Archives For Writings for Doms

Making Smart Decisions

Fossil9 —  May 15, 2013 — 1 Comment

With IML coming up in about a week people from all over the world will converge on Chicago.  Many of us will need to make important decisions about safe sex throughout the weekend so I thought this would be an appropriate time to share some general considerations about the decisions we make.  While I advocate both playing and having sex in a safe manner I respect that some consenting adults may make different decisions.

I have alluded to this idea in past posts but we all tend to make different choices when we are aroused than when we are not stimulated.  On a couple occasions I have informally experimented with this on subs.  For example, prior to any session with a new sub I take some time to chat with the sub so I can understand their interests and limits.  During an actual session, when a sub is aroused, a few interesting things happen.  Subs tend to be more open to pushing their limits and they tend to be interested in additional things.  All of a sudden, licking the boot of the man standing in front of him goes from being uninteresting to a big turn on for the sub.  The inverse of this situation may also occur – if a sub is jerking off while communicating his interests and limits he may find that he is not into those same things unless he is very horny at any given moment in a scene.

All of us have experienced ourselves making different decision or finding different interests when we are horny than when we are not.  This concept is analogous to the decisions people make when they are sober vs. when they are drunk.  Few people would argue that they make their best decisions while they are drunk.  Do we make our best decisions while we are horny?  Probably not.

Getting back to my point – take some time and think about the sexual activities you are likely to engage in when you are aroused.  And, while you are not stimulated, decide what you are (not) willing to do sexually and decide how you will do so in a safe manner.  Then, when you are horny, you just need to apply the decision you previously made.  As an example – if you may end up having anal sex with someone make the decision, in advance, to use a condom.  Do not leave this decision up to your horny alter-ego.  You should also keep some condoms on you so you are less tempted to forgo one when you are horny and might not make the best long-term decision for yourself.  Instead of saying to yourself that it is OK to skip a condom”just this time” tell yourself “not this time”.  Make your safe sex decisions in advance and make the commitment to yourself to honor them, no matter the situation.

I also encourage you to check out the video about the “Rule of 3” for an interesting idea about an approach to safer sex.

We owe it to each other to play safe.

The Dictator Game

Fossil9 —  May 6, 2013 — Leave a comment

My post on Game Theory in a Scene triggered a number of interesting discussions so I am going to continue with occasional posts incorporating game theory in a BDSM or power exchange based situation.  I already discussed the Prisoner’s Dilemma in my prior post which is just one “game” in game theory but there are a number of interesting “games” that can be incorporated into a D/s dynamic.  This post will focus on the dictator game and my next post incorporating game theory will be on the ultimatum game.

Dictator Game
Some quick background – In the dictator game one player allocates all of a fixed reward/resource.  The second player has no choice but to receive whatever the first player has allocated to the second player.  If player one is focused upon maximizing his own benefit he will take all of the reward/resource and leave nothing for the other player.  The concept is pretty simple and generally used to test how altruistic people’s are actions are in a given situation.

Application in a D/s situation:
In a D/s situation the aforementioned game needs to be slightly tweaked to fit the dynamics of each individual’s role.  First, the Dom needs to have a good understanding of what the sub(s) really enjoy; what they are willing to do but need to be “pushed” to do; and what their limits are.  To be clear, I believe the Dom should already know these things prior to setting up any scene with a sub.

When a Dom has a single sub in a scene the Dom can still leverage these games to have some fun with the sub.  Instead of allowing the sub to chose rewards/resources from a list given by the Dom we can make the sub chose from a set of experiences that would push their limits or otherwise be unfavorable.  He will make those choices and, if acceptable to the Dom, they will be carried out.  This seems too simple so we need to make it more difficult for the sub.  What if the sub does not have a good feel for their Dom’s expectations?  Does the Dom really expect the sub to chose all the negative experiences?  If the sub selects none of the negative experiences will he be off the hook?  Will the sub get into the worst possible situation by incorrectly trying to call his Dom’s bluff?

When I communicate with the sub about the choices they need to make I tend to be vague about what I am expecting.  My interest is not in having the sub simply fulfill the expectations I set for him so the vagueness helps force the sub to make real decisions.  If the sub is given too much direction he will do what he is obviously supposed to do and then the two of us are simply acting out a scene instead of interacting.  The sub knows he needs to fulfill my expectations but he also needs to figure out what exactly those expectations are.

