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Pavlovian Reactions

I saw this picture on one of my followers own blog and, as soon as I saw it, my stomach started churning and that old familiar feeling of fear, excitement and total helplessness returned for the first time for ages.  Years.

Image

Obviously my Pavlovian subbie reaction had kicked in.  Strange it should do so when seeing a nice arty photo.  Just shows there are things in life you can run away from, and think you have left behind.  Then suddenly up they pop and you are dragged back into your past or made to react in some way you thought you had grown out off.

 

Woof woof,…………………….  Good old Pavlov.

 

 My thanks to Dunkleritter for the photo.  He has a very interesting blog that’s worthwhile visiting at

http://dunkleritter:wordpress.com

As always when I write something, I am left with a mass of answered question chasing each other round inside my head.  And what I wrote 24 hours ago on this subject has merely made me dissatisfied when I came back to revisit later.

I am not denying the parameters I laid down in that blog for writing about ‘extreme’ erotic torments.  I’ll add here to save you searching for them in Part 1 of F, F & F.  They were:

1.   Such treatment has historical precedence

2.   It is not of such severity as to make it impossible to replicate in real life.

3.   Would I, “dee the submissive”, survive such treatment and be able to return to ‘normal’ life within a reasonable period of time.

Those ‘golden rules’ were always in the back of my mind when I wrote D/s or BDSM stories, but…………………   Like most rules of thumb they got broken on occasions and I don’t think that my work was any the worst for that.  Far far better authors than me have strayed away from the believable (although not in the BDSM sense);  after all would Nicholas Nickleby really have gone off leaving his scatterbrain mother to fall into the hands of his uncle, allowing his beloved sister Kate to be seduced?   Would a free spirit like Sue Bridehead really have married a wimp like Phillotson if she was capable of almost casually deserting him and going off to live with Jude?   If Dickens and Hardy can dismiss reality so easily, I see no reason for not following their example.

But this isn’t Lit Crit;  this is a blog about the border between Fact and Fantasy in a world where, in many cases,  Fantasy is the catalyst for subsequent Fact or, in erotic tales, believable Fiction.   At the risk of boring readers, I’m going to delve into my own past to show how disobeying my self-imposed Parameters (or Rules) led to my being taught that I had been very foolish in dismissing them out of hand.

As I told you in Part 1 of this blog, I used to write stories for TB when we were apart.  They were all D/s related with a heavy core of BDSM scenarios being the climaxes to many of those tales.  One of them was written when I was in Spain;  I had somehow got a small role in a movie being filmed in Spain, and I was told that I would be wanted on location for two weeks.  For me that was a major gig so, when the job was offered to me, I grabbed it with both hands.   As soon as I knew the dates I would be needed in Malaga, TB arranged a oft-postponed business trip to California and, on the due day, we flew off from Heathrow within hours of each other, TB heading west and myself disappearing in a southly direction.  As always we kept in touch by e-mail and, when I discovered I would not be needed on set for three days after my arrival, I set about writing a new tale for TB so as to keep him amused (and hopefully out of the beds of bronzed California girls) on his trip.  The tale was about a Victorian young woman whose newlywed and very much older husband inconveniently dies on their wedding night.  She, initially one of my most limp-wristed heroines, falls into the hands of her brother-in-law and of his legal advisor who, together, try to isolate her so they can get their hands on the fortune she has inherited from her late husband.   They manage to whisk her off to Ireland where, with the aid of an equally unpleasant doctor, they succeed in persuading the world that the young widow has suffered a total nervous collapse after the shock of having her husband die on her in such tragic circumstances.

I won’t bore you with details of the plot except to say that the previously mousy widow turns out to have a good deal more inner strength than her enemies initially allowed for.   She refuses to sign away her fortune, so the brother-in-law and his allies proceed to try and ‘persuade’ her that it is in her best interests to give in to their demands.  They know that they have only limited time, because the widow’s family will soon start suspecting something underhand is going on, and they also know they cannot merely stage an accident, faking her death, as they have discovered that her estate will revert to her brother if she dies, and so they will not see a penny from it.

