Self Forgiveness

This is an incredibly challenging topic. Disagreement is okay. My thoughts are not definitive. I voice perspective and coping strategies to hopefully help healing.

I. Decisions Are Made with Current Information

Healing involves both an emotional and an intellectual component. Let’s tackle some basic intellectual elements of forgiveness and having a better relationship with yourself.

Firstly, we make decisions everyday. Some are seemingly insignificant. Others are important. In both cases we evaluate our emotional feeling towards a situation as well as calculate the best course of action based on incomplete information – we do the best we can with what we have. It’s easy to become frustrated with that process in hindsight, but keep in mind that [your personality is probably not something you’ve consciously chosen]. If that’s so, even decisions you made that were “typically” you do not have to bring shame or guilt.

You made the decisions you made then with the information you had and despite how on the fence you may have been, you fell to one side of the fence when the decision needed to be made, the same as anyone else. We all have decisions we aren’t sure about and have to make a decision. It isn’t profitable to think of how things could have gone or wish that you had been in a slightly different headspace. Sometimes it’s positive to think of the inexorable truth that while you chose a course of action you didn’t choose the elements of yourself that led to choosing that course of action.

In any case, bad things happen and they sometimes lead to lasting consequences; however if you focus on post traumatic growth and a healthy mindset, you can recover much faster. Feelings of guilt and “should have” prevention strategies are normal for survivors based on internalized rape culture and societal conditioning. Feeling that they’re right or easy doesn’t make them right.

Try to avoid internalizing the opinions of others when they don’t contribute to your mental health. Take the good. Leave the shame and guilt behind . Those aren’t yours.

 

II. You Are Not Responsible for Others’ Actions

It’s reasonable to take steps to reduce the risks you take in life, but this is always a statement about future risks. You cannot go back in time, and judgments about past actions rarely serve to make you a happier, healthier person.

Crucially important to healing is understanding that only the one acting can be responsible for the action itself. No matter what complex justifications are offered, the subject taking an action is completely responsible for the consequences of that action.

Example: Shoved into Traffic

If a pusher pushes a target into traffic, the target is not responsible because they were simply in the way. If the recipient of the action informedly tried to obstruct the subject taking the action, the waters become more murky but nothing changes the truth that regardless of all else, only one person did the shoving; and violence is unreasonable in almost every case (except in self defense or arguably to reduce total harm to others if one is taking a Utilitarian approach to ethics and placing beneficence above autonomy, with which I disagree strongly).

Someone may argue that intentionally trying to obstruct someone is “just cause” to physically move them out of the way, but unless that person is fleeing from immediate physical danger or death (i.e.: fire, assault, etc), it is a very unreasonable argument to move them into harm no matter how emotionally perturbed someone is. I can hear my third grade teacher stressing “we use our words instead.”

Even with such a simple example, it’s easy to see how abusive or manipulative people could try to reason their way out of accountability and take an irresponsible approach to their actions. Another common manipulation is that the recipient “made them angry.” It’s disturbingly commonplace to hear people describe their emotions not only as reactions to others’ actions but as directly caused by others’ actions – as if they are helpless to manage their own emotions. While this is an incredibly under-taught skill, one is always responsible for one’s own emotions.

In the context of trauma, this can seem like a bitter and ruthless statement. Keep in mind that there’s a time and a place to process that. Initially, grieving is very reasonable. It’s okay to not be together. With something so brutally affecting one’s emotional state, it’s very hard not to think of the action and emotional response as causal or even the same. Triggers (lasting emotional responses) linked to a traumatic event can make the two seem irrevocably intertwined. Yet over a longer term, it is possible to understand and untangle the connections, sorting action from emotion.

If the responsibility for shoving is *always* on the shoulders of the person shoving, regardless of the context, then being shoved into traffic leading to hospitalization isn’t one’s own fault. People can victim blame all they want saying you shouldn’t have been walking so close to traffic, but that’s an unreasonable argument. Of course you should have. Why not walk so close to traffic? Sidewalks are supposed to be safe. It doesn’t matter if you were walking near the roadway or not. Some may argue if you hadn’t been so close, someone else might have gotten shoved instead of you. What an incredibly selfish argument. The problem is some maniac is shoving people into traffic, not that you got shoved into traffic.

Re-framed as something someone else did that you can’t control, it may take blame off your shoulders intellectually, but guilt can still remain emotionally. Here’s an approach to managing emotions that don’t seem to make sense to you.

 

III. Your Emotions Make Sense and You Can Change Them

Intense Emotions Make Sense

Firstly, I simply can’t stress enough that with experience and practice, emotions make reasonable sense and are absolutely rational in their logic. Consider that emotions are based on past experience and situations. They make experiential and situational sense. Thus when viewed in the correct context of their origins, you can make sense of your emotions.

Emotions Can Be Disarmed Through Processing

Once you understand why your foundation emotions are so strong leading up to a traumatic event, it’ll be easier to dismantle the emotions of the traumatic event itself. Imagine most of society starts at a 1 out of 10 for their background sense of guilt. If you had guilting parents, you might run at a 2. Alternatively, if your parents were great but as a woman you were exposed to a religious set of ethics, you might be at a 3. Or alternatively, society may have shamed you about your body and you may also be at a 3. Or we could combine them.

Consider too that your factors aren’t quite additive – they may in fact multiply. Perhaps you’ve done a lot of work on yourself, realizing how unreasonable body standards are, thinking your parents were kind of full of crap, and that maybe some of those religious standards were anachronistic. You could still experience a feeling of guilt at a 5 or 7 out of 10 as your background shame/guilt levels.

