Beware the Toxic sub

In hindsight, if one is introspective enough, they can learn many lessons. Sometimes, it can take months or years for that moment of clarity to hit. I know it did for me. One of the most harmful things I have ever encountered in my journey within the lifestyle is toxic subs. All too often bad Doms are the subject of rants in various groups or discussion boards, and rarely are toxic subs ever talked about. Part of me wonders at the psychology behind this. Personally, I can admit feelings of shame involved once I figured out what was going on. How could I be so blind as to not notice it when it was happening? For me, I lay a lot of blame on emotional entanglement. I am, and always will be, emotionally invested in my submissive. Romance is a very big part of BDSM for me and I don’t want to play without it. It is vetted for and the only way I play anymore. I can tell you in all honesty, for the romantic Dominant, there is nothing more destructive than a toxic sub.

So what, as a romantic leaning Dom should you be looking for as red flags? Breadcrumbing, lying about emotional availability, passive aggressive manipulation, and lack of personal responsibility are all things I have picked up on in hindsight. Let’s talk about it.

Breadcrumbing, to me, is the most insidious of all toxic sub traits. What is breadcrumbing? Breadcrumbing is when someone gives you just enough emotional attention that they leave you needing, wanting more, but then withhold emotional availability to the point that one can get frustrated to the point of leaving, only to be given just enough attention to make you question leaving and then the cycle repeats. This is often coupled with gaslighting. They’ll point out that they’ve been available and then try and lay blame at your feet for you not being satisfied with the emotional attention you need or have been getting.

Lying about emotional availability happens fairly regularly on both sides of the slash. When the toxic sub does it, they may or may not be aware of their own baggage or situation that prevents them from being able to make an emotional commitment. They’re aware of their trauma, but refuse to address it. This can be due to an entire host of reasons, but none of them are good. Doms are not emotional band aids. We have feelings and needs too.

Passive aggressive manipulation. This can occur in a lot of ways, but the most common I have encountered is when the toxic sub willfully ignores their Dominant. This is especially harmful in Dom Drop, when I have expressed a need for reassurance and instead of getting the communication I need, the reassurance that everything is okay, I am instead left as a kink dispenser and left to wonder what is going on.

Lack of responsibility can also occur in a multitude of displays. This occurs a lot in the DDlg community, I feel. You can be a submissive little and still take care of yourself. While structure and D/s can most certainly assist, it is not your Dominant’s responsibility to cater to every whim in your life. If we’re going to boil it down to the essentials, your role is to provide for Them while They provide for you. It is symbiotic, mutual and beneficial to both. When one takes and does not give in return it is a parasitic relationship.

What other toxic sub traits can you think of or have experienced? What lessons have you learned? It is important to note that some toxic traits can be attributed to a lack of understanding and as the Dominant, it will be your responsibility to guide, lead and educate, but do so more than just by saying. Lead and show by example. All too often people are quick today to lambast each other as fake or a walking red flag.

Be Honest in Your Vetting

While this may initially be cute, and I did admittedly laugh about it, this is a good teaching opportunity. What’s wrong with the message she’s sending?

We stress vetting in the community. To be honest with ourselves and to be honest with our prospective D-type or s-type you’re vetting. This is manipulation in it’s purest form. A bait and switch. Per her message, her Dom expected one type of submissive and got another. In the real world, if this were to happen to me, she’d be released. No questions asked and no opportunity to do so given.

Be honest in your vetting, folks. Don’t be this person. Be clear in your needs, wants and styles of Dominance or submission. I promise the time that you invest into vetting will pay off when you find the right person.

Writer’s block is a bitch and I’m still alive.

Yes, I am still alive. Things in life are good, though a recent development has been a little chaotic, but life is still good. Since we last spoke, I closed vetting and negotiations with the new little/sub and I’m sure I’ll be talking about her in the future.

