many other possibilities. But I was never a pest; you could get rid of me easily.
There were more girls than any of us could possibly be with, sometimes five times as many as there were guys.
It was rock ‘n’ roll.

Tom: So I’ve got the singer-on-a-stage thing going for me, and then television comes along and adds a whole other layer. Never underestimate the extent to which people want to have sex with people who are on television.
I was going over as some kind of love god, and I was going over so strongly that occasionally I was even persuaded of it myself. The road will set temptations in front of you that are hard to resist.

Yanni: In each town I had a girlfriend or two. Not real girlfriends, just girls I knew. Or someone I’d just met. I didn’t mind having sex with a woman I’d known less than an hour. I was young, they looked good. Nothing else to do. Let’s have some fun. There was no judgment, and I never felt guilty. You’re just driving down the highway and you’re lonely; you meet someone who eases the boredom a little bit for the night. And the next day you get up and do it again.

Tom: I think he [Wyclef Jean] was wondering, what’s it like to be out and about with Tom Jones? What goes on? So the next time [late 2001] we were both in London, I took him to the Metropolitan Hotel in Park Lane, home of the Met Bar and Nobu and a regular stop-off for me. The place was crowded, as it often is, and we sat out in the foyer having drinks—
Pretty soon, a girl came over, and she wanted to introduce herself and say hello.
‘It’s very nice to meet you,’ I said.
And then, without further ado, right there at the table, she whipped up her dress and showed me the piercing on her clitoris.
‘Well, thank you very much for that,’ I said. And then she went away.
That was it. My legend with Wyclef was sealed. ‘Man, you go out with Tom Jones, girls show you their pussy!’ He told everybody he knew, meaning that my reputation preceded me, whenever I went with him.

In closing, I wanted to include a few more quotes about creativity from them both. And also a music video of Sir Tom Jones, at age 77, crushing the song ‘You Can Leave Your Hat On’ The Voice UK 2017′. In the end, what Kevin and Yanni and Tom have showed, is that creativity is simply a vision of what you want your life to be. It’s all up to you to get to work and create.

Tom: And through all of this, Ethan’s [Johns] message has essentially been simple and the same: just sing. And it might seem strange that a singer needs to hear that, but it’s a fact. Everyone who has had success is asking themselves: what’s my next success? What do I do next? It eats at you like that, until it’s actually eating into your voice.

Yanni: When I was younger I got in my own way by asking myself questions like, How long does a piece need to be? What kind of music should I write? The answer is to write what you like. The piece is going to be as long as it keeps you interested. If it bores you, cut it.
Society does everything it can to fill you with a distrust of yourself and others. We grow up in an environment where we’re laughed at or criticized for thinking that what we create could profoundly affect people and maybe make a difference in their lives—or be worth doing for nobody but ourselves.

Summer of Love

It seems that ’69 never really left the Bay Area. Besides snatching up all available housing and snarling local traffic, the explosion of high-tech industry is apparently sucking up all the available sexual partners as well. According to this article called, Silicon Valley’s Sexual Revolution, in the April 4th, 2017 edition of Wired magazine; what was once called ‘free love’ or ‘swinging’ is now officially morphed into Polyamory 2.0.

By Julian Sancton: In Silicon Valley, love’s many splendors often take the form of, well, many lovers. For certain millennials in tech—as well as, rumor has it, a few middle-aged CEOs—polyamory holds especial appeal. Perhaps that’s because making it work is as much an engineering challenge as an emotional one, requiring partners to navigate a complex web of negotiated arrangements. (There’s an app to keep track of that, obvs: The Poly Life.) Some enthusiasts even claim it’s the way of the future. “If life extension is possible, we might have to think about relationships differently,” says one Valley-based polyamorist. “It’s pretty hard to have an exclusive relationship with someone for 300 years.” True that—but balancing multiple LTRs takes just as much dedication and discipline (if not more).

The article goes on to list six bullet points including this little nugget: 4. Don’t be a letch: You shouldn’t go to a get-together hoping to hook up. These are not orgies. (Though tech-nerd orgies do get pret-ty wild, what with the color-coded bracelets signaling what you’re cool with doing/having done unto you.) And stick to your age bracket—restrictions are enforced to keep things comfortable.

