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New Book: The Dominance Playbook

When I published The Heart of Dominance, I wasn’t sure if anyone other than few friends was going to buy it. Finding out the answer to that question was one of my reasons for wanting to publish.

I think about power exchange a lot. Like: a lot. I had all these ideas and explanations and lessons-learned rattling around in my head, but were they really broadly applicable, or was it all just the way things worked for me? What better way to find out than putting a bunch of it into a book and seeing if other people found it useful?

Continue reading “New Book: The Dominance Playbook”

Kink Shaming, and What It Isn’t

The idea of kink shaming as a thing to avoid is useful concept, and like all useful concepts it can be misapplied.

Mainstream society is savagely judgmental of sexual pleasure, and cruel towards anything and anyone that stands out as different. I don’t think that’s news to any of us who have desires for unusual pleasures. We’ve all seen the freaky shit that’s so desirable to us mocked, vilified and banned. We’ve noticed how people baselessly assume that anyone who gets turned on by whips or restraints must be damaged or wicked.

Continue reading “Kink Shaming, and What It Isn’t”

How to Find Partners on FetLife

Y’all know what FetLife is, right? Big social media site for kinksters? So far as I know it’s the biggest, widest-spread group of out-of-the-closet kinky people all talking with each other together in one place that’s ever existed, and that fascinates me.

I love cruising the larger groups and seeing what people are talking about, and one of the questions I see asked most often is some version of “How do I get a date here!?”

Often the answer they get is some version of “FetLife isn’t a dating site,” which is true, but incomplete–as well as being pretty discouraging.

FetLife isn’t optimized only for dating, like ALT or OKCupid. Instead it’s a community site, and that makes it an even more powerful tool for finding people to kink with than the dating sites are. You just have to use it right. Continue reading “How to Find Partners on FetLife”

Starting Your Power Exchange Over

An excerpt from my upcoming book “Ways to Play With Power,” posted in response to someone in the Novices & Newbies group on Fetlife asking about pretty much exactly this situation.

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Power relationships have their natural ebb and flow of focus on the dynamic, but sometimes we can fall into an ebb so deep that it feels like the dynamic has faded away entirely–and we’re not sure how to get it back. It can happen through a death spiral that isn’t stopped, after a serious fight or breach of trust, or through some life event that pulls your focus away from power exchange, like if one of you has an extended health crisis or a new baby or an exhausting new job.

Your power exchange agreements are still technically in place, but both you and your partner have empty batteries. Maybe you’re still going through the motions of some rules and rituals, but you’re not really feeling your power exchange any more. Your partner still technically has the right to order you around, but they’ve done it less and less. Or your partner still wears your collar, but it’s been a long time since they’ve seemed eager to submit. Your power relationship still officially exists, but feels like it has gone hollow. Continue reading “Starting Your Power Exchange Over”

How to Find a Real Dominant

“How can I find a real dominant?” is one of the most common and most urgent questions asked in kink communities all over the world.

We’ve wrestled with our submissive yearnings. Maybe we wasted years denying them. Now that we’re finally ready give ourselves permission to make them real, the need to find someone to whom to submit can feel overwhelming.

But we’ve also heard the warnings: there are lots of fakes, predators and scammers out there. Maybe we’ve tried submitting to a few and have had bad experiences.

Where do we look for the real thing? And how do we know it when we find it? Continue reading “How to Find a Real Dominant”

Come Learn with Me

Able to get to the San Francisco Bay Area? This fall you have two opportunities to learn about the ins & outs of consensual power exchange with the author of The Heart of Dominance.

In October I’ll be leading a workshop on long term power exchange at the San Francisco Citadel. Come to Power Exchange for the Long Haul and learn what it takes to make power exchange last.

Then in November I’m excited to be teaching as part of Dark Odyssey: Surrender in San Francisco. For the conference I’ll be focusing on how to begin a power dynamic. Join me of Inviting Surrender to learn how to navigate the transition from equal individuals to dominant and submissive, whether for a lifetime or just for an evening.

