You’re too young to be a dom

It’s sadly common for the ageist dicks of the world to tell younger doms that they’re too young to be dominant, as if age has anything to do with it.

First of all, being dominant is an identity, not an achievement. If it was an achievement, there would be an agreed upon test to take or a panel of judges who could decide whether or not to bestow true domhood upon you. Tests and judges only make sense when you have something concrete to test, like the ability to play pierce someone without cross contaminating anything. Domination (and submission!) are so subjective that testing how good a dom someone is would be as relevant and useful as testing how good a romantic partner someone is. There is no “good partner,” only the person who is right for you. Dominance is an identity like nerd is an identity – it’s certainly related to things you do, but only you get to decide whether or not you’re a nerd and it has nothing to do with how old you are.

If the people who shit on younger doms were being logical about it, they would also have to shit on older doms who are new to the scene. Age does limit the amount of experience you could possibly have, but if you’ve ever spent any time at any kink events, online or off, you’ll know that it’s not exactly uncommon for people not to figure out they’re kinky or not feel comfortable exploring it until later in life. So why don’t older newbies get more shit? My theory is that they don’t scare the douchebags of the scene because they aren’t walking threats to the idea that domination is this extraordinarily difficult thing that requires years of intense study and only the most extraordinary, experienced, and educated person could possibly call themselves a dom. Basically, these people are so insecure that they freak out when some kid shows up and proves that anybody can be a good dom to the right partner. We can all agree that’s blatant douchebaggery, right?

On the subject of douchebaggery, how exactly are people who are “too young to be doms” supposed to get the experience that would get these assclowns off their backs? Oh, that’s right, they’re not. They’re supposed to quietly slink away from the scene and not provide any competition for the hot young submissives. If you know you can’t compete with a young, inexperienced dom in a subculture that fetishizes experience in doms (god forbid submissives be experienced, but that’s a separate post), I know where the problem is and it’s not with your competition.

Life experience does count, of course, but it’s hardly the be-all end-all of skill as a dom. There’s no shortage of people with decades more life experience than I have making complete asses of themselves on Fetlife, after all. Now, it would take a pretty exceptional 20 year old dom to convince a 25 year old to submit to them, but why couldn’t they be a perfectly good dom for another 20 year old?

I used to have trouble taking younger doms seriously, but I think that was because I a) bought into the myth in the scene that you can’t possibly be a good dom without lots of life experience, and b) was insecure about my own level of experience so I was kind of a dick about people even younger than I was. Fortunately, I’ve grown up since then and now understand that it’s pretty cool if people are figuring out what they really want younger than I did.

And finally, if age is so important how come nobody gets told they’re too young to be submissive?

Respect and Respect

I came across this tumblr post by Abby and it made me think about how some people talk about respect in the scene:

Sometimes people use “respect” to mean “treating someone like a person” and sometimes they use “respect” to mean “treating someone like an authority”

and sometimes people who are used to being treated like an authority say “if you won’t respect me I won’t respect you” and they mean “if you won’t treat me like an authority I won’t treat you like a person”

and they think they’re being fair but they aren’t, and it’s not okay.

I’m really suspicious that the doms who keep talking about how respect is so important and they deserve to be respected and how terrible it is that submissives these days have no respect aren’t using the word respect the way I do. The people most likely to be disrespected are submissive or assumed to be submissive. Doms, particularly male doms, have very little to complain about in terms of being respected (younger doms, even male ones, do get a certain amount of shit from ageist dicks, but that’s a separate blog post).

Given that male dominants generally are respected in the scene, I have to assume that when they say respect and I say respect we’re actually talking about different things. What would make the whining I’ve seen make some sort of sense is if these guys (let’s be honest, they’re mostly men, although I have seen female doms pull some ridiculous bullshit too) are actually talking about wanting to be treated like an authority by everyone they run into, whether or not they’ve ever done anything to earn it.

Fuck that. Deciding to call yourself a dom in no way makes you an authority. Literally anyone can do that, no matter how inexperienced or ignorant they are. Treating every dom like an authority would require everyone else in the scene to completely ignore basic common sense and their own ability to judge whether someone is worth taking seriously. Not only is that never going to happen, but that sort of “respect” is worthless. Why would I care whether someone with such terrible judgement that they’ll fawn over every so-called dominant they meet fawns over me too? That’s not even about me as a person, it’s about their fantasy of how they should act around doms. I really don’t care to be used as part of someone’s fantasy without them even asking if I wanted a cameo in the J. Random Sub Show.

