Landmine: a hidden trigger that when stepped on by the unsuspecting, can blow everything to hell.
Or, conversely, can be used as a learning tool to work through the issue, and talk about it, promoting growth in oneself and between partners.
The second option, of course, sounds like what everyone should do when encountering a landmine. Calm, pragmatic behavior designed to identify and defuse the damn thing so that everyone can go on with their lives, undamaged. The reality is that, being a landmine (ie an unexpectedly encountered explosive device) things are usually a lot messier than that. Shrapnel can be removed and wounds healed, but landmines usually hurt those that step on them, one way or another, at least at first. And if you don’t remove all the shrapnel? Well then, you just gotta deal with the sharp edges of metal poking you (or others) every so often, until it either works its way out naturally or you finally excise it.
Practitioners of BDSM are fairly aware of the concept, inasmuch as it pertains to the play we engage in. Generally it is associated with psychological play, as in, during humiliation play, the Top calls the bottom a name that triggers an incident in his/her youth and all of a sudden play goes from fun to bad, all in the beat of a heart.
Landmines aren’t lodged in the psyche of bottoms alone, however.
Recently W and I have run into a landmine of his that we are, actively and not-so-actively, working to identify and diffuse. It happened just before we left for Dark Odyssey in June, and while it didn’t ruin our enjoyment of the event, it certainly changed it, and caused a strain between us that we had never encountered before.
If you’ve been reading here awhile, you know the kind of coercion play that we do. A lot of it is physical subjugation: bondage, pseudo-rape-ish play, physical force; that sort of thing. But there’s the mental side of it too, and we flirt a lot with that because we both get off on the idea of him having the kind of control over me that enables him to tell me who to fuck, when and where. That, to him, defines ownership, I think. Owning me to the point that I can’t, or won’t, say “no,” even if I find the idea abhorrent or distasteful. Perhaps even more so when I find it thus.
Interesting enough, as my own kink has evolved in proximity to his, as my own tastes have developed to reflect his, I think, in this case, his have also evolved and developed in tandem with mine. I do think that this idea of being able to force someone to do sexual acts with others was something that was in him all along (I recall quite clearly a conversation we had early on in which he told me about a fantasy involving dominating a couple, a husband and wife, in just this way) but I don’t know that he had ever experienced the application of this kink before meeting me. (I could be wrong about that though, I’ve never asked.) What I am fairly certain of, though, is that he’s never experienced the consistent and repeated application of it, as he does with me. In part, as we have explored this emotional and psychological edge with each other, it has become, if not a defining theme to our interactions, at least a strong influence and something that we return to and play with, again and again.
For the most part, it has yielded some amazing results: incredibly hot scenes, but also (perhaps more importantly) the opportunity for psychological excavation and inquiry of the sort that I find deeply satisfying in ways that have nothing to do with kink. It’s also facilitated some profound communication between W and, and opened us both up to the kind of soul-baring sharing that has deepened and solidified our relationship in countless ways.
But it doesn’t happen without risks. And one of those risks is, of course, stepping on the aforementioned landmines.
As I mentioned, we landed square on one of those landmines just before we left for Dark Odyssey, and then, barely out of woods with that one, we encountered it again. (A repeater?) It wasn’t comfortable, and led to some intense discussion and some raw feelings, but the end result was a positive one. Really, really positive. Last night we had our most productive discussion about it yet, uncovering the issue and the triggers and delving into ways that we could help each other through it, because, although the original trigger was W’s, the explosion detonated landmines and exposed insecurities of mine as well. Unlike the original discussion, when the issue was exposed, we came through this one unscathed, with only positive emotions about it, and, I believe, a unified approach–and desire–to resolve it.
So what was this landmine? Well, it goes to the previous paragraph where I talk about the kind of play that W and I engage in. CNC, or consensual non-consent, as it is commonly called.
While I love sex, I have a big kink that involves being forced to engage in it. It’s probably lodged in some sort of sex-negativity and body-shame heaped on me as a young person, and yeah, I know sex isn’t shameful in my rational mind, but the things that get us off don’t often listen to our rational mind. So feeling that coercion, whether it is physical, mental or emotional, is one of those things that really gets me aroused. It takes away the onus of having to own up to wanting to do these nasty sexual things, see? It’s just part of my psyche. And while W is more than happy to provide that coercion (it’s part of his kink too) he would never play that way if he felt I truly did not want him to do so. He needs to know that this kind of play does not do harm, and even more so, a large part of his pleasure in making me do the things he does is because he genuinely wants to give me the pleasure of all the experiences I may have missed in my life, of exploring and owning and developing my sexuality. He longs to nurture in me a healthy, buoyant sensuality and appreciation for who I am as a sexual creature, and uses these encounters as a way to do that.
Case in point. The night before last we had a first meet with a single guy from one of the swinger lists I belong to. It’s been a long time since I was sent on a “forced date,” with instructions about what to wear and do, and this wasn’t one of those by a long shot, but we both knew that the reason I was pursuing it was because I knew that he wanted it to happen. In the days before our brush with the landmine, his coercion might have been that much more heavy-handed, but he has stepped gingerly since the bruises left by DO. I recognized that in him though, I saw that continued reticence in him, and though (then) I wasn’t sure of its origin, I had enough intuition to know that, for whatever reason, he needed me to do this, even if he wasn’t demanding it. He needed to know, on some level, that I truly did want to do these things. So while it works better for me to feel his coercion, while I would have preferred a set-up where he was in total control and I felt forced into the situation, I went ahead with this because I knew that he needed me to.
I set it up, and at about 7pm Tuesday night, there we sat in a hotel bar having a drink with a total stranger, talking about relationships and fantasies and sex and desire. There really were no expectations, from him or us. W was not insisting that anything happen, and the guy, while being clear about his attraction to me, was not pushing any particular outcome either. Instead, it was me that steered the encounter in that direction. That took control of things and moved it toward its inevitable (to me) conclusion: me, naked on a hotel bed, sucking one of their cocks while the other fucked me from behind.
So yeah, hot, right? And it was. But I realized the next day, when observing W’s intense pleasure and delight in the encounter, that it was more than just hot sex. W had seen me stretch myself a little, had seen me flexing my “sexy female wiles,” and had loved what he saw in me, not just for the sex, but because that is how he sees me, and how he wants me to see myself: brimming with confidence and oozing sexuality; attractive and desirable.
That, in part, is why he wants to get involved in the swinger scene.
But the swinger scene is the BDSM world (at least that of male dominance/female submission) turned upside down. Things like CNC are not understood or appreciated. Females own that scene, control it, dominate it.
Sooooo not my thing.
But…getting fucked is. And being someone that W can show off, being that girl that everyone’s watching and wanting to fuck, is. How to reconcile those two seemingly disparate realities? And how can he feel good about engaging in an activity that he knows I really don’t have much of a desire to be a part of?
We don’t know, to be truthful. And maybe it can’t be done. But by talking about it, by parsing all this out, I was able to make him see that, even if it’s not my “thing,” I truly want to try it, for him. He had to hear my consent, and I had to give it, truly, with an open heart.
I have no illusions that it will be all unicorns and rainbows. We’ll probably encounter some speed bumps, especially as we start to find those places where my own insecurities lurk (because that was one of the things that came up in the conversation, and that we also had to come to terms with: yes, even knowing that this will likely ping on those insecurities, I want to do it.) But that is part of why the trust that we have developed for each other is such a special thing. And why our ability–and willingness–to talk about these things, to communicate with each other, even when that communication causes discomfort, is so wonderful.
I’m kind of looking forward to exploring this with him.