How BDSM Saved My Marriage and Gave Me Peace of Mind

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This is my personal story about how discovering and learning about BDSM helped my husband and me come to an important understanding within our marriage, as well as guided me to a place in my life where I am now comfortable with my body and who I am as a person. This is the journey from a vanilla marriage that was quickly falling apart to a 24/7 D/s lifestyle that has helped us become closer than ever. Continue reading

Pleasure, Pain and Science…Part Two

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Before you read this, please take a look at Part One! right here-  https://asubmissivesinitiative.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/pleasure-pain-and-science-part-one/, which discusses Pain. There will be a poll for Part Three, for you to participate in, so we can analyze a little information for ourselves, and maybe gain some insight. Either way, I hope you will enjoy it, and benefit from the information I’ve gathered.

How do we translate pleasure? you could start with asking the question, “Why do I like what I like?”

Let’s have a look at some research. A study was done with people volunteering to sip a glass of wine while being in a neuro-imaging scanner. While they are doing this, a screen is in front of them, telling them about the wine. Some are told it’s expensive, etc., some are told its cheap, etc. Some are told nothing. Not unexpectedly, those who were told it was expensive wine thought it tasted much better than any cheap wine they ever had. (It was all the same wine, of course). Besides this though, the pre-frontal cortex, which responds specifically to pleasure, and reward, lit up like a Christmas tree! This did NOT happen with the volunteers who were told they were drinking the cheap wine! This suggests that their responses (your responses!) are not just about the wine itself, but your perception of it. So, what you think about the wine, can apparently make it taste better, or worse!expensivewinecheapwine

What you think about what someone looks like, seems to have a lot to do about how you feel about that person. Studies done on ‘happy couples’  resoundingly show that those who think their spouses look better than anyone else, are the same couples that say they argue less, and have more sex. Does this mean those couples have more pleasure? Or love each other more? Think about it. Think about your grade school bully, or the person who shares your office that never shuts up. Now think about how attractive they look in comparison to your best friend/partner/child? Definitely interesting.

Capgras  Syndrome is an affliction where the sufferer believes someone close to them has been replaced by an impostor. As you can imagine, this usually has tragic consequences for the afflicted and their family, because they believe they are killing or removing the impostors and making things better. One case in 1931, had a happy ending though.capgras

“In 1931, researchers described a woman with Capgras Syndrome who complained about her poorly endowed and sexually inadequate lover. She was happy to report that he had a double who was rich, virile, handsome and aristocratic.” HA!** (see below)

So, who you think you are looking at can have a profound effect on how you react to them. Now, think of consumer products. One reason we use them is purely utilitarian, i.e., what they can do for us. Think of a couple of everyday things, like, oh, i don’t know, a sweater and a pair of shoes. (pictures inserted below)

The sweater keeps you warm. Maybe it’s even in style, so you’ll look like you give a damn about what Cosmo says. Shoes, they protect your feet, maybe help you run faster. How much would you pay for an average sweater? For average shoes?airjordansaveragesweater

Now, what if I told you that sweater was worn by George Clooney, and the shoes worn by Michael Jordan? (Insert whatever your favorites are) What kind of responses are lighting up in your brain now? Would you pay more? Do you want it more because of the history that surrounds it? The status or money it might bring you? What you know, or even just what you think you know about anything, or anyone for that matter, has a lot to do with how much you think it is worth. With how much pleasure you think it will bring you. A wedding ring may be considered irreplaceable, and therefore priceless, but usually only by the beholder. Therefore, your response to how much you like something or someone, and how much pleasure you get from them or it, is deeply related to your beliefs about how it came into being.

A study was done on chimps, using a reward system. Signal lights turned on, meaning a reward for work was about to be given. First, the reward was given 75% of the time, and dopamine levels in the brain were measured. Next they reduced the reward percentage to 50%. Surprisingly, dopamine levels were higher with the 50% reward, seemingly meaning the element of uncertainty has a lot to do with pleasure. How does this help us understand ourselves? well the human element in this experiment is time. The time between finishing the work and receiving the reward can be a non-issue for us. Religion is a perfect example. Some of us are able to keep up our levels of excitement about a certain reward, presumably satisfied with not being able to receive it until after we are dead! This is a quality unique to humans, as far as we know. It is also the exception to the rule, however, as most of the time, our own dopamine levels, (and therefore our excitement about it) drop if we feel too much time has passed in between the work and the reward.

