Mar 15 2017

The Reunion by Laura Antoniou

[This is the text of the book review from episode 47.]

This episode’s book review is The Reunion by Laura Antoniou. As mentioned in the previous episode, this book is 640 pages long, by far the longest book in The Marketplace series. Thus far. I will be checking book length from now on so I know what I’m getting myself into.

The Marketplace is a world-wide, international organisation that helps people fulfil their dreams of total slavehood by training them then auctioning them off to serve owners—people who also get to live out their desires of owning a human being, but consensually. There are spotters, slave trainers, people who train the trainers, I believe there are people who train owners and, of course, the slaves themselves.

And, oh, are there a variety of types of slaves. Chambermaids, pleasure slaves, slaves who are nannies, butlers, slaves who are in place to train the other slaves in a house. Oh, the slaves you’ll know.

Each book examines a different aspect of the Marketplace.

So, we’re up to the fifth book in the series—this review will not contain spoilers.

Reunions are yearly gatherings for slaves and former slaves of the Marketplace held in five star resorts all over the world.

This particular year, the reunion is being held at Kayleigh Castle, in Ireland. At its name would suggest—it’s a castle. Massive thing it is, too. On sprawling grounds with a lake, golf course, stables—the works.

Attendees are not confined to the grounds, though. A van is at their disposal to visit other castles—for trips to the local village for shopping, meals or whatever else they’d like to do.

During reunions, resorts are given over entirely to Marketplace guests so no one has to worry about people not in-the-know overhearing a conversation or… screaming, as the castle and its staff is prepared to provide implements and supplies for a variety of uses at any time of the day or night. Some members are prepared to provide themselves for use, as well.

For Kayleigh is staffed by Marketplace slaves—Chris Parker trained there very early in his career, in fact—as well as soft world people. ‘Soft world’ is what non-Marketplace people are called in the universe of the books.

It’s an intriguing prospect—regular humans who know how a human consensual slave trade works and who work alongside it, but who don’t say anything.

Funny you should bring it up!

While our guests are relaxing and reminiscing about the good ol’ days—and I’ll get to that herd of people in a moment—a pond scum journalist named Nigel Pepper is doing his level best to break the story of the sex slave trade.

Someone on the inside claims to have information—they’ve been sending him dribs and drabs—enough to help him get some photographs of what appears to be one motley assortment of humanity, but nothing really concrete. What he needs to do is get inside that castle.

You can imagine what kind of security this sort of function has, though. These people aren’t idiots.

On to the motley assortment of humanity.

The reason this book is so long is because it has a cast of thousands. And it’s written in first person omniscient, which means you can hear everyone’s thoughts. I give Antoniou credit for being able to capture an incredible array of voices. Her command of human psychology is masterful.

I didn’t make notes on the characters involved so let’s see how many I can recall…

The story starts with everyone getting on the plane to go to Ireland or arriving at the airport or some such thing. The Reunion itself lasts a week and the book is broken into days.

There’s the ever-present Chris Parker. He says his age this time—he’s thirty-eight! Oh! I thought he was older than I am, but he seems so mature. Per usual, we learn more about him and his story. How the hell old is he in the first book? This makes me want to make a wiki of the Marketplace world, because I have all the time to do this. I found a wiki, but it hasn’t been updated in awhile and isn’t very complete.

Anyway, also present is Robin—the protagonist from book two—The Slave. She’s got some heavy things on her mind since spoilery things have happened in her contract.

A new character, who quickly became one of my all-time favourites is Billy-Ray—a red-headed, Southerner who isn’t the most refined human being but wants to help everyone he meets. He has a thing for black guys. This is important. Antoniou nails his accent. Billy-Ray is a kind of slave that hasn’t been mentioned in any of the previous books—there’s always something new to learn.

Desmond is being forced to take a holiday by his owners and he’s not happy about it. Mister Mopey-Pants gripes, complains and pouts for days. He’s an angry guy over his situation back home. Billy-Ray likes him, though, and is determined to help him out. He’s also very keen to have sex with the guy.

There’s Lisa and Richard. They’ve brought their children along (this is a families-allowed reunion). The kids spend a great deal of the time off with the other children in the Druid’s club, playing games and going on adventures and being none-the-wiser what their parents are up to.

