The Pressure To Perform

Tops feel it for sure. I know that my wife, Sandy, feels it when she is in Ms. Cassandra mode and I certainly do when I am playing with people for the first time. This is especially true of spur of the moment play.

I’ll be at a party and some woman has heard through a friend that I am a good (fill in the blank) and we decide to play. At moments like that, I am not quite sure what is expected of me because expectations there are. I have no connection with this person yet so I just sort of wing it. It’s quite nerve wracking, actually, because of my innate fear of sucking at doing things. Whether it’s work or play, I hate being “Teh Suck”.

Obviously, most of this pressure is coming from me. It’s not like a bottom is standing there evaluating me like a bizarre version of American Idol but somewhere in my head I know they are to some degree. I know I can’t be all things to all people but I like to not only finish things I start but do them well. Mr. OCD should be my new scene name.

If that wasn’t bad enough, I get sometimes get similar feelings when I play with people I’ve already played with. I suspect that they enjoyed something I did the first time around and want a repeat performance. The problem is that I often do things in such an improvisational way that I sometimes don’t remember what I did the first time. I sit there trying to go over the previous session attempting to figure out what I did and pick out what I think was the “clincher”.

You want some fun as a Top messing with your own nerves? Try mentally deconstructing and critiquing your own play. Feel free to avoid the part later when you are hugging your knees and rocking back and forth while you mumble to yourself, “I suck…I suck…”

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18 Responses to “The Pressure To Perform”

  1. I love the ending Rad! The rocking part? Will you please do that tonight at some point and invite me to watch?

    Here’s how I feel, for what it’s worth. I play with a number of tops, and every now and then I’ll have a scene with one of them that blows my mind. Outstanding and headspacey and truly memorable. A scene like that stays with me. However, I don’t expect that level of play every time. I know better than anyone that all the elements have to be in place to create the perfect play experience.

    However, to the top who creates a scene like that even once – he pretty much has me.

  2. I cured myself of this problem by remembering to not to think too much, and remembering that a lot of the success or failure of a scene depends on chemistry. Either the chemistry is there or it’s not and there isn’t much you can do to affect the reaction.

  3. Although I was being somewhat facetious in my post, I certainly am a person that can be accused of overthinking things.

  4. YOU? Think too much? That’s crazy! You don’t seem like you think things through at all ๐Ÿ˜€

  5. Wow, Jules, that is SO hurtful. How ever will I respond?

  6. After reading this blog, and all the descriptions of the numerous nasty and weird people who you run across, if you are not like them then you don’t have much to worry about. Who else are they going to go to? From your description of the clubs, there don’t seem to be too many other appealing tops around.

    Amateur shrink RJ says:

    Could this be a manifestation of some sort of guilt you are feeling about your good fortune and respected position? Or a need to complain in order to get assurances that it’s definitely real?

  7. Correction necessary – please read as “Who else are your playmates going to go to?”

  8. Anonymous Says:

    Greetings. I suppose I’m a lurker since I enjoy reading Rad’s blog but he and I have never met much less played together. We do have mutual friends and his reputation DOES precede him though. RJS you’re going to wind up like Sisyphus pushing that agenda. What exactly do you mean?

  9. One day, a couple years ago, I woke up to the realization that my cravings could not be denied. Play ensued. Frolicking, adventure, excitement–that all happened. And it was good. Mostly, I was grateful and ecstatic that such yummy men wanted to play. Eventually, I discovered that the quality of the play was a reflection of the chemistry (like Jake said) and the bond we shared. I know it’s not sex, but it seems like you would want to have coffee first and establish some sort of repoire (like Rad and Jules have). My ideal would be to have a few men who knew me well decide when and why I needed their attention. There wouldn’t be any performance issues, just an ongoing dialogue of sorts. Is that weird?

  10. Not weird at all, Jasime. I like how you think.

  11. Sorry…Jasmine

  12. I think the fact that you are so contemplative and thoughtful truly speaks to your character, Rad.

    As someone who knows you, I never feel that you are voicing any possible “insecurities” to fish for a compliment or reassurance.

    Perhaps a bit of a perfectionist? Well, that’s good! You want to please your play partners!
    Take it for what it’s worth but, in all my years of exploring within the spanking community, you are one of my all time favorites. It takes a HELL of a lot more than a lap and a hand to be a good Top. It takes a heart, a brain, and a soul. You, my friend, have all three in spades.

  13. The only place I’m ever fishing for compliments is at work where the good words are few and far between (why is it like pulling teeth for someone to say you’ve done a good job?)

    Personally, my only agenda when I sit down to write this blog is to write it — that usually involves putting down whatever comes to mind at that moment.

  14. Rad, it does seem like a sad social commentary that complimenting a job well done is rather rare. Has it always been this way…or is it because modern life is so fraught with cynicism and carefully guarded feelings?

    To quote Woody Allen: ” I can live a week off a good compliment”.

  15. I didn’t take this particular blog as any kind of neurotic, insecure diatribe. Quite the opposite–you have to be very strong to disclose in this way and then to invite comments on top of that. I agree with Lisa’s assessment: “contemplative and thoughtful.”

    Lisa: There does seem to be a trend in some workplaces to be very guarded about compliments. I’m not sure why. Well, yeah, I do know why: Some environments use lack of compliments and write-ups as a systematic and trained tactic to avoid pay raises and severance packages. Even when it’s not systemic, some managers are just wounded and insecure themselves and want to keep others down. Any time I see anyone doing something well, I call it out. I want to see more of that, you know? It’s really interesting how being a sub plays out in the workplace, but I realize that’s way outside of Rad’s blog, so I’m going to post about that somewhere else. Sorry, Rad.

  16. Jasmine: Don’t apologize to me — I just work here.

  17. Yes, Jas..sorries aren’t welcome here..until earned! LOL. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I work for myself..pretty much. I have clients. Whenever they thank me, I work that much harder.
    Punishment is a fabulous tool, don’t get me wrong ….
    but praise, in it’s place, is a mental aphrodisiac..imho.
    It’s funny…feeling like more or less a “naturally” submissive personality, it serves me well in my field..as I am doing any and everything my clients ask of me..yet it is I who is largley in ” control” of their day to day lives. ( I’m a personal assistant and caregiver)
    . It’s an interesting amalgam.

  18. I sometimes feel this as a bottom, as well. At first it was because I quickly earned a reputation as someone who could “take a lot” and by the time I figured out that I didn’t always *want* a lot, I worried that if I played with someone and wasn’t up for an intense scene they were going to feel like I’d been over-hyped and that maybe I was really just a wuss. I’ve mostly gotten over that. These days the pressure to perform sometimes feels a bit more literal…when we play publicly at the BDSM club a lot of people take a lot of notice…there’s a big audience (at times we have even been on stage), and while everyone is ultra-respectful of space, they’ve come to expect and relish a first-class thrashing. Sometimes I am just not in the mood for a thrashing or my pain tolerance is down…on a few occasions I have asked F. to “pull his punches” a bit with the cane in that situation. It becomes more about the performance aspect of the scene rather than about the pain or the dynamic between us. This can be cool…it’s an exhibitionism kink that I didn’t know I had. But there is that sense of not wanting to let anybody down.

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