The Changes to Patreon and What It Means

December 10, 2017

(This post has been brought to you by the efforts of my 75 hopefully very understanding Patrons! Visit my Patreon page to learn how to become one of them.)

For those of you unfamiliar with the recent brouhaha that’s erupted over Patreon, I will sum up with a brief capsule description. Basically, because Patreon had so many different ways for the artist to structure their pledges, and because so many of those pledges involved small amounts of money on an individual basis, a lot of the artist’s income was being eaten up with credit card processing fees. Patreon wasn’t happy about this, but they didn’t want to remove the flexibility artists have for structuring their pledges and they couldn’t afford to just eat the fees.

They’ve come up with what they’re calling a solution. Starting Monday, December 18th, those fees are going to be passed along to the Patrons in the form of a surcharge on their pledges. The charge is 2.9% of the pledge, plus $0.35. Given that I’ve been charging my Patrons four times a month for their content at the rate of $1 to $2 dollars per charge, this amounts to an extra buck-fifty or or so every month every tier. I do not like this, but Patreon seems to be holding firm that there’s really no other way given all of the necessities of the platform.

I don’t intend to leave Patreon at this point, but I can’t really justify asking people to pay the processing fee an extra three times a month. So starting January 1st, I will be moving to a monthly charge instead of paid posts. That’s going to save folks about $1.05 a month from that surcharge. This does mean that there will be two paid posts (the December 23rd and December 30th posts) under the new fees and old system. If you need to unsubscribe for a couple of weeks as a result, I do understand.

The reward tiers will be changing to accommodate the new payments. It’ll be $4, $8, and $12 a month instead of $1, $2, and $3 a week. This isn’t actually a change, but it will look like one on the website. Please don’t panic; I’m not charging any more than I was before, it’s just going to be structured slightly differently. You should see the new version of the payment structure go up on New Year’s Eve.

And finally and most of all, I want to thank everyone who is sticking with me through all of this. I don’t know how much an extra dollar or two a month in fees means to you, but I don’t want to treat it casually or assume it’s trivial. I appreciate your support, and I want you to know that the people who pay for my stories really help to keep me going–not just in the sense of “you help put food on my table every month”, but in the sense that when I look at my Patreon every week, I know that there are at least some people who care enough about my work to make an actual sacrifice of their financial resources to show me. It’s really sweet and I want you all to know I notice. Thank you.

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Ethical Brainwashing

December 3, 2017

(This post has been brought to you by the efforts of my 76 kind and considerate Patrons! Visit my Patreon page to learn how to become one of them.)

A while back, I made a note to myself that I should discuss the idea of “ethical brainwashing”–what it means, and what it implies about the D/s relationship of its practitioners. So let’s start by first saying that yes, there is such a thing as ethical brainwashing in the context of kink. In fact, a lot of consensual D/s relationships practice it even without realizing it; any time you hear someone talking about “training their slave”, they’re doing some brainwashing. But we’re dealing with it in the specific context of conscious conditioning, so let’s break down a little what we mean.

Brainwashing, in this sense, is the use of hypnosis (frequently combined with other behavioral conditioning techniques studied and employed in classical psychology) to effect permanent changes in the submissive’s behavior. These can be as simple as a new habit, or as complex as deep, permanent personality changes. This isn’t something that can be done simply or easily, which is why I said initially that “brainwashing” implies a relationship between the Dominant and the submissive; you can’t instill a permanent change in a single session. It is inherently a long-term project, and it will both require a bond of trust between hypnotist and subject to succeed and build a bond of trust between hypnotist and subject if it does succeed.

But what does it mean to be “ethical”? Simply put, ethical brainwashing involves starting with a mutual, consensual communication of the end goals of the behavioral changes, with the understanding that the brainwasher will stick to only modifying the personality of the brainwashee in ways they’re comfortable with. It also involves making sure that the ramifications of the brainwashing are considered and planned for before things get underway; if the subject wants to have their intelligence reduced, they need to discuss what that means in terms of their job, their college plans, and their family life, and “I don’t care I just want to be a bimbo” isn’t a good answer.

Now, it’s worth mentioning that “permanent” doesn’t mean “continuous”; you can have a trigger that engages this change, if one of the things you realize is that there are things that it would be inconvenient to have full-time. (Even something as simple as “you don’t want to wear clothes in your bedroom” might have some complications that need to be discussed.) But a lot of brainwashing suggestions are going to be permanent, and you should be aware that people will think in that context at least at first.

