Fetish Foibles, Part 3 – Social Submission

Welcome to Fetish Foibles, the series where I recount my mistakes as a Dominant for our mutual edification. In the wise words of Queen Clarisse of Genovia, “Don’t make the same mistakes I did; make your own mistakes!” 

This one’s a twofer. Both of these situations relate to the tricky issues that can come up with ‘public’ acts of submission (in kink-oriented settings). The first one is someone else’s foible, but it made me remember one of mine. 

Tl;dr – When experimenting with D/s in a social setting, clarify expectations with your partner and the people with whom you’re socializing. 

I had a strange and mildly unpleasant social experience at the local fetish club recently, which I’ll pick apart now. A Dom and sub asked to sit next to me on the sofa, which was fine. Then, the Dom sat on the sofa, and the sub knelt on a cushion in front of him and began to massage his feet. Neither party spoke to me after settling in. Now, normally, that sort of thing is my jam. Power exchange with service and protocol is often more interesting to me than play without power exchange. And not talking to people? Great! But in this situation, I felt like I had been roped into a scene as an unwilling spectator. 

We were sitting close enough together that I could have made eye contact with the sub while looking straight ahead. I felt like I was sitting too close to something so intimate. I’ll freely admit that I’ve gotten a bit desensitized to sex. I can watch a sex scene and think “Huh. That’s nice; they’re using protection. Good technique…” without getting hot under the collar. D/s protocol scenes are a different matter. It’s the vulnerability! *bangs fist on table* And the intimacy! Ahem. Anyway. This couple could have chosen any other location in the dungeon, including various chairs. I got the sense that they wanted others to be close and to watch. That’s not a bad thing in itself, but I had two issues, which I didn’t fully understand in the moment:

  1. They didn’t tell me they wanted to do this dynamic interaction when they asked to sit down, so I didn’t get to consent to being so close to the scene (generally speaking, it is etiquette here to stay at least a few feet away from a scene in progress). 
  2. They didn’t talk to me or even introduce themselves before starting their scene. I then didn’t feel like I could talk to them or ask for clarification, as they were cultivating an interaction with each other. I just happened to be mere inches away. 

Combined, these issues made me feel like a prop. A very awkward prop. 

Here’s what would have helped:

  1. They could have scened elsewhere in the dungeon. Granted, this couple may not have thought of what they were doing as a scene, but the sofas are generally social spaces, and these two were cultivating something very specific and personal. It felt different from the kind of socializing that D/s couples sometimes do, where the s-type sits on the floor in front of the D-type while they watch others play. 
  2. They could have introduced themselves and clarified what they wanted to do. The Dom could have said “Hi, I’m So-and-so, and this is Such-and-such. I’m speaking for her right now because she’s under protocol this evening and is only talking to me. We’d like to do a little foot massage scene here because it’s right in the middle of the dungeon, but we don’t want to invade your space…” And then, I probably would’ve thought “Cool!,” introduced myself, asked a couple of clarifying questions (like whether the Dom was open to socializing or wanted to focus on his sub), and had a lovely time watching. 

If they’d taken one of those steps, I would not have felt used (fortunately, I was able to make a fairly quick exit, as my sub prepared a space elsewhere to give me a massage). 

Now, that situation reminded me of a mistake I made many months ago, when my sub and I were experimenting with ways to show our D/s dynamic in kink spaces. The first time I brought him to the dungeon, I had him sit on a cushion on the floor in front of me. What we didn’t realize was that when people see that configuration, they sometimes assume that the floor-sitter is under some sort of speaking restriction protocol. My poor sub, social butterfly that he is, found himself largely left out of conversations because people did not know how to interact with him. 

On top of being in a new space and trying to meet new people, he was trying to be a good sub in a public setting for the first time, and my expectations of him weren’t clear. I simply hadn’t considered the practical, social implications of our physical positioning. It left him feeling unstable–and even unwanted. As the D-type in that situation, I should have clarified my expectations for his behavior and checked in with him about how the new protocol felt throughout the evening. If I had realized that people thought they weren’t supposed to talk to him, I would have clarified with them too, or I would have had him sit beside me so that he could converse more easily with others. 

Moral of the story: when using a public protocol, don’t assume that everyone’s on the same page. Clarify expectations with your partners and others in the immediate area. And if you’re the D-type in a situation that renders your s-type more vulnerable than usual, remember that your duty of protection extends into the social arena. 

Penance, Part 5

Read the entire series here. I’m exploring some concepts that I started to work through in my essay “BDSM is Not Repentance” using this experimental semi-fantasy flash erotica series. It is not intended to model realistic and healthy approaches to penance, sex work, or even BDSM, but to inspire thought about how we use BDSM and what role, if any, it can play in true repentance.

The next session begins one long week later, on a hot, humid evening. The doorbell rings at seven on the dot. This time, the man is prepared. So this Dominant is cautious? Okay. He’ll just have to be clearer and more confident about what he wants. With that in mind, he opens the door and folds to his knees without a word. The Dominant pauses, a wiry sketch of black and silver in the doorway, scraping their boots on the welcome mat. The man shifts restlessly, wishing he had a cushion. He looks up at the Dominant’s face. 