In the course of the villains’ attempts to get her to sign, they lock her in a device I invented sitting on a sunlit beach south of Malaga.  I called this device an Orphan Box, saying that it had been used to restrain and ‘quieten’ senior girls at a very unpleasant orphanage for late teenage and older girls that was run by Irish nuns near where the plotters were keeping my heroine.  These boxes were located in the cellars of the convent and girls in their late teens and early twenties were locked in them to keep them out of the way if they could not be found employment after they finished their years of schooling at the orphanage.   I described these boxes in detail but I’ll spare you all that, merely saying it was just large enough to hold a seated young woman within its thick and iron-reinforced wooden walls.  The orphan’s body stuck out of a stocks-like but solid top and even this could be hidden away by placing over her head a further much smaller box which was then screwed down into place, leaving her in darkness and silence.   Naturally, as always going for overkill, I described the sharp edged bar on which the cramped orphan perched and to which she was strapped, just as the rest of her body was secured immobile by further internal bindings.   With the deep top of the box clasping her throat tightly, the orphan in her box could not even move her head.

I had a lot of fun embellishing this device until it was a VERY unpleasant mode of containment indeed.   One of the additions was a screw-in wooden gag set inside the head box so, once in place, the widow’s tormentors could wind in the vast wooden silencer which their poor victim would have to allow into her mouth unless she wanted to have her teeth knocked slowly out as the men screwed the device in.  Another refinement (?) of the headbox was that, when bolted down to the main box, it was air tight.  Clearly this was something that couldn’t happen in real life or else the original orphans would have died within a short time of first being placed in their boxes.  So there were holes at the back of the head box to allow air in.  But I added a shutter that could be slid down so as to block up one, two or all three of the air holes.  This arrangement allowed the ‘gentlemen’ to suffocate their victim at will, cutting down her air supply or even stopping it altogether so as to persuade her to sign the necessary documents.  Anyway I was rather pleased with the orphan box and the story I was writing for TB was inclined to centre around the poor widow’s experiences inside it.

Back in real life, TB had returned from California as planned a week before I was due home.  But then I had to stay in Spain for an additional week as one of the leading actors walked off the set and the writers had to rejig the script so as to compensate for his absence.    I eventually walked into our house two weeks after TB had returned and was greeted by him with the words, “Come down into the basement.  I have a present for you.”  Innocently happy to be home I trotted down after him and then came to a very startled halt.  For there, in the ‘cell area’ of the basement was a perfect replica Orphan Box……………………………

By that time TB was wealthy enough to indulge himself when it came to our D/s relationship.   So, when he had come back from the States he had employed jobbing carpenter to make for him a very good basic thick walled box together with a smaller one.  With these in the house, he then spent his spare time in the ten days before my return in converting the two boxes into an Orphan Box as I had described it in my story.  TB, regardless of his other talents, was a highly motivated and very skill Do-it-yourself man and the finished article was amazing, accurate down to such detail as the reinforcing iron ‘straps’ at the corners of the box.

Needless to say later that evening, supperless and without even having been given time to have a shower after my journey, I was backed in through the opening front of that hideous box and tightly strapped in place.  Fortunately TB had slightly padded the one bar seat as strapped down to it naked, in its original form it would have been torture to sit on for even a few minutes.  But everything else was identical that the one I had described in my story.  So, when TB lowered the head box into place, I started getting worried, something that got even worse when it had been bolted down and I felt the internal plug in front of my face being screwed in so that I was forced to open my mouth and allow it to silence me.   Quite apart from the sheer discomfort of being strapped inside a box that was just a fraction too small for me, discomfort that was becoming very very unpleasant, I was frightened at being at least partially silenced and having my head locked away inside that claustrophobic and lightless head box.

