bad things are bad; consent-to-sex boundaries are absolute

Ok, let’s try extreme analogies.

Let’s say I am hanging around actively arranging plans to murder my neighbors for fun. In the middle of this, I decide I would like to have some sex. I find an amenable person and am talking to them as we walk to my home. However, during this conversation it happens to come up that they think murdering people for fun is bad. This makes me not want to have sex with them anymore, so I don’t.

I get to do that!

The thing I am doing wrong in this situation is ‘arranging plans to murder my neighbors’.  This is bad. I shouldn’t do that. I can in fact legitimately be arrested for it. (As far as I remember law things). It does not mean I should experience rape, because literally nothing of the sort means that.

I can be doing something bad, which I shouldn’t do, and decide not to have sex with someone for a reason entirely stemming from that fact, and I still get to not have sex with them, because I always get to not have sex with people for any or no reason.

The bad thing I am doing is bad, and I still get to not sleep with people when I don’t want to.

Detangling some different meanings in top/bottom

{I’ve had like, a completely different form for a post on this topic in my head for literally years. Doesn’t look like that one’s getting written at least any time soon, and I had some stuff that caused different thoughts since, but currently had some thoughts in a new form and want to write something!}

(Additional/general/underlying point: It is really, really common for these to be conflated, tangled, assumed to go together, etc, in ways that do harm, interfere with communication and self-understanding, etc, including domist ways.)

  • Who is physically or otherwise actively doing things (vs having them done to them).

  • If there is a power dynamic, who is the d-side.

    • I had a whole thought-set on how a meaning of topping was a kind of ‘semi-domming’. Then I read the beginning of The New Topping Book, where top/bottom are just used to mean d-side/s-side basically entirely, and ran into more posts and stuff, and – yeah it’s in fact often more than that.
    • One issue that comes up is that there’s not actually enough conscious attention to whether or not a scene in fact has a power dynamic. A lot of unspoken defaults and etc mean that things people will sometimes go talk about as ‘only physical topping’ in fact totally have an unspoken power dynamic going on. This is a problem in a variety of ways.
    • I think the combination of these two can get in fact kind of gaslight-y at people.
  • Who is leading/directing action.

    • Note that this is not actually the same as the active-doing meaning, though they’re often conflated. Example: telling someone how to hit/touch/tie/etc you.
    • Again, neither a ‘one person does one and the other does the other’ nor a binary. ‘Fluid (or for that matter non-fluid but say determined by preset signals) turn taking’ and ‘cooperative construction’ are things that can be done.
    • Also variation in how this can be done – ‘person 1 decides what to do and does it’, ‘person 1 decides what to do and tells person 2 to do that’, ‘person 1 has an idea and says to person 2 ‘how about this”, etc, can be possible and different dynamics.
  • Who is responsible for/doing ‘scene emotional work’.

    • I’ve come more to conceptualizing this as a category, and have struggled for a while with how to refer to it. At the moment here using the above.
    • Credit to Xan West for a lot of these thoughts – see Two Footing and Holding the Scene in the essay One Sadist’s Consent.
    • Scene emotional work is the work that goes into keeping things ok and well, noticing if there’s a problem and doing something about it, etc. One example, going to what Xan talked about, is ‘staying present’ in the ‘real world’ to notice things like ‘it is a bad idea to go farther’, ‘something has gone wrong’, etc. Another example is making sure aftercare needs get met.
    • One of the things Xan points out is that there’s often a very strong implicit idea/expectation that the ‘top’ (in the d-side sense and conflated/tangled with others) does this work, and the bottom does not (and that this idea/expectation is a problem).
    • One additional place I’ve seen this: there’s recently been more recognition and discussion of the fact that ‘tops’ can also need aftercare. (Which is very good and important and should continue and strengthen). However, at least I personally have not actually seen much discussion on how tops getting aftercare is conceptualized. I think this is largely due to this bringing up tension with ‘expectation that ‘bottom’ is not doing scene emotional work’.
      (To be clear, wanting to be free from expectations of this scene work and have someone else take it on is a valid thing to want or to need for scenes to work for you. However, like wants and needs in general, dynamics of this ought to be part of negotiations and compatibility, rather than implicitly assumed in a one-size-for-all.)
    • I was going to put planning the scene here, then it occurred to me it could also go under leading/directing, then it occurred to me that leading/directing could itself be seen as under emotional work. I think the best model for me currently is to continue to separate them out, with the leading/direction (where I do think scene planning/genesis/impetus properly falls) being a type of emotional work in the broader sense but in a different category than this one here.

