Friday, July 30, 2010

Sensuality Azure: 20 Questions for Tops & Bottoms

I've spoken of compatibility, in prior posts and in SL. Here is more of what I mean, as a notecard from my Sensuality Azure training materials. A conversation around these questions isn't as exciting as sex. But a conversation is worthwhile for the long-term success of the relationship. Also, in my experience, the kind of person with whom I want to have a long-term relationship values the conversation.

20 Questions for Tops & Bottoms

These questions are in no particular order. But if you think one is more important than another, that itself is important. There are undoubtedly other questions worth discussing, but 20 is such a nice, round number.

There aren't right or wrong answers. But without clear and compatible expectations, any relationship is higher risk.

1. What do you look for in a partner? What's most important? What's not important?

2. Have you played with power exchange before? Collared? Been collared? If yes, how did that work out?

3. When do you play? How often? How long? How regularly?

4. When you play, how much can you focus? Will there be interruptions? Will you suddenly need to leave? Can we schedule times where you can focus completely on us?

5. When you log in and I'm already doing something, do I stop to be with you?

6. How far does the dominance extend? For example, permission to log off? Punishment for not logging on when expected?

7. What are your standards for writing? Pose length? Spelling etc.?

8. How important is staying in-character? Do you like to chat OOC during RP? During sex? Does chatting ruin the mood?

9. How do you feel about voice chat? Out-of-character? During RP? During sex?

10. How important are props, scripts, animations, etc. during RP? During sex? (e.g., Xcite!)

11. Will we stay in a specific sim? A specific setting (e.g., Gor, vampire)? If we travel, how will the our relationship work? (e.g., Am I going to be kneeling in only silks in an Earth art gallery?)

12. Who will pay for things? (e.g., house, clothes, furniture)

13. Will there be other bottoms? Do you expect group sex? Bisexual sex? Homosexual sex?

14. Can I have sex with other people? Can you? Only OOC? If ICly, with any consequences?

15. What are some of your kinks? For example, do you like dirty talk? Force? Do you want to experiment?

16. Are there other relationships we need to discuss? Loyalties to a sim? To other players/friends/lovers? Other possible sources of out-of-character drama?

17. If the bottom is owned, will the Top ever sell the bottom?

18. If this doesn't work, how will it end? If we're in the same sim, will one of us have to leave?

19. How fast do you want to go?

20. Are you looking for a RL romantic relationship? A RL power exchange relationship?

Sharing These Materials

This notecard is part of a collection called "Sensuality Azure by Kandr Newall". This collection is licensed as Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike ( Please don't sell this notecard. Please distribute and modify this notecard freely. Please credit Kandr Newall as the original author.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


...medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. -Dead Poets Society

Love is a tricky word in any fold of reality. In Second Life, "love" is a Wonderland cousin of the 1st Life meaning. We can be very, very artful with our masks, only allowing selective glimpses of our true merits and flaws. We can also be prevented from demonstrating our most loving and lovable qualities, by our (in)abilities to write and perceive promptly and accurately, to affix prims elegantly, to manage a sometimes-overwhelming flow of information and opportunities, to be online at the right times, and so on.

Even when we think we love, we may only love an illusion or a fragment.

Yet in SL we can also sometimes connect in new ways. We can bypass some static, doubts, hesitations, or prejudices. Sometimes the masks separate us, but sometimes they free us to be our true selves, and to connect in a deeply intimate way.

Some people eagerly seek love in SL. Some people don't believe in SL love. Some people have it but deny it, or deal with it ineptly. Some people had love but it died or was killed, and now they feel only pessimism or even cynicism.

I've had at least one relationship where I could have had love, but fled from it. And at least one where I wanted love, but my partner didn't. I'm not looking for it now, but I'm not as afraid of it. There are many kinds of love, and most of my love will only ever be for my beloved primary. The best magic of SL is the unexpected kind, so I leave open some possibilities.

Is SL love as real as 1st Life love? Probably not. But it's the "probably" that gets to us, because SL pain can certainly be as real. It can be worse than 1L. In 1L, we might know where our would-be love is, and we can employ any and all creative strategies to try to win or deepen their affections. We can stand outside with a boombox over our head (like in the movie Say Anything), or leave anonymous presents by her apartment door (like I did when courting my beloved primary). But in SL, we can love, and be hurt, and be wanting, and sometimes we can do nothing but wait. We watch each login message fiercely, hoping for the magic string of letters that causes our heart to race. It is a terrible wonderful thing: love.

