Thursday, November 29, 2012

Puppy Play... Why?


I tend to be rather Aristotelian in my philosophy, and Aristotle was very interested in the end, or goal, or purpose of things.  He used the Greek word teleos.  So I was interested in a recent post-and-response by Pup Boss Jyan and Gpup on The End Result of Pup Training and What I get from Human Puppy Play.

For myself as well, it’s not just one thing but a collection of things.

(1)  Getting hard and getting my rocks off.

Probably at the lower end of the spectrum, for me, is the gear fetish and sex fetish aspect.  I have some of that – I get turned on by sexy pups and sexy puppy gear.  And during sex and a heavy S/m scene I do tend to get pretty non-verbal most of the time… if not outright pupping out!  The sexual fetish is an aspect… but for me not a big one.

(2)  Puppy Zen

Maybe more interesting to me is the “puppy Zen” headspace.  I used to practice Zen meditation years ago… then I found myself better able to enter the “no mind” or “beginner mind” headspace through pup play than sitting meditation.  (And it’s sexier.)

(3)  Playful-submissive role

I’ve wrote before about the fact that I have problems w/ “submissive” as a label.  I don’t think of myself as “submissive” in some generalize way – to any and all!?  Really!?  No.  There are those I submit to.  Sometimes in an ongoing relationship (i.e. Shadowkitten and Loki), but mostly just in the context of a scene.  A good Top can put me in a submissive headspace for a scene… but if they expect me to continue to address them as Ma’am/Sir afterward and fetch shit for them, they may be disappointed.  (A line from a CAPEX party many, many years ago: “I am not a service bottom; you can pour your own damn drink.” LOL)  For years my Owner has told me, “You are not to lower your eyes to anybody but me.”  (Now it’s “me and Loki.”)

The thing is, even when I am in a submissive role, I am NOT a protocol heavy “slave.”  My Owner would not put up w/ a sub who needed to be micro-managed… and, as my Alpha Pup put it at SELF: “I have very few protocols, but one of them is you do what the fuck I tell you!”  (And no, he wasn’t saying this to me but to guess-who.)

Part of the pup role for me is about being submissive and also playful, creative, loose, unstructured…  I’ve always thought there’s a spectrum that roughly runs:
[structured]  slave … boy … pup … brat  [unstructured]

(4)  Physical affection and emotional openness

This sort of overlaps w/ the sex/gear fetish thing… but for me, what I really enjoy isn’t even so much the “I’m hard and I want someone to fuck me” (although that can be good too) as just the physical intimacy and relaxed displays of affection.  I’ve written recently about how I can tend toward the stoic side… but when I get around other pups I tend to get very open, very touchy and cuddly…  This brings very welcome balance to my psyche.  Usually, even other forms of BDSM don’t put me in this kind of “touchy-cuddly” headspace.  Actually… I think they do, but not in the same degree I go there when I’m w/ the pups or in pup-mode.

(5)  Pack

Finally, one important thing that I (now) get out of pup play specifically is being part of a pack.  Maybe others get this through their “leather family.”  Shdwkitten and I, for years, were never part of anybody’s leather family in the strict sense.  (We’ve joked that in the looser sense NCMaster’s leather family covers roughly all of the Carolinas.)  But this year, by becoming a part of Loki’s pack, I really feel like I now have a couple of “brothers” that I feel very close to… even though I don’t see them as much or have known them as long as some of my Carolina friends.

While some people may form leather families or households, I think pups are even more geared towards forming “chosen family” bonds – the whole dog pack mentality.  I have always kept a small but very tight group of close friends (most of us have known one-another for 24 years… since I was in the 8th grade)… so I think I’m very much wired this way.

So that is what I get out of puppy play.  *wags*

Monday, November 26, 2012

Bad Headspace


A week or so back, a fellow pup posted a question on pupzone.com about having trouble getting back into pup play b/c a bad experience left him w/ a bad headspace.  I am cross-posting my response here... for those who may find my $0.02 of value:

I think it depends on what the particular source of your bad headspace is.  The two most common, I would suppose, would be being too self-conscious and being too on-guard.