“Now wait,” I hear someone in the back saying, “if all you’re doing is making them do things they already want to do before the brainwashing even starts, how is it even brainwashing?” The answer is simple–wanting to do something isn’t the same as doing it. I might want to exercise daily, but to forge that habit and make a permanent change to my behavior takes time and effort. It’s no different with D/s. A submissive might want to (for example) have difficulty thinking whenever they’re wearing their collar, but that doesn’t just happen on its own without hypnosis and pleasure conditioning teaching them how to attain that foggy-minded state.

So if you plan on doing ethical brainwashing, as a Dominant or a submissive, the first step is to have a conversation together outside of scene, as equals, in which you lay out what you’re actually going to do. You don’t need to discuss every detail down to the exact verbiage, but you should at least have an idea of what you want the dynamic to feel like by the end. This is important, because at least one of the unintended side effects is probably going to be a certain amount of deference to the hypnotist, and reopening the conversation later on may wind up with the submissive agreeing to things they might not be as comfortable with deep down simply because they want to make their top happy. That can, in turn, cause problems down the line because as I said above, the whole thing depends on a bond of trust, and nothing kills trust like a barrier to effective communication.

In general, these are the questions I think you should at least start with when you’re having this conversation?

1. What does the submissive want to become? This speaks to the really obvious (but very important) point of consent, and it’s also going to be easier to submit to brainwashing that your conscious and subconscious mind are congruent on achieving. Again, this is a conversation outside of scene, and you should feel free to speak to your Dominant as an equal and a friend. Don’t be afraid to say, “Hey, I know we have fantasy roleplay all the time about turning me into your furniture, but that’s much hotter as a fantasy than as a footstool.”

2. What does the Dominant want to achieve? Again, not only does the Dominant get to consent just as much as the submissive, but the Dominant is going to be putting a lot of work into these behavioral changes and they get to say, “Um, I know that being a himbo is really hot for you, honey, but I like to have conversations with my boyfriends that aren’t about bodybuilding. Let’s make the intelligence reduction a situational thing.”

3. What are the practical obstacles to these goals? There can be a lot of these. As much as we all want to, we don’t live in Kinkworld 24/7, not unless we’re super rich and a character in one of my stories. You should be talking about the impact on other relationships–family, friends, metamours if you’re polyamorous; you should be discussing the impact on work and career. You should be thinking about possible inconveniences or annoyances that might come up in taking a fantasy to a reality–it’s nice to imagine an irresistible compulsion to go naked in your house, but you want to think about what happens when the UPS truck stops by.

If all this sounds like work, it kind of is. But “ethical” doesn’t mean “unless it’s hard or boring.” If you really want to make permanent changes to another person’s personality, you are taking ownership of the effects of those changes and any problems they might cause, and you need to make sure to prevent those problems before they happen and fix them if they do. That’s one of the implications of D/s; you wanted to own someone, well, that means taking care of them. It’s a commitment to another person’s well-being and safety, not just another way to have kinky sex. That can be a little heavy sometimes, but anyone who’s been in a relationship that involves ethical brainwashing will tell you that it’s totally worth it.

Early Bird Sneak Peeks: “Um…” and “Out of Sight, Out of Mind”!

November 30, 2017

Hi all! It’s time for another Early Bird Sneak Peek, where I share a glimpse at the story my lucky Early Bird patrons will be enjoying next Saturday thanks to their pledges at my Patreon page! Of course, if you’re not an Early Bird patron, you’ll still get a story next week–“You’re Not an Ordinary Girl”, teased previously as an Early Bird story, has already been submitted to the EMCSA. But the Early Bird patrons will be getting both “Um…” (MC) and “Out of Sight, Out of Mind” (MC MF MD)!

“Um…” is another induction piece, this one based very specifically on the use of the word ‘um’ as a trigger to stop thought. Here’s a taste:

“I know it sounds silly at first, but when you think about it, ‘um’ is a very powerful thought-stopping word. You’ve probably had plenty of times when you were in the middle of a train of thought, or perhaps even just trying to start one up, and your brain simply…stopped. That story you constantly tell yourself in your head, a narrative of your thoughts and decisions and actions as you take them, just melted away into nothing. And all that was left was a single word, one you maybe even said out loud. ‘Um…’

