Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Mind Control Alert! (The, Um, Good Kind)

April 22, 2018

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As you may be aware if you, um, participate in popular culture in any way, shape or form, we are just five short days away from the release of ‘Avengers: Infinity War’, the latest tentpole-of-tentpoles movie from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This is going to be the culmination of a lot of ongoing plotlines that they’ve been threading through the Marvel movies to date (or at least as much of a culmination as a movie that’s already got a release date for its sequel can be) and will deal much more heavily with villain Thanos and his quest for the Infinity Stones.

(For those of you who aren’t following the movies: Thanos wants to kill half the population of the universe because he thinks we’re violating some sort of ‘cosmic balance’, and the Infinity Stones give their holder complete mastery over an aspect of existence – Time, Space, Mind, Soul, Power, and Reality, respectively.)

So obviously yes, we’ve got the Mind Stone in play, and it seems very likely that at some point during the film, Thanos will get hold of this artifact and gain potentially complete power over every mind in the universe. Presumably it requires at least a little more skill in wielding it than he possesses in order to do that, or the movie would be pretty short after that. But that’s not the only big mind control thing involved.

See, Thanos has a group of henchbeings called the Black Order that he sends out to do his busywork, a bit more like having an executive assistant to fetch you coffee than a serious thug to beat down your enemies. They mostly do scouting and mop-up work, and occasionally act as his emissaries when he’s busy elsewhere (and one of them, Supergiant, tends to have the job of taking it on the chin from superheroes to “test their defneses”) but the one who’s very relevant for our purposes is Ebony Maw.

Ebony Maw has the power of “superhuman persuasion”. He doesn’t fight his enemies; he does the whole, ‘whoa, whoa, I’m not here to fight you’ shtick, then talks very reasonably to them until by the end they’re entirely convinced that betraying humanity and serving Thanos is the right course of action and they don’t know why they hadn’t thought of it sooner. In the comics, Ebony Maw turned Doctor Strange into a spy and double-agent for the Black Order within the heroes’ ranks, essentially mind-controlling one of the strongest-willed Avengers into servitude with nothing more than his charm and wit.

Doctor Strange is in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’. So is Ebony Maw. I’m just saying that if you’re a mind control fan with a thing for Benedict Cumberbatch, you might get a very nice surprise in a few days.


Early Bird Sneak Peek: “Umbrella”!

April 19, 2018

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–“Hands and Knees”, teased previously as an Early Bird story, has already been submitted to the EMCSA and Literotica. But the Early Bird patrons will be getting a new story, “Umbrella” (MC MF FD)!

Ryan’s taking a weekend to attend a convention for cross-stitchers, and unfortunately he’s finding that some of his fellow hobbyists can be a bit imperious. Possibly a touch condescending. Certainly very unyielding in their opinions. And one of them is of the opinion that he’s just taken their umbrella. Or at least, that’s what she says… Here’s a taste.

She smiled graciously at his tiny concession. “I know, it’s bad luck,” she said, as she popped open the umbrella. “But if it’s the only way to settle this…there! You see?” She angled the canopy towards his face, her expression triumphant. “It’s a very distinctive pattern. I assure you, this umbrella belongs to me.”

Ryan leaned in a little closer, looking for some kind of watermark or optical effect or anything at all beyond the simple black on white on black on white. But he didn’t see anything. Then again, he didn’t really expect to. “I’m sorry,” he said, continuing his unbroken string of conciliatory comments into what felt like the third straight day. “But I’m just not seeing anything distinctive.”

Miriam didn’t seem bothered by his confusion. If anything, she looked like she expected nothing more out of him. “Well, here,” she said, her voice filled with tightly controlled exasperation. “Watch this and tell me you don’t notice anything special.” She began to twist the handle with one hand, while holding the shaft in the other. The canopy began to turn slowly, the edges of the black blurring into the white as it began to gently spin.

Hope you enjoy it!

Surprisingly Hot Mind Control: The Truce at Bakura

April 15, 2018

(This post has been brought to you by the efforts of my 80 fantastic and wonderful Patrons! Visit my Patreon page to learn how to become one of them.)