Real authority is earned. If you’re that invested in being treated like an authority, get really good at something and share your knowledge. Unless that’s too much work for you, in which case keep whining and crying about how everyone you meet is an asshole because they won’t act like their mission in life is to prop up your oh-so-fragile ego. That will totally make people respect you.

The only respect people in the scene are automatically due is being treated like people. It should but sadly does not go without saying that subs are people too and are entitled to the exact same level of respect that doms are until they’ve specifically negotiated other arrangements with a particular person. We are all just people with an unusual hobby until we make other agreements with someone, calling myself dominant doesn’t make me any more or any less than anyone else in the scene, no matter how they identify. I’m fine with that because I’m a fucking grownup. If you’re not, I recommend taking a long hard look at yourself.

It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it

To quote my search terms: what happens if you’re a dominant woman who enjoys penetration?

Well, your partner better penetrate you if he doesn’t want you to find a new one :)

More seriously, it’s really common for kinky people to believe that some actions are inherently dominant and some are inherently submissive, as ridiculous as that idea is when you actually think about it. Because it’s such a common belief, even if you don’t think that way yourself you’re likely to run into people who do, which makes it pretty hard to avoid worrying about whether the thing you want to do might be completely misinterpreted.

For example, it’s pretty common for people to assume that being penetrated is a submissive action. That’s ridiculous, actions aren’t inherently anything. Lending a friend money might be a good thing, unless that money helps them to stay in denial about their addiction. Punching someone in the face might be a bad thing, unless they’re learning a martial art and need to experience getting hit in a safe environment in case they ever get hit for real. It’s the context that matters, that’s what gives an action meaning.

So in the context of a dominant woman telling her submissive partner to penetrate her, to do it the way she likes, and to keep it up until she’s good and done, it’s pretty clear that she’s not doing anything remotely submissive. Performing a particular action in no way changes the fact that she’s calling all of the shots. By the same token, performing a particular action in no way makes the submissive man doing the penetrating dominant. He’s still following orders and he’s still doing it to make their dominant happy.

Where things get messy is that even if our hypothetical dom knows perfectly well that telling someone to penetrate her doesn’t make her submissive, her partner might still have the idea that some actions are fundamentally submissive. Now she has to worry about how he’s going to react and face the possibility that their relationship might end if he can’t get over the idea that an action is fundamentally submissive. That’s pretty fucking scary, especially if you’re new to domination and deep down you’re still scared you really aren’t dominant enough (that goes away eventually, right?)

The possibility of being told you’re not good enough or losing your relationship sucks, but if someone thinks he can tell you what kind of sex you’re allowed to want he’s not very fucking submissive now is he? It may take a while to find him, but I guarantee there is someone out there who cares more about who you actually are than who he thinks you should be.

Also, the idea that letting other people decide what kind of sex I have could possibly be anything but submissive irritates the shit out of me. Am I seriously supposed to prove how dominant I am by doing what I’m told? I hate to break it to those assholes, but that’s not how domination works.

If you’re dominant and you like penetration, go for it! Anyone who says that means you’re not really dominant is too stupid to listen to.

You have no one to blame but yourself

We all understand that if a dominant top doesn’t like the way their scene is going it’s on them to steer it in a direction that makes them (and obviously everyone they’re playing with) happier, right? They’re the one running the show, it would be ridiculous for them to blame the sub for not magically knowing what they wanted, wouldn’t it? And if they did, the sub would probably not bother speaking to them again because they’re obviously a complete fucking tool.

So why do we let dominant bottoms get away with blaming their partners because they’re incompetent at running a scene? Okay, stupid question. We let them get away with it because so few dominant bottoms are self aware enough to know they’re dominant and it’s so easy for women in particular to be manipulated into thinking it’s our fault when things go wrong. Maybe I’ll reach douchebag dominant bottoms with this post and maybe I won’t, but I’m hoping this will at least be comforting to the tops who are being blamed for not dominating “correctly” when the problem is the supposed “submissive” doesn’t actually want to be dominated at all.

Dominant bottoms have no one to blame but themselves if the scene doesn’t go the way they were hoping. You’re the fucking dom. If the scene isn’t doing it for you, learn to fucking steer. Making your sub (let’s be honest, if you want to run the scene to your exact specifications you need a submissive partner or a very well paid professional) try to read your mind is mean, lazy, and setting them up for failure in the non-fun way. This is what I mean by “incompetent at running a scene.” I’ll freely admit that steering a scene while making it look like you’re not in control is more complicated that simple domination from the top, but you still don’t get to blame other people for your failings.

