Victim Support and Breaking Social Convention.

We talk a lot about predators and abusive/negative behaviors – how we should address them head on, how to support victims and how to deal with situations like this all the time. I often hear people touting the idea that we need to support victims of abuse, misgendering, racism and speak for those who do not (or cannot) defend themselves.

In Theory these are great ideas and sentiments and in a perfect world this is exactly what would happen too.

What I see more often than not is these people’s traumas and the events that caused them are used as a twisted form of social currency.

Before some people lose their shit, let me explain.

When I was raped many people chose not to believe my story, which, while horrible, isn’t relevant to where I’m going with this. What is Relevant is the people who “wanted” to believe me. I had ONE person who I confided in, they knew the whole truth because they made me feel that my anonymity would be protected, which I sorely needed at that time in my life. Now, when this person tried to warn others that my partner was abusive, a rapist, and frankly a shit human being, I sat and watched as people who were supposedly close to me make EVERY EXCUSE possible to not have to acknowledge that someone they know could possibly be these things.

I have been raped twice and sexually assaulted more times than I care to count, and the same bullshit keeps popping up even 15 to 20 years later. What this all boils down to is “I WANT to believe, but I don’t like the people the supposed victim trusted or associates with so I will instead tear down any form of warning I become aware of rather than swallowing my pride and ASKING.”

People wonder WHY we don’t call out a lot of predators, racists, and serial abusers – it boils down to something simple: fear.

When someone who is privy to information you are not comes forward regarding these despicable things, I am not saying to not think critically and question. I am not saying to blindly believe – that opens up the ability to weaponize being a fake victim. What I AM suggesting is that these people might not come forward themselves for a couple of reasons.

The reason I have seen most lately is that generally victims will find stronger people they trust to confide in. They feel safe that their anonymity will be protected by these trusted friends.

However, when you attack those people for spreading lies, crying wolf or otherwise publicly verbally attack them – how do you think the victim they are protecting feels? Safe to come forward? Safe to share? Safe to publicly denounce the behavior and the person(s) who turned them into victims?

All of this arbitrarily based on political and social disagreements between members of the community we all agree should be made safer.

How do you know they haven’t made a promise to not name the perpetrators? Instead we’ll cry “GOSSIP!” “DRAMA!” and all manner of other bullshit words which (inadvertent or not) creates an environment of victim shaming and fear. So they stay quiet, and the visible ones take the brunt of the vitriol, and the cycle starts again.

I will admit, I am not innocent in this either, I have done the exact thing I JUST wrote about, and didn’t even consider it abnormal, to me, it’s just the way things were. Which considering my own past, was a really shitty way of going about things simply because I wasn’t prepared to examine my own shitty behavior and thought processes.

What I am proposing we ALL consider, is the fact that warnings are just that – warnings, think critically, ask questions. HOWEVER do not fail to think critically or ask questions of people who are socially anathema to you. We don’t always have to be unified, but if people have the best interest of their respective communities at heart, then giving the benefit of the doubt costs nothing, and could potentially lead to victims feeling safer to share their stories at large, and come forward more readily.

Regards,

Syn.

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Sex Positivity For Men.

One of the big issues I mentioned in a previous writing regarding toxic masculinity was sex positivity and male body image.

I’ll admit as the urge to write this struck me, I was at a bit of a loss. Traditionally I haven’t talked about sex much, it’s uncomfortable for me. As I have mentioned before I was raised in an environment where you NEVER talked about sex, masterbation, or even what sort of porn I watch. This trend was not just my parents, but the people I grew up around, and dated.

I find even now in kink positive spaces, or other places claiming to be sex positive, Male sexual desires are not spoken of much at all. Sure, you’re liable to read a fetish list, or erotica, or even some “fuckit” list, however the realm of female sex positivity has the lock down on really talking about activities, practices and “how-to’s”.