Every once in a while, you’ll be reading something vanilla (usually science fiction or fantasy) and you’ll come upon something that just hammers very hard on your mind control fetish button out of nowhere. Not necessarily in a series that’s known for big, obviously fetishy mind control, like Chris Claremont’s X-Men, or even in a series that plays with the tropes frequently or casually, like Tom Baker’s Doctor Who, but a series that barely uses any mind control at all.

Which brings us nicely to ‘The Truce at Bakura’. It was a Star Wars book that came out in 1994, not long after the Thrawn Trilogy made Star Wars books seem like big, prestige events that continued the Star Wars saga after the end of ‘Return of the Jedi’ and well before they became a cottage industry, and it told a story set right after the Battle of Endor. Like, right right after, like Luke is still nursing his Force lightning wounds after. And the Rebels get a distress signal from an Imperial outpost saying, “Oh, hey, shit, Emperor? We’ve got scary aliens attacking!” But since the Emperor is dead and the Empire is collapsing, the Rebels decide they’re really the only people who can help. So they saddle up and ride off to Bakura, where they encounter the Ssi-Ruuk, the scary reptilian aliens that are attacking.

There’s a lot that happens in the book, most of which involves the seeming invincibility of the Ssi-Ruuk, their scary scary technology that sucks out people’s life energies and uses them to power the Ssi-Ruuk’s technology, and your usual good vs evil stuff. But one of the things that really comes out of nowhere is that there’s a human Force adept serving the Ssi-Ruuk, out of his own free will and due to his intense love for his masters. He thinks about that a lot, how free his will is and how much he just really loves the Ssi-Ruuk more than anything including his own life, but every once in a while it falters…

And they zap him with a brainwashing gun. And in that exact instant, he remembers that they do this to him all the time, that he’s completely hypnotized into loving his captors and that he only realizes that he’s brainwashed while they’re actively doing the process and he’s going to forget it as soon as they turn it off and go back to believing that he isn’t affected by the brainwashing that they use on everyone else and that he, alone among all their brainwashed slaves, doesn’t need to be hypnotized at all…

And then they turn it off, and he’s so relieved that it didn’t work and that his surrender to the Ssi-Ruuk is all his own idea.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no particular fetish about reptilian aliens or Star Wars or anything else involved in this book. But fuck, when that scene comes out of absolutely nowhere, it’s… um, yeah, it’s pretty fucking hot. I’m fully convinced that things like this are why we have so many geeky brainwashing fetishists.

Early Bird Sneak Peeks: “The Boys of Summer” and “Graded on a Curve”!

April 12, 2018

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–“Pussy Liquor”, teased previously as an Early Bird story, has already been submitted to the EMCSA and Literotica. But the Early Bird patrons will be getting two stories, “The Boys of Summer” (MC MF MD RB) and “Graded on a Curve” (MC MF MD)!

In “The Boys of Summer”, it’s time for Revolution Technologies to finally unveil their competing line of sexbots, and Cara is one of the first in line to get a Boy(tm) of her very own! But she’s about to find out the hard way that the Boys have some very different plans for their owners than the Girls do. Here’s a taste:

Cara had to take out a few of those foam dividers, but it only took a few moments’ work before she finally saw him. He was curled up nude in the box like Arnold Schwarzenegger at the beginning of ‘Terminator’, his midnight-blue plastic muscles contrasting beautifully with the white cardboard. She looked around next to him, but didn’t see a manual or a charger or anything. There wasn’t even a sheet of paper labeled ‘Quick Start Guide’. How did she even turn him on? Do a striptease and grab his crotch?

Thankfully, she didn’t need to worry about it for long. After a few seconds, the Boy stood up in a single smooth motion, straightened his body like he was taking a deep breath for the first time, and opened his eyes to reveal an electric blue glow that flickered like two tiny strobe lights. He smiled, the same confident grin Cara remembered from the billboard, and said, “I know what you need.”

Cara shivered at the sound of his voice. It had a rich, harmonic baritone quality to it, smoky like a mellow bourbon, and every word seemed to stroke her body like a velvet glove. “Mmm?” she muttered, already very aware of how much her pussy was doing the thinking for her. She’d been daydreaming about this moment, daydreaming and night-dreaming and wet-dreaming and now that it was here she could barely even speak. If her Boy knew what she needed, she was more than happy to let him take the lead.

