Thursday, December 13, 2012

Documenting a Relationship


For long-term readers of my posts, it is no surprise (or is it?) that I spend a great deal of time attempting to create relationships. I am rather persistent about doing so and, when the forces of attraction, possibility, fantasy and probability align just right, I work hard at it.

So my Chicago object-applicant and I have been negotiating since December, 2010.

Recently we returned to the idea “key holder” for a chastity device.

For him, it has a high place on his list of desires. For me, it represents a step in the direction of control. Now it’s just a step, but that is always the way a long journey begins.

So over the weekend, I told him to buy a male chastity device. Yesterday he did.

The (edited) dialogue went this way:

Object:  I think the chastity idea is a good way to start You probably know that I have conceived of chastity prior to submission...followed by indefinite orgasm denial. If that is even possible?

Me: Yes. There is little I don't know about you.

Object: What kind of device would you want me to get??

Me:       A good one that you can wear for long periods and that can go through security checkpoints.

Object:  It is part of the overall privation and suffering the object should experience. Eventually it knows it would happen...on your terms. And the increase awareness of being controlled. Yes.. A constant reminder.

Me:       Then do it. Submit your genitals to my control.

This morning this we had this text:

Object:  I ordered the chastity thing.

Me:       I'm glad to hear that

Object:  Feels kind of silly unless it is being "required" or unless there is a key holder.

Me:       Do we need to discuss this? I told you to buy it. That might not exactly mean "required" but short of your surrendering to my control, it comes close. As for "key holder" did I err in thinking that was me?

He agreed that I was right….

The un-discussed topic here is that I am very wary of assuming what is agreed upon in a relationship. It seems to me, having lots of experience with failed relationships, that one of the primary reasons they fail is that one partners assumes certain conditions that the other partner is unaware of.

Herein lies the value of documenting the discussion in writing. Make it as simple as notes or as formal as a written agreement. Pen and paper have memories much more reliable than ours. “What did we say?” and  “What did we mean?” are both questions that, when the discussion is documented, are substantially easier to answer.

So there will be a written agreement (we had a similar one last Spring). I get my sense of control over part of him. He gets the strong reminder that I am in control of his sexual behavior.

It works for both of us!

Have a great day. Jack

* * * * *

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

I am in the process of changing my delivery options. Please go to http://feeds.feedburner.com/blogspot/mQyjG and sign up to have my blog emailed to you.


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 2012 by Jack Rinella, all rights reserved.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Time


The one mystery in life, the one thing that is always in limited supply, once gone never and retrieved is time.

I was struck by the idea of time in two ways today. First a friend of mine called me a “hero” because I have sex every day (almost) and sometimes twice a day (often but not that often).

I told him there was a secret to having daily sex and he wanted to know what it was. “Turn off the television,” I told him.

You see, I have frequent sex because I want to have sex often and therefore I plan my day so that there is time to do it.

The other notion of time came to me because an object-applicant told me he would want a contract to sign when he submitted to me. Now I’ve already sent him two versions, one in December of 2011 and another in May of 2012. I reminded him to read them.

Nevertheless I pulled out the most recent contract, read it and improved it. That’s when it dawned on my how much time I have spent negotiating a relationship with this guy. I recorded in my notes that his first contact with me was on December 27, 2010, though it turns out we had actually met five years before but nothing came of it.

So there you have it, kinkster. Time.

Want to do something? Make time for it.

Want something to happen? Well it just might take some more time. Keep at it, do what you can to make it happen, and while you’re doing your part, just let time do it’s thing.

Time. They just don’t make enough of it, so what you have to use, use wisely.

Have a great day. Jack

* * * * *

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

I am in the process of changing my delivery options. Please go to http://feeds.feedburner.com/blogspot/mQyjG and sign up to have my blog emailed to you.


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 2012 by Jack Rinella, all rights reserved.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Symphony


One of the significant advantages to living in Chicago is the wide variety and high quality of its cultural life, among which the Chicago Symphonic Orchestra is at the top of my list. I write that the morning after I attended yet another of their stellar performances. As Patrick says, “No one ever feels sorry for you, Sir.”

A good scene is like a great symphonic orchestra: the right people, talent, time, fantasy, equipment and the ability to “play well together.”

What do you consider when you consider having a scene? Do you look at all the variables? And what do you consider for the long term?

Like an expert rendition of a symphony, a concerto or a fugue, great sex takes “all of the above.” There is an unspoken (and erroneous) myth that “sex is natural.” Well, of course it is, if in “sex” you mean the simple act of intercourse. Anyone can figure out that the outie part of the guy fits into the innie part of the woman.

But I am not talking about reproduction. I am talking about the art of great sex. What are you doing to improve your art?

