Monday, 21 April 2014

Here we go again...

I'm asking in a very undomly fashion for a fave, in case it floats your boat, I'll command it...

It's a simple click, an animal charity I volunteer for entered a picture of 2 of their dogs in a competition. Please vote for them (anonymous) and share on all sorts of social media to get people to vote for them.

The charity is run exclusively by volunteers, you can vote once every 24 hours. They need the money desperately to stay open and so pets that were chucked out (you know idiots who thought it would be cute to get an animal for xmas and now decided how inconvenient it is, they just abandoned them) find homes, get neutered, get their shots, get fed and all that...

No money goes to anybody working for them, it all goes to the animals, it's a click and takes seconds, please do vote for them and share on all of your social media!

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

BDSM and PTSD (from a femsub's POV)

After Phil's article about Depression and BDSM I talked to a female online friend I've been talking to for a while, she mentioned PTSD a few times and certain triggers and how she's able to live with it, but it wasn't easy. I asked her if she would feel comfortable writing about it, because a lot of people in BDSM seem to suffer from PTSD. 
ShiftyW (the author), is a female submissive and after talking for a while, her story can possibly help a bunch of people suffering from a similar condition.
Like depression, PTSD is something that can happen to just about anybody, there's nothing shameful about, as ShiftyW says, it has to be considered as seriously as a back problem or any other health problem.

I was diagnosed with PTSD in 2010. It was a result of a date rape that happened in 2006. 
In 2006 I was a college freshmen, who had moved to Philadelphia from a small rural New England town.

I was a virgin.

I was dating someone who I considered myself close with.

I knew I was into kink years before this, but wasn't really ready to explore that, or even ready to have sex. But my date didn't listen when I said no, and overpowered me.

I lived in the same dorm as him for a year, and he would constantly intimidate me into not telling anyone.

I went to the clinic alone to get tested for STD's and pregnancy, which both came back negative, thankfully.

He ended up flunking out of school and I haven't seen him since freshmen year. But the damage had been done.

The next three years became a spiral of worsening symptoms of PTSD. At one point I wouldn't sleep through the night because I was constantly checking locks and looking behind doors in our apartment for someone hiding, all night long. I became promiscuous. I would go through bouts of depression and shame that would basically cripple my emotional capacity for days. I would obsessively get tested for HIV- even if I hadn't had a new partner for months, I was at the clinic every three weeks.

I dated jerks. I had no self worth or self esteem. I constantly had intrusive obsessive thoughts about what I would do if I were kidnapped or raped, with a lot of "scenario running". I was fiercely secretive about all this.

The worst symptom was being afraid to say no. I had some pretty faulty logic going on that basically was "If I don't say no, no one can rape me or abuse my consent again".

At this point, I was more into kink, and it was a problem. I didn't really know how to set limits, and doing so made me wildly insecure. Being a bottom, I took a lot of pride in pleasing my partners- the feelings of inadequacy and the fear of not being able to say no to something I really did not want to do made my sex life, and my interest in kink, pretty treacherous. I ended up in some dangerous situations, that I am fortunate to come out of relatively safely.

I got help after a particularly shameful and scary one night stand.

In therapy I learned how important respecting my own mental illness and limits really was. It’s a hard lesson, honestly. I think bottom types have a hard time feeling that they are not all they want to be for their counterparts. I felt this pretty strongly.

Because my rapist had only valued me for sex, it had a strong effect on my own view of my self worth, and I felt that if I couldn't do more extreme kink things that I really wasn't any good in the sack and I should just get over it, because it was really the only reason someone would want me anyways. I had to change my thinking. I've since realized that the way to the best relationships is a mutual respect of each others limitations, and finding someone whose limits align with mine. If they don't, unfortunately, that person may not be for me. 
If "rape play" is really important to a top and it is a requirement for them, no matter how attracted to him I am, I really need to assess if I actually want to be involved with someone who values that type of play over my mental well being.

Secondly - limits are limiting.

I have to understand if a top chooses to reject me because I'm not what they are looking for.

Initially- I had a really hard time with rejection, because I felt inadequate and as if all I was good at, wasn't good enough. I had to learn that I'm just not compatible with some people, and that's OK.

It’s OK to not be into medical play or knife play. I also had to learn to reject people myself.

Saying no to someone's advances was really hard and scary. Sometimes, people get really mad when they are rejected, and I was pretty fearful of that anger. With my therapist we practiced ways of saying no, which I realize sounds kind of silly, but it was absolutely necessary for me. I had a really hard time, and still have a hard time with it. It makes me nervous that someone won't respect it, and violate my consent again, but I'm a much happier person when I'm doing things that won't trigger me, or send me into a depression.

I also had to give up a few kinks I was really interested in. Public play and even some educational events are really off the table for me. Even if I have a strong exhibitionist streak in me, those situations make me too anxious and hyper vigilant to really enjoy myself.

