In just a month, we will take note of the 10th anniversary of my arrival here to live with Tom and T; a full decade! When I came here, I was on the upward learning curve of my BDSM orientation. It may not be the case for everyone in the lifestyle, but for me, there have been stages to my growth within this sexual/erotic orientation. The beginning places go way, way back into the years of my childhood and early adolescence; years when I dreamed and fantasized about control imposed from outside myself; years when I felt myself abandoned, unwanted, and unloved. In those early years, my imaginings were about "belonging" to someone. The frightened, lonely child that I was wanted only to be taken in, held close, and to know, finally, where "home" might be.
Getting started in the BDSM lifestyle was like landing in some magical wonderland. I was like a kid in a candy store. Every new experience made me eager for the next one. I was like a sponge, soaking up all the sensations and adventures that were arrayed in front of me. There was so much to see and do and feel and learn...
Then, I met Tom, and came to live here. We were both hungry, ravenous, for the sensations that arose from sadomasochistic play. We wrapped up in each other and we explored the boundaries and the edges of intimate power exchange. We didn't discuss and we didn't negotiate. We just went after it. I reveled in the opportunity to finally fulfill the fantasies that had been held so close for so long. He, I think, found His own joy in being partnered with someone who could match His own appetites. It was a fierce and breathless time. There was nothing subtle about what we did together; nothing gentle; nothing tender. We devoured one another; demanding more and more and more from each other and from one another -- until, inevitably, the day came when there was nothing left to give. I still feel that I hit the wall first; that it was me who ran out of runway. I was the one who didn't have enough masochist to keep up with His sadist.
Things happened. Life happened. Things changed, and over time, I was working to "meet my commitments; struggling to live up to the standards I'd set for myself as His "slave." There was less and less joy in all of that. It became work and sadness and bitterness. And still we kept at it. At some point, we found ourselves on a rocket that we couldn't get off of. I think maybe He was more fulfilled in that part of the relationship than I was, but in retrospect, I wonder if that is true. It might well be that He was as caught as I was. We'd entered into the dance, and however miserable we were, we couldn't seem to stop.
And then everything crashed. There was nothing quiet about our crashing. Like so much of our lives, that was played here for all to see. For good or bad, I was the initiator of that final, horrible break with what had gone before. Whatever I intended, the changes that ensued, and the responses of "the system" broke the unspoken contract that had existed between He and I. He was clear: I'd acted in ways that completely abrogated my role as slave. I'd broken our deal. Through all the long months of treatment and aftercare, He experienced life as being out of His control, and as that was the truth for Him, there was no place for me to resume my accustomed "place" as His slave or His submissive. I wanted things to resume their normal shape: D/s and sadomasochism but without the addiction -- and that simplistic longing was impossible for a wide variety of reasons.
So, I engaged in therapy. He engaged in therapy. We lived side by side. We loved, still, tenaciously but often with a sense of desperation. There were days, many, many days, when the best we could do was exchange the forlorn assurances that we loved one another. Dark days.
Now, today, with soul retrievals done, and reintegration of the retrieved soul fragments progressing, things feel softer, sweeter, gentler. Nothing is as it was, and for all of the struggle of the last months, we are happy with what is.
I don't know the shape of our lifestyle expression going forward. I know the toys still all occupy their accustomed place. I know we still fall into SM play, switching back and forth, often laughing with delight as we enjoy the sensations that we can evoke with each other. I know He is not "dominant" in the sense of issuing orders, making rules, and meting out punishments -- but then that never was the stuff of our days. He still has, when He chooses to, a voice and a tone and an inflection that demands obedience -- and generally when He makes that sound, things go exactly as they would have before "the troubles." I know that I have no list of chores, and yet I continue to do the things that I have always done for Him and for us -- the things that work to make life run smoothly and easily. It is the same -- only different.
When I underwent a hysterectomy, seven years ago, my life changed radically in ways I never anticipated. The aftermath of the surgery left me "sexually unresponsive," and I feared I might live out my days without the joy of sexual pleasures that I'd taken for granted before surgery. I spent many, many angry and bitter months -- blaming the surgeon and hating my life. And then, slowly and softly, I began to learn my way to something that was undeniably different, but good in a way that my more easy, youthful sexiness never knew. I've learned, over the last seven years, to follow hidden and secret pathways to my body's sexual triggers. I've learned that I am no less sexual than I was even as I need to be more attentive and more deliberate and more invested in my own joy. I've learned that when I manage to "take advantage" of Him, and find my way to my own ecstasy -- rudely paying no attention at all to "His needs," things work out for both of us -- and we arrive together at the point of release, flushed, breathless, and completely amazed. That's not the juicy, throbbing sex of my earlier life, but it is somehow more wondrous precisely because it is so elusive.
Maybe what we've come to now, is a kind of power-based relationship that is more subtle and more sweet than what we once enjoyed. Maybe what we will be doing now is the work of defining how to balance power between us -- without leaving either of us "powerless" or without a voice. Maybe we will learn to play with the energies we can harness and use them to meet our desires in some more flexible way than we knew previously. What we have now doesn't fit in any sort of box. It has no easy label, and clearly the mainstream BDSM community would reject our (and especially my) use of any of the commonly used labels. I'm not interested in engaging in some sort of campaign to restore myself to "true" slave-hood. If that part of my life is gone, then it is. So be it. What lies ahead is completely mysterious to me. This should be an interesting journey.