Clarify, Chastise, Ask: How to Deal with Submissive Resistance

Resistance, as I’m using the word here, is the frustrating experience of wanting to submit but having a hard time actually letting go and doing it in the moment. It is fundamentally an internal conflict in the mind the submitting partner, but it often becomes a conflict between partners when frustration leads to blaming one another.

There can be many reasons for resistance. It can come from unconscious self-judgments about submission being weak or bad. It can come from doubts about the competence or trustworthiness of our partner. It can come from being tired and cranky, or having other concerns weighing on our minds. It can come from not getting the kind of treatment from our partner that we need to inspire our submission. It can come from agreeing to some kind of submission that we don’t actually want, because we think it’s what we’re supposed to do or just to please our partner. It can come from any number of other root causes.

Often the root cause of our resistance is not immediately apparent to us. Sometimes we just feel resistant and we don’t know why. Sometimes we think we know why we’re resistant, but the reason we can see is actually a cover over something deeper—kind of like feeling hungry when what we really are is bored, or angry when what we really are is scared. It can take time, reflection and sometimes trial and error to figure out what’s really holding us back. Continue reading “Clarify, Chastise, Ask: How to Deal with Submissive Resistance”

How to Disagree With Your Dominant

So you have a dominant who you feel lucky to get to submit to. You trust them. You respect their judgment. You’re comfortable following their lead, and you get a little thrill every time you get to say “yes” to them. Still, there are those occasional times when they say something that you’re pretty much certain just isn’t true. Or they make a decision you’re sure they’re going to regret later on. Or you have an idea or a plan that you think will work better than theirs.

As sexy as it is to pretend that people who dominate are infallible, let’s remember that they really aren’t. Sometimes those of us in the dominant role really are wrong. Sometimes we do wish someone had pointed out our bad decision in time to make a different one. Sometimes our plan really isn’t the best one.

But disagreeing from the submissive position can be a delicate thing.

Continue reading “How to Disagree With Your Dominant”

Real Submissive Training

There are a lot of folks around our communities who are eager to be trained as s-types. They want to be appealing to the D-types they lust over. They have hot, juicy Marketplace-inspired fantasies about the training process itself. And just maybe, they have a sincere desire to be good: to be as useful and pleasing to their partner as they can be. The idea of training holds out the promise of all three.

There are also a lot of folks ready to tell them that there is no such thing, and those folks have a good point. There certainly is no universal standard of best submissive behavior. There isn’t a right way to kneel; there is only the way that your particular partner prefers for you to kneel. So if “training” means learning positions, forms of address, rituals and protocols and such then it mostly only applies to the person doing the training. Switch to a different partner and you’d have to be trained all over again. (Which might be fun, really.)

But there are other kinds of training, including some that I believe really are transferable to submitting to most if not all dominant partners, and really can make you fundamentally better at submission. Be warned though, those kinds of training tend to involve real effort and focus less on kneeling, posing and getting spanked.

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Four Kinds of Training in Power Exchange

1. Play Training

Like play punishment, play training is a fantasy roleplay exercise. The real goal is to have a hot fun time, and you aren’t actually expected to learn anything.

Continue reading “Real Submissive Training”

How to Discipline

“The only discipline that lasts is self-discipline.”
— Bum Phillips

“Discipline” is a very popular, very sexy concept for those of us who love power exchange, but what is discipline, really, and how does it work?

Discipline is responding with a crisp “Yes, Sir!” every time we receive an order. Discipline is noticing and correcting every time our partner slips up and meets our eyes after we’ve told them that is not allowed. Discipline is immediate, unhesitating obedience. Discipline is kneeling and waiting for permission to enter the bed every night, even when we’re tired or cranky. Discipline is both partners treating the rules like they’re important because they are the rules.

For a definition: discipline is the art of maintaining a high standard of behavior or achieving strict obedience to a set of rules. The word can refer to both the process of establishing and enforcing that kind of high standard, and also to the end result–a state of smoothly flowing, habitual obedience to an established structure. Continue reading “How to Discipline”