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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Tip Top

Kiwi's post Tips for Tops from a bottom's "very recently punished" pov has created a bit of a stir. Although she is the inspiration for this post this post is by no means about her and her situation specifically.

The post is a bit like a list of Do's & Don't's for Doms. These are things i have always taken for granted. If they were not in place i would not be in a D/s relationship with that person. But that is me personally.

Kiwi wrote: "If your bottom is sobbing her heart out begging you to stop, listen to her despite knowing the thrashing is not as hard as she can usually take…her pain tolerance right then may just be a little lower for a reason.  Maybe she has learned her lesson quickly for a change."

Pain is a complicated thing. We're affected by many things both before, after and during.
Before being the case of how we already feel emotionally just before hand. Maybe we're stressed, sad, angry, hurt or wound up. I know that for me, being any of those before hand can make me lash out at Sir. It usually calms though, and actually more often than not the end result is a calmer melinda. But i think as a Top you have to be prepared to take that without seeing it as the sub being bratty -it's an emotional and physiological response to the pain administered and the feelings that were already present before hand are often reinforced.
My tip: Give it a little while. Be mindful of what you say and do -try not to trigger your sub further by reacting to her lashing out! Instead be calm and keep your cool & wits about you. Observe.

Next point i want to make from that section is that pain tolerance shifts. Our hormones have a great effect on them for instance, so where she is in her menstrual cycle can make a real difference. I know i have one point in my cycle where i tend to move more towards being a painslut, and then another where i wanna scream just by the sight of a clamp. So my next tip is: Keep this in mind. And that tip goes for both Tops & bottoms! I know i can be very hard on myself for not being able to do something that i would usually not only enjoy but even thrive on, but right then it just isn't possible. Be honest! Both with yourself and your Top.
And of course then comes the BIG one: "If your bottom is sobbing her heart out begging you to stop, listen to her..." I have two takes on this. 1) A stop is a stop and there are no two ways about it! It means STOP!
The second take comes in because some people have different types of scenes and different types of responses. For instance someone into rape play wouldn't really be able to do that if stop actually meant stop.
If you know each other well enough you probably know the difference between the different "stops". The other alternative is having a safeword. We all know what that is by now, yes?
Personally i wouldn't say we use stop words as such. If i say stop, Brutus stops. End of. Usually though i say Pause. This means i need a moment to collect myself, it's becoming overwhelming and i need to catch up. It can also mean that i can't take no more of that particular activity, but not that i want to stop a scene completely.

A common way to use safewords is using the traffic light system: 

Red = STOP (for many Tops this would mean the end of the scene altogether)

Yellow = Slow down / Pause 

Green = Go (can even mean "i like it, i want more")

  The most important thing to think about here is to check in with the sub!
Ask questions.

Are you OK?
Have you had enough?
Do you need a minute?

These questions are also good to check if the sub has gone far into sub space. If she's way into it the response may be nonsensical or you might not get any answers at all. You may even get a giggle fit or a growl in response! In this case the Top needs to make a judgement call; is she OK to continue? Being in space does by no means automatically mean the scene needs to stop. It just means that the Dom needs to be even more careful and take even more responsibilty for the sub's safety, because she isn't really able to herself at that time.
Is she lucid though i urge you to take her word for it! Being doubted doesn't have a good effect either -that i can tell you from personal experience.

I won't incorporate how to take care of someone after (and during) sub space as it will end up too much for the one post here.

So, basically, to try to get back on track, it should never be about the amount of pain inflicted, but abut the response to it!
It's the effect and the response that is significant, not how hard it measures.

Just a quick jump back to the safe words, since she also wrote "Let your bottom have a “safe-word” if its ill-used then you can always punish for that.  But trust your bottom to use the privilege of a safe word correctly." 
Just like many mentioned in the comments, this is not a privilege it's a right! Some people choose to waive that right, this is called Consensual Non-Consent (CNC). People that see themselves as slaves tend to do this. This doesn't mean that your personal responsibility for your own health and safety is waived though!

Daisychain left this in her (first) comment: "Safeword absolutely ESSENTIAL, and even if "misused" it must still be honoured by the top. Every time. Otherwise it is abuse, not ttwd."

Firstly, i totally agree. At least so far as to the fact that safewords must ALWAYS be honoured. Always. As i said not everyone uses them, but i think everyone should have something that indicates their status in an ongoing scene.

When it comes to them being "misused" it gets a bit complicated. First i thought can a safeword be misused? I came to the conclusion that they actually can.
A safeword is not meant to be used as a remote control -it's an emergency break. It's not there to control the scene, it's there to control the safety of the scene. Huge difference!

An anonymous commenter wrote "I completely agree, Anonymous. Kiwigirliegirl, I hope you understand that a top cannot, under ANY circumstances, do anything to a bottom without the bottom's consent. A safeword is a right, not a privilege, and there's no such thing as misusing it. If you want something to stop, it has to stop."

Only thing i disagree with there is the there's no such thing as misusing a safeword, as already said i believe you can. What you have to question then is What does a sub actually gain from misusing her safeword? The answer is: nothing. She loses. The Top loses out. And there's a power shift. So she has everything to lose by misusing it.
But that is MISuseing it -NOT by using it. In fact, using it should invoke trust from the Dom. The Top can then relax a little more feeling secure in the knowledge that by having a safeword, that is used with its intended purpose in mind, there is a much lesser chance of something going too far.

