Why I Play (Part I)

There really is nothing like seeing your wife getting turned on by another man’s force-of-will to kick you hard in the stomach. There is the dry sick feeling in the back of your throat and the aches of sadness in your joints that ensure that every inch of you inside and out is affected.

It is an acquired taste, I will give you that, but one that you can learn to appreciate over time. Like blue cheese or liver, like a good vodka martini or scotch, some emotions have to be appreciated for what they are… and they are not happy.

So often the outside world confuses fetishism with transference. They think that because someone likes to be beat with a cane that they are turned on by the pain, that the only thing that anyone wants is pleasure and that what they associate with pain must be interpreted as pleasure by the kinkster. Pleasure and pain are put on polar ends of a spectrum line; they are seen as diametrically opposed when in truth they are not even on the same scale. Pain has its own levels and textures and feelings just as does pleasure. They can, and often do, overlap to varying degrees and the game for any kinkster is finding that perfect mixture of pleasure and pain for any specific situation.

I do not like pain. I don’t think there are many people that would say they do like pain. They like overcoming the pain, they like the marks the pain leaves. They like to feel something… anything that intensely. I like to dig out from underneath the pain. It is as if a house has been pulled down on top of me. I like to feel that I have survived the collapse and have been able to find a safe little hole in which I was able to ride out the sadness and heartache. Every time it happens, the pain is a little less, and there is less rubble to crawl out from underneath. Sometimes the collapse hits at just the right angle to leave a mark, a splintering beam sends shrapnel between your ribs. This will happen to even the most jaded heart causing renewed appreciation for pain.

So here we are setting up dates and meeting new friends and all the time growing a deeper appreciation for the more subtle nuances of emotions that are not pleasure. There is more to life than just pleasure. There is understanding and with every passing game, every new adventure we find ourselves growing into more complete people.  That is what is needed for a good relationship, complete people. The more I understand myself and all the different pieces that make up my vision of the world, the better suited I am to being with ZG. Likewise, the more she plays, the more she learns about herself, the more complete a person she becomes.

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(Mind)Mapping the Learning Curve

Even in the best of relationships there are times when people do not see eye to eye. We are individuals with unspoken hopes and dreams of how life is going to be and when those secret wishes run into other people, they tend to shatter into a thousand sharp slivers. The fewer of these small little jars you keep hidden, the less likely you are to end up with shards of glass cutting you.

ZG and I try to avoid these issues by talking through everything. Our kids will often complain about how much we talk, but even with all that we share, there are little secrets that we sometimes keep even from ourselves. One of these little issues came up the other night when we were talking about the mechanics of the D/s aspects of out relationship. As we talked about what we had done and what we wanted to do it became clear that I was not developing into the Dom that she expected. This, in itself, is not a problem. We are humans and we are going to develop and change and in the end I will become the Dom I want to be and she will become the sub she wants to be. We will play together and with others but our relationship will be fine because we do talk about everything, and even if we are not always perfect, we are great together. It does leave me wondering about something, though, and that is how this little infraction slipped through our dragnet of communications?

We talk, Twitter, e-mail, IM and generally communicate all day long so how is that she had a different idea what a Dom should be? The short answer is multiple intelligences, but that is such a vague set of buzz words that it seems to miss the point. ZG is a researcher and will not go into a new situation until she has thoroughly analyzed it in the most minute detail. I, on the other hand, have to experience everything firsthand. She wants to read everything she can on the subject so she looks and feels like a pro from the very first moment. I would rather show up empty-handed with an open mind and a willingness to observe and learn by watching people. These ideas are almost diametrically opposed. One shows up bluffing their way into real knowledge, the other is a lurker that has nothing to contribute until he has something to contribute. There are other learning methods (e.g., mentors, classes, osmosis) and each has its values and flaws, but what it really comes down to is how you learn the best.

Do not get this idea of multiple intelligences confused with the feel-good, do-as-you-please attitude that seems to ebb and flow in public schools. There is a certain level of understanding and comprehension that must be reached no matter what method you use. Too often we see these different methods as the excuse for why someone is not succeeding, a la “Do not blame him for not knowing the alphabet, he is just a visual learner…” I call bullshit. I have two boys and they learn in completely different ways; one is constantly talking his way through a problem so you can see his learning process step by step, the other sits quietly observing until he has his brain completely wrapped around whatever it is he is thinking about and then starts talking with complete understanding. They learn differently but by the benchmarks commonly used to measure children’s learning, they are keeping up. Just because you are learning differently does not mean you don’t have to try. And just because you learn best in one method or another, does not mean that you don’t have to learn with other methods as well.

Just because my brain would rather see and be involved does not mean I should stop reading. Just because ZG learns through research so that she can talk the talk, doesn’t mean she automatically knows how to walk the walk. So now I am reading more, researching more and getting involved in the learning process in ways I never have before, and ZG is being patient with me so that we have a chance to experience things in real time and learn together. After all, we are a team in the end, and while we may not always be on exactly the same page, at least we are reading the same book.

Being a Dom is… Killing Harrison Bergeron

I have never thought about what I want. I lived so passively for so long that the idea of want, desire, manifested pleasure never really occurred to me. I was free from the stress of disappointment but I was also free from the more complex pleasure of seeing an object of desire, going for it and achieving it. By removing myself from competition I was denying myself failure and success. As I have come out as a Dominant, I have been forced to deal with this lack of goals in a fundamental way. What is it that I want? What brings me pleasure?

It is never simple, let’s just get that out of the way. I love complexity, whether it is in my food, my reading, movies or sex. The deeper the experience, the more layered the sensations, the better it is. I love curry and movies like “The Usual Suspects.” I like insanely complex books like Finnegan’s Wake, not because they make me feel smart but because they make me feel like I am drowning in ideas. My brain is a sponge, absorbing everything for later digestion and I often will not be able to tell you whether I like something until days later when I am still thinking about it. I do not say this to sound arrogant or intellectual, I say this because it is the truth. In my more Taoist days, I avoided talking about things that I felt others might not get because I did not want them to feel bad. The truth was that I was denying myself the pleasure of thinking. So fuck it! I am going to stop hanging out with idiots.

Life is too short to be limited to the unintelligent. Much of my family is uneducated (definitely not the same but kissing cousins) and I have always tempered what I say around them to save their feelings. This I will continue to do. They are family and I do not want to change them but the rest of my life is to be moron free. Life is too short to be limited to the simpletons that happened to be near me. I am a friendly guy, I will continue to be friendlym, but now I will seek out the smart, the witty and the intriguing to make my life more complete. I have already started this process and have made a few new friends that have just begun to blow my mind with their fun, smart (and god-bless them kinky) minds. So thank you to all my new friends for challenging me to be a more complete person and better Dom for my sweet ZG.