Do you research great methodology? Listen to great teachers? Discuss the action with your partner? Make plans to achieve the best? Do you practice? Do you review and critique in a healthy way?

If you think that just showing up is all it takes, you are kidding yourself. Art takes work, serious committed work.

I usually have great sex. I have my partners to thank for that, of course. I would like to note, though, that it doesn’t come “naturally.” Let me be quick to add, though, that it is worth the effort. Ask any musician in the CSO and he or she will agree.

Have a great day. Jack

* * * * *

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

I am in the process of changing my delivery options. Please go to http://feeds.feedburner.com/blogspot/mQyjG and sign up to receive my weekly email via my blog site.


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 2012 by Jack Rinella, all rights reserved.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Social Media


Having just celebrated my 66th birthday, I guess I can be excused for noting the general degradation of communication today.

We have this myth about electronic communication, one that tells us that email, texting, social websites and tweeting all facilitate communication. If you regard the distribution of data as communication, then I guess you are correct.

However I have noticed a serious disconnect between what many people say via electrons and what they actually do. Typing a phrase, and here I quote a recent message I received, "I WANT TO BE OWNED," and actually doing something about it are two different things.

Here's the background: I wrote to a guy who have visited my profile on a hook-up site. I began the conversation this way: "call me at 312-206-8793 when you are free." That was in May. He never did call but he did reply "YES MASTER." The caps are his.

In October he hit me up on the site. I asked him what was he seeking. He replied, "TOTAL CONTROL PAIN PIG SLAVE SIR." He did send me contact information.

This past week his communications started up again. Rather than bore you with more of the same, let me just say that I have called him three times this week and he hasn't returned my calls. I did see him online very late one night and texted him to see if he wanted to talk. He texted back that he was groggy and would call me in 30 minutes. As might be expected, he didn't.

Over and over again I find that when it comes to online communications, words and actions just don't match. As a therapist once told me, "When a client says one thing and does another, I always listen to what he does."

Keep your words and actions consistent and you will be much happier for it. And guess what? So will the person with whom you're communicating.


Have a great day. Jack

* * * * *

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

I have changed the way I my deliver my column. Please go to http://feeds.feedburner.com/blogspot/mQyjG and sign up to receive my weekly email via my blog site.


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 2012 by Jack Rinella, all rights reserved.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Restarting


It’s been a long while since I’ve posted a blog (March 26, 2012). Much of that had to do with being so busy last Spring; during June and July, I was away in California and then Australia; and finally I just stopped writing a weekly column.

I’m telling myself that it’s time to start again.

This re-start, I think, ought to be different. The world has changed a great deal since I began my weekly columns in Gay Chicago Magazine in 1992. Then it appeared in print, weekly. Gradually I gained some email readership. Eventually I had more than 4,000 readers.

Bogs have generally replaced columns. Though many columnists are still writing, I see that they are also blogging.

Blogs tend, I see, to be shorter, more personal and more frequent. I like that idea.

Here then are today’s thoughts.

Slightly more than two years ago I posted a profile describing myself as the DarkLordinChicago, a whole new persona for me. I sought to embrace what I felt were extreme, intense and dark side aspects of my hidden self. It was a mixture of lust, curiosity and a quest to become both more authentic and more whole.

The questions that such a quest raises are myriad and not very easily explained in the context of the 21st century. How does one deal, essentially, with evil, with selfishness, with dark desire?

I see the general “theater of  kink” as an attempt to explore and express that which each of holds deeply (and usually quite hidden) within ourselves. It is that desire to explore and express that keeps me involved in the world of kink.

That said, I am quick to remember that “the world of kink” ought to be fun. Let the psychology, the sociology and the theology of all of what it is that we do take second place to happiness, self-fulfillment, contentment and honest fellowship.

Have a great day.

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

I am in the process of changing my delivery options. Please go to http://feeds.feedburner.com/blogspot/mQyjG and sign up to receive my weekly email via my blog site.


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 2012 by Jack Rinella, all rights reserved.




Monday, March 26, 2012

The Perfect or the Good?

            Since I created my “Dark Lord” profile, I have repeatedly found myself in a dialogue with guys who are seeking total incarceration in my dungeon for the rest of their lives. They pepper their profiles with ideas such as “no escape,” “permanent slavery,” and “prisoner for life.”

            Eventually the discussion comes down to this: “It costs approximately $1,000 a month to live in this house. That includes utilities, food, rent, internet, phone, etc. A conservative estimate is that health insurance would cost about $500 a month.... Do you expect your future master [me] to support you?”

            In their perfect fantasy, the answer is “Yes.” They think that the master they will find has enough wealth to financially support them for the rest of their lives.

            Here is a sample response: “Well Sir, its only income is about $250 a month… If it is to be kept captive it obviously won't be going to a job, so whether this for real or not depends on You Sir. If You are unwilling to feed it then so be it, Sir, it will not be able to submit to You Sir.”

