Sunday, April 24, 2011

Thing For a Week

It signed a one-week contract with yours truly yesterday after a two-week dialogue about objectification, which I define as the process of taking control of another in such a way that the other's self-hood is fully committed to the will and service of its owner. (For a fuller essay on this topic visit my website where I have posted a rather long article on the topic.)

For the past year or so, I have become increasingly interested in pushing the limits of dominant/submissive relationships. In reality the idea of increasing the intensity of my own mastery has been actively churning in my mind for years.

I remember that the first glimpse of such a possibility occurred to me more than 12 years ago, while I was slave in service to Master Lynn. At the time, I became fully enthralled with the idea of serving him. There were strong feelings of devotion, love, and even worship. I wanted to go as low as possible in order to exalt him as high as I could. Such were my feelings.

It had a lot to do with polarity and the energy exchange, which I will touch upon later in this essay.

Eventually, I found myself thoroughly enjoying my master/slave relationship with Patrick – something that still brings both of us great pleasure. As I thought of my mastery, I wanted more of it, i.e., greater domination, more subjugation, an increase in sadistic pleasure, etc. In general I wanted more intensity.

I realized, though, that concerns of health, both physical and mental, reasonably limit intensity. What one might be able to do in a "scene" is very often not sustainable over a longer period of time. No matter how strong our desires might be, the necessities of life, such as sleep, work, chores, and relaxation, impose themselves on us in a way that no master ever can.

OK, if I really were Mr. Benson, i.e., independently wealthy, that might not be the case, but in my current situation it is.

One of the answers I arrived at was to take on more than one slave which, to be honest, was always the plan anyway.

Over time, one's environment changes and such is the case with our subculture. In the past five to seven years, and perhaps longer than that, I have seen an marked increase in the acceptance and the implementation of more intense fetishes. For whatever reason, what was once done by the few, the elite, and the hidden, has become more and more mainstream.

With more frequency and more openness, I began to see a marked increase in men seeking more intense subjugation. One of the forms of this is objectification. Unfortunately many of those who seek it link objectification with drug use, commonly called PNP (play and party).

As I hope you know, I generally frown on using drugs to allow oneself to push one's usual limits in the area of BDSM. I like to face my SM face-to-face and in full control of all my faculties.

What, though, of those men (and I am sure there are women who seek objectification as well) for whom such domination is an authentic state?

In search of such men, few that they might be, I developed an intense, even extreme persona, on one of the gay BDSM cruise sites and began to seek such men. Over the time period of five months I have found four men who are seeking such a life. For them becoming an "it" is a sought-after goal and an act of self-actualization. In conversations with these few men I find several rationales for their actions: Yearning, Authenticity, Surrender, Polarity, Bonding and Belonging, and Intimacy.

Like those I sought, I too had the same rationales, though rather than surrender I sought domination.

"It" cruised me two weeks ago and I replied with "Thanks for the cruise. Do my dark desires tempt you?" It answered, "Yes SIR, they do. slave is drawn to YOUR Dark desires. slave has been feeling a yearning, lust from very Dark places.

What ensued was daily contact, mostly through Yahoo chat, as it was reluctant to give me its phone number and wouldn't call me from home for fear its room mate would learn of its desires. By the way, such fears are not uncommon, as you probably remember from your first ventures into kink.

In time we worked our way up to lunch-time phone calls. In the meantime, my thoughts became increasingly filled with the lust of ownership, subjugation, and debasement. "Dark" is a very appropriate adjective to use.

By last Thursday, I felt we were ready to try out the fetish. The operative word here is "try." Its rather conservative nature and my policy of "one step at a time" led us to only try it. So we came to agree that objectification for one week would be an appropriate experiment.

My writings are filled with such advice. It is a common apprehension and a decidedly false idea that one must jump "whole hog" into a new kink. As a matter of fact whether it is a kink or a relationship, slow and steady is much to be preferred.

As I wrote above, one of the attractions that objectification holds for me is Polarity. Although a full explanation of the power dynamic in BDSM relationships is beyond the scope of this essay, every relationship can be seen as a power exchange of some kind. Most, of course, only exhibit moderate levels of polarity, though these levels certainly vary with the activity and mental states of the participants.

What sets objectification apart is the severity of the polarity. The two participants in the relationship manifest attitudes and actions at the extremes of human behavior, i.e., the one becomes lord; the other the lord's possession. It is the domination/submission dynamic pushed to its furthest limits of near-total control and near-complete surrender.

It might be argued that such a polarity is neither attainable  nor sustainable. Such considerations do not seem to deter the applicant. He is driven to seek it and to live it as fully as possible. OK, to be honest, I am driven to seek it and live it as well.