Fear turned to genuine terror when I heard his head-box muffled voice say, “Let’s see what happens when I block up these air holes!”  I vaguely heard the shutter being slid closed.  And then I panicked.    For it occurred to me far too late that I would soon use up the air trapped inside the head box and I would start genuinely suffocating.  That in itself would have been okay if it had not been for the hideous realisation that, when TB opened the shutter again and the air holes were open once more, the stale and useless air trapped inside the head box wouldn’t just rush out to be replaced by life-giving oxygen as there was no through-way for fresh air to take, driving out the carbon dioxide within the head box.  I was strapped in place so that I couldn’t move at all and all I could do was make desperate noises round the wooden plug filling my mouth.  And I yelled as best I could but knowing the thickness of the wood engulfing my head would muffle my despairing attempts to beg for release and, anyway, TB would probably think I was just play acting……………………….

The fact that I am here now, writing this blog is evidence that TB was a lot smarter than I was.  He had recognised the Orphan Box’s inbuilt flaw and, when building mine, he had drilled a further hole in the top of the orphan box, situated under my chin.  As I was backed into the box (it opened at the front as well as at the top), I had not noticed that hole below which was a small suction pump which could be remotely turned on.  So, having worked out with considerable accuracy how much air I had in my lungs and trapped under the head box, he had measured how long I could survive with the air vents closed up before getting into trouble.  Then, when he slid the shutter upwards, opening the vent holes again, he had turned on the pump and immediately the stale air in the head box started to be siphoned out, to be replaced by fresh air now being drawn in through the air holes at the back of the head box.   Of course I, desperately trying to tell TB that I was dying, was making far too much noise to hear the pump and was too terrified to realise that I actually had access to good clear fresh air again.

Of course TB, the perfect sadist, thought it was all very funny when he eventually released me.  But from then on I was genuinely terrified of that Orphan Box which, of course. only made TB use it as his “Restraint of Choice” once he realised how much I loathed it.   I have to admit that I was tempted on many occasions to take an axe to it or to burn the hideous device.   But I never did and now I wonder what happened to it after I walked out of TB.

The moral of this tale?  DON’T step over the boundary between the possible and the impossible in real life as well as in fiction.  Fantasies are fine as long as they don’t turn round and bite you for real, as that Orphan Box nearly did with me.

Hugs

Dee

The last 24 hours have been very strange and also exciting as I have met someone on line who is not only a fantastic writer but who also encourages other writers to try their hands at his own ‘specialised subject’.

During the course of a rapid-fire exchange of comments and e-mails on various topics, we discussed the subject of how far erotic fiction should go when dealing with the thorny subjects of pain, punishment and sadomasochistic behaviour.  Here I think I am fortunate as I have experience at both ends of the BDSM – D/s spectrum: as a writer on one hand and as a real life subbie on the other.  For me there was a decided cross-pollination of ideas as I’ll try to explain by giving you some of the background to TB and my relationship.

We met when I was very young; only just out of my teens and already with a very dangerous drink and drugs habit that was destroying me at an alarming speed.  TB, although god knows why, saw something worthwhile in me and took me under his wing, so that I had straightened myself out with his help in a short period of time.  Understandably I was besotted with him and I helped him build his first business into something that was to become a massively successful international organisation.  During those initial impoverished days when every last dime TB earned was being ploughed back into the business just to keep it afloat so that, as well as being his Girl Friday, I was doing two menial jobs so as to bring in enough money for our joint survival.   One day I decided it was time to spoil myself and I took some money from the tin in which it lived and went out and bought myself a pair of boots.  When TB found out he was annoyed as £45 was a week’s food for us both, so he upended me and spanked me. not at all viciously but more so that I wouldn’t again go off spending money on things we didn’t need.

The unexpected outcome was that we were both incredibly turned on…………………….  Up until then we had lived a respectably vanilla existence together and the idea of a D/s relationship has never been discussed.  But from that spanking on things started escalating and………………….