IV. Processing Through Shame, Embarrassment, and Guilt

Words have great power in the realm of emotional management. Your internal monologue (your own voice in your head) and your sense of narrative structure (the way you frame stories to yourself about what happened and why it happened) have direct consequences on your happiness and quality of life). Read more here.

Hopefully my model of understanding will help you find yours.

Shame as a Socially Imposed Judgment

If society has blamed you for something they feel is preventable (ex: choosing to express your sexuality and be a happy, sexually active person with your partner), they may use a word as powerful as shame to describe what they think you should be feeling. That is to say it is within your control and socially unacceptable, even taboo. Thus it is your fault, and they disapprove of it. They even blame you for it and any consequences that happen as a result. You may feel bad, that a judgment of your character or your worth as a human being has happened. You may even agree with this judgment.

Judgment Reduces Quality of Life

Judging others leads to judging yourself and vice versa. It’s an unhappy place to feel like the world is wrong and only you’ve got it right. Softening and learning to be flexible eases difficult relationships and improves your ability to forgive both others and yourself.

Make Your Relationship with You a Top Priority

Commit to a healthy relationship with yourself today and agree to stop judging yourself. You can still make evaluations on changing for the future, but stop hurting yourself and using judgment as a tool for self harm.

Psychological self destruction like this is a conscious choice. It’s okay if you choose not to act on this today, but please keep it present in your mind as an option. As someone who has dealt with trauma and being on the receiving end of an emotionally abusive relationship, the sooner you to commit to a healthy relationship with yourself, the sooner you begin to heal in a really meaningful, lasting way. ❤

Embarrassing Things Are Viewed as Outside Your Control

Do you feel embarrassed? Is someone embarrassed “for you?” Is someone embarrassed of you?

Embarrassment often describes something outside the control of the one feeling it (not their fault) but still somewhat judged by either them or society (or both). Ex: if one’s sex life or lifestyle is exposed to conversation by someone else against your wishes, you might describe it as embarrassing. That their sharing your information without your consent was embarrassing. An empathetic friend might be embarrassed for you, feeling their association with you extends social judgment of you onto them. In this case, fault would likely be placed on the non consensual sharing of the information. A less kind friend mind be embarrassed of you, placing fault on you for doing something society regards as inappropriate or of poor character the first place.

Embarrassment Is an Opportunity to Change Society

All three circumstances (feeling embarrassed yourself, being embarrassed for a friend, and being embarrassed of a friend) involve different kinds of judgments.

The ideal situation in my opinion is if fault is found with unreasonable or culturally-specific social expectations. It’s important to communicate how you feel and ideally not feel embarrassed at all – at least in the case where you feel you’ve done nothing wrong or have done something you don’t think should be viewed as wrong.

Guilt Is A Personal Judgment

Guilt is a tricky one to troubleshoot because it is extremely internal. One judges oneself and chooses to feel guilty based on one’s morals, ethics, or other codes/evaluations of one’s own actions. Having experienced a great deal of intense guilt (even to the point of suicidal thoughts and tendencies) myself, I can confidently assure you it is fixable even without medication.

There are several approaches to dealing with guilt: modifying how judgmental you are; modifying your code/morals/ethics; expressing your guilt and reasoning to a therapist; and self harm. Obviously some of these are healthier than others (I did a year of weekly counselling and then another year of biweekly and then monthly counselling). Yet self harm seems to be one of the most commonly followed routes.

Emotional Self-Harm Can Seem Invisible

Self harm can also take insidious, seemingly invisible forms such as guilting oneself and convincing oneself one is a bad person. It can also take the guise of a healthier coping strategy like changing one’s code. However in this case, one may change one’s code to believe that all is right in the world, that one deserved it (which is an incredibly painful thought but such suffering can feel good when you’re in pain – this is fairly normal and part of the self harm mindset). This avoids the stress and confusion that comes with having one’s world view challenged, and let’s be honest: sometimes you really just want to suffer as a way of coping with trauma. Many move into the world of BDSM (sexual or asexual BDSM) to have a safe, sane, consensual partner help them get the intense experiences they need to let out their suffering. While this may be a few steps healthier than self harm, BDSM is not a substitute for counselling the same way pain medication is not a substitute for a back injury. It’s nice while you’re recovering, but pursue qualified, professional therapy. It’s worth it. Embrace the ick and the suck of counselling. It gets better.

With all that in mind, let’s return to resting/foundation levels of guilt.

Resting and Aggravated Emotions

Some seem paradoxically unscathed by trauma. That doesn’t make you or them abnormal. Both responses are normal. People cope differently. Reactions also differ based on resting emotional levels.

If you are normally at a 5 or 7 for shame/guilt or feelings of agreeing with social shaming, a traumatic experience may feel like something you did to yourself. Levels can spike up to 9s and 10s, leading to debilitating depression, huge emotional upheaval, loss of relationships (lovers and friends even), self-distancing other people, trusting yourself less, trusting others less, and many more awful consequences.

Yet someone normally at a 1 or a 2 might only spike to a 7, experience fairly intense emotions, but find it only moderately difficult to go to counselling and manage what has happened on a day-to-day basis.

Developing an awareness that resting emotions are constructed from experiences of varying sizes makes deconstructing them and processing through them so much easier. Returning to the back injury metaphor, straining your back is much worse when you have a pre-existing injury and simply rehabbing each injury properly and spending the money on physio is best (yet very few people do this until they lose quality of life from a major injury).