Fun fact: submissives who have specific desires, who have desires, needs, etc about how exactly they want things to happen, etc, are still submissives and as valid as anyone

Just because they’re not compatible with *you* doesn’t mean they aren’t themselves.

(You very much get to not do things with them! You don’t get to try to kick them out of the word.)

(This post is brought to you by me reading posts and being upset.)

the sexual object vs subject lens, and women

{This isn’t really a post; it’s on here basically for wordpress reasons and that I can’t comment on two posts at the same time.

Content note: I read two posts about marginalized groups I am not in, and ended up with a thought about a different marginalized group that I am in.}

So recently I read Xan West’s post On Internalizing the Cis Gaze When Thinking About Sex and Relationships, which linked back to a different post of Xan’s, Writing Fat Characters In Erotica: Why It Matters To Me. These posts both use a shared lens {I’m not sure what the right word here is?}, which is about being treated as always an object rather than a subject of desire – a setup where the ultimate hope is to be a successful object of desire, while being the subject of desire, having desire, isn’t even – in the room (and about resisting this and claiming desire).

More recently I was listening to an older relative of mine talk about some friends of hers. She was discussing their families, and about one of them said something like – ‘she never married – I don’t know why, she was so pretty’.  And it occurred to me – this is that same thing again, at women. Where the thing that matters, the thing to aspire to, is being an object of desire, meeting some metrics for success in that. While one’s own desire is – not even brought up to be thought about.

(Note, this (the re women part I mean) feels like totally the kind of thing that there’s already lots of writings about out there, that I’ve maybe even run into. But my brain isn’t coming up with specifics right now, and did have this particular thought in this way, and it was a something for me, so.)

entitled male subs, and domism

There’s a thing that happens where people respond to particular types of bad things being done by male subs by throwing domism at them. 

This is bad.

{reposted from my Tumblr}

(I want to talk about this better but I just read a post and am annoyed so.)

There’s a thing that happens where people respond to particular types of bad things being done by male subs by throwing domism at them.

This is bad.

If a person is doing the ‘treating a domme like a fetish delivery’ thing, sending dommes (etc) unsolicited fantasy messages or similar, etc, the thing they are doing wrong isn’t *having desires*.

Everyone gets to have their desires, and has equal rights to do so. They get to have as many desires as they do, in as much detail as they do. This is in no way something someone is doing wrong, and it in no way becomes bad or wrong if that someone is a sub.

The thing that person did wrong was *not considering the other person*. Like, that the other person also has desires (etc). (Which might mean an incompatibility, in which case that is not a person to seek that kind of connection with, or might have compatibility, in which case engaging with them is generally a part of seeking that kind of connection.) Like that the other person doesn’t want to be sent unsolicited fantasy messages. Etc.

Which is in fact just as wrong when doms do it (which also very much happens). And it’s wrong in the same way and for the same reasons. Which are consent, and boundaries, and consideration for others rather than entitlement, etc, and not some domist bs like ‘reversing d/s’ or ‘taking the power out of power exchange’*.

*[quotes slightly modified due to vagueblogging]

mulling over scene concepts

(Been meaning to comment on this post for a bit, commenting now by reblog to also have it around here.)