“And you’ve always thought that you said ‘um…’ simply because you didn’t have anything else to say, but…what if it was the other way around? What if every time that ‘um’ slipped into your head, it broke up your train of thought and left only itself for you to think? What if that simple, silly little word popped every thought in your mind like they were tiny soap bubbles every time you said it, every time you thought it, until all that you could think was ‘Um…’

“Out of Sight, Out of Mind”, on the other hand, is about a little experiment Paul is running. Daphne’s volunteered to help him test his device, but she’s finding it hard to understand why he keeps saying he’s already started the test. Here’s a taste:

Daphne tried not to let her irritation with the length of the session (four hours? Had it really been four honest-to-god hours of this and they still hadn’t even really started?) change her answer. “I think you’re very intelligent, Paul. I’ve told you that before. And I do think that you’re going to be a pioneer in your field. I don’t know that you’re already doing things that nobody else could do, but I don’t think it would surprise me if you said you did.”

Paul made a few more notes. By this time, Daphne imagined his professors reading the transcribed version like it was the screenplay for ‘Memento’ or something. “Okay, good. Now, the last question. Would you believe me if I told you that the device under the sheet beamed a harmless radiation directly into the optic nerve that put women into a trance state, during which they were heavily susceptible to suggestions? One that they wouldn’t remember at all afterward.”

“No,” she said firmly. “Because that’s stupid.” The first time he asked this question, Daphne had tried to be diplomatic. But it hadn’t aged well, and by the…sixth repetition? Seventh? She was losing count. However many it was, she was done tip-toeing around Paul’s feelings on the subject. If he wanted her to believe that this stupid thing worked, he should just quit fucking with the game of Twenty Questions and show it to her.

Hope you enjoy them!

Liner Notes for November 2017

November 26, 2017

(This post has been brought to you by the efforts of my 77 classy and glamorous Patrons! Visit my Patreon page to learn how to become one of them.)

It is technically still November, I know, but it won’t be November by the time next Saturday rolls around, so that means everything I would talk about for this month’s Liner Notes has already been posted. So let’s get to talking about my November stories and how I came up with them, shall we?

I Just Want to See His Face: I saw the title of this one and I had a very clear mental picture of someone thinking about dropping a major shocking bit of news onto someone they didn’t like very much. And of course, if you’ve got someone planning to say something shocking to someone they don’t like, the natural twist in a mind-control story is that what they think they’re planning to say isn’t what they’re actually planning to say, because their mind is twisted around under the influence of hypnosis. So I constructed a scenario where a condescending co-worker “gets what’s coming to them”, with the narrator not even realizing that’s in the sense of a reward.

I don’t think it was very popular, because most people would rather see a condescending co-worker get their comeuppance, but I think that sometimes subverting the morality-play narrative can be very powerful in terms of what it does to make the mind control seem truly inescapable. This is someone who’s clearly seen by the narrator, at least, as a constant thorn in their side (the narrator being gender-neutral in this story for those of you who want to imagine this as an M/M pairing) but they have absolutely no resistance once the programming finally sinks in. To me, there’s something hot about how complete that control is, even if the outcome is less than great.

Bent 4 U: I really hope this series is something people are liking, because it turned out to be remarkably easy to find “4 U” titles that I could use to form a narrative. This is an obvious progression of the narrative established in the first two stories, “I’m a Slave 4 U” and “Even the Stars Fall 4 U”, where it’s clear that whoever is in control of the service units carrying out these tasks, there’s more than one of them and they’re very much not in agreement about the direction they want to go with their brainwashed slave army. (Well, not a literal army–I can tell you right now that they probably have less than a hundred service units total, which is part of why there’s so much contention among the Directors over whether they should risk antagonizing the rich and powerful by capturing high-profile targets. But I’ve said too much…)

Any Time Now: As with “I Just Want to See His Face”, this one was very much just a case of seeing the title and immediately picturing not so much an image as a mental state. In this case, I knew right away that it would be about Lucinda (not that she had a name at that point) telling herself that she was really going to leave any second, and she was just listening for a moment or two longer to get the right opportunity to politely extricate herself from events. And of course, any time you have someone telling themselves that they’re going to do something but they just don’t want to right now because it feels too much like work, you’re describing someone who’s in a trance state and doesn’t know it. And so it became a story about covert hypnosis.