Perhaps someday I can return to those things, but for now, I feel that they would overwhelm me and frighten me. Other things I will only do with folks whom I love and trust, and it usually takes a while for me to get to that point with someone. TPE was something I was interested in, but after having a terrible experience with it before, it is not something I feel capable of, I clearly have some issues with control, and I feel it isn't something that sets myself or my partner up for success. However, I'm willing to discuss it if someone right came along.

I take precautions now, that I feel anyone with a mental illness should consider taking. I treat my mental illness as seriously as I do a physical one. I make sure who I am with is aware of my condition, and signs that it bothering me. I also make sure that if I disassociate, the person I'm playing with knows full and well the signs of this and to stop, even if I don't safeword. 

I use safewords, without shame, if I end up in a dangerous headspace. If a top doesn't believe in safewords, or gives me a lot of grief about not "really being in physical danger"- I don't play with them.

I make sure my partners know about the possibility of me getting triggered, and what that looks like. I negotiate my limits really thoroughly so that someone is made aware of what is more likely to set me off.

I have of course, been told by doing this I am trying to "top from the bottom"- but I don't view putting my own mental safety first as "topping from the bottom"- me explaining my limits and PTSD is an effort to make BOTH of us feel good at the end of it, and protect myself from further trauma, if someone views me saying "Medical play and needles are a hard limit, full stop" as topping from the bottom, they are probably not someone I should play with.

Advocating and making aware your partners is the most important thing I thinks someone who suffers with mental illness can do.

I have found an excellent partner. We have been together for nearly 4 years. Our interests align and he is wildly supportive. I realized that he was someone who valued me beyond my sexuality or kink. He has come to therapy appointments with me. He knows if I'm getting triggered even before I do. He knows to anchor me down in the present and bring me out of the panic or disassociation. He constantly has my PTSD in consideration when topping me. Learning to adapt my kink and advocate for myself, through therapy, played a huge role in finding the right person. Sometimes it’s still a pain. Sometimes I can take all the precautions and I'll still get triggered.

I just have to respect the power of my own illness, and consider it as seriously as I would a back problem.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Phil Beck - Depression and BDSM

As announced, Phil Beck graciously agreed to do a blog post about BDSM and depression, as we both noticed that people with mental health issues on both sides of the whip are often drawn to BDSM. Please let me stress again, we both believe that mental health issues don't mean being "crazy", it means somebody needs help, and mental health issues are possibly widely misunderstood. 

Depression is often not properly diagnosed, it's important that you do your part to help your health professional to identify the source of it, instead of just relying that he will prescribe you something, but Phil gets into those issues.

While BDSM will NOT and SHOULD NOT replace therapy or medication and a proper diagnosis, if it makes you feel better and helps you to get through, there really is no reason to give up BDSM!

While Phil Beck is not a health professional, he does live with chronic PTSD and major depressive disorder and managed to pull through and is kind enough to share his experiences:

Disclaimer: I am not a professional and this blog post is not professional advice. If you are currently facing a life threatening situation stop reading now and contact your local emergency services provider.

Do you think you have depression? In general the difference between 'being depressed' and 'having depression' is about the length of time that the symptoms are ongoing. If your symptoms persist daily or most of the day for at least two weeks then you may be eligible for a diagnosis of depression. Key symptoms include fatigue or loss of energy, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, impaired concentration or indecisiveness. Not sleeping enough or sleeping too much, loss of interest in activities that you once enjoyed, thoughts of death or suicide, significant weight loss or weight gain, depressed libido, a sense of restlessness or being slowed down and a depressed mood during most of the day.

Depression can be the result of imbalances of chemicals in the brain known as neurotransmitters. But it can also be the result of other physical or exogenous problems including dysfunction of the thyroid gland, low levels of vitamin D, lack of physical activity, reduced exposure to sunlight, and hormonal imbalances. Middle aged men for example can suffer low levels of testosterone that can bring on depression like symptoms. All the antidepressant drugs under the sun won't fix it if the cause is hormonal (reduced testosterone for men or menopause, peri- or post menopause for women). 

When and if you decide to see a doctor about your concerns it is important to have complete blood work done to check for all of these issues and be honest about your lifestyle and habits. There is no point in going on psychoactive drugs if you don't need them.

However, if these other potential causes can not be pinpointed, then there is a good chance that your depression can be helped through the use of anti depressants. Though medication alone is not the only answer. Research has clearly documented that medication combined with talk therapy, both one on one and group, offers better results with shorter depressive episodes and fewer recurrences. In our pop-a-pill society, taking the time to work through therapy is sometimes considered a undue burden, but it clearly helps in most cases. In particular, a type of therapy called cognitive behavioral therapy has been proven to be effective in treating depression in the majority of cases. There are other types of therapy, but this one is widely practiced and is considered by most professionals as the first, best choice for people living with depression.