On the upside, the fact that it’s your fault your scenes aren’t working the way you’d like means you have the power to fix it. First of all, you have to admit that expecting someone to read your mind is total douchebag behaviour. If having a scene play out the exact way you fantasized about is really important to you, write it down and give your partner the fucking script ahead of time. I am absolutely serious: write it down, give your partner the script, and rehearse (and, uh, date a theatre geek if at all possible). While you’re writing down that script and rehearsing it, you might also spare just a second or two to think about how much work you’re asking your partner to do and how utterly unreasonable it would be to expect them to magically intuit the pages and pages of dialog and actions that they’re trying to memorize.

If you’re not as attached to acting out a pre-scripted fantasy, you can teach your partner to read you/which types of interactions do it for you/what sort of persona does it for you. This will be a lot of work for both of you and you’ll probably have to spend huge amounts of time talking out what worked and what didn’t, but working with your partner to teach them how to play their role in a way that works for you is pretty much the only way you’re going to get what you want. I mean, you can hold out for the woman who, by some amazing coincidence, just happens to like topping in the exact way you like, but that’s about as likely to work as planning to retire by winning the lottery.

Sure, this all goes against the fantasy that you’re actually submissive, but do you want to cling to the fantasy or do you want to have scenes that you really enjoy? This actually isn’t that different from what people who are actually submissive go through when they negotiate a higher-risk scene like a take-down. Any responsible dom will insist on very thorough negotiation before doing anything that could go horribly wrong, even up to the point where the submissive starts worrying that they’re dictating exactly what the dom is going to do. If submissive people can negotiate a scene that works for them, you can goddamn well do it too.

The one thing I really want to say to unaware dominant bottoms is stop fucking blaming the sub when you didn’t teach them how to please you! If you can’t have fun unless things are going your way (which is totally normal, I’m a control freak too), then it’s your job to make things go your way. It’s not exactly unheard of for people to enjoy getting a reaction out of their play partner – if you can tell them exactly how to get that reaction, you’re actually saving them a lot of stumbling around in the dark. You do need someone who’s willing to take orders, but I hear there are a few of those people in the kink community :)

For people who are trying to make an unaware dominant bottom happy, the one thing I really want you to know is it’s not your fault. You’re not a bad top, you’re not stupid, you’re not doing it wrong. If your partner isn’t fully honest with you about what they want, how the fuck are you supposed to give it to them?

Very basic internet safety

First of all, I’m by no means a security expert. For advice from an actual expert who did actual research, you should really buy a book like Violet Blue’s The Smart Girl’s Guide to Privacy. That said, I’m going to talk about some simple safety stuff and why it’s important, and you can decide whether or not I’m full of shit.

1. Username/handle/profile name – particularly on Fetlife, this should not be a name that you use anywhere else. Using the same name in more places makes you easier to google. Being easier to google makes you easier to find in real life. Also, the more places you use that name, the more chances you have to slip up and attach identifiable information to it. Taking myself for example, given my age, location, and the fact that I’ve mentioned being a programmer on this blog, there are only so many people I could possibly be. Fortunately for me odds are good that my boss wouldn’t give a shit if someone outed me, but people who can’t afford to get outed need to be more careful than I am about what personal details they share.

2. Pictures: like your username, any pictures you put on your Fetlife profile should not be used anywhere else. It’s very easy to take an image (even on Fetlife, sure they’ve disabled right click save but that doesn’t actually accomplish much), plug it into Google’s reverse image search or TinEye, and find everywhere else that image exists. Those are really handy tools if you’ve been talking with someone online and have doubts that their photos are really of them, but they can get you in trouble if you use the same images on Fetlife and in any place attached to your real name.

Pictures on Fetlife are simply not secure. Pictures anywhere on the internet are simply not secure. If it can be viewed, it can be saved and posted elsewhere or shared in ways you didn’t intend. You can make it a pain in the ass to steal photos or videos, but you can’t make it impossible. Even if it were possible to keep people from saving an image on the internet to their computer (that’s not even slightly possible and never will be), it will never be possible to prevent someone from viewing an image anywhere on the internet and taking a picture of it with a camera. If you can see it with your eyeballs, the camera can see it too. Now your ‘it’s safe if it’s on Fetlife’ image can be posted anywhere. Sure, you have to log in to see the images so you can steal them, but it takes maybe a minute to create a new Fetlife account, and still less than five minutes if you create a new email address to go with it.

