Saturday, December 31, 2011

Are You Ready?

            I began slave hunting when I read John Preston's novel, Mr. Benson, in 1984. Since then I have met many applicants but only one (Patrick) has actually become my slave. A few moved in to try it out but they didn't last more than a few months.

            I met Patrick through an ad that my friend Bobby wrote for me. It began with the words "Are you ready?" Patrick was.

            Now I respect a person's decision that he or she isn't ready and understand that there are often circumstances that prohibit doing (or getting) what one wants to do. Family, real estate, employment, health and education may all rightly take precedent over less pressing goals. (But see the disclaimer below about priorities.)

            That said, what does the word ready really mean? My trusty dictionary tells me that it means "1. a : prepared mentally or physically for some experience or action; b : prepared for immediate use <dinner is ready>; 2 a : willingly disposed : inclined <ready to agree to his proposal>; b : likely to do something indicated <a house that looks ready to collapse>; 3 : displayed readily and spontaneously <a ready wit>; 4 : immediately available <had ready cash>"

            I bring the topic up because I am struggling with the idea that Chicago object (who I've been negotiating for more than a year) says he's "not ready" to commit himself to some kind of action leading toward enslavement. I ask him what would make him ready and get no answer. I tell him to make a plan as to how he could become ready and am greeted with the same silence.

            Patrick was in a unique position when I met him in 1996. He had sold his home, quit his job, and disposed of most of his possessions in order to move in with another master. Since he had done so, when that relationship proved untenable he contacted me and within six weeks he had moved in with me.

            Most of us don't have to do all of that to be ready, as there are usually intermediate steps that we can take that don't demand such a level of preparation. We can visit for a weekend, take a week's vacation to try something out, simply just meet for coffee, play at party, or experiment and explore without making any commitment at all.

            I am, after all, a strong proponent of making life-changing decisions rather slowly. Becoming ready takes time and effort in a variety of areas. As you can see, the dictionary points out several aspects of ready: physical, emotional, willingly, and likely.

            I have concluded that there are three ways to approach readiness:

            First is to have knowledge of what we seek. Neither mere curiosity nor unproven desires are enough. They might encourage us to explore the fantasy through reading, questioning, observation, and short, non-committal experiences, but they don't make us ready.

            Hopes, desires and fantasies that demand greater commitment ought to be founded on a broader and more thorough knowledge of what we seek. The lack of this knowledge, it seems to me, is the reason that seekers so often seem to be flakey in pursuing their fantasies. Not only do they not know what they really want, they often hold false beliefs about it.

            A guy, for instance, who is interested in experiencing a whipping, may think that it always entails blood. Most whippings, of course, are completely bloodless, yet that fear may hold him back from exploring his fantasy.

            Second, I believe that "readiness" exhibits a willingness to apply a certain amount of "work" to getting what you want. Unfortunately most things don't come as easily as we'd like and many life goals are in that category. Think, for instance, of what it takes to become a doctor, buy a home, or raise children.

            Why do we act as if finding a partner, becoming an expert at impact play, or having a  fine group of reliable friends is any different?

            Thirdly, and here is probably the most difficult thing about accomplishing one's goals, we have to accept a certain amount of risk if we are going to be successful in our search. As mom would say "Nothing ventured; nothing gained."

            If we are looking to attain what we want without putting aside some of our fear and being willing to experiment and explore, we will never be ready. The very words "explore" and "experiment" entail uncertainty. Doubt about an outcome is a cruel fact of life and no amount of preparation is ever going to completely eliminate it.

            I'm not suggesting that one goes off "half-cocked" at the drop of a hat. I am only pointing out that being ready doesn't have a 100% guarantee to it. As far as I can tell, the only fact of life that is guaranteed is death, though the fact that the sun will come up tomorrow is fairly reliable as well, though it may be "up" behind some pretty serious clouds.

            Too often we live in fear of failure. I certainly don't enjoy failing but since I am an expert in doing so, I can tell you that there can be hidden value in doing so. To fail gives us an excellent opportunity to learn, to correct our mistakes, change our methods and come to success.

