One of my favorite things about writing daily posts is that I have the bandwidth to comment on other bloggers and offer unsolicited advice. This is one of those occasions. Thumper wrote a post the other day about how his ability to bottom to Drew has changed. If you haven’t been following the thread, here’s the quick summary: Thumper is a caged male  (like me) who is married and his wife is his keyholder. He has been doing this a long time. A little over a year ago he met a guy who topped him. Now, a year later, Thumper can’t accept him as his top. Ok, this is a very short and detail-starved account, but it gets us to the point where I want to put in my two cents.

I spent over thirty years in the New York leather community so what Thumper is describing is quite familiar to me. You may note that I don’t use the words “dom” and “sub” or “submissive”. They are adjectives and don’t really define a three-dimensional human. In the world I come from, there are roles; in this case “top” and “bottom”. A top supplies the sensation and generally gets sexual satisfaction as either part of the play or afterward. The bottom receives sensation and gives sexual pleasure. It’s optional whether or not the bottom gets off too.

I spent most of my adult life as a top. However, I always enjoyed bottoming. That would make me a “switch” since I like both roles. In my experience, most people into power and sensation play are switches. Very few spend their lives entirely as a top or bottom. You’ll note that I make no mention of the gender of either player. That’s irrelevant and a personal preference. I can be a heterosexual male and still top another male. I could also bottom to one without losing my heterosexual status. The reason for that is in the context of topping and bottoming, any agreed action that isn’t dangerous or life-threatening is allowed if both people agree.

Anyway, when two people become regular play partners, like Thumper and Drew, things can become much more complex. For one thing, it may be important to the scene (the bottom’s and sometimes the top’s too) that there be no real emotional connection between top and bottom. The bottom may want to feel “used” by the top. He may want to be simply an instrument of pleasure that is used and then sent on his way. That’s a form of objectification. It’s very hot for some to be simply toys with no connection to the top. It’s equally  hot for some tops to treat the bottom like a Kleenex to use and discard. The feeling of submission can be based on this emotional disconnect. Once a real connection is made, the very foundation of that feeling can disappear.

If your partner is just someone you make play dates with, then emotional connection is limited to concern over having a good time or after care. The problem is that many of us don’t realize how important objectification and an emotional distance is to the heat of the action. In my case, I accepted a 24/7 service slave (her title for herself). She lived with me and did anything I wanted or needed. I played with her and in the beginning treated her as someone who did what I wanted and got nothing in return. This is exactly what she wanted. The problem was that as time went by, I came to feel love for her. This made it harder for me to treat her as an object and deal with her in the harsh ways she craved. Over time, nearly a decade, we became like a vanilla couple more than master/slave. This didn’t work for her at all. It was an alienating process since I could no longer give her what she really needed and I was frustrated with her unhappiness in the face of my caring.

I realized that I could never sustain that sort of lifestyle. Moreover, the bottom side of me needed to come out. My “topping” tank had been overfilled and I needed the balance of bottoming. Arguably, my real needs have always been to have a strong, loving woman in my life and that topping was more physical recreation with a nice orgasm at the end, than something I needed emotionally. I think I am in the right place for this time in my life and Mrs. Lion is learning to provide the authority I need in the context of a loving marriage.

But I digress. Based on Thumper’s post, I think he may not have considered the impact of a strong emotional friendship on his desire to be used and abused. I’ve had play partners who were also friends. We started out as play partners at D/S parties. We grew to be friends over time. In some cases the play stopped entirely. In others, we treated the S/M aspects of our relationship as a way of giving a needed service to the other. One woman and I live quite far apart and we occasionally met at large leather events. We took turns topping one another. When I bottomed to her, I looked at my experience as a way to get some needs met. When it was her turn  to beat my ass, stick things in it and do lots of cock and ball torture to me, for that time she wasn’t my friend. Shew was a cruel mistress who loved seeing me in pain. When the beating started, I truly believed it. Afterward, she became my valued friend again. It was fun. We laughed and when she topped, I screamed too.

I think it is a matter of context. The fantasy of a disconnected, harsh top may be part of what made your sessions with Drew so hot. The question I would ask you is whether you can treat your scene as something outside the friendship? While he is using and abusing you he isn’t your friend. He’s a guy who likes you enough to make you suffer to your limit. The way I thought of my play partner was as someone who may like me a lot, but who likes torturing me more. She may rock me to sleep later, but right now it is all for her and she wants to hurt me. Since I am helpless, I have to accept it.  It may not work for you, but it always works for me. When she is playing with me, I think of Mrs. Lion as someone who loves me so much she will stop at nothing to make me feel the pain and humiliation I need. In this context, the more she loves me, the more she hurts me.

I think it is nearly impossible to sustain a long term relationship that limits itself to topping and bottoming. From my perspective and experience I can understand how deepening feelings can destroy the desire to bottom, or as some say, submit. It’s particularly unfair to the top to have such a limited relationship. While it’s fun, topping is work and the rewards of the activities themselves are fairly transient and superficial.Yes, the orgasms are nice; but they are still just orgasms. This is in sharp contrast to the bottom who is receiving intense satisfaction from the sensations inflicted on him. Topping is a game of skill, bottoming is an experience, often a profound one. I may not be saying this as clearly as I would like, but in my own way I am saying that as a top if I had to choose between dominating someone or being his/her friend, being a friend would win hands down. As a bottom, for me at least, it would be a much harder decision.

This is the third time I have written this post. Each time just as I am about half finished, something else comes along that demands (in my mind, at least) my response. My first attempt was about how our relationship keeps evolving because enforced chastity has pushed us to communicate more. The second was about ruined orgasms and why I can’t seem to sense them coming, and now this, and hopefully my last attempt is about communication.

