Opt In or Opt Out

A couple of comments to my previous post got me thinking about the dynamics of session negotiation. Specifically, what gets treated as opt in and what as opt out. In theory, if you listen to most kinksters, all play has to be consensual and explicitly negotiated ahead of time, so everything should be opt in. The reality can be murkier.

The comments in question – from Servitor and Al about my pet peeve of ‘gotcha questions’ –  were slightly different but both raised the same basic point. I might not like questions designed to trip a submissive up, but that’s a valid thing to do for some scenes. Your kink is not my kink and all that. I absolutely agree with that. It can be a fine style of play if you’re into that dynamic or the roleplay requires it. But it’s also not quite the point I was trying (and probably failing) to make. Gotcha questions are a specific activity or style, and yet often get used without discussion. Which brings me to this posts title. My pet peeve isn’t so much with the approach itself, but that it is something I have to actively opt out of. Shouldn’t the default be opt in? Not so much YKINMKBYKIOK, but that YKINMK – and it’s in my session damn it! – BYKIOK.

I can think of other examples where the default is the reverse of what you might expect. Bondage for example. That’s part of almost every scene I do, yet I don’t think it ever gets negotiated. It’s treated as an intrinsic part of kink that you’d have to explicitly request not to do. Impact play is another. I’ve lost track of the number of times I didn’t mention impact play in session negotiation, yet 10 minutes later somebody was whaling on my ass. I suspect that’s probably because almost all domme’s like it so much! Neither of those activities count as a pet peeve for me, because I also enjoy them, but it might be an issue for someone else.

What exactly gets treated as opt in versus opt out clearly varies from domme to domme. At one extreme, every domme I know treats edge play activities like piercing, cutting or breathplay as opt in. They always get discusssed first. On the other side, along with bondage and impact play, I’ve typically found blindfolds and hoods are opt out. If I don’t call them out as an issue then there’s a good chance they’ll be pulled out at some point and I’ll have to start negotiating mid-scene, which is never my favorite time to do it. In between those two groups there’s a lot of fuzziness. For example, face slapping for some people is a very specific activity to be discussed ahead of time, for others its just an intrinsic part of kink that it’s up to the submissive to opt out of.

I’ve more to add here, but I’ll save that for the next post. In the meantime, I’ll continue my photographic theme of impact play. If this gentleman has a desire to opt out of caning, he probably needs to speak up asap.

This is from the High heels & Fetish tumblr.

Pet Peeve – Gotcha Questions

I think I’m due another PPPP – a Paltego Pet Peeve Post. Excuse me while I unburden myself on this one.

Today’s pet peeve is domme’s who ask questions with the deliberate goal of tripping the submissive up or drawing out a ‘wrong’ answer. There are a lot of ways to do this, but perhaps the canonical example would be posing a question and then, however the submissive responds, following up with “No. The right answer is whatever Mistress wants.” That really bugs me.

Let me first qualify that there is a specific style of play that this kind of gotcha questioning is appropriate for. If you’re doing a punishment or humiliation dynamic, where the whole point is that the submissive should always be wrong and kept mentally off balance, then its a valid technique. It’s certainly a mindfuck to be forced to answer knowing that there is no good response. But those kind of scenes are a specific and narrow style of play. I actually never do them, yet still encounter the gotcha question approach from time to time.

The reason I dislike it so much is that it runs directly counter to the goal of being open and honest in communication. I always want to be transparent and truthful with my thoughts and emotions in a scene. That’s the only way I know to build two way trust and a sense of connection. If I start having to second guess my answers, or spot the gotcha questions from the real ones, then it runs counter to that goal. Being told an honest answer is a wrong answer sets up bad incentives for my future answers, and forces my brain into social-interaction and negotiation mode, which is not at all conducive to subspace.

I’ve seen plenty of dommes complain over the years about submissives expecting them to be mind readers. They get told that the submissive will do anything to make them happy, and then get upset when it turns out that they were operating with different definitions of ‘anything’.  I think that’s a very reasonable response but, on the flip side, asking submissives ‘no win’ questions conditions them to give exactly these kind of responses. You can’t have it both ways.

Of course, just because a domme doesn’t deliberately trip up a submissive, doesn’t mean she can’t beat him. It’s always fair to say – “It’s interesting that you think that. Now bend over so I can cane that ass.”

I’m afraid I don’t have an attribution for this image. Please leave a comment if you can help me with that.

Updated: Thanks to a helpful comment I can attribute this to Princess Toni. Based on similar images, I think this might be a Cruella shot.

Kinky Knees

Mistress Ayn has wise words to share for anyone who wants to avoid passing out while playing.

I can’t comment on the effect of erectile dysfunction drugs or eating erratically. I’ve not tried the former and my eating schedule is weird at the best of times. However, this part definitely resonates…

When placed in standing positions. like on the St. Andrews cross, don’t lock your knees.

