Honest Appreciation

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A fan wrote to me a little while ago, saying that he had read my post “Tell Them They’re Sexy” and thought it was good advice. He wanted a more exciting sex life, and so here are his words on what he did:

“I told her that she was pretty every day. Really. Every single day I told her ‘you look nice’ when I came home. And she didn’t warm up at all. In fact, she seems stiffer than ever.” 

Now, I thought I made myself perfectly clear in the post Tell Them They’re Sexy that mechanical praise would not get the job done. However, it seems that some people read my words of “find something you can really like about them and fall in love with it,” and you just didn’t take my meaning.

So for the record, I am not saying that you should repeat tired cliches like “You have the most beautiful eyes” or “I love your dimples.” These are the stuff of pulp romances and they are not said with feeling or meaning because they are too cliche for anyone to ever mean them again.

When I said you have to fall in love with things about your significant other and then vocalize that love, I meant it. You are not trying to win the award for best actor by selling a lie. You have to actually love things about the person who you want to inspire confidence in.

Really.

You have to actually love them.

Is that such a surprise?

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Let me explain this in a whole different way than I did last time so that maybe everyone will get it.

When I was around 12 years old I read a book that helped me to think in terms of the other person’s wants. The book is called “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” It was written in the 1930’s by Dale Carnegie, and revised for the modern reader in 1981.

I know for most girls it’s easy to think about life in terms of the wants of another person, since women so often change everything about themselves to fit into the world of a man they care for. This seems to be a basic instinct among women, and I am not sure if its evolutionary or societal, but I have watched it happen to many female friends.

For me, fitting into someone else’s universe was impossible when I was young. My world was huge and it took up all the space in any room or relationship. So I read this book, and it helped me to learn to think in terms of another person’s wants and needs.

This helped me make other people happy, which in turn made me happy.

 

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Note: Pardon my bad paraphrase, but I am afraid an exact quote would have taken five pages, as Dale Carnegie had a way of explaining things that took a very long time.

There is only one way to get a person to do what you want. It is to make them want to do it.

Sure, you can make them want to do it at the end of a gun, but they will stop the moment your back is turned. So the best way to get another person to do what you want is to sincerely make them want to do whatever it is that you need. 

The way to get others to want to do what you want is to express sincere appreciation for them and help them feel important. 

Let me use a direct quote for effect here: “No! No! No! I am not suggesting flattery! Far from it. I’m talking about a new way of life. Let me repeat that. I am talking about a new way of life.”

In other words, the book is saying that you have to change yourself.

Instead of spending all your time thinking about yourself and your own wants, you have to stop and remember that every person you meet, from your spouse to the clerk at Circle K, has a life full of wants and desires and hopes. And you have to take the time to consider those people- really consider them.

Once you consider a person, you might be able to begin to see things from their point of view. You might learn to appreciate their life, and in doing so, to appreciate them.

There is no shortcut to giving people sincere appreciation, and if you fail to do this, you won’t get anyone to care about doing what you want.

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This is what I was saying before in my original post. I may not have used the same words or examples, but in essence, this is what I was saying.

You can’t just tell a person that they look nice. That won’t convince anyone of anything.

Rather, you learn to love what there is to love.

For example: My husband is really dinky for a guy. He looks like you could fold him up and put him in a briefcase. His shoulders are so narrow that the military armor he has to wear needs to come in child sizes in order to fit him properly (and tragically, yes, they do make child-sized armor.)

Anyway the point is, this is counter to what most women want and what society glorifies.

And I will admit that in the past, even I have appreciated plenty of men for their broad shoulders and strong stance.

However, there are things to appreciate in a slight form and those are things that I have learned because of my husband.

He didn’t happen to come in a tall or broad package. This is the package that the person I love came in. And as such, it is the package that I learned to love.

Now, I appreciate the way that he looks so adorable curled up in ball. I appreciate how I can hug him and just wrap all of me around him. I appreciate that his slight stance has given him the most adorable little butt.

And here’s the important part: I tell him these things.

I learned to appreciate him for who he is and the body that he lives in, and I tell him how I feel all the time.

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If you want someone to really feel comfortable around you and to open up and be fun, this is what you have to do. It is the only way.

Like I said, there is no shortcut to making someone feel appreciated. You actually have to learn to appreciate them.

How long does this take?

Well, my favorite boys and girls have all appreciated me for what I was right from the start.

Who doesn’t love a man who will undress you slowly while telling you why they love each new part of you that they are seeing? I have little love handles, and I love when someone can see them and kiss them and love them right away; rather than avoiding looking at them or touching them (which makes me feel like they are ashamed of the parts of me that they don’t like.)

I have been impressed right off the bat by someone who will undress me with praise and appreciation for every part of me, and then make sure I get off twice before they suggest penetrative sex. Those are the keepers.

However, even if this doesn’t come naturally to you, it’s not as though you can’t learn. Really! Read this until it becomes clear, and start learning to appreciate your partner (or if you don’t have a partner, then start making plans for when you do.) There is no reason why old dogs cannot learn new tricks! In fact, people are learning new things every day and becoming better for it. You can too!

Whatever you do, don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results right away. Sometimes a person you meet might have been torn down a lot by people or events in the past, and they might then have a pretty big wall around them. You will have to break down that wall over time with love and affection, and that might be a bit of a challenge. Just know that if you really appreciate them for what they are, you will win them over before too long.

And then? Well… that’s when the fun begins.

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Poly vs Open

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I am not much for terms. As a writer, you would think I would love them. But I am not a precise person. I hate specifics. I think in broad strokes about overall ideas and I hate nitpicking. This makes me a horrible copy editor.

Anyway, I was asked about the difference between being “poly” and being “open,” and I thought it was a good question so I will do my best to answer it.