I think many pups have one time or another faced the overly self-conscious headspace.  “Do I look stupid?”  “Am I doing this right?”  “Why can’t I get into my pup headspace?”  "Does this harness make me look fat?"  It’s self-defeating b/c pup-space is completely un-self-conscious and not-analytical.  My usual advice for this problem is, “Fake it until you make it.”  Just get down on all fours and pretend you’re a puppy w/o fretting about the headspace.  This grows out of the same kind of magical “let’s pretend” we all did as children (before we turned into hyper self-conscious pre-teens).  My theory is that if you push through the self-conscious, self-critical “talk” in your head and just play – just pretend – then in time your mind will start to relax and you’ll come to find that puppy-Zen headspace you want.  (One thing the Buddhists say is that you can’t find the “no-mind” headspace by wanting it, searching for it, analyzing what you are doing, and checking your progress… such things move you in the opposite direction.)

I would also point-out that not every pup-play scene needs to be about the puppy-Zen headspace.  I was very surprised at my first mosh pit to find that many of the pups were talking, making wisecracks, and laughing throughout the play.  For some pups it’s just an excuse to be silly, mischievous… or to wrestle w/ mostly-naked guys!  ;)  Don’t ever feel like there’s a right or wrong way to pup-out… so long as everybody is having fun and reasonably safe.

Which brings up the second hang-up: being too afraid, untrusting, on-guard, etc. to let go and pup-out.  You definitely can’t pup-out if you don’t trust your environment or the people you’re playing with.  This is a much tougher situation… b/c often if you feel unsafe, if something is just not sitting right, then you need to listen to that feeling!  All BDSM activity is built on a foundation of trust; if you are submitting to someone in any fashion, then you are making yourself vulnerable and trusting them to protect you (physically, emotionally…).  Just some general thoughts I have:

Safety in numbers.  If possible, play with a pack or at a mosh.  If there are multiple pups and handlers about then odds are nothing will go too wrong, and that may help you relax.

Check references.  In the Southeastern U.S. (unless you are very new) if I don’t know you, then I know somebody who knows you.  From DC to Atlanta, from Nashville to Wilmington, I doubt there are many lifestylers more than two degrees of separation from me or my Owner.  And it is always acceptable to ask for references!  If any Top/Dom/Handler/Alpha finds that rude, walk away fast!

Take your time and get to know Handlers and Alpha pups outside of a scene.  Have a dinner or coffee date.  Go to a movie.  Get comfortable around them.  It’s okay to get to know the people you play w/ before you strip and let them shove a tail-plug in your ass.


 Above all: relax, have fun, find people you can trust and then let go... and enjoy life on a leash.  :D

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Almost half the world’s population lives on less than $2.50/day
1 billion people can not read or write
2.6 billion people lack clean water and sanitation
Almost 30% of the world’s children are underweight and malnourished
UNICEF estimates that 22,000 children die every day from poverty

This week is a good opportunity to reflect on all that we have in our lives to be thankful for... all those things we usually take for granted... and to remind ourselves that, for most of us in this country, our worst day is 10 times better than the best day of almost half the world.

Best wishes to all my friends, family, and tribe!  *Arf! Arf!*


Monday, November 19, 2012

Crazy Neighbors


Some more of my crazy neighbors are in the press again.

"Last month, a 22-year-old man who grew up in Word of Faith said he was beaten and held against his will as church members tried to rid him of the demon that they believe makes him gay.  Michael Lowry, as with others before him, described a church atmosphere of suffocating conformity, shunnings and a deep distrust of the outside world."

Over the summer a church a few miles up the road made national news when its preacher suggested we put all gays and lesbians in concentration camps.  (See here for more.)  Now another local church has made national news over the above story and various other similar incidents.  You have to laugh at this part: "All Word of Faith members are required to sign a waiver, found on the church website, releasing the church from liability for any injuries suffered during worship."  LOL

But other parts of this story are not so funny:  "Critics, however, call it a form of shunning in which children may be separated from their families and friends and subjected to blasting, paddlings or other forms of discipline.  Carmona says his sin was staring into space while daydreaming. The church called it “witchcraft,” he says, and he was forced to read the Bible and watch videos of Jane Whaley’s sermons for up to nine hours a day.  Each day ended, he says, with him “writing notes to Jane,” pleading for her forgiveness."

The rest of the nutty story is at:
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/11/17/3673039/word-of-faith-fellowship-sees.html





Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/11/17/3673039/word-of-faith-fellowship-sees.html#storylink=cp"

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Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/11/17/3673039/word-of-faith-fellowship-sees.html#storylink=cpy"

Friday, November 16, 2012

Showing Affection


It was suggested on the Taboo puppy play episode that one big reason for pup play is that it allows pups and Handlers to openly display affection in a way that might normally be hard for them.  I’ve heard others say that they are rather stoic by nature but found an ability to be more emotionally open through BDSM in general or puppy play in particular.

