Balancing the D/s Life

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I struggled for a moment with this title. I began writing “Balancing the D/s Life…” and then I couldn’t think of a way to finish the title. Balance it with what? The vanilla parts of our lives? No, no part of our lives has to be vanilla necessarily. The other parts of our lives? That didn’t quite fit either.

For those of us endeavoring to live D/s as our lives, what we’re trying to do is have D/s permeate as much of our lives as possible. And what is possible is going to be unique to each relationship and family. So there’s no way to complete this title without restricting it’s applicability.

At the same time leaving it as “Balancing the D/s Life” seems way too broad for a single post. And it probably is, but we’ve got to start somewhere. Balance is essential to our lives in terms of physical, emotional, sexual, and spiritual health. D/s is certainly no exception. I think most of us realize this already, so what may be wanting is the awareness of what can throw our own balance off in any given area. We have our needs, our desires, and our commitments. There are D/s needs, desires, and commitments as well as non-D/s needs, desires, and commitments.

Add to the picture, the fact that for any given arena, that needs, desires, and commitments don’t always play well together and you get a very complex picture indeed. It’s very easy to get overwhelmed, especially if you’re a busy person to start with. I am a busy person and I was before I entered into a D/s relationship with it’s responsibilities. This presented and continues to present balance challenges for me as well as for my submissive, Ren. We’re both working hard on our careers and managing our household, while tackling health issues, participating in various social spheres, and daily trying to stay true to our roles with one another as dominant and submissive. And it’s easy to get out of balance.

In our poly family, we refer to our needs and desires in terms of “meters”, borrowing from the video game “The Sims” terminology. In those games, characters are created and they each have their own sets of needs, like hunger, socialization, career ambition, etc. And you can tell how strong that need is by how low their meters are for a particular area. We’ve found it very helpful to refer to our own needs and desires this way. We’ll say something like “My social meters are low today. I’m feeling a need to go to a party or hang out.” We can then ask one another how low those meters are if we want to get an idea of the strength of that desire or need. It’s important to understand the depth of need or desire because it can not only aid in the decision about what to engage in at any given time, it can also clue us in to an imbalance. If my social meters are way low, but my artistic expression meters are maybe low, but not critical, then there’s a natural logic that pushes us towards “filling” the social meter in that case. So I would say that awareness is the first order of business. Use whatever system works for you, try to stay mindful of what your needs and desires are and the level to which they are satisfied or unsatisfied, make note of this and share it with your partner or partners.

Of course whether you’re dominant or submissive and depending on the protocols in your relationships, you may have different ways you’re expected to communicate this, but I believe it’s essential to be aware of and share this information.

The next question is how to deal with your external commitments and the conflicts that often come up between what we’re obligated to do versus what we want to do for ourselves. This is a particularly difficult challenge I think in the United States because of what we have chosen to call our “work ethic”. What seems to be the thing referred to as “work ethic” goes beyond simply working hard with integrity.  There also seems to be an expectation that we as workers will forgo our own desires, needs, and sometimes health or safety in order to “get the job done”. While I think this is admirable in some case – I would appreciate this for someone doing some kind life-saving job – for most of us it’s just self-destructive. So let’s start by adjusting our attitudes and assumptions about these external commitments.

Let’s understand that yes, for most of us, there is a job to do, but we are infinitely more valuable than these jobs we do. And once we have a healthy perspective about ourselves in relation to what externals want or expect from us, we find that our internal energy and enthusiasm can be more easily preserved and is then available for what is truly important to us – our relationships with our loved ones. And if we have more personal energy and enthusiasm, the question of balance is already partially solved, having more resources available to spread around.

I think the other essential in solving the problem of balance is to be aware of and understand your own values and the values of the other or others in which you are engaged in power exchange relationships. It’s a great idea to, on a regular basis, review your own value system and those of your partner or partners.

What’s important in life for you? For your partner? Respond to the question about what you’re doing to pay respect to your values and understand that those values can be expressed in any creative way you can imagine. For example, if you have a connection ritual that involves certain clothing or bondage gear and a certain length of time, think about whether perhaps the point of that ritual could be also served in another way when that time is not available or you can’t pull out the bondage gear for various reasons.

Using our imaginations in concert with full mindfulness of our hearts and our values is an extremely powerful combination. Rely on your own internal genius and communicate communicate communicate… oh and communicate. Not all of these conversations will be pain free, but the reward of growth and greater life balance waits on the other side of any pain. Let me hear your story and your ideas about Balancing the D/s Life.

Please leave your comments on the blog…

Namaste.

Blending Sadism and Masochism – Essay

A friend asked the question “Can a masochist be a sadist?”

This, I think, is a deceptively simple question. By that I mean that if one unpacks it, it has a number of levels to it or points of view at least.

When I first hear the question, I initially began analyzing it in terms of what I know about psychology, simply puzzling out whether the two traits could occur simultaneously within the same individual. The possibility doesn’t seem unreasonable at all. Perhaps qualified psychologists could set me straight on that point.

Another angle to look at, though, is on an experiential level. I’m not so much concerned with definitions or boundaries as I am what it could mean to an individual. I had to examine this very closely myself, because my particular sexual sadism is very driven by empathy. It is in knowing a woman is feeling the pain and especially if I see it in her face, that I become most aroused.

This scene from the TV show “Community” is one of my favorites in mainstream even though you can’t see her butt.

But she does give great face and great voice 🙂

She’s a good actress (assuming the switching wasn’t real… hmm… imagine the rehearsals… okay I wandered off. Where was I?) A yes. The pain.