I have nothing against polyamory, I was involved with my wife and another woman who lived with us for two years and we parted amicably, but I have some serious questions with the way the article *nudge-nudge, wink-wink* casts shade on the entire scene with more than a hint of California crunchy granola vibe. I mean, hasn’t Silicon Valley been rocked with sexual harassment claims from female engineers? And don’t all the major tech companies have a distinct lack of gender balance, in fact, steeply tilted towards males in both status, numbers and pay? Not to mention, a whitewash of upper management with the occasional token person of color or Asian.

One of the arguments against gay marriage is that once it was legally established, and same-sex marriage turned out not to be the end of the world, polyamorists would be pushing for legal bigamy next. We all know how that has worked out for the Mormons, although there are plenty of current cultures who practice bigamy for the elites. On the other hand, it was fifty years ago that the United States Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that biracial marriage was in fact legal. Society changes all the time, for better or for worse. Not too long ago, BDSM was firmly in the closet.

If the show Mad Men, unveiled the sordid ’60s chain-smoking sexual predators that stalked the secretarial pool in pressed white cotton button-downs, then today’s online hostility towards women in tech has been enabled and abetted by the same companies that seek to control every single aspect of our lives. I for one, don’t want apps watching in my bedroom or stalking me through targeted ads. The Internet of Things markets bold promises of inter-connectivity yet lags far behind in sensible security. Our entire online existence is at the mercy of hostile hackers who are constantly stealing identities and money from companies too cheap to protect their customers.

There is a serious and pervasive lack of respect for women in all areas and strata of society. The tech industry, along with the online juggernaut players are just that: players who give lip service to the rights of their employees and consumers while generating nothing physical that betters society. The profits are stashed away for a rainy day all the while politicians of all stripes scream at each other and let the country fall apart by doing nothing constructive. All the cute articles about polyamory aren’t going to change that equation into a positive app.

The SoulMate app

For Time Magazine, May 29th, 2017, Ada Calhoun wrote an essay called Searching for a soul mate is futile. The ideal partner is the one you create. Based upon her book, Wedding Toasts I’ll Never Give, in her essay she uses quotes and commentary to advance the idea that even if soulmates exist, they do not happen in a blaze of light but rather by hard work over decades. [All italics in blockquotes mine]

The concept [of soulmates] dates back at least to Plato’s Symposium. Zeus, seeking to humble humans, split us in half, forcing us to wander in search of our other half: “So ancient is the desire of one another which is implanted in us, reuniting our original nature, making one of two, and healing the state of man.” While romantic, this has done an awful lot of damage — creating impossible-to-meet expectations, making people think that a happy, healthy relationship isn’t good enough, tricking people into holding out for “the one.”

[J.R.R. Tolkien] acknowledged that soul mates are pretty good in theory: “In such great inevitable love, often love at first sight, we catch a vision, I suppose, of marriage as it should have been in an unfallen world.” “Only a very wise man at the end of his life could make a sound judgment concerning whom, amongst the total possible chances, he ought most profitably to have married. Nearly all marriages, even happy ones, are mistakes: in the sense that almost certainly (in a more perfect world, or even with a little more care in this very imperfect one) both partners might have found more suitable mates.” Tolkien blamed our “soul mates” obsession on the Romantic chivalric tradition: “Its weakness is, of course, that it began as an artificial courtly game, a way of enjoying love for its own sake. . . It takes, or at any rate has in the past taken, the young man’s eye off women as they are” — that is, “companions in shipwreck not guiding stars.”

[Ada Calhoun] I love that: companions in shipwreck. True soul mates are made, not born. This tracks with what I see in long marriages. It took time for many of even the most loving couples to feel like kindred spirits. It wasn’t something that happened in the first hour, or even in the first year. It took time, and patience, and commitment.

Our old notion of soul mates is not helpful. “The ‘real soul-mate,’” Tolkien wrote, “is the one you are actually married to.”

As a writer of spanking fiction, the soulmate meme is a quite handy one to utilize. The valiant and virile knight storming the citadel and capturing rescuing the dainty and virginal princess from the clutches of the wicked fill-in-blank villain. The hardened and stoic loner melted by the bratty runaway. The overworked executive swept away by the dangerous and mysterious sugar daddy. The list is infinite.