V. Empowering Strategies

Post Traumatic Growth (PTG)

No discussion of trauma would be complete without a discussion of PTG. Unlike with a severe back injury, you can completely recover from trauma and actually become more self aware and emotionally intelligent. Awful emotional experiences can spur you into learning and growth.

While some will tell you to “plan better in future,” be cautious of the enormous victim blame inherent in that statement. Producing a consent culture is the best practice here (like Take Back the Night in Vancouver or supporting a Consent Positive cause), but it’s important not to forget you still likely live in a culture with a fundamentally different worldview. A differing sense of ethics and problem solving approaches may be problematic. The most important take-away here is awareness. ***google***

Some Take-Away Strategies

1. Choose to see pain and suffering as a learning opportunity.
2. Work on your relationship with yourself. Be a united front against the world. There are enough people who will tear you down in this life. You don’t need to be one of them.
3. Focus an equal amount of time on Post Traumatic Growth as you do on dealing with the various forms of Post Traumatic Stress.
4. Make the time to learn. Read books or listen to audiobooks teaching emotional integration strategies like The Whole Brain Child. Read books on better communication like Nonviolent Communication or on emotional intelligence (I still have to read the original found here: Emotional Intelligence)
4. Commit to life long learning and personal growth. You can view trauma as a lifelong curse or the attention it has drawn to self betterment as a lifelong gift.
5. Focus on boundary setting. It’s common when boundaries are broken or unclear that healing needs to happen in this area. Clear, consistent communication is essential but requires self knowledge, practice, and self confidence.

Good luck!

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Self-Care

Have you ever come home feeling socially or emotionally depleted? Everyone recharges differently though some ways are better than others and making it a small daily recharge is easier than emulating a psychological binge and purge.

Definitions of Self-Care

I define self-care as the self-directed practice of getting your health and wellness needs met including all emotional, psychological, and physiological needs. This is a simplified version of technical health care and Wikipedia definitions.

Some Basic Self-Care Strategies

Mindset

Part of self-care is the mindset one is in while doing it. This is important because self-care is at times, an appeal to one’s emotions and psychological needs for nurturing. The very act of setting aside “me time” and making an effort to focus on oneself may feel like attention, love, and even worth. This is especially true if it’s a regular preventative practice.

Rest

Not putting oneself under load, demand, obligation, or duress can be feeding as it reduces demand and lets any comforting background reasons to be productive help charge you up. They might be a passion to make a difference or help one’s partner or children or family.

Passive Coping: Avoidance/Procrastination/Distraction

Have you ever let stress or anxiety lead to procrastination but then felt like the rest time didn’t help?

It’s important to recognize passive coping as a form of self-care for two reasons: 1) Because this allows you to recognize when you are reaching for needs fulfillment. Just as when one is lifting heavy boxes all day, the state of not lifting heavy boxes is both a relief from strain and a far cry from relaxing in a hot tub, so too is avoidance sometimes a mental relief from strain but not necessarily relaxing. Just as dehydration happens before one feels thirst (procrastination), practicing self awareness and reading signs of lack sooner and sooner allow for better self-management and self-care.

2) Because sometimes you will genuinely be unable to change a fact of life. When one is experiencing severe life stress like a divorce, break-up, death, job loss, lawsuit – sometimes thoughts can enter a toxic cycle and distraction can be a very healthy thing.

Sanitizing Self-Talk

Normalizing Self-Care

It’s important to note that needing self-care isn’t abnormal or of itself a sign you are a flawed, broken, or bad person or come from such people. Instead, my experience has been that healthy individuals receive socialization to do self-care and have incorporated it into their lives already. Some call it “me time” or say they “need an evening alone” or “can’t wait to get home to have a bubble bath” but it results in something similar: self-directed, self-focused time working on meeting one’s needs.

Making Your Experience of Life a Priority

If physical maintenance like showering or brushing one’s teeth isn’t selfish, then it follows emotional/psychological maintenance, included in self-care, isn’t selfish either (though knowing that and feeling it are different things). As with showering, self-care isn’t ideally an intervention for burnout but a regular maintenance activity built into your life.

Self-Care: A Needs-Based Approach

Defining Needs

It may seem similar to play computer games, get a massage or drink – if those three things all feed you; however each of them would be feeding in different ways. A massage might help with touch-hunger. Gaming might help with intellectual or social stimulation or even community needs. Certain substance use (alcohol, marijuana) might create chemically induced physical relaxation, especially if you laugh a lot. As always, mileage may vary for you.

What is often lacked in these discussions is a clear vocabulary of needs. For inspiration, I turn to the NVC needs inventory. It’s not perfect, but it’s a great start.

Needs are often an exchange. Simplistically, we give something and get something else in varying amounts. In that context, self-care may replenish our reserves of psychological resources – but maybe only in ways we know about or are able, only for types of resources we’re practiced or competent in replacing. Some resources may always be a slow trickle in.

Needs don’t replace each other. No matter how physically relaxed you are, it won’t ever be a substitute for feeling loved or feeling a sense of purpose or of mattering. Taking iron to treat scurvy doesn’t work.

Thinking in Love Languages

Some prefer thinking about getting needs for love met in terms of love languages. For example, caring for a pet or family member can be incredibly feeding for some as they get needs for self-expression, community, and other connection needs met in that interaction.

The Five Love Languages (written by a wealthy Christian talk show host who asserts women don’t have biological needs for sex) does offer some value in providing categories for love such as: Words of Affirmation (i.e.: hearing “I love you”), Quality Time (i.e.: spending time paying attention to someone), Gifts (i.e.: thoughtful ones or perhaps monetary ones), Service (i.e.: doing tasks for someone), and Touch (i.e.: giving a massage).