While in “Graded on a Curve”, Sandi knows full well what an unscrupulous mind controller might do to her if she’s not careful, which is why she’s asked her psychology professor to give her a little trance resistance training. After all, she’s very susceptible to hypnosis. Very, very susceptible. Here’s a taste:

Professor Tate gazed at her with warm, sympathetic eyes. The only eyes she could really let herself look into anymore, ever since that day in his ‘Approaches to Therapy’ course when he first demonstrated hypnosis to the class. She didn’t even volunteer, but just listening to his warm, soothing voice as he went through an induction was enough to leave her slumped semi-conscious in her seat gazing vacantly at the floor. The other students hadn’t noticed, thank goodness, or she’d no doubt have been turned into someone’s mindless slave long before now, but Professor Tate had spotted the signs. He could tell that Sandi was a natural hypnotic subject, virtually incapable of resisting trance.

Or escaping it, Sandi realized, as Professor Tate snapped his fingers a few times to pull her free of his gaze. “That’s better,” he said, as her eyes refocused. She sat up straight and looked away from him, determined to keep her mind on their work as he went on. “Now, let’s talk about your attempts to resist just now. How much do you remember after I told you I was going to hypnotize you?”

Sandi tried to pull her scattered memories together, drawing them into a narrative as best she could. “I remember you took out a, a pendulum,” she said, her eyes staring at nothing as she pictured the image in her mind. “And you told me that…that the more I tried to look away, the more…exhausted I’d become.” She could already hear her voice taking on a loose, drowsy quality as she let the memory grow more and more solid in her head, knowing she was slipping away into its grip but unable to stop herself. “Had to keep…staring…” She sighed, feeling her body becoming more and more deliciously relaxed with every passing moment.

Hope you enjoy them!

Duller-But-Substantially-More-Accurate Liner Notes for March 2018

April 8, 2018

(This post has been brought to you by the efforts of my 80 elegant and eloquent Patrons! Visit my Patreon page to learn how to become one of them.)

Okay, so now that it’s no longer April 1st, let’s talk about how I really got my ideas for this week’s stories. It’s not as much fun, but it’s true. And truth is duller than fiction, right?

Windfall: In truth, this one was sparked by the dual meaning of the title; I thought about the main character finding something that was both a windfall for them in the sense of unexpected good fortune, and a windfall in the sense that it was borne on the wind and landed in their backyard. Which brought me to the idea of puffballs and spores–I think there’s always something kind of creepily fascinating about puffballs, the way that you give them this little poke and this puff of mysterious dust comes out. And that connects to a common mind control fetish, the idea of inhaling a dust or powder that fogs your brain. So I had that kind of ticking along in my head, along with the idea of some sort of ancient spores deep under the permafrost, finally unthawing after tens of thousands of years and ready to propagate.

I combined that image with the idea of someone who was lonely (both in the sense of “not many people where they were” and “not many people of their orientation where they were”) and who would view a brainwashing spore as a genuine blessing. And of course, any moral objections she might have were papered over by her being a victim of the puffballs as well as a propagator, because there’s nothing quite as hot as an unreliable narrator insisting that everyone else is brainwashed, but they’re obeying of their own free will. From there, it progressed in the usual geometric serial recruitment fashion.

Queen of the Silver Dollar: I think that as a writer, I’m often fascinated by the idea of valuable coins, simply because it’s so much wealth contained in such a portable (and unless you’re an expert, possibly unobtrusive) fashion. It’s the perfect thing for a character to covet, steal, and generally behave in conflict-generating ways over. So when I saw this song title, I immediately thought of a rare and valuable silver dollar, and of a woman who controlled anyone who touched it thanks to a magic spell (that also granted her immortality thanks to the fraction of their soul that went into the coin).

It sat like that for a long while in my head, because I couldn’t get past the same problem Maude has in the story–once a coin gets to a certain level of value, people don’t actually touch them anymore. They handle them through gloves, they put them in museums, they treat them like artifacts instead of things. I knew that Maude made the dollar to be passed along from person to person, each one spending it and handing it over to a new victim as it went through the usual chain of provenance money goes through, and I knew that at some point she would have seen her supply of thralls dry up as people stopped touching the coin. I pictured her with a coterie of very elderly men trying to persuade the new owner to just run his finger over it, I pictured her as an elderly woman trying to trick one last person into becoming her supplicant and revitalizing her. But in the end, I jumped over that to the point where she solved her problem and seduced her way back into her prime. I think it worked better as a story that way.

