Talking About BDSM With Your Therapist

Talking about BDSM with your therapist --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis
— Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

This is not an advice post, it’s a sharing post, partially just to make sense of my recent experiences. I’m dealing with a generalized anxiety disorder, and have been for a long time. Some of this is hereditary, some of this is situational damage from some less than idyllic life experiences. As a result of this, I actively pursue things that help make me mentally healthy and one of them is therapy.

Being kinky while getting help from medical professionals, particularly mental health professionals, is an experience that can go many ways- some are well educated on the subject, some open minded but clueless, some have trouble not seeing it as a pathological hangup or a part of your overarching health issue. One of the biggest problems with coming out to your therapist is that you often have to engage in BDSM 101, walking your professional through what your kink is, and how that fits into your life choices. Human sexuality is a poorly understood field of psychology, one where we only discovered the internal structure of the female clitoris in this century (wtf guys), and pop psych writers leap on and working hypothesis and try to cram it as hard as possible through the filter of cultural bias. Thus, even at the best of times, your therapist may have picked up some odd ideas. Sometimes I feel like we’re way overdue for some sort of established manual of care for the kinky to distribute or something.

In theory you could dance around the subject matter and not disclose, but when you are for example, discussing healthy relationships, keeping it in the abstract and carefully curating your description of your life is a challenge, if you want to make meaningful progress. You don’t get a vacation from your problem in the kinky parts of your life, and as they are often some of the most precious and special things to you, it’s likely that you will have to say “Oh, btw- I’m kinky!” at some point.

In my situation, I also really hate that, as a person who has dealt with abuse, it’s an all to often automatic assumption that your kinks are related in some way. All to often abuse survivors into BDSM have people attribute that kink is the filter by which you are experiencing what would otherwise be “normal” (vanilla) sexuality. For me, my kinks pre-date my experiences with abuse, and on the contrariwise to the idea of association and imprinting, there’s a whole cluster of things like incest/age play that are personally NONONONO hard limits precisely because they are too close to bad memories, but at the same time I perform plenty of ostensibly vanilla (I’d like to think of them as ‘kink neutral’) things within the spectrum of my sexual behaviour. To be clear about what I’m into: I want to be a dread empress and play no-pants cops and robbers, not do some sort of catharsis in the bedroom. Hell, my abusive ex had loads of submissive fantasies- wanting to be tied up and fisted by ‘force’ does not preclude you being a belittling rage machine. Dealing with the aftermath child abuse does not mean you use BDSM to relive it or protect yourself from reminders of it by being weird, like the god awful sister myth that rape turns a woman into a lesbian.

And, when you establish that BDSM is not a coping mechanism you need to be rescued from, then there’s the fun of sorting out sexual orientation VS crazy. I’m a dominant, which means I get emotional warm and fuzzies from control. I’m also anxious, which means that my personal brand of cray-cray likes things in control, clearly explained, etc… Oops. You can see the possibility of hard to express boundaries. Now, try talking about your feelings with someone that you had to explain kink to in the first place, who is specifically applying a professional outsider perspective for the purpose of recovery. Having to spend time arguing “no, that particular thing is healthy, it’s this particular thing that causes me distress” is a waste of time you could spent in recovery.

Extending that point, and the problem of people treating it like a comping mechanism, being kinky with an emotional issue that influences how you interact with the environment also means it’s very easy for therapists to conflate the two. I don’t doubt this is not helped by the cliches of “blah, blah, Alpha in real life but I like to give up control sometimes”.  Being dominant and discussing being a control freak is hard, and it can be very identity traumatic to have to wrangle the assumption that you are just bent this way because of your unhealthy mind patterns. Of course I could choose to simply disregard any kink related advice or iput.

But the reality is that my GAD gets in the way. It makes me less brave about new experiences, less able to enjoy D/s and to be honest, unhealthily closed off from trusting partners. Being a dominant, while relatively physically safe, is emotionally vulnerable because you are counting on a person to be extremely responsive to your needs. It’s actually really hard to relax and enjoy the service when there’s a little voice yammering away about how you need to be prepared for a crisis. It also certainly kills my artistic career, as my confidence erodes, projects go unfinished, emails unsent, and so on. Oh, the things I could accomplish if I wasn’t wasting mental energy on splah! Proper care means getting care for everything.

