I received this comment on my Breaking Boys post, from Marci, and decided to answer it in a post, rather than as a comment. Because I’m long-winded to begin with, and the answer to this is going to get long.
I understand the general concept of “breaking” a submissive, but can’t really picture what it is you, or even another domme, are actually doing. What I don’t quite get is what you are doing physically that actually scares them to the point of uncontrolled crying. I assume that you have them restrained and possibly gagged and blindfolded and are trying to cause pain of some sort using corporal punishment such as caning or even pegging. I’m also assuming that you are doing some sort of “mind fuck” during the physical play. Is there something more that I’m missing? I’m especially wondering about what constitutes “brutal sadism”. Is it a matter of threatening a hard limit or even crossing the line on a serious soft limit? I’m also assuming that you wouldn’t, for example, be pulling out someone’s finger nails or doing a complete burdizzo clamping. But something like actually doing a nipple piercing or banding might be within the realm of possibilities? I realize that every person is different, but is it possible for you to describe or give examples of such “play”?’ Ommiting unnecessary personal details, of course. Or have I missed the point entirely?
I find what you describe and your philosophy to be facinating, although it is sometmes a challenge to get my head wrapped around it. To give you context, my partner and I don’t play with pain. When we do use restraints it’s in a sensual context so that the bottom that night can’t escape and use their own hands.
Sorry if I am verbose. Thanks
Hi, Marci. Thanks for reading, and thanks for the comment. I’d be more than happy to explain a bit more about what it is I do. Although I can’t speak for other Dommes, and I’ve never heard anyone else talk about going as deep in the mind as I go. So I can only speak for myself and what I do.
What I don’t quite get is what you are doing physically that actually scares them to the point of uncontrolled crying.
The quick and grossly over-simplified answer to this is…. nothing. I mean, yes, there is a lot of physical pain and discomfort involved in the process, but that’s not what overwhelms them, and that’s absolutely not what scares them.
What ends up being far more uncomfortable, and far more terrifying than the physical pain is what I’m doing mentally. And I’ll try to explain that as best I can. I’m not going to provide specific examples of this part because of how personal it is. But the simplest way to explain it is that everyone has things they don’t want anyone else to know.
Maybe the assertive, confident person has crippling insecurity if you dig deep enough. Maybe the adrenaline junkie is terrified of many things, but none more so than weakness, so pushes themselves to do more, to prove to themselves that they can. Maybe someone struggles with regret. Maybe someone hates themselves with a vehemence you didn’t think possible.
Everyone has things they hide. Everyone has things they don’t want brought into the light. Skeletons, memories, demons, whatever.
And the existence of those things is not a problem. The process of breaking a boy, of taking those things in him and laying them out in the light diminishes their influence over him, anyway. When I build him back up, he’s stronger than he was before, in great part because of that diminished influence. He has less demons than he did before, and the ones he still has are weaker than they were before.
The problem arises when I want to take someone deeper, and because they’re so worried about hiding those things, or they’re laboring under some sweet-but-horribly-misguided notion that they need to protect me, or they worry about how I’ll see them, whether I’ll judge them, or insert-reason-here and I find myself constantly bumping up against those mental walls. It makes things
annoying complicated annoyingly complicated.
They learn one of my favorite lessons, and they hear me say one of my favorite sayings.
Trusting me with your body is easy. Trusting me with your mind is something else entirely.
And eventually, I reach a point where I just can’t go any farther. I can’t go any deeper. The intensity sort of fizzles out. I can’t keep him off balance anymore. I can still keep the relationship going, but it’s not really going anywhere. Like running in place.
So I break them.
Once I’ve broken them, they literally have nothing to hide. There’s no reason for them to try and keep me out, or to resist me. I’ve already seen the skeletons in their closet, I’ve had tea with their demons, I’ve seen every flaw, every weakness, every fear.
So most of it is mental. I use the physical to get them in the headspace where I want them, and often I’ll use it to push them over the edge, but it’s more about the effect that the pain has on them than the pain itself.
Hell, I can overwhelm a boy and make him cry from nothing more than an over-the-knee spanking if I have the map I mentioned in that post (although bringing him to the point of tears and breaking him are two very, very different things. Breaking him always makes him cry, but making him cry doesn’t mean you’ve broken him).
So again, it’s not so much what I’m doing physically that breaks them. All three of my boys are pretty tough, and those walls are high. It’s going to take (and in Kazander’s case, it did take) a hell of a lot more than just physical pain to do it.
I’m especially wondering about what constitutes “brutal sadism”. Is it a matter of threatening a hard limit or even crossing the line on a serious soft limit?
Absolutely not, no. I never, ever, ever threaten a hard limit during a session, and will very rarely (if ever) threaten a soft limit without discussing it first. I’ve always thought that was unethical, and even when I switched with Kazander, and he would occasionally do that (he’s not a Dom, he didn’t know), and it would completely derail any attempt I made at getting into a submissive headspace and slam me right back into my normal state of mind.
If I’m doing something that’s right on the edge of what he can handle, working with strong emotions like fear or anger, threatening a hard limit, or threatening a soft limit out of the blue would have the exact opposite effect of what I want. It would slam him into survival mode, completely shut down the submissive mindset, and throw all those walls right back up.
When I talk about brutal sadism, I’m thinking more along the lines of this:
Now I have done a bit worse than this, but this level of pain is not always necessary to break a boy. It wasn’t necessary to break Kazander. Again, it’s less about the physical. But a long, intense spanking/flogging/caning can really soften up a reluctant boy’s mind if done correctly.
A piercing or branding as an aspect of the breaking session itself could be fun, but I’m not a piercer and don’t have the skill or equipment necessary to keep everything sterile and safe. The last thing I want is to give any boy I’m playing with an infection.
I’ve actually played with the idea of doing a Jacob’s Ladder as part of the breaking session, and have considered it more than once, with more than one boy. I haven’t gone through with it because a) most piercers won’t pierce in someone’s home, b) most piercers won’t pierce someone who may not want to be pierced, c) the presence of someone else would seriously fuck up the headspace I’m trying to keep the boy in, d) it has a high likelihood of fucking up the rhythm of the session itself, and like a dozen more reasons.
Bottom line: It’s possible, I suppose. But not really worth the effort.
So no, I don’t think you’ve missed the point. But I think you put too much emphasis on the physical, when that’s not my main priority.
Don’t get me wrong, it does play a big role, and yes, there’s often bondage/gags/blindfolds/all kinds of fun toys to make things more interesting. But that’s not where the majority of my focus is. It’s more to add another texture to the ride I’m taking him on.