Monday, December 19, 2016

What is love?

A friend of mine told me that when he first heard of polyamory, he thought that meant that two people would have to share the love previously reserved for one. As if a person has 100 "love points" to give out, and one person used to get all the points. But with polyamory, that person would now only get 50 points and the other lover would get the rest.

What he realised, after talking with poly people and thinking about it some more, is that it doesn't work like that. A person has 100 "love points" to give to you, whom they love. If they love another person as well, that person also gets 100 "love points", that are unique to them. If the relationship those two have with each other were to end, you don't all of a sudden get 200 points. Those 100 points go away with that person.

What he learned from this is that love is unique to each individual. There is no competition for love, no struggle to get more than the others, and no point on worrying that you'll get less. Love is love, and the love you two feel for eachother is special. Different from the love you would feel for anyone else.

This post in at least partially inspired by this blog post here. The point was that we shouldn't worry so much about the word "love". Love simply means that you like this person so much, your feelings have transcended "like" and become something much stronger. You might love this person for the rest of your life, that's true. But you might as well love them for a few years, or a few months, or for even shorter time spans. Does that make your feelings any less wonderful? Valuable? Real? Any less strong? No! Love is love, regardless of time, or distance, or relationship status, or gender, or age.

When you stop believing in The One True Love, and recognize that all relationships are unique and have value in themselves, love doesn't need to be "saved up" for anyone. Saying "I love you" doesn't have to mean "let's get married". It doesn't have to mean "let's move in together". It doesn't even have to mean "I will now only love you". It simply means "I love you".

In the Scandinavian languages, there exist middle ground between "like" and "love". In Norwegian we say "glad i",  which could be translated to "cherish" or "care for". Commonly, you say that you "cherish" your parents, your children, your friends and even your lovers. Then there is the Norwegian term for being "in love", which is "forelsket". That doesn't carry such strong connotations of love either. You could say this to a boyfriend/girlfriend, without implying that you love them. In other words, in Scandinavian languages, saying "I love you" is a big deal. Even more of a big deal than in English.

I love T. I've loved him for many years, I loved him when we got married, and I'll most likely keep loving him until the end of my days. I can't know this for certain, but we've been together this long and we're showing no signs of stopping yet. I love him.

I love Saint. We've been together for over three years now. I fell in love with him really quickly, and said that I loved him after we'd been together for a very short time. I still love him, and it feels like my love for him grows every month we're together. My love for Saint is unique. So different from my love for T, to the point where they're practically incomparable. One is no less than the other, no more than the other, because "more" and "less" love are moot points. Love is love, and love is unique. It can't be compared.

But it doesn't stop there. If I am to be honest, I've probably loved almost every man I've ever played with. At least everyone where I felt there was some connection, some spark. Where the play actually worked like we both wanted it to. BDSM fuels this heady mix of trust, passion, excitement, pleasure, surrender, pain, and this cocktails combines to form really intense memories.

I have loved all my long-term play partners. Mondage. Corvus. Tight. I loved them. I never told them so, but I did. War, as well, even though that was just vanilla. I loved him. To have long term bonds grow into love isn't so strange. But in the hours when we played, I also loved Donald, in a unique way. I loved LOL. I loved Pet. The feelings didn't last, of course. I never did for any of them. It might only have been true love in the hours we spent playing. But that sensation WAS love. There is no other word for it.

Does the duration of a feeling make it more or less valid? More or less wonderful? Strong? True? I refuse to believe it does.

This spring, I loved Giant. I loved him as strongly as I've ever loved anyone. Do I love him now? Yes, no, maybe. I don't know. The feelings have faded somewhat, like muscles that shrink from disuse. And they will fade further in time, until I don't love him anymore. I'll probably always care for him, but not love him.

And last weekend, I loved Swede. My love for him is unique. Different from any other feeling of love I ever had. It doesn't carry any connotations, any expectations, it doesn't even mean we'll have any sort of relationship. "Love" doesn't mean any of those things. Love is just love. And my feelings for him probably won't last. We don't have enough time together, we don't have enough to build on. It will fade, like my feelings for War, or Tight, or Corvus. But it was love.

Duration doesn't make it less true.

Love is love is love.
And love is wonderful.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

A primal place of pain

Swede grew, changed and developed a lot in our extended weekend together. But he's new to BDSM, so that is to be expected. I always adapt and learn new things with every new partner, but I didn't expect just to what extent Swede would influence me.

Perhaps I should have seen it coming... I haven't been a bottom / sub for years, and I find it challenging to take on that role now. Challenging in a good way. I'm really enjoying myself, but it's difficult to yield control to someone else. To yield my body and mind to someone else. Difficult, scary, but interesting.

A lot of our play was still done with lots of starts and stops. I'd introduce a topic, something I wanted him to try or experience. We'd talk about it. He'd try it out. We'd talk some more. He'd try some more. And so on and so forth. At first he was a very "good student" in the sens that he only did the things I told him to do. No initiative, no experimentation, but after I'd pointed this out to him he got better. He started putting together all the puzzle pieces I'd given him, and make something that felt more like proper sessions.

