The Mystery of Scents

When we play there can be so many scents involved, we smell our own sweat, pheromones, and fluids, they drive us or deter us. It seems so simple you either like an aroma or you don’t, yet, it’s not that simple. Scents can be as complex as human beings. In an instant, a smell can make us feel peace, joy, nostalgia, dread, panic, or fear.

It is understandable to love the smell of baking cookies or pies if it reminds us of a pleasant time in childhood. There are so many smells that can trigger olfactory memories that will either create a negative or happy response. Smell is the sense that is most associated with memory and often the most significant response to a memory. Connecting us to memories the smell transports us to another time, knowing possible negative smells helps us avoid possible land mines. Understanding this is important in play especially if dealing with a partner who may have land minds, known or unknown.  We say the Dungeon is not for therapy, however we also understand how therapeutic play can be.

What smells transport you, and why are they significant? I have always loved the way Dr. Payne smells after he has worked in the garage and is just the right amount of sweaty.  His smell is an aphrodisiac for me, erotically intoxicating. I have a particular perfume I wear that Dr. Payne loves, therefore I only wear it for him. I have another scent I wear only for Princess. When we know of positive scents and aromas help us set the stage for positive interactions, what if we brought fresh-baked cookies into our play, how might that transport someone who loves to bake?

The effect of smells on our brain is why aromatherapy can be so compelling to aid in lowering stress and anxiety. The unfortunate thing is that we sometimes encounter smells in play or just our normal daily living, that we don’t know will trigger a bad memory until it happens.

Dr. Payne and I have been going to events, public dungeons, and play parties for a few years now; when I walk in the sounds and smells transport me instantly into that headspace of surrender; giving up more control. However, even after years, there are times something will happen that a sound or smell will take me immediately out of my headspace and into panic mode. Imagine being on a double-sided Saint Andrews cross blindfolded, and in the middle of a scene; you smell someone’s fragrance and hear degradation play. This happened to me at an event, due to past abuse and bullying this immediately sent me into panic mode.  Now, when I smell that fragrance, I feel defensive and scared, even though it was someone else’s scene.

This is a bit of a slippery slope, some would say you take that risk in public play parties of encountering something distressing. Others might have the opposite reaction that possibly upsetting play shouldn’t be in such close proximity to others. I would say the risk was mine to take and I now ask not to placed on a double-sided cross. I can’t imagine allowing that incident or the fear of a recurrence to control me, and so it is with smells.

Every time we encounter these triggering smells, we are presented an opportunity to learn something about ourselves, do we find a way to avoid that scent or do we allow it to show us that part of ourselves that fears, feel embarrassment, or loves? At some point trying to avoid all uncomfortable smells could make us all hermits, an emotionally unhealthy way to live.

Smells are not simple, our mind is not simple, our relationship with scenes and kink is not simple. I choose to learn from my aromatic experiences and grow despite the negative ones. Serve the collar, serve your Dom, but do not serve your fear.

Connecting Through Simple Rituals

Rituals are something that the BDSM community has in common with many cultures, religions, and even athletes. Some rituals are formal and grand, kneeling and crossing oneself for communion. Others are less ceremonious, an athlete crossing himself before a game or always wearing some cherished object. For cultures and religions, they are a fundamental part of life. For others, they are emotionally significant. It’s a basic part of human nature that connects us to something considerable outside our own feeling or skill. We may do this thing to bring us luck, when we talk to God, or when we just want to feel connected to something bigger than ourselves.

For many of us, the rituals we practice in the BDSM community are significant to us and our partners. Our rituals may have pieces that are similar, but unlike religious ceremonies, we tailor things to what works for us as individuals. There is a commonality many Power Exchange relationships share with religion; we kneel to the one who holds power over us. It is a form of respect, a way to connect us to that person or entity. In this simple act of supplication, we are defining that we give up control.

It isn’t necessary to define why we give up control, only to recognize that we do. We allow this exchange of power freely; it is not taken from us. By performing a ritual that acknowledges our yielding of control we give ourselves power over the unseen demons of this life.

Kneeling is so simple for some, painful for others. I kneel every night at Dr. Payne’s feet as he removes my day collar, and we say goodnight. This daily ritual acknowledges our Power Exchange, our commitment to the collar, and our love for each other.  This act is almost like evening prayers. It is an act that we use to reconnect that bond at the end of the day; to say thank you for the continued support, to acknowledge that we survived a particularly trying day, or for a brief reminiscence of what a great day it was.