Richard is an ex-slave who served for one contract and Lisa runs a group for spouses of slaves. Desmond isn’t the only person with a less-than-rosy view of the Marketplace and slavedom. As the week wears on, the reader (and everyone there) begins to wonder why the ever-loving hell Richard decided to come on this vacation. His wife is equally baffled, as his behaviour is unusual.

Their daughter, Amy, is eleven and Antoniou gets the mercurial whims of an eleven year old girl who has no one her exact age to talk to so pitch perfect it made me laugh while also making me want to strangle the girl. Sakes alive.

Tequila! Tequila is a former LAPD cop who is now a slave who works as a security guard. She’s black, she’s butch, she’s not taking any shit from anyone. Lord almighty do I love Tequila.

Oh god. The scroll of other guests has just unfurled in my mind… I don’t have the strength. There are fewer characters in Middle Earth. And they all have their own motivations and voices.

Lucretia… I can’t say anything without spoiling a lot, but Lucretia is memorable. Chandra—a pleasure slave here to fix to world… and would probably succeed. Gladys. I like Gladys. Al and Lloyd. One is a former slave, the other is soft world, but they were both in the leather scene and look back on those days fondly. And more.

And we haven’t done downstairs—the people who work at Kayleigh and the Marketplace slaves in training. There’s about a dozen of those, as well.

Mr Blake—who trained Chris and is responsible for the newest crop.

Azziz—the staff (non-Marketplace) who’s around all the time even though he certainly doesn’t have to be. Makes one wonder if he really wants to be a slave or what.

Mackenzie—the female butler assigned to Chris during his stay (Azziz is assigned to Chandra, the pleasure slave). Upright and a perfectionist—I hope to see more of Mackenzie in future instalments.

Rosie—she feels she’s in competition with MacKenzie (though that’s not how it works) and finds herself wanting. She’s been sent to Kayleigh for specific instruction in certain areas by her trainers, Lord and Lady Southerby.

And now we’re on to those two.

Phillip and Angelique Southerby are young but outstanding London-based trainers. They are being courted by the Regents (something I can’t recall being mentioned in previous books). The Regents are sort of an exclusive club of trainers. In order to be in the group a person has to be trained for a couple years or more by someone already in the club.

There are no regents in Britain and it would be quite the coup to bring these two on board. So that’s one of Chris’s jobs while he’s there. Because the man is incapable of completely relaxing for an entire week.

To tie things up a little—that Nigel Pepper guy has stalked the Southerby’s on other occasions—getting photos of Lady Southerby (an American, the horror!) topless—she has a nipple ring! Scandal!

So he’s extra intrigued by seeing Phil chatting to Chris. It only makes him more determined to get his story.

That’s the basics. Really—there’s much more to say.

There’s one rather extended—several pages long—section that covers something we don’t talk about as a culture. When I was reading the section I thought, ‘What the fuck are you doing, Antoniou?’ But then, when she revealed the last card, as it were, I thought, ‘You clever bitch. That is going to get some people.’ Some people reading that section are going to have to confront some hard truths about themselves and how they view the world.

Antoniou doesn’t shy away from difficult topics or complex issues that people in the kink community deal with—what turns people on isn’t always politically correct and that stirs up some heavy emotions. This book is not purely wank fodder—though there is certainly something for everyone to get their knickers off for. Or to. Except maybe furries—I don’t think she’s covered that yet.

This book isn’t just about hot, kinky sex. It also examines race, feminism, gender identity, ageing, probably other things I can’t recall because I wasn’t expecting all that in erotica and didn’t make notes.

The Reunion is definitely the most thought-provoking of the Marketplace books and possibly the most intellectually-stimulating erotica you’ll read.

It’s certainly the most well-written I’ve read thus far.

You could probably read this one out of order of the series, but I wouldn’t recommend it. There are things that happen in the other books that set up events in this one (and the other books are excellent, as well).

An enthusiastic 5/5.

Mar 13 2017

Episode 047: The Reunion

Episode the Forty-Seventh; Wherein the Pageist gets to grips with new technology of all sorts, deals with the end of a cold, and is happy to be home. The book reviewed is The Reunion by Laura Antoniou.