They blink at him, expression neutral. “Are you going to let me by?” 

“Uh, yeah.” Honorific intentions forgotten, he shuffle-rolls to the side to make room for the Dominant. Only when he clambers to his feet do they give him some hint of expression, a slight smile. He feels himself stand a little straighter. 

They ask for water again, this time seated on the sofa. He fetches it with a flourish. Along with their papers (the same as last time?), they pull out a handkerchief to cushion the glass on the coffee table. 

Are they going to do the same thing as before? He has to do something; this is ridiculous. He drops to his knees again, right next to the Dominant. 

They look…displeased. What is wrong with them? 

“I want you to sit back down in the chair while I go through these papers,” they say.

“What? Don’t Dominants like it when clients grovel?” It comes out more indignant than he intends. They raise their eyebrows over those steel-rimmed spectacles. 

“Sorry,” he mutters, moving back up to the chair in a tangle of embarrassment and arousal. 

“Thank you. First of all, we’re not a monolith.” They tick off the item on their fingers. “Second, I haven’t discussed a kneeling protocol with you. Third, I asked you to sit by me in the chair.” 

The man’s breath hitches as it clicks into place. So his kneeling was seen as disobedience. Maybe they’re closer to punishing him than he thought; this could work. 

Before he knows it, he’s fetching the blue notebook and asking the Dominant to read. 

He watches their eyes narrow as they page through his entries, all some variation of “I don’t need to write in this; I just need to be punished so I can move on.” 

He waits for the explosion, an order to ‘assume the position’ or something. 

They close the notebook. “Would you rather make audio recordings?” they ask, smooth as ever. What? “I notice you said you want to move on,” they say, removing their glasses, “and yet you wrote the same thing over and over. Perhaps you need a different medium and more time.” More time?!

“No!” he blurts, wondering what parallel universe he’s just entered. “What do I have to do to get you to just punish me?!” 

The Dominant’s eyes harden, like black marbles set in their face. They stand, temporarily looming over him with glass in hand. He braces in the chair, aroused but sickened by sudden fear of what he’s provoked. Maybe this is it, he thinks. 

But the Dominant walks past him to pour their remaining water onto the thirsty Monstera plant. Frozen in place, he watches them walk to the front door.

“Try again,” they say. And then he’s alone.

-To be continued-

Penance, Part 4

Read all installments here. I’m exploring some concepts that I started to work through in my essay “BDSM is Not Repentance” using this experimental semi-fantasy flash erotica series. It is not intended to model realistic and healthy approaches to penance, sex work, or even BDSM, but to inspire thought about how we use BDSM and what role, if any, it can play in true repentance. This installment is a response to the Friday Flash blog meme. 

He slams the microwave shut. He braced for days for this night to leave him bruised and welted. Instead, he’s remarkably…unmarked–maybe a bit saddle-sore from the stool. And now he’s fuming again. No whips and chains today. ‘You’ll have to earn them’? The Dominant left not long after saying those words, sliding that notebook toward him with a knowing smile. Like a perverse Mister Rogers, they re-laced their boots, rattling off instructions for ‘self-aftercare’ or something in dulcet tones. As if they’d actually done a scene, and not just sat there drinking water. 

The stool slides with a horrible screech as he shoves it back under the island. He eyes the notebook with suspicion but doesn’t pick it up. He hasn’t used anything like that since the eighties. Nice joke, but why go back? Seems his laptop updates every other day. That’s how he likes it. 

His hands shake as he puts the empty water glasses in the sink. He scowls at himself. Time to get a grip. 

The space fills with the smell of buffalo sauce, steaming and popping with heat. He throws himself onto the sofa and bites into the first wing, not caring how hot it is. The notebook still sits on the counter. He soldiers through the wings, letting their untempered spice overwhelm his anger. 

By the time he’s blotting the cushions where juices have splattered, he’s more curious than anything. All but jogging back to the island, he opens the notebook. His stomach gives an unpleasant flip when he sees writing inside. “Welcome, Penitent,” it reads in fine, slanted writing. “Here’s where you’ll write about what brought you here. Write something every day until our next session. I won’t read it unless you ask me to, but you will write. Buen Camino!” They want him to keep…a diary? He flushes. ‘Diaries are for girls!,’ a little voice pipes up in the back of his mind. ‘Travel journal’ is more apt, he thinks, even though this is unnecessary.

He will write? A new surge of anger wells up at the thought. He doesn’t need diaries or journals; what he needs is good old-fashioned corporal punishment. He’ll just put the notebook away somewhere and give it back next time. He pauses. Then, he pulls out the pen tucked in its binding. In glistening purple ink, he writes “I don’t need to write in this.” After a beat, he adds “sir.” Signing and dating, he claps it shut. He knows what to do. He’s going to show that Dominant exactly what he needs.

-To be continued-

Penance, Part 2

Read the first series installment of this semi-fantasy flash erotica series here. I anticipate this’ll be a slow-burning series, gentle readers. 😉 This fiction explores some concepts that I started to work through in my essay “BDSM is Not Repentance.” It is not intended to model realistic and healthy approaches to penance, sex work, or even BDSM, but to inspire thought about how we use BDSM and what role, if any, it can play in true repentance. This installment is a response to the Wicked Wednesday blog memeFor some of my more realistic short erotica, see “Stay Like This.”