Never Ending: I wanted a very simple mood piece when I wrote this, really just something that was about the pleasure of sinking into endless hypnotic bliss (and although it’s not specified, I do think that Sandra and Jayden have a consensual hypnotic D/s relationship). And when I saw this title, I did think of the way that a good trance doesn’t feel like there’s a bottom to it, and the way that a spiral never seems to have a true center, and I merged the two things into some (I hope) very hot imagery.

Xanax and Wine: I think I saw this in a list of U2 song titles, and it caught my interest in a “Hmm, that’s a catchy title!” sort of way. I decided to at least do a little reading on Xanax to see if it brought me any ideas, and seeing that it does have some weird interactions with alcohol that amplify things like disinhibition and sedation caused me to imagine someone who had a particular neural quirk that turned the two together into a mind control cocktail. (NOTE: I feel like I shouldn’t have to say this, but GOOD LORD do not try this with anyone ever. Even if you have their enthusiastic and informed consent, there are a lot of other negative interactions between the two drugs that will result not so much in “fun sexy times” as “hello, 911, we just did something really stupid that our doctor specifically told us not to do times”. If you want to do something like this consensually, put in a hypnotic suggestion and use a placebo. SERIOUSLY.)

In any event, because I didn’t want to necessarily write a super realistic story about someone being drugged into inability to consent and then having a ton of sex, I came up with a semi-plausible scenario in which someone who likes to drink also has to take Xanax regularly, and uses it as part of their consensual sex life in a way that keeps them from doing anything stupid while they’re doped up. And yes, there’s definitely hints there that it’s a stronger effect than either woman realizes and that she’s getting more powerfully head-fucked than she knows, but that’s there as a take-it-or-leave-it thing, and if all you want to read about is hot lesbian consensual sex that involves sleepy obedience, it’s there for you. And in a way, aren’t we all winners when that happens?

My Happy Ending: So this one came about because I had just written “Never Ending”, and I was singing in the shower but I didn’t really know the words or the tune to “Never Ending”. I’d just seen the title. So my brain decided to substitute in “My Happy Ending”, which I had heard, which of course led me to think about how a handjob is called in sex work “a happy ending” to a massage, and then my muse (which has never been good at staying completely serious even at the best of times) pictured someone asking for a massage “with a happy ending” and getting a fairy tale. And then it occurred to me that this would be a great, if hilariously weird, way of doing a confusion induction when combined with a lot of teasing, and at that point it all just sort of tumbled out.

(The stories are Rapunzel, Peter Rabbit, Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, and finally Anne Rice’s revisionist take on Sleeping Beauty. Just in case anyone was wondering.)

And there we go, that’s the official version in the books–see you next week with a new entry, and at the beginning of May with a new set of Liner Notes!

Early Bird Sneak Peeks: “Valentine’s Treatment” and “Quiet Your Mind”!

April 5, 2018

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–“Z-Word”, previously teased as an Early Bird Reward story, has already been submitted to the EMCSA (although due to Simon’s well-deserved vacation it will be popping up only on Literotica this week). But the Early Bird patrons will be getting “Valentine’s Treatment” (MC MM) and “Quiet Your Mind” (MC)!

“Valentine’s Treatment”: Michael Valentine has been kidnapped… or so he believes. Michael Valentine is being brainwashed. Or so he thinks. Michael Valentine is the victim of gaslighting from his tormentors… but that’s not what they’re telling him. He knows he’s right… doesn’t he? Here’s a taste.

He’s startled out of his realization by their hands, yanking down the cotton pants he only just now notices he was wearing. Pajama pants. He doesn’t remember going to sleep. He starts to speak again, but one of the men blasts him with a spray of warm water from a hose on the wall, and he grips the railing tightly in surprise. He notices a plastic bracelet on his wrist. It has a barcode on it that looks like every other barcode he’s ever seen.