3. Email addresses: the email your Fetlife profile is attached to should not be used for anything else. This makes it easier to keep everything separate and make sure you never reply from the wrong address, it makes it easier to keep things private even if you check your main email where other people can see you, and it makes you harder to google. If you’ve ever posted that email address anywhere else, that might come up if someone googles your address.

4. Real name: don’t use it anywhere in connection with a profile you don’t want connected with your real name. All sorts of sites, from twitter to Fetlife, will ask you for a name. Don’t give your real one. They will never know. Make up something plausible sounding if you like, but unless you’re paying for something online and need to give a name that will match the name on your card, there’s no reason you have to give your real name anywhere online. This may sound obvious, but people have gotten burned by not realizing that twitter displays both your “name” and your handle on every tweet you make.

5. Personal details: people can track you down with surprisingly few details. Be careful how much you talk about your hobbies, or what you do for a living, or where you live. Even if you’re just talking about the weather, that can help people start narrowing down where you are. Like I mentioned earlier, knowing that I’m a female programmer means there are only so many people I couild possibly be. Knowing that I like whisky means there are certain events I’m likely to be at. Knowing that I’m a gamer means there are other events I’m likely to be at. Knowing both of those things means you can look at members of different groups and see which ones appear in both groups.

6. Location: you don’t have to share this either. Many many people on Fetlife list themselves as being from Antarctica to obscure where they actually life. Even if you list yourself as being from Antarctica, be aware that you can still be tracked by which groups you’re a member of or where you post regularly. Your recent activity is very easy to find – it’s at the bottom of your Fetlife profile. If you frequently post in the Fargo Moorhead Fetlifers group, for example, it’s not going to be hard to figure out roughly where you live. If you can’t risk being found, stick with groups that are for certain topics, not particular locations.

7. Public wifi: don’t do anything sensitive on public wifi. You don’t know whether the network was set up correctly, you don’t know who else is on there, you don’t know whether the network itself has been compromised. It’s not at all difficult to see all the traffic on a network, not just the stuff that’s intended for your device. Fetlife keeps everything encrypted now, but they didn’t always. Other sites may not encrypt anything at all – if you don’t see the padlock icon (in chrome it’s at the left side of the url/search bar), don’t do anything you wouldn’t want other people to be able to see.

8. Browsers: if anyone else uses your computer and you want to keep things private, you need to clear your cache, not bookmark anything sensitive, and not allow your browser to save passwords for anything sensitive. Chrome, for example, will only allow you to view the actual password if you enter the password you logged into your computer with, but you still don’t want it to save passwords because you can see the name of the site and the username without having to enter a password. If you don’t want people to know you use Fetlife, you can’t let your browser keep a record of you having a Fetlife password.

9. Passwords: don’t reuse them, have a strong password, make it hard to guess, etc, etc. This is all stuff you’ve probably heard before. I recommend using a password store like KeePass or LastPass. If you use one of those, you only have to remember one password, no one else can even see which sites you have passwords for, and you can use extremely strong passwords or ideally pass phrases (instead of a single word, use a sentence) without having to put a huge amount of effort into memorizing them. Strong passwords are important because they make it much harder to bruteforce your password. It would take a human ages and ages to type in every possible combination for a six character password that’s only letters, but a computer can do that in no time flat. If your password is long enough and has enough different characters, it becomes more and more work to generate and test all the possibilities.

Readers, do you have any other safety tips?

Surprise, Fetlife’s security is still shitty

In case you haven’t already heard, some worthless goatfelcher created a script to pull information off of Fetlife and used it to make a searchable database of Fetlife members. Specifically Fetlife members who are female and under the age of 30. Not their real names or non-Fetlife contact information, to be clear, but it’s still creepy as fuck. This shitstain, to quote What the Fetlife Meatlist tells us about BDSM Culture:

claims that he is motivated by the altruistic goal of pressuring Bitlove (the creators of Fetlife) into implementing security fixes to prevent these sort of attacks happening in the future.

