Tuesday, May 12, 2015


Winston Churchill once said that Russia was "a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.  That would be me.  My sexual identity collides on a regular basis with my understanding of my own life and the world around me, and I end up a pure mess.

The sexual identity part ought to be simple enough, especially in this age of "Fifty Shades of Gray."  I am a sexual masochist and submissive... but only under very specific circumstances.  It is true that I eroticize pain, and that clearly puts me in the masochistic category, but it is a little more complicated than that.  For me, pain is just pain -- and pain served up all by itself, cold, with nothing driving it; nothing to justify it...  well, that just hurts and it pisses me off.  I am turned on by pain when it represents control.  I will submit, and submit at stunningly intense levels if it "pleases" a partner who is in control.  I will fantasize all sorts of spectacular miseries at the hand of an imagined dominant
partner who demands it, and holds me in place with his will.  It is the control that takes me there, and then it is the pain that tells me that I have relinquished the control, and then it is that sense of voluntary surrender that pushes my buttons.  Complicated.

For a few years, I was there.  I was able and willing to play at that level, and I'd found a partner who wanted that as well.  Sort of.  Actually, I think he mostly wanted the sadomasochistic element.  The responsibility of control was too much.  When the control crumbled around us, then the whole dynamic shifted, leaving us where we are today.

Now, I engage with him in sadomasochistic play, but I hold all the control.  I can stop the action at any point if it isn't going along just swimmingly.  He is quite considerate of my moods.  We're polite like that.  So, I am left to decide, at every step, at every stroke, if I am willing to go on.  Now I find myself trying to please myself instead of him.  And that is a challenge.  Because the beginning of a spanking often just hurts.  The endorphin cocktail that makes it all flip into something hot and sexy isn't there in the beginning.  In the beginning there is just endurance ... and the exercise of power.  In the beginning, I have to make the calculation:  "is this going to turn into something good, or is it just going to hurt for no reason at all?"  Because, it won't make any difference to him, and my own menopausal sexual response is pretty unreliable.  On any given day, the odds are far greater that I will not get off, than they are that I will.  It takes work, and luck, and some mystical mix of factors that I can't even identify to get me there.  No one is more surprised than I am when I achieve sexual release during sex these days.

Given all of that, I can talk myself out of it, before anything much happens.  If he starts in, and it seems tougher than I expect, I can  (and sometimes do) bail out before we have really started.  And then, of course, I wonder if I made the right call.  For me.  For him.  For us.  And there is the rub, ultimately... it is all in my hands; all in my power to control it.  I have the control.  And with the control in my hands, the key that unlocks the door to my sexual response is very, very unlikely to swing open.  So, I am left disappointed and empty and bereft.  I can't figure out how to untangle that tangle.  Seriously.

Maybe the only hope is that I will eventually get old enough to just not give a fuck.  Would that be better, I wonder?  Is it even possible to live long enough to just not care...  about sex and intimacy and that connection that only comes when two people cross over the barrier of skin and really touch one another?  I cannot imagine there will ever be a day when I don't long for that.  Ever.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Drama Llama

I work with a young woman who is completely certain of her own intelligence, wisdom, and just all around righteousness.  She teaches language arts, has her Master's degree, and has obtained the state issued designation of "master teacher."  There is no doubt that she is bright and she has great teaching skills.

She is, however, utterly convinced that she is entitled.  Entitled to be heard.  Entitled to be listened to.  Entitled to be indulged.  Entitled to whatever it is that she wants at this particular moment in time.  She has a very grandiose sense of her own worth and importance.  In her mind, I imagine, she is cast in the starring role in every encounter.  The script for life is written with her at its center, and all the action spins around her.  She is arrogant, boastful, and prideful.  She demands attention in every gathering.  She is the most narcissistic young person I have ever met.

If she decides that she should have some sort of privilege, and then she does not get it, she becomes angry and vengeful.  If she believes that "this or that" is not her responsibility; that she should not be held accountable for whatever, then she will pitch a two-year-old fit over any attempt to hold her accountable for "this or that."

