Gawan: Intro to Flogging

As promised, Gawan brought a flogger with him. With black suede falls about 3/8″ wide, black suede covering the handle, and silver hardware, it looked entirely BDSM-y. Surprisingly so, in fact. He’s no slave to tradition (sometimes even actively subverting it), so any color would have been possible. Now, hot pink would be highly improbable, but it wouldn’t have come as a total shock. On the other hand, he recognizes the power of symbols, especially if they tend to increase hotness: if a black flogger contributes to the mood, then that’s all to the good. But I’m guessing that his primary reason for choosing this flogger has more to do with function and feel. Hell, it could be his travel flogger for all I know.

I’m not sure whether it was day or evening, but I have a recollection of the warm and intimate glow of the bedside lamps. Our room was decorated in warm tones: mango and blush on the walls, bedspreads of cinnabar and gold. The room was not cool — the air conditioner was barely up to the task at any time of day.

I was nude, face down on the rumpled white sheets, hips elevated with two pillows, when he gave me a safe word. It wasn’t the standard “red”, or any other safe word that I’d heard before. I repeated it to myself a few times to make sure I’d remember it, especially since it was novel and my mind would soon be elsewhere. It sounded a bit silly, the sort of thing that, if I found myself under enough strain to need it, the mere saying of it would break the spell of seriousness and lighten the mood at least a little.

I’d never had a proper safe word before. Explicitly being given special means to stop meant that we were — that I was — officially starting. This was, at least in some sense of the word, real.

He began slowly, caressing my back with the falls of the flogger. That was… good. Delicious, even. I sighed my enjoyment. Then he began to rain light blows on me. It was heavy enough that it must have started to color my skin, but it still felt pleasant.

After this point, my recollection is hazy at best. I could have been a more objective observer if I had clung to ordinary awareness, but that would have sacrificed some of the fullness of the sensation. Objectivity be damned, I wanted to feel. So I let go.

And I could have reconstructed it if I’d revisited the experience soon after we finished, but it didn’t seem all that noteworthy at the time. It wasn’t until much later, when Gawan told me that I seemed to have dropped to somewhere near subspace, that I tried to fill in the gap.

So, what happened? The blows must have become heavier, no longer pleasant as such but not actively unpleasant. I would have been focusing on managing the sensation the way I do with a deep tissue massage, which feels uncomfortable yet satisfying because I know it’s helping. In those moments when a knotted muscle is being probed with, say, an elbow, I’m entirely focused on the treatment, breathing deliberately through it and making an effort to relax into it because if my attention wanders, it hurts more. I could never doze off during a treatment — in fact, I feel very alert — and yet afterwards I can barely remember what was done. I think this must be what was happening during the flogging.

The details return when it got heavier. Occasionally he threw in a sharper blow. Those stung. I flinched. I gasped. But I never felt like I was getting close to calling a halt.

He went on for some time — how long, I have no idea — but as far as I was concerned it was over too soon. When he was done, he casually put the flogger down. On the bed. In front of my face. I knew the placement was entirely deliberate, and I did my best to hide my smile.

Nothing he had thrown at me had felt terribly challenging. I hadn’t needed the safe word, nor had I expected to. I had been confident that he would have a fair sense of how far to go the first time and to be able to read my reactions, and he worked comfortably within my limits, despite the fact that I didn’t even know where those limits were.

Later he said all my reactions showed that I enjoyed it. That surprised me. All of them? Sure, the caresses and the light blows were clearly well received, but what about the focus and the flinching? I wouldn’t have described that as much of a demonstration of enjoyment. So either he misunderstood my body language (which seems quite unlikely), or he knows something that I don’t. Maybe I should ask.

They say that you should leave the recipient wanting more. If that’s true, then mission accomplished.

F4TF: naked

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The questions:

Are you at ease being naked? Do you feel more comfortable clothed or unclothed? Can you explain why you feel this way?

I’ve always been more comfortable clothed than unclothed. I recall one summer day when I was 5 years old, I was in the yard with my dad and I complained that I was too hot. He suggested that I take off my T-shirt; a little girl’s torso at that age is indistinguishable from a little boy’s torso, so no big deal, right? But even then I knew that girls and women don’t take off their shirts and I felt uncomfortable with it so I didn’t.

Eventually I internalized the notion (picked up indirectly from my mom) that a female body is at risk and invites real danger, and when that body is sexually mature, the risk is even more acute. Therefore, showing one’s body is dangerous. Breasts, as the most obvious sign of a girl’s sexual maturity, were especially problematic. When I was in high school, not only could I not bring myself to wear snug-fitting tops, I didn’t understand how other girls could. I was utterly baffled. If I had to go swimming, I would wear a one-piece bathing suit and feel self-conscious until I could hide myself in the hot tub.