Puts the BDSM allure into perspective for me, certainly!How many of us look forward to our Master’s reward after the work is done? This may also help us when we think about the Why’s, How’s, and When’s of Sub Drop. Maybe understanding the ups and downs of our neurological system  might help us identify triggers and other responses, and make some scientific sense out of all those emotions!

Think back to the beginning of your exploration into the lifestyle. Did it meet your expectations, exceed them, or neither? How, or from whom, did you first hear about it,  and how do you think that might have affected your ideas about it in general?safesaneconsensual

So, pain and fear seem to be very closely related. Pleasure, beauty, and worth seem to be just as close. With that in mind, I will close by saying if beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then surely pleasure and pain must be as well.

I’ll have the poll posted very soon!

Links to relative info/some resources:

**As quoted by Physchologist Paul Bloom, who has some very interesting research:   http://www.fastcodesign.com/1665606/how-expectations-can-turn-anything-from-worthless-to-priceless

http://on.aol.com/video/robert-sapolsky-on-the-dopamine-and-pleasure-516981862

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capgras_delusion

How to Spot a Potential Abuser

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Those red flags are there to expose an abuser if only we were trained to see them. You will read the list and think “Now why oh why didn’t I think of that!” This checklist is a general one, as well all know in the BDSM lifestyle, some of these signs are not that of an abuser but of a good dominant, but like all things it doesn’t hurt to have a good idea about what might fall under the category of a potential abusive relationship/person.

HOW TO SPOT AN ABUSER CHECKLIST

  1. Are you afraid to act like yourself with this person? (no dominant should make you scard to act like your normal self, if you are then that is not right)
  2. Does this person refuse to talk AND listen to you? (The key to a lasting BDSM relationship is open communication, if your dominant is not listening to you, and will not talk with you about any of your fears or the like, then this might be called a red flag by many)
  3. Do you catch this person in lies?
  4. Are you this person’s only friend? (this does not always denote a abuser, some of us do not have a large friend list that we tend to associate with, this does not necessary mean the person will turn out to be an abuser)
  5. Does this person talk badly about other women?
  6. Does this person mistreat their mother/father, siblings or ex?
  7. Is this person mean to animals?
  8. Is this person subject to road rage?
  9. Does this person anger easily?
  10. Does this person hold grudges?
  11. Does this person express their anger physically?
  12. Is this person upset that you have other friends?
  13. Is this person jealous of your friends and relatives?
  14. Does this person try to cut you off from your friends? (This for many that I know if number 1 red flag)
  15. Does this person try to keep you from practicing your faith?
  16. Would you not consider this person a friend outside of this relationship?
  17. Is this person totally fixated on you? (some people say that there is a different between a loving partner and someone who is fixated on you, and its true, but some partners who are considered to be extreamly love and caring unfortunatly by some fall to various degrees into this catagory, thus its up to you to trust you own instints in this matter)
  18. Was this person abused as a child? Was their mother abused?
  19. Is this person co-dependent? (again this is a debated topic among many people apparently, some believe that you can’t have a M/s relationship without developing a co-dependence, others will argue otherwise.)
  20. Does this person have a poor self-image?
  21. Does this person have poor impulse control?
  22. Is this person preoccupied with sex?
  23. Does this person have a history of alcohol or drug abuse or a problem with compulsive gambling?
  24. Has this person pushed for intimacy early in the relationship? Perhaps making all sorts of promises for marriage and hope for the future. Has this person tried to brush aside your concerns as just jitters and tell you to just “trust them”?
  25. Does this person use guilt to try to manipulate you?
  26. Does this person unjustly accuse you of flirting with others?
  27. Does this person take your money?
  28. Must you always watch the TV program that this person wishes to see or go to the movie of their choice? (this for some might be a red flag, but in a M/s relationship its not necessarly so, depending on the level between the two partners.)
  29. Has this person tried “playful” forceful sex? Not stopping until you REALLY objected? (as many might think, that might not be a red flag, but it can be if the dom doesn’t stop when a safe word is used)
  30. Has this person threatened to hit you?
  31. Has this person hit, shoved, bit, kicked or in other ways tried to injure you? (This is not always the case as you might know, but then again doing this in anger is never good at any point in time, also if the intent of injury is more then temp or consentual then well of course its up to you to feel if its abuse or not)
  32. Has this person destroyed any of your property? Has this person threatened to do so?
  33. Does this person have a dual personality? Is this person nice and friendly most of the time, then cruel and heartless at other times?
  34. Does this person have to know where you are every minute and check up on you to make sure? (this might not always be a red flag, if it is something that is already known within your relationship, and has been agreed upon)
  35. Does this person check through your computer history, e-mail, cookies and logs to see where you have been? Does this person read your mail? Listen to your phone calls?
  36. Are you not allowed to be alone with friends and family?
  37. Does this person have a problem with authority figures?
  38. Does this person have extreme highs and extreme lows? Simple questions. Powerful questions. Perhaps even life saving questions.

