I Should Have Read The Manual

I guess flying by the seat of someone else’s pants is not always the best way. Unfortunately, it’s the only way I know how.

I freely admit that I wing it on a regular basis. I’m not an expert on spanking or the scene in general, I have opinions regarding things I see and that’s how I come to my own conclusions about pretty much everything. Playing is also something I never “learned” how to do. I just jumped in with both feet and figured it out as I went along hoping I wouldn’t screw up too badly. The experiences that shaped me, for the most part, were ones that I got at the club or at parties so they were almost always of the casual play kind rather than any that derived from more serious and deeper kinds of play. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with casual play and I enjoy it greatly, it’s just that I never really paid much attention to the deep feelings that people can develop when in D/s relationships of any kind.

I’ve learned this the hard way quite recently. I’m not doing a mea culpa or throwing myself on a sword but something my wife said to me last night really made me think about things. Spending a lifetime as someone who is rather clueless when it comes to other people’s emotions, I only had my own experiences to guide me in the scene. I put too much emphasis on “having fun” rather than trying to understand that different people don’t feel the same thing nor do they want or get the same thing out of the scene. What eluded me was the idea that some relationships in the scene are a lot more serious than others and that the seriousness has consequences and repercussions. I never really understood all those people online talking about the seriousness of what they were doing in the BDSM world — I just saw it all as play or maybe just wanted to see it that way. I did not imagine that having a somewhat cavelier attitude about “fun” might hurt someone else’s feelings.

If I have one regret, it’s that my own naivety caused another person or persons a measure of grief. Although I can’t and won’t take responsibility for everything, I do know that I’ve learned something valuable after all of this and can take that with me into the future. Sometimes I wish there was a guide to follow in the scene but it’s no different than the outside world — there is no manual, you figure it out yourself one way or another and try to cause as little damage in the process as you can.

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17 Responses to “I Should Have Read The Manual”

  1. I don’t think there can ever be a definitive manual Rad. Reading this blog comes close perhaps. It may not have all the answers but it sure does pose the tough questions. Makes me try to think a wee bit more anyways 🙂

  2. This is a perfect place to bring the topic up.

    I’ve seen recommended rules of behavior on several club sites. The Pacific Force letters column has a lot of wise advice.

    There should be more Munches – or some discussion forum faster than web postings, and things like this should be discussed there.

  3. Some things seem to amount to longstanding misunderstandings..fed by two people trying to get their own needs met…while SEEMING to ‘need’ the other.

    Definitely a wake-up call.

    Really– it’s a matter of plugging a person/persons into YOUR own needs or fantasies in ‘this thing we do’.

    Most ‘real’ people know, in time, that many hurts are unintentional. That’s where friendship takes precedence over mere scene partners.

    But..it is a very good caveat to one and all that some people get VERY emotionally deep into certain aspects of their kink. It becomes very personal.
    It makes me sad at times to feel like a stranger in the social aspects of this scene ( can I say that word again, please?!) because , to me..it’s not just about spanking. It is what spanking ‘represents’ to me.

  4. @Frank;

    if I may…? I suggest thinking LESS. Trust me on this one..

    I think what Rad is saying is that we all just need to be as unselfish as possible.. WHILE also tending to one’s own needs. It’s a parradox..wrapped in a mysery..wrapped in a puff pastry. ( I wish)

  5. and I still apparently can’t spell. Stress.

  6. otk_spanko Says:

    Rad, I read your blog daily, though I do not often post comments. I was particularly touched by the above blog entry, and I wanted to express that to you. The things that you wrote, in my view, have broad applicability to people who play publicly and privately in the scene, and I will certainly take your words to heart. B

  7. Lisa – Of course you may, anytime…

    I think I get what you’re saying and it’s a fair point. And don’t worry…if there’s a manual out there I bet it’s littered with speeling mitsakes.

  8. I think a manual is made up as people go along. I for one come to the table pretty open, communicative and upfront. I don’t think I am that complicated, actually. How massive misunderstandings occur within this scene is still beyond me. But.. no contracts are signed and we are all free to exercise our prerogatives as to what works at one time, and not another. There is certainly no shortage of players.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    For many in this scene, what we do is about more than just having fun, although I hope that’s part of it. When the chemistry is right, it satisfies a need. And, I think anything that satisfies a need, frequently stirs emotion and attachment.