I’m sure out in more mainstream social media sites you’ve at some point seen the meme or post that goes “Men only want one thing and it’s fucking disgusting”. So my question is this, if you claim to be sex positive, no matter your gender identifier – how often do you call this out as hypocritical bullshit? Or for that matter ANYTHING that shames men as sexual beings? I know plenty of women who State that if a man has a Dick pic as a profile picture on Fetlife not to bother messaging, and then off they go to comment their appreciation about a magnificent cock on someone else’s profile pic. Are we prepared on a whole to call out that behavior?

I feel I have to explain something before I continue. I am not saying that you shouldn’t call out a random dick in your DM’s/inbox or someone pressing sexual fantasy on you out of the blue, however I think on a whole we should encourage discussion of sexual fantasy, positivity and conversation, WHEN IT IS RELEVANT.

So here are a couple of questions for the hive mind I would like to present for discussion or at least reflection.

If you are sex positive, is it all or nothing? Are you only willing to have those conversations about male sex positivity etc, if you find that person physically attractive?

Do you think it’s creepy for men to be direct or upfront about sexual desire and activity, even if it’s something you personally don’t find tickles your pickle?

Do you think there is a double standard in sex positive circles? When women or female presenting individuals discuss explicit sex it’s “hot or sexy to be slutty” but is the reverse true? if the average man discusses those same things, do we encourage discussion or appreciation in the same way?

Finally, How do you think that we, as sex positive humans, can encourage a more balanced view on sex positivity across the gender spectrum? or do we even need to?

Personally I think we have a bit of work to do in normalizing sex positivity across the board for all gender expressions, however I think the most work we have is with Het CiS men like myself, I know the lgbtq2+ communities have their own work to do in this regard, but honestly I am not equipped to speak on those things, nor would I feel comfortable doing so.

Regards,

Syn

Tools, Not Toys.

Not so recently, my opinion on Tools for BDSM activities has changed, I’ve gone quite minimal for a couple of reasons, which I’ll get into in a minute.

Right now, if you were to watch us pack for an event you might be surprised, my gear is simple: Black Jeans or Road Leather pants, Vest, random t-shirt, and my cane bag. That’s it.

Inside the Cane bag there’s a fairly impressive and growing collection, all from one vendor: Badass Canes. I have two other tools in there, Motherfucker and Oh SHIT!

Now the reason my Tool bag is so spartan is actually because of a thought I had a long while ago. I basically look at S&M as a hobby, and I’ve never been one to Cheap out on hobbies.

Full disclosure – I think the BDSM on a budget classes have their place, they’re a great place to get your feet wet and try out things for a minimal investment. However, my over-riding thought is that if you’ve decided to get serious about ANY hobby, you should eventually dedicate some serious money into quality tools.

Tobacco, scotch, vaping, drone racing, paintball/air soft, even photography. All popular hobbies/collections with functional application, but eventually you have to sink some cash into quality tools to improve the experience. I have a few friends who even knit or work with fibers, I’m sure they can tell you the investment in proper equipment is not only worth it, but improves the experience and end product by light years.

Using this logic I am of the opinion that, in order to create something extraordinary for myself and my bottom, I owe it to them to have high quality equipment. Picture a dark and dingy Kink.com video (we’ve all seen them), the bottom is squirming, yelping and sweat and blood is flowing off them, the dingy floor collecting all the various fluids, the screams echoing off the stone walls and floor – the tall dark and mysterious top is kicking them, punching, and taunting – then as a climactic finale they pull out the neon green and orange dog chew toy and proceed to swing it with wild abandon.

Would that ruin the carefully constructed fantasy from professionals? Probably.

We talk so often about fulfilling wishes and desires and carefully constructing scenes, but I find on a whole we rarely realize that the tools you use, from functionality to aesthetic is rarely considered – it’s all part of the scene you create, and personally I’d much rather have one REALLY well made tool, than a bag full I don’t give a shit about because they’re cheap.

Again: Quality tools are an investment, and yes based on the scene you’re creating or your level of involvement budget toys do have their place. All I hope you think about is how does this hobby stack up to other ones you have? Does it deserve a bit of an investment?

Just my 2 cents and a random thought.

 

Syn

Patterns.

