What We Mean When We Talk About the Long Game

Dedita is fast asleep in the bed where I left her to nap. She has always had insomnia, but has been sleeping better since she moved into my home. She sleeps the best when she is somewhere between safe and terrified. Too much of one or the other and she will fall of the fence into a field of insomnia. If I am too nice, her dark passenger creeps out looking to be hurt. She snaps and growls and fights in ways that she does not even recognize until well after the fact. If she is brutalized too much, there is no moment of solace and she lies awake waiting for the next attack.

The long game is nothing if it is not about patience. The effects of training are often not felt for weeks if not months after the fact. As I sit here and write, I know that I have started to make a new creature out of Dedita. One that is part her and part who I want her to be. This is the dance of Mastery. You are constantly training, constantly tweaking, changing the body and soul you have been given. Some of the changes are practical, some are aesthetic. Some of the changes are arbitrary, but this does not make them any less important, and in fact, in many ways they are more important.

For me, training my slave is not about making a perfect object. I am a creature of chaos and love the imperfections that make us human. If Dedita did everything right the first time what would be left for me to do as the Owner? I need to feel that my guiding hand is vital to her existence and so does she. We both need to feel that there is something more for her to learn and for me to teach. It is about trying. She needs to feel that she is trying to do better. When the Master or the slave or both feel that there is nothing more to learn, the long painful decline begins.

Lessons can be real and permanent but they can be transitory as well. I want Dedita to lay out my clothes in the morning. I like the clothes she chooses. I like to not have to worry about what shirt goes with what pants and yet still look like I did not get dressed in the dark. This is a permanent rule. This must be done everyday without fail. It is a lesson I am teaching her because it has a real world value. When she learns to do this consistently my life will be easier and her life will have less torment.

Aesthetic lessons are all about style and grace. My girl is an extension of me. People see my hand in her actions and I want to make sure she represents me to the rest of the world in a way I want to be represented. By changing her clothes, by making her become more social and activate that vulnerable but approachable piece of herself. Each Master accesses different facets of his slaves. I like to be social. I like to see people. I like to play games and joke and drink. Dedita has social grace, she has shown it in many ways but as we grow as an interactive couple I like to see her skills put to work for me.

For some this is where the training ends. Once your slave has learned to do what you want without a second thought from her or a second word from you, the lessons are over and the smooth sailing begins. I see this as only the beginning. When the hard lessons, the real lessons, the lessons that have to be taught, have to be learned are finally ingrained, then the fun begins.

It is the stable and founded life of a 24/7 Master/slave that you can begin to twisted and play with the subtle nuances. A look, or a word can be sculpted into the perfect tool or weapon.  Rooms can be made to feel safe, or haunted. You have the rest of your lives to study the detailed expressions held within a sigh. Sex can be explored with entire weeks used to explore the correlation between pleasure and pain. You can build a trigger to incite orgasm at the sound of a bell or inspire near catatonic fear with a touch. You can spend the better part of a month working her into a near constant state of arousal without ever letting her come only to spend the next three-month making her collect orgasms in a journal like a philatelist collects stamps. You have the time to play the long game that has not point other that to see what you can make another person do or believe. Not only do you have the time to play out long tortures, you also have time to change the effects back if you find you do not like them. You can spend a month making her fear your touch. You can make her feel the deep-seated terror of a long-term captive and so every night when you crawl into bed next to her you can feel the tension ripple through her body as you take what is yours. Eventually though you will want you girl back. Eventually you will want to have her crawl up onto your chest and fall asleep with the long peaceful breaths of a pet who feels safe. Like a complicated rope scene, some of the best emotional sadistic scenes need as much (if not more) time to untie as they do to tie.

The long game is not just long in the making but long in the unmaking too. The casual player does not understand why some of us choose to live the power exchange 24/7. For them the games are short and to play with feelings or toys that might leave longer lasting marks seems careless. For me these longer term games, these longer term effects are not only more satisfying, the show to both me and Dedita that what we have is going to be around for the long haul.