TPOK Radio is brought to you by The Church of Sinvention. Use TPOK10 to get 10% off!

0.555 Intro & Announcments:

  • The podcast is brought to you by The Church of Sinvention. Use TPOK10 to get 10% off.
  • Ross and Dedria–hello to you on the Facebook!
  • There will be an adult colouring book giveaway soon–stay tuned for more information.

3.55 My Submissive Life:

  • Eroticon was great. London can take a leap. Friends are the best.
  • Macs are elitist, but they’re better than laptops that shut down for no reason and stop recording when you’re trying to make a podcast. I’ll adjust.
  • Create a podcast episode with Garageband for Mac

12.45 Book Review:

  • The book this episode is The Reunion by Laura Antoniou. Reunions are gatherings for slaves and ex-slaves to relax in five-star establishments around the world, which are also staffed by Marketplace slaves. This particular reunion takes place in a castle in Ireland and sees previous characters mingling with new, very memorable, characters. They talk about the good (and not-so-good) old days, and the reader learns that not all former slaves look back on their time in service fondly.
    Meanwhile, a journalist is doing his level best to crack onto a sex slave ring he’s heard about–the Marketplace. He has an informant inside the castle they’re all supposed to be staying in for the week, but security is tight. It hasn’t been kept a secret for hundreds of years for nothing.
  • Other books in the series I’ve reviewed on the show: The Marketplace, The Slave, The Trainer, and The Academy.
  • Marketplace Wikia. ALL THE SPOILERS.

27.15 Closing Remarks:

Mar 12 2017

Sub Journal 009: Tolerance of Others

How tolerant are you of others who live in a lifestyle that would not suit you and who live in such a way it does not affect you? Do you consider yourself open minded? How do you react when others judge your lifestyle as fantasy?

I wouldn’t say I’m tolerant—I would say that I’m accepting of people who live their lives differently, as long as it doesn’t effect me (someone who believes people like me should be denied rights, for example). I tell people to ‘find their level’, because what is normal and healthy for one person would be stressful and unnatural to another person. I certainly know what it’s like to be judged and I’d never want to make another person feel that way.

I definitely consider myself open-minded. I grew up in a place that most definitely wasn’t tolerant, let alone open-minded or accepting, and I didn’t get why or how it was possible to dislike people for something they have no control over. I’m more interested in why people are interested in what they’re interested in.

In terms of what is considered healthy and what is considered fantasy—power exchange is two autonomous (or more) adults, consciously deciding how they want to structure a relationship based on what everyone involved needs and wants with the understanding those needs and wants may shift. ‘Traditional’ hetero, vanilla, romantic relationships rarely involve conversations about consent or desires, hinge on the notion of one person answering another person’s every need and rely on the ‘happily ever after’ trope. Which one of those sounds like a bigger fantasy? One of those two types of relationships acknowledges actual human beings are involved and the other tells the people involved they’ve failed if they don’t magically know what to do with this whole other person—without asking, because that spoils the ‘romance’.

By the same token, it’s understandable for people who’ve been told the way they naturally connect with others is the ‘normal’, correct and healthy way of doing things. People enjoy feeling like their way is the right way. It’s easy to misunderstand something when you’ve only been exposed to inaccurate versions of it in the media. Versions that have been written by other non-kinky people with their own prejudices.

It’s common for people to view the way other people conduct their lives or relationships as a rebuke of their own choices, whether it’s choosing to remain childfree to being polyamorous, and will respond as though, by merely existing, the non-traditional person, is telling the traditional person that they’ve made a mistake. This is is no more true than saying because jeans are comfortable for me all people should wear jeans and anyone who chooses to wear a skirt, kilt, slacks, sari or anything else should be defensive about it, as if my choice to wear jeans is my way of saying, ‘What I wear is correct for everyone. Differ and suffer my disdain!’

What is comfortable for one person—one person’s level—isn’t going to be for everyone else.

Different isn’t bad or wrong. It’s just different.

If people are allowed to be comfortable in something as basic as clothing, why are we all expected to conform when it comes to something as complex as relationships or sexuality or desire?

