We dominant-type folks like to tell our submissives, “pushing soft limits is how you grow”, we’re fond of encouraging others to try new things and step outside their comfort zone.
But if continual growth is the goal, those things should hold true for us as well. And sometimes we forget that and get stuck in our routines, “perfecting” things we’re already good at.
So with those thoughts in mind, I’ve been trying to push myself outside my established comfort zones lately. Trying new things, trying to be as open in reality as I claim to be online.
This has meant a somewhat rocky path. But then, that’s rather the point, isn’t it? We learn the most through our “mistakes” and when things don’t come easily.
So in an effort to keep this blog SOMEWHAT updated (ahem, I know, I know…) I thought I should write about two areas in which I’ve been pushing my own limits in recent weeks and one area in which I’d like to push myself more.
Area 1: Polyamory
I’ve said for a while that I’m poly, but I hadn’t actually navigated two or more relationships at the same time (well, not since college but those stories will die with me…). So I deliberately tried to be open to opportunities that presented themselves. This meant being OK with a potential partner not being single – as long as they were both on board with poly. This meant being OK with a potential submissive partner being in a D/s relationship with someone else too. And that was not an easy one to reconcile. It’s still not – I find myself guarded in ways I haven’t been before, being even more cautious with my scarred and fragile heart.
What has been easy is being 100% open and honest with each partner and potential partner. And making every effort to ensure they are being equally open and honest with me and any/all of THEIR partners. I’ve always been big on lots and lots of communication. And lying is not something I can do well (nor does it make me comfortable).
What has been harder is dealing with limits imposed on a new partner by his existing partner. Navigating that beginning stage of a poly tangle and working out the boundaries and guidelines.
What has been harder is that tiny twinge of …. well it’s not really jealousy…maybe a precursor to fear? that flares briefly when a partner talks about meeting someone new. Thankfully, that little twinge is brief and I find that I am genuinely happy for my partners’ happiness. But it’s early days and I’m going slowly.
I’m currently being served by two men- each quite different from the other and both intelligent and funny and sweet. Each has their own way of centering me, of bringing me back into myself after hectic days full of work demands and traffic nightmares. I see them each about once a week right now and that’s working OK.
But part of me (a fairly large part if I’m being completely honest) still longs for one who is just mine – one with whom I can let through the walls around my scarred and fragile heart. One I can keep all to myself and don’t have to share with anyone.
There’s lots more I could write here about polyamory and my baby-steps into that realm. I’ll write more in time I’m sure. Stay tuned!
Area 2: Public Play
This one’s still hard for me. Someone asked me recently why this was so hard.
I started to explain that it’s partly my lack of confidence in my rope-work. Without a regular partner to practice with I have to stop and remember how to do certain ties – it’s not always smooth.
I started to explain that part of it is not wanting to put my intimacy on display (this one’s huge for me). Because I don’t know how to do a scene with someone I have no connection with. I can demo, I can teach – no problem! But in a scene…with someone I’m connected to emotionally…I get lost in it – lost in the dance between the two of us and it’s a very personal and intimate thing for me. I’m learning that if I stay clothed I feel less naked emotionally and that helps a bit.
I started to explain that it goes back to always being the girl nobody understood and everyone felt free to ridicule from middle-school on. I knew very, very early that my brain does not work like most folks’ brains. That I see the world from a slightly different angle. That I don’t really fit in with most women and the way they interact with others and think about things. So yeah, I’m self-conscious. I’m perfectly fine being outgoing and confident when it’s conversation – words are my realm and I know how to deflect and redirect and leave others feeling happy and good when our conversation is done. But public play always feels like a performance to me. Am I wearing the right thing? Did I tie that tie right or are half the rope tops rolling their eyes at my ineptitude? I feel like every little movement is up for criticism and that is just a crippling feeling. It kills the energy for me right there. The LOGICAL part of my brain says, “oh ffs get over yourself – people aren’t being that judgmental”. And that’s probably true! But if you live your life as a woman, you likely know exactly what I mean – we’re conditioned to believe the physical details matter immensely – our hair, our makeup, did we shave? do our shoes go with this outfit? and on and on ….