Ada’s point however, is that waiting for your soulmate to arrive on a white horse; or show up on time for a first date, is not a strategy likely to succeed for a lifetime. No matter how many points of compatibility the online dating site promises, or how many ‘perfect’ matches align with your stars, receiving a rose means nothing in the long term. You have to create love out of lust and household chores.

The flip side of course, is that if it were that simple to create a soulmate, then there wouldn’t be so many divorces. Sometimes marriage can’t be salvaged. Sometimes the reasons for getting married created a situation where soulmates were never even possible. Sometimes, out of the millions of possible soulmates, the partner chosen wasn’t the right one and moving on is the best thing to do. Staying married to someone who is not a partner in any sense should not preclude starting over and searching again.

What about D/s then? Was kink part of the initial lust that attracted you to your current partner? When did you feel that they were the “one”? What I find so fascinating about D/s is how often it comes on later in life, either with the first soulmate, or after ending sometimes multiple marriages and/or relationships. It seems to me that those people who are inclined to D/s and spanking, are much more determined to seek out compatible partners than those who drift along in a vanilla haze.

If you are not currently in a D/s marriage, but wish to be, then all the time in the world will not be enough if your partner is not interested. Believe it or not, there are those that aren’t attracted to spanking. I know, seems inconceivable that if asked, someone would turn down the opportunity to spank their spouse; but in that case, a little judicious research and show-and-tell, may tip the scales in favor of a trial run. If you have a stable marriage/relationship with your partner(s), then an open and honest dialogue about your desire to spank or submit to a spanking, may be the start of something special. If the answer is still no, then is the rest of the package worth keeping? That is a decision only you can make.

So, as Ada states, can you create a soulmate in D/s through ‘time, and patience, and commitment’? Duh! Of course you can! Just shake the stardust from your eyes, unfurl the mainsail and steer clear of the rocks.

Bring me a unicorn!

This post was triggered by something I read in the June, 2017 edition of Cosmopolitan Magazine. Dated May 9th, the letter to the editor written by Channing Tatum, stated his desire that when his daughter is older: “I don’t want her looking to the outside world for answers.” Two paragraphs stood out to me in particular.

Channing Tatum: “We all know that every one of us is different and has a unique road map to our heart. We learn how to navigate it by leaping into love with both feet and giving our full selves without expecting anything in return. So I guess if there’s one thing that I think men wish women knew, it’s just that they alone are enough. When more women start to truly feel this power in themselves, the world will become so magical, it makes my head hurt.”

Channing Tatum: “We live in a society that has trained men and women to play certain kinds of roles for a long time, and the beauty of this amazing moment we’re living in is that we’re finally starting to break free from those roles. Women, especially, are realizing that they no longer have to conform to certain standards of social and sexual behavior, and this changes what they need from men and the role of men in general.”

Now, I’m not a regular reader of Cosmo, although back in the day—before internet—it was one of the few mainstream sources of sexual information. I find Cosmo’s coy euphemisms for genitalia and sexual acts to be annoying, and although the magazine embraced non-vanilla long before the general public did, the support as always struck me as ‘kink-lite’: low caloric and leaving you hungry for more.

Like some publications aimed at women, the double standard of positive articles empowering women to be independent, successful, strong willed and sexually [but not in a skanky way] free, are then submerged by an advertising tidal wave of rail thin girls modeling un-affordable fashions in size zero made by impoverished females in dangerous sweat shops.

The specific observation I thought of to this letter, was would he be so supporting of his daughter’s choice if she decides to be submissive to another? The gap between spanking as a means of injecting kink into a vanilla relationship, and the conscious choice to be spanked by a Dominant partner still seems a step too far for many. In some ways this mirrors and echoes the disdain that many feel for women who choose to be a housewife and stay-at-home mother. Or even worse, a working mother with kids in daycare.

You’re doing what to yourself?

There are so many more perceived roles for women and men in the post-industrial world, yet a lot of people aren’t comfortable with gender-neutral jobs. What if someone doesn’t want to break free from tradition? What if a man wants to be a plumber? What a woman wants to be a nurse? What if they got married? What if the nurse wanted to be spanked by her plumber? What if she decided that he was the Head-Of-Household and had the final say in all matters? What if she chose punishment as a means to allow him control of her actions? What if she freely gave up all rights to her body and allowed her Dom to use her without restrictions?