I lot of couples consider these terms synonymous, which is to say, they think it is the same thing. And that is fine. You can define things however you want in your world. I am not a purist, so I believe that usage defines language. But that’s a whole other blog post…

Anyway, those who hold that the terms have different means have defined them to me this way:

Poly: Having multiple emotional relationships at the same time (this can mean a primary and secondary, more than one primary, etc.)

Open: Having only one emotional relationship, but having sexual or play relationships with people outside the primary relationship.

Again, it is up to you to decide how you feel, but I want to put in my two cents that it’s very hard to sleep with someone and not become fond of them. (That’s just down to hormones and such, so don’t think I am being sappy. Oxcytocin and Dopamine are things, you know? ) So to me it seems like if you want to have an open relationship, and you define that as no outside emotional attachments, then you should probably stick to one-night stands.



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24/7 Play

A rather cute couple

A rather cute couple

I recently got asked about the difference between 24/7 play and “only in the bedroom” play. So, thought I’d write a quick post about it.

First, I should mention that most of the couples I know fall somewhere in the middle. That is to say, you do not have to be exclusively one or the other. I think it happens in most couples that one person tends to lead and one person tends to follow.

I should also note that those roles are not always the same as a person’s BDSM roles. I know of lot of submissives who are very authoritative outside of the bedroom, and I know a lot of Dommes who are very easy-going and agreeable outside of the bedroom. So real-life roles and BDSM roles are not always the same.

But let’s skip the stories about CEOs who end up in a dungeon begging a girl in thigh-high boots to spank them. That is most certainly a thing, but it is not the subject of today’s post.

So BDSM “only in the bedroom” means just that. You walk out of the bedroom and become two individuals on even footing, with no power dynamic at play. That’s easy to understand.

Where it gets complicated is in a 24/7 power exchange. I think when people ask about the difference between BDSM in the bedroom and all the time, what they really want to know is how a 24/7 relationship works.

A 24/7 power exchange means that a couple finds ways to work BDSM into every aspect of their lives. The submissive will have a collar to wear in pubic. Something simple that does not attract unwanted attention. And their Dom or Domme will tell them things they must do each day, such as writing assignments (explore a scene you want to play in an e-mail to me), forced masturbation (you will masturbate until you orgasm in the bathroom at work,) etc…

A subtle collar, like a sub would wear in a public setting

A subtle collar, like a sub would wear in a public setting

I have no opinion on which is better. I know some people who have gotten far too into a 24/7 exchange and lost their own identity for a time, but it seems to me that they enjoyed it. The biggest drawbacks that I see are when a break-up happens. That is why I think leather families are so important, as well as having protectors and people who look out for you. It seems to me that there is no relationship harder to leave than a 24/7 power exchange.

I am not currently in any. I have been, but I generally choose to keep my kink to the bedroom. In real life, I want someone to tell me where they want to eat and what they want to do. I want them to offer opinions and challange me intellectually. I am not saying those things can’t happen in a 24/7 exchange. I am sure they can! But they never have for me. All the 24/7 exchanges I have been in involved a person who gave their will over to me, to the point of expecting me to pick out their clothes for the day and keep track of what they ate. It as a lot of work, and unlike some Dommes, I did not get off on having that much control.

Each couple must choose for themselves what they think is best. But remember people; safe, sane, and consensual. A good Domme never looses sight of the well-being of their submissives, and always protects their free will, while keeping their best interests at heart. If you’re going to be a Domme, be a good one who cares deeply for your submissive and makes sure they are always okay, and never too lost in you to know what is best for themselves.

Going Vanilla

We've almost all tried it...

We’ve almost all tried it…

Sometimes the scene can get a little uncomfortable where you are, right? Like, this one time when I was dating 3 guys who I assumed all knew that we were not exclusive (since it had never come up and I had never agreed to such a thing).

Meanwhile, they were working on the opposite assumption that not talking about it meant we were committed. So they “find out” about each other, and my stuff gets thrown off of a balcony. And I thought; well I’m not moving, but everyone in this scene is mad at me right now. So… maybe it’s time to date outside until things cool down and I can tell my side of the story.

I am not, by nature, given to monogamy (which eventually everyone agree is okay as long as the people I’m dating don’t ask for monogamy and I sneak around.) In time, my side was heard and everyone came around and decided the guys were assholes for how they planned out the whole throwing my shit into a parking lot thing.

However like I said, at first it was tense and I didn’t want to turn up at a fetish prom for awhile. That’s when I met a nice vanilla boy who took me shooting in the desert with his Mouser and his SKS, and told me that I was pretty. And I thought; eh, what the fuck? I’ll give it a try.

To this day, it was my only monogamous relationship, and my only vanilla relationship as well.

So what of it?

Well, often I see people asking; can kinky people be happy with vanilla people? And that is up to each person to decide for themselves. Me personally, it lasted for 2 years. We dated longer than that, but I only managed to be happy for two years. The rest of the time I just hated him.

It’s not like I didn’t try to open his mind a little. I took him to fetish proms and hung a whip by the bedside. But he was willfully ignorant of anything BDSM related, and when I tried to bring it up he always seemed to be busy or uninterested.

Now of course, there are always different variables at play. Every situations is unique and I can’t tell you what will happen to you. But for those that have asked if I ever had a vanilla relationship; yes I did. And no, it did not work out. I ended up being very unfair to him and picking fights over nothing because I was unsatisfied in bed. And he was good too. The sex was great and he always got me off before we got to the penetration part of the sex. If I were a vanilla girl, it would have been the best sex of my life. But I am me, so I got really bored.

It’s just my experience. And it’s in response to a faithful reader who asked. I’m not trying to tell you how it is, and your relationship may be different.

For me though; yes I tried it. I went vanilla. And no, I will not go back.