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House of Leaves: Scening inside 24/7

If you are looking at BDSM as an extracurricular activity, something you do outside your “normal” life, then a scene is pretty easy to define. Top meets bottom. Top hits bottom. Bottom goes home. It is a moment in time that is negotiated before hand; it has a singularity in Time and Space and there are clearly marked entrances and exits. I could go off for paragraphs on the room metaphor – a room has a very clearly defined existence and that existence can not sustain a person forever. You can only stay in one room for so long before you are looking for a door.

If a scene is a room, then the 24/7 lifestyle is a house. A house has more rooms. It has different rooms for different activities. A house is a place that you can live.

When ZeeGee and I first came out it was clear to us that we wanted to live BDSM and D/s as a lifestyle. Neither ZeeGee nor I are people who lead partial lives. This sense of living completely immersed in a power exchange has gotten stronger for me now that my primary relationship has changed and I have taken Dedita into my house. The dynamic is in everything we do: how the laundry gets done, how we sleep, how we eat. It is so apart of our lives that it has become second nature. We do not think about it often or with much fanfare when I take her by the elbow when crossing the street. We do not feel that it is a “scene” if I make her masturbate while pissing. These are the things that make up our everyday life.

These are not the artifacts of a room seperate from reality, this is reality.

What happens when the two worldviews cross? I have play partners besides my slave. They are scene partners that I build special rooms for in the ever-changing house that is my mind. Dedita sees me working on these rooms. She sees me carrying tools and materials, opening locked doors, and she catches glimpses of what I am building, only to have the door shut before she can step inside.

These rooms are not for her. She knows this, and at times, struggles with it. There is a certain sadistic irony in watching her kick around sad about the rooms she cannot go into when she lives in a house full of rooms which only she can access. This sadness is not because she does not appreciate what she has, but because she sees that others have something she doesn’t. Play partners who are exploring dynamics within a scene often experience this envy as well. They can see the day-to-day existence of their top living in a Master and slave relationship and want to experience that. These are common feelings for both parties.

I don’t feel that you need to avoid situations that create these emotions and longings for your play partners and slaves, but as a responsible partner, you do need to be aware that there will be consequences and actions that result from these feelings. It is often easier to deal with any problems that may arise if you know what is coming. For example, I do not like the effects of a play partner who becomes too attached. I do not want to hurt anyone’s feelings or create false expectations, so I make it clear from the beginning that I am not looking for a relationship. I make them understand that I am building them a room, not a home. This is simple and can be dealt with almost completely with clear communication at the onset of the adventure, and by using a take it or leave it approach. I do not negotiate on the level of commitment I can give a play partner; if we aren’t a good fit in that regard, we simply don’t play.

However, with my slave, I am in a different situation, one where “take it” is the only option for her. And if I force her to take something, I am responsible for knowing and handling how she will react to that absolution.

A partner can be defined and limited from the beginning but a slave has to be trained. A slave has to be understood more completely. What Dedita is sad about when she sees me working on a room that is not for her is that I am giving another partner physical attention, focus, and time. She sees what I am doing as a manifestation of my caring. If she feels that I care for others, she sees that she is not a priority in that moment. I have found that I can use this feeling to train her in three different ways: active behavior modification; passive behavior modification; and dynamic maintenance. I am sure other Masters will have different lessons and habits but these work for me.

Active Behavior Modification

By directly connecting the scene building and courting process of a play partner with Dedita’s actions, I can quickly make short-term changes to the way she behaves. Tell your slave about the scene you plan to have with another; tell her why you are doing it; tell her what you like about your other partner. Active modification is clearly explaining what you want from your slave that you are getting from your play partner and watching them change their behavior.

For Dedita, it works best to not be too specific. If you can show your slave what games, sexual acts, and physical punishments you like through a play partner, she will focus on ways to please you, and often offer up alternative ways you can do those things to her. However, be aware that playing, “why can’t you be more like your sister…” is fun but can be counter productive. Look for ways of expressing these desires and needs so as to compare and contrast the two without making the competition too fierce. Having two partners at odds is fun to read about but hell to live through. For a slave with healthy self-esteem, comparison can steer their actions.