Speaking of myself now… I can run somewhat towards stoic.  I’m a very analytic thinker – INTJ.  “Personal relationships, particularly romantic ones, can be the INTJ's Achilles heel ... This happens in part because many INTJs do not readily grasp the social rituals ... Perhaps the most fundamental problem, however, is that INTJs really want people to make sense.” —Marina Margaret Heiss.  INTJs tend to be pragmatic, logical, individualistic, and creative and have a low tolerance for spin or rampant emotionalism.

Nature or nurture?  As I grew-up, the people in my family are not huggers – not given to overt displays of affection or emotion.  I wouldn’t say we’re “stiff-upper-lip” b/c we laugh and joke very freely (although Max once said that on his empathic radar I was all stealth)… but we don’t (as I said) hug… we don’t say “I love you” very often – almost never; I can’t think when the last time was I said, “I love you, Mom.”  I was probably seven.  I’m not a “physical” person normally.  Hell, I generally don’t even like to shake hands!  Being a puppy is a way I can just let go of all that armor (if that’s what it is) and be very affectionate and loving in a way that, outside of that space, doesn’t come naturally.

Getting in-touch w/ my pup-self has been a process over the last 6 or 7 years that has made me better able to connect w/ my own emotions and display my feelings (particularly feelings of affection) more easily… especially w/ regards to my Owner (obviously).  She says that I’ve become more emotional from when she first met me... when I had the emotional range of a salad fork.

I particularly find that w/ other pups I can be more affectionate, more physical (cuddling, scritching, licking… occasionally making-out), and… “open.”  And I find this particularly true w/ other pups (and my Owner) more so than in any other kind of BDSM activity that I’ve engaged in (which is a pretty extensive list, by the way).  My puppy headspace is very much about physicality (touch, smell, and taste), affection, and loyalty to my Owner and pack.

I’ve written before about my home club, CAPEX, and for all its wonderful points its most significant drawback has been that it doesn’t really cohere as a family – due to the high turnover rate.  Most people in CAPEX come around for 2 or 3 years and then don’t come around anymore.  NC Master and I are about the only two people who attend regularly now who attended regularly 10 years ago.  So nobody knows the club’s history… so there’s little sense of shared identity… and so many people come and go that it often feels like, w/ CAPEX, if you skip a few months and come back then the room is full of strangers (i.e. new people).  So it’s a good club… but it’s not a "leather family."

I’ve found, in 2012, that after 10+ years in the lifestyle, my puppy pack has helped fill a void that was there by providing a feeling of brotherhood that just isn’t there w/ CAPEX.  There are folks in the community I’ve known longer and know better than the pups… but it’s not so much about knowing as feeling.  It’s a headspace I find myself in when I’m w/ the pups.

My best friend, Max, has an almost-black belt… and one thing he’s said is that there are two types of martial artists: thinkers and feelers… and that to become a black belt, tinkers have to learn to feel and feelers have to learn to think.  Recently he and I have talked about how this can be extrapolated out to a general life lesson.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sirius Pups of Australia


I found a great resource on the net for human-puppies.  “Sirius Pups” is a pack down in Australia which has a great web presence.

http://siriuspup.net/ is their pack’s blog site – mostly posts by their Handler, Pup Boss.  Many of the posts have great information about training pups, discipline, headspace…  Lots of good food for thought to be found there.

http://thehappypup.com/news/ is their alpha pup’s blog, G Pup.  He also has some good info about safety, gear, and such… including several short videos where you get to hear a German shepherd speak w/ an Aussie accent.  :)

Those into pup play should definitely check out what they have online.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Every Dungeon Needs a Motorcycle in it!


Yesterday, I got to make a surprise appearance at Dominion (Atlanta’s men-only BDSM play party).  I technically never RSVPed so my peeps (and pups) didn’t know I was going to be there.  I do the same thing at CAPEX – I don’t think I’ve properly RSVPed for a CAPEX event in 5 or 6 years…  I know it’s bad etiquette; 'bad doggie.'