If a small gap in an electric circuit causes a small spark and a large gap causes lightning to strike, what happens when the energy between two partners is allowed to become highly polarized, which is another word for intense?

Perhaps a few definitions might be in order. Polar – "occupying or marked by opposite extremes." Polarize – "to cause to concentrate about two conflicting or contrasting positions." If then we see objectification as the concentration of control on one side of the polarity and its contrasting characteristic (surrender of control) on the other, we then have what seems to me to be a more intense D/s relationship and a significant increase in the energy, power, in that dynamic.

So what happens? The short answer is that the feelings reveal an exhilarating space, a kind of completeness for the moment. I've yet to determine the long-term implications of such a relationship. That's what we hope the experiment will show. Stay tuned. You never know what I'll come up with next.

You can send me email at mrjackr@leathermail.com or visit my website at http://www.LeatherViews.com. You can also subscribe to my blog at LeatherMusings.blogspot.com. Copyright 2011 by Jack Rinella, all rights reserved.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Poz Friendly

OK, I'm not a medical doctor. I hope you know that. Many of you also know that I am HIV positive and have been for some 17 years. My viral load is undetectable and my T-cell counts are in the normal range for a healthy person.

I seldom write about HIV, except that I often remind people to play safely, get tested for STDs often, and have a doctor they can talk to about their sexual lives. For your information, "poz friendly" means that you are willing to have sex with a person who is infected with HIV.

This column was prompted by the frequent comments I get while seeking another slave. Simply put, in spite of the wealth of good information and online access to it, there is a lot of bad information about HIV transmission. Fear of infection is a good thing, paranoia isn't. So let me lay out the facts as I understand them.

You can take the facts I write as that, search for information to prove or disprove what I write, or print out this essay and discuss it with your doctor. In any case, please make an informed decision about HIV. Living in ignorance, in doubt, or in denial is no way to maintain a healthy life.

For those of you who want to "bareback," i.e., fuck without a condom, I will remind you that you are playing a dangerous game. Even if there are drugs to control HIV, they are not perfect. The disease will still play havoc on your body, the side-affects of the drugs will make you miserable, and the medication alone, not to mention doctor and testing costs, will run about $21,000 a year.

The argument that you can bareback with a person who is not infected is fallacious since no one, except a person who is truly celibate or truly monogamous, can ever guarantee that they are actually HIV negative. The following safety guide does not apply to couples who are monogamous and HIV free. Remember though that to be sure you are HIV negative takes two tests separated by some six months, since one test may not detect a recent infection.

HIV transmission is, thankfully, a rather difficult task. You are much more likely to get syphilis, gonorrhea, or hepatitis A, B, or C more easily than HIV. You are also liable to get Herpes or the flu. Nothing is without risk. Nothing is "safe." All we can do is to make things "safer." That said, take reasonable and necessary precautions and then have fun. Unfortunately none of us is getting out of this world alive. Precaution is advised, paranoia is not.

HIV is a virus that is transmitted through the bodily fluids of blood, semen, and breast milk.
Pre-cum presents at most a tiny theoretical risk, not a practical one. Neither saliva nor sweat contain the virus and therefore are safe. HIV can live outside the body for a number of hours. It is easily cleaned with antiseptic soap and running water. You can disinfect with Clorox in a one-to-ten ratio.

Skin is an effective barrier against HIV transmission. Therefore ejaculating semen on to healthy bare skin is safe. The only caveat is that the skin is not broken. HIV can enter the body through a cut, abrasion, or wound. For that reason, when fisting is done, use surgical gloves to insure that there is no transmission through minute cuts in the fingers.

Since HIV is very sensitive to air and light, the risk of transmission through pre-cum is low. Lube will also reduce the risk of transmission through pre-cum. That said, never insert a penis into a vagina or anus without the protection of a condom.

HIV is not transmitted orally. It is safe to suck a penis without protection and to ejaculate into your partner's mouth. There is one important caveat: the recipient's mouth needs be healthy. If there are cuts on the tongue or inside the mouth, or if the gums are bleeding, there is a risk of HIV infection. For that reason it is not advisable to have oral sex on the day you have dental work done nor to brush or floss your teeth before having oral sex.

There are no proven incidents the oral transmission of HIV. Believe me, if HIV were transmitted orally, there would be a much higher rate of HIV infection among gay men.

To quote the San Francisco City Clinic website: "HIV is rarely spread through oral sex and it is not spread from an HIV-infected blow-job giver to an uninfected partner. There are case reports—descriptions by doctors in scientific magazines—that suggest HIV can be spread by swallowing the cum of someone with HIV-infection during oral sex. Our experience in San Francisco supports that such spread of HIV is a very rare event. While HIV can be found in the saliva, the saliva also has special factors that block the growth of the virus. Other STDs like gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis and herpes can be much more easily spread through oral sex."

