Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Letter From a Reader

Hi, Matisse!

Edited: some very nice compliments…

I do have a question, if you would be willing to answer it.

In terms of a Professional / client relationship, the boundaries have to be clearly defined and respected by the (sub/bottom) client. As a client, I do have my own individual needs to be addressed and (hopefully) met. At the same time, I am reluctant to go to a BDSM Professional service provider with a "laundry list" of needs and desires, expecting a Pro-Domme to meet them without giving consideration to her needs and desires as well. We are talking about interpersonal dynamics, honest communication, and developing an energy flow that I believe to be crucial to a fulfilling session. The way I see it, if a session does not work for a Pro-domme, then how can I, as a client, expect it to work for me??

For Example: (Edited for privacy: He told me about some of the specific things he likes and doesn’t like.)

…At the same time, I do want to afford a Pro-Domme with the opportunities to experience her pleasures with my mind and body. It seems to me that while the dynamics in a Professional / client relationship involve a client having needs to be met, the consideration between the Professional service provider and the client should be mutual; yet, in wanting to do that, some things, like having my balls squeezed, of feeling a thuddy whip, or cross-dressing, would be a distraction, and detract from the fulfillment that I seek.

Would you be willing to help me gain a clearer perspective, and a better understanding here?


This guy seems very sweet, and I’m sure he’s probably charming in person. So any hint of frustration you hear in my voice here is not directed at him.

But he, and all the other people who’ve expressed similar sentiments to me, have got it wrong. I don’t want or need a script, in the sense of “first do this, and while you’re doing it, say thus-and-so.” That pisses me right off. And I have indeed had people show up with an honest-to-god, multi-page, complete with stage-directions script. Wow, I can see just how highly you respect my talent and experience. Have you thought of just buying a wind-up doll?

But a list? A list is totally different. A list is fabulous. Here’s a perfect example of how to give a hypothetical list of likes and dislikes. “So, I really like spanking and impact on my ass, but please, no crops or canes, okay? And CBT, heavy on the cock, not so much on the balls, please, Mistress. And gags are cool but blindfolds flip me out, and nipple clamps are ok, and I’m curious to try electrical, but I’m sorta nervous about it, too.”

That kind of list is great. That’s exactly what I want to know, and it’s being presented clearly and without coy little games. That’s a delightful menu of options that I can mix and match however I like, I can be creative in how I deliver them, and I’ll still know that we’re having a good experience together. I love lists. Give me a list and I’ll love you.

Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration. But you see, with new people, I hate it when I say, “So, what kinds of activities are you looking for?” And I’m told, “Whatever you like, Mistress.”

No. What the Mistress likes is not having to be a mind-reader. Tell me what works for you. Don’t make me have to do a damn interrogation scene before we ever get to the real scene!

That’s why I have a whole long list myself, on my website, of what I do, and what I don’t do. If what you like is on that list, then we’re golden. It wouldn’t be there if I didn’t like doing it, you see. So it’s unnecessary to fret about considering my needs. One of the benefits of being a dominatrix is you don't have to do anything you don't like.

It's also unnecessary to worry about how you're not taking care of my need for X activity. My kink life does not lack for variety. Whatever it is you're not into, believe me, it's someone else's favorite thing in the world, and he's probably coming to see me next week.

There’s a subtler element of this, though. I have found that most bottoms, at some point in their lives, feel some anxiety about whether their top is getting off (in any sense) on the scene.

(Tops do this too. Hell, vanilla people do it during straight sex. But we’re talking about bottoms today.)

Bottoms make themselves vulnerable, and it would feel yucky if you felt like you were offering that vulnerability to someone who was disinterested or even repelled by it. It’s true that you should both be able to feel that the other person is enjoying what’s happening. However, people do express that in different ways, and with varying degrees of skill. Sometimes two people just don’t connect well on that level, even if they have similar tastes on paper.

But if you aren’t willing to trust that what looks and sounds like yes really means yes, then the scene is sunk anyway. You have to make the leap of faith. I know it seems scary. It is scary. But bottoming isn’t just about trusting the Mistress to put clothespins on your balls, it’s about also trusting her to deal honestly with you and treat your desires with the respect they deserve. You must both give yourself, in that moment, or the magic won’t happen.

I myself am pretty good at broadcasting the woo-I-like-this signal, because I know it’s important. But still, I have done scenes where I had to expend huge amounts of energy reassuring the bottom that yes, I like what we’re doing, yes, you’re a good boy, yes, the Mistress loves X activity, over and over, to the degree where what he obviously feared became reality: I stopped enjoying it. He wouldn’t let go of trying to control our encounter. I was trying to create an experience for him that we could enjoy together, but he was too busy trying to create my experience to let that happen.

But that’s not your job, when you bottom. Think of it like painting: you give me the tubes of paint, and your body is the canvas, and I make art with you. My challenge and my pleasure is to do that no matter what colors or textures of paint you give me. So don’t try to be both the artist and the canvas at the same time.


Edited to add: Telling me about a fantasy-roleplay is not like giving me a script. So if you've turned up with a theme you wanted to act out, do not fear that you annoyed me.

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