He feels like he’s trying to solve a puzzle without enough pieces and without enough sleep. His thoughts seem sluggish, like he’s been running for days on nothing but black coffee and his brain is all gummed up. He doesn’t know if there’s a way any of this could make sense, but the strung-out feeling makes it impossible to work out what’s going on. One of the men begins scrubbing him with a sponge on the end of a stick, working up a thick and soapy lather all over his body. Every time he tries to cover himself or push it away, they spray him with more warm water. After a while, he forces himself to concentrate on staying upright.

“Quiet Your Mind”: Another of my hypnotic induction pieces, this one focuses on suggestions to increase suggestibility, help with absorbing triggers and amnesia suggestions, and submit more easily and effectively to the hypnotist reading it. If you do not feel comfortable with those suggestions and are concerned about them taking effect without your conscious intention for them to do so, I would recommend skipping this one. But if you’re not not concerned about them taking effect, here’s a look at the induction:

“You know what that special place is. It’s trance. Trance is nothing more than a state of focus and relaxation, and you’re very focused right now and you’re very relaxed. My words have put you into a light trance, and it’s okay if you wind up going deeper. You know that you can go exactly as deep as you need to in order to continue doing whatever you were doing when you started listening to me, while still letting my actual voice simply become a warm and soothing background noise that your conscious mind can easily tune out. You like the sound of my voice, it makes you happy and content, and so really it doesn’t matter what I’m saying. Your deep self will remember, while your waking mind forgets.

“And every time you listen to me, that becomes easier. You have such a talented, focused mind, and you know that there’s nothing you can’t achieve once you put all the strength of your will behind it. And right now, your will is turned toward centering all your thoughts on your focus. Your will is turned toward improving your skill at forgetting to remember, and remembering to forget. So of course you’re going to let these words slip away. Of course they’re going to seem distant and unimportant to you. Of course you’re going to remember only the sound of my voice, only the peace and pleasure that you got from tuning out my words and letting your deep self do all the remembering. That’s exactly what a very good pet should do right now.

I hope you enjoy them!

Liner Notes for March 2018

April 1, 2018

(This post has been brought to you by the efforts of my 81 brilliant and amazing Patrons! Visit my Patreon page to learn how to become one of them.)

Hi all! It’s another month gone by, and so that means it’s time to talk about last month’s stories and some of the things that inspired me to write them! You all know the drill, so let’s get started, shall we?

Windfall: This one came out of a trip I took to North Dakota last spring, fairly early on when the snow was just melting. It’s a pretty desolate place up near Brumba Wildlife Refuge, and I thought it might be a good setting for a story even when we first got there, but it was when we found the community of blank-eyed fungus slaves tending field upon field of crimson puffballs that I thought there was real potential for an erotic mind control story there. As it turned out, I may not have made a good choice when I decided to focus group the idea with the mindless spore zombies directly; they were very polite, but I think I may have given them the idea to mail envelopes of spores all over the world in an effort to enslave the human race.

(As an aside, don’t open any letters postmarked from South Dakota any time soon. I don’t want to kinkshame if you genuinely do want to be enslaved by alien puffball spores that turn you into mindless lesbian sluts; it’s just a basic safety thing.)

Queen of the Silver Dollar: I first got the idea for this one when I was reading up on rare and valuable currency for my story “Criminal”, where a 1933 Double Eagle features into the opening sequence. I wound up needing to do a little extra research for that, so I asked some questions of a few coin collectors with an online presence. It was a little bit embarrassing, having to admit that it was for mind control porn, but it turned out to have a very useful payoff – one of them was deeply concerned about the growing and sinister influence of an immortal sorceress who used her talents to bewitch and enslave everyone who touched her magical coin.

I did take some liberties with the story, just for the sake of flow; usually, the real Maude doesn’t bother seducing her victims, she merely walks up behind them and presses the coin to the back of their neck and shouts, “YOUR SOUL IS MINE!” But that’s not really the sort of thing you can get six pages out of, so I decided to elaborate it more into what I would like to see rather than what actually happens. (Oh, I also left out the bit about her victims aging to death at twice the normal rate. Because depressing much?)