And then I remembered – the person who asked me why public play was hard for me lives most of their life as a man but enjoys dressing as a woman at times. So I stopped my rambling explanation and simply said, “what if you were to play publicly when dressed as a woman?”. And suddenly they understood. It was immediate. They got it.
Public Play Part 2: When Things go Badly
So in light of my efforts to push my own limits, I decided last night to do a rope scene with one of my partners at a private play party. This party provides a few separate rooms for sex or other play, and there’s a code – if you draw the curtain – nobody goes in, if you open the curtain and draw the chain, people are welcome to watch, and if you leave the curtain and the chain open, people are welcome to come in and join. Knowing this partner enjoyed public humiliation and being on display, and seeing that one room had a large metal cross, I decided to do the scene in there…with the chain drawn but the curtain open. The play would be technically public – others were free to walk by and watch – but still felt a bit private and I could keep my back to the door and only see my partner if I needed to.
The scene went really well – a few people stopped by and commented and I got to add a little humiliation into the scene which he absolutely loved. However, the room was extremely warm – we were both sweating. (I found out later the A/C in that part of the space was broken.) He was tied to the cross – spread-eagled – with numerous knots securing him to the metal frame along each limb. And then he said his hand felt tingly. So I adjusted the knot there – checked for circulation – all was fine – but it was still bothering him. So I untied one hand and was in the process of re-securing it lower – below his heart – when all of a sudden he said, “I feel woozy.”
I instantly began untying him as fast as I could – starting with his arms. I was kneeling in front of him, keeping him talking, and untying his legs when he slumped forward – out cold.
Shit. Shit. Shit.
I had a 6’2″, 240 lb man slumped onto my shoulders with his legs still mostly secured to the cross. Shit.
My mind raced – I looked out the door but no one was anywhere near the room. I glanced over at my safety shears, then back at the knots – and made a split-second decision that it was just as fast to untie the knots (they were coming undone easily) since there were so many points that would have required cutting.
I was able to bring him back around a bit after about 3-5 seconds, but he was still pretty out of it. I kept him talking as I frantically got one leg untied and he was able to kneel with that leg. I got the other leg undone in about 30 more seconds and held him for a bit on the floor.
He revived almost instantly at that point and was able to move the 3 feet or so to the bed and lie down. I got him water and stroked his head but it was still unbearably hot in the room.
After a few more minutes I asked if he felt he could walk to a couch in the main room where it was infinitely cooler. He said yes so I threw all my rope into my bag and we went out to the couch where he drank lots more water and I could hold him for a while and talk.
He kept apologizing. And kept assuring me he felt safe with me the entire time. And I know I’d done everything right – made sure he was hydrated first, checked his circulation periodically, etc… But it still made me feel terrible.
We noted that now we know more limits for his body: be careful playing when it’s very warm, and don’t leave his hands secured above his head for very long (the entire scene was somewhere between 45 and 60 minutes).
He said he trusts me even more now. And that’s a good thing.
But pushing and finding limits is not an easy thing.
I’ve often said to submissives that I don’t know where their limits are (how hard I can hit, how much I can pinch, etc…) until I’ve found them. So I will push to the point they call yellow or I read in their body language that they’ve had enough.
Last night we found some new limits. And despite the scary moments, I think it’s brought us closer.
But here’s the reality – things can and DO go badly sometimes when we play the way we do in this realm. What matters is doing what you can to prevent them from happening and when they do (and they will eventually), knowing how to handle it in the best way possible.
He and I talked a LOT last night afterwords – and there was never any blame – just analysis of what happened and agreement of what to avoid in the future. He’s assured me (and continues to assure me today) that I handled it well and he never felt unsafe with me.
So that’s good.
Area 3: Blog More Openly
This is something I say I’m going to do a lot. But I don’t do it. This post is an attempt to work on this.
I follow a few bloggers and I find myself drawn the most to the ones who blog about their lives and relationships openly and honestly. I like that it makes me feel like I know them (even though I know I really don’t because in reality they keep whole swaths of their lives private – as they should).
So going forward, I’m making a concerted effort to re-start this blog in earnest. I’m hoping it will help me process things and understand myself better. If it gives others
But I’m going camping tomorrow…so this will have to hold you til I’m back.
Stay tuned…there might even be a theme update! (gasp!)
Talk to you next week, faithful reader. (I assume the singular here despite the stats WordPress gives me.)