Letting go and being better means trusting subs to be able to make me feel dominant. It means opening myself up to my kinks instead of assuming people just can’t handle it. It also means anxiety around my public image because there’s a third myth that dominants need to wrestle with, the Teflon True Dom. That’s the one where you are immune to bad shit because you are dominant, like some sort of sexual Calvinism where the universe shows its love for you by making people in a non-kink context stand out of your path and for you to be completely emotionally self sufficient.

But I’m not, and no dom ever is. Outside the most self deluded inbox spammer or dominatrix marketing copy, we’re made of the same stuff that subs, switches and vanillas are build from, fallible meat. and although it sucks to be vulnerable, if you’re dealing with some sort of health problem, you need to look after yourself. And care for yourself takes to courage to open up.

And, In the end though, horror stories or not, kink is so common that you shouldn’t be too terrified of talking about BDSM with your therapist. It’s statistically probable your therapist is kinky in their personal life too, after all.

#FemdomLife Update: My Friend Got Married, Male Burlesque, Attack of the Vanilla

Updates are more than a little slow lately, blame a friend getting married, a massive head cold and then a family visit.

I will share that we had the most gorgeous male burlesque dancer at the bachelorette. Miss Castle, on her way to becoming Mrs. Wolf-Castle,  is did all the traditions on her way to the altar, and we had a room full of women in good spirits, a belly dancing instructor and a double dose of burlesque, with Honeysuckle Pussywillow and Tristan Ginger. Miss Pussywillow was purringly perfect with her drunken disrobing act, all curves and carnival costume, but I mention Tristan because the male as sex object is an undeserved thing.

It was nice to be among that much raw female libido as Tristan stripped for us, not once, but twice. Although gender bending men is not my kink and his costume mixed masculine and feminine elements (corsets, leather jackets), he had a glorious body, which was oggled and approved of at full volume. Sub men take note, before you send me a “train me to serve dom women plz” message, start by maximizing your appearance. It simply can’t hurt.

Anyway when I wasn’t admiring the lovely dick cleavage above his c-string, marked by glorius red curls and a perfect V shape (I need to get laaaaaaid, guys), I was busy with slightly silly party games about the bride to be. It was a pretty awesome event all around, and even if it wasn’t explicitly kinky, it was a celebration of female sexuality.

The Maid of Honour, Lady Cobra, had her charming Scottish Mail Order Husband there, and somehow her ended up sans shirt in a tuxudo apron. The enthusiasm was very vocal as we threatened to strip him of more. Because nothing is more aggressive than a room full of tipsy women there to be naughty.  Hmmmmmm, who says women don’t love being domly? 😉

Meanwhile the wedding itself went off with more or less no hitches, and I’m extremely happy for the couple.  The bride, for my role in her wedding (I was official wedding bitch), gave me a scent charm necklace so beautiful I got teary eyed and smooched her. Eeeeeeee!

Of course I spent the whole thing sick with the mother of all head colds, and Wildcard and I seem to have decided the middle of wedding planning for other people was time to Unpack All The Difficult Conversations. Waaaaugh. After surviving this, I had about a week to recover before my brother hit Montreal.

Love that kid to death, but obviously the sexy updates are going to squeeze to a crawl while he’s here for two weeks. Our apartment is a bit less sound proofed than I’d like, and although a bondage tape gag has made our regular #punishTuesday possible, getting the sex in takes overcoming some challenges, much less sharing it.


Oh by the way, it’s blogging list season, so here’s a polite reminder to give me a vote. Just click the big “vote” button on my directory page!


#Service4Pearl: Candidates And Tea Interviews

Outside of a few “oh dear god!” offers, and a few people who were on slightly the wrong page (looking for naked service more so than obedient service) but were not bad for wanting something different, three people who responded to my ad have stuck around enough to consider them as possibles.

I’ll be explicit about my expectations, I am looking for a unicorn scenario- a man or woman I can be friends with who wants as close as exactly what I want without requiring much in the way of compromise, but is also not looking for an intimate relationship. Needless to say there wasn’t much in the way of female identified interest to my ad, but that’s okay. I am happy to look within my social group for a lady who thinks wearing a frilly maid costume is her idea of a good time.