My reply illustrates my opinion on this attitude: “As I thought... so go find yourself another owner.”

He answered: “Understood Sir, but it has to ask how You can turn a slave into what You specify in Your profile and have it go out to work, Sir?”

            OK, the vast majority of my readers have no intention of becoming slaves or masters. Their fantasies are much more practical and livable. Still, I think, there are lessons to be drawn from the above exchange.

            In a perfect world good scenes would last forever. Such an occurrence is the “stuff” of fantasy. In this case we can safely equate fantasy with fiction. Consider any good novel as an example. We rarely see the villain paying his bills or going to do the laundry. The heroine is seldom shown having her hair dyed or scrubbing pots and pans. With very few exceptions we don’t go to the movies to watch an actor sleep for eight hours, brush his or her teeth, or read a book.

            Real life is edited out of our fiction and is seldom recognized as part of the “reality” of a fantasy made true. Let’s look at the definition of fantasy from the Miriam-Webster dictionary: “fancy; especially: the free play of creative imagination; a creation of the imaginative faculty whether expressed or merely conceived: as a: a fanciful design or invention, b: a chimerical or fantastic notion, c : fantasia, d : imaginative fiction featuring especially strange settings and grotesque characters —called also fantasy fiction.”

            I’m certainly in favor of using our imagination to create a powerful and satisfying scene. The fact of the matter is that we can do a great deal of what might be fantasy in the limited time-frame of a scene. We can, after all, ignore our cell phones, disregard the laundry, or put off paying our bills for a weekend.

            It’s easy to “disappear” into a dungeon for a few days. It is problematic to disappear “without a trace” for six months or a year.

            So we must come to the conclusion that what might work in a scene (i.e., immobile bondage) won’t work for a long term relationship. In a perfect world, for instance, mummification in a full body plaster cast could go on forever. In this world, after the passage of a day or so, the need to eat, defecate, and move would become increasingly pressing.

            Sometime after the first month of seeking an “extreme slave” I began to question the place of limits in my fantasy. If I sought a “no limits” slave were there things that I just would not do? The best example was presented to me by a guy who wanted me to kill him. His “snuff” fantasy was hot and arousing but significantly illegal.

            So I gave some serious thought to what my limits were, believing that my limits protected both of us. I came up with three limits: in short, I wouldn’t endanger anyone’s health; do anything illegal; or allow a “slave” to become financial dependent upon me.

            Face it. A slave whose health is impaired is much less useful than a healthy one. I’m not willing to go to jail for my fantasy. A master who has to financially support his slave is, in my opinion, a slave to his slave.

            Just as I don’t play with people who won’t give up their limits for me, I won’t give up my limits for them. No problem, we just respect each other and go our separate ways.

            We can forego many things in the short run, such as lunch, regular exercise, or going to work. If we are seeking to experience our fantasy over an extended period of time, we must take into consideration what has to happen over that period of time. It’s one thing to negotiate a scene and quite another thing to negotiate a long term relationship.

            Whereas scenes “end” at a given time, we would hope that relationships are built to last. Unfortunately, as with the applicant quoted above, we often fail to distinguish between scene and relationship.

            I think that we can look at the example of a common human relationship, such as marriage. Once two people are married, that relationship continues 24/7. When “dad” goes to work he goes as a married man, even though he does very little at work that involves his marriage. Marriage (usually) involves sex, a honey moon, children (or not), sharing one’s income with one’s partner, etc. and work doesn’t.

            Going to work does not end the marriage. In the same way, having a job doesn’t cancel out one’s slavery. Even at work the slave is going to have to obey his or her master, keep the rules that have been agreed upon, and will have his or her choices limited in ways that his co-workers might not even imagine.

In fact, in this case, “going to a job” is an expression of the slave’s obedience. Her surrender of a paycheck is another example of the same thing. My applicant asks: “How You can turn a slave into what You specify in Your profile and have it go out to work, Sir?”

            Easy. You go to work because you are my property and you do what you are told to do. You see, my fantasy is that I am a master, not a jailer or a prison warden. You have the right to define your fantasy anyway you like. I suspect, though, that in the long run, you will have a hard time finding the master who agrees to become your warden for more than a week or so.

            So I am left asking the question “Is your need for a perfect fantasy so great that you will forego a good one?” Isn’t this one of those times when “half a loaf is better than none?” Remember I am not implying that the practical and pragmatic long term relationship omits the extreme, fantasy-fulfilling inclusion of great scenes. I am only saying that scenes and relationships have two entirely different sets of criteria.

            In the first case, a scene can be as wild as you can handle. In the second, the weekend ends on Monday morning.