Having a safeword (or something like it) has many advantages, even more than the primary reason for them which is safety.
I think they hold a strong psychological power to them. Now power is always a dangerous word to use when speaking of subs, it's so easy to mistake it for meaning the sub having power. It's not. What i mean is that the power (effect) of a safeword can make the sub feel more secure and safe. Not only physically but also emotionally. If we feel safer and more secure we can in return trust more. When we trust more we can often actually take more. Which should be satisfying for almost any Dom.
Being on edge because we're unsure of the Top or the implement being used makes it more difficult to focus on managing the pain. Not being able to manage the pain means a feeling of panic. And the more panic we feel the less control (of the pain and our response to it) we have. It starts a downward spiral. If this spiral goes far enough the sub can crash, emotionally and mentally.
Fear is only good in one way, and it's the type that gives us a rush of adrenaline that we like. This type of play is common in BDSM, for example in knife- and rape play. Plain fear is nothing but harmful (at least in this context). If we fear an implement it should be introduced slowly, "nicely". A sub should never fear her Dom. Never! There is a huge difference in fearing an activity and fearing your Dom. And trust is absolutely necessary. Of course, trust is built up over time. This is why D/s relationships evolve so much, the more we trust, the more we dare. Remember though; trust is something that is earned! And given. Trust cannot be forced or taken. It's a process. This is even if we already know and love a person. Trusting someone in everyday Vanilla-life is not the same as trusting someone with an implement or to take charge of our lives.

And i think i will leave it at that -it became a HUGE post as it is  o.O

With love,


Elder said...

I like your post melinda, and then to think we don't use a safe word. Or we use stop as safe word. But it is like you say: If stop always means stop you can do that. We have no fetish for pretending a non consensual activity.

February 16, 2013 at 9:50 PM
tori said...

Just read the link you provided and it has brought about an interesting discussion, these sort of subjects usually do.

I think although i agreed with many elements its fair to say that not all dynamics are the same, because as human beings we are all different, there is therefor by default no blueprint of how a sub or dom should be.

For us in my relationship, some of the things kiwi listed does happen in our relationship and i dont have a problem with it, and as a note we have been together 24/7 for 6 years so we are well established as a couple.

I have had my fair share of comments on my blog referring to my relationship as being abusive because simply people think it should be a certain way.

There are many times i have begged for something to stop, i really have wanted it to (and im extremely masochistic) and its at his discretion if he chooses to, and more often than not he doesnt.

But i like that he doesnt, not at the time, at the time its happening its horrid, but afterwards it is so worth it for me..and for him.

He knows this.

Doesnt mean he never makes any errors in judgement, he has coz he is human, barely lol.

I think bottom line is one has to be careful not to impose their expectations, what they want etc onto other people, because some people may actually elements of what is deemed 'wrong'.

gosh sorry for writing an essay lol


February 16, 2013 at 10:14 PM
melinda Sweetgirl said...

Hi tori!
No problem, you know me and words ;)

So you engage in CNC -then it's completely different, which i actually tried to highlight. But as you notice in her case it isn't really. But i'm sure that you agree that if a sub want/feels the need for a safeword then it should be in place? (and yes in this case i will use the word should). Just like hard limits should in case you've explicitly agreed against them (as you probably have). Although personally i think you can have a general CNC even with a few limits.
I agree though with being careful to impose your personal values on others, it's the main reason the vanilla- and BDSM worlds "clash".

The big difference though between CNC and this case is just the C part.
Thank you for your comment as always tori!
See, my comment turned into an essay too! And i already wrote the essay *lol*

February 16, 2013 at 10:27 PM
melinda Sweetgirl said...

"Just like hard limits should in case you've explicitly agreed against them (as you probably have). Although personally i think you can have a general CNC even with a few limits." Of course here i meant to say: UNLESS not in case!
*eye roll*

February 16, 2013 at 10:29 PM
tori said...

Gosh yes absolutley if a safeword is in place then it should always be respected, likewise with hard limits, to totally disregard them would be detrimental to the trust that the sub has in her dom.

I think everyone has limits even in CNC or M/s, any dynamic really, the idea of having no limits is an illusion..ok im going off on a tangent i know...i do that! lol


February 16, 2013 at 10:52 PM
melinda Sweetgirl said...

i like tangents ;)
and FINALLY someone that agrees with me -and someone in a CNC nontheless!

February 16, 2013 at 10:55 PM
kiwigirliegirl said...

thanks melinda...this helped. A lot of it is common sense when reading it...its just not what we have practiced over the time we have been doing this. A lot of it also is my fault too...for example...a year ago I was taking extreme pain but nowadays for whatever reason, I cant. We have talked and its better. We didnt visit the shed last night but we did spank. He was more gentle, took it slower and talked more. that helped. He wont use a safeword because he feels we dont need it. He also feels I would misue use it and I think I probably would. he likes to think he can "read" me. He could for a while but we seem to have gone off track...but with some talk and taking it a little slower we will get back on it. Its not abuse, because I want it. I want him to spank me, set rules for me. I thrive on it. But ive turned wimpey for some reason. Things are better though :)

February 18, 2013 at 6:52 AM

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