Passive Behavior Modification

By taking my attention from Dedita and turning them towards an outside partner, I am redirecting a resource and making her realize that she can lose what she has at any moment. Talking about a scene you are going to do with another person with your slave can seem innocuous, but in fact carries a lot of weight. If she is acting out or being a brat for attention, a few well-chosen words that show her my mind is not only somewhere else, but with someone else, can quickly remind her that she does not make the priorities in this relationship.

Likewise, giving her a role in the creation of the scene, using her to measure height settings of furniture, making her stand in as I check lighting or temperatures, can make her feel both used and deprioritized at the same time. Making Dedita know that I am thinking of the play partner and the scene instead of her, as she would prefer, gives her a very quick and real connection to the idea that I make the decisions This all combines to reinforce the inequality in our power dynamic.

Dynamic Maintenance

I am using the word dynamic as both a noun (a method of interaction) and an adjective (changing) here.

The dynamic between you and your slave is managed through her feeling of place and ownership. Every action you take as an owner is making this bond. How you interact with others, and more importantly how you interact differently with others, affects how you are seen in the eyes of your slave. If you use a partner to fill a need that your slave doesn’t fill, she can feel useless. A person does not remain stagnant, and a useless slave can either try harder to be useful or give up. Knowing which way your girl will respond makes all the difference. Do you want her to feel loved? Do you want her to feel used? Do you want her to feel low? Knowing where I want Dedita to be in the pecking order helps m allocate my resources and prioritize my time.

The other definition of dynamic (changing) maintenance is more about the moment. All relationships are in flux. As humans, we are growing and becoming more emotionally complex every single day. Watching how a slave responds to this partner versus how she responded to past partners can be useful for understanding what she is feeling and thinking. It is through these interactions that we learn whether or not our training has taken hold. If Dedita is responding to a new partner as I planned (i.e. jealous, loving, cold, attentive) then my behavior modification has worked. If she is still responding in ways I do not want, then I know there is more training to be done.

I think of my house like the House of Leaves it is larger on the inside than the outside. I like to make new rooms for my play partners but the real fun for me is making it a constantly changing and shifting home for Dedita. A scene may be a room, it may get my attention for an hour, a day or a week but in the end the room dissolves and the scene is over. The house itself is changing and the games I play with my slave are not about the rooms I make, but the way I lead her through them and the feelings I can create within their walls.

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Sickness and Mastery

Dedita has been sick. She is hot and cold, has aches and stiff joints. It is the flu and has had her laid up for a day and a half. On Sunday night as the flu set in, she began to show how she acts when sick. She was cranky and combative but incredibly servile and tried with all the energy she had to clean the house and finish her chores. I watched as she fought  the sickness like a little girl fighting the need for sleep and I was enamored. It is in these off moments that we learn more about ourselves and our relationship than anywhere else.

A sick slave is both sick and a slave which is to say that I as her master have to be both firm and caring. She needs to be looked after by the loving and the brutal sides at the same time. If you do not take care of the flu, the sickness will take over and make her miserable but it is the dynamic that gives her comfort and shows love. The strange thing is that as I saw this developing, I could see that it was a place I not only could understand, but one I enjoyed.

I got medicine out and made her take it while she sat on the couch trying to wrap her head around the work she had to do for the day. It was too strenuous for the state she was in so I gave her nighttime medicine so she could sleep. While she slept I got my writing done for the day so as to be able to pay attention to what she needed in the way of care. I left several of the smaller tasks in place throughout the day so she could feel like she was active. She lays out my clothes every morning and packs the boys lunches. These chores are quick and relatively painless so she could work on them in the moments when her energy returned and be done before it waned again. I helped her with a few of the heavier chores such as the dishes to make sure she felt my presence and knew that even though she was sick the house was being managed.

She hates to be touched when sick but like all little girls, she needs to feel strong arms around her, especially in these moments. I would kiss her forehead and rub her back frequently but briefly so as to not over stimulate her sensitive skin. I have clothing requirements for her. She is to wear skirts and dresses, always being sexually available to me but in these moments I know she is not sexual. I let her dress down, wear pants, big wool socks, etc for now but I still have needs so when she is better I will be more than making up for this dry spell the flu has imposed on me. I use this time to think of ways I can use her body. I browse the internet for ideas and let my blood warm with future torments.