There was a new piece of “play furniture” added to the dungeon – somebody had parked an R6 in there.  For a puppy like myself who was has something of a sport-bike fetish (I ride an FZ6 myself) this was like instant hard-on.  They soon had our prize-winning Dalmatian puppy in a hot motorcycle suit and tied him to the bike.  Yummmmmmmy!  (I didn’t do anything w/ the bike, myself; I don’t know who it belonged to – some friends of Hunter’s obviously… but I kept getting semi-hard just walking around it…  Sex on a motorcycle is definitely in my top 5 fantasies.)

They had a charity gear sale at the event that raised like $600 for Lost-N-Found Youth (an organization to help LBGT homeless/runaways)... and I found a new toy for myself: a strap-in butt-plug harness.  *wags*

The Alpha Pup is out of the country… which meant more (relatively) unsupervised time for the beta pups.  I really wanted to gear-up, pup out, and just reek havoc in the dungeon (sometimes the chaos gods just need to be appeased *evil grin*)… but the beagle didn’t seem to want to go for it.  Instead he chained me to the floor and edged me a bit… NOT long enough.  Bastard!  I paid him back by setting up a scene w/ he, Max, and Jake – Max shrink-wrapped the boys together (to a pole) and molested them w/ tickling, spanking, kissing, bighting… and ice which I kindly provided for him.  Always trying to be helpful.  :)

It was kind of voyeur-mode for a while after that… I drifted about and watched some others having fun…  Max borrowed a violet wand (his favorite toy) to use on Jake (his other favorite toy)…  A couple of folks took turns getting strapped to this crazy EMT stretcher that our crazy husky found god-knows-where… and of course Tebow got tickled some more.

Tebow and I finally ended-up behind a closed door for some heavy making-out.  Apparently Sir gave his pup permission to cum three times while he was out of the country, and Tebow used cum #3 grinding w/ me… which feels kind of flattering that he would use his last cum w/ me.  Unfortunately for the wolfhound, he did not get me off, which he is now taking as proof that he’s a meaner Top than Loki.  Okay… We’ll just have to see where this leads once the top-dog is back in town.  Who wants to lay odds as to whether the beagle gets to cum again before MAL?  :-P

In unrelated news… my home group, CAPEX (Charlotte, NC), has published the very exciting 2013 presentation schedule.  (I need to talk to someone at CAPEX about getting a motorcycle for our dungeon…)  For all who may be interested:

February 23rd - (Floor Party) - Archer and Elegant – Endorphin Soup
March 23rd – Loki – Puppy Play Dynamics
April 27th – Omegaman & Miss Monica - Bondage sex/rope presentation
May 18th - TBA
June 15th – Miss Ann – Vagina 101
July 27th – Pup Nitro - Breathe Play
August 24th – Wicked Mistress - Chains
September 28th – Master Dan and slave melissa – M/s Power Exchange
October 26th – (Floor Party) Bootpig and WhipMasterBob – Face Sitting
November 16th - MasterSgt and Mstersgtpvt - Branding
December 13th – Holiday Event


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Two Videos by Corbijn

Another fun YouTube discovery to share!  I've been a huge fan of U2 for many years, and have thus been familiar w/ the work of Anton Corbjin who did the photography for many of their albums and directed several of their music videos.  He also directed one of my favorite non-U2 videos, Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence."  Today I discovered a video he directed for another of my favorite bands, Coldplay... in fact, "Viva La Vida" is my favorite Coldplay song.  What makes this even cooler is that the video Corbijn did for "Viva La Vida" is a tribute (or sequel?) to "Enjoy the Silence."

I like the fact that where Dave Gahan ends up alone at the end of "Silence," Chris Martin is joined by his fellow band members at the end of "Viva."  The way he smiles and acknowledges them seems to add an optimistic twist to the end of the song -- a song about a man who lost everything... he lost everything (but still has his friends).


Here are both; two of my favorite music videos:





Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Fragility of Goodness

Martha Nussnaum is a favorite philosopher of mine.  I have, since I was 18 or 19 years old owned the text collection of Bill Moyers' "World of Ideas" in which this interview takes place, but I had never seen the original interview... until I found that the full half hour interview is now on YouTube.  How cool!

Nussbaum talks about Greek Tragedy and what they teach us about "the fragility of goodness" -- that even a virtuous person can have their life destroyed and their character polluted by bad luck -- and that it is inevitable that even good, wise people will find themselves from time to time in no-win dilemmas.