Normally after I give the sub this task I will be patient and give him some time to give me an answer.  In my experience the most frequent outcome is that the sub will take some time and finally arrive at the decision to take most, if not all, of the adverse experiences.  When I ask the sub about his decision making process usually he struggles for awhile and, in some manner, says that he based his decision upon what he thought my expectations of him were.  Sometimes the sub is right and sometimes he is wrong.

On other occasions I want to have a different kind of fun with the sub – I will get inside the sub’s head even more.  The lack of clarity in the directive to a nude sub already restrained in a vulnerable position can really make it difficult for the sub to think clearly.  While they are thinking, I like to amp up the pressure on a decision.

It is always fascinating to watch people under duress make decisions that may have repercussions.  Just as in other aspects of life; some subs see stress as a powerful motivator and others succumb to it.  While playing one of these “games” with a sub is certainly fun from a general power perspective these situations can be powerful tools to help understand a sub’s interests and their will.

If you decide to try something like this in a scene be sure to give it some thought beforehand and be sure it is appropriate for your situation.  As with anything on my blog, this concept will not be appropriate for every Dom or sub but I thought it would be worthwhile to share.  At minimum, I hope this post helped trigger some new thoughts about interactions during a power exchange focused scene.

Every day each of us classifies things based upon our unique set of experiences.  The majority of these classifications are generally accepted by other human beings but, based upon our experiences, there may be some grey areas.  For example, a chair is a chair…but what if someone uses the chair as a table – then is it a chair or a table?

There are many benefits to classifying items in our world and they are easy to figure out so I will not dwell much on the benefits.  Classification, in context of one’s limits in a scene, is important because it helps to efficiently communicate what is (not) acceptable with a play partner.  Each person will have his own perspective on what these limits mean because we each have different experiences which we use to put these limits into context.  Our different perspectives may lead us to misunderstand or miscommunicate each other’s limits.

Limits are great because they help one to feel less vulnerable physically and emotionally.  They are generally set so certain things are not done in a scene.  Some limits are set to protect us from physical harm and some are set to prevent us from being pushed over a psychological ledge that we do not wish to be near.  In my opinion, many inexperienced subs go about setting limits in an inefficient manner.  This inefficiency occurs when their limits are defined in too broad (or narrow) of terms.  Maximizing the efficiency of the limits means having them focused so they only limit what should be limited.

Let’s take two real world examples I have encountered:

  • Situation #1 – When I inquired about a sub’s limits I received a list that included most of the common limits (permanent marks, public play, etc.) but one thing really stuck out to me.  I was surprised to see “handcuffs” listed as a limit so I asked a few follow-up questions.  It was an area of concern for me because it signaled to me that he may have issues with being restrained although that would not have been consistent with our conversations.  It turned out that he had a run-in with police and he was arrested a few years back.  He was all about being restrained, he just did not want to use handcuffs.  It also signaled to me that I should probably forgo using my SWAT uniform with him.
  • Situation #2 –  This sub was new to bondage and had cages listed among his limits so I asked some clarifying questions.  The sub shared that he was claustrophobic and concerned that being caged would trigger a panic attack.  In this situation the issue was not necessarily the cage – it was his claustrophobia.  I suspect just about any position a sub is restrained in could result in the anxiety associated with claustrophobia which is why it is important for the Dom to be cognizant of the situation.

When setting your limits I have a few suggestions:

  • Start by listing out the things that come to mind when you initially are creating your list of limits.  After doing your initial brainstorming take a look at profiles on sites such as Recon and add any additional limits you may have initially missed.
  • After you create your initial list start asking yourself questions.  Why is each item listed?  Is what you want to avoid what is listed or is it just correlated with what you are looking to avoid?  If you are a claustrophobic sub then, at minimum, you should communicate that to the Dom instead of trying to include every possible situation to avoid on the list of limits.
  • Communicate your limits.  You can list them out and put them in your profile but I also suggest taking the step of having a conversation with your play partner about your limits.
  • Over time reevaluate your limits as they will change, just like your tastes do.  For the items that are on the fringe, or may be a soft limit, have conversations with people that are experienced and knowledgeable.  When the time is right explore those limits with a play partner you trust.

When you encounter a play partner with vague, unusual, or incomplete limits I recommend you ask questions.  Asking targeted questions of your play partner should help you get at the reasoning behind the limit.  If something that was not listed may be borderline OK based upon the given limits – ask some additional questions.  Why is the limit listed?  What experience does the person have with the limit?  It is amazing what we can learn asking a few questions.