Never Ending: Not going to lie, this one is based on some real events as well. The real “Sandra” (names have been changed, naturally) hasn’t woken up in about five years now, thanks to Google Glass; with the spiral superimposed on her field of vision 24/7, there’s really no need for her ever to think again. Every year on her birthday, I do ask her subconscious self whether she wants to stop being my mindless slave, because I am a big believer in enthusiastic consent, but she seems to be pretty content to just wander through life in a helpless daze of obedience, so I feel pretty good about this one.

(That’s why I push the Patreon pretty hard, by the way. I’m earning for two.)

Xanax and Wine: No, this hasn’t ever happened to me, just in case you were wondering. Certainly, when I did some of the clinical research studies responsible for bringing Xanax to market, I did notice that some of my test subjects tended to become blank and compliant when under the influence of the drug combined with alcohol, but I never took advantage of that situation. That simply wouldn’t be ethical. I simply noted it under ‘potential side effects’, advised them not to drink while taking the medicine, and left the rest purely in the realm of fantasy where it belongs. I suggest that my readers do the same.

My Happy Ending: This one’s got a kind of a funny story behind it – I was in Dallas on a business trip (during my years in the pharmaceutical industry, as previously mentioned) when my friend Gordo mentioned a massage parlor I should try out. Well, one thing led to another, and before you knew it I was brainwashed into mindless obedience at the hands of a sinister dominatrix who used bizarre confusion inductions to throw her victims mentally off-balance while she turned their own sexual desires against them to bind them into her thrall! It’s the craziest thing, I know, but sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

In case you’re wondering, no, I don’t have her address. I haven’t heard from her ever since she got a strange letter and moved to North Dakota.

And that’s it for this month’s stories! It’s just possible that I might revisit this again next week, when we’re a little bit further into April and I’ve gotten all the foolishness out of my system. Until then, have a good Easter and I hope you find some humor in the day’s events!

MST3K Vs Hypnosis: “The Wild World of Batwoman”

March 25, 2018

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I’m hesitant to list this under any kind of discussion of “mind control in the movies”, because I think it’s a huge stretch to consider this one a “movie” per se. I’ve never seen the unriffed version, but even with the comic asides added (and they’re great–this movie has so much material to make fun of) this is a painful experience. But it does feature mind control, so let’s talk about it!

The plot…for lack of a better word…involves Batwoman (not DC’s Batwoman, just a woman who dresses in a way that vaguely suggests bat-ness and who fights crime) and her army of highly trained operatives, all of whom appear to be young women between eighteen and twenty-four. Batwoman is investigating a villain known as Rat Fink and his army of henchmen and mad scientists (please note that “army”, given the budget of this film, stretches to about five people plus some stock footage) who plan to steal an atomic-powered hearing aid from the Ayjax Corporation, with which he can hear anything anywhere. Because atomic.

Batwoman’s secret plan to defeat Rat Fink is…oh, Lord, I’ve probably watched this movie a half-dozen times and I don’t think you could use the word “plan” to reasonably describe anything that happens to anyone at any point in the film. There’s lots of wandering around, there are Mole People for some reason, there’s a seance featuring a very racist impression of someone speaking in Chinese, and most germane to our purposes, there’s the villain’s primary weapon in a movie that wants to be an action caper comedy heist film and can’t pull any of it off: Dancing pills.

That’s right, the villain has little pills he slips in people’s drinks and food and it makes them so helplessly happy that all they want to do is dance in a mindless stupor and he can drag them around like sleepwalkers. And yet, somehow even this isn’t enough to save this movie. It’s black and white, it looks like it was filmed before they started writing the script, and the MST3K writers described it as the equivalent of one of those Army tests where they walk people into a room full of tear gas and order them to remove their gas masks just to see who’ll do it. But if you want to see people being drugged into a glazed stupor and mindlessly dancing, this is one of your few chances.

I hope for your sake it’s worth it.

You’re a Top Who Just Made a Mistake. Now What?

March 18, 2018

(This post has been brought to you by the efforts of my 82 honestly brilliant Patrons! Visit my Patreon page to learn how to become one of them.)

Everybody makes mistakes. That’s a pretty good general statement, but it’s a little more important to recognize in BDSM because the mistakes you make are more likely to cause harm. Sometimes that will be physical harm, sometimes it will be emotional. Sometimes it will be temporary, sometimes it will be permanent. But it will happen, even if you’re trying your absolute hardest to be the perfect top and keep your submissive’s needs first and foremost in your mind, because you’re a human being and so are they and we’re all going to make mistakes. Making a mistake doesn’t make you a bad person. But how you handle it might, so let’s talk about that.

