Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Final Countdown

I am so overwhelmed right now- baby #2 is due in two weeks, and it seems like everything is a mess. Work is crazy as I'm trying to transfer everything to others before I leave, but thankfully I only have a few more days of that. The nursery is probably 75% ready, but some major things still need done. And then we need to find my nursing pump, install the car seats, etc... so much to think about! 

I am definitely overwhelmed, but I am also a little scared. We just learned last week that Bruce will have to be regularly working overtime from May to August, all while working full time through the last year of his graduate program. So for those first three crazy months of my son's life Bruce will be away from home about 60 hours a week, and when he's home he will still have work to do. Frankly, I am devastated by this- those first few months are so draining that when you experience it together you almost can't help bonding in the intensity of it all. But this time we're each going to be so drained in very separate ways, and I can't imagine how this won't drive us apart. Even last time there was a slight disconnect when he went back to work: I couldn't really understand what it was like to work all day and then come home to such a high-needs environment, and he couldn't fully understand what it was like to have no break from the constant dependence of such a little baby. We worked through it, but it was hard, and now each of us will literally have double the stress. I'm just not sure how we will make it work. 

But Bruce assures me that somehow we WILL make it work. And he assures me that DD will be very present, which even at it's ugliest and most upsetting does help prevent the escalation of nastiness that can ensue in its place. 

I do know that feeling under-appreciated is the single issue that traps us in a downward spiral of disconnect and frustration toward each other. So even though it will be easy to get lost in my own needs during this time, it is critical to our relationship that I stop and focus on how I appreciate all that he does. And not just say "I appreciate you," but to show it, through affection, little acts of service, and acceptance of things that I know he cannot control. Of course all of this will work best if he shows his appreciation for all I do through the same. As always, the more affection and appreciation he shows the easier it will be for me to submit, especially in the areas that are hard for me to be submissive. But even if these needs aren't met I will do all that I can to display unconditional submission, because as I've mentioned more than once, that's where it all matters most, where the rubber meets the road so to speak. 

So if I don't post in two weeks then you'll know that I went into labor on or before my actual due date! If that's the case, I've been excused from posting until next time. Whew these next ten weeks or so will be rough, no doubt about that. But I love that I will have this blog to return to every two weeks, to take a moment to stop and process our use of DD along the way. Wish me luck friends. And if you think of it, feel free to send some submissive vibes my way :)

Monday, April 10, 2017

50 Shades from a D/s Perspective

So Bruce and I finally caught up with the rest of America and watched 50 Shades of Grey (the first one) last week. Many D/s couples didn't like the films, so we went into it expecting to see a glamorized, dramatic, and inaccurate representation of the Dominant/submissive lifestyle. Maybe for that reason we actually kind of enjoyed some of it. The acting was badly overdone at the beginning, but they seemed to get into a groove and eventually it was kind of fun, if only superficially. In my opinion the highest point of the film was the recurring theme of flying- the symbol of trust, abandon, freedom, etc. was a surprisingly sweet and clever subtlety that pervaded throughout the film. We both honestly found it somewhat entertaining until the last few scenes, at which point our reaction to the film totally changed.

**Spoiler Alert**

By totally changed, I mean that even our physical posture shifted from being cuddled up on the couch to a sort of uncomfortable stiffened disgust. I can't remember my specific outward reaction but I remember that Bruce eventually uttered, half to himself, something along the lines of "what the fuck?" Wtf indeed.

At the end of the film there is a weird, disjointed escalation of events; Christian comments that he wants to punish Anastasia (the reason is unclear- maybe because she won't commit to his clear, specific, and admittedly bizarre terms...?). She says she wants him to punish her then, to show her how bad the worst can be so she can better understand him. Ok so it's already getting a little weird, but from this point on it just became so unclear and disjointed that it was actually offensive. I grant that Bruce and I may have felt that way because of our specific use of DD/Ds but for the sake of him and me (and others who have a similar dynamic), allow me to break it all down:

1) He tells her he is going to hit her six times, and he expects her to count... and then he just starts doing it.
No lecture, no reiteration of how he cares, no stating the value of punishment. He doesn't even offer any clarification on why he is upset. He just starts punishing her. [And not at all central to the point, but he's so hardcore that he has written contracts and a special room, yet his worst punishment is six strikes with a leather implement? The strikes are supposedly horribly severe, but I can't imagine any real life submissive identifying such a punishment as severe, much less 'the worst']. Anyway the whole punishment scene is a terrible example of what I've found to be both the hardest to swallow and the most meaningful part of a D/s relationship. Of course every couple is different, but as Bruce and I do take things to the point of harsh, not-so-erotic punishments, I believe this is the heart of it all- it is in these moments of "wow I really hate everything about this" that the concept of true power exchange becomes very real for me. Trust is built, we're both pushed farther in our roles, and the whole relationship changes in an almost tangible way. With the movie, the relationship debate raging throughout the entire film is explicitly addressing such a power exchange, and yet it is at this point that things become the most vague, conflicting, and meaningless. Seriously?