Is that the kind of freedom Channing Tatum was talking about? To voluntarily submit into a role that millions of women around the world have forced upon them by tradition? How is that good thing?

Doesn’t it follow though, that if men and women are free to choose roles that are non-traditional for themselves, then choosing to be traditional is also okay? If a modern, educated, self-aware, confident woman has the right to look to herself instead of the outside world for what turns her on and brings her happiness, why is submission even an issue? If being a spanked submissive is the role she chooses to play, then why keep searching for that unicorn?

A Unicorn can refer to a man or a woman and is often used to describe the perfect catch or perfect partner. A Unicorn is a mythical creature, someone amazing who is hard to catch or simply a very rare find.

Unicorn: A bisexual person, usually though not always female, who is willing to join an existing couple, often with the presumption that this person will date and become sexually involved with both members of that couple, and not demand anything or do anything which might cause problems or inconvenience to that couple.

In the venture capital industry, a unicorn refers to any tech startup company that reaches a $1 billion dollar market value as determined by private or public investment. The term was originally coined by Aileen Lee, founder of Cowboy Ventures. A unicorn [also] refers to a phenomenon that occurs in human resources when those who are responsible for hiring candidates have impossible expectations. This stems from a mismatch between the expectations of the employers and who is available for hire. In other words, human resources is looking for a mythical candidate (i.e. a unicorn), rather than facing reality.

Break a Little

“Cause every time I see your face
I break a little”
And every single night you stay
you take a little”

These lyrics are to the song, “Break a Little” by Kirstin Maldonado who is a member of Pentatonix. This song is from her debut solo EP.

In missy’s recent post Being Nothing, she talks about being broken into nothingness.

So I suppose that I don’t actually want to be nothing. I just want to be none of the conscious me and I want to become something that is the other me – the unknown, the undeveloped, the restricted, the reserved and the held-back. I want to let go completely and go even further than I have gone with that before.

I do realise what it will take of course. It will take for me to be completely broken. I don’t think that for me this will come through pain, or for that fact through pleasure, although we have come close. I believe that for me the answer will lie in humiliation. I think that to break me, Sir will have to reduce me to even less than he has before.

For nora however, in her post about resolving conflict, she carries forward her theme that what she wants from her Daddy is to be broken of her bad habits.

Prior to D/s, we typically did not handle conflict well. My approach to conflict was to just “solve” everything myself. If I couldn’t solve it, then I would blame my husband for whatever it was, because surely it was his fault (please sense my sarcasm here). My husband’s approach to conflict, and to my style in approaching conflict, was to avoid it. He used humor a lot to try to lighten the situation, which drove me nuts and produced even more conflict between us. There were periods in our marriage where we fought, and engaged in conflict, a lot and we were both very dissatisfied with the results.

I am happy to report that in five months we’ve had one fight. That fight was one of those stupid fights, over something inconsequential. I was so wound up and was refusing to submit to my husband in the moment. Believe me, my bottom paid the price the next day. But, if my husband needs to soundly spank me in order for me to behave like a rational adult, then so be it. It works for us and we are so much happier.

Breaking a mirror equals seven years of bad luck, breaking bone is painful, breaking up—as the song above says—takes a little bit every time. Breaking a promise or vow leads to disappointment and regret. But breaking is not all bad. After all, to get an omelette you have to whip up some broken eggs.

There are lots of broken people in the world: I doubt anyone is free of pain, I’m certainly not. Some people need discipline in order to thrive. For those in D/s relationships, spanking sits front and center as the means to break through old hurts, to change patterns and behaviors that are harmful to self and others and break down the barriers we learn to erect as broken children.

“Cause every time I see your face
I break a little”
And every single night you stay
you take a little”

To someone in a stable, loving, respectful D/s relationship, those lyrics are empowering, not fragile glass that shatters at a glance. For a submissive they mean that every time they see their Dom’s face, a little piece of self-hatred breaks away. Every single night the Dom stays focused and determined to rise above the past shame and pain of broken souls, a little bit more self-doubt is taken away.

For women like missy and nora, breaking a little more each day has lead them to peace and happiness and joy.

If you would like to read my spanking newsletters at my other blog, Byron Cane Spanking and Erotic Fiction, the June, 2017 newsletter #2 is now posted at this link.

