So a series of recent, unrelated conversations led me to write this.
First, those who follow Steel will have read this on his most recent blog:
Here’s why: long before I met or even spoken to V, she’d conveyed valuable information about what appealed to her. If a submissive wants attention, begging or nuzzling will get them somewhere while an aggressive or neutral attitude yields nothing.
Two days (maybe? Three? I’m fuzzy there) prior to that, someone I’ve been conversing with asked:
Another aspect of lifestyle, and I know everyone is different. … Do you allow your boys to initiate play? Submissive doesn’t necessarily have to mean passive or inactive.
And then, about a week ago, I received an email from a gentleman who took issue with a comment I made some time ago, regarding my boys not having the right to touch me without permission. He was polite and civil in his email, so I was happy to answer his questions.
I was just wondering how that works in a day to day relationship. How would a sub know, at any given moment on any given day, what he’s allowed to do? I feel like I’d be constantly worried about where “that line” is between what’s okay and what’s too far.
Yes, as Steel pointed out in his post, my boys are absolutely allowed to initiate play/ask for attention/touch me. I like it when they do.
But yes, there is a right way and a wrong way.
I’ve never really put it into words (because I’ve never really had to), but a good rule of thumb when it comes to touching me is, “if in doubt, only touch what would be visible if I were wearing a bra and underwear.”
No, not a thong. Think granny panties.
Oh, and generally, don’t touch my face (there are exceptions). Ears and neck are fine, I like those. But never the top of my head, I’m not a dog or a child. Kissing the top of my head is usually alright, as is resting his head on top of mine (say, if we’re cuddling, and I’ve got my head on his shoulder or whatever). But don’t pat my head, that’s annoying. And I will actually punch someone if they pull my hair.
Playing with my hair is fine, and feels good, but I have swung at people who pulled it without me expecting it (when I was a martial arts instructor, I had long hair, so I was always the one who got to demonstrate for the women’s self defense classes what to do if an attacker grabs you by the hair. I was fine-ish with that, because I knew it was happening). And no, I’m not going to attempt to curb that reaction. Don’t pull my fucking hair.
And that doesn’t mean that my boys are never allowed to touch me in the places that a bra and underwear cover. But at some point, they just have to know me. They have to know when and how. Randomly coming up and slapping my ass while I’m doing the dishes will initiate a fun game of Dodge the Casserole Dish or Get a Concussion, while gentle touches while we’re cuddling are fantastic.
This is something all couples have to learn about each other, and my boys are no different. I expect them to know when and how it’s okay to touch my tits.
But with the exception of one, I’ve never been with the kind of person who would try to touch me like that, anyway, so it really hasn’t ever come up, and I’ve never had to spell out what’s okay and what’s not.
Because even if a boy isn’t sure, and tries to grope me or whatever, and I’m not into it, I’ll usually just put my hand over his, move it to another part of my body (like my leg or waist or whatever) and gently say, “That’s not yours.” There’s no anger, there’s no fighting, I don’t bite his head off for misinterpreting a situation.
The only thing that will immediately cause anger is pulling my hair, and I’ve literally never known a submissive man who would just reach up and do that to his Dominant, so even that has never really been spelled out, because it’s never needed to be spelled out.
It sounds complicated, it sounds like there’s this whole big road map, but again, there’s never been an issue. Sounder touches me, Steel touches me, all of my exes have touched me, and I’ve never had a problem (again, with the exception of one, but I’ll get to that).
As far as getting my attention or initiating play, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do that, too.
The easiest way to get my attention? Be submissive, sweet, and slutty. One of the best ways if, for example, I’m sitting on the couch, on my computer, is to crawl up to me, kneel at my feet, and nuzzle my leg. I had a boy who would simply crawl into my lap (which did blow up in his face once in awhile, but that was rare). A masochist I owned would crawl up to me with his favorite paddle or flogger in his mouth.
The bravest/dumbest boy I ever owned (who was a morning person) would occasionally try to initiate play early in the morning. He’d try to wake me up by worshiping my feet, and then kissing his way up my leg. This was an insanely risky thing for him to do. Usually, I’d just kick him away and tell him to fuck off (trust me, that was me being nice. I’m not a morning person). But once in awhile, it worked out in his favor. To him, it was worth the risk.
So how do they know what I’ll react well to and what I won’t?
Here’s the thing: I’m not a hugely difficult person to figure out.
Stop laughing. In this area, I’m not a hugely difficult person to figure out.