My perspective is that people are capable of receiving all of these especially with training, but that we have a main focus on a language of love based on the state of our needs. Thus, I think about love languages in the context of the needs those languages tend to meet for me.

 

Reducing Resource Drain

Psychological repetitive strain is also a thing. Lifting a light object, our joints can support odd motions and positions; however done too often or with weight, we get injured very easily.

If work is demanding too much, it’s often (though not always) possible to modify duties such that they work for us even if it seems implausible at first.

It can be easy at first to confuse the mood/tone of joy in one’s life with a pursuit of the temporary pleasure. In my experience of depression when I’ve forgotten what happiness feels like, pleasure can be therapeutic even though it isn’t happiness. Similarly it cancommunicate worth, love, care, or attention, filling many needs for me. Watch out for pleasure seeking so frequent or intense it affects your relationships or work though, a sort of hedonic treadmill or addiction.

As always, it’s okay to ask for help.

Improving Your Mental Wellness

Needs Exercise (optional, 2 – 5 minutes)

Suffice it to say it’s hard to get every need met without some planning.

i) Take a few minutes to look over the NVC needs inventory and find two needs categories you want to make a focus. (i.e.: Connection, Play)

ii) Pick 1 – 2 needs words each that frame your specific need. (i.e.: Connection -> belonging, community, security; Play -> being humorous, experiencing humor)

iii) Consider the ways you currently get that need met (i.e.: Currently I volunteer in my community a lot.)

iv) Consider things you could do to help meet those needs further. (i.e.: Moving forwards I could spend time with friends or go to more events.)

Costs Exercise (optional, 3 – 5 minutes)

v) Think about your willpower and energy then identify two or more things that demand those resources from you. (i.e.: work, volunteering)

vi) How do those things help you get your needs met? Is it worth it? (i.e.: Sustenance, Community; yes, yes)

vii) Are there expensive or demanding tasks, roles, or individuals that are not worth it? (i.e.: categorizing my media, unenjoyable volunteer roles, toxic family member)

vii) What can you do to reduce or limit (or ideally end) your exposure to those situations, circumstances, or people?

viii) What is the worst case scenario for taking steps to do so?

 

Some Self-Care Activities

+Have Hot bath (touch/warmth, worth/self-attention, peace/safety, support/nurture)
+Get Massage (touch/closeness, trust, intimacy, love/mattering-to-others, being seen)
+Drink Hot Tea (peace, attention, self-attention, self-love, authenticity)
+Taking care of family/pets (stability, love, belonging, nurturing)
+Hiking/Walking (movement, exercise, participation, efficacy, stimulation, clarity)

+Time with select family / found-family (community, companionship, empathy, support, acknowledgement, understanding, authenticity, belonging)
+Time in a clean/organized space (order, security, belonging, fairness)
+Time alone (clarity, peace/ease, rest, safety, consistency, intimacy, self-nurturing)

tl:dr

Being accountable to your needs by setting aside regular time where you get them met is part of looking after yourself and being healthy. This looks different for everyone and it’s common that our weekly routine or habits fall short of meeting every need. Thinking about our wellness in the context of needs and love languages helps to clarify specific activities we can do and understand the ways they’ll help. Spending time thinking about self-care may benefit you, but if you don’t want to do them, some suggested self-care activities are listed above along with some needs I find they help me meet.

Connected 110: My Kink Answers

For more detail, checkout my Fetlife profile here.

Q10) What interests you in kink? Why do you want to try a kink scene?
My interests change as I move through “seasons” of kink. I started as a sense top and have had M/s dynamics from which I learned a great deal as an M. I’ve also switched a lot within topping and bottoming and am currently interested in short-term D/s exploration. I’m willing to play either role. I’m also interested in doing casual rope on the floor and with semi suspension.

My reasons have grown. Originally I saw kink and sex as completely separate. I did kink because I had a strong desire to connect with others and viewed kink as an intersection of power, vulnerability, and connection. I still do kink for that reason though I’ve learned to incorporate more kink in sex when I have sex though I still do a lot of asexual kink because it’s intimate and connective.

Q11) Is reaching subspace a goal for you? Physiological or psychological or both?
Subspace is not a goal for me though as a submissive, I value when I experience it.

Q12) What kind of aftercare supplies do you think you’ll need? Will you bring them to your scene with you?
For aftercare, I often need to hydrate during or afterwards. I require adequate food, but so long as I’ve had a large meal before playing, I usually don’t need much. I like having the emotional comfort of having someone stay with me for five or ten minutes after the scene. I also enjoy the ability to deconstruct or talk about the scene via text, phone, or face to face (although text is fine, especially for repeat sessions).

I can be responsible for bringing my own aftercare supplies, and often value the gift of a bar of dark chocolate from my top after the scene. It’s amazing how much a small gesture conveys appreciation and value.

Q13) How do you usually form attachment or connection with others? Do you anticipate kink will form attachment?
Kink doesn’t usually form attachment for me, but I do form attachment usually around giving or receiving anal sex from a partner. Kink can be very intimate, but there’s a vulnerability and strength in anal sex with which I’m currently fascinated.

Q14) How do you find the sensation of vulnerability or intimacy? Difficult? Rewarding? Connecting?
Intimacy and Connection are ways of experiencing others and sharing the human condition for me. Being neuroatypical, I experience some anxiety and depression depending on how life has been going and this can affect the rewards and level of connection. Sometimes the hardest intimacy is that with myself, and this is most fed when I bottom or submit.

