The day after our wonderful dinner, presents, and play, Maximus and i headed to the San Juan Islands to continue our belated Valentine’s Day weekend. The San Juans are a group of islands between Washington State and Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. They are absolutely beautiful and neither of us had been there for years and years.
To get to the San Juans from Seattle, you take a ferry out of Anacortes, Washington, about an hour and a half north. We took back roads and stopped in little towns along the way to shop and eat. While Maximus was driving, i offered to read aloud from Living M/s: A Book for Masters, slaves, and Their Relationships, by Dan and dawn Williams of the Erotic Awakenings Podcast. We both love Dan and dawn’s podcasts and enjoy discussing things we hear from them–they bring up a lot of great topics for us to discuss, many of which we haven’t thought of. The book was no different and we had many revelations!
Here are some things we discussed and learned:
- While our initial intention was to just do D/s in the bedroom, it has grown to encompass our entire relationship. Originally, we were under the impression that D/s had to be very strict and required the sub to be very constricted, chained and without freedom. But what we’ve come to understand is that there are any levels of D/s and each relationship seeks its own level. i prefer to be submissive to Maximus, it pleases me to serve Him and give myself to His pleasure and needs, and to follow His leadership. It is important to Maximus that i have free will, but He enjoys being Dominant in the relationship, being the final decision-maker, receiving the gifts of my submission, and being responsible for my well-being. i need someone i can surrender to, someone strong enough to handle that. Mutual respect is huge in our relationship.
Our Total Power Exchange relationship is not anyone else’s Total Power Exchange relationship, and that is exactly how it should be. This does not make our D/s relationship any less or more than anyone else’s–it’s ours and that’s what matters.
- Living D/s allows us to be completely authentic. Both of us have had two failed marriages each, that’s four failed relationships. And what’s very interesting is that our pathway through our marriage histories are very similar. For both of us, we were not our authentic selves in our first marriages, we had outside relationships looking to fill voids we felt in our marriages, for a variety of reasons. Interestingly, our first marriages were the longest. In our second marriages, we thought we were being authentic and thought our spouses were being authentic as well, but we discovered otherwise.
Maximus and i have shared everything, the good, the bad, and the ugly. i have shared with Him things i never, ever wanted anyone else to know about me, especially my relationship partner(s); He has done the same. These communications are often painful and embarrassing, but freeing and has grown our trust with each other. Not only do we still love each other after learning about our truths, we love each other more for it.
- We both need love to be a part of our Total Power Exchange relationship. And this love needs to be monogamous. i have never been able to surrender to anyone as i do with Maximus, and this is due to the trust and love we have. While we are swingers and play with many others, together and separately, we separate sex and love, and sex with others is simply that, sex, not love. We have both struggled, and have had serious conflict in our relationship and with past relationships, with the concept of polyamory, to the point where i have become angry jealous over a misconception that Maximus was in love with another woman. Neither of us can do polyamory.
Maximus’ previous marriage evolved into polyamorous situations, not necessarily intentionally, but not discouraged when it happened. It started out as Maximus encouraging JB to have swinging relationships to spend time with while He traveled so much for business and left her home alone. When she confessed to falling in love with these individuals and expressed desires to investigate that more, Maximus did not discourage this. This occurred multiple times and eventually led to the breakup of their marriage. Maximus did not engage in the same pursuit and these were V-polyamorous relationships in that Maximus and JB were married, JB and the other male had a love-relationship, but Maximus and the other male were not connected. JB had tried to get Maximus to engage one of her love interest’s wives into a poly relationship, but this did not happen.
Maximus thought that JB was being honest with Him about these relationships and didn’t think they risked the demise of their primary relationship as she insisted that wasn’t the case. Because she wasn’t truthful and it blindsided Him, Maximus has developed a fear of me leaving Him, thus the rule in our contract that we only sleep with each other. Through our discussions about our relationship and fears, etc., Maximus has come to realize that i’m not her–and this is a HUGE revelation for us. We discussed it and are amending our contact accordingly to reflect this.
- We both thrive in an authentic, honest, over-communicated relationship. And we expect this of each other. Dan and dawn describe the chess game in their previous relationships, how interactions/decisions were win-lose; actions and communications were made by consciously deciding what you were willing to give up in order to get your way with something else. We both could so relate to this and absolutely abhor the chess game we’ve had to endure in our past relationships. We don’t ever have to strategize. When we discuss something, we don’t have to wonder if there is an ulterior motive and can trust that their answer is honest.
- While we do trust each other completely, thrive in an environment of complete and total communication, we have had some complete breakdowns in communication, full of conflict, hurt, and disrespect.