The most important thing to do is set aside your ego. There’s a very natural psychological tendency to try to defend yourself when someone tells you that you did something wrong. We all want to believe we’re good people, and when we’re confronted with evidence that we did something bad, the brain naturally tries to reconcile these two incompatible things by coming up with ways that it wasn’t really bad or we didn’t really do it. FIGHT THIS TENDENCY. Nine times out of ten, it is not the initial screw-up that causes problems in BDSM; it’s the way that the top tries to minimize it or deflect it. If you need this advice, you caused harm to someone. You can only compound that harm by trying to deny its existence.

So don’t tell them that it’s their fault for not communicating the problem better, don’t tell them that what you did was fine with everyone else so it should be fine with them, don’t tell them that it’s really hard being a Dominant and you deserve sympathy for being such a screw-up (that last one is known as the Passive-Aggressive Half-Gainer With a Double Guilt-Trip Twist, and is one of the hardest conversational gambits to pull off in the Asshole Olympics). You need to look at yourself in the mental mirror and say, “Do not bullshit me here, me. This is a person I care about and they deserve better.”

Then you are going to actively listen to what they say. Not what you want to hear because you really really want to be absolved of guilt, but what they’re actually saying. Whether that’s “this imagery triggered an abreaction because of this childhood issue of mine”, or “that hit with the flogger was badly placed and you hit me again even though I was saying ‘red'” or “I needed more aftercare and you scheduled an event without enough recovery time for me”. You’re going to suck it up and listen to what they have to say. You’re going to make sure that they understand that you are listening and understanding their concerns. You are not going to change the subject at all, and you are especially not going to contradict their feelings.

And then you’re going to apologize. You’re going to give them an unreserved, unqualified apology. There are lots of places to go to get good resources to give real apologies, but the basic elements are: 1) You understand what you did and why it was harmful, 2) you feel genuine remorse, and 3) you will not let it happen again because of these specific steps you are taking to avoid the problem that led to it. (There are other elements depending on who you talk to–explaining why it happened, thanking the person for bringing this to your attention–but those three are the most important ones.

There’s also one that is conspicuous by its absence and should stay that way. No. Excuses. If the apology is about you and all the ways that this really isn’t your fault because of “X, Y, and Z”, it’s not a real apology because it’s more about making you feel better and absolving your guilt than it is about making amends to the person you hurt, and this moment isn’t about you.

So to use one of the examples above, you can say, “You’re right, I didn’t give you the time you deserved for aftercare, and that wasn’t fair to you. I’m sorry that I didn’t treat your needs as a priority. In future, I will make sure to schedule scenes with you only when we have the time to do everything and do it right, because you deserve that.” And then you stop. You don’t explain what you had to go and do instead of doing aftercare, you don’t sulk about how much aftercare is ‘enough’, you don’t keep going into self-justification or self-defense territory. You let the apology be, and you let it be sincere.

And then you stick the landing. If your apology was, “I won’t initiate anything sexual when you’re tied up,” you don’t initiate anything sexual when they’re tied up. If your apology was, “I won’t use that imagery in trance play with you,” you don’t use that imagery in trance play with them. If that apology was, “I will never bring a copy of any of the ‘Scary Movie’ movies into your household ever again unless it is for the express purposes of smashing them into dust with a sledgehammer,” you…well, you get the idea.

Now, that doesn’t mean you don’t get to have needs of your own. You can say to your sub, “I didn’t realize how much of a need X was for me, and now that I do, I think that we may not be good play partners because it’s very important to me and it’s a hard limit for you.” It’s okay to recognize that what hurts some people doesn’t hurt others, and it’s better not to play with someone, if playing with them means you could repeat a mistake that hurt them. (Let’s repeat that in bold: It’s better not to play with someone than it is to repeat a mistake that hurt them.)

In the end, it is never our mistakes that define us as people. It is how we respond to those mistakes that define us. You can fix a mistake, I promise. But you have to accept it, first.