            You don't have to take my word for it. Here are several quotes from Thomas Edison (taken from http://quotations.about.com/od/stillmorefamouspeople/a/ThomasEdison3.htm):

            "I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward."

            "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

            "Many of life's failures are men who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up."

            "Nearly every man who develops an idea works at it up to the point where it looks impossible, and then gets discouraged. That's not the place to become discouraged."

            "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."

            [Side note to Chicago object: "Opportunity is missed because it looks like sacrifice."]

            The last idea I have about being ready has to do with setting one's priorities. I think it's a simple fact that if something has a low priority, we're not going to be very ready (if at all) to do it. Sure the word "ready" takes a transitive verb, i.e., "I am ready," but what that doesn't reveal is that we must become ready. If it's not some kind of higher priority for us it will always take second place to something more important. It is that sense of priority that spurs us to prepare ourselves, to become ready.

            "Ready" doesn't happen all by itself. In most cases it takes work and usually lots of it. That's why I asked Chicago object what his plan is for being ready.

            Now if you think that being ready is just some kind of feeling, then I suppose you might wake up some day and be ready, but I would counter that a ready "feeling" is not the only part of actual readiness in matters that really matter. Feelings count but other factors such as reasonableness, possibility and past experiences count as well, if not more.

            In other words if what you seek has any kind of priority to you, then you're going to have to work on being ready. I wish I could wave some magic wand and make everyone ready, but I can't. Until then I'm going to continue to work at my being ready. Some things, after all, are important to me.

            Have a great week. Jack

* * * * *

Buying one of my books helps to pay for the cost of this email. Please visit my website at www.LeatherViews.com to make a purchase.


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.

Monday, December 26, 2011

What's the difference?

After more than a year of emails, texts, phone calls, and occasional meetings, Chicago object and I are still negotiating. The primary thing we have in common is our persistence in trying to develop a relationship.

I recently wrote an email to him, mostly concluding that "On the other hand, I may have skewed the conversation into the wrong direction. Perhaps it would be better to forego the idea of being an 'object' and instead focus on 'intense slavery, chattel slavery,' or some other variation on that theme."

To which he replied, "So what is the difference for you in 'chattel slavery' and objectification?"

My conclusion was prompted by the strong possibility that no one could or would live as an object. Chattel slavery, strictly defined, is illegal and immoral. Perhaps what we are really discussing is some kind of intense, on-going domination. What then are the differences?

It really amounts to a discussion of the nature of intimate human relationships, be they parental, spousal, sexual, or familial. For our usage, a dominant-submissive relationship can be considered both human and intimate, since intimacy also comes in many non-sexual varieties. So let me expand my thinking far beyond objectification or even slavery. Let me just talk about relationships.

It seems to me that consensual, intimate, and human relationships have certain qualities in common, in spite of the fact that we often ignore them. I would list them as: Mutually defined; On a continuum; Fundamentally human; Necessarily meeting one's needs; Unique; and Highly changeable.

When I discuss these relationships, I am purposefully excluding those that are dysfunctional, for whatever reason. Of course I do so at some risk, since most relationships probably have some (even though minor) kind of dysfunctionality.

So let me start.

Though many relationships have much in common, I'm going to venture that every relationship is unique. No two children are treated the same way by their parents, no two marriages are exact copies of each other, no two best friends are best in the same way.

I say that because we often think that there is some (even one) way that a relationship ought to be. Though we can certainly expect certain characteristics to be "given," there is still a wide variety of possibilities available in each and every one of them.

That then leads me to an axiom that I have held since the very earliest days of my writing career: Every relationship is defined by the two people in it. I say that with the understanding that even non-negotiated, non-intentional, and irrational relationships exist because the couples in them consent to the relationship, creating it by their interaction with one another. That applies even if their consent is simply by default, by inertia, or their inability to change.