The most interesting thing I have noticed about how my Dedita is when sick is that she is a cranky brat. She has a short fuse and is easily irritated. Little things that are the way things are she would normally accept but make her growl and snap when she is sick. I do not let these pass without comment or a stern look that tells her that she has stepped out of line but the punishments will not come until later. A quick word in a sharp tone puts her back into place and then I let it drop. No need to drag out lectures when she is not acting herself. These little bites and barks are nothing more than the flu talking. I am not going to train the flu out of her so while they cannot go unattended, they can not be changed.

Our oldest boy is home today, sick with the flu. Dedita is still sick and lonely as I try and write and take care of him as well as her. I am gathering them together and we are heading out to the thrift store. The fresh air and change of venue will do us all good. I am looking forward to the time away from the house because it helps her to remember her place in the greater world; at my side

Notorious

notorious  (nəʊˈtɔːrɪəs)
— adj
1. well-known for some bad or unfavourable quality, deed, etc;infamous
2. rare  generally known or widely acknowledged
[C16: from Medieval Latin notōrius  well-known, from nōtus known, from noscere  to know]

“You are a bit notorious.” 

I have to say that I was a little proud to hear that when she said it. I never thought of myself as villainous, nefarious, diabolical… I am clever. I am quick witted. I am creative and — at times — sadistic but it is never with malintent. I like to think of myself as generally a good guy and while it was a bit of a shock to hear that I had an infamous reputation, the truth was, I kind of liked it.

The real reason I have gotten this reputation has nothing to do with how I play. It has to do with how I live my life. I have been exploring the world of poly for a few years now and had more than a couple of relationships. Some of them have been nothing more than casual play, some have been more and most are in between. It is hard to nail down the pace and direction of a relationship when the sexual aspect of it is sudden and often embroiled in emotional and psychological play. What one person sees as an hour on the therapist’s couch, another sees as the first meeting of soul mates.

“You know me…”

I have learned through trial and error that what I am saying may have more effect than I first anticipate. Games that can be as simple as reading your mind can be interpreted as reading your soul. We are humans. We have hopes and fears and realities to us that can only fall into a set number of permutations. We are all readable. We are all archetypes. I like to point this out. I like to cold read people and see the look of horror and excitement when I tell them things they did not know I knew. It may sound hokey but there was a time when I was thinking about being a tarot card psychic but felt that what I would say I was doing and what I would actually be doing were too different. I can read people not because I have a gift but because I understand how we become the people we are and what gods and demigods we mirror.

This ability is useful and erotic if you are into sexual emotional play. I am. I love to see the soul spin and collapse and faint and hold its breath as it waits for yet another truth to be expounded by a seemingly unknown stranger. I like to show you that almost anyone with a little training and a little attention to detail and a general understanding of The Golden Bough can get into your head and tell you what keeps you up at night and what dark horrible image you masturbate to the most.

“What am I supposed to do now?”

I have a complex home life. Most everyone who reads this already knows that because I try not to hide here. I am in the middle of major changes; separating from my wife of eleven years, exploring a 24/7 M/s relationship, raising two boys, keeping a house together. It is a full plate and yet I seek play partners to help release the pressure. I want to play with the intensity. I want to hurt them, I want to make them cry, I want to see them bend over backwards as they try and please me. I want to fuck with their minds and the souls as well as their bodies. This does not mean I want another full-time relationship. I have lived with two women in my bed and as awesome as it sounds, the strain can quickly become too much. I want my play partners to be friends, close friends, friends with benefits but when the dust settles and the sun is rising, I want them to have a bed they call their own. They are souls that are travelling through this world looking for more. We all are. Sometimes the more is in the form of love and sometimes it is in the form of friends. The thing to do is to not assume. Be prepared to see the world as it comes and don’t be surprised when it is not as you expect.

Watching a friend go mad

I had to bear witness to the end of a friend the other day. He is an amazing man with a keen wit and sharp intellect and to see him wasting away has left me sadder than all my own personal troubles combined. Nothing I have to deal with can compare to the horror of seeing a brilliant mind being consumed by mental illness.