Let’s move forward three years.  By then TB’s business had lifted off and I had no real need to work which meant that there were times when the D/s  –   BDSM side of our relationship developed into dominating our ‘out of-work’ hours.  Maybe three or four nights a week were given over the our ‘games’ and probably every other weekend was similarly set aside.  During this time we would almost challenge each other to see who could come up with the most outre idea and we had some amazing times and occasionally ones that hovered on the edge of disaster.

Then, when TB was scheduled to go on an extended business trip to the Far East, he suggested I might be bored at home and why didn’t I see if I could get a job.  I wasn’t keen, but I talked to a friend I had known at Drama School and, almost before I knew it, I was auditioning for a play touring the country in the hope of bringing it to London’s West End one day.  To my astonishment I got cast in a very minor role and that was the start of my renewed on-and-off acting career.  The only trouble about that way of life was, after the initial rehearsals and the usual rewrites that normally did not affect the character I was playing, I had little to do except appear on stage for a few minutes every night.   So rather than keeping telling TB about my boring days, I started writing stories for him.

As I knew what turned him on, and being conscious of my own horrors/fears/ enjoyments, I started developing characters based on myself who were forced to do things which maybe we had tried successful or were new and potentially exciting ideas.  TB soon got hooked on these tales and started to demand more of them.  Then, when I got home., he was only too keen to try out some of the modes of control, discipline or punishment I had written about.  Which is really where this blog has (at last) reached its main subject which is how do we find the borderline between fantasy that can be brought to life and fantasy which for practical reasons has to remain in the realms of fiction.

Yesterday I was discussing with my friend from Dark Erotic Fiction an episode in which two slaves have sandpaper covered dildos inserted into their vaginas and are then forced to move around, even to high kick, one being made to walk to a shop so that she had blood trickling down the inside of her thigh.   My friend was worried that this episode might have over-stepped the invisible border between the believable and pure sadistic fantasy.  Thankfully I have never been subjected to anything like those vicious dildos, so I can’t say whether the slaves would have handled such treatment as they did, but I can imagine the pain that having one’s most tender flesh abraded in such a way would cause me or to anyone like me.  However such treatment, brutal though it may seem, does not cross the line as far as I am concerned.

Let me explain.  In a society where slaves can and are treated with unremitting harshness if they fail in their duties, such as is described in the DEF stories, to be treated in such a way would not seem extraordinary in my view.

\a photo from the days of our D/s relationship

A photo from the days of our D/s relationship

If we look at the treatment of slaves in America pre-the Civil War and in the West Indies prior to the abolition of slavery we will see examples of slaves being treated in far harsher ways than those described in the DEF fiction.  Please believe me, I am neither advocating slavery in real life, nor am I approving of such treatment of slaves;  all I am saying is that my friend’s fiction does not wander off into the wilderness of sheer sadistic fantasy but is acceptable fiction because:

1.   Such treatment has historical precedence

2.   It is not of such severity as to make it impossible to replicate in real life.

When I was writing for TB, I used to ask myself if a scene involving discipline, correction or punishment met the two parameters I have just mentioned.  If the scene did, I felt it was justifiable to include it in the story I was writing.  However I also had another parameter  which was:

3.   Would I, “dee the submissive”, survive such treatment and be able to return to ‘normal’ life within a reasonable period of time.

If the answer to that question was No, I would reject the scene or at the least make the victim’s suffering less intense until I could answer Yes to the demands of the third parameter.

So I never was a member of the “Beat her Ass to a Bloody Pulp” school of BDSM authors, as my own experiences had taught me only too well how even a six stroke beating with a cane can be agonising and how harsher ones can put the victim out of action for a day or two.  However I do admit to using ‘artistic license’ now and then, an example being at the very start of  “Claire’s Tale” when that unfortunate young lady is given a Farewell Whipping immediately prior to leaving the school where she has been incarcerated for several years.   But what we do know is that girls as well as boys were subject to draconian punishments at school which would horrify many a modern reader  –  my Grandfather tells of being caned at his British public school, Harrow, before the Second World War to the degree that he had blood trickling down his backside.  As a kid I thought he must have been exaggerating until two friends of his backed up his tale with ones of their own.