She has a very odd sense of appropriate boundaries with students.  She steps into situations between students (situations that are generally best left to the young ones to sort out for themselves), and then she will choose sides, and sound the charge.  Young guys almost always end up on the short end of that stick, because, as everyone knows, they are forever on the verge of committing sexual assault on every female in sight.

She loves gossip, and even more, loves to be the one who knows and shares the scoop.  No one is safe; not her coworkers, not parents, not the administration of the school.

She makes me crazy.  I want to take her and just shake her.  I wish I could believe that she might be open to some "old lady" advice.  I would tell her to watch and listen more.  I would advise her to start from the assumption that she might not know all there is to know in any given situation.  I'd tell her to let students, parents, and others come to her with issues and problems, rather than running head on into the fray.  I would try to show here the power of letting things work themselves out; the wisdom of not meddling in absolutely everything you can reach.  Unwanted and unasked for advice, I know.

The good news?  She has found another position, and will be leaving us at the end of this school year.  We have only to make it through one more month, and she will be on her way -- and Godspeed!  I just need to hold my tongue and keep my mouth shut for a few more weeks.  I think I can.  I think I can.  I think I can.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Now It is Like This

Sometimes, I think to myself that it would be good to bring people up to date about the part of my relationship with Tom that once involved BDSM.  “People must wonder,” I tell myself.  And then, I hear the laughter in my own mind -- surely no one is sitting around wondering about me.  So, OK, the fact is that I feel like I need to take stock of where that relationship is.  For me.  Just me.  I am, truthfully, the only one to whom it matters.

I’m not going to look backwards.  The history of my foray into the BDSM lifestyle, and the details of the power-based relationship that I shared with Tom for about 8 years is all documented at www.theheronclan.blogspot.com and at www.theswansheart.blogspot.com.  My goal here, is to try and say what there is to say about where we are now.  

Some things have not changed.  

I still do many of the same things for Tom that I have always done.  For me, it simply feels right to do the things I do:  to manage his medications, to prepare his meals, to take care of his laundry, …  Most of the time, I just go right on doing what I do, because that feels appropriate and comfortable for me.  He still, almost unconsciously, just expects that I will keep doing those things.  It really isn’t about power exactly.  At this point, I think it is the sort of thing that might be pretty common among men of his age.  The fact is that, while he could do some or all of those things for himself, he isn’t particularly adept at all of those tasks.  It is easier for him to let me do it, and it is probably easier for me to do it than it is for me to try and “teach” him how to do all of that.  Sometimes, when I get a clear view of how it goes; when I am tired after working all day; when he is parked on the couch while I clean up the dishes from the meal that I cooked and served, I can be a bit resentful.  I sometimes fuss that, “for a guy who claims to not have any power; who claims to not be ‘Master’ anymore, he sure manages to get a lot of ‘slaving.’”  Yeah, I’m sometimes downright bitchy.  But mostly it is OK.  Just two aging people, with a long and tumultuous shared history, learning to live sort of peacefully together.

We do still play sadomasochistically.  Straps, paddles, floggers, canes, and whips are still a part of our lives; still hanging on the wall where they have always been.  It is a more equal sort of interaction these days; not precisely negotiated, but carefully nuanced and balanced.  I have much more control these days.  If I fuss at all, struggle at all, whine at all -- he backs off.  Where I once endured for him, to please him, now I do it for me -- to keep things going along for myself.    There is seldom any sort of euphoric sense of triumph or connectedness in our play -- no fire.  He takes from it whatever he does, and I do the same  We are partners in the quest to quiet the urges that still drive us both.

We are peaceful enough these days.  The fury has burned itself out, thankfully. We interact carefully.  We are conscious of one another’s emotional hot buttons, and we tend to avoid them. There are safe topics that we use as conversational stages; the places where we can enter into very considered and stiff dialogs that help us feel as if we are still talking.  It is a formal sort of relatedness, following its own peculiar rules.  We have traded in a very great deal that seemed important and vital and lively for this leaden quiet.  

Change is the nature of living.  Our lives together have changed.  I once believed that nothing could ever tear us apart from one another, but change certainly proved that belief wrong.  Now, I do not believe or hope for anything different than what is.  If there is change, and I am sure there will be, I have no idea what it will bring into my life.  For now, this is what is.