Q15) What do your relationship configurations look like? Do they allow for this exploration of kink? (Please ask.)
My relationship anarchy practice currently involves: no domestic partner though that’s not by design but by circumstance; two wonderful intimate partners. Each of them shares some amount of sex with me. One of them is more kink focused. One is more activity-partner focused where we do more hikes and rock climbing/exercise stuff. None of that is fixed and may change week to week. As I don’t update this super frequently, it may be worth a check in to see if this has changed.

My relationships definitely allow for an exploration of kink with any new partners without consultation by negotiation, design, and agreement. Any blood or fluid contact or risk is disclosed to any partner to the best of my ability before they are exposed to my fluids as this constitutes informed consent to me and is critically important to respecting their boundaries and agency in decision making.

Q16) Is nudity okay with you and your partners? Is marking okay with you and your partners? (Please ask.)
My own nudity and my experiencing the nudity of others is okay. Marking of my body is okay. These are things that by design and need for autonomy, I reserve as being solely at my discretion and therefore my relationships are negotiated so there is no exclusivity in these areas.

Q17) Do you have any questions? If you think of any later, feel free to ask them then.

Q18) What elements/situations/fantasies would you like to explore in kink scenes?
Kink: Casual rope, D/s, rough body play/impact, predicament bondage
Kinky sex: anal sex, predicament threesomes, group sex

 

More about connecting with humans:
New Connections 101: A Primer
New Connections 102: Sexy Fun, Gender, and Orientation
New Connections 110: A Kink Primer

More about connecting with me:
Connected 101/102: My Answers
Connected 110: My Kink Answers

Recommended Resources
Additional Books/Audio/eBooks Recommendations

Connected 101/102: My Answers

After being uncertain how much to publish, I’ve decided to just publish my current answers to my own relationship questions as honestly and transparently as possible on my blog as its own blog post. Part of this is because I feel there is such low readership of my blog, and the other part is as a social experiment. Feel free to comment or ask me questions below. Here are my answers to the questions asked in my relationship primers.

Relationships

Q1) Which of your needs are you interested in pursuing?
Autonomy (choice, freedom)
Sustenance (sexual expression)
Connection (acceptance, affection, appreciation, companionship, intimacy, security, support, to understand and be understood)
Play (laughter)
Peace (beauty, harmony, order)
Meaning (competence, creativity, discovery, hope, learning, self-expression)

Q2) Do you have needs not mentioned in the list? – No : )

Q3) Which if any relationship styles interest you? Are they (is it) compatible with RA? – It is RA : ).

Q4) For you, what communicates that your partner respects you? What communicates disrespect? – I feel respect when people approach me with consent in mind and consider me. One method of doing that is reading through my primer as it has my relationship values in it.

Q5) What would be possible for you if everyone applied consent to everyday situations and acts? – I would feel so much more at ease as I walk through buildings and spaces. Life would hold less anxiety and stress for me.

Q6) Can you list three boundaries that are important to you?
I am not okay with gaslighting happening by anyone to anyone else.

I cannot be in a relationship that has veto levied against it or me by any third party though it’s okay if my relationship partner strongly considers the input of other partners in how they balance their time/energy/commitments.

I have strong boundaries around informed consent and cannot be in a relationship where that need isn’t being met.

Sexy Fun

Q7a) How would you describe your gender identity and expression?
My gender identity is primarily masculine though I enjoy wearing nail polish and colour coordinating my clothing. I like getting dressed up from time to time and wearing formal wear.

Q7b) To what gender identities and expression are you attracted?
I am attracted to femmes, especially female secondary sexual characteristics such as round hips, full breasts, and soft faces. I’m also attracted to skirts and typically femme identities. Having said that, males who use just a little makeup and who have effeminate features can be sexy to me.

Q8a) What do you find attractive in others? – Kindness, Intellectualism, and Suggestive/Sexually Expressiveness

Q8b) What kinds of sex acts are your favourite?  – Anal sex and cunnilingus though I’ve become increasingly interested in threesomes/complex sexual dynamics

Q9a) When was your last STI test? – 2017-08-10 all results negative

Q9b) Have you ever tested positive for any STIs? – No.

Q9c) Do you have unprotected sex with anyone?
I give unprotected cunnilingus to partners, which is a decision I came to after looking at research and accepting the risk of oral cancer and oral infection was extremely small, especially compared to the enjoyment I get out of giving cunnilingus to people who enjoy it. Other than cunnilingus, I don’t have unprotected sex with anyone though I would consider it with a long term partner.

Q9d) How frequently as you usually tested? – I test every 3 to 6 months loosely depending on how many total and new intimate partners I have. I aim for every 3 months. I’ve never tested positive for any STIs.

Appendix

More about connecting with humans:
New Connections 101: A Primer
New Connections 102: Sexy Fun, Gender, and Orientation
New Connections 110: A Kink Primer

More about connecting with me:
Connected 101/102: My Answers
Connected 110: My Kink Answers

Recommended Resources
Additional Books/Audio/eBooks Recommendations

 

New Connections 110: A Kink Primer

If you haven’t already, consider reading my New Connections Primer. I also published a Sexy Fun Primer.

Why Kink?

image03.jpgKinksters come from a variety of backgrounds and practice kink for a variety of reasons. Kink is an incredibly powerful vehicle for self intimacy. Getting in touch with who you are, what you want, and what you are capable of can give you great strength and confidence. It can also lead to shared intimacy between yourself and others. This can lead to intense feelings, connections, and attachment.