One of the things parts of this post made me think of, reading it, was a thing where when I was a kid I remember at one point wondering what adults did when they got together with their friends and such, because as a kid it was playing with toys, and I knew adults didn’t usually do that, but aside from talking I wasn’t sure what they did instead.

And the feeling that in some sense I didn’t really ever get an answer to that question.

Which – when I thought about it, I can in fact think of a bunch of things adults do together (outside of/in addition to talking (and its various variations – go to a coffee shop or a restaurant and talk, walk and talk, cuddle and talk, watch a movie and then talk about it…) (Which, to be clear – I do absolutely love talking to people, and this is a very awesome thing to do with people.))

From sports to working on projects together to table-top games and such to stuff like ‘cooking together’.

And then thinking about a kind of continuum, where the way all these things involve this some kind of external activity means they can span a range of ‘primarily want to do the activity and this person works as someone to do that with’ to ‘want to connect and have intimacy this person and are doing this through this activity’ (and the whole spectrum in between).

(And then there’s sex and such of course. And, all the everything re that.)

And then the feeling when I do want to do *more* with someone, do want it as connection etc, but *don’t have a thing*.

And just – the way parts of this post go to this ‘I want to do intimacy/connection/etc with someone’, for me. And feel like they… opened, or helped open, or helped reveal, or – this maybe grasped-for-area for me, with it. And valuing that.

The Ace Theist

Apparently nobody is going to do the work of spitballing ideas for nonsexual non-D/s weird intimacy for me (insert sarcastic self-aware mumbling about my very niche interests not being catered to), so, here, I’m going to try and manage a little on my own.

May contain food, bondage, role play, sensation play, roughhousing, and nonhumanity ingredients.

View original post 981 more words

Relationships and reading

Some weeks ago, I went to a holiday party at the house of some people my family knows. The hosts are a husband and wife who got married pretty recently (for the purpose of this post I will call them R and E). Before that, my family had attended some game nights hosted by him, out of some circumstances with which I knew that he was then polyamorous. (But did not know, going to the party, if that was still the case).

He greeted us at the door; when we came into the living room (we were pretty much the first people there) we saw a woman who I then assumed was E. However, pretty soon after that another woman came into the room and it turned out that in fact she was E, and the first woman was thus clearly not (I will call her J). I asked J if she lived there too; she said she did not. I subsequently (including while watching E and J interact) started wondering if they were metamours. This turned out to indeed be the case.


Later at the party, I overheard a different person telling a story about how she and her girlfriend went on a roadtrip and got repeatedly taken for sisters, despite the fact that they don’t look alike. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard that kind of story.


Together, this made me think about reading relationships working out as this combination of getting impressions on some level, and then interpreting them with what you have in your mind.

On some level I got impressions about J not feeling like another guest, and my brain went to other options I might have associated with what I was getting. Since I did have polyamory and etc in my head to work with, I could think of that one. If I hadn’t, I can see myself having wondered if they were, say, sisters-in-law, or other extended family.

Similarly, some of the people the other couple encountered might have been on some level getting the impression of ‘something other than friends’ – and then again, going to other options they have available in mind as associated.*

*To be clear, the reason what-people-have-in-minds works this way is heteronormativity etc and this is bad. This is me having thoughts about its existence, not saying it’s ok.

two paradigms, and domism

While domism comes in a lot of forms, facets, ways, places, etc, one particular thread of domism I tend to encounter a lot I see as tying back to/coming out of a particular [domist] paradigm. As such, I wanted to make a brief post about said paradigm.

The way I look at d/s and related things around it tends to go something like ‘various d-types, people who have interest in d-type things, etc, and various s-types, people who have interest in s-type things, etc, have their own various both needs and desires for themselves and things they want to and find it fulfilling to provide for a partner. Some people are compatible with each other in these ways, some people aren’t. Mutually positive relationships can be found through compatibility, care, and communication’.