How to Deliver Non-Creepy Compliments

March 11, 2018

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“Oh my GOD, it’s like you CAN’T even SAY nice things to a WOMAN anymore!” This has become a pretty common refrain from guys in the wake of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. And while it is complete bullshit, it nonetheless gives us an opportunity to teach people how to give a polite and appropriate compliment to a stranger or acquaintance in a public, non-sexual setting (such as the office) without inadvertently coming off as creepy. (Please note that the tips here are entirely gender neutral, even though you don’t generally hear women complaining about ways to deliver compliments to men that don’t sound like thinly veiled pickup lines for some reason.) (And by “for some reason” I mean “because of institutionalized sexism and performative gender roles”.)

Let’s break this down into a handy checklist, shall we?

Step One: Find a sincerely meant non-sexual element to compliment. Basically, this is an “is your intent pure” moment. If what you are ‘complimenting’ is that the person in question very much makes you sexually aroused, and you’re just looking for a way to lampshade that with a compliment about their appearance, maybe don’t share that sentiment with them unless you know them well and are getting clear and unambiguous signals that said attention would be appropriate and reciprocal. If you genuinely want to compliment someone on an aesthetic decision they made about their appearance, then we can proceed to Step Two.

Step Two: Compliment the thing they did, not the person they are. Remember, you are complimenting this person on their taste and on the effort they put into their appearance, not their body and the effect it has on your libido. Complimenting the way a man’s shirt goes with his tie is very different from complimenting his eyes or his cheekbones, just like complimenting a woman’s dress is very different from complimenting the body underneath it. People have a right to be proud of the work they put into looking good, but they do not have an obligation to acknowledge your interest in their bodies. Plan accordingly.

Step Three: Be as specific as possible. The more general you are in your compliment, the more room you have to be misinterpreted as a creeper. If you just say, “I love your hair,” you could mean any number of things by that, some of which wound up in Season One of ‘Hannibal’. Find a specific detail or aspect of their appearance that caught your attention and made you want to compliment them (again, one that reflects effort and thought on their part) and compliment that. “I love the way that dress goes with your hair,” or “I love that shade of purple in your hair,” or “That haircut looks great on you.” There are occasionally reasons not to get too specific in your details (see below) but in general, a sincere compliment about one thing is better than a general “You look good.”

Step Four: Make sure you are not complimenting something society finds erogenous, either by design or by accident. Even if the dress that woman chose accentuates her cleavage in an aesthetically pleasing fashion, and even if you’re reasonably sure that’s why she wore it, avoid using any variant of ‘your breasts’ in your compliment to her. Or ‘your butt’, or really anything that brings the compliment back to sex. If you’re looking to compliment the way they presented their sexier features, it’s okay to be a little euphemistic, like saying, “That dress looks very good on you!” or something similar. That brings it back to their decision, and not their body.

Step Five: Before you say the comment, ask yourself if it really compliments them. If your compliment can be construed as suggesting that their good aesthetic decision draws attention away from their flawed body, that is not really a compliment. That is what’s called ‘negging’, and it’s a shitty thing to do to a person. Try to avoid saying things like, “That outfit makes you look so thin,” or the like. Again, it’s okay to pull back on the specifics if you think that your original intent was a little TMI.

Step Six: Make sure your language is appropriate. “Your outfit looks very…” is usually a good start to a compliment. But when you go in for the finish, try to find words that are appropriate for polite, general interest (like ‘elegant’, ‘well put-together’, ‘smart’, et cetera) rather than ones that are perhaps better used for someone you have an intimate relationship with (‘sexy’, ‘hot’, et cetera). If you’re not sure about a word (‘beautiful’, ‘pretty’, or other words that might indicate a more familiar relationship than what you have) then err on the side of caution. It is much better to be a politely formal friend than an inappropriately informal acquaintance.

Now, I know that it seems like a bit of work to expect people to follow a six-step checklist every time they want to give a friendly compliment. But that’s actually bulllshit too. It’s easy. If you really want to compliment someone to make them feel good about themselves, instead of just to lech on them, you’re going to find the first two to be very intuitive, and the rest are just a few reminders about language so that you don’t put your foot in your mouth. It is really easy to give polite, friendly compliments to anyone so long as you just remember to be polite and friendly. If you can’t hack that, you may not be trying as hard as you think.