...and just in case you're wondering, this post isn't relevant to anything or anyone in particular. Rather, it's inspired by a variety of experiences by my friends and me over time.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Jack Rinella: On Discipline, Training, Commitment, and Union

I finished reading Rinella's The Master's Manual aloud. Here are some final excerpts worth sharing.

Though discipline can be imposed whenever the master desires, it really should be used as soon after the transgression as is feasible. The dread of an expected punishment can be difficult for a slave to handle, though some delay may be helpful in order to allow the slave to be punished by the dread. A prolonged delay, though, will give an opportunity for the discipline to be forgotten, or at least the severity of the transgression to fade. The slave will also see delay as hesitancy, indecision, apathy, or weakness on the part of the master. So apply discipline judiciously, promptly, and with confidence. Discipline is a master's duty, right, and friend. (p. 142)

For their part, even seasoned slaves need to be given time to learn how a new master wants to be served. It is here that the euphemism "training" becomes a real event. Teach your boy what you expect. If you only get what he wants, then you are no longer in charge. On the other hand, it is imperative that you grant the boy the right to speak, to question, and to learn. Boys have desires and dreams every bit as important as those of their masters. The challenge is to find a way to meet each person's fantasy without compromising the other's. (p. 161-2)

Commitment, on the other hand, is intrinsically necessary. The simple fact is that you can't get into the serious beauty of SM without a committed partner. I'm not negating the fun, and sometimes the glory, of an SM scene between strangers, prostitutes and their clients, who people who just want to play "with no strings attached." But the best SM is with someone you know, trust, and with whom you have some kind of commitment. (p. 165)

The commitment that I'm advocating is the only commitment that counts: "To thine own self be true." The operative words here are clarity, honesty, consistency. I'm talking about a relationship wherein each partner is able to find him or herself, express that self within the context of the relationship, and grow. (p. 166)

On the face of it, the focus of cruising is sexual release: mere hedonism, thrill-seeking, and attention-getting. But appearances are deceiving. I am not naïve enough to believe that those appearances are completely false. We are propelled by a wide variety of motives, commendable or not. Basic motives of sex and quick gratification are prevalent in our disposable, microwave culture. But to dismiss cruising as looking for "flash in the pan gratification" is to miss underlying human needs. Beneath the leather, the posing, and the S&M ("standing and modeling") is a real search for bonding. Like everyone else, leatherfolk want to know they are part of a community. Saturday night rites are the externals of a quest for belonging. We desire to be in union with our own kind, human kind. (p. 196)

The Master's Manual on

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Jack Rinella: On Versatility and Inner Selves

I'm reading Rinella's The Master's Manual aloud every Thursday evening. I'll probably finish tonight. Here are a couple more provocative excerpts.

Humans, of course, don't fit into the clean molds of leather stereotypes. The truth is that in some way or another, each of us, including the most dominant master and the most experienced slave, is versatile. Versatility is simply the recognition of potential. (p. 65)

The leather community may (in its best aspects) be the most egalitarian of all sub-cultures, for it allows us, as far as we dare, to explore the inner selves we dream to be. (p. 71)

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Some of My Mistakes

Master SuperMaster says, "A true Dom never makes a mistake."

Albert Einstein said, "A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new."

I've made some colossal mistakes as a predator, a lover, a top, and a Master. More than anything, dominance is an attitude. I love teaching and I love learning. My Taoism tells me that's the same love, just inside out. That love is a vital part of my attitude as someone who practices dominance. These ingredients are powerful for learning: admitting ignorance, taking risks, and making mistakes.

Here are some of my mistakes, in hopes that they're instructive to others. Or at least amusing.

Trying Too Hard ... I have a group for my household. I got the clever idea to set my group title to "Master", so that I could walk around with "Master Kandr Newall" above my head. This lasted for a couple weeks before I came to my senses. Franklin Veaux says it best: "Being a master is like being enlightened. If you have to tell people that you are--you aren't."

You Don't Actually Want That ... A woman told me she wanted to be completely objectified, as nothing more or less than a total sextoy. She described in it her profile, we talked about it, she behaved like a sextoy, and she sent me many erotica stories about women being objectified. But the anachronistic gentleman in me kept silently insisting that she didn't truly want it. Thankfully, I eased into giving it to her. No surprise: the more I gave her what she wanted, the more passionate and eager she became.