The definition of the relationship is mutually arrived at, even if it doesn't seen that way. If it's not mutual, then it falls into the class of being dysfunctional. OK, I admit that "mutual" includes "agreed upon by default."

By the way, I would also say that agreement by default is probably a very common occurrence as too often we don't give enough (or even any) thought to the multitude of factors that create a relationship. I remember, for instance, that on the first day of our honeymoon, my wife was startled to find that she had married a man who squeezed the toothpaste at the wrong end of the tube. Oops, we had forgot to negotiate that. 

And yes, I am guilty. Even to this day I still squeeze the tube near the cap.

It may seem strange that I write about toothpaste in a column on kinky sex, but fundamentally all our relationships are human. Too often we ignore the "human side" of what we do. No matter what your fetish might be or how kinky you want to live, it still boils down to the fact that some 95% of what is going to happen is simply going to be what happens in any and all human relationships. Putting on the black skins of dead cows (or whatever fetish gear you wear) doesn't remove the foibles, faults, and idiosyncrasies that we all share.

In order to begin a relationship and then to keep it alive, it has to meeting your (plural) needs. I know that some would deny that, i.e., masters who think it's all about them and bottoms who protest that they only want to serve. Honestly though, if you're not happy in a relationship, it will sooner or later end.

All that, then, is to answer the question "What's the difference?" The difference isn't as well-defined as you would hope. Relationships exist on a continuum, "A continuous sequence in which adjacent elements are not perceptibly different from each other, although the extremes are quite distinct." Think about a rainbow. We know there are seven colors in a rainbow and we can see each of them. What we can't see is where one color ends and the next one begins. They just blend from one into the next.

So for instance, there are "slave relationships" with strict authoritarian masters and others with daddy-like easy-going ones. Between those two poles are innumerable variations in style, domination, surrender, protocols, and fetishes. "Each to its own," my mom used to say.

In this example, the difference is one of intensity, in other words, "management style." That's why we negotiate. Until we both know the expectations, the limits, and the rules of engagement, we really don't know what we are getting into. I can tell you I'm a master but until I tell you what I mean by the word, it really is an empty concept.

That may be the problem with the idea of becoming an "object." Does it mean that you're going to act like a lamp for the rest of your life or does it mean that you will be treated as an animal, with no regard for your feelings, that your life will be simply one of utilization as your owner's work horse?

Continuum? Do you eat food off the floor? Or eat food in a dish on the floor? Or eat food in a dish in the kitchen? Or eat food in a dish on the floor of the dining room? Or eat food at the dining room table with the rest of the household? Of maybe you're just kept in a cage all the time and food (on a plate or not) is served to you in the cage? Each is a different way of eating and has a different degree of humiliation.

My experience with all of this is rather illuminating. When Patrick moved in with me to be my slave nearly 17 years ago, I gave him a list of rules. Within a month of having done so, it's safe to say that most of the rules had been thrown out the door. I had this grand notion, for instance, that he would balance my checkbook. Boy was I misinformed. Some things are just not to be.

That food in the cage idea is one of them. I had a friend who kept his slave in a dog cage for four days. At the end of that time, the poor guy was both numb and sore and he had lost feeling in his hands and feet. It all came back in a few days so there was no long-term problem, but it just goes to show that as much as we might want to define a relationship in a given way, we still have to include the human factor.

And that human factor means that everything is changeable. Our relationships evolve and mature daily, even if the movement is imperceptible. No matter how it starts and how you define it, it's going to be different sometime along the way.

None of the above, of course, really answers Chicago object's question. The best way for him, or any of us for that matter, to know what it will be like is to try it, to let it grow and evolve naturally, roll with the punches and enjoy it as much and as long as we can.

Recognize that relationships aren't cut in stone, they are lived in real flesh in real time. Experiencing as much of it as you can is the best way, in fact the only way, to know what it will be like and from there to fashion it into one that you meet both your needs.

Have a great week. Jack

* * * * *

Buying one of my books helps to pay for the cost of this email. Please visit my website to make a purchase.