In terms of how I react to people who judge me, externally, it depends on the circumstances and the person. Some people clearly aren’t interested in being educated and it’s not worth the emotional energy. Usually, I try to calmly explain how I feel and what I think. Generally, people will treat you the way you behave and if you are calm and rational and behave like an intelligent, courteous human who knows themselves and something about what you’re talking about then the least that comes out of it is that you look like the grown up in the situation.

[This prompt comes from submissiveguide, which I’ve reviewed on this site]

Mar 08 2017

Con Drop and Cough Drops

I have returned from Eroticon (which was enormous fun) with some sort of illness (not any amount of fun). Walter had it as we arrived in London on Friday and it began for me as we returned Sunday evening or Monday morning. I can’t recall now, as I’m pretty zapped.

I have a cough and sore throat and generally no energy or will to move. I’ll be posting some photos left over from the conference that I didn’t post at the time, but mostly I’ll be reading this week’s book and sleeping.

The poetry for patrons and Romance of Lust readings will be late, due to the bleurgy, as will, probably, the podcast episode this week, considering how frequently I have to keep checking what day it is, between long periods of staring at nothing. Time has acquired an oddly fluid quality that I don’t care for.

Thank you for your patience. As a reward (I guess, I hope) have this:

I was saving up for a new computer so I didn’t have a budget for much, but I did buy a toy from Godemiche (pronounced god-mee-SHAY).

The Apprentice–it’s for your butt.

In case you can’t tell what it looks like… for size comparison:

The mug was a freebie from girlonthenet, who is wonderful.

I’ve wanted a smoother, thinner toy for awhile now, since penetration isn’t my thing but I need to learn to deal/cope with or, perhaps, enjoy it, one day, since I have to have regular pap smears, thanks to having HPV.

The plan was to have something smaller and frictionless to use to begin working up to a more ‘typical’ size during my medicinal play sessions.

I’m a basic sort of person–if something is available in black, that’s what I’m going for. Shoes, underwear, coats, bags, sex toys.

But Godemiche has some incredible colours–they’re pretty on their site, but I’ve seen them in person and can attest to their beauty up close.

The owners of the company were there and they’re both passionate about what they do–they clearly love it. We chatted for a bit and their enthusiasm was infectious.

I haven’t tried mine yet because nothing is less sexy than feeling sick, but I plan to write a review at some point, so you’ll hear about it eventually.

Mar 07 2017

Fantasy Books for Kinksters

Last month, a listener contacted me looking for erotic horror focusing on vampires, werewolves and sirens for his wife.

I figured if he wanted to know, there were probably other people out there who would appreciate some resources, as well.

Here is the answer I gave him:

You are an excellent husband–trying to help your wife find quality reading material recommends you greatly.

I’m not a supernatural erotica individual so I have not read anything specifically myself, but there are three places I would recommend checking. If she can’t find anything in these places then I’m at a loss.

First: Circlet Press. They bill themselves as ‘Erotica for Geeks’ and have erotica in all sorts of non-traditional genres, including some vampires. They carry Laura Antoniou’s books so that’s a big enough recommendation for me.

Second: Literotica. If this site is to her taste you may never see your wife again. It’s free erotica (there are pictures and videos, too, but I linked to the stories page). I did a search for vampires and sirens separately and it returned hundreds of pages each. These can be one-off shorts, multi-part short stories, novellas or novels. Because these are submitted by anyone the quality will vary, but some people are incredible writers–better than what is printed by traditional publishers.

Third: Archive of Our Own (AO3): This is similar to Literotica, but is for ‘fandoms’ so if your wife is also obsessed with a particular TV show/celebrity/film, check here to see if someone has written a fanfiction of… god only knows. Benedict Cumberbatch spanking Snape. …oh god… That’s probably a thing. I’m not going to look.

Like Literotica, length of pieces and quality may vary, but I have read amazing pieces there. A friend of mine who’s an English professor writes fanfiction there–pieces that are dozens of parts long. Pieces on AO3 aren’t necessarily smutty or erotic. Sometimes it’s just Alternate Universe things where fans wish a plot went a different way.

Good luck and let me know what she says!

If you know of other places to find genre erotica, please leave a comment, as I’m always looking for new resources.

Mar 05 2017

Meditations for submissives 006

This month’s Meditation has advice for both D-types and s-types.