Qualifications That Matter Include:

  • Playful and imaginative
  • Does not sincerely believe in FemSup or “Always On” BDSM, where the Dom really is better the sub.
  • Actually into what I want and not putting up with this to get a dom, any dom
  • Will get along with everyone else (Wildcard, friends)
  • Fits into my surprisingly busy life

I screened people by asking them about their expectations- people who were strongly fixated on the obviously sexual aspects of service were gently dissuaded/politely rejected, while I talked back and forth with people who seemed more on the same page. I was also careful of people who redirected “What do you want?” back to “Whatever Miss wants!”, because contrary to it making them seem extra submissive, it hints that the person isn’t really sure about their needs.

That left me with three guys, listed in no particular order.

Catbus is so named because of a typo, cat for car, giving us a running joke about his favourite means of transportation. He’s the only one I met in person, but he’s very shy. I feel like he’s cool, but anything is going to take him getting a chance to warm up. However he’s a creative type and I bet he’d integrate well into our larger social circle. He is mostly hampered from his BDSM explorations by an evening job that inverts his social life into being a lost morning person.

We met up on a little tea place near McGill, which had the advantage of being open at all hours, tasty and away from either of our residences or work places while easy to find. I had a salted caramel cupcake and a vanilla bourbon rooibos. Numbers were exchanged, though he’s very hard to read because of the aforementioned shyness.

Classic is significantly older, and does not live in Montreal proper. He seems perfectly balanced about it, but is only in town to care for his elderly parents. We may have an issue purely based on scheduling, even before discovering if we have any degree of play compatibility. I’m also not 100% sure he is not in fact married and leaving that detail off the table, a fact that is a problem only in the sense that I don’t want to be up in someone else’s unhealthy dynamic.

Excellent potential to be my own personal Carson, one supposes.

Shoez is a foot fetishist sub, which is not uncommon. He does seem okay with the idea of not putting his mouth on my feet, and might be workable as a boot black boy, sock darner and underfootman (heh) based on how he expresses himself. However he’s very into superfluous capitalizations, so we’ll see if he can stop referring to me as “You”, which doesn’t doesn’t sound respectful to me but like someone’s all “Oh. It’s YOU.” with that sort of careful enunciation that ends with “I said GOOD DAY!”.

We’ll see if he can drop the superfluous fet speak or if it is too engrained in his desires to be purged, and whether this will end with drooly pumps.

Meanwhile of course Gentleman is contemplating setting up some sort of duplex for an upstairs/downstairs kitty maids residence scenario. Would that be living in a cat house or a cat shelter?


Wildcard’s Submission: A History

So a couple of days ago Wildcard suggested that he was warming up to the idea of being my part time submissive. Our relationship has always not quite fit into people’s expectations of me, and for us, something that I’m okay with, but leads to no end of boggling on the part of people who think in terms of binaries and hierarchies. I spend a lot of time correcting people who ask “so he’s your sub…?” or lifting the jaws off of floors of people who see him in dom mode after seeing him as naked vulnerable man because a surprising quantity of people don’t believe in switches.

Wildcard broached the subject of a power dynamic when we first became a couple, as an assumption that he had that it was a requirement. Obviously *the* Miss Pearl needs a sub to be happy, right? And if he wanted to be a fixture in my life that was required and no asking for what he wanted either (because topping from the bottom!). I did the sensible thing and took him on a crash course on enthusiastic consent, veto-ing the whole no limits thing before it started. In the manner of pansexual people explaining their interests, I don’t fall in love with sexual orientations, I fall in love with people.

Some of his assumptions were understandable. Prior to me, while he was awash in submissive leaning ladies flirting at him, femdoms appear to be a coy bunch and the sum total of his experience was a professional dominant who did a bang up job of introducing him to impact play, but obviously couldn’t be expected to do more than that.

After a rough couple of weeks in that period, when I was caressing and holding him him after an evening of caretaking, he softly piped up that being my pet, you know… didn’t sound that bad. For me this wasn’t quite good enough. I like fake non-con, struggling, etc… but I sure as heck cannot handle real reluctance and told him that much. Actually I did the wibbly lower lip thing and sniffled, but you can pretend I had a non-emotional, frank and considerate discussion on power exchange like people seem to imagine I have.