Interestingly, the Literotica audience was very much of the opinion that it needed to keep going to the sex. But I am writing, in the end, fetish porn, and that fetish is mind control. The sexy part to me isn’t always the rubbing of body parts together, which inevitably has a certain degree of sameness to it even if I do have a personal fondness for the activity, as much as it is the slow weakening of resistance and slipping away into another person’s will. Sometimes I just sort of take it as read that yes, they’re going to go off and fuck…but we both know that the hot bit is the fantasy of being hypnotized and programmed to obey. And I think if you’re reading this, you probably agree.

Lost in the Echo: I had this title in my head for a while as more of a sci-fi brainwashing piece, with the main character imprisoned in a literal echo chamber where the sound file would bounce off the walls and come back to them remixed into various different forms that emphasized certain words and phrases in an inescapable way. But eventually I decided that the sexiest echo is the one that’s in your head, and so it became about a woman who’s already listened to a sound file one too many times and can’t get away from it because she’s memorized it. I think I made the right choice.

And again, there are a lot of things to this that I don’t see as important, but which some readers really want to know about. To me, Annisa’s enslavement and the collar (and for that matter, the specific authorship of the sound file) are all intended as details to enhance verisimilitude, not necessarily world-building. I could come up with answers for those things, and I probably could push the boundaries of the story-world out until it was a vast, global conspiracy involving hundreds of brainwashed women over centuries enslaving one another in a cult that’s just now started taking advantage of modern technology. But I don’t think that would make the story any better. Sometimes the hardest part about writing is knowing what not to put in.

And that’s enough for this month’s rambling. Join me next week for another blog post, and next month for another set of Liner Notes!

Early Bird Sneak Peek: “Vapour”!

November 23, 2017

Hi all! It’s time for another Early Bird Sneak Peek, where I share a glimpse at the story my lucky Early Bird patrons will be enjoying next Saturday thanks to their pledges at my Patreon page! Of course, if you’re not an Early Bird patron, you’ll still get a story next week–“Lost in the Echo”, teased previously as an Early Bird story, has already been submitted to the EMCSA. But the Early Bird patrons will be getting “Vapour” (MC MF MD)!

Nellie’s on her own during a night in the London fog, but there’s something strange about this fog. It seeks her out, it pulls her on, and when it finally brings her to her destination, what awaits her is nothing she could possibly have imagined. Here’s a taste:

Nellie didn’t see anybody no matter which way she looked, but she couldn’t help feeling like she was being watched. The fog seemed thicker, more oppressive, but somehow she imagined a presence in the mist observing her every movement. She knew she was just frightening herself–the fog was just as thick for anyone else as it was for her. They wouldn’t see her unless they were right on top of her, not with a pea-souper like this…

Then it hit her. It didn’t smell like a pea-souper. It didn’t smell like London fog at all.

On any other night, stuck walking home in a London particular, Nellie would practically be able to taste the thick mist as she walked through it. The heavy, wet scent of water vapour mingled with the thick fumes of burning coal and the smell of burning wood to make an aroma that Nellie almost greeted like an old friend, but this…

She took a deep breath, trying to describe the scent to herself. It had a thick, animalistic air to it, not unpleasant but strong and getting stronger. It smelled a bit like walking past a pub near the steel mill, when all the men got off work and went to have a drink still drenched with the sweat of a hard day at the furnace. Less the booze, of course. Nellie took another whiff, wondering if she didn’t have someone following her after all. Have to be a pretty ripe gent, to give off an air stronger than the fog, but she’d bumped into a few in her day.

Hope you enjoy it!

Is It Hypnosis? – Part Seven

November 19, 2017

(This post has been brought to you by the efforts of my 71 grand and glorious Patrons! Visit my Patreon page to learn how to become one of them.)

As we continue our journey through my old stories to look at the ones where hypnosis is presented as plausible and give them a good hard squint to see just how likely they really are, it’s worth mentioning that I didn’t originally intend this to become a discussion of the ethics of the characters in the story. I’ve always stood by my strong belief that these are fantasies, and that one of the very nice things about a fantasy is that you can explore a desire you have that would be absolutely terrible to experience in real life. But I very quickly found that once you say, “Yes, this is probably doable,” you kind of have to qualify it with a quick “But oh God please don’t ever try,” in the cases where it’s wildly unethical. And yes, those are going to come up again today. Shall we?

