“The Addiction Of Labels” by Ferrett Steinmetz

I had a girlfriend, once, who was special to me. She held me with the strength of mountains, and she studied all the most fascinating things so whenever we talked she brought me glorious bouquets of new concepts, and whenever I looked into her beautiful wide eyes I longed to kiss her. Every. Damn. Time.

Yet I dated other women. That made her nervous. How could she be special to me when I loved other women, too? What assurances could she have that I wouldn’t leave?

So she asked for a special reservation of the term: “Girlfriend.” She alone was my girlfriend. All the others? Were sweeties. That term signified our special bond, the esteem we held each other in, and that was how she was special to me.

Except.

I still dated other women. And when she saw me speaking well of them in public, or heard that I was courting someone new, she got nervous. How could she be special to me?

So we reserved the nose-moop. When I touched her nose, I went “Mowp.” With every other girl, I went “Meep.” The fact that I reserved this one word for her alone signified how special she was to me.

Except.

I still dated other women. And when I talked about them on Twitter, she felt lonely. How could she be special to me?

So I got her a stuffed bear that was hers alone, the sole gift from her to me.

Except.

So we got jewelry we bought, and wore, specifically for each other.

Except.

So I got books that were only shared with her.

Except.

So I made special date nights that were reserved for her, and her only.

Except….

And each of these special moments were absorbed into the body of our relationship, and still she needed more proof. It was a steady drug I gave to her, and she built up a tolerance for it, to the point where I’d point at the “Girlfriend” and the “mowp” and the necklaces and the bear and the books and the date nights and all the other things I haven’t even mentioned here, and still she didn’t feel like she was irreplaceable in my life.

Because she didn’t feel it inside. All the external validations were merely quick-fixes that lasted maybe a month before vanishing into the lack of self-worth. I’d spend hours enumerating all the reasons why she held a special position in my life, all the wonderful things I loved about her, but they disappeared like dropping stones into the ocean.

Deep down, she didn’t feel like she could offer anything unique.

So she wanted more. And I was already getting snarled on the hundreds of special memories we’d set up like tripwire, these elaborate ceremonies we had made to make her feel better, except by now they didn’t make her feel better, they only made her feel more insecure if I slipped up and forgot one of the endless numbers of special things I was now obligated to do for her.

These weren’t rituals. Rituals were things we could have done together to grow closer to one another. But we were close. These were exclusions, designed to keep other people out rather than to grow us as a couple, labels designed to exalt this person above the other smoochy-folks I had.

Eventually, we broke up. I realized I could not reassure her and remain polyamorous (well, technically, given my wife, I’d become polyfidelitous). And I was tired, so very tired, of always having to reassure this wonderful woman of how goddamned wonderful she really was, because though she was smart and clever and sexy, I never found a way to communicate with her that she could everfeel that.

Maybe there was a way to make her feel loved in a way that didn’t strangle me in the process, but if so, I couldn’t find it.

And so I left. Because I wasn’t making her happy, and she wasn’t making me happy, and I worried that if I did go polyfidelitous that would just be another label that would wear off in a month.

To this day, I’m skeptical of labels. I think they have an addictive quality. Sure, sometimes you see a couple making a single rule and that’s it – “You can’t sleep with them in our bed” – but more often what follows are a cascade of additional restrictions, each designed to wall off the other partners in some way as a proof of love, each time the couple being convinced that this, this new thing will reassure them once and for all.

When the truth is, if you need a special label to survive, often they either don’t speak your love language properly, or the life they need to live is going to take such a great toll on your self-esteem that they can’t stay in good faith.

All the labels in the world can’t fix that problem, and it’s only going to make it worse to try.

They’ve gotta know why you love them, and all the restrictive rituals in the world can’t patch that hole.

And to this day, sometimes I’m sad. She’s not in my life, and can’t be. But some days I sit around, and feel the hole that she’s left behind that has never actually healed, missing all the little things that came from her and no one else.

Yes, I dated other women. Because they had their own unique charms, just like she did, except thankfully the women I date these days mostly understand just how incredible and unique they are to me, and I love them and crave them and need them.

But they weren’t her. They couldn’t be.

She was irreplaceable. Even more so now that she’s gone.

What label could encompass that?

 

This article was kindly lent to Utah TNG by Ferrett Steinmetz

More of his writings can be found on his blog: The Ferrett

“New ‘Dom’ on the scene ready to play” by Busty McGee

 

How many times have we seen this posted in groups, sent in messages, as a status, “new Dom to the scene and want to explore”. First let me say I think it’s exciting to see BDSM turning into less of a Taboo act. I find it unfortunate the reason is because a crappy novel was written by an ill-formed author but the fact that one crappy novel has turned BDSM into an actual topic of discussion is a wonderful thing. The more who try to understand the less we have to hide in the shadows.