Kink can also produce a sense of mastery as many techniques for both tops and bottoms require training, practice, and skill to do well. In addition, scenes can be planned to be challenging or even harrowing resulting in a hero’s journey or sense of accomplishment, greater self-confidence, and feelings of strength. For others it’s the thrilling experience of pushing their limits and even being uncertain of the outcome. This risk seeking behaviour can be dangerous. Sometimes, conquering personal demons is a goal. For some, receiving mentorship, coaching, or support is the payout. For others, giving that same support can fill one’s need for purpose or meaning as one may feel appreciated, validated, loved, valued for knowledge, and more.

Some people pursue the endorphin high produced by the acceptance of pain. For others, kink is empowering. For some it’s simply arousing. There’s nothing wrong with being uncomplicated.

Q10) What interests you in kink? Why do you want to try a kink scene?

 

The Absolute Basics


BDSM
stands for three different categories of play: bondage and discipline; dominance and submission; and sadism and masochism. 

Each category can be practiced separately. None of these categories is inherently sexual or necessarily sexual though each may be sexual separately or together. In bondage and discipline the top is the one doing the action while the bottom is the one receiving. In Dominance and submission, the Dominant exchanges power or takes control in the scene while the submissive gives control.  In sadism and masochism the sadist gets fed or feels satisfaction from inflicting pain, this includes self-inflicted pain if the satisfaction comes from causing the pain, not from experiencing the pain. The masochist gets fed or feels satisfaction from experiencing pain. Again this could be sexual or asexual satisfaction. Think of scratching a mosquito bite. It’s satisfying, but not usually sexually satisfying.

 

Communication in Scene

Universal safewords like “safeword” or “red” work, but it’s better to fix issues before needing to stop. Consider getting your top’s attention. “Yellow” is a warning word used to keep a scene at its current inten sity. If you’re submitting, consider “please help me, sir!” It’s best to just talk in plain English if you’re able. You may be too emotionally overwhelmed and unable to safeword. A good example of a safe signal would be using a hand-tap to “tap out.”

Safe totems are items (ex: keys) that when dropped end the scene like a safe word. They are great if someone is tied up and gagged; or if you’re pushing someone into subspace where they may lose the ability to form coherent sentences.

 

Psychological Hazards

Subspace is an altered state that bottoms and submissive may find themselves in depending on their unique psychology, physiology, and experience of kink. Endorphins and adrenalin released by prolonged exposure to pain can induce it. For some it is the acceptance of that pain that leads to space. For others, the power presence of a good dom(me) and the anticipation of submission. This psychological subspace is said to be different from the physiological one.

If you haven’t tried a type of play before, consider that it may induce subspace in you and may render you incompetent to make decisions. This is especially a danger when doing rope as some find rope immediately erotic or inexplicably intoxicating. This reaction is very person dependent and such rope space is somewhat uncommon.

These are some of the many reasons why up-negotiating in scene is a risky practice, especially for new partners (though down-negotiating in scene is always allowed). Longer term partners may choose not to follow these best practices leading to additional risk.

Subdrop is diverse experience ranging from mild disquiet or anhedonia to a temporary but fairly intense experience of depression, loneliness, or frustration. For those with a history of depression, this can initiate longer term depression if not managed. It only occurs some of the time and can occur as many as three to five days after your scene or happen immediately the following day. It can occur due to physiological reasons and happen like clockwork based on your body. It can also be psychological and be based on your self judgments, fears, and insecurities.

Q11) Is reaching subspace a goal for you? Physiological or psychological or both?

Planning for Health: Aftercare and Emotional Processing

Since subdrop can be so serious, it’s worth looking at strategies to manage it. The first line of defense is planned aftercare. Some players do not need aftercare and do not get subdrop. Don’t assume you’re one of these players. Some players do not provide aftercare or provide insufficient aftercare. Avoid a difficult, frustrating headspace by negotiating adequate aftercare in advance.

Aftercare often involves physiological care like having access to food like a fatty chocolaimage08.jpgte, protein rich meal, or sugary snack. Hydrate.

Soft, fuzzy blankets image00.jpgor stuffed animals are amazing. Time to rest or cuddle is often essential. Some have their most intimate make-out sessions or sex as a form of aftercare, but this only applies to established sex partners as one isn’t usually competent to negotiate sex immediately after a BDSM scene. Music can be a useful tool for balancing emotion.

While acclimatizing and readjusting after the scene, it’s important not to drive and not have important conversations with others, especially if they don’t know you’ve scened.

Q12) What kind of aftercare supplies do you think you’ll need? Will you bring them to your scene with you?

 

Feelings: Communicating Through Baggage

It’s critical to manage the many emotions BDSM can provoke; so it’s extremely helpful to have the language to discuss it healthily. Communicating about what went well, what flopped, and what could be improved is a great way to consistently make your scenes better so long as no one is being hurt. Reassurance to reduce your partner’s insecurities is helpful. Sometimes we need to be told we’re not shameful or disgusting in order to work through societal baggage and conditioning.

Express only your internal experience and not implied intentions of others (I felt lonely rather than I felt abandoned). This is where you must identify judgments or assumptions. If you haven’t already read my new relationship primer, it’s worth taking a look as this is built on that.

The Center for Nonviolent Communication (c) 2005 has compiled a list of feelings (below) based on whether your needs are met or not. Their website has many resources. They can be contacted by e-mail or by phone at 1.505.244.4041. As always, reading the book Nonviolent Communication is the best resource.

Feel free to skim through the lists of feelings once you have a good sense that none of them imply intention in others and that they instead all describe internal states.