Which is obviously a blatant lie. Someone who was not a total cumgolem and actually was interested solely in pressuring Fetlife to improve their security would have created a list of dominant men over 55, or people whose usernames start with Q, or people who listed their role as “Daddy”, or literally anything other than a list of young women. This wankstain has absolutely no altruistic motive, he just enjoys feeling clever and making women feel afraid and exposed. That is literally the only reason to publish women’s information in a way that makes it trivial for creeps to find and harass them. Any and all attempts to defend this obviously reprehensible behaviour in the comments anywhere on my blog will be deleted and banned, don’t go crying that I didn’t warn you. It’s probably a terrible idea to enable comments on this post at all, but I want people to be able to ask questions about internet safety, which I will be talking about next. Actually, fuck it. The internet safety bit will be in the next post and there will be no comments on this one.

Frisky Fairy has also written a post about this issue titled Not Meat, Not Quite a Person: How Fetlife Failed Women Under 30, Mr Pent has one called The Fetlife Meatlist Scandal from a Security Perspective, Shadow-girl has one titled My thoughts on the “Meat List”, just to give a few examples.

If you are under 30 and female, it’s now easier for creepers to find your profile and harass you, but you haven’t necessarily been outed (unless your real name is in your Fetlife handle, which I can’t imagine is common for people who aren’t already out). Your pictures aren’t available outside of Fetlife (well, they’re no more available outside of Fetlife than they are usually), the list doesn’t contain your real name or your phone number or anything. This sucks, it’s obviously not okay and is just one more example of how much many men despise women, but you’re probably not going to end up having an incredibly awkward conversation about you kink with your boss or your family.

Another thing to keep in mind is that bullshit like this is in fact largely preventable. I say largely because a motivated enough attacker is going to be able to get their hands on whatever information they want, but there are a great many things Fetlife could do to make the jizzpaintings of the world work a lot harder to shit on people, and to handle it better when it does happen. For starters, Fetlife’s user ids are sequential, which makes it really easy to run through all of the profiles on the site. As a business, Bitlove (the company that runs Fetlife), may or may not have the time and money to fix their shit, but anyone who says it just isn’t technically possible is completely full of shit.

Why all the hate for dick pics?

Sometimes I yell about stuff strictly to get it out of my system, not because I think there’s the slightest chance of changing anyone’s mind. This is one of those posts.

First of all, when I talk about dick pics on dating sites like collarspace (originally collarme) or Fetlife, I’m talking specifically about avatars/profile pictures. If you want to have a non-dick avatar and fill the rest of your profile with your dick, that’s a separate issue and not what I’m talking about today. I’m also also (this may come as a shock) a dominant woman talking about submissive men using dick pics, so if you’re not submissive this may or may not be at all relevant to you.

One of the many reasons dick pics annoy me so much is that I mostly see them in the context of the owners of said dicks whining and crying about how they keep messaging dominant women and don’t get any replies. Part of that is undoubtedly because I’ve very rarely seen well-written and interesting profiles attached to disembodied penises, but part of it is because it’s extremely common for women to dislike dick pics and these guys either don’t care or don’t know (which is basically the same as not caring, let’s be honest).

So, why is it so common for women to dislike dick pics?

For starters, using a dick pic as your avatar tells me you don’t care whether or not I wanted to see your dick. Or that you never thought about whether I wanted to see your dick, which is just as bad. All of the advice about unsolicited cock shots applies to cock avatars as well. I promise if a dominant woman wants to see your dick, she will tell you so.

Unless you’re Mr_Cocky, a dick pic tells me nothing about you besides that you have a dick and you think it’s important. Unless I know and like you in the sexy way, I don’t fucking care what your genitals look like, and if you think your dick is the most important thing about you, I am never going to like you enough to want to see it. You can show so much about yourself with a good profile pic, and this is the pointless bullshit you chose to waste it on?

While I’m at it, most dick pics I’ve seen are frankly terrible photos. Lighting and personal grooming will not cause your balls to shrivel up and fall off, I promise. The total lack thereof, however, will almost certainly turn off whoever ends up looking at your gloomily lit blurry shot of your poorly framed dick. Go to critiquemydickpic.tumblr.com and do some reading. Or admit that you don’t give two shits what women think of your dick pic and are only interested in making us non-consensually look at it.

Another thing that absolutely baffles me is this bizarre false dichotomy between face shots and cock shots. I’ve seen people say, when asked why the fuck they have a picture of their dick (or, god forbid, their asshole) as their avatar, that they didn’t feel comfortable putting up a picture of their face. What the fuck people? If you are seriously that fucking terrible at thinking of interesting body parts to take pictures of, here are some ideas: hands, forearms, shoulders, chest, back, stomach, ass (but for fuck’s sake not the proctologist’s eye view), literally anything but your dick. Seriously, I’d rather see a picture of your ear or your elbow. Also, there is such a thing as photos taken from behind you or with your face turned away or covered.