Honey, Sugar, Gumdrop ... While I was in Gor, I purposefully developed some habits I thought made me more of a master. I started calling every slave "sweetling", regardless of relationship or context. I appended this to almost everything I said. I've seen others habitually use endearments like this, and I've seen (and privately heard) how subs actually react. Now I know that "sweetling" wasn't having the effect I wanted. At all.

Taboo ... Here's another habit I developed to "be more of a master": I never said "thank you." I would twist sentences around so that I would say something pleased me. It was contrived and arduous. It's like I believed that properly expressing gratitude would somehow puncture my master balloon, and all my dominance would leak out. Yeesh.

Shake-and-Bake Drama ... I was getting close to someone. I had some concerns about compatibility. In so many words, I said, "I really like you. But you need to change in these several major ways." This is a classic back-handed compliment. It's understandable to decide that a relationship isn't working out. But everyone has the right to be present in SL in a way that feels right to them. I was wrapping praise and attraction around what was really a criticism. At best, this is inconsiderate; at worst, it's passive aggressive. I have consoled friends when their partners dropped this drama bomb in a relationship. Apparently it's a mistake I has to make for myself at least once. I later apologized.

Missed the Message ... I had chatted and scened with a woman several times. We had hot chemistry and strong compatibility. We had talked about collars. We were RPing. She was standing with her back to a post, arms raised above her head, eyes full of promise. Much later, she asked me why I didn't collar her then, when she was deliberately adopting such a submissive posture. In my defense, I was relatively new to D/s. But my response was still utterly lame: "You were submitting?"

I don't know anything about Einstein in the bedroom. Smart is sexy, so if the master of space-time ever suited up as a Master, I'm sure he got some. With Einstein's advice, and for many other reasons, I'm not afraid of making mistakes. Learning can be painful, but coasting or playing it safe is unworthy of me and my partners, when I aspire to be dominant.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Jack Rinella: On Power and Ownership

I'm reading Rinella's The Master's Manual aloud every Thursday evening (including tonight). Here are some more provocative excerpts.

Fundamentally, those who aspire to be masters and mistresses must be comfortable with power. That means they need the ability to acquire it, use it, live with its consequences, to overcome the negative connotations inherent in being powerful, and to elude the corruption it may bring and the conceit it is liable to engender. (p. 85)

I, on the contrary, exhort you to claim your right to dominate, to rule, in fact, to enslave. ... To do that, you must first claim yourself. If you can not rule yourself, you can not rule others. A master needs to be comfortable with what it means to control another. Masters are responsible, directive, decisive. They need to be able to accept service, attention, the "gift of self" that a slave desires to bestow on his or her owner. (p. 86)

What does it feel like to own someone? ... It's a challenge. Owning someone is taking the responsibility to train them, to make them what you want them to be while letting them be what they have to be; letting them experience their own growth, while you grow. (p. 89)

What kind of advice would you give to someone who said they wanted to be a master? ... Understand the responsibility. Understand the depth of the relationship. Try to understand whether or not the person who wants to be your slave is just a bottom, or just curious, or whether or not they are willing to make that kind of commitment. When a person becomes a slave, he really gives himself up to a master. Slavery is not a part-time kind of thing. Either you're someone's slave, or you're not. It's hard for most people to make that kind of major commitment. People really have to be in the right space to make it, to say, "Here I am. Take me. Do with me as you will." (p. 91)

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Monday, July 5, 2010

Jack Rinella: On Dark Play

I'm reading Rinella's The Master's Manual aloud every Thursday evening. I'll post some of the more provocative excerpts.

To repress and deny that we have dark sides to our personalities is to deny stark and very "real" reality. To be Pollyanna is foolishness, dangerous foolishness at that. Repressed, denied, hidden darkness only festers until it vents itself in some other way. Just as uncontrolled bliss, lightness, and goodness is unreasonable, un-experienced evil is an illusion. What we need is a balanced, healthy, and manageable dark event. Such experiences allow us to understand ourselves and our motivations, to give expression to those motives, and, so, reduce their power and their drive. (p. 46-47)

Sadists in the leather community then are those who inflict pleasure. It is pleasure of an intense degree, skillfully induced with necessary caution, measured speed, and careful recognition of the masochist's responses. (p. 48)

Experiencing one's limits, anguish, alternate ego, and suppressed desires is a learning and cleansing process. We face our fear, our selves, our lusts and our raw power. Our deeply hidden drives find expression. So we resolve our doubts and passions, giving vent to them and bringing them into a manageable, understandable light. (p. 83)

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