            Perhaps this tenacious hold on an impossible fantasy is subconsciously purposeful, since it guarantees that it will never happen. There is therefore no need to settle for second best because one would rather have the fantasy, discuss it online ad nauseam, and never have to give it up for something that is more attainable.

            All that, you see, and you can blame your lack of fantasy fulfillment on recalcitrant masters rather than on your own self-defeating retention of a never-to-be actualized fantasy. If fiction is what you want, then call yourself an author and write it down. If life is what you want, then get real and enjoy what you can while you can.

Have a great week. Jack

* * * * *

From The Midwest Book Review:

The strangest of things can bring you closer to the divine. “The Dionysian Alliance” is a suspenseful novel following Detective Benjamin Kramer and his discovery of his ancestry within a religious order that promises to bring him into every dirty thing he can imagine, followers of Dionysos, the ancient god of wine and ecstasy. “The Dionysian
Alliance” is  a fun and riveting read that should prove difficult to put down.

I am in the process of changing my delivery options. Please go to http://feeds.feedburner.com/blogspot/mQyjG and sign up to receive my weekly email via my blog site.


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 2012 by Jack Rinella, all rights reserved.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Urge

It’s true: Once upon at time, a long, long time ago, I was a newbie.

Just like everyone else, I had to muster up my courage to enter the dark, dangerous-appearing, and hard-to-find world of kink. In those days (early 1980’s) that meant finding a Leatherman’s bar, such as the Gold Coast (Chicago), The Lure (New York), or Lafitte’s in Exile (New Orleans).

I was married, with two young children, and did my best to repress my gay self. I didn’t believe I had a gay self, much less a kinky self and, as most others did and some still do, I resisted the urge. Over and over again I said “No” to the compulsion for cock, for man to man sex, for satisfaction of the lusts that burned inside my soul.

As much as I tried, I failed to stay faithful, monogamous, heterosexual. At the full of the moon, my body would rage, pushing me to find an adult bookstore, a gay bar, a guy who would satisfy and silence my libido.

I’ve changed a great deal since then and there is no longer any need for repression, no more guilt, and no more sneaking around. Haven’t even been in an adult bookstore in years.

For many, of course, the struggle still remains.

As you may have read, since November of 2010, I have been cruising hook-up sites as the “Dark Lord,” “Seeking those who wish to surrender without limit.”

My online profile continues: “Experienced Lord and Master seeks additional property. I seek to be obeyed and worshipped. My primary fetish is control which I exercise both sexually and sadistically. I have an exceptionally high libido and the primary objective of my search is to find men who will be used to satisfy my every sexual desire, without limit or hesitation. I seek to transform you into another toy for my pleasure and sexual gratification.”

Seventeen months later, more than 200 men have approached me, the vast majority of them going so far as to send me their phone numbers. I have learned much about these men and their desires and one of the most constant of their shared characteristics is the urge to surrender, to be under another’s control.

“Urge” is a good word to use, but there are many others: lust, desire, compulsion, obsession, craving, need, irresistible push. They share the feelings that this is their birth-need, their destiny, their inevitable fate. For them, as with my 37-year-old self of some 28 years ago, “Resistance is futile.”

Let me give three examples:

The first is from an experienced Gay man in California. He is noteworthy because, though we have had no real-time contact, he visits my profile regularly:

Sun 6 Nov 2011
DarkLordinChicago:   Back again, I see.
CalPig:  Yes Sir, like a fly to honey.
DarkLordinChicago: So fly to O'Hare and I'll take it from there
CalPig:  Yes Sir, on a future vacation.
Tuesday
DarkLordinChicago: Back again!
Wednesday
CalPig:  Yes Sir, thinking ...
DarkLordinChicago: Ah. Now all I need is thought in action
CalPig: Yes, indeed. Putting thought into action is always the challenge, isn't it? Chattel slavery is most extreme, and therefore I am drawn to the idea. In reality I know what is possible, and being drawn to Superior power is most attractive.
Friday
DarkLordinChicago: Drawn but afraid?
CalPig: Yes, strongly drawn and afraid Sir.

The “urge” fights against the fear. Over and over again those two emotions struggle within a person’s heart. “Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t,” my mother would say.

There are, I would think, many reasons for this being so. First off, the status quo is always more comfortable than any anticipated change.

Secondly, there is a great fear of the unknown. “What does this mean? How will this end? Am I crazy? How will this work? Can it work?” are all challenges to the idea of fulfilling one’s fantasies, especially the dark, taboo, and outside the “normal” ones.

There’s also a fear of failure, that this idea just can’t work.

Mostly, though, it is the unknown.

As ChicagoObject wrote: "Was just re-reading your 'contract' and it always makes me feel like I am being drawn to the edge of a precipice."

I know it is hardly credible to say so, but ChicagoObject and I have been negotiating for nearly all of the last17 months.