I’ve written a bit about energy exchange in the past, and the give and take that people have both in the lifestyle and in day to day life. Using positive and negative energy to our advantage or detriment is something that, if you’re unaware of, can dictate your success or failures with partners or even your chosen role.

Which brings me to something I’ve been reflecting on for the last little bit.

Patterns.

Humans thrive on patterns, whether you believe it or not. We hear it every day “They had a pattern of behavior”, “A pattern of abuse”, and other patterns. The trick is recognizing them and learning how to break a negative pattern.

Personally, many moons ago, I had a pattern of the type of partner I would seek out, and honestly I didn’t even realize it at the time. Looking back it’s very clear.

Abusive partner I could “save” them from? Check.

Minimal work on Loving themselves or self eteem? Check.

unhealthy coping skills? Check.

Vapid, Jealous, and mentally or physically abusive? Check.

Now all these things aside, I had my own issues to deal with, which I have gone into at length elsewhere – The important part was realizing my pattern and trying to break it.

Originally I placed the blame for my patterns squarely on others, it’s so much easier to blame others for your circumstances than put the work in to change them. In the end, the truth of the matter is that -I- was (and am) the common denominator.

I took the initiative to change my thinking, and really analyze how I deal with people and situations.

Am I being true to myself?

Am I openly and honestly communicating my needs, wants, and desires?

Am I seeking relationships that will enrich my life and help with personal growth?

Do the people in my life add anything of value, be it joy, friendship or companionship?

Am I being honest with myself about what kind of person I am?

Are my interpersonal/coping skills the problem?

“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.” – Marcus Aurelius

On the path of mastery one of the greatest things I ever made peace with was the fact that human beings on a whole are imperfect by nature (or nurture). I might not be able to control how they choose to act, live, and respond, However, I can choose to compromise with them.

Does my Partner make me happy? Hell yes she does, she adds to my life and my journey, but she does NOT define it, or control it. I see too much of people saying BDSM or power exchange “makes them whole”, or defines them, or their partner is used to define who they are as a person.

I used to think my partner, and my friends defined who I was as a person – that isn’t so, They do enrich my life, and expose me to a connection of something bigger than myself, however, at the end of the day I am the one responsible for my own joy, happiness, and how I view and interact with the world.

Dominant or submissive, it shouldn’t matter, YOU must strive to be the best PERSON you can be, not a label, and not relying on others to define you as a person. If that is the pattern you find yourself in perhaps it’s time to break it.

Patterns can be positive or negative but if you’re caught in a cycle of drama, destructive relationships, or even a cycle that stunts your growth, the only limiting factor is you.

YOU control your fate:

Not your Family.

Not your Friends.

Not your Dominant or Submissive.

Take the responsibility to analyze your patterns, and change them if you need to, ask for help, find a mentor, do what you need to.

Be authentic, be true to yourself, be courageous enough to break the patterns, and courageous enough to stop pointing fingers and start changing yourself for the better.

Regards,

 

Syn

Mentors Vs. The Cult of Personality.

When I first started dipping my toes into the wider world of BDSM (AKA found Fetlife and joined the local community), I made a few very telling mistakes… and it’s something I see a lot of still happening to people on a regular basis.

I fell into the trap of hero worship (emulation) rather than forging my own path and adopting things that had practical real world value for my life and relationship.

You see, my town is incredibly small and at the time there were few (No) power exchange couples locally for me to talk to and exchange ideas with – So I went searching, and this is where I found out the difference between carefully constructed fantasy versus real world applications. For those of you familiar with them, I aspired to be the next Peter Acworth, Stefanos, and James Mogul. Is this smart or healthy? I suppose it could be, had I not been taken up in the PERSONA’s rather than the real people behind the characters.  (For reference Stefanos is still someone I’d love to meet/attend a class from.) I very quickly was approached by someone who kindly offered some advice Via PM on fetlife and Helped nudge me in a better direction, To this day even though we don’t talk much I follow things he (and his slave) likes and comments on closely.

Over the years since then I’ve learned the difference between hero worship and mentors.