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.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

How to Shoot Yourself in the Foot

You'd think that I would have learned by now, but part of me is repeatedly surprised by people who are seeking sex, either casual or committed, and who act to their own disadvantage.

I'm not sure whether it's a case of being stupid, uninformed, manner-less or clueless. When I ask such non-performers why they did something, it is usually with the answer that they are "shy."

Yes, they are shy of common sense, native intelligence, important information or manners. Really, you know, everything you need to know about getting laid, married, fucked, or whatever you're seeking you were, as they say, taught in kindergarten. You probably let the teacher's voice go in one ear and out the other.

As you can tell from the title of this blog, the person you (mostly) hurt is yourself. Your flaky, faulty, thoughtless actions only injure yourself and perpetuate the state you wish to end, be it loneliness, horniness, or single-hood.

OK – Disclaimer time: Maybe this doesn't apply to. If it doesn't that's great. In that case, if you want to learn how to shoot yourself in the foot, do some (or all) of the following:

Don't communicate.

Seriously now. Let your discretion, fear, shyness, guilt or embarrassment stop you from passing on helpful, interesting, necessary, alluring or enticing information. The less your prospective partner knows about you, the better are the chances he or she won't bother you any longer.

Give false information.

Really. The truth won't help in a relationship and if you think the truth won't get "out" then you are setting yourself for failure. That's what you want isn't it?

Forget who's watching.

You're right about talk. No one cares if you can "walk the walk." When you say one thing and do another no one's going to notice. By the way, if your prospect is hypocritical as well, ignore the hypocrisy. After all you certainly don't want to succeed, do you?

Don't keep your word.

If you say you'll do something, like call or meet or send a picture, you don't really have to, since no one is watching. No one cares if you're a no show or don't return calls. They'll just think you're a flake and you will therefore fail.

Fail to show up.

OK, this is a repeat. But I can tell you from vast experience that not showing up when you say you will is really a good way to avoid relationships, tricks, sex, and success. By the way, whatever you do, if you're not going to show up, never call the other person to warn them. Let your inaction tell them what kind of jerk you are.

Confuse discretion with deception.

The closet, after all, is really the safest place to be. We all understand that cheaters, liars, fakes and flakes have to be discreet.

Underestimate your friends.

Your friends don't really want to know the real you, so be careful not to tell them the important things in your heart. You're right to think that sharing fantasies, hopes, and desires is something that will end their friendship with you. A frivolous friendship is much better than a real one.

Live in fear.

It really is better for you.

Don't make plans or time.

Making plans is dangerous because then you'll have to do something. In the same vein, setting aside time to reach your goals is no way to guarantee failure. We do agree, don't we, that sexual fulfillment of any kind is a very low priority, as are relationships and true friendships. Face it: your desires aren't worth making time for either.

Compromise your ethics, your ideals, or your dreams.

Only by compromising will you ensure that you'll never get what you truly want. It is as simple as that.

Ignore your faults.

This is the most important activity. After all, the one certain thing is that the world and everyone in it is wrong, not you.

Have a great week, even if it is all by yourself. Jack

* * * * *

Buying one of my books helps to pay for the cost of this email. Please visit my website to make a purchase.


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.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Cheating Trick

It's the day before he's planning on coming over for sex. I'll call him Jeff, since I don't even know his real name. I do know that he is 26, has had multiple BDSM experiences with men, lives with his fiancée of three years, and his marriage date is about two months away.

I met him about a year ago, when he came over for sex. As per my usual practice, when he arrived we sat in the living room to talk about what might transpire between us. For some reason we hadn't talked very much on the phone, which is my preferable way to begin negotiations. When I asked him if he was single, he admitted to living with his girlfriend.

We spoke about that for a while and I gave him my standard spiel: "Cheating is a slippery slope. You think you can get this gay thing out of your system or that you can cheat forever without being caught, but that's not going to happen."