There are many coping skills that you can employ in recovery from depression that require no professional help and come without a high price tag. The absolute best decision you can make when suffering with depression is getting out of the house and exercising. It doesn't need to be a complex circuit plan at the gym or even something that is highly demanding at all. Walking for a half hour a day can make a huge difference. Physical activity helps the brain to elevate levels of a chemical called dopamine and dopamine is important for making you feel good about yourself. So if you do nothing else all day, making that one choice can have a dramatic effect on how you think and feel about yourself. Other steps that you can take include keeping a journal and/or a thought log, making regular contact with friends or family to talk, limiting stimulant usage like coffee or cigarettes, increasing exposure to full spectrum light by using special light bulbs, taking vitamin D supplements if your doctor recommends them, eating a balanced diet, practicing good sleep hygiene, learning and doing deep breathing exercises and limiting your exposure to media that may cause you to feel weepy or sad. Try watching comedies instead or listening to up tempo music.

In the world of BDSM much like any other segment of society there has long been misunderstanding and ignorance about people living with depression. This is not surprising is it? We are playing around with some pretty heavy mental stuff already and adding in the complexities of depression and triggers can be scary and frankly, it can be dangerous. But with depression that is managed and understood the potential for real damage can be minimized and can be fit within the parameters of Risk Aware Consensual Kink or R.A.C.K. Perhaps it seems obvious, but full disclosure is really necessary for anyone with depression. It is the ethical way forward in negotiation for a scene. It makes the potential for a great scene even better because everyone is well informed and able to react appropriately in case things go sideways. For me, as a submissive, knowing that my dominant play partner is aware of my depression and potential triggers makes me feel more free to drop into sub space because I can trust my partner more rather than feeling like I have to be the one managing the situation.

In the past nine years, as I have progressed through therapy for my depression, I have also been exploring my kinks along the way. I was fortunate to have a therapist who was open minded and supportive of my kink life. That is an important element of therapy, finding someone who is compatible with you. You are the one doing the hiring, you are hiring a partner to work with on a long term project. Don't be afraid to sift through a few different people before you settle on the right one. As I explored more and more of my kink life I found new triggers for my depression and was able to talk them over with my therapist. I would then go back to those points where I got stuck in kink and find ways to push myself past those triggers. Kink became a vehicle for personal growth in my life and a tool for decreasing the severity and frequency of my depressive episodes.

Both bondage and sensation play, not only impact play but sensual play and other sensation, has always been an element that attracted me in kink. As I progressed in therapy I began to explore sensation play in more detail and discovered that it could serve as a balm for my depressive episodes. I am not suggesting that I could ever 'cure' my depression with sensation play, and i certainly never went off my meds or treatment plans because I though sensation play was the solution. But it was a complementary form of self-treatment that I found to be successful. In particular, I found comfort and safety in the feel of certain forms of bondage combined with heat and cold sensation. I also found emotional and physical release through being flogged. Impact play like flogging or other forms of sadism can cause the release of endorphins and other chemicals that help us to feel good. I would sometimes cry after a flogging session was completed, and a dominant partner, since I informed them in negotiation about this being a potential result, was typically willing to comfort me for a while in aftercare. 

Although I have only done it once so far, I found being wrapped or mummified with vet wrap to be a very liberating experience with regard to my depression. Being totally immobilized in that way made it possible to release my concerns about the outside world and my sense of emotional well being somehow began to rise up as I began to sink into a trance like state. I am still not exactly sure how that particular experience worked its magic, but I know it helped and I want to do it again. In general bondage is a emotionally liberating situation for me. I am helpless, and have submitted my life an safety to my dominant partner, all that I really have left to do is focus on my emotional state and I am free to meditate and zero in on the feelings that make me happy.

This is all stuff that works for me. Your experiences may be different. I know one person who escapes her depression by sitting in a cage. I know another person who deal with depression symptoms through the application of staples in her back and other more extreme forms of masochism. The point of all of this is that it is possible to find your own avenues of healing through BDSM. But the first and most important thing to do is get a diagnosis and deal with the underlying cause of your depression. There is no shame in getting diagnosed and no shame in going on medication or into therapy. In the United States, when you include everyone who deals with a mental health issue at some point in their lives the number becomes rather large, a vast majority in fact. Mental health parity is arriving now. People are tearing down stigma brick by brick. So get the help you need from professionals first. And then, if you are into BDSM, and you want to see if you can find other forms of release through that, take it slow, negotiate openly, and see how it works for you. Keep an open dialog with your therapist about what you are doing and why. Limit and be informed about the risks you take. You might find some great outlets for your emotional pain through this wonderful world of kink. 