For him, there is no “sight” to the bottom of that precipice. He feels blind as to what could happen, anxious to pin me down to every detail, while fearing that there is more to it than he can handle, more than he can learn and more than he can sanely survive.

Still he relentlessly pursues me.

An applicant whom I’ll call NYsubmissive says the same: “I’ve had homo-erotic fantasies and desires since my preteen years. These are becoming more frequent and stronger with age to the point of occasionally being obsessive and even disrupting my daily routine.  
            I will admit that the idea of total objectification builds in my mind and drives me crazy for days on end, but then becomes too scary and unreasonable. When I give in to the temptation to jerk off, it leaves, then slowly builds again, etc...”

That is the typical pattern. It is an emotional roller coaster of desire and repression, of embracing the fantasy and then running from it.

I should warn you about my “pop psychology” but it seems to me that this urge is, in fact, a critical part of what Carl Jung calls the “individuation” process. The following quote is summarized from http://www.schuelers.com/ChaosPsyche/part_1_27.htm

“Jung calls the main task that we face during the second half of our life the individuation process, an open-ended process of psychological maturity. It is a process of maturation in which the psyche ages or matures in much the same manner as the physical body. The general guidelines are summarized  as consisting of four parts:

“1.  Becoming conscious of the shadow. The shadow is our dark side, containing those things that we have repressed or ignored for one reason or another. It usually manifests to us in dreams as an archetypal figure who is dark and ominous. Just as the persona [conscious self or ego] is that part of us that we want to present to the world, so the shadow contains those things that we want to hide from the world, and from ourselves. This dark side of ourselves must be confronted and accepted, at least in part, as the first step in the individuation process.

“2.  Becoming conscious of our feminine and masculine sides.  The individuation process is, above everything else, a process of wholeness. This includes sexual completeness.

“3.  Becoming conscious of the archetypal spirit. The individuation process is primarily one of uniting opposites. In the first step, we unite good and evil and try to see ourselves as capable of both. Eastern religions often symbolize this with the lotus, which has its roots below in the dirty mud and its flower in the clean air above. In the second, we see ourselves as containing both masculine and feminine characteristics. Now we must unite matter and spirit, form and formlessness, body and psyche.

“4.  Becoming conscious of the Self. Jung called this final step self-realization- “We could therefore translate individuation as “coming to selfhood” or “self-realization” (Jung, 1977, p. 173).

“Jung’s (1978) individuation is similar, if not identical, to the self-actualization of Maslow (1968; 1971).”

The ego, fearing its destruction, resists the process of individuation, not wanting to surrender its control over to the unconscious Self. This inner struggle is manifest in the urge/fear interplay that my candidates feel. Rather than being destroyed, the process is meant to align ego and Self in a harmonious and productive relationship. Rather than being simply an inner conflict, It is a reasonable manifestation of the maturation of the psyche, a process that leads to wholeness, to the living a more authentic life.

In this context authenticity implies that one surrenders to the Self within, eschews, in some way, the pressures of society to conform, and embraces one’s uniqueness and individuality. Did you think that all we did in our dungeons was “play.” Now you see why my Old Guard forebears called it “work.”

As I wrote to NYsubmissive: “The task is to discern whether the impulse is authentic to your inner self or merely a jerk off fantasy. Only you can tell for certain. Discussion and experimentation can give you clues and ideas to reflect on.”

BDSM, as we practice it, provides us with safe, sane, and consensual environment in which to explore the urges we feel. Jung would note that not all unconscious desires need be fully lived, that ritual and theater can provide the psyche with soul-satisfying experience without destruction.

It is this ability to “explore” and “experiment” that teaches us what is authentic about us, what should be accepted and included in our lives, and what is mere never-to-be-real fantasy.

A blog is hardly the place to explore Jungian psychology and the maturation of the psyche, but here we are, struggling to let that fantasy come out, afraid of what it means for our lives.


Have a great week. Jack

* * * * *

I am in the process of changing my delivery options. Please go to http://feeds.feedburner.com/blogspot/mQyjG and sign up to receive my weekly email via my blog site.

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 2012 by Jack Rinella, all rights reserved.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Reflection on Love & Life

A recent string of emails on one of the sites I cruise started with this:

“Sir, I could live my life with your rules as long as it was for life. I would want to have nothing more than you as my Lord and Master.” As usual I checked the guy’s profile and found he already had a master so I wrote back: “So who is the man you now call master?”

“Sir,” he answered. “He is a master I love very much but I know I will never be more than a part-time slave to him. I am OK with that most of the time. Then there are times when I long to really belong and know my place with a master, one who will never let me forget my place in life. The problem is I have fallen in love with master and still want more, not just part-time slavery.”