I am currently up to nine drafts. I’ve been working on them here and there, but some of them are a little too… clinical… I feel like they lack my voice/presence/jes nes se quois and that simply will not do. So, as one concerned reader put it, I am in fact, recharging my batteries.

I hope life is finding you all well. Much love from my side of the internet.

The Broken Road Leads to New Adventures

I have been very busy in my personal life and come with some exciting news for you guys. I won’t go too much into my personal life, but I have been vetting a new submissive and I’ve gotten her consent to talk about our adventures going forward. Last week I shared a story that I wrote for her when she asked for a bed time story. The one I presented to you was a little more cleaned up and less, flying on the seat of my pants, that I told her, but much of the story remained unchanged. I just tidied it up a little.

I also have currently 7 or 8 drafts sitting on the queue, but between finishing vetting and some writer’s block, I’ve been stretched a little thin. I do expect to return to our regular routine soon though.

I hope all is well on your side of the internet.

The Panda and the Princess

Once upon a time, in a far away land, there was a panda. Unlike most pandas who stay in their high mountain forests, this one had traveled far and wide during his life. He saw many marvelous and sometimes terrible things. Over time, the sights he had seen made him world weary and shy and suspicious of other people. Life had made the panda exhausted and he had just about given up on finding a happy place.

In a distant land, that was neither too far, nor too close, was a magical princess. She too had seen many marvelous and sometimes terrible things; and they too made her wary and cautious, but she remained hopeful that one day, she would find her prince. With her magical powers, she looked into her scrying mirror, but never found what she wanted or needed.

One day, when the princess was scrying in her magical mirror, she spied the panda, doing his normal panda things. You see, despite how bad the panda hurt, he liked helping people. And the princess saw his sadness and watched him for a while, unsure if he could be trusted. After all, pandas are still bears, even if they are cute and cuddly.

And so the princess watched, and the panda was unaware. As he went about his day, he stepped on the most prickly of thorns. It was nasty and barbed and it pierced the panda deeply. No matter how he tried, he couldn’t get the mean thorn out of his paw.

The princess, saddened to see the panda wounded, rushed around her tower and grabbed her magic potions and wands. She had to help the panda. She couldn’t watch him suffer. So she flew to the mirror, said her magic words, and whisked herself to the panda.

The panda was shocked when she arrived. A silvery flash of light and where there was no princess before stood the prettiest princess the panda had ever seen. She even had his favorite color in her hair. The panda was scared though, for not all princesses are nice he had learned, and he growled a low, guttural growl at her, warning her to stay away. The princess, of course, saw through his bluster and tsked at him. She gently reached out and took his hurt paw in her hands, examining the barbed thorn.

“This simply won’t do,” she said.

And she reached for a vial of sparkly, golden light and poured onto the panda’s paw and drew the throne from the wound. The panda looked at her in amazement and then back at his paw. The wound was gone! No sign of infection and not even a scab! The panda licked her face in appreciation and nuzzled her cheek. She laughter was like slow chimes on a windy day to his ears.

“It’s okay, panda,” she laughed. “It may hurt for a while still, but it will bother you no more.”

The princess looked around. The portal back to her tower had closed. “I’ve seemed to have lost the way back to my castle, my panda. How will we find our way back?”

The panda stooped low and the princess climbed onto his back. The panda looked around, sniffed the air and growled his growl and plodded forward. He smiled to himself. This was going to be an adventure.

What adventures await the princess and the panda? Who knows? I’m sure they’ll have lots of adventures to be sure, but those are a story for another day.

Managing Your little’s Anxiety and Tension

In group and on Fet, you see a lot of Doms asking for help with their little when it’s too late. Their little has already reached a breaking point and they need help in how to fix their little’s anxiety and tension, but their little has already reached a critical meltdown. How do we prevent that from occurring and help them avoid breakdowns as Daddy Dominants? I hope you’re ready for a deep dive into relationship psychology and then applying D/s.