I would collaborate with him when we were both in school. He was a mad scientist, an artist, a Casanova, a con-man and entrepreneur. We would get together late at night and spiral through realities of our own making where secret societies existed, people were inhabited by fifth dimension aliens. We would talk about using sex as a way of opening the spirit to higher levels of existence. One of the last times I saw him I was reading Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges. He asked how it was and I began to explain the wonder that was Borges. I must have gotten through to him because he reached across the table and opened the book to my book mark and tore the final thirty pages out and handed them back to me. He took the rest of the book and stuck it in his bag.

It was his MO. He was star burning too bright. He was filled with ideas which seemed to be visiting from another dimension. They could fill your imagination with bright colors and sounds never heard before. The details were rich and beautiful and I could always rely on him to dress my mind with bright plumage. It was refreshing to hear about the world he saw. When I realized that this world had move from imagination to reality for him I was shocked and saddened.

He was dropped off in front of my house by another friend. He has never had a car, never used public transportation, always relied on his ability to get where he needed to be through his calling people to action. He did this a lot, manifest his thoughts through others. He lived well in the spare room of his cousin, he traveled in artistic and musical circles because he was friends with the right artists and musicians. The more I think about this gift of his the more I realize that his fears of manifesting the demons and aliens of his nightmares was not that much of a stretch for him. He was different now. He was unshaven. His clothes were the right clothes, they were his clothes, of him, but there was something off. It was as if there was a thin layer of dirt. He had a backpack like always but it was filled with newspapers. He got in my car and spread out across the backseat, spilling papers like ideas escaping from unseen cracks.

We took J to work and I told him I would give him a ride back to Elgin. It is a long drive but it had been years since I had seen him and he seemed out of it. The conversation quickly turned to how many of the things that he had always thought were just weird and twisted images in his overactive imagination were in fact real. This is not good. I try to find out more, it is partially an attempt to feel out what he is going through and partially a morbid curiosity I have always had for Schizophrenia. The stories and the images were familiar, places and people and conspiracies that he had talked about for years but they lack continuity. Before he would stick to a plot, aliens using mind control to change the course of evolution or extra-dimensional wars happening in this plane with traitors and patriots within societies that were fight in proxy. Now the stories were starting and stopping, tripping over one another as they tried to fight for space in his over full brain. In the same breath he would talk of being stuck in a karmic cycle of rebirth paying time and time again for past transgressions and about his fear of death and an eternity of hell. He was a body frozen in some hidden lab while his mind was projected into a clone and made to walk the earth surrounded by reanimated corpses. People were talking to him but only in lies, lies he knew because the world was communicating with him is morse code and hand gestures. We pulled up to the intersection of two four lane highways. There was a green shirt in the road and while I sat at the red light waiting for it to change, he stared at the shirt as if it was a clue to something. Just as the light was about to change, he jumped out of the car and walked through oncoming traffic to get the shirt. He got back in and looked it over, seeing if it would fit him.

“Is it your size?” I asked. “No.” I could not help him. Anything I said was interpreted by his wounded mind. A mind he was certain was filled with holes like Swiss cheese. He would talk and then fall off as if he was about to pass out and then start in a new. He would stare at me with a flat false smile as if he had caught me doing something and did not want to let on that he knew that I knew.

I pulled up int front of his house and let him out. He thanked me over and over for the ride and all I kept wondering was if this was the last time I was going to see him alive. He had said something on the way that stuck with me. “I am so tired of all of this. I just wish I could start over again, you know? Be a child again.” I knew that he was thinking about suicide and I tried to address it without scaring him away or talking to him as if he was a fool. He admitted that he needed to be committed and talked about having his cousin drive him to the hospital as soon as his visit with his dad was over. Did he go? I don’t know but there was something about the way he came to see me that made it feel like he was saying goodbye. I don’t know if that is just me reading into it or not. I also don’t know if it might not be the best option for him. He is already gone and any help he gets will leave him lost mentally. He said that he feared the hospital because as soon as they got him in that he would never be let back out. It was not a paranoid fear but a moment of clarity when he was seeing honestly that there may not be any “cure” for him, that he may never enter society again. He was saying that he knew he was already too far gone to ever come back. I will miss him dearly.