2) He finds gratification in the actual strikes, like in the pain itself.
I'm obviously not on the pain-inflicting end of things, but from what I understand and from what Bruce articulates to me, sadism so not the point of any of it. Maybe a little pain is erotic, but really hurting the one you love in the context of something serious like this? I feel strongly that the pain is a necessary by-product of the power exchange- by itself it lacks meaning and it certainly lacks eroticism. In example Bruce has never initiated intimacy after a severe punishment, and after severe maintenance (ahem, both of which he clearly articulates the point and value of before finishing) our intimacy holds a pointedly more intense sort of affection. Again, every couple is different, but for Bruce and me the motivation and symbolism behind the pain is the point. In Bruce's words "The infliction of pain is not for my benefit, but for yours"- the idea is for me to eventually benefit from his direction, which is logical and at the same time erotic to each of us for different reasons; for me because I can see that he so strongly desires to lead me, and for him because he can see that I trust his direction so completely. The giving and receiving of pain feels like a very innate aspect of the dynamic- I have to say that when the movie was over we both found it challenging to articulate what we knew and felt to be true. Still, I know very few couples who would say that the pain itself is the point.

3) Even after endless discussion defining dominance and submission, she is horrified at the seriousness of the punishment.
Wow. So the movie sets up dominance and submission to be acceptable if unconventional, but only on an erotic level. When things get serious, a line is apparently crossed and the whole thing becomes morally reprehensible. I guess the suggestion is that one size fits all- eroticism laced with dominance and submission is okay, but serious moments of dominance and submission are only for messed up people- specifically those that have suffered child abuse and are "fifty shades of fucked up." Ouch. Even worse, the movie ENDS this way. What? Yeah Christian, I was okay when we explored the concept of dominance and submission at length and to extremes [i.e. sleeping alone, anal fisting... whew...], but now that you spanked me really hard and without foreplay It. Is. Over. Society is already full of people that find dominance and submission to be morally reprehensible; it felt pretty awful that even 50 Shades of Grey portrayed some really valid aspects of D/s in the same way.

I actually feel a lot more lonely in the lifestyle since watching it. I guess it just seems like a great opportunity was wasted, and that the chasm of misunderstanding between the D/s and Vanilla community just grew so much wider. It makes me want to go on a talk show or something and explain how they got it all wrong. Haha, now that would be sure to earn me a true punishment! But I guess as awful as punishments in our house are, I can at least be grateful that they are far deeper and more meaningful than those of the 50 Shades variety.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

DD-Induced Emotional Breakdowns

We've experienced two different DD-induced emotional breakdowns just this week. Allow me to reiterate for the hundredth time how we are in an intense phase of life right now...

So sometimes submission is so deadly serious that it is devoid of any type of eroticism, at least in the moment, and the situation you face tests your capacity to submit in the most extreme ways. A few nights ago we had one such moment. We were talking about something meaningful to me, and then suddenly (at least from my perspective) he said we needed to stop talking about it for now. This is classic OCD looping; I think we're having a productive conversation only to find that the other party feels we are merely rehashing. The horribly disorienting part is that I can never recognize this, even after it is brought to my attention. When he said we had to stop I think I knew somewhere within me that doing so was probably the best course of action, but most of me just felt so frustrated and cut off.

I tried to calmly explain myself, but the more I tried the more frustrated we both became... nearly a half hour later he finally demanded I retrieve the paddle, and the anger and hurt I felt in that moment was so incredibly strong. I begged him not to spank me right then, but he wouldn't have it. Oh I felt he was being so unfair and off-base. Luckily we've both previously identified fairness as an invalid aspect of whether or not I submit, so I knew I had to obey. I angrily did as I was told, and soon I was bent over the easy chair while he briefly recapped the situation in a lecture. I felt so angry that when he asked if I understood I chose silence, even though I knew it meant receiving more strikes, rather than affirm his logic. He of course spanked me more in response, and I merely clenched my jaw and cried angry tears. The spanking hurt so badly but part of me just didn't care. After a while I literally couldn't take any more and finally had no choice but to affirm that it was right to stop. I did so as briefly as possible, and when he sent me to return the paddle I even swore at him under my breath. Back on the couch he insisted I sit close to him, and he put his arms around me while I resentfully tolerated his embrace.