I’ve come close to fainting a few times, and on every occasion I was in a vertical position, I was tense, my knees were locked and our play was intense. The end result was a classic Vasovagal Syncope response and a concerned domme, keen to get her suddenly ghost white submissive into a non-vertical position. It’s interesting to note that the causes listed for a vasovagal syncope response include standing for long periods, heat, fear of bodily injury, seeing blood and straining. Which clearly align with some types of BDSM play and the points Mistress Ayn makes.

My advice would be to avoid vertical positions for any new types of intense play. For example, always lie down for a first piercing. When standing is required, ensure knees can bend and are regularly flexed, focus on breathing deeply, try and relax into the pain and wiggle the torso and hands whenever you get the chance. From the domme side, a smooth escalation and deescalation of pain can help the submissive adapt to the rhythm, and regular physical contact can keep them grounded in the moment.

This gentleman clear has the right idea. He has a good knee bend going and it looks like he’s wiggling his torso. She should really be able to ratchet up the intensity.

This is from Djeki spanking artwork site and specifically this gallery. If you like their artwork, it appears they have originals available for sale.

The Cully Flaug’d

Stumbling across this picture on twitter sent me off hunting for some background details, which led me to this British Museum page. The curator’s lengthy comment on it (click to ‘More’ to expand) are fascinating and also very British. The caption reads….

What Drudgery’s here, what Bridewell-like Correction!
To bring an Old Man, to an Insurrection.
Firk on Fair Lady, Flaug the Fumblers Thighs,
Without such Conjuring th’ Devil will not rise

I think the description of a man having difficulty getting it up as a ‘fumbler’ is a poetic but cutting one. I’m also going to be temped to describe my future erections as the ‘Devil Rising’.

According to the curator, the setting indicates a brothel or ‘flogging school’ and the coins behind indicate a service being paid for. Which I think means that this image, created sometime between 1674 and 1702, is one of the earliest of a pro-domme at work in her playspace. I guess we can be grateful that the fashion for portraying the domme as haughtily staring down at the viewer hadn’t yet caught on in 17th century femdom porn.

Skool Daze

Servitor was taking me to task for the spelling in the title of my previous post. In my defense, while memento might be the standard spelling, there is a wiktionary definition page for momento. And, as we all know, any page on a site beginning with ‘wiki’ is always 100% reliable. I actually like the idea of a momento being a memento of a moment but, if I’m honest, it was more a typo than anything else.

He suggests writing lines in a classroom scene would be a suitable punishment. I’ve nothing against a classroom scene, but writing lines sounds awfully boring. I’d rather take 6 of the best. Or maybe 12. Perhaps even 18? I’d be willing to misspell more things in future if necessary. In fact, given my proofreading abilities, that’s one thing I can guarantee.

Birching in Watercolor

There’s a lot of kinky artwork online, but it’s not often that I find examples using the medium of watercolors. It’s a style I personally like a lot, so I was therefore happy to be sent a link to a website run by Djeki featuring spanking, whipping and birching watercolors created by her husband.

The site actually boasts spanking art in a variety of styles, along with some impressive and fearsome spanking furniture, but it’s the watercolors that caught my eye. I also like the fact that the artist was identified to me simply as Djeki’s husband. That seems appropriate for Femdom themed artwork.

Birching WatercolorIf you’re also a fan, it looks like a lot of the artwork is available for sale.

Painted Ladies

Miss Pearl has a thoughtful post on the way kink.com treats femdom as a separate thing from BDSM in general. It raises an interesting point that potentially reflects a lot of underlying assumptions people hold about femdom.

Now with the thoughtfulness for the day contracted out to Miss Pearl, allow me to take conversation down several notches and tackle a silly pet peeve of mine on kink.com – makeup. Specifically, the makeup used on the dommes. It’s like they’ve borrowed Homer’s makeup shotgun. I realize this is probably not the biggest problem facing femdom erotica, but what the hell, I feel the urge to vent.

For example, consider Mistress Madeline, who looks stunning in shots like this and this. So what would possess Divine Bitches to go with this look? Mistress T is another great example. She has an amazing classical natural beauty, as demonstrated in this kind of shot. So why the harsh makeup of the shots below? I want my domme to be severe when waving her whip, not when brandishing her lippy.

MistressT_1
MistressT_2

Bruises and a smile

I’m continuing a theme from yesterday’s post. Last time it was a smile with what looked very much like cane marks. This time the image is a smile with what are obviously paddle marks.

I know some masochists are very particular about the type of pain they want, but personally I care far more about how it’s delivered than what it’s delivered with. Give me a happy domme and I don’t care if she’s using an old slipper or a rhinoceros hide whip. That’s not to say that the level of screaming created will not vary dramatically between those two extremes.

SmileAndBruises
I don’t know where this is from originally. It looks like a still from a movie. If anyone can help me track it down then please leave a comment. If found it on the Femdom Style Counsel tumblr.