Phil Beck

I asked Phil to write something for me after we had a discussion about BDSM and mental health issues on a forum and I was impressed with how clear he was able to verbalize concerns and how well informed he is. I'm surprised how quickly he managed to get this article together. Many thanks for that!

In case you want to visit his blog (he's just setting up shop) go here:

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Hold on tight

Not there, you perv, take your hands off ;)

Just dealing with a bunch of health issues, mainly to do with a gluten intolerance or sensitivity, which is not a lot of fun and they keep stabbing me, (don't they know I like to be on the not so pointy end of needles) and take a ton of blood, surprised that I got any left...

On the bright side, I am working with somebody on a blog entry that I think is pretty important as it deals with BDSM and mental health issues. 

Please let me add a disclaimer, I do NOT believe that being into BDSM is a mental health problem, but I do believe a lot of people who have mental health problems are drawn to BDSM, and I do NOT believe that mental health issues mean that anybody is crazy or dangerous, it just means that they need more help (medication, therapy, etc) and while BDSM can be a crutch, a lot of people will still need professional help.

I hope it can remove the stigma of "mental health" because essentially by labelling them crazy means nothing else than labelling a diabetic as a "freak".

So bear with me, while I get stabbed, tested, work and in the meantime work with a great person on a blog update!

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

BDSM Boards and Forums

There are a ton of BDSM boards all over the net, they're all a bit different and it always depends what you are looking for.

Now let me give you a word of warning before you join any BDSM discussion board, just like if you're engaging with people on the internet you don't really know, have a separate email just for that. Inconvenient, I know, but hey, a bit of inconvenience might not be a bad thing! Tons of web based emails around, from gmail to hotmail, yahoo, you name it. Easy to set up, go and do it.

It also makes a lot of sense to have different passwords, I'm not saying that the people who run the boards are untrustworthy, but again, if you are joining random boards to get your wank material, you don't really know about the people, you don't know how secure their server is, better safe than sorry.... Really not that much work and depending what you store on your email, you want to keep yourself protected.

OK we got that covered (if you don't listen, don't complain later, OK), now if you're joining any discussion board, it's like a pub or a bar, you don't storm in and tell everybody what they're doing wrong, OK. If you do, don't wonder if you're getting flamed. Read a bit around before you jump in and put your foot in, just like pubs the atmosphere is a bit different in each of them and the tone is a bit different.
In case you get flamed, just shrug your shoulders and remember it's online, why would you want to get upset about it? Seriously, I use the internet a lot for work, but if I want to hang out, I prefer a place that doesn't upset me and there is always the option of just logging off and going for a walk. Something I tend to do regularly, and I can tell you, does me a hell lot more good than hanging around on a forum and arguing with idiots.

You can make good friends on boards, but just like a bar, you don't go into a bar to find friends, you go there to socialize a bit, not to expect to find your future best friend or life-partner.

There are a bunch of Forums about, but if you're a guy and you look for a partner, none of it will be easy, so just bear that in mind and see it more as a social club:

It's a good place with almost everything, the thing that I think it's lacking is discussion boards that flow and navigating around can be a bit difficult.

It mainly deals with professional domination, if you're looking for a pro-Domme, it might be a good place to look, though the majority of male posters don't really session, one of the all time grievances is that guys who don't ever session try to tell dommes what they should do and why they shouldn't charge... Tons of dramas, a bunch of bullies and a few posters who are well, not really well adjusted.

It's basically the discussion side of CollarMe, the chat is more just chat, while the profile site (CollarMe) is more like a meat market. I used to enjoy it quite a bit but recently the moderators were all fired and it seems somebody who's support has taken over, the only issue I have with that is that it came to light that this person tends to be overly interested in the content of people's mail boxes, not for any valid reasons but just to satisfy curiosity. It feels a bit creepy and so I decided to give it a long break, just simple privacy issue concerns and I might be a bit sensitive due to my stalker issues.

SM Place
It's alright there, a bit slow, but just a bit too focused on pics and wank material, so not really my cup of tea.

Kinky Too
A new forum and a work in progress, the owners are trying to make it pretty much a mixture of all other forums and include kinky people too, as not everybody fits into the parameters of BDSM. On some BDSM forums you really always have the "purists" who try to drive everybody away who don't fit in. So the aim of this forum is to be a bit welcoming to everybody. In case you want to help and shape a forum, now is the time to get on board.

Somebody mailed me with AllStarDoms another forum that is focused on FemDommes, haven't been there for ages and can't tell you much if it's going slow or fast, but definitely one to check out.

There are countless other BDSM forums on the net, just google for them, the weather at the moment is far too nice for me to check out a lot of forums and I'm taking the dogs for a long walk and a think, as there is also this annoying thing called "work".

Now in case you do know of a good forum and would like to have it included, just shoot me a mail and I'll update.