Please see the first post in the series for an introduction to this feature.

This is Book One, Number Nine.

The Maxwell Stanisforth translation:

My debts to Sextus include kindliness, how to rule a household with paternal authority, the real meaning of the Natural Life, an unselfconscious dignity, an intuitive concern for the interests of one’s friends, and a good-natured patience with amateurs and visionaries. The aptness of his courtesy to each individual lent a charm to his society more potent than any flattery, yet at the same time it enacted the complete respect of all present. … Never displaying a sign of anger nor any kind of emotion, he was at once entirely imperturbable and yet full of kindly affection. His approval was always quietly and undemonstratively expressed, and he never paraded his encyclopaedic learning.

Let’s take it a bit at a time.

My debts to Sextus include kindliness, how to rule a household with paternal authority,

Once again, it doesn’t matter who Sextus was. He was kind and was apparently a paragon of other admirable qualities and that’s what we’re here for—to pilfer his admirable qualities for our nefarious purposes.

Good ol’ Sexy knew how to—not run—but ‘rule’ a household, which is rather Dominant. The word used is ‘paternal’ authority, but it’s difficult to believe there were no houses in Rome where the women were in charge.

the real meaning of the Natural Life,

I don’t know enough about Stoicism to properly interpret this, though the Stoics believed everyone was part of nature/the natural plan and this may refer to that. Your mileage may vary on this phrase depending on your personal philosophy on that topic. (If I’m even interpreting that correctly.)

an unselfconscious dignity, an intuitive concern for the interests of one’s friends, and a good-natured patience with amateurs and visionaries.

I’m not sure if a self-conscious person can have dignity, but the point is Sexy had it in spades. Which is one of those traits people on both sides of the slash should have. An inherent concern for your friends’ interests (what’s best for them in life—not their hobbies) is a mark of a decent human being.

Possessing not only patience, but good-natured patience with amateurs and visionaries is useful today in the kink scene for both sides of the slash.

‘My, yes, you are Lord Master Domly Dragon Cock. It’s exciting you’re finally old enough to drink, as well.’

The Stoics are like immortals—they take the very long view. Absolutely nothing is new. Humans have been doing the same things, for good or ill, since time immemorial so getting riled up about it is a waste of time and energy. It’s best to use your time and energy to control the things you can and to make the world a better place for those around you because all anyone has is this very moment and we’re all in this together.

In the kink scene, as long as no one is in danger then that brand new twenty year old Master on the scene will get over it and improve. Deal with them with good-natured patience or they’ll never learn.

The aptness of his courtesy to each individual lent a charm to his society more potent than any flattery, yet at the same time it enacted the complete respect of all present.

Basically, people can be suspicious of flattery. All you have to do is be genuinely nice. Simple courtesy makes people like and respect you. This works for all humans—not just kinky people.

Never displaying a sign of anger nor any kind of emotion, he was at once entirely imperturbable and yet full of kindly affection. His approval was always quietly and undemonstratively expressed, and he never paraded his encyclopaedic learning.

Stoics highly valued moderation in all things, particularly displays of emotion, even when in physical pain, no matter what is happening. Certain sorts of both D and s-types also place a high value on the control of extreme emotion as a sign of mastery of self or respect, depending on the side of slash the person resides on. Being imperturbable no matter the situation is a mark of a person prepared for anything—also highly valuable in either a D or s-type.

Sextus not only didn’t give over to flattery, but he was also quiet in his approval, which must have made it that much more valuable. This may or may not work for a D-type, in that some s-types want lots of praise, others only want it when they’ve felt they’ve earned it.

And finally, he was a smart guy but didn’t make people feel badly about not being as smart as he was. That’s just basic human decency. No one wants to serve a braggart and no one wants to own a braggart. Being around a pompous ass is no fun as a human being, either.

In short: Sextus was a super chill guy knew how to keep his subs in line.

Mar 03 2017

Eroticon 2017 Post

If you’re reading this, I must be at Eroticon 2017.

I’ve already written a virtual introduction post for fellow attendees, but for those of you not in Londontown this weekend, Eroticon is a gathering of people who write about sex (sex bloggers, erotica writers and so on) to learn how to improve their craft. Both from a practical stand-point, like learning about the impact obscenity laws have on their work or how to come up with enough ideas for blog posts, to creative classes—how to write scenes that are more dynamic and not run-of-the-mill.