Conversely, the domist paradigm that can show up goes something like ‘d-types have things they want, and s-types should give that to them’.

(Note: some people have ‘give my partner what they want’ as in fact their desire. To me that fits perfectly well into the paradigm I hold – that can be a desire people can have (which doesn’t in any way mean it needs to be their only desire, or a desire without bounds), and can be part of what they’re looking to have with a partner. My objections to the domist paradigm are in the universalizing and ‘should-ing’, not in the validity of desires that happen to fit with it).


“So, recap. You want reassurance about causing pain, I like painspells. You’re going to hit me with painspells and voice whatever insecurities you might want to, I’m going to enjoy myself and reassure you. Your safeword is cyan, in which case I should stop reassuring you and do something else. I use the same one if I need to stop reassuring for whatever reason. I’m otherwise not doing anything that requires a special safeword, so I say ‘not that much’ and such if I need to. Red and yellow remain as general emergency safewords. Does that sound right?”

[I know I haven’t tended to post fiction here, but.

Very unfinished bit(s) of a piece; set in a kind of cross between a high-tech-fantasy world of mine and BDSM scene things.

Narrator is male in my head.] 


Honestly, this is what I get for airing my woes to Marcella. Unfamilar city, time, nothing to do…

“Well, what do you do at home?” She was packing while talking to me, off to one of her concerts.

“I go to the dungeon.” Like she didn’t know.

She glances at the camera from across the room.

“Well, it’s not that small a city, I’m sure they have one. Just look it up! Anyway, I really do have to run…”

Once the video closed, the search bar seemed to stare at me like it was going to follow me around the room next. Not that there was much in the room. Some nights, the data hook is about all I could want, but some nights it really isn’t.

So, a search and transit and an entrance later, here I was.

{some time, events, and meeting a person later (first line here is not the narrator’s)}

“So, recap. You want reassurance about causing pain, I like painspells. You’re going to hit me with painspells and voice whatever insecurities you might want to, I’m going to enjoy myself and reassure you. Your safeword is cyan, in which case I should stop reassuring you and do something else. I use the same one if I need to stop reassuring for whatever reason. I’m otherwise not doing anything that requires a special safeword, so I say ‘not that much’ and such if I need to. Red and yellow remain as general emergency safewords. Does that sound right?”

I nod, then feel like I should be saying it out loud. “Yeah – yeah, it does.”

“Excellent!” She sits down on the bench and swings her legs. “Shall we start?” Oh god. But this nervousness is part of the idea, in this case. I take a breath.

“Yeah. Let’s start.” She flashes a stronger smile than usual.

“5 4 3 2 1 go.”

I swallow, breathe again.

“I’m, um, not sure about this. What if I hurt you?”

“You’re not going to hurt me. You’re using a very straightforward painspell, it doesn’t go high enough that it could do damage. You just demonstrated in front of the DM that you could can cast and control it perfectly well, and we just checked to make sure there aren’t any adverse reactions with me. If it’s too much and you can’t fix it for some reason I can grab the analgesic again and I’ll be completely fine while we sort it out. If you turn out to be secretly evil the analgesic will still work and we have a DM team right there to put a stop to things. They know how to deploy shields, protecting and containing. And if something does go wrong we have a great medical response record here and we will deal with it.”

I nod my head, memories coming up with the words. That was actually reassuring. Like to a rhythm, she taps her fingers up and down the strap of the analgesic. Across her shoulder, holding it in place on her chest for hopefully easy and intuitive grabbing, if needed. I’d seen it in effect just minutes ago, holding my spell while she tightened her hand on it, the spell doing its work to no actual effect at all. Which was exactly what should have happened, but still – magic was seriously amazing sometimes.

“But I mean – any time you see it, in history like – bad people use painspells. It’s always terrible.” She’s stopped playing with the strap, put her hand down next to her.