Having said all that, I had one very VERY important need to make sure punishments I wrote about complied with my third parameter.  That was because I knew only too well that TB took a special delight in inflicting upon me the torments I invented for my heroines.  Believe me, you do NOT stray across that invisible line if you have a Sword of Damocles of that intensity hanging over your head when you chronicle your alter ego’s misfortunes…………………..

Hugs

Dee

First of all, just in case anyone reads this who doesn’t know me, I think I’ll post a picture of myself.  It’s a ‘Photoshopped’ version of one a series of pictures taken when we were ‘on honeymoon’ so it’s not new but TB liked it so…………  I wonder if he’ll ever see it again as I have used a trimmed version as this blog’s Gravatar picture.   As I said, it was taken when TB and I were married;  not the usual bridal photo but one that TB approved of to the degree that it became ‘our’ wedding photo, as opposed to the pretty-pretty vanilla ones that went into relatives’ family albums.

Maybe this will be a taste of things to come as I recall the day this picture came to life.  And I recall vividly how our honeymoon, supposedly spent on a private island in the Seychelles, was actually spent behind locked doors and curtained windows in our home.  To this day I wonder how many people wondered why I looked so pale after a supposed month in the sun   –   there was no sun where I had been kept during those endless 4 weeks. Ah, the memories………………

Looking back a few years I have to wonder how we kept the intensity of our D/s relationship a secret  –  TB was a very successful businessman, avid fan and season-ticket holder of a great football club, as well as being a fiendishly competitive squash rackets player.   I was largely pretending to be being an actress but earning more money as a voice-over girl than on stage, in addition to occasionally being eye-candy for TB’s company when it was entertaining or merely trying to impress clients.

And that is how the World and 99% of our friends saw us.  Un menage d’or in some ways, with lots of people envying our lifestyle.  .They did not see me become TB’s submissive, his virtual slave and willing victim, as soon as the front door closed behind him when he came home at night.

A girlfriend of mine, one of the few people who knew something, but not all, of how we lived in private, asked me only a short time ago if I had really enjoyed being so much under TB’s control.   Now, with the benefit of hindsight, I am not sure if I ‘enjoyed’ what happened when we were alone.   I was (and probably still am) a masochist, but the degree of control TB had over me and the way he enforced it meant that I got an enormous thrill out of being his chattel, but that I never truly enjoyed what was happening to me.  There were times when I was terrified;  there were times when I was in pain and sometimes even in despair and at the very end of my tether.  Times that were not enjoyable  –  the reverse being true  –  and when I was screaming inwardly for my suffering to end.

But I always came back for more, and although there were several occasions (No…….  in truth there were LOTS of occasions!) when I deeply regretted giving up my right to have a ‘safe word’ or ‘safe gesture’, I never asked to be allowed one as had been the case when our relationship had been developing.   I had voluntarily given up that right and I was not going to beg for it back, regardless of the pain and even terror that came in the wake of not being able to ease or escape from TB’s desire to subjugate me.

But, even if I didn’t ‘enjoy’ what was happening to me a lot of the time, I was happy to be TB’s subbie.   I was proud that I could survive, I was proud that I had not asked for my safe word or gesture to be returned to me.  And I was happy.  I loved TB and loved my life with that strange devotion that maybe only true subbies know after they have found the perfect Master.  When we did part, that heartbreaking event had nothing to do with our D/s relationship.  Maybe if we hadn’t made the mistake of getting married we would still be together now. Maybe………………

So that’s a little about me.  Next time I hope to write about a far more interesting subject than myself  –  Claire, my Victorian alter-ego.   Watch this space

Hugs   Dee