Wordy people who talk and write about sex. I’m so happy. Nerds! Words! Sex! People who get what I do is an actual job that’s hard but rewarding! MY PEOPLE!

Some of the people presenting are Kate Lister (Whores of Yore) and Girl on the Net. Fangirl gasping is happening. (I reviewed Girl on the Net’s memoir in this episode of the show–it was dreadful.)

Kink Craft is doing workshops and I am there. I’m looking forward to meeting Pixie and Andrew in person, as well and making a couple things to bring back with me. (I’ve reviewed their shop, podcast and their DIY mini-flogger. And had them on the show. They’re okay people, I suppose.)

I’ll be taking pictures all weekend, which you can find on the Instagram account (no faces, unless a particular person says it’s okay, but the plan is no faces at all at the moment.) If you’re not on Instagram, the most recent four photos are always in the side bar (on the desktop version of the site).

I’ll also be hitting up the vendor area, which has a book stall(!!) run by Victoria Blisse of SmutUK. I mean, of course it has a book stall, but I’m very happy about this. Hopefully they’ll let me drop off some bookmarks for any and everyone to avail themselves of.

I must admit, I’m proud of the bookmarks. Walter made them.

Other vendors include several sex toy manufacturers (including Doxy—someone hold my wallet) and Freedoms Shop, which is a condom and lube supplier run by the NHS. They buy such large numbers of product they can offer quite good deals on everything they sell, which includes home STI testing kits.

There’s a vendor called Hot Octopuss that makes a sex toy for penises that’s so interesting it makes me wish I had a dick so I could try it.

Other sponsors of the conference are listed here—check them out. Some are providing snacks or lunch or helped fund tickets for people. If you like quality sex writing (and sex toys and other things) consider patronising these fine people.

I’ve already ordered the Eroticon Anthology, which includes writing from speakers and attendees, both fiction and non-fiction. My goal is to have something of my own included in the one next year. We’ll see if that comes to fruition. I’m sure I’ll wind up reviewing this year’s anthology on the show at some point and discover all sorts of new writers.

My schedule for the conference is packed, but I tire easily so here’s hoping I can push through and attend everything I’d like. This means next week’s schedule on the site will probably be light, as I don’t know how long I’ll need to recover from all the traveling and intense peopling. I’ve scheduled a post for this Sunday and next Tuesday, but I have a feeling I’ll be face down in bed for a couple days solid once I return.

If you try to contact me between now and next Tuesday, I’m not ignoring you, I’m just in people-overload and am doling out spoons with care.

Mar 02 2017

Episode 046: AliceinBondageLand and FLR

Episode the forty-sixth; Wherein the Pageist discusses female led relationships with the inimitable AliceinBondageLand–why people enjoy them and how to start one.

TPOK Radio is sponsored in part by Church of Sinvention. Use TPOK10 to get 10% off!

.52 Intro & Announcements:

  • The show is now in Bulgaria.
  • Two survey responses. If you’d like to take the survey, which is brief and anonymous and gives me useful information on what’s working (and not), you may find it here.
  • One new (anonymous) Facebook like.
  • #trypod campaign information
  • My interview on The People of Kink.

4.57 Interview:

1.05.58 Closing Remarks:

  • Thank you for tuning in!
  • In the next episode I’ll be reviewing The Reunion by Laura Antoniou. (Really, I promise.)
  • Support the show and site on Patreon!
  • Like The Pageist on Facebook, follow on Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads, Quora, Medium, and Instagram and join the Fetlife group.
  • You can also subscribe to the website through the email form in the sidebar.
  • Subscribe to the iTunes feed here. You can also rate the show in iTunes, which would be much appreciated!
  • All episodes are available in a pop out player on this page.

Mar 01 2017

The Roles We Are: Complexity in Kink Identities

My submission towards a certain sort of woman has been present since I was twelve or so—by that, I mean the desire to make life a bit easier by doing chores and errands and so on for women I admire and respect has been present since that time.