First we need to identify your little’s stressors. This should be done two ways. The first being an open dialogue with your little. What do they think causes them stress? Make sure to be actively listening. Take notes if you need to. I sometimes have an overactive ADHD brain. Notes help me a ton. Second, watch your little. There may be things she’s uncomfortable discussing, but if they keeps stressing out over something not discussed, help them find the root of their tension. Big or small, these things matter to them. Make sure while you are listening and observing to not make comments like, “but it’s not that serious” or anything else that can be viewed as dismissive. It matters to them and it stresses them out. Listen without judgment and validate their feelings.

What does stress look like? This will vary so widely, but some common identifiers include:

  • Irritable, angry, impatient or wound up
  • Over-burdened or overwhelmed
  • Anxious, nervous or afraid
  • Unable to enjoy themselves
  • Depression
  • Excessive tiredness
  • Uninterested in things that used to interest them
  • Existing mental health problems worsen
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Panic attacks
  • Increased headaches
  • Constant arguing
  • Pulling or pushing away

So we’ve identified the stressors and what to look for. You need to be dialed into your submissive/little, this is something I talk about a lot. The real magic in D/s happens when you know your sub/little better than they know themselves. Some littles when stressed, will respond better to the Daddy over the Dominant. Knowing when this change is needed is something you will gain with experience and through communicating with your little. We’ve got our list. Now what do we do?

  1. Promote a healthier diet. Now, that’s not saying take away all the goodies, but what we eat matters. Some people stress eat and this will cause more stress in the long run. Help create a meal plan that’s healthier. We all know of a few littles that will try to exist on coffee and sweets. Don’t take that away from them. Those are comfort foods. We will work on moderation, however. How that works for your dynamic will be up to you to negotiate.
  2. Introduce a workout routine. This may be a sensitive subject. Use tact and broach this carefully with your little. This will vary widely due to whatever physical limitations your little has, but modern psychology has shown us that even a little bit of aerobic exercise releases endorphins. If your little has physical limitations, check out “DDP Yoga”. The whole program is built around whatever limitations there may be. If you can, include your little in your workout routine or join them with theirs. Make it a bonding experience and encourage them.
  3. Work on and study relaxation techniques. This is something I learned recently. Did you know that coloring has the same impact on the brain as meditation? Color with your little. Look into mindfulness exercises and promote mindfulness with your little. I cannot recommend enough the “Mindfulness Coach” app. It’s completely free, has voiced guided meditations and has zero ads. As you progress with the app, you also grow a little digital tree.
  4. Reduce triggers of stress. Most of our stressful demands we have in our lives, we’ve placed on ourselves. Practice and reinforce time-management skills. Help your little set priorities, pace themselves and take time for self care.
  5. Help your little set realistic goals and expectations. We’re not always going to be 100% successful all the time and that’s okay. Be mindful of the things we can control and work on accepting the things we can’t.
  6. Establish healthy sleep routines. Help your little maintain a good sleep schedule. If that means limiting the phone at night, then negotiate for that. Make sure the bed and surrounding areas are comfortable and arrange the pillows to maintain comfortable positions. Make sure to avoid napping too much during the day and limit caffeine intake in the evenings. Maintaining a sleep schedule helps your circadian rhythm, your bodies’ internal clock. The American Sleep Association has a ton of useful advice on maintaining sleep schedules and other useful information. Like did you know a lack of sleep can contribute to migraines?
  7. Engage in scenes and play. Did you know that there’s been a direct link formed between stress relief and bondage? Both “Psychological Characteristics of BDSM Practitioners” from 2013 and “Hormonal Changes and Couple Bonding in Consensual Sadomasochistic Activity” from 2007 report lower stress levels in tops and bottoms that engage in play. Make sure you’re planning and engaging in scenes with your little. Not only will it help reduce your stress, but it will help your little as well.