If you answer YES to more than just even one or two of these you are in what many people would call an abusive relationship. The higher the number of questions checked the more serious the potential of the abuse is likely to be. However, this list is not comprehensive. Your particular situation will likely be somewhat different. If you feel you are being abused, seek professional counselling. Nothing in this checklist should be considered a substitute for counselling.

If you feel you are in an abusive relationship, get help now! You can take the first step by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) (TDD 1-800-787-3224) or go to http://www.ndvh.org

Ten Tips for Bringing BDSM Into Your Bedroom

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“I loved your book so much I tried to tie up my boyfriend while he was asleep. He woke up before I could, but it all worked out anyway…”

Ah, the delicious meaning in that dot, dot, dot. This fan mail is one of my favorites, a definite keeper, but it is probably not the best approach for introducing BDSM in your bedroom. The road to restraining orders starts here.

The truth is, I’ve always had readers interested in this topic but the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomena has planted seeds in the minds of millions of Americans. So how do you introduce BDSM into your bedroom in a way that can lead to fun, intimacy and a little dot, dot, dot?

As an erotic romance writer and full-time “sub,” I have some experience in this realm. Below I’ve listed 10 tips to get you started. Given the current female interest in the submissive role, I’m going to proceed under that pronoun assumption, but the following applies if he’s the one tied up, so to speak (but keep him conscious, please!).

1) Talk about it – You’re thinking about it, but it may not have crossed your partner’s mind, so take the time to talk it out. Consider reading him your favorite scene from an erotic romance that sparked your interest in exploring more. Tell him what intrigues you about it. See how he reacts, but don’t judge or push. Don’t take things too seriously. If you’re doing this to spice up your relationship, this probably won’t be a problem, but if you’re exploring innate feelings about being a Dominant or submissive, you can get a little overwhelmed by all the things you want to try. In these first stages, take it slow, relax and have fun with it. That will help your partner do the same.

2) Stay away from the Internet – Trust me on this one. Even if you’re ready to take the pictures that result from a “BDSM” Google search with a grain of salt, your partner might have a full-fledged anxiety attack. That’s not the kind of heavy breathing you’re trying to encourage. There will be time to surf together later, when you’re both more comfortable with it.

3) Give him a safe word – He’s going to worry about hurting you or doing the wrong thing. Having a safe word that you can use to stop or slow down anything that feels scary will reassure him that you are maintaining some level of control over your own well-being.

4) No Judgment Zone – Mutually accept that invoking that safe word is a good thing for both of you, not an evaluation of his performance as a Dom. This is no different from when you first started having vanilla sex. You’re learning what works for you as partners.

Feeling comfortable with all of the above? Okay, it’s time for a dip in the shallow end of the pool.

5) No Tools Required – Start with Something Easy – The psychology of BDSM is what it’s all about. The illusion of being dominated sexually, of submitting utterly to your lover – that’s the turn on. You can have it without a single whip, metal cuff or legal representative present.