When we are able to practice that thing that we do, there are rituals before a scene. The moment Dr. Payne tells me to strip and present for binding and the actions before we begin a scene are reminders of my place as His submissive, a reminder that I have surrendered.  The last movement as I stand naked and bound, we share a moment of quiet as our breathing syncs and I am reminded I am His.

Even the end of the scene has significant meaning as I am unbound, wrapped in a blanket, and held as I shiver and cry: He reminds me, “I’ve got you.” I belong to Him and I am protected.

There are moments in my life that a specific ritual feels so necessary as if I might collapse from mental torment without it. At other times, these specific acts are a quiet reminder that I am whole.

Whatever that ritual is for you, allow it to be yours and move you in a healthy stable direction. Our rituals should be that thing that reminds us we are made whole by something outside ourselves.

Finding my kinky self

It’s more complicated than it seems.

I asked for a date similar to what Dr. Payne had with one of his other partners.

He smiled and said, “You have to wear a collar.” We say it was my introduction to kink and submission and I often say that wearing a collar for the first time was as if I found my missing puzzle piece. In retrospect, my road to submission started many years before when I realized that it wasn’t my job to make other people happy, likewise, it was not other people’s responsibility to make me happy. The beginning of my journey into submission began with a journey into self-acceptance.

I spent too many years thinking people would love me if I could make them happy; I would be loved if I was perfect, or if I did everything exactly the way they wanted. I was often trying to guess what would make others happy and Dr. Payne often said “You know what to do to make me happy!” That was all before D/s.

We are not mind-readers! There is this thought that if you love someone enough you will just “know” what they want without being told. I’ve seen this in couples that have been happily married for many years. It appears from outward appearance they intuitively know what the other person wants or needs. However, that is what we see from the outside. What we do not see is the communication and years of miscommunication that preceded that intuitive response. It is so much work to get there and never as perfect as it looks.

If you are a people-pleaser like me, it takes an amazing amount of courage to say to yourself, “It isn’t my job to make people happy.” It took me years to get to a place where I was happy with who I was. It started with that simple realization and the thoughts processes that had to change following that understanding.

I had to find what makes me happy.

I had to explain to people close to me what makes me happy.

If the people around me didn’t appreciate what made me happy, I had to be alright with this.

I can’t force someone to love who I am or who I am becoming.

It took years of retreats, of reading, and of looking at the little things that made me happy, until those little things connected to big things; the things I was passionate about.

Going to the gym changed from “Can I make myself skinny and attractive enough?” to “I feel better and sleep better when I exercise regularly!”

I don’t know the exact key to happiness for any one person. I know what worked for me and it wasn’t easy. Much of it depends on understanding what makes you happy, and having the courage to look at yourself to change the things you don’t like.

When I was at my emotional lowest and thought it was my responsibility to make others happy, agreeing to put on a collar—even for one evening—would have been impossible. When you are stuck in a place where you are always trying to please others, you are also stuck in a place of I’m-not-good-enough and very often nobody-loves-me.

One of the first questions I asked about wearing a collar was, “Will you humiliate me in public?” Dr. Payne said “No.” I knew that if He betrayed my trust in this, I had the courage to take that Velcro collar off and walk away.  Without self-love, I wouldn’t have had the courage to start the adventure, because I didn’t have the courage to get out.

It was a cheap Velcro collar purchased at a local adult store.  As I got closer to the day Dr. Payne would take me on that first collared date, I had come to a place of acceptance. I had gotten to a place where I was able to accept that wearing a collar and speaking to Him in a certain way for one evening would not define me. Yes, it did define me, but I wasn’t afraid of it defining me.

I submit because I know who am, I love me, I am not afraid, and I know who I belong to.

Warmth

I love the sexy lacy things but still, there are the moments I just still want to just be naked. It’s cold, and hardwood floors do not give warmth. Therefore here I am cuddled in a warm blanket.

The space in my head

Subspace; it starts as soon as the binding are on. It continues, it deepens as we make our way through the scene.

The pounding leather on my back and tickling of electricity all work to bring out the screams, the release.

Slowly one tear rolls down my cheek. Soon they are pouring, tears and snot running around my gag.

I scream and spit around the gag. All the emotional pain: I scream it all out.

There is no more room for this in the space in my head. I only want the calm of subspace where everything feels right.