One final bit of advice. The ultimate secret weapon in relieving tension in a relationship is called a repair attempt (Gottman Institute). These are especially powerful when you understand your partner’s love languages and know how to speak them. Repair attempts can include a hand on the knee or purchasing a small “thinking of you” type present. It all depends on your little’s love languages. Love languages are and will always be a recurring theme here. Take time to learn your little’s love languages and how to speak to them.

Vetting for Daddy Doms

Perceptions from a Daddy Dom are essays, instruction pieces, and sometimes rants. I write and even text, like I talk in real life and I’m here today speaking from the heart. I offer my opinions and insight that I have gained from fifteen years of experience and through trial and error. When I offer insight, it is from the mindset of my Dominant philosophy, which is primarily that of Daddy Dom. I use the pronouns I am comfortable with, but please swap your pronouns where you feel comfortable. The lifestyle welcomes all of you. Welcome to Wonderland.

As companion to An Introduction to Vetting – How I Do What I Do and Red Flags for Daddies I wanted to work on a similar vetting breakdown like I did for How to Vet a Potential Daddy Dom but for the Dominant. To be frank, this is long over due to let’s get into it.

Vetting is a combination of getting to know you questions and, in the later stages, a little bit of lifestyle dating. You want to present yourself respectfully, but as you are. As mentioned before, don’t try to be someone you’re not. I promise you, if you do, your prospective sub will see it a mile away and you will trip a lot of red flags. Be yourself. Be consistent. Be firm, kind, and genuine. If you’re new, take time to educate yourself on terms and definitions. Nobody will hold your hand through this. Do more than just read this or a BDSM 101 thing off Google. The submissive you are talking to has actively chosen this lifestyle, be it 24/7 or in the bedroom only. Also, let’s take some time and figure out what you’re wanting. This will greatly impact how and what you should be vetting for. Are you wanting bedroom only kink? Are you wanting 24/7? How much authority do you want in your power exchange if you’re wanting 24/7? These are questions you need to have thought about and weighed.

Vetting will be a slow process. It will take time. There’s a lot of arguments on how long vetting should take. In my personal opinion, vetting should take months, not weeks. Don’t rush it. Believe me, it’s not worth rushing. Going to the old colloquialism: Good things come to those that wait. Every single time I’ve sped up how or why I do things, it’s always bit me in the ass. Are you looking for a long-term or short-term partner? You’re going to be looking at emotional responses, emotional availability, emotional maturity, consistency, strength of character, sexual compatibility, their level of self-awareness, experience, and more based on what you’re wanting. Take time during the early stages of getting to know your prospective sub to build a genuine and real friendship. At the very least, you potentially walk away with a new friend.

When framing your questions, you want to be looking mainly at two categories: experience and compatibility. Experience questions are important because they let you know where she’s at in her journey. When answering her experience based questions, she’ll see where you are. Don’t be afraid to admit you haven’t looked into something if asked, but be honest if you’re unfamiliar with a certain practice or novice in skill. BDSM covers a lot. It’s impossible to know everything. Compatibility will cover a wide gamut of play styles and kinks, but not so much favorite foods and movies. Those will be discussed undoubtedly of course. We are so much more than our kinks, but that will not be discussed as such here.

A very important note on vetting from me to you. Do not ask her for sexy time while vetting. There will be plenty of time for that in the future, but I cannot stress enough that this should wait until after you’ve completed your vetting process. When engaging in play, our brains release oxytocin. Oxytocin is the love hormone and it will cloud your judgment. Avoid clouding your judgment while vetting.

These questions are meant to be incremental. As your prospective little moves through the questions, they should become more and more important. These are not by any means all the questions you should ask, but they are a good guideline. Feel free to add your own for things that matter to you.

