I suppose I should start with my own disclaimer, before I even talk about who I am or what my views are. I know that nearly everyone who reads this page is going to disagree with me in some way. I expect this. Many of you out there are going to look at this page and say, "this guy's a fake - he's not doing it right. It's all the way, or not at all!" I also know a lot of you will say, "This guy must be a jerk - I could never possess someone like that. Well, I'm not here to tell anyone what to think - just my way of looking at it.
So, let me tell you a bit about myself. I'm a graduate student in the hard sciences, an Eagle scout, and I helped found my church's youth choir. I was a tuba player in my high school marching band, and continued in college. So far, I sound like pretty much an all-American kind of boy, huh? Well, it gets better. I delivered newspapers and mowed lawns for money. I had no disciplinary record whatsoever in my school - not even detentions. In other words, I was a very nice guy. I'd like to think I still am. I got interested in the study of sociology my senior year of high school, and that led me further into philosophy and ethics. Not what you were expecting this page to be about, but bear with me.
So, taking the lessons from these three disciplines to heart, I began to examine myself and the way that I interact with my surroundings. Now, my first sociology professor liked to stress that in sociology, you study what you're interested in. I was interested in sex. Not just in that "wanna jump her bones" kind of way that most guys that are at that age, either. I wanted to understand the ethics. I wanted to figure out for myself exactly what the important parts of a relationship were, and what brings two people together. From the start, I combined two major approaches to form my starting place. The first, the doctrine of Appropriate Vulnerability basically says that it is unethical for one person in a relationship to be more vulnerable than the other. In other words, abuse is wrong because one person lords their power (physical, verbal, sexual, whatever) over the other to the detriment of the victim. Likewise, it's wrong to string someone along (or say "I love you" just to get sex) because you are building a one-way relationship, and through it, making the other more vulnerable. The second idea that I used as my terra firma was that love should be the core of the relationship, and it should be used to better both people.
Right. So, you're saying, how did he get here from there, or is he about to tirade against the lifestyle? Is this an ambush? We're getting there.
OK, so from there, I built up what I cared about in a relationship. I wanted to be love, I wanted to be looked after, and I wanted to look after the other person (love to the benefit of both). I wanted to have a relationship that both people were very active in building - I didn't want to be one of these couples who share a bed and live completely separate lives (Appropriate vulnerability). But what else did I care about? Shortly after I began to look at the other nuances, I fell in love and got engaged. This turned out to be the ultimate learning experience. Through many situations that arose, I determined that I wanted complete loyalty, though not necessarily total fidelity. I learned that I am not a jealous man, and don't mind flirting. I also learned that I wanted a very active sex life; and I enjoyed a sex life that was certainly less vanilla than average.
OK, so why didn't I stay over there, in "imitation vanilla" land? Well, that's the next part. Things broke down, and my then-fiancée and I went our separate ways. So, again, I began exploring. I stumbled upon, through a long-time friend, the D/s lifestyle. Now, there were a lot of misconceptions that I had. Who doesn't? Even people who seek the lifestyle out soon discover that the reality is different than the image. I pretty much expect this in any situation, though, so I did what I always do: I looked it over to see what truth it held for my, decided why everything else didn't fit, made sure that those categories were really true to myself, and set out on my own way.
So, what did an all-American 'good boy' find in the lifestyle that clicked with him??? Certainly power exchange alone would have put him off! Well, you might be surprised.
Had this been only a cursory glance, I would have probably said to myself that this wasn't something I was looking for. Luckily, my friend introduced me to some people who were very calm about the lifestyle who helped me find out what it was really all about. The biggest thing that struck me was the inability to turn around without running into the word 'consensual'. So, what (other than sex) could they all be talking about? Power exchange can be about so much more than just sex. It occurs when one person gives up personal choices and trusts the other person to do what's right for them both. (In the end, all good relationships do this, some just in different guises.) So long as the person taking the power understands and respects that responsibility, it seems that Appropriate Vulnerability is fulfilled. The person subordinating themselves chooses to do whatever they can to make the dominant person happy. The dominant person accepts the gift while trying to make the other person happy as well. So, it turns out that this is about more than a blowjobs-on-demand service! In fact, it's nearly a form of chivalry. For example, if I go out to dinner with my lady (I being the dom, and she the sub) I can choose any restaurant without complaint from her (a dream come true after my fiancée!) BUT if I respect her, I will also consider her preferences. When we get there, I may choose her seat, likely by being a gentleman and pushing in her chair for her. I will look over the menu with her, and choose something for her to eat. I will order us drinks, or not, based on my desire but considering her. We will then go home. Or not. At any rate, let's look at that dinner. I chose a restaurant we both would enjoy, pushed in her chair for her, and ordered her dinner. This sounds like a romance novel more than a kinky affair!!
Now, let's look again - what was she doing for me? Before we left, she chose an outfit she knew I would like, or let me do it. She didn't complain that she was wanting to watch a television show, instead enjoying the gesture of me taking her out. She had been looking forward to the ice cream she bought the night before for her desert all day, but didn't spoil my night by choosing to stay in instead. And probably a thousand other little things. But again, she chose to spend a romantic dinner with me instead of what she had planned, and she enjoyed herself. My gestures were noticed and appreciated. Again, sounds more like the romantic ideal I grew up with in books!!! This is why a softer, more gentle D/s lifestyle works for me. It's not just about sex - people new to this take note!
Ok, so now half the people are less freaked out by the good-boy-gone-bad. Now, let's try to explain this a bit to the other half of the people who are convinced this isn't real D/s. Well, ok, I suppose it's not, depending how you define it. Last time I looked though, we were all trying to decide what's right for us. I don't need to be living a scene from a John Norman novel every moment of my life - that's not me. If you want to live that fantasy life, I can respect that, so long as you didn't abduct your sub on the street and drug her. It's all about the consent baby! Now, just because I've said repeatedly that it's not all about the sex doesn't mean that this stops at the bedroom! I have a lot of interests that are well outside of vanilla. I understand that she is willing to do nearly anything I want her to if it makes me happy. I also recognize that some things make her happy in and of themselves. In the world the two of us want to build, there are no safe words except possibly in moments of extreme play (more in case we want to push the envelope than anything) - there shouldn't have to be if we both really know each other and are both paying attention to the other. I should know her hard limits and respect them, and she should be willing to explore her soft limits for me - and vice versa.
So, granted, I may not own a riding crop, and I may not know many more uses for knots than I learned in the Scouts (not many - but I do know some...) but I have embraced power exchange as a way to live in a relationship. You'll never see me walk up to a sub at a fetish night and expect them to lick my boots - why should they, unless that's what they want? That's not what this is about. It's about relationships, and sexuality, and to some extent ethics. In my world, you just can't separate the three.