Feelings When Your Needs Are Satisfied

AFFECTIONATE:compassionate, friendly, loving, open hearted, sympathetic, tender, warm
ENGAGED: absorbed, alert, curious, engrossed, enchanted, entranced, fascinated, interested, intrigued, involved, spellbound, stimulated
HOPEFUL: expectant, encouraged, optimistic
CONFIDENT: empowered, open, proud, safe, secure
EXCITED: amazed, animated, ardent, aroused, astonished, dazzled, eager, energetic, enthusiastic, giddy, invigorated, lively, passionate, surprised, vibrant
GRATEFUL: appreciative, moved, thankful, touched
INSPIRED: amazed, awed, wonder
JOYFUL: amused, delighted, glad, happy, jubilant, pleased, tickled
EXHILARATED: blissful, ecstatic, elated, enthralled, exuberant, radiant, rapturous, thrilled
PEACEFUL: calm, clear headed, comfortable, centered, content, equanimous, fulfilled, mellow, quiet, relaxed, relieved, satisfied, serene, still, tranquil, trusting
REFRESHED: enlivened, rejuvenated, renewed, rested, restored, revived

 

Feelings When Your Needs Are Not Satisfied

AFRAID: apprehensive, dread, foreboding, frightened, mistrustful, panicked, petrified, scared, suspicious, terrified, wary, worried
ANNOYED: aggravated, dismayed, disgruntled, displeased, exasperated, frustrated, impatient, irritated, irked

ANGRY: enraged, furious, incensed, indignant, irate, livid, outraged, resentful
AVERSION: animosity, appalled, contempt, disgusted, dislike, hate, horrified, hostile, repulsed
CONFUSED: ambivalent, baffled, bewildered, dazed, hesitant, lost, mystified, perplexed, puzzled, torn
DISCONNECTED: alienated, aloof, apathetic, bored, cold, detached, distant, distracted, indifferent, numb, removed, uninterested, withdrawn
DISQUIET: agitated, alarmed, discombobulated, disconcerted, disturbed, perturbed, rattled, restless, shocked, startled, surprised, troubled, turbulent, turmoil, uncomfortable, uneasy, unnerved, unsettled, upset
EMBARRASSED: ashamed, chagrined, flustered, guilty, mortified, self-conscious
FATIGUE: beat, burnt out, depleted, exhausted, lethargic, listless, sleepy, tired, weary, worn out
PAIN: agony, anguished, bereaved, devastated, grief, heartbroken, hurt, lonely, miserable, regretful, remorseful
SAD: depressed, dejected, despair, despondent, disap
pointed, discouraged, disheartened, forlorn, gloomy, heavy hearted, hopeless, melancholy, unhappy, wretched
TENSE: anxious, cranky, distressed, distraught, edgy, fidgety, frazzled, irritable, jittery, nervous, overwhelmed, restless, stressed out
VULNERABLE: fragile, guarded, helpless, insecure, leery, reserved, sensitive, shaky
YEARNING: envious, jealous, longing, nostalgic, pining, wistful

 

Moving Through The New Feels

Comfort for me begins with the thoughts “I have everything that I need” and “I am safe.” This begins with a strong sense of emotional self awarenessBeing able to know what you’re feeling, put a name to it, and then understand the needs that brought about those feelings is an incredibly useful skill. It’s specifically useful because with experience, you can coach yourself out of the unseen panic many experience when their needs are unfulfilled.

Sometimes getting one need met contradicts anotherGetting one’s needs for attention or novelty or meaning met in kink can contradict one’s needs for safety if one loses hope that one can last through a scene (sometimes safewords threaten a sense of emotional safety and or self confidence). Thus when one need is “bottoming out,” positive self talk is incredibly useful.

NVC: Resolving The Feels

Once you know what you’re feeling, feeling heard is essential to emotional resolution. There are four steps to disarming defensiveness and communicating your experiences to willing partners: observations, feelings, needs, and requests.

  1. It’s incredibly important to differentiate observations versus judgments. This means neutrality in observations – they shouldn’t mean anything at all on their own.
  2. Secondly, communicate your feelings about those observations. What were you feeling internally? Again, try not to make these mean anything except as a description of your internal state unrelated to others.
  3. Next, describe how those observed situations met your needs or did not meet your needs.
  4. How do you feel about getting your needs met or not?
  5. Make a request to improve the situation about what you want not about what you don’t want. Don’t make a demand. A request means an openness to rejection where you will not punish a no in any way (like shame or guilt). Requests can be gifts to your lovers: an opportunity to bring you comfort, satisfaction, and happiness.

H.U.C.S.

If someone is really upset and not using the nonviolent communication process, try to hear them out as best you can. When in doubt, ask for more information and delay reacting. Hear what they’re saying happened. Try to understand rationally how they came to the conclusions they did. Put yourself in their emotional headspace and consider their past experiences and greater context. Apologize if they’re upset – it was probably unintentional, so please try to be supportive. Ask how they’d like / negotiate how you’d like things to work in future. Try to synthesize a fair solution considering all perspectives. Approach hurt with love and compassion. We are each enough just as we are. Through hardship we grow stronger and more whole.

Scene Considerations

Anticipate relationship consequences. If you’ve got current partners (kink or vanilla), they should know what you’re planning on doing in advance. If you’ve considered not only nudity but sex, have you informed all of your partners this is something you’re considering? If not, you may unexpectedly hurt some people who are more attached to you than you think or than they may have said. It’s always better to mention these things in advance as people tend to feel less hurt.

Q13) How do you usually form attachment or connection with others? Do you anticipate kink will form attachment?