The ESP in the blogosphere seems to be working overtime. Steeled Snake wrote a post about improved communications in his relationship. Then, a few hours later, Thumper’s post was about the damaging effect of “drive by” comments. And, Mrs. Lion’s post was about our improved communications and her take on how to handle a no-play night. These may not seem closely related at first glance, but I think they are. Each post, in its own way, discusses changes, mostly positive in communications. Steeled Snake and Mrs. Lion discussed how our relationships have improved because of enforced chastity. Thumper wrote about how he has been hurt by thoughtless, or at least clueless, comments from readers.

Comment spam eventually infects every blog. As Thumper pointed out, his blog is about him, not reviews or discussion of external events. Of course our blog is about us and some of the most intimate details of our lives. The big thing all three of the posts have in common is to  state that communications from people we know and trust tends to add to our lives. So, we all agree that our relationships and lives have been improved by a combination of our kinks and the very beneficial side effect of good communications the kinks provoke.

All of us, who blog on these subjects, for one reason or another exposed our lives to a great many strangers. We’ve invited these strangers to comment on what we write. When I started this blog, I hoped that comments would provide valuable feedback that would help our relationship get better. To a pretty large degree that has been the case. I’ve gotten most of the bullshit comments  on our static pages (How to Get a Good Fit, etc.). The reason is that almost every reader gets directly to those pages as the result of a search.

Search traffic is great. It’s how a lot of our regular readers got here. But most of the traffic driven here by search engine queries is hit and run. These people read what they searched for and then leave. Some, feel the need to offer comments of generally poor quality. So, my reasoning is that by not allowing comments on those pages, the casual reader won’t get a chance to write clueless, frequently hurtful comments. Search engines also drive traffic to our posts as well. We do allow comments to our posts. I did some analysis and found that comments from people who know us and decide to respond to a post, do it within the first week of the post’s publication date. So, we automatically turn off comments after two weeks.

These changes have made a big difference in quality. They don’t seem to have affected people who have taken the time to get to know us. Like Thumper, our readers can also send us a direct message via Contact Us. I am on twitter (@thecagedlion) and I read it regularly. Every post is tweeted within a few minutes of publication, so responding to that tweet is another way to chat. If you follow me on Twitter, you will get a tweet each time there is a new post.

I like getting comments that offer constructive feedback, even if we disagree. I have no plans to turn them off. I am very hopeful that my fellow bloggers will choose to post about some of the things we write and open up a community dialogue. My decades in the real-life leather community have taught me that there is tremendous value in community. We bloggers read each other’s posts. I hope that Thumper shining the spotlight on pingbacks will prompt all of us to open a blogger dialogue.

I’m writing this on Sunday morning. My eyes are better now. They tire by mid afternoon. I went to the optometrist this morning. He came in on Sunday because I was concerned about my eye. Pain and light sensitivity has increased. Happily, the infection is showing signs of healing.

There is one thing I don’t understand about my fellow enforced chastity / FLM bloggers. We don’t often write about each other’s posts. I sense that some people think there is a sort of competition for readers. For the record, I don’t. Earlier today, Denying Thumper, the longest running enforced chastity blog. published two very interesting posts. His posts discuss his recent emotional concerns and the many phases of his life.

The specific reason I am referencing them is that he mentions how readers’ comments can affect him. Since he began writing about being bisexual and the opening of his marriage to include a man (who also writes a very good blog “The Drew Duality“), he has been receiving quite a few comments condemning his “cheating” on his wife, and on homosexuality in general. He responds to most of these attempting to clarify his position. As he wrote today and in earlier posts, these comments affect him; even the ones that are obviously written by shallow, bigoted people. I have to admit that I am affected by the comments we receive here. Even the ones that are obviously off the wall affect me. I understand that what we share here is open to interpretation by our readers. I’m happy it is. A good deal of the comments we get offer us feedback we can use. Because I am heterosexual and not particularly submissive, I escape the hurtful comments that both Thumper and Drew receive.

However, like most bloggers, I religiously read my fellow enforced chastity and FLM bloggers. I see us as a community of sorts. There is a flow of viewpoints that appears to be influenced by the cross pollination of bloggers reading one another. I like this. I can’t know the motives that drive other bloggers to write, but unlike most of the Net, none of us appear to be writing to get laid. For our individual reasons, we share parts of our lives with our readers.

In some cases we share our thoughts and feelings with our keyholders / disciplining wives via our blogs as well. Even when partners don’t directly contribute, most are aware of the blogs we write and often read them. In some blogs, like ours,  both partners contribute regularly. This offers you both sides of the story. It supplies us with daily feedback we can use to improve our relationships. You may have noticed that Mrs. Lion has become more tight lipped about her plans for me. That’s because she is more aware that I read her posts and often get a preview she doesn’t want me to have of her plans for the evening.  I like that she is increasing the element of surprise. I wonder if you don’t also find it cool to have to wait to find out just what she had in mind?

Blogging is far more than a “reality show”. It is opening a very private part of our lives to the general public. Hundreds of thousands of people have read about our sex life and have seen images of my most “private parts”. Everyone in our blogging community is a public figure with a large number of people privy to our most intimate activities. Are we all sexual exhibitionists? I guess to some extent we are. We all know that a lot of strangers know a lot about our sex lives. I don’t think that is the major motivation for most of us. I also don’t think that most of us are trying to sell you on enforced chastity and FLM. I believe our reasons are more complex. After reading Thumper’s post I tried to define just what drives me to open up my sex life to strangers. As of now, I can’t come up with why I chose to do this. I know that one reason I am continuing is that the back and forth with Mrs. Lion and commenters has added to our relationship and has made us better about honestly expressing our feelings. Another reason is that I truly like sharing with you. Thanks for reading.