Too Shy: There’s absolutely nothing going on in this story that isn’t totally achievable; Rebekah induces a trance, implants a trigger that Mei is clearly happy to accept because it removes from her the responsibility of admitting her sexual desires, and she uses it with Mei’s waking permission. Which brings up the next point, it’s all entirely consensual; Mei is not hypnotized by stealth, she accepts all her triggers and even asks for Rebekah to use them, and Rebekah makes sure that Mei is well looked after while she’s in her altered state. About the only thing I would say is that Rebekah is probably tip-toeing a little bit close to the line of non-hypnotherapists practicing therapeutic hypnosis–while she isn’t exactly making deep or permanent changes, she is trying to fix something she sees as wrong with her friend using hypnosis, which should be best left to the professionals.

Once Bitten, Twice Shy: Ooh, we’re back to Darla and Jane! Again, this is plausible if not particularly ethical as long as we make two assumptions. These assumptions are not directly evidenced in the two stories (I’ll admit, I’ve always wanted to come back to this couple) but as the author, I’m going to say that they were implicit as far as I was concerned. The first is that Darla has a very strong, unstated hypnosis kink, and that much of what Jane does to her is stuff she wants strongly on a subconscious level. Now, that doesn’t make it ethical to hypnotize someone without their knowledge or consent, to remove their memories of the trance, or to implant triggers they’re unaware of that make them too horny to think… but it does make those things easier to do, because the subject wants them to happen on some level. (And I do think Jane had more of a conversation with Darla about that than was shown, but negotiation with a hypnotized person is not good negotiation.)

The second is that Darla has a very mild humiliation kink that, again, she’s not consciously admitting to, and that trying to assert herself as a Domme only to be hypnotized into submitting is a huge turn-on for her. I think you have to make that assumption to believe any of the hypnosis in this story, because otherwise I don’t think Darla would accept the suggestions you see here to go to Darla’s hotel room and get her brain melted again. Again, that doesn’t make any of this ethical, and I would strongly discourage someone from doing this kind of play without a lot more pre-talk and negotiation before any trancing happened. But it’s doable. (And honestly, if you wanted to do something like this after enthusiastic consent for all the elements had been negotiated, that’s what amnesia suggestions are there for.)

Flesh for Fantasy: Hoo boy. This one is something of a can of worms, because it really is all about someone setting clear hard limits at the beginning of the story, and a hypnotist slowly and methodically blurring those boundaries until they erode away completely. When I wrote it, I probably would have told you that you couldn’t really do that and it would be a terrible idea to even try. I think my position now is that yes, you probably could do that, which makes it an even more terrible idea to try.

Because let’s face it, trust and intimacy and sex are a very potent cocktail, and it’s really clear from the beginning that Jessica needs Tom more than Tom needs Jessica in this equation. The blackmail rectifies some of that power imbalance, but as Tom demonstrates in the climax of the story, he understands full well that Jessica’s threats to turn him in are ultimately empty, and his threats to stop hypnotizing her are not. That’s a huge, huge advantage he has over her, and he uses it to very patiently push her past one limit after another until she’s doing things she would have said ‘no’ to at the beginning of their fucked-up relationship.

Patience and power imbalance make a lot of things possible that wouldn’t seem possible in terms of controlling someone, and that’s kind of a warning to submissives as much as a statement about the story. Never let yourself think that a particular Dominant is the only one who can fulfill your kink, and never let them break your hard limits. Because I wrote this as a very hot fantasy, but it’s a terrible reality if you’re in Jessica’s position and I wouldn’t want anyone to go through that. Oh, and if you’re a hypnotist reading what Tom does and thinking, “Hmmm…” Just don’t, okay? Treat people like people. There are plenty of folks out there who would happily consent to most of what Jessica does, no awfulness required.

(Oh, and the stuff at the end with Cassie is really pretty cinematic. That part is just there for plot convenience.)

Wrapped Around Your Finger: There are a lot of facts not in evidence that you have to assume with this one, because it is written from the point of view of someone who is currently experiencing an altered state of perception and memory and consciousness due to a post-hypnotic suggestion and there is so much going on that Andrea is completely unaware of. (Hypnosis: Taking the “unreliable narrator” trope to new heights!) But, if we assume that Robyn and Andrea are in a consensual D/s relationship that involves hypnosis, and we assume that this is, as the young folk say, “their jam”, and we assume that all parties involved gave enthusiastic consent to this scene (and there’s no reason not to assume that all this is the case…)

Then sure, it’s totally doable. I know people who’ve been hypnotized to think they were superheroes. Being hypnotized to think you’re a dominatrix is relatively trivial. And the “Mistress wants” trigger is really just another “would-you-kindly” trigger, a disguised phrase that implants an irresistible compulsion. This is the sort of thing that could happen at any clothing-optional, sex-allowed hypno-play party, and probably Andrea would wake up at the end of the night absolutely thrilled that it worked so well.