A pitfall to the mainstream of society finding out about closed door activities is sometimes a new person to the scene might have a difficult time locating correct and safe information on how to practice BDSM. Enter sites like Fetlife, a place where people can ask questions, discuss issues, and seek answers. Fetlife can be a wonderful tool for a new person to the scene to fill their head with knowledge. It can also serve as a hunting ground for predators who are looking for their next victim to abuse. An unfortunate side effect but the world can be a dark place and wherever there is Light there will also always be Dark.

When I am contacted by someone new to the scene my first question is, “Have you gone to any events?” I wish I would have started going to events a lot sooner than I had but no point in lamenting the past, I go to events now and it has made all the difference. Events are a way to put an actual face to an avatar. They are a way to safely meet someone from the internet as you as surrounded by others who are there with you. Events also allow you to meet other like minded people by providing an opportunity to see if you have chemistry with a potential partner in a “no pressure, no expextations” type setting, (espically Munches). I personally like to use events as a way to vet potential playmates by requesting they met me at an event first before any play takes place. If they are unwilling to fulfil such an easy request then they are unworthy of my time and attention.

Knowledge is power. This is a phrase most of us are familiar with because it holds true throughout time. The more informed we are the better decisions we can make which will hopefully result in the outcome we are looking for. This goes for most, if not all things in life not just BDSM but is especially important for BDSM. Being knowledgeable is your greatest weapon in keeping yourself and others safe. As a new Dom, being knowledgeable will allow you to safely top you submissive without fear of breaking them beyond repair. As a sub, being knowledgeable will allow you to recgonize a Dom who’s objectives are much more selfish and dangerous which can cause damage to your person if not corrected.

This is so important I’m going to say this again.

Being informed about BDSM will help you recgonize red flags for potential danger.

In mainstream society most of us are aware the wolrd is full of selfish people out there who are more concerned about their own wants and needs more than the person they are with. Those assholes who treat you like a princess and then never call you again after you finally have sex with them. Well guess what? Now that BDSM has started to enter into the mainstream those same assholes have found a new playground for hunting. They now have the chance to invole from just a typical one night stand, “they charm, they fuck, they leave”. To a much more dangerous one night stand filled with BDSM debauchery, “they charm, they slap, smack, flog, fuck, they leave”. I’m honestly not sure if one is worse than the other because they both require a certain level of asshole to achieve such horrible mind set. They have no concern for aftercare because they know they won’t be around long enough for it to matter to them.

Aftercare is extremely important!! I mean super important guys! We cut ourselves open, sometimes literally and most of the time emotionally, every time we play. One has to be prepared for the possibility for drop to occur. That sinking lonely feeling where, even though you’re completely surrounded by people, you still feel as if you are utterly alone…or maybe that’s just me. No matter how you experience it, it’s common for drops to occur. Your brain receives a rush of endorphins and all those other yummy chemicals that floods you with the warm tingling feeling of happiness. Drop is like a sugar crash and it’s important for your mental health to try to counter act it as much as possible. If a Dom doesn’t even take the time to check in, make sure their submissive is doing ok, eating chocolate, listening to music, filling their head with good vibes once again, then that’s a Dom one should avoid.

The Doms who forgo protocols to address an owned slave/sub directly. The ones who claim to have experience but when asked, “How do you provide aftercare to your bottoms?” not only have no idea what you mean but see aftercare as an unnecessary subject to even mention. The Doms who don’t take the time to negotiate a scene with you before play has even started. The Doms, who frankly, don’t give a shit about and will leave you feeling used, abused, and unwanted when they are done. They exist and they are dangerous. Being well informed about BDSM will help you develop your own vetting process so you have a better advantage of avoiding them. You will know the right questions to ask and have a better idea on what a correct responds should be.

Speaking as a Dom who doesn’t have years of experience under my belt, I feel much more comfortable playing with someone when we have both discussed our limits and limitations. Where I should and shouldn’t hit if it’s an impact scene. Do you have any medical conditions? Do you want humiliation play? What should I say to put you in the right space? What words could be a possible trigger for you? What your safety word is?!?! These questions don’t even being to scratch the surface on everything that needs to be cover they are just offering an example of what should be asked by both parties. If you are reading this and are thinking, “That’s more personal information than I wish to give anyone.” Then you should really ask yourself if BDSM is right for you.

Engaing in play can be an extremely intiament act. You are opening yourself up to another in a way which gives them power over you. Why would you want to hand that over so freely without any forethought to the outcome? Giving someone the power to potentially bring you to your breaking point is a lot of responsibility, why give such responsibility to someone you are not able to trust?

Trust they will keep you safe. Trust they are able to make sure their “toys” are in better condition than they were when they got them. Trust that they are just as much there for you as they are for themselves. Trust that can only be gained through knowledge.

Being knowledgeable about BDSM will help you navigate these kinky waters which still have to be sailed in the shadows. Let the knowledge you obtain about BDSM be your lighthouse to safe shores while helping you to avoid the rocks. The more knowledge you have the brighter your lighthouse will be.

This writing has been kindly lent to us by Busty_McGee from Fetlife.

Here is the Original Writing

Here is her Fetlife Profile