Finally, if you’re one of those sad little shitstains who accuses women who want to choose whether or not they see someone’s dick of being horrible sex hating prudes who should leave Fetlife forever and only hang out on ravelry.com, put yourself in the garbage where you belong.

Fetlife in particular is a fucking social site, you ignorant jackass. I’m here to have interesting discussions and find things on Kinky & Popular to inspire angry blog posts. This is going to come as a terrible shock to you assclowns, but my purpose in life is not to be the non-consenting audience in your exhibition scene. How about you fuck off and do some thinking about why it is you want to force women to look at your dick (protip: it’s misogyny).

If you want to put pics of your dick all over the rest of your profile, I don’t particularly care (although I will judge the shit out of you if you contact me with a profile that’s basically a shrine to your dick). I don’t have to look at your profile, and if I do then it’s my own damn fault if I see something I didn’t want to. If you’re actually just an exhibitionist and don’t get off on forcing people to look at your dick whether or not they want to, there are only 114 groups on Fetlife for that.

When it comes right down to it, it’s not about the dick, it’s about the attitude behind it. If you don’t care about whether or not I wanted to see your dick, why I should give even half a shit about what you want?

Married subs

It’s not terribly unusual to see married submissive guys looking for a dom of their very own, and it’s also not unusual to see those guys get verbally smacked around while they act all confused about why it’s happening. There are also perfectly lovely married subs but they don’t need to be yelled at :). It’s really not that complicated, but I’m going to spell it out in the hopes it’ll keep somebody out there from acting like a dumbass.

First of all, we’re going to assume that if you’re married and looking for play outside of your marriage, you’re trying to cheat on your wife. Maybe that’s fair and maybe it’s not, but there are an awful lot of men who are in fact looking to cheat, so it’s not an unreasonable assumption to make.

What do you do about this? Well for starters, don’t cheat. How do you prove you’re not cheating? Be completely up front about your situation and ideally introduce potential doms to your wife. I realize that won’t work for everyone, but it really is the best way to convince a dom you’re not a cheating asshole. If you can’t introduce people to your wife, be prepared to get to know them really well over a long period of time before they’ll even consider putting play on the table.

We’re also going to worry that we’ll be treated like a dirty little secret. Some people do enjoy a bit of secrecy, but an awful lot of people are going to want to be acknowledged as an important person in your life. You don’t have to tell everyone you have a new dom and that you call her Mistress Lash (don’t do that, that would be weird), but what’s so bad about “This is my friend ____” or about just having coffee together with no kink once in a while?

What do you do about this? Talk to your potential dom like she’s a human fucking being, invite her to do non-kinky stuff once in a while, and treat her like she matters to you, not like some shameful secret no one can ever know about. If it’s really important that you keep your kink and the rest of your life separate, be honest about that and accept that it’s going to limit the number of people who will be interested in being your dom.

Be honest about what you can offer. You cannot expect good results if you say “Anything you want, Mistress” then follow it up with “Sorry, I can’t, that’s my date night with my wife.” We all know that people who say they have no limits are liars or dangerously unwell, but it’s extra annoying when we hear that shit from a married man. No you fucking can’t serve me any time I want, your wife is going to want to see you now and then.

Everybody has limits on the amount of control they can give another person, but married people in particular need to be completely open and honest about what they can give their dom control over and what they can’t. Things get a lot more complicated when it’s not just your limits but also your wife’s limits that your dom needs to worry about. This is also another reason your dom is likely to want to talk with your wife. Your interpretation of your wife’s words is just not the same as your dom getting to ask her directly if she’s cool with you getting marked up/with her choosing your clothes/with you texting her at certain times of day/and so on and so on.

What do you do about this? Have a lot of long conversations with your wife and don’t let wishful thinking cloud your judgement. Limits often change as people get to know and trust each other, but that can’t happen if you pull juvenile bullshit like telling your dom that a little bruising is okay when your wife said she wasn’t comfortable with seeing you with bruises.

Another thing to think about is who you’re approaching. A single dominant woman may be looking for a submissive boyfriend, not a part-time submissive who she has to share with your wife. The fantasy of having a dom all to yourself is great and all, but you’re going to need to be realistic if you want to find someone. There are dominant women married to non-kinky men too, you know. Maybe you’ll hit it off with one of them.

