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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Thoughts on extended scenes and play headspaces

A lot of people think BDSM is an all-or-nothing sort of arrangement. Either you are my slave and do everything I ask of you, or you are not and shouldn't be wasting my time. Either I am always, absolutely forever and constantly at your feet and abiding by protocols or whatever, or I am not, and I never play that way. Either you are a pain slut and there's nothing you can't take, or pain's just not your thing and don't ever want to be really hurt.

All of these things are pointedly untrue, though this misconception is popular not only with the mainstream vanilla folks, but with many BDSM players and kinky people as well (which is endlessly frustrating). It certainly offers some explanation of why kink can be so scary for people who don't understand it and who are not at least intrigued by the acitivities. The fact that extended play time such as the extremes described above is actually a common, lustful fantasy offers, I think, a very plausible explanation to why so many people even of the kinky inclination think such a thing is true. And perhaps, though I have reason to doubt some of the claims I have heard, there really are people for whom "24/7" literally means every second of every day.

In the realities of day-to-day life, play time that lasts more than a couple of hours is very, very hard to come by. Beside from the fact that we all have "Real Jobs" and a life to lead outside of the bedroom, it's hard to stay in, for instance, slave headspace when you are constantly surrounded by your personal belongings at home or even at a friend's house. This was not something I ever anticipated being problematic for certain scenes such as longer-term ones, though it is. It's also particularly problematic for other certain kinds of scenes, namely singletail whipping. Again, not something I'd have guessed.

Another point of note regarding the length of a scene is the definition of what precisely a scene is. Two weekends ago, when Eileen and I were at a friend's house for a party (a vanilla party--not all the parties I go to are beat me, whip me affairs) we do as we always do, and I was ordered rather plainly to fetch her drinks from time to time. This was not a dramatic event, but it was not subtle either. It was only after our friend pointed out how strange it must seem for those in attendance who did not already understand our dynamic that we even noticed that it seemed like anything remotely like play at all. Was that a scene? Not for us. It might have been for some of our friends, though.

It's the fact that our dynamic is that way at all that makes it appear as though we do the kind of 24/7 play that you hear people talking about with awed tones, but I think this is actually kind of silly. I don't really consider myself a 24/7 slave with any of the weight people seem to place upon that phrase, I just find the juxtaposition of day-to-day life and servitude enjoyable, both erotically and otherwise. That makes the line between scene spaces and vanilla spaces very, very blurry sometimes, though that is a side effect rather than a direct effect of how Eileen and I interact.

There are, however, certain things we have done expressly for creating play headspaces for longer periods of time. Some of these things are play-specific, and others are again blurry, as above. For instance, a little over a year ago, Eileen bought me a rather heavy locking leather and metal collar. When it goes on me, I know she wants to play. The collar usually stays on a lot longer than the scenes last, and this helps keep some of those slavish emotions around after the beating is through. When we play at night, sometimes she uses the collar and some of our lengths of chain to secure me to the bed for the night to the same effect.

Being leashed or hitched is also a way to actively induce a desired headspace, and is also something that often can last quite a while.

Aside from that collar, I also wear 5 lengths of small jewelry chain all the time. They are placed around my neck, each wrist, and each ankle, and they are have no clasp with which I can remove them (so I don't). They're my "everyday collars". Recently, Eileen's been very turned on by the "harem slave" idea, and so she's added a sixth length of chain around my waist that she calls "utterly decadent."

All this decoration does not leave me unaffected. It's very much like wearing the heavier, locking leather collar, only with a different twist. Rather than being her pain toy, the whipping boy, I'm her cherished posession, and quite often her sex toy. There's something intensely erotically humbling about being equated in some way to a favored vibrator.


Eileen said...

Possibly I will comment in more detail later on, but for the moment I'll simply point out that if you were to act in the way that many people think of "traditional 24/7 slaves" acting, I would be frustrated, and constantly want to shake you to make you snap out of it.

Tom Allen said...

So, when Mrs. Edge asks me to wear my CB3000 for a few weeks, are we playing 24/7? I go to the grocery store, she does the laundry, I cook dinner, she weeds the sidewalk, and we might go for several days before we actually have any time to acknowledge it. Play? I'm not sure.

We just did 2 weeks of orgasm denial, but I was not wearing the CB. Was that play? It seemed like it most of the time, but not all of it.

It's so difficult to determine what is "play" and what is normal. I often refill her drinks at parties, but it's more from a sense of politeness or good manners or consideration. She often does the same for me.

I'm finding that I'm less and less concerned with labeling such activities, and trying to be more concerned with just enjoying things when they happen.

maymay said...

I'm finding that I'm less and less concerned with labeling such activities, and trying to be more concerned with just enjoying things when they happen.

Exactly, Tom. That's the most important point I've been taking away from this sort of experience, too.