I gave him my response: “I am certainly willing to consider enslaving you but only with the consent of your present master. I am not one to steal another's slave.”

And he replied “Thanks but it was stupid of me to think about it anyway. I care too much for my master. I was feeling pretty lonely and wanting more than just part time slavery. I am lucky to have what he gives me.”

There are several principles here that affect negotiations and our decisions as to how and what we negotiate. As I see it, they are holism, authenticity, honesty, the role of love, and the place of emotion in what it is that we do.

Holism

I am a strong advocate of moderation, balance, and centeredness. In order to maintain those qualities it’s important that we live holistic lives, which means that we need to  keep the many factors of our humanity in mind as we evaluate how we will act. Too often we make decisions based on one or two criteria, unfortunately being mindless about other factors that may be equally important, albeit neglected.

For instance we might decide to do something based on short-term benefits, neglecting the long-term impact of our decision.


Authenticity


There are many courses of action that are open to each of us. One of the most important and difficult ones is “To thine own self be true.” I say this because knowing oneself is not an easy proposition. It takes wisdom and maturity to know who and what we are. Both of those qualities, unfortunately, take time, and lots of it, often measured in years and in mistakes.

Yet true happiness, it seems to me, demands that we be authentic, i.e., faithful to the selfhood found in and defined by our most inner selves, our essential selves.


Honesty

Having found that self, we then must live that selfhood honestly. First, we must be honest with ourselves, neither denying who and what we are nor trying to be someone we are not.

That, too, is difficult because society, in all its facets, usually has other plans for us. My parents, for instance, expected me to be happily married until death parted my ex-wife and me. My brother expects that I should better support myself, perhaps by writing about a subject that would be more lucrative than kink. My Dad always wanted me to find a better job, even though writing and teaching satisfied my real self much more than any other careers I could imagine for myself.

We live in a world that accepts pretense, masks, and white lies. Honesty often bears the price of estrangement, ostracism, ridicule, and isolation.


The role of love


My friend quoted above (the emails are edited for clarity) speaks about love.


I need to take care here, since I am struck by his use of the term and by the idea that love is a poorly-used word. Is it love that he feels or is it infatuation? Are his feelings for his master honest? If so, then why does he feel “pretty lonely and wanting more?” Why doesn’t love bring him joy and satisfaction? If nothing else why does he tell me about his dis-satisfaction when he should speak to the one he loves about it?

Ah, there’s the rub. Can he not be honest with his master? Does the relationship lack authenticity in some way? Does he settle for second best because getting what he thinks he wants is unattainable or too difficult?

Of course, the infatuation may not be with the master but with the idea of slavery. Perhaps he fools himself into thinking that full-time slavery will solve his problems. I can’t answer any of these questions but each of has the responsibility to consider such kinds of questions when and if they arise in our lives.


The place of emotion


Lastly, as my friends know, I can be an emotional person. I feel things strongly and am quick to acknowledge the emotions that I feel. Emotions bring us a whole different set of values and ways to perceive what is happening. I strongly feel that the emotional aspect of our lives have much value and need to be recognized.


Still I have to return to the idea of holism. Too often we make decisions that reflect our feelings at the time. When our feelings change, we are then left with decisions that are no longer acceptable. I am certainly susceptible to that, as my feelings can easily put me on a real roller-coasting ride.


I have found that recognizing the emotions I feel at a given time helps me to put my current feelings into their proper perspective. It is a matter of having a dialogue with oneself about the feelings of the moment and recognizing that it is a feeling of the moment and therefore one that can well change in another moment.


One of the things I often suggest is that in time of critical decision-making we keep a journal and in it note our feelings about the topic under consideration on a daily basis. As we document those feelings over the course of a month or so we can then go back and review the highs and lows of those feelings and arrive at a more balanced knowledge of how we actually feel about a situation, rather than how we might feel about it in a given moment.


In conclusion

It’s important that we reflect upon our thoughts and feelings, especially as they affect our actions. In doing so our lives become more balanced, more authentic, and therefore more satisfying. In any case, this process is meant to create in our kinky lives the one characteristic that is most important: fun. If it’s not fun, then we need to charge of our decision-making process so that we get the results we will enjoy, not the second-rate ones we think we have to settle for.

Have a great week, that is one where your life is authentic and your face has a smile on it. 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, January 20, 2012

Journaling

            It's probably no surprise that I'm in favor of keeping a diary, since I can look back on nearly 20 years of writing and see how doing so has enhanced my life. I use the words journal and diary interchangeably and would agree with Webster's definition: "A personal record of occurrences, experiences, and reflections kept on a regular basis; a diary."

            That said, I have a diary near my bed. There I keep records of dreams and ideas particularly related to my spiritual or "inner" life. On my computer you will find numerous documents that collectively qualify as parts of my journal: my bogs, my manuscripts for books in progress, emails and transcribed text messages, and random writings.