What do you do about this? Remember that you are not owed a hot dom all to yourself just because you showed up. The women you’re interested in have needs too, and they have every right to need or want things you can’t provide. Also, from what I’ve seen online (which is not be any means a representative sample) it’s not uncommon for married men who’ve finally had the talk with their wives and started looking for a dom to not exactly be spring chickens anymore. Do not go panting after doms in their 20s if you’re in your 40s, you are very unlikely to get good results. It’s bad enough when a single man does that, but it’s extra sad coming from a guy who has apparently been married for years without ever figuring out that women want things too or growing up enough to develop an interest in women his own age.

Guys, we’re not asking for that much. There’s no reason you as a married man can’t find a dom, but you need to not be a dickbag about it.

Is talent a thing?

It’s probably not an answerable question, but I have to wonder: is talent a thing? I’ve read some interesting articles about whether talent actually exists as an independent attribute or if it’s just a consequence of really loving an activity and doing it a whole lot.

I have to say the idea that talent doesn’t exist and that people who are described as talented just really love that thing and did it so much they got really good at it makes sense and seems more likely to me, but I every so often I still take the idea of talent out and poke at it.

The reason I do that is because I’m a really good programmer. In college where other students struggled, things were just easy for me. At work where coworkers struggled, things were just easy for me. It seems like a bit of a dick move to say talent isn’t a thing because, particularly in college, there were people who worked much harder than I did for lower grades. I’ve worked with a lot of perfectly lovely human beings who work really hard but are still mediocre programmers. What is it that makes me so special?

It’s funny, but this finally occurred to me just the other day: I am literally the kid who was programming when she was 12. Of course I’m good at this, I’ve been doing it for a long fucking time and because I started so young those years of practice probably shaped my brain.

Some of my skill is luck, of course. If I hadn’t happened to go to a small school run by a principal who believed computer skills were really important, I wouldn’t have had such good teachers, wouldn’t have gotten excited about programming, and wouldn’t have gotten so much practice in. Without those years of practice, I wouldn’t have gone to college with such an advantage over all the students who were completely new to programming and wouldn’t have immediately had my confidence boosted when the first programming exercise we did was easy for me.

Another piece of luck is that thanks to a history of less than ideal family finances, I had a serious fear of going into debt for a degree only to find out I didn’t want to do that for a living or couldn’t get a job in that field. I worked a couple of shitty part-time customer service jobs for a while after highschool, then switched to full-time graveyard shifts (11pm to 7am in my case) because I couldn’t fucking deal with never having a full day off. Having a stable schedule and actual days off was amazing at first, but after a while I started really struggling to sleep during the day, and started thinking about whether I really wanted to spend the rest of my life doing a job a monkey could do if only there weren’t animal cruelty laws.

The idea of going back to school terrified me, but thanks to the misery of graveyard shifts it was a lot less terrifying than the idea of drinking myself to death while doing a completely unfulfilling job and living with total assholes (if you think it’s okay to wake up a person who works nights for any reason aside from the house literally being on fire, put yourself in the garbage where you belong). Compared to a slow death doing a job I hated, moving to a new city (because if I was going to go into debt for an education, damned if I was going to waste it on the local community college), going into debt, and doing something I was really scared I wasn’t smart enough for didn’t seem so bad.

All of which is an extraordinarily long winded way of saying I was very, very motivated when I went back to school. There’s nothing like the fear of going into debt only to end up back in the miserable pit where you started to motivate a person to do her homework and study her ass off.

And now I’m back at my original thesis that talent is much less likely to exist than hard work and love of a subject. Funny how writing works out that way. Maybe I just had more practice and wanted it more than my classmates, and maybe it’s only imposter syndrome that makes me think I didn’t earn it.

I will, however, freely admit that things were easier for me than they could have been. Sure, it sucks always being the only woman in the room, and it sucks when people assume I’m an idiot because I’m a woman, but it would suck a lot more if I were a person of colour (quick, how many black nerds have you ever seen in any media at any time ever?) or disabled, or mentally ill or trans or not straight or non-neurotypical. That’s a separate issue from whether talent exists, though.

Humility is all well and good, but I think in the long run it hurts people to hold up the myth of talent as if it matters. There’s nothing talent can do for you that hard work and trying not to be an asshole can’t do just as well.