I found it tremendously difficult to work up the nerve to try a belly dance class, but I’m so glad I did because it taught me to feel more comfortable in my body. One of the reasons why I originally gravitated to this particular style was that it was quite a bit more covered than most. After 9 years, I performed my first solo (in a slightly different style) and I had complete creative liberty with my costume. I wore a long, full skirt and a decorated bra top. I felt uncomfortable and exposed; it wasn’t easy, but I did it and the world didn’t end. Here’s a photo from that performance:

dance

Belly dance and figuring out the sexual shame issue have helped a lot, but the nude photography that I do for the blog has taken it to the next level. Like many people, I tend to regard my body critically. Using my body as a subject for art (yeah, I’m going to call it art) makes me look for the good stuff rather than fixating on the “bad” stuff. And simply spending time nude or topless for my little photo shoots has made me more comfortable with nudity. I used to ban Wolf from the room with dire threats, but now I just get on with it because I know he won’t interrupt.

I still skew modest, but I routinely wear clingy clothes and wearing a bathing suit is no longer a big deal. I’m OK with walking around the house briefly while nude, as long as I can’t be seen through the window. Wolf and I have sex with the lights on. I’m much more comfortable than I was.

 

F4TF: cheating

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This week’s question:

Have you ever cheated? If so, what were the reasons behind it, and how did you feel afterwards?

This is an easy one. I’ve never cheated.

I’ve always had a strong sense of loyalty and commitment. Honesty and integrity are really important to me.

I was always motivated to be in a relationship. I’d say my loyalty and commitment were overdeveloped, as they kicked in as soon as I was in anything resembling a relationship, regardless of its quality and whether the guy in question deserved it. I hadn’t yet learned to ask myself “Am I happy being with this person?”

Because of what I learned about relationships when I was growing up, it was never a challenge not to cheat. I feel good about not having cheated because it aligns with my sense of integrity, but it doesn’t really feel like an “accomplishment”. Similarly, choosing not to do heroin isn’t an accomplishment for me – it’s just not my thing.

With Gawan, I’m doing some things that others might label “cheating”. But Wolf still has my loyalty and commitment, and – critically – my honesty and integrity. Gawan is entitled to honesty and integrity too; and he also gets some loyalty and commitment because I consider him to be “my people”. For us, this makes it ethical non-monogamy rather than cheating.

Gawan: Intro to Commands

All of the dominant stuff that Gawan tried out on me was calibrated to fall in the happy space between too boring and too challenging. Given that I’m an utter novice to submission, he was working all the way at the light end of the range.

Spanking and flogging are physical activities that take some time, where one person does and the other is done to. In contrast, a command is a brief communication setting out what the desired conduct is and expressing the firm expectation that it will be done. It has a substantial psychological effect, although the content of the command is often physical in that the submissive is either to do something or to refrain from doing something.

The spanking certainly felt like Intro to Spanking (just as the flogging was Intro to Flogging), but the commands felt more tentative in comparison, and I don’t think that was just because of the amount of time spent on each. I’m not sure this was Intro to Commands as much it was the placement test.

***

His first command (originally mentioned here) was given while we were still travelling. We were in an airport, far away from any people and, when I made to leave some room between us on our bench, he told me to sit right beside him. I interpreted this as him testing the waters, sketching out a bit of the shape of the relationship that he was hoping to establish. The words were in the form of a command, but really he was asking me two questions: Will I sit next to him? And more importantly, will I obey a command for him?

I felt odd receiving the order, but choosing to obey wasn’t difficult. For one thing, it was low stakes. And part of me was grateful: he knew exactly where he wanted me to sit and communicated that clearly while I was still busy doing the math to calculate probable personal space requirements. As a bonus, it created a mild and pleasant frisson.

***

Days later in the hotel room, he delivered another command, as a preface to a sensual spanking. I was on the bed, prone and waiting when he ordered me to put my hands behind my head.

Ah, that wasn’t so hard.

Hands behind the head is a symbol of submitting to an authority; it leans on the type of authority held by police and military (which is underpinned by government authority and physical threat), rather than that of an employer or religious figure (where control has more to do with the fear of the disapproval and the threat, if any, is not physical). I didn’t find this order too difficult psychologically, perhaps because I was already in something of a submissive position. In for a penny, in for a pound, perhaps. In addition, prone and hands on the head are thematically linked, so while the order might feel a little odd, it wasn’t jarring the way it would be in an atmosphere suggestive of, say, the boss’s office.

And it wasn’t entirely unexpected; although I’m not used to receiving commands, he has written things that made this specific one unsurprising. That bit of familiarity helped. In fact, I had probably already imagined myself obeying such a command.

***

Gawan had quite enjoyed my fringe photos, so I brought along one fringe (which first appeared here) to model in person.

I had posed for those photos sans culotte. Reality is always more awkward, isn’t it? Now, in the hotel room, I was taking off my street clothes and had gotten down to underwear. I was wearing a thong and debated briefly whether to strip down any further. It occurred to me that there was a slight possibility that I might somehow manage to get the fringe damp and I didn’t want to have to deal with trying to clean it. And would the dye then run? Cautiousness won out: the fringe is so dense at the top that the panties probably wouldn’t be visible.