            As many of you know, for the past year I have been seeking a man willing to become an "object" for my pleasure and service. I have kept rather complete records of my conversations with these men, essentially a diary of enthrallment. I also encourage my applicants to dairy about our conversations and meetings in order to better decide if we are a fit and to help them learn more about themselves.

            This just one of the many examples of what I do with diaries. I've come up with five reasons why I journal: Documentation, Remembrance, Long-term view, Reflection, Clarity, and Career.

Documentation.

            Without documenting events, thoughts, and feelings, they quickly fade out of view. Therefore keeping a record of them insures a kind of permanence that allows us to experience the rest of the benefits that I have listed here.

            The prime reason for keeping a journal is that it chronicles my feelings and thoughts on a given day so I that I can compare the feelings on given topic over the course of time. Very often our feelings determine our decisions. Since our feelings vary like the movement of a roller-coaster, keeping track of them over a period of time (such as a month) gives us a much more balanced and over-all view of how we really feel about a topic. It is, or can be, an important help in decision-making.

            Another benefit to journaling is that our thoughts are preserved for posterity. As I child I never learned what my grandfathers believed. In fact, even though I was often around my maternal grandfather and he taught me how to garden, we never talked about important matters. As for my Dad's father, I was in the middle of a pack of 17 grandchildren, hardly noticed and seldom spoken to. My collected journals, therefore, will be a way for my grandchildren and great-grandchildren to get to know me. That said, they won't read them until they're over 21 years of age.


Remembrance.

            I once heard that the best memory in the world can't keep track of things as well as writing in pencil on a piece of paper. Write it down and it may well last a lot longer than your brain. It is as simple as that. Unfortunately we can't reflect on a topic if we don't remember the details surrounding it. The written or typed word is among the most secure memory we have.

            You see, if you forget what was said, meant, intended or agreed upon, when it's written you can look it up. If not, you're out of luck.

Long-term view.

            Things change, sometimes for the better,  sometimes for the worse. In either case, when we are in the middle of an event it looks a great deal differently than when we look back on it at a later date. For example, I am quick to panic about my cash flow. When I remember that I have survived previous cash-flow debacles (and Patrick is quick to remind me of this) the immediate crisis pales greatly.

Reflection.

            One of the most human of activities is reflection: "Mental concentration; Careful consideration; To think seriously; To express seriously considered thoughts." I will admit that we may not actually do much of it, but it is an important part of good decision making. Not only that, but reflection is the best path to wisdom. That, in itself, is the best reason to journal, since reflecting is a very important part of the journaling process.

            Please note the last paragraph carefully. Though diaries hold the memory of events and thoughts, their most important usage is as a way to foster, encourage, and preserve reflections. I find that the value of a journal is not in the moment that a passage is written but rather in the cumulative fact of reflections written of the course of time. The journal becomes an important dialogue with oneself, leading to increaed self-knowledge.

Clarity.

            That, then, brings me to another result of a good journal: clarity. What we write over the course of months speaks loudly to us about our true feelings, the real facts, and ways to resolve all sorts of issues.

            In order for this to work, we have to use a dairy as an aid to our thought process, such as by creating lists of pros and cons or keeping quotes that are meaningful to us.

Career

            Now you're liable to think that since you're not a writer, keeping a journal has nothing to do with your job. Well, think again, as everyone has to write something at some time or another. Writing itself will make you a better writer, since practice makes perfect. Of course it helps if someone reads what you write once in a while and gives you constructive criticism to help you improve.


So What does it entail?

            Journaling is a lot easier to do than we usually think. All you have to is keep at it at a regular pace. I often suggest writing about 100 words, four or five times a week. Got nothing to write about? Then comment on the weather or the news. Write about what's happened in your life, or how you feel today, or what you've dreamt or wished for. Write about your hopes and fears.

            Don't edit yourself while you are writing. Leave that for later. Just writing anything is better than not writing at all. Use pen and paper or a word processing program. Keep at it. Even if you stop for a while, then go back to it later. Something is better than nothing.


Good luck and have a great week. Jack

* * * * *

            My new novel, The Dionysian Alliance, is getting noticed. Here is a link to Erotic Awaking, a pod cast by Dan and Dawn. If you don't want to hear the spanking part (it is good) then  fast forward to the 39 minute spot on the slider: http://www.erotiwakening.com/archive/ea166-a-spanking-a-spanking/ . There you will find an interview they did with me about the book.

            A reader sent me this mini-review: "Hi Jack -- To let you know I just completed reading The Dionysian Alliance. Enjoyed it very much. I liked the clear development of characters, the visual descriptions of the locations, and the nice anticipatory flow of the story. It's pretty evident you did a lot of research to produce it, and soul-searching as to how to blend the book's many elements and themes. Thanks for a great read. -- Jerry in Taos NM"

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


            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, January 8, 2012

How Does One Begin?

