All Over The Place
I want to discuss quite a few different topics in this post, so try hard to follow along. I know that when I start into one of my 'Potpourri Posts' I tend to go all over the place and back and forth. It can make for a headache-inducing read. But this time I am going to try hard to move fluidly from one thought to the next. No promises though.
A brief overview of topics for today's post:
I have given my blog a new coat of paint, so to speak. Meaning I made a few small cosmetic changes as I felt some of my sidebar items were becoming to congested. Make sure you take a look around :) I have also opened a Flickr account to accompany this blog. For now there are just some pretty artsy fartsy photos in the account, but keep and eye on my little thingy over on the right, nudity will be coming in the future ;)
In light of recent events over at The Swan's Heart and Lock and Ki (which I keep forgetting to add to my blog links, but will get to it ASAP) I want to have a little talk about face-slapping in D/s relationships.
It seems that Tom has been unfairly labeled as abusive for slapping swan across the face in a situation that some people have decided to judge as being 'inappropriate'. When I first read about this I brushed off the words of the criticizers as just being ignorant. However, I thought about it some more and read a bit here and there, and it seems that a few people within the lifestyle decided that it is fine to wail on a submissives backside until they draw blood (of course in the context of consensual play) but you should never hit a submissive in the face because that is suddenly abuse! Weird, it makes no sense to me.
I think that face slapping becomes a touchy subject because it is such a personal space on your body. I think that on some kind of subconscious, self-preservation level, your brain does its best to protect itself from injury. I mean, when you trip or fall, don't your reflexes do their best to keep your precious skull from sustaining serious impact? In my personal experience (and I have, for the record, been slapped across the face on more than one occasion) I find that when I know the slap is coming, I find it incredibly hard NOT to shy away. I have to fight against the natural reaction of getting my face and brain out of harms way. This whole factor probably puts a lot of people off of the face slapping thing. It just feels...unnatural, to allow someone to strike you so close to sensitive parts of your body, such as your eyes.
There is also the fact that it can be incredibly humiliating. We all know that people who are actually abusive often strike across the face as the ultimate act of disregard and degradation. At least this is the perception that is fed to us through the media. Since I have never known anyone in a real life abusive situation, this is only speculation on my part. But doesn't the vision of someone getting slapped across the face (ESPECIALLY a woman being hit by a man) just scream out ABUSE to us? Of course it does, and in some situations abuse is occurring.
The difference between abuse and BDSM has always been SAFE, SANE, and CONSENSUAL. Abuse is never consensual, BDSM is ALWAYS consensual, and the moment that it is not consensual, it automatically becomes abuse.
Apparently, according to some people, it just isn't conceivable that any women (or man for that matter) in their right mind would ever consent to being hit across the face. And if she does, she must be so beaten down and broken that she is too pathetic to stand up for herself.
Well EXCUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUSE me people, but I don't consider myself beaten down or pathetic, and I fully consent to MJ smacking me across the face in ANY situation that he sees fit. Of course, were I in serious fear of my life or well being you can believe that I wouldn't just take that or any other sort of abuse from him. The thing is I know my husband, and there hasn't been a moment yet when I feared him, nor has there been a moment when I found his treatment of me in a D/s context to be inappropriate. And if that should ever occur, we will talk it out, because we are mature adults and we can handle these kinds of situations.
If you cannot personally ever conceive of enjoying or tolerating that kind of treatment, that's fine. Make sure that you and your partner discuss it and set it as one of your hard limits. But please keep in mind, before you go shooting off your exceedingly oversized facial orifice, not everyone draws their lines where you draw yours. And perhaps it is your own fear that YOU would be too pathetic or broken down to stand up for yourself were you in a serious abuse situation, that causes you to offer opinions on a topic you have little to no experience in. And I firmly believe that unless you are one of the two (or more) people involved in a given situation, you should have no opinion, because you don't know even a fraction of what you think you do.
OK, I think that rant is done for today.
Next topic please!
Breath Play. In some circles it is considered a severe and dangerous form of 'edge play'. There is a great article that explains the mechanics and risks involved in breath play far better than I can, so click here if you aren't totally sure what I am talking about.
MJ and I do engage in some forms of low-risk breath play. I can count on one hand the number of times that I actually could not breath at all during a 'session'. Most of the time for us it is the implied breathing control that sparks the thrill. MJ has only ever used his bare hands, and usually he holds my throat tight enough that it accomplishes what is intended, but I am still capable of very shallow breathing. Other times he covers my mouth and my nose so that I absolutely cannot breath, but he never hold it for longer than 10-20 seconds.
We have yet to engage in breath play while I am restrained, so as a signal I pinch whichever part of him I can reach, should he be squeezing too tight, or if there is another problem. Sometimes if he is on top of me and pressing down with one hand he puts a lot of pressure on my collar bones, and that can cause some non-erotic pain. I have actually had chest soreness for a day or two after some of our 'sessions' :)
The attraction for me is the perceived loss of power, and the feeling of having my life, quite literally, in his hands. I do not seek to get a 'buzz' from oxygen deprivation, although that has occurred accidentally a couple of time. I especially enjoy it during mock rape scenes, as well as during just particularly rough sex. Before I met MJ I had acute sensitivities about having my neck touched in any way other than VERY gently. Incorporating this kind of play into our BDSM has been empowering for me in a reverse kind of way. My ability to trust totally in MJ makes me exceedingly happy. I am also glad that I do not let old fears have control over me, or limit the capacity in which MJ and I can play. Being able to hand that part of myself over to him, and not feel even the slightest twinge of fear, is just...well there aren't words really (and if you do happen to feel even the least bit nervous about engaging in breath play, please DO NOT DO IT).
I will have to let MJ blog (if he is so inclined in the future) about the appeal of breath play from his perspective. But I believe that controlling the very breath of your partner would be an incredibly powerful experience. Also knowing that your partner has such deep and total trust in you would be flattering, to say the least.
Of course I know there are people out there that would say I only consent to be strangled by MJ because I am beaten down and don't know any better. And you know what, they can kiss my ass.