Once I had the words ‘submissive’, ‘Dominant’ and ‘service-oriented’ in my vocabulary, the world made much more sense. It explained why I reacted the way I did to the women I did, when other people in my peer group were reacting very differently to radically different sorts of people. They were interested in people our own age and seemed keen to do things with their genitals for two examples. Whereas my attention has always been more towards women a decade (or three) older, who showed their appreciation for all of my help by patting me on the head and allowing me to sit at their feet.

After I had the language to describe the entire way I related to the world, I thought that was it. I was a service-oriented submissive—frabjous day! Having a name not only meant there were others out there, but also that there was a chance I could have the sort of relationship that would work best for me—that would meet needs I hadn’t realised I had because I didn’t have a name for them.

Labels: It was the Best of Times; It was the Worst of Times

We live in a label-obsessed culture, for the good and ill. Binary labels are particularly popular and nefarious.

And we all know a person can’t be two things at once. Because humans are very simple organisms. [/sarcasm]

For example—a person can’t be submissive and want to top people. Submissives are only allowed to top someone if it’s in service or to entertain their Dominant.

‘Real’ submissives aren’t tops, though.

So it took awhile to work out I wanted to top men. In one of those ‘Well, that was obvious the entire time’ moments I realised I’d probably excel as a sadistic top to men. Women don’t inspire that in me. (Or I haven’t met one that has yet, anyway.)

Let Me Vanilla-It For You

Everyone inhabits several roles: sibling, parent, child, teacher, writer, spouse, etc. Your parent says your first and middle names and you’re instantly twelve again. But your significant other wears that thing you like and you’re anything but twelve. The roles you are lie quietly inside you until something triggers them. Your child crying, your boss moving your deadline—whatever it is.

Kink-related roles work similarly. It’s not a role like a theatre role—you’re not pretending—they’re always part of you. Different roles are brought to the fore by certain circumstances or people. Or, sometimes, inanimate objects.

There are people who think you can’t be a submissive and a top, but that’s like saying, ‘Well, you can’t be a sister and a mother.’ They’re two different things. A person always has the capacity to be the roles that make up who they are and being one role doesn’t make you less of any other role. Becoming an aunt doesn’t make you less of a CEO.

‘Real’ landscape gardeners aren’t brothers, though. (See how ridiculous that sounds?)

Being One Thing Would Be So HARD

It’s not about being a switch for me—I don’t vacillate from submissive to Dominant depending upon the circumstances. I just want to do stuff to dudes who are okay with me doing stuff to them. (Non-sexual stuff. I’m still an asexual lesbian.) What interests me is the trust and communication and creativity involved.

What draws me to women (and what I want from those women) is quite different to what I’d look for in a guy to play with, which is one of the best things about BDSM—being allowed, and even encouraged—to learn about yourself and explore the manifold ways there are to connect with others. Rather than being forced to choose the one role that is most who you are (as though everyone isn’t a number of things simultaneously all the time) and only being permitted to change that title if you’re prepared to only be that new thing now, like serial monogamy will roles in life. Humans are complicated enough to be several things at once.

Thank pete for that—I’d hate to have to decide which one specific role I wanted to inhabit in life. If I only wanted to be a writer I supposed I’d have to divorce my husband and murder my entire family, because there are far too many ways to relate to people happening there.

Then I’d be a murderer, too, though. So that would be my new role forever—no more writing for me!

It’d be more difficult trying to be one role than it would allowing yourself to occupy the various roles natural to you.

Not to mention that being one thing is a fast train to crazytown. Ask any stay-at-home parent who hasn’t had a conversation with an actual adult in months. They may love being a parent, but other parts of the mind need to be exercised or they’ll turn to mush.

The desire to watch something other than cartoons, eat grown up food in a restaurant and talk about current events doesn’t make a person a terrible parent or mean they dislike their child. Being allowed to have some time away—to step into other roles for awhile—gives a person a fresh appreciation for the more primary roles in their lives, as well as renewed energy that can be used in approaching them.

[This writing was adapted and expanded from the My Submissive Life section of episode twenty-three.]

Feb 28 2017

My Interview on The People of Kink

Listen to “TPOK Live 232 – We Welcome The Pageist Podcast to TPOK Radio!” on Spreaker.

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