Domination in Lycra

My favorite professional sport to watch is cycling. What does that have to do with spanking? Says the curious reader.

It you don’t follow sports, then you may be unaware of the link between Dominance/submission and athletics. Headlines such as: Yankees spank Red Sox in the rubber match; Chelsea whip Manchester United in the rain; The Patriots take the Giants to the woodshed. In cycling, a common phrase is: Stamped his authority over the peloton.

The Giro d’Italia—the first of three Grand Tours, the third being the Vuelta a España, finishes this weekend. My favorite event of all is the second Grand Tour, the Tour de France in July. They all run for three weeks, and have two overall themes: Great racing and amazing aerial photography. The organizers use the races as one giant tourism campaign.

Cycling is the ultimate team sport. In each race there is a designated GC—General Classification—rider who wears the number 1, 11, 21, 31, etc, and is supported by the other riders in order to finish as high as possible in each stage and overall. The actual leader of the team though, is the directeur sportif who follows behind in a vehicle constantly monitoring the race and directing the strategy. A rider can win and be successful through sheer talent, training and discipline, but without a strong team who can protect and guide their GC rider, breakaway and/or designated sprinter day after day, victory will be elusive.

There have been a lot of posts recently from many different bloggers writing about the nuances and the struggles of D/s in daily life. In an individual cycling race there can be only one winner, but as in relationships, the strongest team will always be more successful. The trophies and the colored jerseys may go to individuals, but it is the team that celebrates together at the end of the day.

The Dominant in a D/s relationship is the leader; the road captain, the one to whom homage is paid in champagne toasts, but who also has the complete responsibility for the success of D/s. A submissive cannot fail. They are simply following the direction of the Dom, and if a wrong road is taken, if there is a crash, if insufficient energy is supplied and attention not paid to details; it falls upon the Dom to accept responsibility for the failure to communicate and lead the way to safety.

During a 150k-200k stage race, the average professional cyclist burns 1,000 calories per hour, for a race that takes 4-6 painful hours to complete. The body though can only process an average of 1,500 calories during that time, so in order to maintain weight, they need to consume, on average, 8,000 calories a day. Hydration is even more important, with an average of 1 Liter of fluid every hour of racing. The monitoring of proper nutrition is the ultimate responsibility of the directeur sportif, who uses the radio, feed zones, domestiques and soigneurs to direct a mobile dining service and support staff that is moving at 40k an hour on the flat, and up to 80k downhill.

If we equate a D/s relationship to a team race, then the more control the Dom exerts, the less likely mistakes will be made in terms of feeding the power exchange. The submissive role is as a domestique. They are the ones who ride at the front, providing shelter from the wind and other riders, fetching bidons and food from the the team car, pacing their leader around road furniture, over long flat roads and up steep hills and snow capped mountains. The domestiques sacrifice their own ambitions, energy, even their own bikes if needed, in order to support their leader and give him/her the best chance to win. One-by-one they ride, until they can barely pedal another stroke, the entire team keeping their leader at the front, dropping off when spent.

Sounds kind of one-sided doesn’t it?

Sort of how most people view the entire concept of Dominance and submission. All about foot rubs and peeled grapes: lounging around while your frightened servant scurries to meet your every deviant whim and dark desire. Demanding obscene sexual favors constantly, and then, when not satisfied with the effort, spanking and punishing until the submissive is broken and left at the side of the road while the Dom cruises arrogantly past in cushy splendor and comfort.

In any human endeavor you will find people who abuse their authority, who punish unjustly, who only care about themselves and even seek to destroy for the sheer joy of inflicting terror upon the innocent. I will never justify D/s that is all about gratifying the Dom’s desires and ignoring the submissive’s needs.

That is not being a team leader. That is not winning. That is not about celebrating the tight bonds of love and respect developed over time through hard work and constant training. Like in cycling, or another sport, or writing a novel, there is no substitute for effort. Nothing in life comes easy, least of all an intimate relationship built around the bottom and the willing heart.

A D/s relationship lasts a lot longer than three weeks, and takes an incredible amount of energy to get through each and every day. We may quail at the thought of being responsible for another person who gives us their complete trust, but when we agree to act as a team, to selflessly support the other partner, to see to their comfort first and ride together against the world; then that steep mountain pass doesn’t seem so daunting after all.