Archives For Thoughts for Doms

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.

Game Theory in a Scene

Fossil9 —  March 11, 2013 — 3 Comments

Fair warning – In this post I connect Dom and sub interactions to the economic concept of game theory.  Both subjects are of material interest to me but if you abhor economics you may not want to spend too much time reading through this post.  For those of you still interested, let’s get into some basic economics…

Game theory involves strategies among multiple decision makers with different goals to maximize their gains and minimize their losses in a given situation.  The Prisoner’s Dilemma is probably the best known example of game theory so I will cover that below and then incorporate aspects of a Dom and sub relationship.

Prisoner’s Dilemma
In the Prisoner’s Dilemma two people are put into jail in separate cells and they cannot communicate with each other.  The police do not have enough information to convict both prisoners on the primary charge so they plan on jailing them both on a lessor charge for a 1 year term.  However, each prisoner is also offered another opportunity by police.  If he testifies against the other he will go free and his partner will go to jail for 3 years.  The catch is that if both prisoners testify against each other then both will be sentenced to 2 years in jail.  In this situation it is best for each prisoner to betray his partner because betrayal results in the best outcome regardless of what the other partner does.  To break this down:

  • If your partner testifies against you then you are best off testifying against him which would result in you both going to jail for 2 years.  If you did not testify then your partner goes free and you end up in jail for 3 years.
  • If your partner does not testify against you then you are best off by testifying against him.  By doing so you will walk away free and he goes to jail for 3 years.

Communication and trust between the two prisoners would actually result in the best possible mutual outcome – neither testify and both are in jail for 1 year on the lessor charge.

How does this relate to the interactions between a Dom and sub?
In game theory you need players, strategy and payoffs.  The Dom and the sub are the ‘players’ in this situation so that is simple.  Now, the ‘payoffs’ can be somewhat tricky – only you can decide what your payoffs are.  I know if you lack experience this following point may be difficult but you should figure out what you want before you try to get it.  Generally the payoffs a Dom or sub gets are the experience and feelings that arise before, during, and after a scene.  Those that have had an economics class or two would know the benefits better as one’s ‘utility’.

In my post “Who is in Control?” I wrote about how a sub sets boundaries based upon his interests and those boundaries influence how the Dom and sub interact.  Once those boundaries are discussed and agreed upon it is time to figure out how to maximize mutual payoffs.  In this post I define mutual payoff as the combined benefits a Dom and a sub get from playing together.  I am not a proponent of a Dom or a sub trying to maximize their own benefit from a scene when it results in a net decrease in the combined benefit the Dom and sub receive from the scene.  A more concise way of stating my last point would be to say ‘don’t be a dick’ to your play partner…unless that is what he is looking for.

A few considerations for maximizing mutual payoffs:

  • Do you want the single best mutual experience possible or the best mutual experience over the long-run?  If you have limited future opportunity to play together due to distance or other factors you and your play partner may want to try to cram a number of interests together into a scene.  If the two of you want to set yourselves up for future sessions you would want to take a different approach.  In those sessions you can be more focused on what occurs as you will have more time to explore your mutual interests at a deeper level, mutually reflect upon your experiences, and increase the intensity of the later sessions.
  • Payoffs may change in real time – What you or your partner want to do may change during the scene as you and your partner interact.  Headspace can have a profound impact on what you (do not) want to occur which leads to the next point below.
  • We may misunderstand our interests and actually prevent ourselves from maximizing our own benefit.  I have made this point before but until you try something it is difficult to gauge how enjoyable an act will be until you have actually done it.  Additionally, over time our tastes will change and if you do not recognize this you may limit yourself from doing something that you would now really enjoy.
    • Understanding our partner’s interests – If we have trouble understanding our own interests it is even harder to communicate them to our partner.  Just to complicate things a bit more – many subs prefer not knowing details of what will actually happen during a scene and they often times get benefit from knowing that something they will not enjoy in the moment may occur.

As I stated before, only you can decide what your payoffs or benefits are.  Internal reflection, trying new experiences, and conversations with others tend to be the best way to understand what really gets us off.  You should also take time to understand your partner’s desired payoffs.  Whether you are trying to determine your payoffs or your partner’s payoffs be sure you are asking yourselves the right questions.  Knowing your desired payoffs and your partner’s desired payoffs you can have a strategy in a scene to optimize those payoffs so you both have the best experience possible.

My attempt with this post was to connect a non-kinky concept to the interactions of a Dom and sub.  There are a number of tangents I wanted to pursue in this post but I thought it was best to pare it down for now.  I will save those topics (“strategy”, asking the right questions, etc.) for additional posts in the future.  I welcome any feedback you have on this concept for posts or the associated topics. 