We watched a show together, and although he refused to let me express myself, he didn't stop holding me. Eventually I softened enough to at least sincerely pray for help to put it out of my mind, and of course from there it wasn't long before I not only accepted his embrace but clung to it. He had done exactly what we'd agreed on, and I had been the one to not uphold my end of the bargain by resisting so heavily. I regretted my actions and anger so much, and once again felt so grateful to have found DD. He finally has the tools to shut me down before I can ruin the whole night. Pathetic that I'm that broken, but there it is. When I think back on it now, the whole thing does seem erotic, but there wasn't even the faintest hint of that while it was happening. But I strongly believe that submission without eroticism, these times are what make the dynamic truly authentic.

I had another somewhat different DD-induced emotional breakdown within a night or so of the previous breakdown. While this one was gentler, more loving, and devoid of anger, any breakdown is nonetheless upsetting, intense, and frankly exhausting. I had dressed especially nice for work that day because I knew we were going out to dinner together that evening. Heels, a pretty blouse, matching jewelry, and even matching lace underwear... before I was pregnant this would happen at least twice a week or more, but lately (as I've been pregnant for nearly the past two years now) it happens far far less. By the time we finished dinner, put our daughter to bed, and collapsed on the chaise lounge in our bedroom it was unavoidably clear that he hadn't noticed my efforts in the slightest. In fact, he asked why I still hadn't changed out of my work clothes! I began to do so, admitting that I wished he would have noticed the difference, not that there's much that is sexually desirable about a 7+ month pregnant woman. He came to me and hugged me, apologizing for not noticing. He said he had thought I looked nice but hadn't really stopped to think why, and true or not that made me feel a little better.

At this point I was almost completely undressed, a state I avoid as much as possible with my very pregnant figure. He guided me toward the bed and I reached for my tank top. When he pulled my hand away I begged for him to let me cover up a little, but he said no. Suddenly the vulnerability and insecurity of being so exposed in a time that I wished not to be had me crying hard. The vulnerability somehow felt so much deeper than just clothes. He spoke gently and lovingly, but spanked me long and hard for "saying stupid and untrue shit about my wife, and the mother of my children." As the loving sincerity of his words washed over me I cried harder, profoundly aware of the fulfilling of a need that I didn't even realize I had. I needed his approval and his praise. And in the humility of being overworked and very pregnant I needed to feel a little dignity. Strangely enough, in that moment he was giving me just that. When the spanking was over we made love and I settled into the crook of his arm feeling exhausted but very cherished and loved.

So there it is: two breakdowns in one week. Wow is this a time of life we will remember forever with its unrelenting way of stretching us both. Nonetheless, the closeness and growth that both of us have been experiencing is rewarding to say the least. I admit I am thoroughly and utterly exhausted. But all things considered I really wouldn't have it any other way.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Using My Words

Since I really am a bit of a control freak Bruce pretty much runs the show DD wise- the when, why, where, and how is always his deal. The idea is that I keep him informed about how I'm feeling, and he keeps that in mind as he makes decisions. But when time and energy is desperately lacking it is easy to just let him make the decisions and forget about the keeping him informed part. Since I'm an emotionally transparent person he can usually tell when I'm not communicating my needs, but I seriously have been so wiped out that even I haven't thought about how I'm feeling enough to realize that I wasn't communicating like I should have been.

But last week I was talking with a wise submissive friend of mine about submission amid exhaustion, and with her help I realized that I DO have some thoughts and feelings concerning our use of DD right now. Specifically I feel like I need more reiteration of my responsibility to submit, and more reassurance of his presence as leader. Of course meeting these needs is not solely Bruce’s responsibility. Still, we originally agreed that I would share how I’m feeling so I figured I would at least do that. And so when we crawled into bed a few nights ago I referenced a joke he made about my needing more maintenance, and admitted that more frequent maintenance may actually be helpful for me.

Funny how no amount of closeness relieves the awkwardness and humility of admitting that as an adult woman I may benefit from being spanked more frequently. Bruce and I tell each other everything, but it was still truly painful for me to spit out. He responded by agreeing that more maintenance would be good for me, and assured me that he would try to make it a more frequent occurrence. Not only is he unwilling (with good reason) to commit to a scheduled frequency, but lately there are at least three nights a week where I absolutely cannot stay awake past 9:00. So no promises, but I knew that he at least knew how I felt.

