Failure Play

I looked into her eyes and looked for the telltale signs. They darted back and forth as if searching for something but unsure what it was. Her gaze was slightly out of focus but she could still make out shapes and colors in the room. Her jaw was slack and her breathing was fast and shallow.

“You are almost there. ” I said. She focused on me as well as she could.

“Where are we going?”


Forty-five minutes earlier

It has been a rough couple of weeks for both of us. Things are in flux and we are searching for ways to heal, grow and care for each other. The dynamic helps, it gives us a foundation and set of guidelines to follow. The routine in our home helps, nothing keeps the deeper sadnesses at bay like the unrelenting beat of everyday life. The intimacy helps and our time together in the privacy of our own home is intense, brutal and loving. The main thing left to manage is our public play. I am a public player. I enjoy having an audience, I enjoy feeding off the energy of others and feeling that what I am doing can be shared with a common community. She is a public person in many ways, national presenter, community leader, active member in many different groups that support and educate the kinky public. We are both edgeplayers and enjoy hard scenes, scenes that make many nervous to watch and more unsettled. We are ok with that. We do not do the scenes for shock value but there is a need for us to show people at large that what we do is ok. It is important that people see the edges so they can feel free exploring them in public where there are folks to learn from rather than in private where most accidents occur.

I often bristle when the word “play” is used for scenes. It implies pretend, fake, a game, when what we do, what we engage in is nothing if not real. It has to be real when exploring the emotional side of S&M. You cannot go into it without investing real heartfelt fears and hopes. You must invest, you must take chances and with that you must run the risk of failure. We all have failed. Scenes crash and burn all the time. This is not only ok, it is vital to the growth of any couple. Sometimes failure is not only valuable, it is key.


“The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft agley.”

Her confidence has been bruised if not broken. She has lost the sharp wit and playful way she had about her when we met. I understand this. It is natural when you feel as if your world is falling apart. She felt like a failure, she felt as if all that was wrong with her relationships and mine were pinned to her being bad, greedy, selfish. She felt like a failure. She was a car who had hit a patch of black ice and was skidding out of control. The best thing to do was to turn into the skid. If she felt she was a failure, that she could do nothing right, I would show her failure.

It was a scene made of many scenes. Each nothing more than the beginning. A hood here, a knife there, water and handcuffs all lined up to imply an oncoming scene that struck at the heart of one of her myriad different issues, phobias or triggers. Each was set up to inspire her to respond with one of her defense mechanisms. Each was built to last just long enough for her to feel she has complained, debated, screamed or otherwise weaseled her way out of it. They piled onto each other, shifting directions and trying different tacks to make her feel as if I was trying to find a way around her defenses. Each one became a new form of failure.

  • Hood and handcuffs (fear of self injury)
  • Rope and humiliation (anger and verbal abuse)
  • Stretch wrap (equipment malfunction)
  • Knife (terror induced catatonia)
  • Belt (intermission)
  • Hood and water (misuse of the space)
  • Knife II: return of the blade (catatonia)
  • Sex in public (Self confidence issues)

Over and over I began the scene, giving her just enough room to complain. She fought the feeling of failure at first, blaming me for not being man enough to continue, but as the scene dragged on, she saw herself as the common denominator. All these scenes failed because she failed and by the time I had her masturbating in public she could not see anything she had ever done in her life as right. It was all a failure. She was nothing, she was beyond trying, beyond success and failure, she was lost in the void. Like a robot, without feeling or desire, she held the Hitachi to her clit. No pleasure in the action. Her head had fallen back, her dull eyes were staring at the ceiling.

This¬†is where we were going.” I whisper in her ear. Suddenly, through all the white noise that filled her mind she realized what I had been doing. She was where I wanted her, she was who I wanted her to be. I had taken her for a walk in the woods and no matter how terrified she had been, I had been there beside her all along, guiding her through. In that moment as we arrived at the heart of all her fears and doubts, she began to understand that through it all, I had her.