  1. How long have you been in the lifestyle?
  2. How did you discover you are submissive?
  3. What do you see as the difference between a bottom, a submissive and a little?
  4. How long did it take you to realize you were a little?
  5. Did you train or learn to become a submissive?
  6. What moment in your experience as a submissive/little stands out most?
  7. Does being a submissive/little pour into your everyday life?
  8. Can you turn it off or on when you want to?
  9. What is a day with you as a little like?
  10. What is a day with you not being in a little role like?
  11. Are there any other aspects of being a submissive you embrace? Such as primal tendencies, service, etc? 
  12. How do you express those other aspects with a Dom?
  13. Have you had a Daddy Dom before?
  14. How many Daddy Doms have you had?
  15. How long did each relationship last? 
  16. What about other Dominant types? 
  17. Why did each relationship end?
  18. Would any of them come back if you were available?
  19. What are your stressors and triggers?
  20. What are your preferred methods to destress?
  21. How important are your little items like stuffies, pacies, clothing items?
  22. What does littlespace mean to you?
  23. How do you participate in littlespace?
  24. If you are in littlespace, how is the best way to bring you out?
  25. Do you know what SSC means?
  26. What does safe, sane and consensual mean to you?
  27. Do you practice safe, sane and consensual as a safety philosophy, RACK (Risk Aware Consensual Kink) or PRICK (Personal Responsibility Informed Consensual Kink)?
  28. What kind of aftercare do you prefer?
  29. Can you explain how you would perform aftercare?
  30. What is the most difficult scene you have ever done and what did you learn from it?
  31. How would you set a scene from start to finish?
  32. What is a dream scene you want to do, but haven’t been able to do yet?
  33. What wouldn’t you do? 
  34. Would you respect my hard limits?
  35. What are your hard limits?
  36. How sexual do you think a little should be?
  37. How important is sex and orgasms to you?
  38. Do you need them?
  39. Would you ever deny sex to your partner/Dominant? If so, why?
  40. Are you willing to meet with me several times before we play together?
  41. Would you be willing to provide identification before we met?
  42. Are you willing to accept that I am not your Dominant until I make the decision to be such a person to you?
  43. Are you willing to accept that I will not engage in Dominant/submissive dynamic and behavior to you until I feel comfortable doing so?
  44. How do you nurture a Dominant to build trust?
  45. Do you build on what you find out about their potential?
  46. Do you obey the rules/contract after they have been negotiated?
  47. Do you accept guidance?
  48. Do we do timeouts to discuss progress and problems together?
  49. Do you use safewords? If so, what ones do you like to use?
  50. Do ever you feel like you don’t need a safeword?
  51. How will you react if I safeword?
  52. Do you respond to impact play?
  53. How do you feel about discipline?
  54. How do you respond to discipline?
  55. When learning, how do you learn best?
  56. How would you handle those with health issues? 
  57. Do you have any physical health issues? Are they being addressed/treated?
  58. Do you have any mental health issues? Are they being addressed/treated?

During your vetting, take notes or at least keep mental notes. What pleases you, displeases you, worries you? What red flags are there? What green flags are there? Everyone will have good and bad. If at any point, the bad starts to outweigh the good or you’re starting to question if she’s the right one, then err on the side of caution. There are plenty of fish in the sea, my friend. End things amicably and again cast out your net when you’re ready. It’s important to end things amicably. Your reputation matters and how you end things will inevitably be a topic of discussion.

Foundations: Building the Four Pillars

Before I tackle vetting for the Dominant, I wanted to tackle something that I reference a lot but do not spend nearly enough time on and I feel like as I find myself sliding back into the saddle, it’s something that I want to address today. The Four Pillars of BDSM are Honesty, Communication, Respect and Trust. I put them in that order for a reason and my reasons will be made apparent as we dive in. I hope you guys are ready. I’ve looked forward to this one. When I researched this more fully in preparation for today, so it wouldn’t be me rambling on about just personal feelings, the Four Pillars of BDSM originate from Old Guard teaching. If given time, even if it isn’t exactly your cup of tea, I can’t suggest enough delving into what came before. The Old Guard history is truly a fascinating era in what has brought us to the kinky world we know today.

