Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Playing with the Dark

The dark and the shadows is what appeals to many of us as Doms and creates much of the allure and fantasy of BDSM.  Fantasies of rape and bullying are a subtext to many SM fantasies and porn.  Much attention goes on the protection of subs, and rightly so.  Safe, sane and consensual is the cornerstone of kink and what protects us from crossing the line into abuse and unhealthy territory.  But what of the protection of Doms?  As people playing with these boundaries it is important we take our physical and emotional health as seriously as we do our subs.  We need to be in a fit state to protect them.  Playing in the shadows and with the bad versions of ourselves can throw up emotions we don’t expect and make us realise we are capable of doing terrible things.   Our instinct and the boundaries provided by safe, sane and consensual kink are the tools for protecting ourselves and therefore our subs. I have two stories to put this into context.

The first was a session where I was playing with a sub I’d known for a while and we had a couple of successful sessions together.  When talking to arrange our next session he asked me to go harder on him.  He wanted to be kicked, beaten, and hurt.  He was confident he could take it and I was happy to deliver it.   We had agreed a safeword.

The session came and I got geared up in the room, bleachers and shiny black DMs, I had a zero crop either side of my mohawk.  I looked and felt the part.  I got him on his knees and then set to work, giving him verbal abuse and started roughing him up then giving him a kicking with my boots.  But I felt something change.  I stopped immediately and asked him if I remembered his safeword.  He didn’t reply, he couldn’t answer me but instead crawled off into the bathroom and started sobbing.

I got down to his level and said it was me and I was here and it was going to be ok and asked him to talk to me and tell me what was going on.   After a lot of calming down it transpired that he had been abused in the past and I had triggered him into a place where it was no longer a session with me but a relapse of his previous abuse.  I put my arm around him and we talked.  I made him tea and gave him room to talk about what had happened.  After some time he decided he wanted me to fuck him and we hugged afterwards.

That session could have gone very differently.  If I had carried on kicking him and gone further and he had been unable to safeword I would have been assaulting him.  I would have had to live with the damage I had done to him and to myself as the result and possibly criminal action against me.  Who knows?

But the boundaries of safe, sane and consensual protected me.  I felt something was wrong, so I checked I had consent.  Remember that consent can be withdrawn at anytime.  I didn’t get the reply I needed confirming he knew his safeword.  So I stopped. Still, I learnt from the experience.  Not only do I now check subs for health issues, I ask about mental health issues, abuse, and I probe further: “what are you not telling me?”.  It’s not a sexy premeet conversation but it makes sure you have the information you need to protect a sub for a session and they get the reassurance that you are taking their wellbeing seriously.  I would strongly recommend having this conversation before playing with a new sub, and if going into new territory with existing playmates.  

The second story is a friend, no really, I would say if it was me.  He was with a sub he had met for the first time that evening at a party. At the end of the party they were bedding down together.  After some teasing and playing they began fucking, the sub said he was getting a bit sore and they stopped. They returned to playing and teasing some more and then discussion turned that my friend could resume fucking the sub.  This happened several times. During their teasing, the sub alluded to the idea of ''carrying on even when I say no'.  When they resumed fucking another time, and the sub complained of being sore, my friend acted. A consensual non-consent session had started – although it had not been strongly discussed.  My friend held the subs arms up above his head tightly and when he complained he covered his mouth with his hand and carried on fucking him. The subs initial response encouraged my friend, but at some point he felt a change in body language. He stopped, took away his hand and checked with the sub to see if he had enough.  The sub, after a long pause said yes he had and my friend withdrew.  But the thought of what had happened hit my friend.

If he had carried on fucking and cum, even for just a short time, consent may well have not been present and the boundary crossed.   The danger of this session was the lack of discussion and the lack of an agreed safeword.   But my friend did the right thing by checking and that protected him and the sub.

This leads on to the fallout from sessions.  Emotions don’t always surface or leave as soon as a session ends.  Subs frequently experience “Sub Drop” when the endorphins from a session wear off, maybe when they are back home along and coming down from the excitement and missing the contact with their Dom.  As I Dom I have a similar feeling, I miss my pups and pigs after playing with them.  They are a huge part of my life and I have to go back home and to being a “normal” human being.  But playing with the dark can have a bigger impact, it can stir emotions and fears that we may not expect.  It is natural for that to happen and it’s not a bad thing to process them and reflect on what we have done.  Have people you can talk to.  It’s good and healthy to talk to your sub about these feelings and get reassurance from them.  I am convinced that the idea of a perfect, infallible Dom is not a healthy one.  Though hot for a scene, it is not maintainable in the real world.

Let the boundaries provided by safe, sane and consensual kink keep you safe and from crossing lines that should not be crossed.   If there is any doubt at all in your mind, and indeed maybe when there isn’t, check in with your sub and check that you still have their consent to continue.   Because with consent in place you can visit some wonderfully dark and disturbing places that can set you free.