She was clearly in pain and so my empathy kicked in and I was quite aroused. Now if empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s place and almost “feel what they feel”, then my arousal is partly based on imagining for myself what she’s going through. I can’t call it masochism really, because it’s not a conscious imagining and if it were, I’d be imagining being her and not me. But it’s not a big stretch to imagine sadism and masochism coexisting in the same experience.

I really don’t understand masochism on an experiential level, but I can extrapolate from my own sadism, and indeed my sadism is founded on that extrapolation in the form of empathy.

So stretching my imagination further, if I attempt to imagine myself to be a masochist, the only way I can even get close to that space, is to romanticize the suffering I might experience. I can be the handsome hero, captured by the enemy compound and they send a beautiful and sadistic interrogator to get information from me. Understanding how much I like spanking or whipping an attractive woman, I can imagine how she might feel about spanking or whipping me if she finds me attractive and happens to be sadistic in that way.

So now, occupying this pseudo-masochistic (HA, that sounds like ‘sadomasochistic’. Did I coin a new term? Suggested definition: not actually a masochist,  but willing to pretend…) space, how would sadism enter into it? I suppose if as a sadist, I’m focused on the masochist’s pain and reaction, then as a masochist wouldn’t I be focused on the sadist and her reaction? And I imagine that as she becomes more and more aroused with the experience of spanking or whipping me, I can imagine empathizing with that and therefore, exhibiting a sadism through her.

It’s a fascinating experiential knot 😉

Thank you for the question, Alias 🙂

Everyone, let me know what you think. What’s your experience? Are you a switch? How do you experience that? If you play mostly or all on one side of the power exchange coin, tell us about your experience with ‘the other side’ even if it’s only in your imagination.

Who knows, you may persuade me to share my ‘other side’ fantasy 😉

-Quai Franklin

“Namaste”

Sounding Out Loud @_Lunargirl_ @freestartammas @pandorablake

My new audio interface arrived today. According to my new really cool soul friend, Lunargirl, it’s going to work! I say “going to” because I have yet to fully test it. I had to go to Sam Ash music store to get some interconnection cables and adapters. I came back home, had dinner with Ren, and haven’t gone back to work with the setup.

It’s not that I’m not excited. But maybe I’m a little too excited. I keep thinking “I will be podcasting and webcasting soon” and it feels like home and it feels like embarking on a long voyage at the same time. ‘Home’ because it is my path. I really feel that in my heart. And ‘long voyage’ because I am a fairly shy person and the idea of just being myself and being “on the air” is really a stretch for me, to say the least. I am definitely challenging myself. The few “Friday Quai-day”s that I’ve done have both confirmed the fact that it’s a challenge as well as the fact that this is the kind of thing that I should be doing.

Things I love to do – singing, writing songs, writing fiction (especially spanking fiction), discussing intellectual and creative subjects… things like that. And I used to wonder how could I ever … or even could I ever… combine these things into a career. Running a broadcast ‘network’ with programming variety seems like the very thing, custom-designed for me. Besides, I will need help. And this feeds my need to work as part of a team.

I’ll want/need contributors, correspondents, discussion and interview participants, musicians/composers as well as other podcasters/webcasters. I can’t imagine a more (potentially) fun “team” to work with.

And the more I think about it, the more certain I am that this thing should be mostly listener supported. I don’t like the idea of loading up my site with noisy, indiscriminate ads. I do like the idea of being underwritten or in an affiliate program with ethical content producers (ethical, by my standard – it will be a benevolent dictatorship…). I do like the idea of listeners knowing my honest need for money to support this network and its… ahem… crew. And I like the idea that they can freely give or not give and still get the content. I will sell things for profit, but for those items, that will be clear up front.

I also have come to realize that I don’t want to restrict myself to the spanking/kink world. My recent visit with Ren to the Second Life Florida Sunshine Jam confirmed to me that I do need to be involved with the world of music in general. So I’ve decided that there will be general original music programming as well as music shows by and for kinksters.

Throw some philosophical and political commentary and you basically have more content than I have time to produce. So, again, I do want help.

Pandora, as any good friend would, asked some smart questions that prompted me to look into music licensing. So I did some preliminary research and found out some potentially good news. The licensing schemes that (I believe) I would qualify for with the big three music licensing agencies (ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC), would cost around $300 each or probably under $1000 altogether per year. So this means I am not restricted for the most part in whose music I can feature. This is really good to know. Thanks again, Pandora.

Now I need to focus on contacting other audio content producers and artists like maymay (who produces “Kink Radio” I believe) and others who I’ll try to work out sharing agreements with. But absent that, or until that happens, it’s just me and the occasional Ren most likely.

Anyone want to collaborate? 🙂

“Friday Quai-day” – 2012/01/13 – Audio post answering reader questions and stirring up trouble…

Download/hear the audio: Friday Quai-day 003

Questions responded to:

“@Freestar_Tammas @QuaiDisciplines OK, topic request for Friday Quai-day (corny!). :9 Pls summarize your growth as a dom in 2011 and goals for growth in 201[2]

… and I was asked about an interesting conversation I had as a teenager.

 

 

“Friday Quai-day” – 2012/01/06 – Audio post answering questions and carrying on… @Alias982 @pandorablake

Download/hear the audio: Friday Quai-day #002

Referenced:   http://pandorablake.com/blog/2012/01/audio-qa-fantasies-crying-and-polyamory/

Questions responded to:

Alias982:

” Your favorite whisky”

“Do you speak another language?”

” Do you like your spankee to be totally naked, half clothed, just bottom bared…?”

“Do you have a dog?”

“Do you play video games? Which ones”

I gush some about http://dreamsofspanking.com/ and http://dreamsofspanking.com/shop/item/caning-merit-badge 🙂