Mentors are people you can go to with questions, or in need of advice, and for the most part they are readily available to answer said questions or give out some wisdom. They’re regular people with flaws, insecurities, and practical real world experience. They can fill gaps in your skill set, and might offer other people to talk to who have a better grasp of certain subject matter. They want to see you succeed and reach your goals, and will help facilitate that however is needed, they should push you and challenge you. Mentors should not: try to fuck you,  sabotage your goals, or not practice what they preach.

Hero worship is blind allegiance to the ideal of something. Imperfections, and the struggle to become are swept aside in favor of a sparkling view of effortless success. The sad and accurate truth is these individuals are usually lauded with praise, and afforded attention that others are either denied, or have to work harder to achieve by order of magnitude. In such a sexually charged environment like the BDSM/and Leather cultures something as simple as a certain aesthetic or method of play can cause the hive mind to elevate that person to status and credibility that they might not otherwise attain or deserve.

So whats the point?

I see time and time again mistakes I’ve made manifesting in others, the Cult of Personality is strong, and the pull is intoxicating – To fit in, to aspire to the pinnacle, it can be human nature to do so, all too easily, and the followers of the these people can be zealots, from the D-list to A-list celebrities in vanilla and BDSM circles.

Many people confuse this with mentorship whether they mean to or not. Blindly accepting something as the proper path, or one to aspire to, will, in the long run, cause a pretty spectacular train wreck, publicly or privately.

Think critically of the people you put your trust in, your future in this subculture is your own – don’t blindly follow and expect success through emulation of your hero’s or trying to copy their aesthetic. On the flip side evaluate if you want to be a paper paragon, or someone people want to follow based on realism and merit.

I for one plan to do what I do, because I like it, and if people choose to ask – I have no problems digging up the pristine, along with the dirty truth of my journey because they just might learn something.

 

Syn

 

 

 

 

Ego, Community, and Progress.

“Why is success so ephemeral? Ego shortens it.  Whether a collapse is dramatic or a slow erosion, it’s always possible and often unnecessary.  We stop learning, we stop listening, and we lose our grasp on what matters.  We become victims of ourselves and the competition.  Sobriety, open-mindedness, organization, and purpose – these are the great stabilizers.  They balance out the ego and pride that comes with achievement and recognition.” – Ryan Holliday – Ego is the Enemy

It seems as of late many levels of the BDSM community has had issues with a multitude of things: consent violations, predatory behavior, divisiveness, and hero worship. I don’t profess to have the answers to all of it, but I do truly believe that most things can be attributed to ego.

Ego breeds divisiveness, the belief that so-and-so is better than others, that somehow their knowledge or past deeds affords them the ability to remain above or separate from both the community on a whole and consequences of their actions (or inactions). The belief that one group is more deserving of loyalty over another, based on an imagined (and often unseeable) line in the sand. The inability to constructively criticise or not attend an event for personal reasons without being ostracised. It all leads back to community divisiveness and a less safe environment for all.  We fail to discuss predatory behavior, or consent violators, or toxic people because we somehow believe that these discussions are drama.

“Choose not to be harmed — and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed — and you haven’t been.” — Marcus Aurelius

Ego is something I have struggled with over the years. In turn, it led me down a path of divisiveness, rather than learning, and comfort rather than progress. I’ve learned that if someone has an honest opinion of you that you disagree with rather than being hurt and taking the path of divisionism find what can be improved in yourself and move forward with unity in mind.

Now, that is not to say that if a person is a repeat offender/predator/unwilling to learn – that you should go out of the way to be inclusive. On a whole, a unified community would police itself much easier, rather than these individuals hiding in the “camps” of a divided community, because communication and shared goals have broken down.

I’ll be honest there have been times rather than “rock the boat” I’ve kept quiet due to politics, I’ve since realized that while tact and neutrality are important, I will always be pigeonholed into having chosen a side, whether I personally believe I am neutral or not. Do I attend every event? no, is it because of people? sometimes honestly it is. Other times, I dislike the venue, venue staff, offered learning experiences, etc. The problem with this being that ego can lead people to believe it’s an “us against them choice”.