The first pillar built is one of honesty and before you can be honest with anyone else, you need to first be honest with yourself. What is it you want? Do you have expectations? What is it you need, desire, crave? What are your kinks? Is that all of them? What about that one you left in the dark? Before you can even contemplate working on the next pillar, you have to be able to be honest. While we can all agree expectations tend to be unfair, maintaining an expectation of honesty is not an unjust presupposition. Going forward, extend honesty in all things with your prospective partner. You cannot expect honesty from them if you’re not honest with yourself and them.

As you build communication, you will return to your building blocks of honesty. It is here that vetting will eventually occur. Maintaining open and honest communication is paramount to any vanilla relationship and is even more so important entering the realm of dynamics. Communicating your needs, desires, and fantasies will naturally come, but you need to be able to also communicate your dislikes, soft limits and hard limits. You will need to be able to communicate your state of mind, feelings and thoughts. You will need to <strong>LISTEN </strong>to theirs. Listening is just as important in communication. You can talk to each other all day, but if what they are saying isn’t being heard, you’re just wasting your time. 

I positioned respect as the third pillar because without communication and honesty, in my opinion, you cannot build respect and in order to trust your partner, you must be able to respect one another. Respect in this aspect is multifaceted. As a Dominant, you need to respect your submissive’s limits and consent. As a submissive, you need to respect your Dominant’s authority and limits. How do you build respect though? From a relationship psychological standpoint, this is an involved, active exercise. Talk openly and honestly with each other. Listen to your partner. Value their thoughts, feelings and needs. Compromise. Speak kindly to each other. Be supportive. Keep your promises. When we get into world power exchange, some of these values can change depending on the authority transferred in your dynamic, such as compromise, but many of the same core tenets of building a healthy respectful vanilla relationship remain unchanged as you build your dynamic.

Once the pillars of honesty, communication and respect have been built, trust begins to form. Without trust, you cannot consent, gain consent or submit. Trust is a tender thing. It is carefully cultivated. It is not unlike a sheet of fine glass. Once fractured, it loses its structural integrity. Trust is vital in a submissive being able to freely submit. The submissive has to be able to trust their Dominant to be able to respect her safeword and hard limits. They trust their Dominants to lead and to protect their best interests. Trust is vital to the Dominant in that they are able to trust their submissive to obey within the confines of their structure and rules.

In building the four pillars, we are able to freely give what we have to the other. The submissive yields their power to their Dominant and the Dominant takes that power, adds it to their own, and together they are both able to fly. Without them, the whole structure begins to collapse and we are unable to reach the soaring heights we dream of.

Healing and Prepping for What’s Next

Last two weeks have especially rough for me as we moved through the grief and healing process. I spent a lot of time in isolation, reflection, meditation and depression sleeping. I spent last week socializing more. Working more on both my new FB group and just talking to people like I used to do. Getting back into the saddle, as it were. Bunny and I emailed each other a few dozen times, but I remain resolute in that ending things is what is best for me. All that matters is that I wish her well, I hope she finds what she needs, happiness, and peace.

A lot of this week’s discussions have been centered around vetting, knowing what you want, being comfortable with it, and negotiations. I am still constantly blown away by how little people are vetting. I completely understand following the whimsy of your heart. Trust me. I really do. It has been something I’ve struggled with for a long time. Right? I’m a Sagittarius. Believe me, I understand whimsical. At the end of the day, however, it is still up to you to protect your heart. Nobody else will do it for you.

I do have some more ideas for lifestyle writing in the pipeline and this week I’m hoping to finish The New Topping Book. I’ve not had a lot of desire to read heavily with everything that’s been going on. I have been working on an extensive list of new vetting questions, this time targeted for Daddy Doms and that will be coming out soon.

I hope life is finding you well.