And lastly, here's some information about intercourse. It applies to both vaginal and anal sex.


"Several studies have been done on relationships similar to yours, where one partner is HIV-positive and the other negative (a.k.a., mixed status or HIV-discordant couples). A study published in 1994 in The New England Journal of Medicine looked at 256 heterosexual mixed status couples. Of the 124 couples that consistently used condoms, none of the HIV-negative partners were infected. Among the 121 couples that did not consistently use condoms, 12 (about 10 percent) of the HIV-negative partners became infected. Additional studies found similar results.

"Consistent and correct condom usage is the key to lowering the risk of HIV transmission in mixed status couples, whatever their sexuality. Condoms are highly effective in preventing the transmission of HIV, but sometimes fail. Those failures are most often due to incorrect usage or user error. To reduce condom failure:

  • Use water-based lubes, never oil-based ones such as petroleum jelly, cooking oil or shortening, or hand-lotion — they can weaken the latex.
  • Keep condoms away from heat or direct sunlight.
  • Check the expiration dates printed on the package. Condoms that are too old or expired, or have packaging that appears to be weathered or deflated, need to be thrown away.
  • Carefully open the condom with your fingers, trying not to tear it with your fingernails (or teeth).

And from the San Francisco City Clinic:

"There is no evidence that wearing two condoms is more effective than wearing one, and in fact, there is some hearsay evidence that the friction of the two condoms rubbing together can cause them to break, making you more susceptible to HIV and other STDs.

"As far as viral load, research has shown that the viral load in blood correlates to levels in semen and vaginal secretions. However, that correlation is only about 70% and it has not been proven what level of virus is needed for transmission. Even an undetectable viral load doesn't mean an infected person will not transmit HIV to an uninfected partner. Therefore it is very important that you continue to use condoms no matter your partner's viral load. In addition, a person's viral load can change, so that viral load a month ago may not be the viral load the day you had sex.

"In many cities, like San Francisco, after having a known exposure to HIV -- being topped by an HIV+ guy and then the condom breaks -- a guy can start PEP, or post-exposure prevention, which is a combination of anti-HIV medications. The important thing is that these medications have to be started as soon as possible, ideally within four hours, but it may be OK within 72 hours after exposure. Most emergency rooms and doctors know about PEP and can prescribe it. It's not one dose -- you have to take meds for a month and they can make you ill -- so I don't recommend it except in real emergencies. To learn more about PEP, go to the UCSF Medical Center website at http://www.ucsfhealth.org/conditions/hiv/index.html and type PEP in the Search box."

After all is said and done, you have to decide what you are going to do and who you are going to do it with. I ask two things. First get the facts and make an informed decision. Secondly, no matter what you decide be honest in your decision. If you decide not to be poz friendly, at least be friendly to people who are positive.

For more complete information on HIV and AIDS visit the San Franccisco City Clinic website at   http://www.sfcityclinic.org/

Please play safely and have a great week. Jack

You can send me email at mrjackr@leathermail.com or visit my website at http://www.LeatherViews.com. You can also subscribe to my blog at LeatherMusings.blogspot.com. Copyright 2011 by Jack Rinella, all rights reserved.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Walls

Walls


A guy who came over recently (let's call him Jerry) wrote me afterwards that he had had a good time and wanted to take me up on my offer"to train" him. He's a handsome young man and I find the idea of doing so to be quite attractive. So I invited him to come back. 


Unfortunately our schedules didn't match well so he had to postpone our second meeting. In doing so he sent me an email:"Actually, can you tell me about my lessons? Do you have a plan in training me and what I can expect during each lesson/training session? For me, I do not want any permanent marks or anything written on my body, no blood, no scat, nothing around my neck, except for maybe a leash or choker (for fashionable purposes, but not to be played with. I felt a little uncomfortable when you were pulling on the tie you put around my neck). Also, I have a hard time breathing through my nose, so preferably a gag that I can still breathe through. If I can still breathe around a ball gag that isn't as large, that is fine. Do you use any safe words or signals?"


The questions are both welcome and appropriate, as open and honest negotiations ought always to precede any scene.


Now for a little background.


Jerry doesn't have much experience. He wants to develop his feminine side through cross-dressing and to become a slave, though it's not clear which is a higher priority nor what he really means by either of those terms. He's also a bisexual switch. Now either he's wise to cover all his bases or he's still exploring what he wants.


For our first scene he wore red mesh stockings and we danced to slow music. There was no BDSM. For my part I wore a tie and sport coat and played the part of voyeur who picked up a stripper and brought her home. I know, you never thought I had it in me, but I do.