Thirty years ago, people who were curious about kink, generally speaking, had two avenues in which to find similarly-minded players: bars and classified ads.

So it was that, with my pocket-sized Damron guide I searched out gay bars whose clientele were called "Leathermen." One could also look for the euphemism of "Levi." It was there that, if you were brave enough to go through the somewhat foreboding and often un-marked door, you could meet men into "rough sex" aka "S&M."

BDSM had not yet entered the common parlance of the kinky world. In fact, neither had the word kinky.

Or I would pick up a copy of Drummer Magazine at some sleazy adult book store and answer the personal ads in its classified section. Each response that I mailed cost one dollar and I limited myself to $20's worth of mail per issue. The return on my investment was less than ten per cent but I did manage to hook up with a few guys now and then.

Mostly, though, I met my partners in Leather bars. One by one they gave me the experiences I needed to become who I am today.

Experience, according to the dictionary, is "1 a: direct observation of or participation in events as a basis of knowledge, b: the fact or state of having been affected by or gained knowledge through direct observation or participation; 2 a: practical knowledge, skill, or practice derived from direct observation of or participation in events or in a particular activity."

In the "good old days" of the early eighties there were few books one could read about our lifestyle, only a very scant and hard-to-find number of seminars, and private clubs were by invitation only. Invites weren't easy to get because you had to know someone who would vouch for you.

That left the personal ads and the bars as the only practical entry-way into the world of "what it is that we do."

Even that phrase typifies the elusive nature of the BDSM subculture of the day. We spoke a code-filled jargon, not openly naming people, places, clubs or activities until we knew that the person with whom we are speaking was "safe," not safe as in "safe to play with" but as in "safe to share this knowledge with."

Today, of course, there are all sorts of information sources as nearby as a Google search on the letters BDSM. The same kind of search on Amazon.com will reveal hundreds of books on the subject, and on XTube.com there is an incredible variety of SM-filled videos. Yes, over the years, the "&" has disappeared. Everything changes, even the jargon.

There are two quotes from Oscar Wilde that put the term "experience" into its proper light. The first is " Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes." The second, "Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught."

I'm sorry to say that you've got to get experience. Doing so, I admit, is not without risk, since as Mr. Wilde points out, it is most likely that the best learning experiences are those where we fail. Fear of failure is probably the number one reason that we don't learn. "Nothing ventured, nothing gained," Mom would say, though she probably wasn't thinking about my venturing into gay Leather bars when she told me that.

So today we find our subculture inundated with "newbies," men and women with no practical knowledge of our subculture, who think that what they've read in some chat room makes then one of us.

Others, to be fair, shrink from us because they have no experience. It is a circular and self-defeating argument. "I won't do that because I have no experience," they think to themselves and therefore they get no experience.

Another argument is "I won't play with you because I don’t have enough experience" or "I won't play with you because you have too much experience." Believe me, I've heard that last quote too often for it not to be etched in my memory. Why newbies prefer to play with people with little experience is way beyond me.

But what do I know? I was risky enough to walk into dingy, dark, hard-to-find bars that reeked of beer, sweat and semen. And trick by trick I got experience until one day while on a business trip in Corpus Christi, the bartender at a place called "The Green Door" called me a "Leatherman." It was a memorable rite of passage, even if I hadn't yet morphed into Jack Rinella.

Contrary to some thinking, getting experience need not be that risky. It is not an all-or-nothing proposition nor does it involve whole-hog activities. Start slowly. Do research. Ask questions. Check references. Read books. Take it at your own pace, one step at a time.

And reflect of the experience. What did you like about it? What didn't you like? What have you learned? What new questions has the experience given you?

Though there is a lot of talk in our educational circles about mentoring, it is still a hard to come by that resource. That said, my education was at the hands of many mentors. Each trick became a mentor for the night, each scene a class in the school of lower education.

Yes, there are predators but it only takes common sense and the smarts to ask for and check references to ferret them out. Remember, if they sound that good to you tonight, they'll still sound that good the next time you meet them, so there is no need to rush in.

I remember the confusion, ambivalence, and fear I felt the first time I stood outside of Lafitte's In Exile (in the French Quarter of New Orleans), the rankest, raunchiest bar I ever entered. But my heart wanted S&M and I figured I could always just run out the door if I had to. It wasn't a matter of quick entry and quick learning. It was a matter of quiet observation, scouting out the place and people, listening more than talking, and when I did talk, I asked lots of questions.

Then, as now, men and women of experience were pleased to teach me what my heart wanted to know. All I had to do was stop being afraid to ask.


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.