His mouth runs dry, stomach twisting. Penance. They? Vague memories of workplace sensitivity trainings ooze through his molasses mind. She–they–shake out their umbrella and sling a black messenger bag off their shoulder. 

He stutters “Are these–” 

Now, they grin outright, nodding. “The implements of correction.” Their voice is soft and low, cello-like. 

“Uh,” he replies eloquently, still stuck in place. So much for his plan to fall dramatically to his knees in greeting. That idea seemed so much more intuitive in theory. He looks down at her–their–shoes. No stilettos here, just chunky black boots like his teenage nieces wear. Or like the sisters in his parish growing up used to wear. Or army boots. What a weird overlap. 

“Look up, please,” they say. He does. 

“Let’s have a little chat. Let me get these wet things off, and we’ll sit at the island, alright?” 

“Alright…Miss?” He winces as it comes out. 

“Actually, I prefer Sir,” they reply, dark eyes gleaming. “But we don’t need to worry about that right now.” 

But I’m not attracted to… he thinks as he juggles their belongings to the closet. 

He turns back to them, already perched on a stool and unlacing their boots to reveal socks marked “Ineffable.” Their movements are purposeful and contained, not at all like the whip-slinger he expected. This Dominant wipes rain off their steel-rimmed glasses. 

What on Earth. He must have stood there a little too long, as the Dominant–or interrogator?–raps the island’s granite top with their glasses case. 

He feels himself step forward, blushing. It’s a move he’s used on subordinates before, summoning. Whatever, he thinks, in a fit of pride. His steps sound loud on the wooden floor, even louder when he arranges himself on the stool that’s really too small for him. 

They watch him quietly. Like a lightning rod that deflects noise. 

He tries for board room-level confidence, pasting a dime-toothed smile onto his face. “Well, you found me,” he says with a lame little chuckle.

They smile. “Yes, I did,” they say, pulling some papers out of their bag. Instead of passing them over to him, they adjust their glasses and start to read silently to themself, annotating with a red gel pen. 

For what feels like a long time, they leave him with nothing but the sound of the rain. He crosses his arms. What does this person expect from me? Shouldn’t I be tied up by now? Won’t this ‘Dominant’ do his-her-their job? He feels the words build up inside him, rushing to the surface like hot magma. 

“I’ll have a glass of water, please,” the Dominant says, oblivious. That knocks the wind right out of his sails. He gets up robotically to fill a glass with ice. And then he gets one for himself. 

-To Be Continued-

Told ya. Slow.

Wicked Wednesday... a place to be wickedly sexy or sexily wicked

Penance, Part 1

[Image description: Photo is of a pair of lace-up black leather boots.]

Hello, Readers! I’ve decided to explore some of the ideas I discussed in my recent essay “BDSM is Not Repentance” through fiction. This is the first part of an experimental semi-fantasy flash erotica series. It is not intended to model realistic or healthy approaches to penance, sex work, or even BDSM, but to inspire thought about how we use BDSM and what role, if any, it can play in true repentance. This first installment is part of the Masturbation Monday blog meme sponsored by Kayla Lords. 

He runs his hand through salt-and-pepper hair, drums fingers on his desk to drown out the feeble patter of rain. He grimaces at the cleaning he’s done. She might not show, he thinks. If this day turns out to be a waste of his time and money, he’s leaving a one-star Yelp review and jerking off to Brazzers. 

He was very clear in his inquiry letter to the Agency: he wants to suffer for his actions. He filled out their required spreadsheet of soft and hard limits in a bluster of clacking keys; yes to humiliation, yes to cock-and-ball torture, no to tickling, yes to single-tail, etc. 

He selected a generous three-day time window, signed off with his electronic signature, and procured his background check. Now, it’s just a question of when; it has to be some time today. He waits for her, whomever she is, to waltz into his spartan condo, order him to his knees and slap him around, make him feel powerless. That’s fine. More than fine. 

He chose the “mystery” option to let the Agency assign someone to him, but he’s poked around enough online to have a pretty good idea what she’ll be like: a goddess in stilettos, dark, streamlined slickness over icy pale skin. She’ll beat the devil right out of him…if she shows up. The thought shoots straight down to his cock, and he just catches his hand straying down his khakis. He groans, irritation rising in tandem with arousal.

Just as he’s about to unplug the air freshener and heat up the leftover buffalo wings, someone knocks at the door. He freezes. Somehow, his legs carry him over. He peers through the peep hole at a short, slight woman with asymmetrical hair and a rainbow umbrella. She must be lost, he thinks, wondering whether she’ll go away if he ignores her. But he opens the door. She smiles at him. Her eyes crinkle at the corners. Staticy heat skitters through him, the sensation of thawing after a trudge through the snow, as he realizes that this person isn’t lost at all. “Hello,” she says. “My pronouns are they/them/theirs, and I’m in charge of your penance today.” 

-To be continued-

*Yes, he accidentally misgenders them.

Masturbation Monday