Now for the analysis.


At times we use vocabulary with little attention to meaning. Therefore I have a few questions for Jerry in return. What do you mean by training? Is it merely a euphemism (the act or an example of substituting a mild, indirect, or vague term for a harsh, blunt, or offensive one) for play or do you really want to learn some pleasurable BDSM?


What are your priorities? Shall we concentrate on helping you become an effective cross-dresser, a damn good slave, or a damn good feminine acting and looking slave?


I had my first job as an educator (high school English) in 1969 and as far as I can tell education involves change. The really important question, then, is how much do you want to change, Jerry? Before I can answer your question I have to know what you want to learn. It really means that we have to have a discussion about of what your curriculum will look like. Therefore we need to talk.


The question about the euphemism is the killer. Without being willing to explore, experiment, and give up one's pre-conceived ideas of how things should be and what one will do, there can be no real learning. What I feel, and yes I feel it strongly, is that real training, i.e., an education, means that Jerry has to be willing to let down his walls and therein lies the difficulty.


Walls are essential to a sense of safety and security. They afford protection, privacy, and discretion. They keep us safe from the weather, from prying eyes, and from un-necessary and unwanted disclosure. Believe me, I'm glad that I have a home with walls (and of course a roof over my head) so I am not knocking the idea of walls.


On the other hand, it is a simple fact that the walls that keep people, things, and events out are the same walls that keep me in. They are the ones that keep me from the experiences, the pleasure, and the learning that I seek. It is a matter, then, of knowing which walls stay and which ones we go through. When I say "go through" I mean that we find the doors in some walls so we are free to be what we want while other walls keep us safe to do so.


Let me give an example. Jerry wants to become a cross-dresser. One of the easiest ways to begin this process is to do an Internet search for cross-dressers in Chicago. I did that and found a monthly meeting where anyone can go and meet with experienced cross-dressers, ask questions, and learn "stuff" about the fetish. Of course, that means that Jerry has to take down the wall that keeps him from going to the meeting.


There's more to that than just a wall. In fact, the word "wall" is another euphemism, for fear, paranoia, reticence, reluctance, refusal, blockage, hang-up, psychological obstacle, or whatever you want to call an impediment to learning.


As a matter of fact walls offer us the best example of why we need to negotiate well. When I qualify my statement with the word "well" I am emphasizing that good negotiation needs to include a discussion about the walls that each of us has around us as we begin to play. Of course, I mean that statement in a relative sense, "walls" may just be another way of naming limits (which is another euphemism for walls!). Stating my idea that way, we can see that some limits are helpful and need not come down, some limits can stay without interfering and some limits, like the ones I encountered and discussed in last week's blog, are going to effectively ruin the session.


Limits, like walls, are relative. A limit, for example no sexual contact, may be very acceptable in one situation and a deal-breaker in another. Only the two participants can conclude where lines should be drawn, where they are unrealistic, and whether they both can have a good time with (or without) them.


OK, I do have some answers to Jerry's questions, though you'll forgive me if I answer some of them with another question.


"What will I teach you, Jerry?" I don't know because before I can answer that question I have to figure out what you want to learn. Therefore, my friend, nothing's going to happen until we talk about your goals and desires and I can learn both your priorities and your willingness to explore and experiment.


I can live with the gag thing, Jerry, so don't worry about it. I am glad, though, that you told me now and not after you had struggled to breathe during a scene.


Don't worry about permanent marks. There won't be any until we negotiate them. As a matter of fact, it took my slave Patrick more than nine years to get his first tattoo (the one with my name on it). You see, in your desire to let me know your limits, you didn't ask me about mine. I have no intention of marking, bleeding, or otherwise ruining you. Some things are best left between players who know each other very well. Before you think I'm going whole hog on you, don't worry. I won't do that until I know you very well.


The collar thing is something else, so I have to ask "What do you mean by a slave?" For me, slavery mean obedience. If obedience is not in your realm of doable, then I can't teach you how to be a slave. I can teach you how to look and act like a lady, a boy, a tramp or a brazen hussy, but in my vocabulary slaves obey and if I say "Wear it" he or she does. That said, you are welcome to find a teacher more to your taste. For me, having a slave who won't obey is a hard limit.


And safe words? No problem. I will be glad to use any word you like, though my preference is a simple request like "Please stop." You say it and I'll stop. As far as I'm concerned, ignoring a safe word is another hard limit. See I have walls too.


Have a great week, Jerry, and everyone else too. Jack


You can send me email at mrjackr@leathermail.com or visit my website at http://www.LeatherViews.com. You can also subscribe to my blog at LeatherMusings.blogspot.com. Copyright 2011 by Jack Rinella, all rights reserved.