“That’s because of how they’re using them. It’s not an inherent property of painspells any more than it’s an inherent property of canes” she nods sideways toward the trio at the table “moving things around” another nod “or sex for that matter.”

{somewhat later, one branch of the story. (first line here is the narrator’s)}

“Cyan.” She’d exhaled and started untensing back when I’d cut the spell. With barely a pause she swings her legs down, turns, looks at me.

“You OK? What’s wrong?” I clench my eyes shut.

“Cyan. I’m sorry.”

“There’s nothing to be sorry for.” I open my eyes and she’s there, standing and keeping distance. Maybe a minute passes. I don’t note it. “Touch?” I nod, prompted to reaction, and she leads me back toward the bench, sits down on it next to me, pausing to telegraph each move before making it. “If you want to talk it’s OK. If you don’t want to talk it’s OK.”

Platform desires: versions

One of the things I really wish I could do, on both my fiction and my post writing platforms, is have versions.

Which is to say, I want to be able to post a thing, and then if I later on have a form of the thing I like better, or I make some edits, or etc, I want to be able to put up the new one as a new version of the old one.

In fiction writing, this is mostly a helping-me-with-my-perfectionism-thing. One of my major barriers to writing tends to be the feeling that I can’t write the thing I want to write well enough to do it justice, and therefore shouldn’t write it unless and until I can. But of course at the same time I’d *like* to write more, to let me do the ‘develop the thing by working on it’ among other reasons. And I think that this kind of affordance could help me, to know that I could do a thing and put it up, maybe with a note or tag about feeling more rough-draft-etc about it, and then if I ended up with a better version put that up in turn. (Which of course I might not and even very likely might not, but again, I think just the affordance/possibility being there would help me).

And, while of course there are ways that I could go do this without specific features for doing it, they’re not really something I like as well. I definitely wouldn’t want to delete the old version – I have loss issues, and I’ve also been on the other side where authors have made a new version of something and gotten rid of the old one and I’ve been sad {though I absolutely recognize this as their right, to be clear}. Meanwhile, just putting up the things separately clutters things and isn’t very good organization and to me at least carries inhibitions in that ‘that’s not a thing people do’ way. (Which I don’t endorse, but have in my brain and affecting things anyway). And so then I also feel that having this kind of thing available as a specific feature would help me feel that this is an ok etc thing to do.

In [blog] post writing, the perfectionism side of things is also there, but some additional others come up as well. One is usefulness for various ‘edited to add’ type things – elaborations, ‘I thought of more examples or categories’, etc. Another is mistakes and reconsiderations.

And, again, while there are definitely ways to do these-kinds-of-things as is, none of them feel quite adequate. Editing the post can feel like a barrier to action (again, to me at least) and is inconvenient if the edits are smaller and throughout rather than a paragraph that can be tacked on. It’s also not very good on the social aspect – someone could be super interested in a given post and want to know if more things related to it happen, and still the only way they’d see an edit would be if they repeatedly revisit the post. Commenting on the post might at least notify people subscribed to comments, but would get lost if there were a lot of other comments and unnoticed by anyone who doesn’t look at them.

Just making a new post (or reblogging the old post with new added content) again feels cluttersome, isn’t helpful for someone seeing the original (it’s possible to go add a link to the new one from the original, but this comes with all the general disadvantages of things that have to be done on top of the platform manually rather than being provided by the platform), and again carries the inhibition issue. And again, for me at least having the affordance feels like it might help me actually do the thing and feel it is an ok etc thing to do.

And, while this is one of those things where I’m largely first thinking in terms of myself, it also is in fact one of those things where I would totally be interested in the other side too. (Which – of course there are plenty of people who would never want to use anything like this ever and that is in no way something I in any way want it to seem like have any kind of issue with, and no one who wouldn’t want to do something like this should in any way do so). But, if some other people were interested, then getting a chance to see people’s process, changes, etc is definitely something I think would be interesting/positivethings.