    Rad, you mentioned consequences and repercussions, but I think you left something out – responsibility. I think both members of any scene relationship share responsibility to communicate and to try to be sensitive to the other person’s needs and emotions.

    But I do think that Tops bear a greater responsibility because of the exchange of power that occurs. If someone willingly takes the authoritarian role in a relationship, if they take the power, that comes with a degree of greater responsibility.

    I think this type of discussion in this scene is important, and awareness is important, and I appreciate you broaching the topic, Rad.

    One phenomenon that I’ve experienced and observed is that actions and resulting emotions trump communication. A Top can say that what they are doing is just for fun, that there’s no commitment or strings attached, but the D/s dynamic overrules that.

    A Top or Dom can say they want a casual relationship and, intellectually, the bottom or sub can be fine with that – truly fine with that. But once that dance begins… a deep need is triggered, vulnerability occurs, and trust and power are given. And emotions are more powerful than words.

    I think Tops need to be aware that their actions within a relationship are more powerful than their words. In other words, all the agreement and disclaimers in the world cannot change the emotional bond that forms during certain scene relationships.

    If a bottom doesn’t relinquish power and become vulnerable, neither partner can reach the highs we all reach for. But that means that one partner is more vulnerable than the other.

    I don’t envy Tops and Doms; there are landmines everywhere in this scene. And, as I said, responsibility for a healthy pairing rests with both partners but, I believe, the one who accepts the greater degree of power, accepts a greater degree of responsibility.

    We’re all human, and we’re all playing with fire in this scene. And I appreciate anyone in this scene who is willing to look at their own role, and welcome discussion.

  10. sandy richards Says:

    The anonymous comment above is from me. I forgot to fill in my name.

  11. radagast Says:

    I appreciate all the thoughtful comments above and realize that on some level, I screwed up and have to own up to that. I’m pretty sure, though, that it will end up being yet one more learning experience.

  12. sandy richards Says:

    I think every relationship, friendship, etc., is a learning experience. And, as long as they involve humans and strong emotions, they won’t always run smoothly.

    The best we can do is try to not hurt someone else, try not to get hurt ourselves, and do what we can to make it better when hurt feelings occur. If, in the end, you’ve gotten more positive than negative from a partnership, you can probably put it in the “win” column…in time.

  13. I think none of us should leave the house without a seriously qualified shrink.

    People’s needs and moods wax and wane in this scene. It’s perhaps less than ideal..and can cause for some ‘hiccups’ in the flow of things..but, as long as no harm is intended… well, even if harm is “done”…it, uh..wasn’t intended.

    I, for one..need a tougher skin.

    It’s not just a “scene” thing. It’s a LIFE thing. If one doesn’t expect too much..one can’t be too disappointed. We can all think ” similarly” but not exactly alike. No one is perfect.

  14. (she can’t friggin shut up…) Sandy, those were some good points, actually. Intellect is great..it is what it is.. the voice of reason..the rock. However..emotions are that deep ocean…always ‘there’, also reliable, yet ever fluctuating.

  15. sandy richards Says:

    Lisa, I totally agree that a whole team of professionals should be assigned to most of us. lol.

    What we engage in can be tricky because we’re all human, we’re all trying to have our needs met, and emotions add a whole other layer to deal with.

    Tops have to be aware of the power exchange and vulnerability, but bottoms and subs certainly bear responsibility, too.

    As a scene friend and I were discussing recently, it’s easy for subs to set unrealistic expectations and forget that their scene partner is human. Many of us have fantasized about these relationships and idealized them.

    But how often does reality match fantasy? In fantasy, my partner was always superhuman…always said and did exactly the right thing because they were a reflection of my needs and wants.

    A real person is far more complicated to engage with. But I’d take the reality, with all it’s imperfections, any day. I’ve experienced more in real life than I’d ever dreamed possible. It’s not ideal, but it sure has it’s moments. 🙂

  16. sandy richards Says:

    Ok, time for me to go to bed. Twice, in the message above, I used “it’s” when I should have used “its.” Nitey-nite.

  17. Everybody makes mistakes.

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