Invisible Touch: I almost feel like it goes without saying that yes, anything Jack and Diane do in their stories is 100% plausible and achievable hypnotically (although Diane is a very good subject with a lot of practice–don’t expect to be able to have a hypno-tickle party the first time you go under). And yes, it’s all entirely ethical; the negotiation takes place “off-screen”, as it were, but Jack and Diane are in a long-term, consensual hypnosis-based D/s relationship and everything he does to her mind, he does with her enthusiastic consent. Right down to having triggers she doesn’t remember until he uses them on her.

(Fun fact: At the time I wrote this, I was working about a year in advance of the actual posting date of my stories. A full year to the day after I wrote this, the exact week that I posted it, the Ordway Theater staged a production of ‘The Barber of Seville’. This not only could have happened, it could have happened the exact day people were reading it for the first time.)

And that’s another five in the books–it’s a good thing not all of my stories feature realistic hypnosis, or we might never get through these! See you next time!

Early Bird Sneak Peek: “Evergreen”!

November 18, 2017

Hi all! It’s time for another Early Bird Sneak Peek, where I share a glimpse at the story my lucky Early Bird patrons will be enjoying next Saturday thanks to their pledges at my Patreon page! Of course, if you’re not an Early Bird patron, you’ll still get a story next week–“Any Time Now”, teased previously as an Early Bird story, has already been submitted to the EMCSA. But the Early Bird patrons will be getting “Evergreen” (MC MF FD)!

Joe’s just made partner at his law firm, and his parents have thrown a surprise party with everyone he can remember in attendance! And one very special person that, for reasons soon to become apparent, he can’t. Here’s a taste:

She didn’t look forgettable, certainly. She looked to be about five years older than him, her face given beautiful character by the tiny laugh lines around her sparkling green eyes. Her red hair had faded a little under long hours of sunlight (did she work outdoors? Did she garden a lot? Was she one of his sister’s friends in a gardening club?) but still hung down in long, lazy curls that looked casual without appearing messy. Her skin had more of a dusting of freckles than a tan, and she wore an emerald green dress and necklace that matched her eyes perfectly.

Joe tried not to apply the same kind of detailed examination to her body, but she certainly had a very nice one. She had a curvy belly and heavy breasts, and wide swelling hips that seemed made to be held. It was the kind of a body that spoke to a life well-lived, and suggested that there was still plenty of life out there to be enjoyed. Joe was frankly astonished he didn’t remember her at all.

That was getting harder to hide. He finished swallowing, and tried not to widen his smile uncomfortably far. “Hi!” he said, making a vague gesture with his plate to excuse his inability to shake hands or hug or kiss or whatever it was she expected him to do. “It’s so good to see you? Enjoying the party?”

She gave him a Mona Lisa smile that barely touched the corners of her lips. “You don’t remember me, do you?” she asked, looking more than a little amused at the thought.

Hope you enjoy it!

A Few Reflections on Recent News

November 12, 2017

(This post has been brought to you by the efforts of my 72 brilliant and compassionate Patrons! Visit my Patreon page to learn how to become one of them.)

We’re seeing something of an apocalypse in the entertainment industry right now, and I mean that in the best possible sense. Not every apocalypse is bad. When the order of things is rooted to its very core in a belief that some people have to be treated like pieces of meat for the world to work the way it should, then it can’t be rebuilt until it shatters. We are seeing a liberating destruction of a structure that was so bad we couldn’t even talk about it. That’s not just good, it’s necessary. I don’t have much of a role in this, but what weight I can place, I place in supporting the people who are wielding the hammers.

There are people, though, who are uncomfortable with the way the world is changing. I will be honest, here; I think that if you are one of those people, and you drill far enough down into your feelings to strip away the surface layers of motivation from the way you’re thinking about these people coming forward with their stories of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape, you’re going to find that the true reason for this is that you empathize more with powerful men losing their power than with everyone else being victimized. I think that (again, if you are one of those people) you’re going to have to deal with reframing that in your own way, but here are a few thoughts that might help.