“The problem is politics is made a sport, almost as much a sport as football or baseball. When it comes to politics, adults and politicians do more finger-pointing and play more games than children ever do. Too often are we rooting for the pride of a team rather than the good of the nation.” — Criss Jami, Healology

Thriving communities have one thing in common, and that is that the people who are involved in it are looking out for each other and the well being of the collective – there will always be dissenting ideas, but no voice should be too small to be heard, if not listened to. It should not be about political clout, it should be about moving toward the same destination if not in harmony, at least without sabotaging one another as well as some level of civility.

Just a few thoughts,

 

Syn

There are no Shortcuts.

Lose weight without exercising! Grow your penis 3 inches in 8 weeks! Local singles looking to fuck!

Shortcuts, we’ve all seen them, considered them, or fallen into the trap of trying to use them.

Yesterday as I was leaving the gym, I had someone who I recognized stop me. He complimented me on my progress thus far and then proceeded to tell me I should try some form of an “almost” legal version of human growth hormone. Apparently, it could help me be better with 0 effort. Now to be completely transparent, I know all about HGH, and steroids, in my research regarding operation look better naked, the information is easily available, and I am always learning. Had the thought ever crossed my mind? Not really. I believe in hard work and the grind, I’ll get there when I get there – and I’ll do it without a magic little bottle full of a shortcut.

So what does this have to do with power exchange and BDSM?

In the end, you can read all you want, Jay Wiseman, 50 shades, B.E.S.T. slave training, even the entire Society of  Janus Library. There are no shortcuts or substitutes for hard work and real-life application. On paper, anyone can seem to be knowledgeable. I’ve read about and talked to my little fae over 9 years about her job, and what she and her staff do – I can even hold a conversation using the lingo and identify what paperwork is what for the most part. Would I be able to show up at the office and put in a days work? Not a chance, because as informed as I am, I have no practical real world experience with it, but I could fake it really really well for a few hours.

As a Master or Dominant, you have a duty of care, and should be working in the best interests of both you and your S-type. If you enter into a power exchange under the guise of someone with experience, you should be honest that it is either real world or “on paper”. Now It’s OK to only have read, knowledge is power – what matters is how you APPLY that power. Progressing, and learning is how we keep the community vibrant and moving forward. ASK for play partners, experiment (as safely as possible), and progress. Just don’t misrepresent your level of real-world experience in the process.

Much of the same can be said for S-types. Misrepresenting yourself and your experience can be destructive. I find more often than not it is slightly different in perspective though. It seems to be a disconnect which, while affecting both, seems (to me) to be a little more prevalent in submissives. Your life will not end up like the Beauty trilogy, or a Cassandra Claire novel. Your D-type might be a kindergarten teacher or a hairstylist, or even a retail worker. Your submission won’t always be waiting for the lick of a flogger, or a tug of the hair. You might have to do dishes, or clean her house, or do any manner of things you dislike so the question will be – will you serve in all ways, or are you simply looking for an over-romanticized idea you read in a book? Submission isn’t all pretty bruises, ruined orgasms, and sexy times. Be open to tasks, learning, and LIVING submission, rather than living in your head and expecting the 6-foot Amazonian Domina, or suited refined classy archetype. Sometimes it’s sweatpants and domestic duties, other times it will be sex and all the pants feelings. Your Submission will be different than anyone elses, but also similar in so many ways.

I urge anyone new to this lifestyle, or even old-hats, Get out, talk to others, learn from them, get hands on mentorship, admit what you don’t know. If Power exchange is truly something you NEED, then put the work in, and stop looking for shortcuts to your ideal situation. Shortcuts will often  times lead to disappointment or gaps in your knowledge. EARN the knowledge through hard work, shortcuts will cheapen the results.

There are no shortcuts to building the Life, Love, and Power Exchange you want, sometimes it’s trial and error, frustration and triumph. However, if you’re smart, able to compromise and able to be realistic about your experience, and desires, it will end up being exactly what you need.

Regards,

 

Syn