This was actually a pretty massive and ongoing point of contention when Kazander and I were having our issues. After his personality change, and after the periods where he’d go literally weeks without speaking to me, we tried to get back to where we had been before, but one obstacle in particular kept getting in the way.
He was angry because I wasn’t “mean enough,” and wouldn’t “force him” to do every little thing every second of every day, with little or no regard to what I wanted. And honestly, after months of being ignored, of arguing when we did talk, and him telling me he didn’t me to be Dominant to him, I was just completely turned off and shut down, to the point that I wouldn’t still be with him now if Steel hadn’t convinced me to stay (I never claimed to be a good person, y’all… and I tend to want to run if I start feeling trapped. Good or bad, that’s just me).
We were arguing one night, going back over the same things we’d been going over for the past few months, and he complained, as he had repeatedly over the past few months, that I had no sex drive with him, but had no problem playing with literally anyone else.
I explained (again) exactly why that was happening, and I told him (again) how to fix it. I finally got frustrated and told him, “If you want me to be into you, then you’re going to have to make some kind of effort to turn me on.”
“Well apparently I don’t know how to do that.”
“Be submissive and slutty.”
“End of list.”
He was making it more complicated than it needed to be. And every time he’d try and get assertive or sexually aggressive, it would just shut me down more, and he couldn’t, for the life of him, figure out what he was doing wrong.
Which frustrated me, because while he had undergone an alarmingly massive personality change overnight, I had not. He’d been living with me for the past five years, and suddenly it was as if he knew nothing about me. He suddenly thought that I’d react well and would be turned on by him being sexually aggressive and all “Domly.”
Even out of the bedroom, he became obnoxiously aggressive and “Domly,” even in the way he spoke to me. And he had a serious problem when I finally told him to either change it, or find someone else to be married to, and he said, “Alright, fine. As long as the kid isn’t around.”
I said, “No. Even when she’s around. Especially when she’s around.”
He was pissed about that, until I spelled out for him that I would not tolerate being spoken to disrespectfully, regardless of who was in earshot and who wasn’t. He’d never had a problem with being courteous and respectful before, so he would start doing it again, and I really didn’t give two shits whether he wanted to or not.
So that sort of solved some of our vanilla issues, but the sex thing was still a problem. And no matter how many times I broke it down for him, step by step, in terms that our toddler could’ve understood, it just didn’t sink in.
Even my usual method of correcting him when he tried to touch me would piss him off. He suddenly got into this habit of randomly reaching over and poking my boobs (dude, I know. I couldn’t believe it, either). I’d say, “That’s not yours.”
And he’d get massively pissed off. Like, it took me by surprise the first couple of times it happened. He’d say, “So what, I’m not allowed to touch you now?”
“Uh, no. Not when I don’t want you to, and not in a way I don’t like being touched. You don’t own me. I’m not yours. You cannot do whatever you want to my body, with no regard to what I want and what I’m comfortable with. That’s not the way this works. That’s never been the way this works. Even I’m not that thoughtless with my subs. What makes you think I’d let you do it to me?”
I found myself saying that to him quite a lot over that year. About quite a lot more than physical touch.
And it seemed that the more I shut him out, the more aggressive he got, to the point that he’d randomly try to throw me on the bed, pin me down, and start kissing my neck as an attempt to turn me on and initiate play (I know, I don’t get it, either).
Which, as anyone who has known me more than a day could guess, did nothing but annoy me and make my skin crawl. And push me farther away.
And he’d get offended when I’d roll my eyes and say, “Are you done? I’ve got laundry to fold.”
I’m not a difficult person to figure out, y’all. I have no problem whatsoever saying exactly what I like, exactly what I find hot, exactly what turns me on, or describing, in glorious detail, any images/scenes/fantasies that I think about while jerking off.
I’m quick to tell my boys when they’ve said or done something I like, and I’m quick to ask for clarification if there’s something I don’t understand. I don’t really do subtle. And I don’t love when people are subtle with me. Be direct, be honest, and get to the damn point.
All this led to Steel knowing, before we even started talking, how to get my attention and keep it. It all led to Sounder knowing how to approach me in his very first message to me. It led to the gentleman who took issue with the subject of initiating touch knowing how to write his email in a way that invited conversation rather than started an argument.
If complete strangers can glean enough information off of a public blog to figure out how to approach me, then the people I own can figure out what’s okay and what’s not in terms of physical affection, initiating play, and asking for attention (or even asking for a specific type of attention or type of play). And if they’re unsure, they know they can ask me.