Q14) How do you find the sensation of vulnerability or intimacy? Difficult? Rewarding? Connecting?

Consider nudity. Would you like to try a bare bottom spanking or flogging or would you prefer impact play over clothes or both? It’s a different experience. Have you ever felt rope digging in against your skin? If not, maybe consider a topless tie.

Consider marking. Are marks trophies for you or souvenirs from a scene? Are marks bad? If you don’t know what marks you might get from the play you’ll be doing, ask!

Q15) What do your relationship configurations look like? Do they allow for this exploration of kink? (Please ask.)

Q16) Is nudity okay with you and your partners? Is marking okay with you and your partners? (Please ask.)

Consider mistakes. Don’t panic if something goes wrong. Avoid defensiveness. It’s okay to ask for space, text communication only, or even to appoint someone to communicate for you if it’s bad enough you don’t feel like you can manage communicating yourself for a while. Just know that I will strive to hear feedback with compassion. I won’t shame you for coming forward. Having said that, Risk Aware Shit Happens (RASH). These activities are rarely entirely safe and sometimes things go wrong. That is okay.

Remember future play. There is always another scene and you don’t have to do the thing right this second if you haven’t thought it out. How does the scene you’d like to have fit into future play. Is there an arc you’d like to follow? Do you want to be built up to an accomplishment (like being a badass bottom who can take a fifteen minute spanking session)? Or are you just looking to try a little of everything?

Consider practice and regular improvement. Actually close your eyes and walk yourself through what it would feel like to experience/perform the skills. Especially relevant to tops, imagine the scene in its entirety: your warm up and tension building, first activity and some light pushing, second activity, cool-down, and aftercare.

Q17) Do you have any questions? If you think of any later, feel free to ask them then.

 

First Interactions in Kink

There are a few kinds of first interactions in kink. Let’s use rope as one example of the many varieties of kink.

Labbing is where you practice skills but there is very rarely any exchange of power or even necessarily any connection (if rope is tied on someone but the focus is rope).

Demoing is where you show a skill to someone (someone is tied but the focus is on educating the audience). Performance conversely is where the focus is on performing for the audience (spectacle).

Scening (having/doing a scene with someone) is where there is a focus and attention placed on the people involved in the scene and their experience of that interaction. This might look like one person tying themselves with a spotter at a public venue but paying absolutely no attention to the audience. It might look like two people interacting so as to cause intense sensation from pain to pleasure, fear to joy, support to abandonment, or many others. How that happens within a given kink (how you cause a continuum of sensations from abandonment to support in rope for example) is something people spend a lifetime learning.

 

What Now?

It’s all back to your goals. You’ve already thought about why you’re doing this. So what do you want out of kink?

If you’re struggling to think of things, use your fantasy as a guide to brainstorm ideas. Think of things you’ve done that you know you like. Consider what you want to do again, and what you feel is appropriate for where you are (a trust-building first scene). Writing erotica can be a fun exploration of fantasy if kink is sexual for you. When you have some juicy ideas written down, maybe it’s time to sit down with your partner and negotiate.

Rehearsing a scene in your head (visualization) is one of the most effective ways to improve a scene. It will fundamentally help you create touchstones (key moments in scenes). Think about your scene and likely things you (or your character if role-playing) would say.

Even if you’re just going to be in a dominant or submissive headspace, practice saying key phrases out loud until they sound and feel natural to you. If topping, think about movements or techniques and imagine yourself doing them to the other person in your head. If it seems like a chore to you, maybe masturbate to it.

Good luck and happy scenes!

Q18) What elements/situations/fantasies would you like to explore in kink scenes?

 

Appendix

More about connecting with humans:
New Connections 101: A Primer
New Connections 102: Sexy Fun, Gender, and Orientation
New Connections 110: A Kink Primer

More about connecting with me:
Connected 101/102: My Answers
Connected 110: My Kink Answers

Recommended Resources
Additional Books/Audio/eBooks Recommendations

 

 

Continued Learning: Resources

books.jpg

It is essential to your mental health that you continue learning as you practice alternative relationships and/or kink. Some issues may leave you feeling helpless. Knowing there are solutions out there that have been written about, personal development offers you the empowering feeling that you are doing something. Having the tools in the moment is even better than scrambling after a problem, so even if things are great, it’s worth assailing that voluminous, sometimes intimidating knowledge base. Here are some options to get you started:

Self-Compassion by Dr. Kristen Neff discusses the tools, techniques, and thought processes of becoming emotionally healthy and comfortable with yourself. Her site has a list of exercises with free mp3s. She also has a list of books and other resources.

Men, Women, and Worthiness by Brené Brown discusses shame, how to reduce judging others and yourself, the self destructive traps of perfectionism, and healthier self talk (2h15m audio book available)

Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg discusses healthy ways to frame your desires to others, asking for what you want, and aids in healthy conflict resolution strategies (5h audio book available)

Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman discusses healthy argument and conflict resolution in relationships. (11h audio book available)

More Than Two by Franklin Vereaux and Eve Rickert discusses polyamory, relationship anarchy, and healthy non monogamous relationships (16h audio book available). It expands on some of the issues discussed in my New Relationship Primer

Whole Brain Child, The by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson (6h16m audiobook available) discusses reconciling your emotional brain with your rational brain based on science and evidence. It contains the emotional processing and self-awareness skills (yes those exist) that you probably weren’t taught as a child along with language to teach it even to children.

New Bottoming Book, The by Janet W. Hardy and Dossie Easton discusses an introduction to BDSM, subspace, aftercare, subdrop, and basically expands on some of the issues discussed in my New Kinkster Primer.