  1. This is not a “witch hunt”. This is not a “lynch mob”. When you use those terms, you are quite literally taking powerful symbols of literal oppression by violence of women and minorities and applying them to Harvey Weinstein being criticized for his behavior. When you use them to defend powerful white men from criticism, it carries the implicit message that you feel it just as strongly when white men are told they did a bad thing as you do when black men are hung by the neck until they are dead. You should probably ask yourself why this is.
  2. We do not give these people “credit for apologizing”. First, their apologies have been universally shitty, self-serving, and have attempted to reframe the narrative with the abuser as victim of their inability to treat people like human beings. But second and more importantly, any apology made to get out of trouble is not a sincere one. If they’re really sorry, they shouldn’t need credit for apologizing. They should be apologizing because it’s the right thing to do and they should offer no qualifications. A true apology does not obligate anyone to accept it. If you need to accept a false apology, and to demand others to do so, simply to put a painful situation behind you, you should probably ask yourself why this is.
  3. Believing the victims means believing the victims. Obviously that doesn’t mean turning your brain off, but false accusations are genuinely rare and usually unravel when investigated. The stories that are being reported right now are well-sourced, have corroborating evidence, and the people coming forward sure as hell aren’t enjoying the gauntlet of distrust and hatred they’re getting as their “reward” for speaking up. (And they’re coming in groups.) We should always start with believing the victim’s account, because the harasser always has the most to gain by lying. George Takei is not more deserving of our sympathy than Roy Moore. If you decide to disbelieve accusations based on who’s being accused, you should probably ask yourself why this is.
  4. Yes, this is a kink blog discussing this stuff. This is a kink blog with someone who does condone dehumanization and depersonalization as fetishes saying that you should always treat people like human beings and not your playthings, despite having very lovingly told someone that they were my plaything less than twenty-four hours ago. That is because of the magic of enthusiastic consent. If you want something done to you, and you tell someone that in no uncertain terms, it’s okay if they do it to you. Even if that seems weird to others. But you can’t tell me that Louis CK didn’t pick up on any of the signs, any of the times he did it, that the women he exposed himself to were not into it. (Especially because at least a few of those women said he didn’t wait for permission.) You can’t tell me that a powerful Hollywood producer doesn’t understand that inviting a woman whose livelihood depends on his goodwill into his hotel room and stripping naked for her is unaware that he’s coercing her into the act. And if you’re trying, if you want to invalidate these words with a claim that kinky people don’t have a right to opinions about consent, you should probably ask yourself why this is.
  5. For all those people saying, “Oh, I’m so worried, I don’t know what I might say or do that could get me accused of this stuff…” Good. That’s actually part of the intent. You are supposed to be mindful of how your words and actions might impact other people, and whether you might wind up hurting them if you are callous, unthinking, selfish or cruel. That is a good character trait to have. Does it sometimes result in a little bit of social anxiety? Sure, in a Dunning-Kruger sort of way. The people who think least about how their actions affect others are the ones who will do the most harm, and the people who do best will worry sometimes without cause. But if you’d rather hurt someone than care about their feelings, well…I think you know where I’m going with this, but you should probably ask yourself why this is.

So there you go. Five excuses people use to avoid digging into how they feel, five answers. I’m not saying that if you read this post, then overnight you’re going to become “woke” and start instantly using your empathy to help marginalized people like it’s a super power. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that “woke” is a journey and not a destination. The moment you think you’re done learning how to listen and care about others is the moment you start going backwards. But I hope that if you’re reading this from the perspective of someone who’s genuinely dismayed by the way all these abusers are treated, then maybe this does help you examine yourself. Because that’s how we become better.

Early Bird Sneak Peek: “Choose to Be Me”!

November 10, 2017

Hi all! It’s time for another Early Bird Sneak Peek, where I share a glimpse at the story my lucky Early Bird patrons will be enjoying next Saturday thanks to their pledges at my Patreon page! Of course, if you’re not an Early Bird patron, you’ll still get a story next week–“Bent 4 U”, teased previously as an Early Bird story, has already been submitted to the EMCSA (although it will be delayed a week by Simon’s well-earned vacation). But the Early Bird patrons will be getting “Choose to Be Me” (MC FF)!

Stung by rejection, high school senior Betty decides to accept the mysterious Francesca’s offer for a makeover. But it turns out that Francesca’s idea of a makeover is a bit more… comprehensive than most. Here’s a taste:

“I, um, I’m Betty–” She didn’t get the chance to say anything more. The look of stern disapproval on Francesca’s face sent her voice into hiding. Francesca hooked her arm around Betty’s, steering her into a walk that headed away from Betty’s house and in the direction of downtown. Betty noticed the delicate scent of perfume as Francesca pulled her close, a whiff of sandalwood and violet that gave the other woman a literal sophisticated air. But she was more focused on Francesca’s expression than her aroma.