Wildcard is happy in scene based, limited power exchange, and that’s been that. He made a few attempts to dom me and I utterly failed to to respond in a way he could work with, and the longer we’ve been together the more he’s had to admit that he just can’t see me as that sort of role. For me its surprisingly hard to give up a part of him, even the dominant part that I’m only dog in the mangering. Call it my control freak nature- I don’t provide that outet but it feels like a loss for me to not have access to it. But, for him he’s admitted that I make him feel submissive in a way nobody else does.

But of his own volition he’s now expressed an interest in more formalized submission in his life- still not 24/7, but certainly ever encroaching into what we do together. We shall see what will become of this.

He’s Been Feeling Submissive Lately

Wildcard saw me typing away on a blog post comment the other day, (this one actually), and when I turned and smiled to reach up and touch him from my nest on the couch, he leaned over and mimed typing with two fingers to add random content to my post.

“No! Bad!” I grabbed him by the robe, near the lapel and at the waist below the belt, and tugged him down over my lap, landing then playful spanks through the terrycloth fabric.  He looked amused, but compliantly flopped.

“Have you learned your lesson?”

“Yes. I will never write anything ever again,” he announced solemnly, as he rose back up.

I hesitated long enough to give him a look, pulled him back down and flipped his robe up, landing the next series of blows on the thin plaid fabric of his pyjama pants, “No! That’s not it at all!”

After a time I paused my spanking again. “There. Have you learned now?”

“Hunt and peck typing is bad?” He opened his eyes wide and innocent, making a stabbing gesture with his index fingers.

I made a grumbly noise in my throat and hooked my fingers into the band of his pants, pulling them down to expose his ass. My strikes went from pats to swats, and he buried his face in the couch. He’s never a very demonstrative victim- you can never really know for sure if he’s having fun, but if you watch him closely, you can see the way his shoulders move and how he relaxes into it. It’s the same coziness of a hug.

Each time I got a silly answer I intensified the strength of the blows until he conceded that editing my posts was not a positive quality, a surrender made mostly because he’d run out of funny comebacks.

It was one of those happy little moments, like a few days before, when I’d leashed his brown leather collar to the bed with the help of a rope and metal clip, and then bound his wrists with bondage tape so I could tease him.

I made him fuck the rippled, massaging inside of a Tenga Egg, half using it to stroke the length of his shaft, half making him thrust into the slippery channel I’d made with my hand and the toy. He had to beg to come, stretching it out until the orgasm was so intense he got a cramp in his foot, and I’d made him promise a forfeit: I got to take naked pictures of him..

This weekend, I made good on my threat, dragging him, nude except for the brown leather collar around his throat and made him pose, threatening him with all the places I was going to put his pictures while he stroked his cock. It was massively erect near the end, leaking a few drops of shiny precum- and he was absolutely gorgeous in the pictures.

Sexual desire makes  sort of vulnerability, especially when you can make the person pose any way that you like and he knows it. It’s all pouting lips and wide but shadowed eyes. I have a favourite picture in my collection of him, his hand on his cock, and my hand on his neck, shot to show his body and a glorious expression of helpless desire.

So yes, it’s been fun.

Topping From All Angles (And A Bit Of How I Dom)

Let’s talk about topping from the bottom.

Recently I did tentative discussions about stuff with someone about kinky fun times- the usual things about what happens to whom, and how. and, over the course of very gentle exploration, we discussed that there were things he liked, yes, but he didn’t want me to think he was topping from the bottom.

A bunch of people are weighing in on this particular dispute topic right now- the danger on emphasizing the negatives of that term. Snarksy blogged about it, where as over on Twitter @MsCrosswords from Beyond the Valley of the Femdoms was talking about the challenge of a partner who thought he wasn’t allowed to ask for stuff. At all. I’m old enough, in terms of participating in the online kink stuff, to remember when the term was not out of favour in the circles I run in. To be precise, “Topping from the bottom”, when I first encountered it, meant the phenomena in which the one who is receiving the topping (the bottom) or the person who is ostensibly submissive, is calling the shots in some format.

Back in the day, it was often a term used for a punishment dynamic gone wrong, where the rigidity of the rules meant that a masochist was getting rewarded for doing stuff the dom really didn’t want. It’s also was expanded to refer to the phenomena of the laundry list, something that seems mostly particular to F/m more than M/f.  In that case, it was a  series of demands based on the sub’s perception of D/s in exclusion to what the dom wanted, often with poor desire to respect boundaries. It’s good to have a term to talk about this problem, right?

So how can this go wrong?

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