Bondage on a Budget

Fossil9 —  March 8, 2013 — Leave a comment

Just after Christmas a new-to-kink guy I was chatting with sought some help on purchasing his first gear in a cost efficient manner.  He had consulted my post on Accumulating a Gear Collection but he wanted to chat through some more specifics.  Our conversation focused upon whether it was best to purchase fewer pieces of quality gear or get more total pieces of lower quality gear.  We are both biased toward purchasing quality gear but I also helped provide him with some options that helped him save some money.

Below I have included some of the thoughts I shared with him and, in many cases, point out less expensive alternatives to traditional sex shops for some items.  Many of these tips are obvious to experienced guys but they may not be as obvious to those just starting out.

The Gear:
Collar

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If you are going to use a collar when you play I recommend getting a quality collar like the locking leather collar from Mr. S Leather.  It is reasonably priced, you can be proud to wear it, and you will not need to worry about replacing it after a couple years of use.  I have had one of these for several years now and I still enjoy leveraging it in a scene.

For a less expensive option you could pick up a collar from a pet store but they normally do not look quite as nice as a collar made for a sub.  You could also go to a hardware store like Home Depot and have them cut a chain about 18 inches long – add a lock and you have a collar although this may not be comfortable for the sub.

Leashes are a good tool if you are into pup play or humiliation and it will only set you back $15-$20 if you purchase one from a pet store.

Rope, Chain, & Locks
You do not need fancy rope if you are just getting into rope bondage.  If you plan on tying limbs together you can pick up some rope from Home Depot.  Rope work is not my forte but I believe you would want rope that is around a quarter inch in diameter.

Home Depot is also a good source for chain.  They have a number of different chain diameters and they can cut the chain to any length(s) you request.

If you are going to purchase locks pay a little extra and get quality locks.  I have had the best success with Master Locks and you can usually get a couple packs that are keyed alike so you can have 8+ locks and only need one key.

Blindfold
You probably already have items you could use as a blindfold laying around.  Bandanas and socks make great blindfolds.  Be aware that a sub may be able to see through the blindfold if it is stretched too thin or not properly placed.  If you are worried the sub will see through a stretched blindfold you can always apply a bit of duct tape on one side of the blindfold.

Duct Tape & Shrink Wrap
Warehouse clubs are the perfect place to purchase duct tape and shrink wrap.  A couple years ago my partner and I purchased an 18 inch by 3000 foot role of shrink wrap for about $15.  We still have a long way to go before we run out of it.

Handcuffs
Handcuffs are an ideal item in a kinkster’s gear collection.  They are somewhat inexpensive, extremely functional, and easy to store.  A good set of handcuffs can last for many years, in fact, I still have the first handcuffs I purchased when I was 15 years old.  When you purchase handcuffs be sure you get a set that is double locking (and use it) so they do not tighten up too much on a sub’s wrists.  You can find handcuffs from numerous stores on the internet – I have purchased from the Handcuff Warehouse before so you may want to check them out.

You could also purchase flex cuffs (similar to cable ties) that are single use and cost about $1 each.

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Black spandex hood
My recommendation is to purchase the Spandex Hood from Mr. S Leather.  This is one of the first items I purchased from Mr. S Leather many years ago because it is functional, easy to store, and inexpensive.

You could also utilize a pillow case or cloth bag if you have one but it is important to be sure the sub can easily breath through the cloth.

Nipple clamps
These are available through a number of kinky websites and most are relatively inexpensive ($20 – $40) and most of the less expensive alternatives are functional but lack aesthetic appeal.

Knee pads
Check out a (used) sporting goods store for a good pair of knee pads.  Consider if you will be crawling around on them like a pup or if you just want them to support a sub in kneeling position.  Try them out in the store…it is OK to be on your knees in a sporting goods store since you are trying the kneepads on.  And who knows, someone just might walk up and give you something to do while you are down there 🙂

Condoms & lube
These are not items to neglect – always have more condoms and lube than you will need on hand.  Take a look at a website like Walgreens or CVS – their websites usually have more options for products that they do not carry in store.  I have saved a lot on lube by purchasing it through Walgreens.com

This list was not intended to be a comprehensive list of the gear you should have in your collection.  Rather, my intention was to give you some thoughts to consider if you want to add some gear from the referenced categories to your collection while being mindful of the costs.

Note that if you purchase something through the Mr. S Leather links included above I will be compensated for referring your purchase.  I have purchased from every other retailer mentioned in this post although I do not have an affiliate relationship with any of them