Now, if you’re familiar with group dynamic theory, you are familiar with the concepts of Forming-Storming-Norming-Performing. Forming is just selecting the group and in our case, is finding each other and transforming into a committed relationship. Storming is that necessary time in developing a group, any sized group, where they work out group function, mores, communication styles, discover their differences, and where different ideas compete for consideration. It can be contentious and full of conflict, and for the group to succeed, they must struggle through it. In the Norming stage, the group, through storming, has developed their goals and plans and know how all individuals work together. Finally, in Performing, the group functions smoothly, has developed decision-making processes, and deals with conflict without dissent. The group can revert back to previous stages by external influences and have to go through the process as they react to changing circumstances.
i can see this cycle in our relationship. While conflict is painful, it is so necessary. i know that Maximus would prefer not to have the conflict that occurs in the Storming phase. We have talked a lot about this and how to communicate to avoid this conflict. But, we have learned so much and grown so much from these conflicts that they really were necessary evils. i believe Maximus’ fear is that this will be the norm for how we deal with conflict–i know that this is part of our development and we are moving, if not already have moved, to the Norming and Performing stages of our relationship.
Dan and dawn discuss Porch Time in their book and on their podcasts. Porch Time can be called by any partner to move out onto the porch and have a neutral space to express themselves without the hierarchy constraints of D/s or be punished for what or how things are expressed. This is the last resort where all other avenues of congenial communication have broken down. They have used this only a few times in their long relationship.
Maximus asked me to listen to their podcast about Porch Time and we discussed it several weeks ago and then discussed it again when i read this chapter. What was fascinating was that Maximus felt that Porch Time was a place where you took notice that the other person had something very critical to talk about and would do it in a constructive manner with, “i feel..”, or “i would like…”, etc, not the intention of Porch Time where you had a highly heated, no-holds-barred, verbal fight that could include all those horrible disrespectful things like name-calling. It’s the “I/i can’t take it anymore” explosion. Neither of us want Porch Time to be our main means of communication, and it shouldn’t be! Dan and dawn weren’t presenting it as such. What’s important is that in the few times that communication fails completely and You/you are at Your/your wits end, you have a place without judgment or repercussions to speak freely and fully honestly, in whatever ugly face that has. The goal is to not have to ever have to use the porch and to use effective communication to resolve conflict, but the porch is there.
When i realized that Maximus and i weren’t understanding the Porch Time concept in the same way, i decided to use a sports analogy. Picture a basketball game where your normally even-keeled, level-headed player is having a bad game, acting out, getting personal fouls, behaving unsportsmanlike and really destroying everyone’s game. What does the coach do? They pull them out of the game, or maybe they got thrown out of the game by a third-party referee. Does the coach confront them right there on the sidelines, no, what do they say? “Take it to the Locker Room!” and they have it out there. It’s not pretty, it’s bare and raw and emotional. It gets it all out. Is this how you normally deal with your basketball player? Heavens No! Do you ever even WANT to go through this? No! This is how you flush out this bad behavior, blow out the steam. Normally you coach and build relationships. This is the last resort and the intention is to be perfectly blunt about this player’s destructive behavior, hope it gets it all out and resolved so they go back to being the high-performing, well-behaved team player next game. Maximus totally got this and was very relieved to understand that this method of communication was a last resort, not the normal means of communicating. So for us, we have Take it to the Locker Room, instead of Porch Time, and we hope to never have to use it, but we know it’s there should it be necessary.
- We love the sexual aspect of our D/s relationship. i love being the slut Maximus desires and will do anything to please Him in this way. We both love searching for my limits. Is sex our relationship? NO! Maximus is 21 years older than i am and He honestly expressed His feelings about what happens when He’s 70, 80, 90 and how we deal with the sexual aspect of our relationship.
We both love being at swingers events and hearing our partner having sex with another person. We know the sounds, giggle at the reactions the other person has at what our partner loves to do. We come and watch, we participate. He loves nothing more than to direct me to do things with others. This direction is often more sexual for Maximus than actually having sexual intercourse. In fact, us alone together, with the BDSM components of our sexual play from the scenes He creates, can be more sexually satisfying than intercourse for Maximus. Direction even includes Him directing scenes involving others, setting up scenes at a distance for me to comply with. Beyond this, Maximus loves hearing me tell Him the details of my sexual encounters with others, in descriptive detail, and even watching via Skype or Facetime.
- Discipline is one aspects of our D/s relationship that may differ from many other D/s relationships. And i don’t mean that we lack discipline, but that physical discipline is not a major component of our relationship. i am very sensitive to disappointing anyone, especially Maximus, so it is difficult for Maximus to add insult to injury by disciplining me harshly. My training is accomplished though meeting His expectations, achieving goals, and being coached to accomplish them or learn from missing the mark. i enjoy being physically spanked, flogged, cropped, so these traditionally physical punishments are not effective for me. This difference in our relationship made us feel that perhaps we were not following the rules of D/s, but we understand better now that this is just our way.
This is as far as we got through the book. We will definitely continue this process when we are together as it is fascinating and so helpful. We did have some awesome further revelations this weekend that were not related to the readings from Living M/s and will be the topic of my next blog post.
While the revelation that i am not JB is not the theme of this post, Maximus felt it was so huge that He asked that i use this as the title when i blogged about it. i find it fascinating that something that most people fear, kinky, power exchange, BDSM relationships, can be so revealing and freeing. For us, D/s helps us confront and deal with our fears, the same fears that are often present in vanilla relationships, such as abandonment, and does this so much more effectively, for us, than in traditional relationships.