Here’s an example. Your lover tells you to lie on the bed. He commands you to hold onto the head rails and spread your legs as far as you can. You’re forbidden to move until he tells you that you can. After he puts a blindfold on you – perhaps something as simple as his T-shirt over your eyes, so you have the reassurance of his scent in the darkness – he proceeds to pleasure you as he would for your normal foreplay, though you’ll find being blindfolded likely sparks even more creativity. Your senses are going to be heightened, your responses even stronger, and the cardinal rule for many men (the good ones!) is “what turns her on, turns me on.” Taking away sight so that you focus all your other sense on what he’s doing with his fingers, mouth, a feather, a sprinkle of fragrant cinnamon powder…

6) Proceed with the Easy Tools – Okay, so that worked well. What? You didn’t notice the dot, dot, dot? Congratulations! You’ve just conducted your first BDSM session. Wait! Do not fly off to the online bondage store and buy out their special Limited Edition Spanish Inquisition Package (yes, I made that up – it worries me that you thought to go look for it). Instead, buy two pairs of Velcro cuffs. The kind that can snap together or have D-rings that allow you to spread arms and legs and fasten them to fixed objects without actually restricting the extremities. Maybe invest in a blindfold that fits comfortably on the face. If you like the looks of that riding crop or the cute paddle that has a “bad girl” cut out, fine. But pull back on the reins right there, and check the next bullet item. And please come out of the saddle-and-spur department. We’ll save that for the advanced BDSM article.

7) Spankings – The more hardcore stuff, like floggings, tend to scare the bejesus out of a significant other who has never associated sensual punishment with his love for you. It may even scare you a little bit, but those erotic romance spankings are kind of intriguing, aren’t they? Few of us think of a spanking as a frightening thing. In fact, it has a hugely arousing impact, giving the endorphins a titillating strum and connecting to that subconscious desire to surrender to your lover’s power. So have him turn you over his knee or bend you over a chair or bed, and see where it goes. [Note: There are many fun, accessible areas for him to play with when he’s resting his hand!] The pain-pleasure aspect of BDSM is the least understood part of its practices, but it’s no different than why a roller coaster is both scary and thrilling. You’re unable to control the ride, and yet you willingly stepped onto it, with certain expectations of your experience. If the engineers and operators have done their job (the Dom), you’re going to enjoy the ride a great deal.

8) Use the Lingo – As I mentioned, the power of BDSM is in the psychology. Often, being allowed to address your Dominant lover only by a title like Master or Sir while you are “in session” gets you even deeper into the experience. You might also want him to do the same, calling you “his slave” or “his pretty sub,” “his kitten,” etc. Don’t be limited by these suggestions – choice of honorifics is very personal to the Dom/sub relationship. Though keeping it down to a couple syllables might be advisable, because getting out “Supreme Commander of My Orgasmic Universe” during the throes of passion is quite challenging.

9) Reach Out – Finding people who practice healthy BDSM relationships can help further your own knowledge and enjoyment. Forums like Fetlife.com have “real people” practicing BDSM and D’s lifestyles. You may be able to find a local community BDSM group that meets for “munches,” or social events held at a restaurant or other public venue to discuss common interests and provide a nonthreatening environment for new members. BDSM “stuff” does not occur at these types of events. (Waitresses don’t consider it a proper use of hot coffee and pancake syrup, and they will NOT clean it up!) Play comes later if you decide to be part of the group and they think you’re a good mesh for them as well. However, as in any online or in-person interaction, always use your best judgment. Even the most mundane online sites can attract crazies.

10) Now What? Once you’re both comfortable with the basics of restraint and the arousing aspects of a little punishment, if you want to go further, this is when you must do your research. That bad girl paddle will be fun, but it has to be used correctly. The human body is tough in a lot of ways, but very simple things – like using ropes too tightly around wrists or a strike with a paddle against the wrong place – can result in injury, which means no fun for either of you. The mantras of BDSM are Safe, Sane and Consensual (SSC) and Risk-Aware Consensual Kink (RACK). I recommend Screw the Roses, Send Me the Thorns by Philip Miller and Molly Devon as an excellent introduction to exploring BDSM. They have a casual, informative approach that makes it easy reading, as well as further resources in the bibliography. But keep reading those erotic romances for inspiration – I did mention I write those, right?