The Chronicle of a Newly Minted Master

Original: http://gregorystgermain.tumblr.com/post/30982923852

It has been four years since ZG and I started our first explorations of the power dynamic. Up to then I had no idea that people voluntarily gave up control to others in these types of games and relationship. ZG was reading trashy romance novels where the heroines were strong, brash young things just waiting to be put in their proper places by stronger men. We were on vacation, just the two of us for the first time in years, and in the morning I was feeling horny. She was not and after a little back and forth about who this always seemed to be the case she turned to me and said, “You are in control. You don’t have to stop just because I don’t like it.” It was a revelation for her. She was able to give up control and be used as someone else desired. It took me much longer.

 

When we were young…

That first encounter told me I could use her but at the time I did not understand what was meant by the word “use”. I felt as if it meant that I could roll over onto her in the morning and fuck until I came then I was to  pull out and grab a shower. I thought what I was being offered was nothing more than a warm hole on occasion without the need for foreplay. Don’t get me wrong, the idea of having a fuck toy at your beck and call was alluring even before I knew what that truly meant. I was simply not aware of what that could really entail. What she was really offering me was the ability to use her in any way I wanted. I could fuck her mouth, cunt, ass. I could fold her in half or try and fit both my hands in her ass. I could put my dick so far down her throat she passed out. I could fuck her with bottles or dildos. It meant things I did not even know were things (suturing and genitorture) and things I could not even imagine liking (rape and watersports). What I was being offered was a new way of looking at the very foundation of relationships. What I did not know then was that what ZG was offering me was a way of gaining control of my life that I had thought was not possible.

I am an observational learner. I have to see something happen to understand it. I could not pick up a book on being a dominant or master and read about the ins and outs of power exchange. I had to see the interaction, watch people control and be controlled. I had to try and fail and try again and fail again until I was comfortable. I started with simple D/s and tried to define it as something that happened in the bedroom only. ZG and I were an egalitarian couple and I was afraid that even though she said she wanted it, I was going to end of fucking things up by pushing this too hard. D/s was not enough for us and we struggled to build this new dynamic on the constantly shifting sands of uncertainty. She did not know what she wanted. I did not know what I wanted and more importantly neither of us knew what we wanted.

It has been four years now and I am starting to understand what I want more. I can see what is available in the way of relationships and control. When you have someone who gives of herself so completely, the way they dress, the way they act, the way they sleep and eat, you begin to feel like you have a place in her life. I like having that place. It makes me secure to exert control to that level. A submissive is willing to give of themselves to a point. There is always an implied veto where they can say no to a command if they feel it is too unreasonable and it will not destroy the relationship. A slave does not make that distinction. They give themselves so completely. There is no thought to saying no. This is comforting because it means you can focus on making decisions not figuring out how to make the decision stick. It also means that you have to choose your path with a level of intent and meaning you would not have to have if it were a D/s paradigm. That person who has given everything she is to you must be taken care of. she must be handled in a way that watches out for her because she is putting her faith in you in a way that is pure. It is a lot of pressure but it is also an amazingly liberating way of living.

 

So things change, people change, interest rates…

I do not have the relationship I wanted with ZG. We talk about it now and again and both agree it was a pipe dream to think we could have it. We were not the same people when we met. We did not know what was out there, what we wanted, who we were. It is sad to see things change when you can still remember the good times. It seems so easy to think back and see how you got where you are and feel that maybe, just maybe you can retrace your steps and try again. You can’t. Time is a path we walk down backwards. You cannot go back. You cannot know what you have learned. You can only hope you learn from the past and work to be a better person from what you learned. I hope that I know myself better now. I hope I understand what I need better and the things I did before that let my past relationship slip through my fingers. It saddens me to lose something that meant so much but I will not let that get in the way of me making things better for me and mine.

 

PS – I have been thinking about the idea of ownership because of this but will leave that for another post.