So flash forward to a few nights later, Bruce informed me before dinner that I would be getting heavy maintenance later that night. I asked for this, and I appreciated that he was following through. Logically I knew that going through this would help me, but emotionally and physically I already felt so desperate for it to NOT happen. As usual I was completely depleted at the end of the day, and nothing sounded worse than heavy maintenance. To make things worse, by 9:00 he was knee-deep in work and I was extremely exhausted. I asked if I could sleep on the couch until he was finished, and he said that was fine so long as I knew I would be getting it later on regardless. I really must have been tired because despite the heavy dread I was feeling that’s pretty much the last moment I remember until an hour or so later.

He woke me and we went downstairs. I immediately remembered what was coming, but said nothing as we brushed our teeth and got ready for bed. Soon after he told me to undress, and in no time at all I found myself over his lap on the bed. He gave me a long hard warmup and already I was fighting tears, perhaps a combination of physical exhaustion and increased blood blow during pregnancy. He gently told me that I needed to try to be stronger as it would be getting a lot worse. Sure enough, it took exactly three strikes with the lexan paddle before I was sobbing into the pillow. I wanted to stay calm but I really felt as if I couldn’t take it. Before long he was firmly insisting I quiet down and hold still as I was crying out into the pillow and struggling hard to stay in position. For the first time ever during maintenance I felt the need to tell him I love him, so I sobbingly did so when he paused between strikes. He softened momentarily as he assured me that he loves me too but that I was long overdue for a hard session. He even asked if I realized as much and I quickly agreed that he was right. I knew that he was but it didn’t make it any more emotionally or physically bearable. After what felt like an eternity it was finally over and he initiated intimacy. In fact, having reached a much needed emotional release it took a great deal of effort to stop crying even though the spanking had stopped. During intimacy I felt very reconnected to him, and I believe he felt the same. Afterward I laid in the crook of his arm and he told me that even though I had struggled he was proud of me for submitting. While I’m certain I will dread it just as much the next time, I did feel reassured of his leadership and reminded of my responsibility to submit. I hate the term “survival mode,” but we both truly are spent unlike ever before, and in a sense we are just trying to make it through right now. Still, we went out of our way to make it work; I went out of my way to pinpoint and articulate my feelings, and he went out of his way to accommodate my needs. Throughout the next few months we won’t always have enough energy left to go the extra mile. Still, it’s nice to know that we can do it when necessary. It’s even nicer to know that no matter how spent we are, doing so is totally worth it.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

DD Decision Making

Have I mentioned we are in a stressful time of life right now? Ha, seriously though we have never been so physically and emotionally taxed as we are now. Many other people with kids close in age have mentioned something similar- yeah it's great overall, but those first few years are pretty rough.

And so again, amid all of the stress, I want to take some time to focus on the positives. We may not be the best model for DD especially right now, but let me nonetheless revisit what works for us within the dynamic.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Maintenance/ Role Affirmation

Bruce and I are most definitely NOT the poster couple for Domestic Discipline. Nonetheless, for over two years now we've been pretty happily living this lifestyle, and among all of our blunders we have definitely found a few things that really make sense, for us at least. Maybe blogging about one of them will allow me to share with others and process things for myself all at once...

Maintenance/ Role Affirmation
I asked Bruce in the beginning if we could do this type of thing on a somewhat predictable schedule, but this is not at all in line with his personality (and I needed practice in accepting that things aren't always predictable and organized) so for us these are unscheduled and generally happen anywhere between two and five times a week.

While discipline spankings are horrible (but effective), and playful spankings are pleasurable, these types of spankings are a little of both. For us their function is to:
        - Display Dominance
        - Bring about Submission
        - Allow us to Reconnect
From my experience it is fruitless to expect that all of the above happen all of the time. Nonetheless when they do happen, wow. These are the things that make that happen for us:

1) They are past my tolerance limit
Bruce spanks hard. Of course he doesn't just wail on me thoughtlessly, he is always gauging my reactions, etc. But he errs on the side of too hard rather than too soft. He makes sure to achieve the point where I really feel I cannot take anymore, and then he takes me past it. When this happens the gravity of true submission is unavoidably present, and I am forced to realize anew that:
- I am really not in control
- This isn't about what I want, it's about what's best for me
- I've given control to someone I trust completely
- Surrendering control, while somewhat unpleasant, is surprisingly freeing

2) They are followed by intimacy
When he decides I've had enough he initiates intimacy. In this moment I feel relief, excitement, and a sort of sense of accomplishment. Oftentimes, but not always, the sex is rough, giving him and me one final and more pleasurable opportunity to respectively display dominance and submission. Here submission is still a focus, but meeting the other's intimate needs becomes the central focus. It's here that the pervading sensuality of the whole dynamic is laid out, beautiful, simple, and profound.