At the end of the day, BDSM practice is based on a power exchange, where one partner trusts another enough to relinquish control to them for mutual pleasure. It’s best when it’s conducted under a careful structure of safe words and rules that protect everyone involved. How deep you go with it, how elaborate, it all comes back to these basic tenets. Done right, it can deepen your emotional and physical connection with a lover…and be a heck of a lot of fun…

Joey W. Hill is the author of more than thirty erotic romance novels and the recipient of the RT Book Reviews Career Achievement award. She is a practicing submissive in her personal life and has been involved in the BDSM community for over twenty years. Her newest release, Hostile Takeover, is available at www.ellorascave.com.

Source: http://thecelebritycafe.com/feature/2012/09/ten-tips-bringing-bdsm-your-bedroom

Online Relationships and Cheating

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“What are the possibilities of such a relationship working over the internet? Also, both men and women are prone to cheating on internet partners. Seeing you feel so strongly about the mutual respect, trust, “cherish your partner”, all those things mentioned in the one post of yours. Do those “rules” then apply to a virtual relationship as well? I’m totally new to this entire concept….”

Answer:
What rules apply to a relationship are up to those actively engaged in that relationship. Some people find that online relationships lack a physical aspect and therefore find that it’s entirely appropriate for their partners to seek affection in real life. Others cannot emotionally deal with the idea of their partner being with someone else physically and find that online play is sufficient for both of them. Either way, communication and honesty are key to making an online relationship last. If you are open about your expectations and desires, then you will find a relationship (online or real life) that works for you.

BDSM: A Guide for Nice Guys

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Fool boy is waiting his girlfriend

(This page is written to address BDSM for nice guys; there’s an
introduction to BDSM for good girls on the Web here.)

So you’re a nice guy. You think that people should be treated with respect and courtesy; you find violence, particularly violence against women, reprehensible; you would never, under any circumstances, raise your hand in anger against someone you love. And now your partner is asking you to tie her up, or call her names, or spank her, or maybe even “rape” her. All this goes against everything you believe. What do you do? Continue reading

Warning Signs of a Bad Dom

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We take certain risks, enjoying our sexuality the way we do.  We want someone to dominate and control us, someone to take us to the limit inside and out, yet we need to feel safe knowing we are respected.

The qualities that create the partnership between Dom and Sub are as varied as there are participants; however, there are certain warning signs to look out for in order to avoid an experience you’d rather not have:

1.            Keeping you away from people or places you enjoy – This is really the warning sign for any potentially abusive relationship.

2.            Controlling behavior outside the scope of sexplay – again, a classic warning sign.  This and the previous item have nothing to do with our Dom’s orders regarding dress and so on.  These have to do with being frightened down deep in your core of doing the wrong thing.

3.            Public humiliation, or any humiliation not part of the “games” we play – We all have the things we like to do and say and how we like to be.  We are submissive.  Being made to feel embarrassed and ashamed is different and wrong.

4.            Beating or physical violence outside the scope of sexplay – This is self-explanatory.  We may like to be hurt, but this is not that.

5.            Lack of concern on the part of the Dom about going too far – As I said at the beginning, we need to feel safe.  We want our Dom to take us as far as we can go, but it is essential we not be forced to go too far.  If someone is not concerned for your limits that is not the person you should be with.

6.            Abuse of drugs or alcohol – This is not a discussion about the responsible use of either.  It is a plain fact that someone who is abusing drugs or alcohol is someone who is (a) not going to be paying attention and/or (b) unpredictable and not in a good way.

So, be who you are, love who you wish however it pleases you (and your Dom).  Remember, too, looking out for yourself is vital to your complete enjoyment.  A good Dom, one who wants to bring out your best and most beautiful self, is how you get there.

Existing Relationship or Start New?

Fan Question: “I have a question… I am very interested in becoming a Sub or atleast trying it out. How do you find someone you can trust to be your Dom, is it possible for two people in a relationship build this type of relationship or is it something that is completely separate for a new type relationship? Also if is, how is it something you get started? Not sure if you know or have any advise but thought I give it a try.”

Answer: You can try to incorporate BDSM into your existing relationship or start a new one, depending on the agreement you have with your current partner. There are some that can work BDSM into a relationship they already have and others where that kind of dynamic won’t work.. so they have a separate relationship (with all partners aware). For some tips on how to start, you can check out our website’s beginner’s articles and maybe post in our forum too!