|Artwork by SpacePupSilver|
When I was much younger, I used to sing in a Church choir and go to Church every Sunday. (Yes, for those of you who know me as Vulferam, as a Demon and “Satanist” you’re probably wondering how I got from A to B. That’s another story). Needless to say, I sat through my fair share of sermons.
One in particular has come to have a different and stronger meaning for me than I think the Vicar intended. The sermon was trying to explain how God can be God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Ghost. He drew the comparison that someone could be a son, and a brother and a nephew. We can be different things to different people and have different identities.
There are powerful archetypes in BDSM, the all-powerful infallible Dom dressed in full leather, boots and a Muir cap. The submissive, helpless, gimped up in head to toe in full rubber, collared, kneeling and waiting to be used. These archetypes from the history of BDSM are imprinted on us and still drive many of our fantasies. However, in much literature and porn these archetypes are considered mutually exclusive.
So what am I getting at? We are already used to managing identities, we may manage our “real-life” identity and hide aspects of our kinky selves at work and with family. On the kink scene we may emphasise the sleazy aspects of ourselves that we have to hide the rest of the time. We show different people different aspects of our personalities. Much as in the sermon, we are different things to different people. But kink gives us a further opportunity. We can play with different identities and headspaces, using them to explore different facets of ourselves and to have heaps of fun. Why be just a slave bottom when you could also be pup, a puss, a drone, a Handler or a Dom? I do realise that people may have a strong affinity to a single headspace and identity, and that’s great too! But don’t let the archetypes of kink constrain you. Be free to explore!
For me, I started out as a sub, 100% bottom. Though I will admit I was a pushy bottom of the worst order. But then as I started playing more I discovered I enjoyed fucking and started to top. More than that I discovered a dominant aspect and some darker sides to me and that is when I adopted the Demon identity, Vulferam. I always knew I was kinky but playing further made me realise the depth of my piginess, so I also identity as a pig and will play versatile in sessions. More recently I discovered the pup in me, named by my Handler as Piston (because I’m a filthy fist pup keen on Piston FF). So now I have three main identities: Human me, Vulferam and Piston. I have others that I’ve played with over the years, I’ve been a drone, a sewer pig, a slave and probably more. But I primarily identify as Vulferam and as a Dom pig. I usually tell people to address the me they want, but if you’re in doubt Sir is a good bet. Not Master though, that’s reserved for someone who formally owns you!
However, things can be more complex. Piston has different aspects, to other pups and Handlers I am very dominant and will not submit. A very cute pup was playing at a social event, he went for some pressure points on me, and instead of feeling the pain I snarled at him and didn’t give in. Be warned, Piston is not a subby puppy! For my Handler, however I roll over for and obey completely. I trust him with a headspace that I do not let others into. This gives rise to an unusual setup for the pack. To Storm I am both his Boss and his pup. To Rook and Shadow I am their Boss and Handler and to Rook I am also an Alpha pup as Piston. I am different things to different people. It’s great fun!
But if we are exploring our headspaces we need to be aware of others too. They may be new to exploring a headspace, or their headspace may be exposing more vulnerable aspects of their personality. We need to respect that and listen and look for how to handle that person. Ask them what works for them to get them into the headspace they want to go. For pups maybe getting geared up helps, a particular toy, scritches or being given treats. For pigs maybe verbal abuse and sleazy play will help take them down to their piggy space. But watch for body language and verbal clues too and watch for changes in those that may indicate that things aren’t working for them, and check in with them.
As much as caring for people’s headspaces at events and in scenes, I believe we also need to be careful how we talk about other’s headspaces. It’s their headspace and may well be very important and personal to them. You don’t get to judge their headspace or their identity. I’ve seen a profile where someone states that if you’re over 30 you’re a dog not a pup. Such sweeping comments are ill thought out and unhelpful. I encourage you to act with sensitivity and compassion when talking to others about their headspaces and when playing with them in that headspace.
Headspaces can also take people into very deep places or even where they zone out totally. It can be disconcerting if you are not used to seeing this. It is also difficult to describe, but as a pup my only concern is the moment and pleasing my Handler. Combine this with an activity such as fisting and my head goes quiet and I zone out and I’m howling for more. Sometimes when getting fisted I go to a place that is all dark. Others describe places of light and others see even more vivid things. But after such play I can be physically and mentally tired. Allow the person time to come back. There can often be feelings of not wanting to let go of that headspace and it can be almost sad to come back to being human. Give hugs and physical contact and look after the basics such as hydration and making sure there are snacks available.
So go, be explorers of yourselves! Give yourself permission to find the different identities in you and in doing so have fun and allow yourself to be more whole. And be more dog, pig, cat, slave, drone, Sir, Football Coach or whatever else you like!