November/December 2001
Picture Hereby Miss Ayme

To Love, Honor, Cherish and....Obey?

It is not easy for some men to know they have done evil, for reasoning and honor are often clouded by pride.
· Lady Jessica, journal entry
· (Dune, House Corrino; B. Herbert & K. Anderson)

Do you have to have sex to enjoy good BDSM? Many of you would say, "of course not." Good BDSM begins in the brain, not in the crotch. I'm inclined to agree, but those of us who view BDSM as a Lifestyle have to constantly battle the stereotype that BDSM equals kinky sex. Lifestylers know that BDSM goes way beyond just sexual pleasure, but I am astounded at the number of people, vanilla and perverts alike, who abuse those conjugal concepts just to get their rocks off.

When I choose to submit to a partner, I want to love them. I want our souls to dance. I want to give them all that I am, open and honest and vulnerable, brimming with promise and, yes, love - even for just that moment. I want us to honor what we each bring to the table. I want us to both cherish the gifts of ourselves to each other. But obey? That's the biggie, isn't it? Does service or submission or slavery mean I will do as you say? Hey, I've got my pride and sense of self worth to consider, right? Bottom line, I'm looking out for Numero Uno just like everybody else. Obey is a pretty strong word, particularly these days in this politically-correct world. I mean, it's even being purposely left out of some otherwise staunchly conservative marriage vows. Does my pride prevent me from truly submitting? Or is it actually a desired quality?

So, yeah - it all depends, right? If I've agreed to be collared to a Dom/me, then of course I will do my best to obey - within limits (stubborn ain't I?). Seriously, if I'm wearing a collar then the barriers are already down, and my Owner and I have reached a level of trust and spiritual awareness that makes obedience, yielding control, a true, noble and honorable act of submission. It's not like he's going to order me to jump off a cliff or anything. If there's a squicky spot, experienced players will often quickly come to an agreement and just continue to have at it. Other times it's a point of contention that requires a real time-out and an honest discussion. And even then there's no guarantee it'll all work out. And pride works both ways - I truly hope that my Owner would be proud of me. I choose to serve out of love, respect and desire. Not from fear of disobeying. But so many new people to the Lifestyle, whether their interest is sincere or not, have many misconceptions about obedience and how it relates to our concepts of honor, trust, and communication. I think obedience within the context of BDSM, is more about self-discipline and yielding control than just following orders.

Now I do a lot of public play. I enjoy it. The exhibitionist in me likes to see and be seen. I attend a regular monthly event here in the Bay Area, that I consider one of the best play parties on the planet. I go religiously each month - in fact I've blocked it out on my calendar into next year, it's that good. It's a great vibe that a Lifestyler can really groove on. Good Karma - a whole lotta love going down. And for the most part, the experienced regulars impart a comfortable sexually-charged energy that's both soothing and erotic to be around. But I also like the energy expectant newbies, usually couples, bring to a party - that awestruck wonder exploring a new world look on their faces.

Sometimes, as the predominant demographic, it's the single men I have to watch out for. Frankly, men are pigs - I should know, I used to be one. And I don't mean all of them of course. But I do have to question their motives. Hell, I wonder about my own sometimes. I often wonder if a "play" party isn't just an excuse for a frenzied sexual free-for-all (particularly the mixed gender parties), with no resemblance whatsoever to BDSM. If I wanted an orgy, I'd wear a toga.

However, I do give them some latitude because sex plays a big part in the satisfaction surrounding BDSM activities. In fact, I attended one month with the sole intent of getting my rocks off. I just wanted to fuck. I let my sexual tension build for weeks beforehand just so I could savor the blinding explosive satisfaction a good orgasm can bring. Yet interestingly enough it was the one time I really didn't enjoy myself at all. And when I reflect on why, I realize that my motives for going in that frame of mind ultimately proved unworthy of me. As if attending just to have sex (kinky or otherwise) cheapened the experience somehow. As if I was untrue to my beliefs in the deeper, more satisfying mystical spiritual experiences that good BDSM can bring to my life. I went home that night without achieving anything but a frustrating ache in my head, my heart and my groin. If you'll pardon the expression, it was totally anti-climatic.

Perhaps that's a conflict between the male and female within me. I mean, when I look at the other people who attend these parties, some of them are experienced and devoted pervs. They clearly exhibit a self-confident style and easy grace. They have intent and purpose - and usually a slave or two in tow. But there is a preponderance of single men who attend on the pretense of interest in the Lifestyle, but are really there just for sex. Any sex. Doesn't matter to them if it's kinky or not. They'll walk around wearing nothing but a grin and sneakers, erections firmly in hand. I know you've seen these "wankers" - they haven't a clue as to how important BDSM means to many of us. I'm not sure they really want to know either. Am I guilty by association here? I certainly haven't acted any better at times. I can look at any one of them and say to myself, "there but for the grace of the Goddess go I."

I can, however, relate to them in some way. I have been "on the prowl" before, back when I was a man. And there are times when that coarse, brutish energy surfaces. It's funny, but I rarely see a woman by herself at these things (and why is that really? I've never known any woman, single or otherwise, to behave so blatantly!). Yet as a single woman now, I have no qualms about going by myself (though I usually don't), and I confess that I have felt a bit odd when expressing an assertive sexual energy. Doing so doesn't suit my sense of who I am as a woman. A "good" girl just doesn't act like that in public. But again, it all depends on who I'm with, and under what rules or roles we've agreed to operate.

Anyway, when I say "no, thank you" to some of these guys, they act all hurt and defensive, like gee Lady aren't you here to have sex? And why won't you have sex with me? In situations like these, it's not like I've got a couple of hours to go over SM101 fundamentals with him. What can I do? I don't feel like I should apologize for any hurt feelings. I've been polite after all. If I'm particularly offended, I'll drop my voice just a little and tell them my dick is probably bigger than theirs, and they get all wide-eyed and back off right away. Usually, though, I'll wish them luck and thanks all the same, and retreat to the buffet.

And after a handful of M&M;'s I have to stop and think, well gee there goes a guy who's definitely got the wrong impression. If not of me personally, then of the Lifestyle I choose to lead. And why do I feel as if it's my fault? There was this nice hard cock just waiting for you - it's what you wanted, right? And you just turned away…*sigh*…rejection sucks! Sometimes it's hard to be true to what you believe in, whether it's pride or pain that burdens your honor, or hinders your discipline.

But as a firm believer in Quality over Quantity, I step forward determined to clean another oyster, hoping to find a pearl. It's a fine line between humility and pride, and the concept of obedience lays somewhere in between. Whether I like it or not, I am always obedient to my inner voice, and I listen to it when it tells me something's not right. And I obey when it tells me to get off my sorry ass and get out there and keep trying, keep learning and most of all, keep living.