I wrote about this topic many years ago. It was a difficult essay and the difficulty has not gone away. Tricking under these circumstances is participating in a lie, is being hypocritical, and contributes to the likely trauma of an unfortunate and difficult breakup.

I've been there. Late in 1973 at the age of 27, I discovered my attraction to men. For the next ten years, I struggled with my homosexuality, denying and repressing my feelings until, usually during a full moon, I could no longer do so. It was on those nights that I snuck away to an adult bookstore or a gay bar, had a quick sexual encounter and, full of guilt, went home to my family.

It was a slippery slope. In the early years I cheated only sporadically, in fact rarely, but over time the lure of male flesh grew stronger and stronger, my infidelity increased, and deception wove an ever-stronger web. By 1980 or so, my wife and I were in counseling and the struggle to admit my real self began in earnest. It was no easy journey.

I lived in dread of losing everything and in some ways, for some time, I almost did. 28 years after our divorce, the wounds are healed (I think), my ex-wife happily married, my children accepting of my life, and there is no need for deception. The happy ending, though, masks much heartache and many tears. Believe me, death is easier to cope with than divorce, especially when there are two young children involved.

When Jeff contacted me last week about meeting, I knew that we had met before but I didn't remember the circumstances. This time, though, we were able to have a discussion on the phone and he reminded me of the last meeting, where he had left after my lecture about his girlfriend.

A year later his desires continue. "Why me?" I asked.

"Because I think you have the experience to make me go through with it," he replied.

In each of his past encounters he has come to a point in the scene where he abruptly left, unable to cope with the intensity of the BDSM. Now he hopes that I won't stop the flogging or the beating, the pain or the sex, that I will give him a "no escape" experience.

I can't help but think of myself in his position. Of course, I never met a person like me when I was going through this process. One or two guys suggested I stop cheating and be faithful to my wife, another told me I needed a gay therapist, but by and large it was silent and anonymous sex.

I tried everything except "Ex-gay Therapy," including confession, repentance, and exorcism. After all, while I was cheating I was pastor of a conservative, Bible-believing church. None of it worked (and doesn't). The more I promised myself "Never again," the more frequently I broke my word.

OK, enough about me. What about Jeff?

Do I tell him to forget me? Do I urge him to come out? Do I say "Cancel the wedding plans and find a counselor to help you fix this mess?"

You know, don't you, that I'm not only writing about Jeff. We live in a world of hypocrites (and yes you can include me).

I have no answer to eliminating hypocrisy. It is everywhere: in politics, in churches, in sex, in munches, in paying taxes and in neighborhood taverns, local schools, in public dungeons and private affairs.

Likewise I will admit that Jesus condemned hypocrisy much more often than homosexuality. In the four gospels (King James Version) the word hypocrisy and its derivatives appear 24 times. The word homosexuality, not once.

I don't have an answer as to what I should do. There are several courses of action to take: Do nothing; Lecture him and send him home; Give him the "no escape" experience he desires; Find his fiancée and tell her what's going on; Go the wedding the stand up when the minister asks if anyone objects; Film or photograph the scene and use it as evidence against him; etc.

My feelings are rather strong about all this, though by no means certain. As you may tell from the above, I am filled with thoughts of my own process and, in fact, rather grateful for the gay men who helped me slip down the slope.

I am also rather certain about the need to be non-judgmental, even tolerant of Jeff's plight. There is part of me that imagines that a hot scene with no escape will convince him to come clean. Most of me thinks I am making much too much of all this and that

"Que Sera, Sera,
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours, to see
Que Sera, Sera
What will be, will be."

Without completely re-living and re-writing my own history, there is no changing my life, my decisions, and my indiscretions. What I went through was the process of learning who I was, what that meant, and who was the authentic "me." It is the same for each of us, Jeff included. I wish him luck.

Postscript a week later: Jeff didn't show up as scheduled.

Have a great week. Jack

* * * * *

Buying one of my books helps to pay for the cost of this email. Please visit my website to make a purchase.


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.