“‘Betty’?” Francesca’s voice was filled with sweet scorn. “My darling girl, no wonder the boys can make you cry, if you tell them that you are as common as the stones around their feet! Your name should whisper the quiet delights of your beauty, the secret hints of impossible majesty in your soul. You should be an Elisa, or…no, a Lisette. Say it for me, dear, and feel how much more sensual, how much more attractive you feel about yourself.”

Betty squeaked out, “I’m–” She coughed, then tried again. “I’m, um, Lisette.” She didn’t feel more beautiful. She felt the name squirming away from her in embarrassment at being associated with a dumpy, dowdy girl who looked half her age and cried in public. “I…I don’t think it’s working, sorry.”

“Of course not, Lisette,” Francesca said, walking Betty briskly through the busy streets and crowded sidewalks of the downtown area, taking lefts and rights with such dizzying rapidity that Betty wasn’t entirely sure she could find her way home on her own anymore. “A name is nothing but a word. If you are to become a heartbreaker, my darling girl, you will need more help from your Francesca than that.”

Hope you enjoy it!

Delicious Feedback Loops

November 5, 2017

(This post has been brought to you by the efforts of my 69 delightful and delighted Patrons! Visit my Patreon page to learn how to become one of them.)

There’s a particular aspect to the brainwashing kink (which is a sub-kink of hypnosis; not everyone really gets into the whole idea of having their thoughts altered, and that’s okay) that I think deserves to be singled out for special attention no matter which side of the watch you’re on. If you do brainwashing play on any level, you’ve probably encountered it, because it’s really one of the most fundamental pieces of brainwashing you do when you do this kind of play, and it’s the most effective, too. Simply put, it’s reminding the submissive that they derive pleasure from being told what to think.

I mean, that’s kind of a clinical way of putting it. I don’t think anyone does sexy hypnosis involving the word “derive”, unless they’ve found someone who really gets turned on by differential calculus. But “you love being told what to think”, “it feels good to think the thoughts I give you”, “being brainwashed turns you on”…those are phrases you might have heard or said. They all amount to the same basic idea, associating pleasure with the concept of having the submissive’s thoughts altered.

Now, one could argue that in any ethical brainwashing relationship, that’s not exactly brainwashing, because it’s only strengthening something that’s already there. If the submissive didn’t get turned on by being brainwashed, they wouldn’t have signed on for a brainwashing-based sexual relationship. (Note to self: Write a post on what the hell I mean by “ethical brainwashing”, and why it pretty much automatically implies a “relationship” and not casual play.) But that’s actually what makes it such powerful brainwashing; there’s no resistance to the idea, because it’s already there in the submissive’s head, and the dominant is reinforcing it with pleasure. It can become a lot stronger, is what I’m saying here. And I don’t think that’s just role-playing or pretense. I do think that a submissive who gets that suggestion reinforced becomes more susceptible to other suggestions. (So play responsibly!)

So why is this a feedback loop? Because the suggestion to become more susceptible to suggestions is, itself, a suggestion. So it’s very easy to set up a cycle in the submissive’s head while they’re in trance to remind them that they feel pleasure from accepting suggestions, and that pleasure makes suggestions more powerful and harder to resist, and that by feeling it they accept the suggestion more deeply, and by accepting it more deeply they feel pleasure stronger, and… well, it really doesn’t take much to get that into a self-sustaining loop of programming that ends with a really intense orgasm. Which, of course, just seals in that programming even deeper.

If that sounds good to you, congratulations, you share the brainwashing sub-kink. 🙂 The nicest thing about it is that as it gets more ingrained in the submissive’s head, it takes less and less effort to steer them into that looped state, until really all the dominant needs to do is make a space where the submissive feels safe and comfortable entering that state and the submissive does the rest themselves. Which is hot for the dominant, because if they’re into the brainwashing kink as a top then they really get off on seeing how effective it is on the bottom, and is just as hot for the submissive, because they’re getting really intense orgasms and loving the powerful feeling of having their mind fucked. It’s the most basic piece of brainwashing there is, but it’s so much fun. Even if you’re not going to get into behavior modification on a serious level (which is a whole big topic for another time because wow are their pitfalls to that), you might want to experiment with this one a bit.