3) They end with affection
This is the part that ties it all together for me. I'm sorry to admit that when we are crunched for time or especially exhausted, this can get cut short and neglected. But when we're doing it right I nestle into his chest or the crook of his arm while he rubs my arm and tells me he loves me. Sometimes I am feeling needy and prod him to verbalize (if he hasn't already) that I have submitted well and that he is happy with me, but a lot of times we lay still together and not much is said- his gentle loving touch says everything. For me it drives home the point that he is doing all of this because he loves me, and for us women that is really the crux of it all. I can find peace with forfeiting quite a lot of my way and quell a host of emotions when I'm reminded that he loves me. There is really no better feeling in a marriage.

So there it is, this is what makes it work for us. I realize some would take issue with part or all of what I've outlined, but the beautiful thing that makes this dynamic even more intimate is that every couple is made up of two unique personalities and two unique ways of meeting each other's needs. The important thing is that we do meet each other's needs. And speaking of that, it looks like it's time for me to put this down for the night ;)

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Unconditional Submission

Well Sunday night has arrived, and here I am. A few hours ago I was complaining about all that needs done this evening when Bruce suddenly said "so when during all of that will you be working on your blog?" His tone made it clear that he wasn't really asking a question at all, so I rearranged my priorities and found the time. As usual he is right- the things that seem important often aren't, and the things I never get around to are sometimes the things that need the most attention.

This is a common theme, his directing me in a way I disagree with only to find later that he was pushing me in exactly the right direction after all. It reinforces to me the logic behind God's directive for the man to be the leader even though both are of equal worth. Women really are better at several things than men, but that goes the other way around as well. And it turns out that this emotion and intuition that enables us to do so many things gracefully and effectively can sometimes get in the way of leading. Similarly their logical cut-and-dried approach actually enhances their capacity to make the right call for the family.

Ok I'm waxing religious here, but bear with me on this line of logic. Really God's model for us is pretty damn simple, but left to our own devices we've managed to complicate and convolute it beyond functionality. Even the directive to submit is simple. Ephesians 5:22 says: "Wives, be submissive to your husbands... the husband is the head of the wife, just as Christ is the head and Savior of the church..." Of course it also goes on to direct husbands to love their wives in a seriously self-sacrificing way, but both directives are clearly and undeniably independent of each other. It's not an if/then statement; it's unconditional. Society encourages us to lose sight of the unconditional aspect, but it's this aspect that is really the key to making it all work so beautifully.

Think about the simplicity of unconditional submission. Maybe it's because I over complicate everything, but I find serious freedom in this simplicity. For the first five years of our marriage I grappled with the task of determining how and when Bruce was worthy of my respect. Society shouted so many things in my ear... don't be a doormat, HE needs to respect YOU first, if you don't demand respect then you have no self-respect, you have it harder than he does anyway... It was exhausting. When I really honestly evaluate that time in my life, a major part of my heart was always aching to simply submit, but my brain prevented me from following my heart, making things incredibly complicated. Nowhere in the directive does "worthiness" factor in, and rightfully so. This is exactly why our general unworthiness is gently but emphatically made clear throughout the entire gospel; we are never truly worthy of His grace, so we can never under any circumstances feel qualified to judge. He knew that the world would only work right if people really knew they had no right to judge (of course it doesn't actually work right because we don't ever actually remember this!). But in the same way, He knew that a merit-based marriage would be doomed to failure, where an unconditionally committed and selfless marriage would only beget more unconditional love and selflessness in return.

Yeah it's still a struggle. But when the internal dialogue changes from "I would be submissive if only he would..." to "I need to be more submissive right now" everything becomes infinitely simpler. So much simpler than I understood it to be for so long. Once we quiet the voice of society and make the first move to swallow our pride, the rest is easy. I'll be honest that actually committing to doing this sometimes starts with a not so great feeling of obligation, and sometimes it really is a struggle the whole way through. Nonetheless, it almost always ends with a peaceful calm that simply feels right. Hmm... in this way I guess the whole process is actually a lot like the process of getting a really sound spanking ;)