“Not expressing an opinion either way on the matter, but is there some reason why you have your knickers on?”

I thought a moment: it wasn’t worth explaining my concern that I’d have to clean dampened fringe. If that became a problem, I’d figure out a way to deal with it. I shrugged. “Not really.”

“Well then, get those knickers off right now, young lady.”

So I did. It turned out that one of my reasons for keeping them on – that not much would be seen through the fringe – worked just as well to make me feel comfortable taking them off.

***

Then there was the time when we were on the bed in a state of undress, kissing. He was lying on his back and I was lying on my side, propped up on my elbow. My other hand was more or less free.

He broke off the kiss. “Touch my cock,” he said.

Aha.

Like the other commands, I took this to be a question in disguise. But this time I found that couldn’t do it. I was frozen, mute. I leaned back and looked him in the eye.

“Touch my cock,” he repeated a tad more firmly, making it clear that this was an order. Testing me.

I paused.

“No. I can’t. I don’t feel comfortable with that.”

I have written before about feeling uncomfortable with cocks generally. It has gotten easier, but it appears that my progress has a very limited application. I was a little surprised, actually.

The progress I’d made in relation to nudity seemed to carry over to Gawan — why not this too? Nudity is an issue relating to my relationship with my own body. If I’m more comfortable in my skin, it would make sense that a certain level of comfort is inherent and independent of context. With cocks, it seems to be about my relationship with the man to whom the cock is attached.

***

While I don’t have official results back from the placement test, he shared some thoughts with me the other day about commands he figures I’d enjoy. Whether through our experiences together or just getting to know me long-distance, he has found something he can work with. The proper Intro to Commands may happen next time we meet.

TMI Tuesday: analyze your sex life

TMI Tuesday blog

Analysis, my favorite!

1. What are your sexual strengths and weaknesses?

Strengths: open-minded, interested in exploring and experimenting; able to accept pleasure; vocally expressive; sensitive to emotion, mood, sensation; reliably orgasmic (though not with PIV sex); fit and flexible; my partner tells me I give good blowjobs

Weaknesses: under certain circumstances, I’m skittish and cautious; the sensitivity can also be a hindrance

2. As a couple, what are your sexual strengths and weaknesses?

Strengths: the relationship is excellent overall; we’re invested in each other’s pleasure, happiness and well-being; deep trust; excellent communication; broadly complementary kinks

Weaknesses: we’re discovering a few mismatches, for instance he’s quite a bit more cautious than I am, which is challenging when I’d like him to top or dominate me

3. How do you make intimacy a priority in a relationship? Emotional intimacy comes very easily to me, so there is no “making” involved. Or is “intimacy” code for sex etc? My relationship with my partner is the first in which physical intimacy was ever a priority. Our lives aren’t too busy, so it’s not really a scheduling issue. We both want sex/play fairly frequently, so we look for opportunities to set aside blocks of time, usually later on the same day that we’ve been discussing it.

4. How has your sex life changed in the last five years? I didn’t like sex before. Then I had my epiphany about a year and a half ago, and now I quite enjoy it though I’m still working on a few issues. We went from sex a few times a year to almost that much in a week. Documenting the way my sex life has changed since then is this blog’s raison d’être.

5. Has blogging helped your sex life? How? Yes, absolutely. I’m introspective by nature but writing things down with a view towards making a blog post out of it encourages me to analyze myself to the point that I actually figure things out. This is an important process that allows me to untangle current difficulties arising from my (former) sexual shame. Taking self-portraits encourages me to look for beauty instead of flaws, and the positive feedback that I’ve gotten reinforces a healthier self-image. And I’ve met a special someone who I wouldn’t have met otherwise.

Bonus: Has loneliness or emotional hunger ever caused you to “fall in love”? No. I’ve felt myself starting to become attached to someone I was attracted to (and the notion of emotional hunger may apply), but I became aware that my feeling was based in part on the image of that person that I had constructed in my mind. I put the brakes on so I could be sure that my feeling was based on my experience of the person instead of my imagination.


How to play TMI Tuesday: Go to the TMI Tuesday blog and copy the questions. Paste them to your blog and answer them there (with a link to TMI Tuesday Blog). Then go back to the TMI Tuesday blog post and provide a link to your post in the comments.

Sinful Sunday: shadow portrait

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What do you see in the shadows?

shadow portrait


Edit: Guest judge Kazi of Dragon’s Kink selected my photo as her very favorite for the Sinful Sunday Weekly Round-up! Here’s what she had to say:

The top one for me this week was the stunning silhouette captured by Sex Is My New Hobby… I really love shadow play and silhouettes and this really inspired me to want to do more in that direction with my photography.

Thanks Kazi!