Swede still needs to work on planning scenes and transitioning from one part of a scene to the next, but that comes with experience. Also, for whatever reason, he didn't experiment as much with dominance (for example postures, commands, humiliation, control etc). Perhaps because sadism, once you get over the moralistic "one shouldn't hurt people", is easier than dominance...? Easier because the feedback from the bottom is instantaneous and very clear. This hurt that much, this hurt THAT much. And if your goal first of all is to hurt, not dominate, the fact that something hurts is a good thing. With dominance, the feedback is more subtle and can be more difficult to read.

I've never been a masochist. A submissive, yes sure. I can accept pain as a means to an end, as a way to make me submit and know who's in charge. But pain for the sake of pain? No. Why would I? It hurts! Who wants to hurt?!?

My extended weekend with Swede showed me that I have a masochistic side after all. I never would have discovered that side of me, if Swede hadn't been such an enthusiastic sadist. I have him to thank for this:

We had one session that went beyond intense. We'd been playing on and off for most of an afternoon. I was warm and somewhat sore, my body flooded with the various hormones that get released during intense BDSM play. And perhaps most importantly, I trusted Swede not to do me harm. I knew he got off on hurting me, but I trusted that he wouldn't harm me.

My wrists were tied to the corners of the bed with leather cuffs. He was sitting on top of me, pinning my hips to the mattress. He gets turned on when I struggle and fight him, and I get turned on by losing to him... And by his reaction. Therefore, I held nothing back. I fought and I screamed, and I tried to get him off me. Of course, I had no chance in hell.

He started pinching and pulling on my nipples. Now, my nipples are very, very sensitive. I can't take much stimulus there at all before it really starts to hurt. However, he kept going. Kept on pushing me to endure more. And I did, because I knew he enjoyed seeing me hurt.

I was the strangest thing. I went from swearing at him and begging him to stop, to screaming, to just making incoherent, primal sounds. He managed to push me to a place I've never been before. A place where nothing else existed. There was only the pain, and his hands that gave me pain. I vaguely felt my body pinned under his weight, but I doubt I could have told you my name if he'd asked. Or which country I was in. And I didn't want him to ask, didn't want him to interrupt the flow, but at the same time, I was very close to how much I could handle. I just didn't want to leave that place. It was terrible, so incredibly painful, but also wondrous. Zen-like. Primal in a way I've never experienced before.

He stopped, with perfect timing. I'm still amazed at his instincts. I came back to myself immediately, and lay shivering in his arms for a while. Hours later, when the aftercare was done and we were sitting on the couch doing other things, I was still feeling high. I was trying to write a message to Saint, and I had to struggle to string words together. I was high as a kite, from the incredibly painful session we'd had a few hours earlier. My body was buzzing, everything felt clearer and more colourful. I loved everything and everyone. A euphoria of sorts.

The rest of the weekend, I craved that primal place of pain. Not just for the feeling once it was done. No, I craved the pain itself. I would initiate play, with the sole purpose of making him hurt me. Can you imagine how insane that felt, for someone who's never had masochistic inclinations before?!?

What did I love about it? I loved the intense connection between the top and the bottom. The undivided attention from him. The feeling of struggling, losing and eventually yielding to him. I loved how the pain was unavoidable. Completely out of my control. It hurt, and he loved to hurt me.

We had several similar sessions, but didn't obtained that same level of intensity again. Annoying at the time, sure, but it doesn't worry me. I know that it's obtainable. I know that place, that state of mind, can be reached again. And I long for it.

Weird, hu?

Swede: Endings and new beginnings

It's Thursdag the 12th of December. I'm at work, writing about this weekend I've just had with Swede. I've needed some time to digest it all. 

Our time together was so intense. Challenging, difficult, chaotic, confusing. But also sexy, lovely, exciting, exhilarating and wonderful. I want to write about a couple of our play sessions specifically, but first I want to explain our conclusions. An ending, of sorts:

I really like Swede. I care about him deeply. I want to keep him in my life. But! I just can't have a third full-time partner. I don't have the time, or the energy, or the will to make the sacrifices and priorities needed. That fact that it would be long-distance makes it worse, but I don't think I could have done it even had he been local.

This makes me feel bad, because I care deeply for him. But I just can't do it. Not now, not in this phase of my life. There's too much else going on, plans I'm working on that will change my life in other ways. So Swede and I won't be having a continuous connection or a full-time relationship.

However, I hope that Swede will become a comet. A "comet" is a poly term that first showed up on Fetlife. It means "a person that passes through your life repeatedly who is intense and awesome, and when gone you are still in contact with that person in some way but they are not a continuous partner."

I hope I get to see Swede again. Maybe this summer. Or maybe in a year or two, at some party or other event. I don't know, we don't have any specific plans. But I hope I see him again. And I hope we hook up again, and have more breathtaking fun with BDSM. I want that. 

I want him.